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This Page Last Updated 3/15/98 (Newest mail will appear at the top of the page)


Hi Bob-A-Re-Bo:
Thanks for posting photos of my models. Question. Do you have, or have you written instructions on use of incidence meter, or do you know where some might be available? We will have a short discussion on use of these meters at our next meeting and if there are instruction already alvailable that would save me writing them to hand out. You have the best Web pages around. Thanks for your work and thank you in advance for any information on the subject meter.


Hi Dwayne,

Wish I could help, but I've never used an incidence meter. I rely on the old reliable "take a good long look at it from the side and if it looks okay, go with it" test!

The Flying Penguin :-)



Neat page. I would reccommend it to anyone. I have a question. Do you know of any companies that make a fiberglass trainer? Also, what kind of trainer would you suggest? I am looking for the most durable trainer that i can find. I have crashed the balsa trainer that i have 3 times and am tired of rebuilding it for a week and getting to fly it for a half-hour before a cartwheel landing takes me back to the repair shop. Thanks!!


If you're crashing your trainer a lot, I would assume you're trying to teach yourself to fly. This is not a very good idea - I know as I taught myself to fly and paid for it with the wreckage of many a trainer. At some point I got to be very good at building and re-building aircraft, and still had not mastered landing :-)

I strongly recommend you go to a club field and ask someone to help teach you to fly. There's usually many people around who would be more than happy to spend some time with you. Even if you don't have a regular instructor, you should not go up by yourself until an experienced pilot feels you're ready to solo. If you're comfortable enough flying by yourself, but are prone to accidents, ask someone to fly with you so that if you have a problem, he can take the controls and save the plane. You don't need to invest in a buddy box.

Landings are the hardest thing to master and you should definitely get help. Have an experienced pilot talk you down several times. Most beginners crash on landing because they try too hard to make the runway, or they abort a landing and hit the power and lose control. DON'T try to shoot for the runway to start with - precision comes later. Land in the grass and don't worry about it as long as the nose is into the wind. The worst you'll do is bend the nose gear. I also strongly recommend landing deadstick until you're comfortable with landings. Line up the approach, and once you're lined up into the wind and on final, kill the engine. A dead-stick plane is MUCH easier to land and will take less damage in a bad landing. A dead stick engine also commits you, mentally, to the landing, avoiding the indecision that beginners can feel just before touchdown that can lead to a crash. Again, shoot for anywhere in the grass, as long as the nose is into the wind - forget the runway. Over time, as you get comfortable with it, you'll find yourself using the runway for your landings, but never commit to it. Finally - PRACTICE.. PRACTICE.. PRACTICE! Trust me, you will get better at it.

A fiberglass trainer is no solution for your problem. Fiberglass fuses are more fragile and less forgiving than wood and are far more difficult to repair.

The secret to a good, relatively crash-proof plane is to buy a light one - they fly better and take less damage. The ARF kits are okay, but tend to be heavy and take a lot of damage during a bad landing. They also tend to use cheap plywood that splinters easily. See if you can find a second-hand kit like a Goldberg Mark 56 or Eagle. A Sig Cadet or Cadet Senior makes an outstanding trainer - they're so light and stable that they practically fly themselves. They don't need big engines, and they fly slowly so you have time to correct mistakes. Also remember that larger planes are easier to fly than small ones.

Even an ARF can be made easier to fly. The biggest mistake most beginners make is that they use speed props on trainers. Unfortunately, hobby store salesmen, who should know better, make the same mistake in recommending a prop. For instance, the recommended prop for a 40 size sport plane is a 10-6, but this prop is much too fast for a trainer. A better prop would be an 11-5 or an 11-4. For a 60 size engine, a 12-6 is a far better trainer prop than the recommended 11-7 speed prop, if you have the clearance for it. If you're lucky enough to have a big well-stocked hobby store nearby, you should be able to find these props, otherwise you'll have to mail order. Buy fiberglass props for now. Wood is safer and better in the long run, but while you're a beginner, a glass prop is lot less breakable - and a lot less aggravating. You can grind up a glass prop quite a bit before you have to replace it. Just keep in mind how dangerous a glass prop is - a wood prop might only break or bruise a finger if it doesn't catch the prop tip, while a glass prop will slice it clean off.

