|Wilbur Found in the Corn|
After the 2016 Nats and meeting Jim O’Reilly in person I decided I would try to build a rubber model larger than a p30, the largest rubber model I had built. Through some communications by email with Jim I decided to purchase the Wilbur plan and the Bob Holman short-kit from Jim’s business. There were many new challenges; building a fuselage that was all diagonal braces, building a folding propeller, and fitting in an electronic band burner DT. By ordering a propeller blank through Volare Products much of the propeller work was completed.
Up to this point I had never braided a rubber motor, I attempted to braid a motor by watching a Youtube video. The resulting motor I created shook something terrible when I made test flights from hand winds because the rubber strands were uneven. Jim and Chuck Powell gave me a demonstration on how to braid a motor the day before flying started at the Nats. Chuck had created some loops for me that I shoved in a box.
|Test Gliding Wilbur|
In the afternoon of the first day of competition I took out the rubber loops only to find one end of the rubber was so knotted it was unreal. I tried to straighten out the mess but gave up; this rubber could be cut up later for small models. From what I had learned I created a new motor and that went pretty well. I tried several flights from hand winds and the rubber unwound smoothly and the plane appeared to be in trim.
|Knotted Mess of Rubber|
Next I got out my winder and put in maybe 100 turns, this took the plane up a little higher so I could get a better idea what the glide looked like. I was happy that it flew as well as it did with no trim adjustments. It was getting close to 5 pm and I was going to put it away but thought no, one more flight. Like a fool I did not put a tracker on it, something I had just purchased used from Lee Campbell.
This time I wound in 200 turns, enough to take the model up to maybe 50 feet. The propeller folded and the model just kept gliding in a direction towards a cornfield, not the direction models had been drifting. I ran closer but could not keep up, why didn’t it land? No doubt it was in lift but having flown more RC sailplane than free flight I am not used to seeing a model stay up in lift so close to the ground.
From a distance it appeared the plane just barely went into the corn, but how do you know. I looked for it for maybe 30 minutes or so and gave up. My name and phone number were on it and I thought maybe someone else would come across it looking for their plane.
Everything I flew after that except for my e20 had my tracker on it. Thursday afternoon I thought I would try to find it one more time. I walked the area I thought I saw it last and darn if within about 10 minutes of looking I spotted it on top of a cornstalk. Having rained that morning the wing was warped but otherwise it was in perfect condition. I couldn’t stop smiling, Chuck Powell took my picture.
There were much more dramatic airplane retrieval stories though out the week than mine. I understand Bob Hanford had a plane that failed to DT fly for 30 minutes into town and he was able to retrieve it. Sadly Mark Vancil lost a new Gollywock rubber model after watching it fly for over 6 minutes, some models landed in newly formed ponds on the field. Risk of losing a model is a part of free flight and a good reason to keep building more.
P. Visser's "Wilbur" Nostalgia Mulvihill per Zaic '53 Item ID NOSR9
http://volareproducts.com/ Propeller Blanks
http://www.faimodelsupply.com/ FAI Model Supply - bearings and bushings
http://www.starlink-flitetech.com/bbt-timers Band Burner