The Flying Penguin :-)



Hi there,
This is a bit long-winded but bare with me, I hope you enjoy it. I really appreciate the effort you have provided in the construction of your website.

O.K. now that the ass kissing is done, attached for your review are the photos of my very first non-ARF. Fortunatly the infamous "trainer 40" had provided me with a Top Gun level of building (repairing) expertise. I have bought and "flown"? many and in doing so obtained the coveted R/CMMR (Re-Construction Modelers Medal of Rebuild). The plane I decided to build is an CG Ultimate 10-300S, actually a "Expert" at the field helped me make the decision by gacefully allowing me to purchase the kit from him at a below wholesale price of $100.00. Having invested in the "young" kit (he said it must have been one of the first kits off the presses due to how easily the parts fell from the otherwise normally secure and labeld pieces and turned into one of those 1000 peice 3D jigsaw puzzles) I decided to "build" it.

Through the course of construction I discovered that CA is actually a present from an alien species intent on taking over a world of humans dumb enough to glue thier fingers together (there is an actual X-files episode dedicated to it!). After a brief Hospital visit, due to an X-acto knife receiving a radio hit, and 12 stiches later I had completed what in my opinion had to be a product of imaculate conception. I then consulted many "Experts" at the field on the proper form of propulsion for the beast, they all concluded that it would be in my best interest to fortify the animal with some YS91AC steroid enhanced vitamins. I finally completed the Masterpiece and anxiously awaited the clear non-gusty sunny day for its virgin flight.

Upon arriving at the field at the crack of Dawn, I eagerly awaited my peer's arrival so that they may review my Beautifull child. They all agreed that it was the finest Ultimate they had ever seen and would make a great offering to the R/C lord of dirt. It was time, time to bring the Beast to life, after some "Expert" advise on proper Engine tuning/break-in procedures the huddled masses surrounded for the giving of life ceremony. The motor started on the first attempt, but much to my dissapointment did not run, the "Experts" all agreed that the motor was some how infected with the "I wont run worth a shit no matter what you do" virus. A transplant would have to occur, fortunatly I had invested in the Hobby Store Owner's scholorship/sportscar fund and the merchant gracefully allowed a swap.

Having transplanted and test run the new heart in the Beast, the next Sunday, it was ready for it's maiden voyage. The feild test pilot and every "Expert" had completed its pre-flight graduation ceremony, the new motor was purring like a kitten. It gracefully left it's earthly confines and proceded to conquer the heavens. The pilot said that it reqired anly a few "clicks" to trim out, I felt like a proud parent that watches his child take its first step. I was shaking and about to wet myself when he decided I should take the controls and proceded to hand me the transmitter.

Since then, I have had numerous flights and rushes of adrenilin flying it. I think I'm in love. Anyways that's my story. I have been "flying" for ~7 months, I have never had quite the excitement or joy with any other hobbie, the guys at the feild are great and the day there is always rewarding.

Thank you for your perseverance if you have made it this far. May you always have fair winds and flat runways, your friend in flying,
Ron Lynch




I picked up your newsletter at Markham Park and then checked out your web page...

I'd like to buy a trainer a/c and get started...I actually used to fly Cessna 172s....real ones. Anyway, it looks like Tower Hobbies online has a good deal on a trainer (the Tower 60 or something like that). Is there any reason I shouldn't buy from them. And should I order the radio, engine and glow driver also from them too? The prices seem
reasonable but I know nothing about the plane. Do you?

Assuming I manage to put the thing together - do you know of someone local who would give me a hand with the first few flights? And finally, is flying allowed any time the Markham Park is open? Are there specific days and times that people meet there?

I'd appreciate a response when you have a chance.

Glen Kowarsk

Hi Glen,

The Tower 60's a fine trainer. You'll be happier with the 60 size as opposed to the 40 - larger planes are easier to fly. I would recommend you purchase an O.S. .60FP for that plane and a Futaba 4 ch FM radio. Any frequency is okay EXCEPT 20 - it's banned at Markham due to interference problems. Buy yourself a gallon of 5% glow fuel at any hobby store - the pink stuffs fine.

I recoomend the O.S. engine because it is by far the simplest and most reliable for a beginner to use.

Follow the instructions carefully when building the plane. There are some pitfalls and it would be an excellent idea to go out to the field with the kit before you build it and ask the old guys a for a few tips. Look for Hank who's usually smoking a big cigar - he's the official "Old Man of the Field" and he's there just about every day between 11 - 4.

Whatever you do, do not try to fly it by yourself to start. Almost any day you go out there there will be people around who'll be happy to take you up. Weekdays are by far a lot less hectic than the weekends. You can fly at Markham from sun-up to sundown.

Whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of thinking it'll be easier for you to learn to fly R/C because you're a full-scale pilot - it'll actually be harder. The reverse IS true though: R/C pilots take to flying full-scale very easily. The problem is you're spoiled - you're used to feeling the plane respond and not watching it respond. Most full-scale pilots consider flying R/C harder than flying full-scale planes. The hardest thing to master is visualizing yourself in any attitiude - it can take many hours before it becomes natural to see a plane coming at you and instintively know which direction turns it which way. Experience with R/C cars really helps in this regard.

Good luck and enjoy!
The Flying Penguin :-)




Why??? I'm beyond words. I know not what to say.

In official protest to you no longer writting the "Coop" for R/C Report, I will build and fly an UGLY Stick. I will cover it with Red monocote and put german crosses on it in traditional UGLY Stick fashion. I will even use a 2 stroke engine of chinese descent to power it. I will protect it from the "Airplane Gods" and not allow it's saccrifice untill you once again write the "Coop". I may even become serious in my email (Not!). I will use a Penguin for a pilot and put your name on it. It will be called the UGLY Flying Penguin Stick. Once you restablish the great tome of R/C literature to is regular monthly interval I will not only allow the sacrifice of the Stick but will put it on the alter myself in a full power dive.

Please keep your sabatical short.

Tom Rhodes

Hi Tom,


Thanks for the kind words. I DO hope to write the column again, I just don't know when. I get VERY busy at work this year, and I have some other commitments, so it's all up in the air (actually, I'm just letting the hype and expectation build up to a crecendo to see if Gordon will offer me more money...)

The worst problem was that I haven't been getting to the field much in the past few months and as such, haven't had much material to write about.

Anyway, if you do build that stick, send me a picture of it. Maybe I'll post it on the web site, or just soak it in alchohol and set it on fire...

Take care,
The Flying Penguin :-)


Damn you! I've spent half the night at your web site and I won't be worth anything tomorrow. Hasn't anyone told you R/C is NOT supposed to be fun?

You have a great site and an even better sense of humor. I've only been in R/C for a little over a month now, but I've already made most of the mistakes in your top ten lists. Here's one (which I did) that you missed: walking up to the door prize table at your first fly-in, thinking it's a vendor display, and trying to buy some of the prizes. Now, THAT impresses folks...

Max McCoy


Hi :
I'm Dick Smith editor of the Hemet Model Masters Newsletter . We have a web page Your web page is great and so is your warped sense of humor . Read your column in R/C Report about Golf and I agree although I'm a golfer besides being a modeler for all my remembered life . The Mile Square situation with the Orange county Park Commission trying to build the third Golf Crap on their flying field is an example of what has happened . I guess its just an example of money talks . The Southern California R/C flyers hope to tie this up in court for years . More power to them .

Again Your Page is great .

Hi Dick,

I would've bet the farm that golf and R/C modeling were mutually exclusive hobbies - guess I was mistaken. Oh well, don't stay out in the noonday sun too long!

Take care,
The Flying Penguin :-)


I hope this isn't letter number 300 that points out the fact that the MIG in the newsletter for May 26, 1997 is in fact a MIG 27. The attack version of the interceptor MIG 23 "Flogger", I think the MIG 27 also has the NATO code name "Flogger".

If this is letter number 300 then ignore this or take out some of the frustration on me.

Best Regards,
Göran "Guran" Andersson

Hi Göran,
Actually yours is letter number one (shows you how swift my readership is.... or maybe it's just non-existent). I get those 3-views from a CD-Rom entitled The Aircraft Encyclopedia and that's the picture they had under the Mig-29, unless I goofed and copied the wrong bitmap file (I've gotta stop editing the newsletter while drinking a half a bottle of tequilla...).

Anyway, since I'm not familiar enough with Russian aircraft to dispute you, I'll take your correction at face value. Now take that smug smile off your face before I "flog" you...

The Flying Penguin :-)


G'day from Sunny (Actually it is pissing down) down-under.

I am still in the lurching around the sky stage (Although my instructor let me do a take off last week!). I made the mistake of going to a shop first and got my trainer ARF from there. Some things I learnt thru trial and error are:

1. Set control throws as light as possible.
2. Make sure there is no binding on rods.
3. Fuel line is made out of silicon - not plastic like there was in the kit. The plastic melts where it touches the engine and the engine stops. Guess how I know this.
4. Mount engine so that carb is level with middle of fuel tank. (I was sold a .40 motor instead of .35 (For next model!). Because of this I had to put new engine mounts on. Guess where I mounted them!
5. Purchase a big tank of glow fuel - the small tanks are a complete
waste of time.
6. *Always* carry spare glow-plugs.
7. Always carry spare fuel line
8. Put a small piece of fuel line over the clevises to stop seperation.
9. Carry screw drivers, spare everything and pliers. Even if you don't use them, someone else is bound to!

Stan Gifford

Hi Stan,
I'm afraid it's pissing here too. Thanks for your e-mail!

The Flying Penguin :-)


Dear Flying Penguin,

Thanks for your information on cleaning engines. I have laminated the sheet and placed it in my flight box. I have some additional questions that may seem trivial to the experienced, but not to the novice:

* I have a Futaba 7 channel PCM. I cannot seem to find what the initials mean on various other models (UAF, UAP, UHF, UHP, ZAP, etc.)

* The Futaba came with four "148" servos. Are "9101" or "3001" servos better? If I purchase additional servos, which would be more functional? - I am not sure this is the right question. Prices vary a lot from servo to servo. I know that more expensive is not always "more better," but sometimes it is.

* Is there a way to switch between Mode I and Mode II on this transmitter, or is this determine by the order in which you connect the servos to the receiver?

I have more, but enough for right now. Again, thanks.

Robert L.Davis

Hi Robert,

As concerns the modes, it just so happens that someone at my field had a problem with a 7UAP (which I assume is what you have) in which the radio was shipped to him in the wrong mode. Although it's documented, the way you change modes is to turn the power off on the transmitter. Then, while holding both mode selector buttons down at the same time, turn the power back on (obvious, no?).

As for the model initials, UAF's are FM radios (ie: 5UAF, 7UAF), the UAP series are the PCM version (actually, the transmitter for both models is identical, it's just setup for either FM or PCM and either can be reset to the other mode at any time, it's just that you need a matching receiver - either PCM or FM). UHF and UHP, respectively, are the FM and PCM Helicopter versions of the same radios.

The ZAP is the premiere Futaba radio. It costs an arm and a leg, but it'll do everything including wipe your behind for you when you go to the bathroom. These are only used by professional competitors or people with more money than brains.

Futaba 148 servos are the standard workhorse servos. These have bushings instead of ball-bearings. While they're the cheapest servos Futaba makes, they're fine servos.

The 9101 and the 3001 are ball-bearing servos. These have more torque and are more precise. They usually come with PCM radios. I'm not sure what the difference is between the two - I think the 3001 is water-sealed for use in boats or it has a metal gear or something. The 9101's are excellent servos and I like to use them on elevators as this is the control you want the best resolution out of. They're also great on ailerons, but I wouldn't waste one on the throttle or rudder - I use 148's there instead.

Generally, a 148 is an all around good servos, and unless you're getting into competition or something, I wouldn't worry about buying anything else. However, if you happen to have a 9101 lying around, put it on your elevator and you'll be very happy with it - I just wouldn't go out of my way to spend the money on it unless I got one with a radio or something.

Hope this helps,
The Flying penguin :-)



Just a short note to tell you that I enjoy your column in "R/ C Report". Much of the stuff in the various model mags is far to stiff and serious. Playing with these little airplanes was ment to be FUN------but some (including, but not limited to, AMA) seem to have forgotten. Keep up the good work---and thanx for the chuckles!

Ray Craig (Winter Haven FL)

Hi Craig,

What? The AMA not have a sense of humor? You must be kidding! Just read through Model Aviation magazine - there's usually a good laugh or two in the letter from the Technical Director... of course, I can never read it all the way through without falling asleep...

The Flying Penguin :-)



I am coming back to flying after being away for more than 20 years. One question that I have not seen or been able to find the answer - I know I knew it at one time - How do you clean an engine? What do you use to clean it with and how far do you tear it down? Thanks.

Robert L. Davis

Hi Robert,

Well, a simple cleaning (one while it's still mounted on the plane) can be accomplished with the liberal use of carburetor or fuel injector cleaner spray and a toothbrush.

For a thorough cleaning and tear down you can buy a one gallon can of Carburetor cleaner (also called engine part cleaner) that comes with a basket that allows you to lower the parts into the can. If you let it soak for a week, every bit of varnish will come off the engine and it'll look like new. Give everything a good going over with a toothbrush afterwards and watch the varnish peel off.

You've got to remember though, that on an old engine or especially a ring engine, it might not be a good idea to do this. This will remove the thin layer of varnish that normally builds up on the cylinder wall and the ring will no longer fit tight causing a loss of compression. On an ABC engine it's not that serious because the cylinder and piston are actually slightly cone shaped to ensure the compression seal, although on a very old engine it may change the compression enough to require the replacement of the sleeve and/or piston.

As far as tear down, I make sure to remove any rubber or silicon parts from the engine (sometimes there's a rubber seal in the carburetor and a silicon or other type of gasket on the engine's back plate). These parts will swell in the cleaner fluid and be ruined. Remove the carburetor and take it apart (being careful to make notes on how it goes back together). The most important part of the carb to put in the cleaner is the part containing the jet, as this is what eventually clogs up on them.

Remove the glow plug (the platinum element may become ruined by the cleaner) and take the back plate off the engine. That's as far as I'd go. At most, you may want to take the cylinder head off, but as these screws are easily stripped, I don't like to remove them unless absolutely necessary.

When re-assembling the engine, use a liberal amount of engine assembly oil or transmission fluid on the parts, especially the lower crank and the bearings. It wouldn't hurt to just fill the lower crankcase with transmission fluid and let it stand for a day and then drain it. Remember that the cleaning fluid will strip every bit of lubrication off the bearings and they'll be completely dry on the first run unless you lubricate them.

All this applies, of course, to people who have a lot of time and patience on their hands. As I generally have neither, my engines all have a think layer of varnish covering them, and I don't get around to doing anything about it until the crankshaft is no longer free to turn because of the build-up. Your mileage may vary...

Hope this helps.
Take care,
The Flying Penguin :-)




I first became aware of you in the pages of RC Report. Thought you did a great job. Recently, I stumbled across your web page. More funny stuff. Too many RC'ers take this stuff too seriously. I was a newsletter editor for over 5 years, and I need my head examined too. Anyway, recently I created my own web page at:

I'm in the process of getting my collection of articles on the net. So far, my web page has 26 of the 60+ articles I accumulated. In the next several weeks I expect to get them all on. Please feel free to use any of my articles you like, but give my web page credit.

Also, I plan to take some of your stuff (if it's OK) and add them to my collection. Or is Bruno going to show up at my house in the dead of night wearing a ski-mask?

Keep the faith,

Tom Denham

Hi Tom,

Bruno and the boys have moved on to the far more lucrative business of forged exam papers - a thriving business in the New England area as I understand.

The Flying Penguin :-)



I'm kinda new at this R/C stuff, been doing it since last September. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to find that I'm not the only person who has done some really dumb things. So far, the major lesson I've learned is that you want to bring the model home in as many pieces as you took it to the field in. Would you agree?

I think you would be proud of me, having graduated from a trainer to a Das Ugly Stick, I've tried diligently to kill it. I did manage to remove most of the right wing using an oak tree as a tool. I also took a sizeable chunk out of the left wing by attempting to strain it through a hog fence (we fly out in the country). I built a new wing with no dihedral and massive aileron throw actuated by 2 servos, just like the big boys' planes. I could control the direction in which it would snap roll, that's about it. Plane went down behind a tree line, out of sight, out of hearing. Gave it full throttle and full up, and up it popped. Believe it or not, I got the plane back undamaged. Wish I could say the same for my underwear. I personally believe that this stick knows about your page, and your opinions on its lineage, and it is staying alive out of pure spite. For that, I must thank you.

Super page, I really enjoyed it while I was supposed to be working. I'll put a link to it from my homepage, in case anybody ever visits.

Best regards,
Peter Hunt

Hi Peter,

I'm ever the realist, thus I carry an assortment of plastic garbage bags in the trunk of my car into which I stuff all the broken bits of airplane went luck goes against me. This relieves my of the burden of poking through the wreckage until I've had time to collect my wits.

Rule #2: I always go to the field with two planes. It's too darn depressing leaving the field after a crash. I have to shake it off by flying something else.

Have fun...
The Flying Penguin :)



Alex Hollis writes:

Dear Flying Penguin,

I'm a student at a small midwestern college, and you'll never believe....(no, sorry, wrong letter)....

O.K., so I'm a guy who plans to start RC (FINALLY) here in a few weeks. I've decided on the plane (or at least narrowed it down to 3 or 4 choices), want to go 60 size, found a hobby shop for all the misc. goodies (fuel, covering, starter, field box, and so on, and so on). But I'm stuck on the radio. I'm a scale fan, so ultimately I'll want more than 4 channels. Of course price is an object. I'm thinking your basic 6-channel -- but want advice on the brand. I've looked at Futaba, Airtronics, and JR (JR makes a 7 channel, that costs $100 more, but...)

Frankly, I recommend you stick with an inexpensive 4 channel radio for now like the Futaba 4 ch FM. Trust me, it's your first radio and it's going to get banged up. Eventually you'll sell the trainer when you're ready to move up and you'll probably get a better deal selling the hole kit and kaboodle to the next sucker... er... beginner. Your decision, though, but I believe strongly in K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid.

Do you have any advice regarding:

1) The brand. There seem to be 4 major players out there -- HiTec, Futaba, Airtronics, JR. Is JR really WORTH that much more? Are some better than others? What's your opinion. The guys at our local flying club seem to go for Futaba, but a former buddy of mine (with whom I flew MANY years ago) was a strict Airtronics guy. What's the scoop?

They're all the same to me. Futaba and Airtronics are pretty much equivalent. I'm no Hitec fan, but they make good radios. The big concern is which brand is available at your local hobby store. The radio companies seem to have divided up the country into territories, and most hobby shops in a particular area sell only one brand (down here in S. Florida it's mostly Futaba). The concern being that sooner or later you'll need a part for that radio, be it a servo, antenna, reciever switch or battery pack. So, do you want to wait for it mail-order or buy the part around the corner? The other thing to remember is to stay with one brand. You definately don't want to own two different brand radios - it leads to all kinds of confusion with chargers, etc.

2) Computer or not to computer, is that a question? Is it really worth the extra bucks to buy a 6 channel Radiant instead of a 6 channel Vanguard?

Here's the problem with all beginners: they want all the toys early on. You won't believe how many beginners come up to me at the field to tell me they want to stick a $700 radio and a $600 engine on a $100 trainer. Well, if you like seeing money crash and burn, be my guest. It's your first plane, and it's a trainer - trainers crash, it's a fact of life. If it survives, you'll probably want to sell the radio with the plane because no matter what you do now, by the time you're ready for a plane that needs more than four channels, you'll have a better idea of what to buy from experience than you do now. You definately want to keep things simple now to start with (K.I.S.S. remember?), and the last thing you want to do is confuse yourself (or your instructor, for that matter) with a bunch of useless gizmos. Stick to the basics. When you know enough about flying, you'll know when you're ready for a computer radio (if ever). Don't let the peer-pressure crap at the field B.S. you - you don't need a computer radio to be cool. That plane up there, whether it's a $100 trainer or a $1,500 scale master entry has no idea what kind of radio is in it, or cares really - when the battery dies, it still augers in just as fast.

The only reason you'll ever REALLY need a computer radio for is for special mixing situations or if you get into pattern flying (or heli flying, but that's a computer radio designed for helis only).

3) PCM or FM? I can't believe at my level of flying (virtually non-existent, and I'll be in a trainer for at least a year or so) that the extra bucks for a PCM would be well-used.

I personally believe that PCM is a waste of money. Again, it's cool but so what? So's a Jaguar, but I like a car that spends more time on the road than the service shop. If you're a competition pilot, then the extra resolution probably makes a difference, but for most of us, no. Failsafe is also a joke also. What good does it do for the controls to freeze in the last position when the radio loses it's signal? It'll still crash if it loses the signal for too long. It's certainly not an autopilot...

4) By the way, what's your opinion of the PC-based simulator software. It looks a bit bogus to me, but I'm not really a good judge.

I've never used one, and I think they're all over-priced and look pretty cheesy for the most part. I'm sure they do help, though. Personally, I prefer a real PC flight sim like Flight Unlimited. I have a radio transmitter converted into a joystick that I use on it and fly using the ground camera view. I fly the Sukoi as it has the best power to weight ratio and flies most like an RC plane. I've actually improved my low-inverted pass by practicing with this.

Incidentally, I get a kick out of your web site, and check it out every couple o' weeks:

Thanks Alex. That makes two of you - you and my mother, and my mothercan't read....

The Flying Penguin :)



Thanks for putting up the SWRA's homepage as a link on your FPRC newsletter. I spent some time at your site today, and reviewed all of your archived newsletters. I now know more about doppler radar, Markham park, safety fencing, daylight savings time, and R/C club dynamics than anyone in the great farsighted State of Arizona needs to. On top of that, I probably qualify as one of the "old ones" in our club, the Sun Valley Fliers, as well.

Your writing is very entertaining, and mostly self-explanatory, but I am left with one burning unanswered question... what kind of a terrible experience left you so unequivically set against the poor old venerable Ugly Stik? Not that I believe it to be the greatest model airplane ever kitted, (I personally liked the Super Lucky Fly), but there must be a story worth telling to your readers in there somewhere. Perhaps you might consider sharing it with us in either your newsletter, or the Flying Penguin's Coop, (assuming Gordon has the guts to print it).

Best regards, and good luck down there in the second greatest retirement state in the country,

Michael Peck

Hi Michael,

Hmm, well I could go on Oprah and confess that I was sexually molested by an Ugly Stick when I was five, but too many people wound believe it....

Thanks for the suggestion, I may indeed make up... err... ummmm.. write an article on the subject.

Take care,
The Flying Penguin :)



Hi again, Mr Osorio,

I'm so bored, that I've struggling in my mind trying to remember any funny idiot thing I did when I used to fly sailplanes (most of them were idiot things but some pathetic also). One I used to repeat time after time (you know the man is the unique animal who stumbles several times with all the rocks) was to wait, up in the hill with the sailplane in one hand and the TX in the other, for enough wind to fly around the slope. I used to be in that position, with the RX off in order to save the battery, during rather a lot of time. Well, when I got tired of waiting, or suspected that there was enough wind (and it never was) I hand-launched the plane, forgetting to turn on the RX. Then, depending on the wind, my arm and hell, the plane began to free fly in front of my desperate eyes (not many witness, fortunately). I remember once, that it turned 180 degrees and landed, besides me, better than controlled by my hands (it was a mix of alivio and angryness), another time it quietly flew until to a wheat field and landed there, I almost didn't see the landing point and took me a couple of hours (under spanish sun) to find it (no damage at all). I was about 14 when I began to fly RC (I'm not apologizing my retarded behaviour) and after all these years, I realize that all the hours I happily spent in the air, were kind of a maravelous gift from the nature and Mr. Murphy, because about three quarters of the time I didn't really knew what I was doing, but it flew, anyway. Sailplanes share a lot with nature and small pocket boys, really. Expecting not boring you (why in the hell are you snorkling so hard?).

Enrique Valladares

Hi Enrique,

Well I remember one time I was flying a small Great Planes Electro-Streak, and the radio quit on me. The plane spiralled down behind a hill and disappeared. I assumed I'd find nothing but pieces when I got there so I took a shopping bag along. When I got there, the plane was sitting on it's landing gear just as pretty as could be with no damage at all.

Go figure,
The Flying Penguin :)

P.S. Don't call me Mister, only my mother can call me that....



I am in need to know where I can buy the plans for a MISS AMERICA - SILK COVERED ran on 40 size os engine The LARGE an UGLY: YARD STICK , yup you guessed it, made of yard sticks, as memory serves me I saw the add for this in RC MODELER 15 years ago or so.

Thanks for the help . Fred Rhoda, Sr.

Nope Fred, haven't a clue, although it seems I've seen it mentioned in recent memory in RCM. Maybe somebody who reads this can help you out. How about it folks?



I enjoy reading your column in R/C Report. It is a welcome addition to the magazine. My club - Oneida Lake Fliers Assoc. - was started by 6 non-flying wannabe fliers, and our mascot is the penguin. I agree mostly with your thoughts about computer radios; but I do use D/R rudder in 2 of my planes. It makes takeoffs with the Sig Miniplane much less spectacular, and it allows the use of full rudder stick during knife-edge attempts with my pattern type plane. Keep up the good work.

Jaime VanDiver

Hi Jamie,

Well I admit it's a little easier keeping your mascot alive up north, considering the weather lately... I actually know someone that lives somewhere in Maine, I think, that has a couple of pet penguins, believe it or not. He sent me a photo of them once playing tag around a snowman.

Take care,
The Flying Penguin




I guess that's your real name....HHmmmm. Anyway, I've got one fer ya'. When, during construction of a model, you need three hands and yours are busy, the bottle of CA you were using, will secretly lay down, spilling the contents to the floor and you, in your barefeet, will stand in it, glueing yourself in position.

Love yer site, but I wasn't aware that HTML could handle that kind-o-craziness. As the editor, VP,and now acting Pres.( ours quit...dunno, he just quit) Plan to, with yer permission-o-course, use some of your material in the newsletter. Oh! want to know what Club......K!! It's The York County Flyers, Inc. from York County, SC. Check out our (my) site at ( L ) I don't remember if it's htm or html....Oh well. I'll e-mail ya a copy when I finish.....gotta check the deadline ( it's probably past due....again!)

Talk to ya later....hope you can get the Doppler mess straightened out.
Gary Johnson,

Hi Gary,
Certainly you may plagerize my material for the use of your newsletter. Good material is hard to come by (and my site is no exception to this rule), but you're welcome to pilfer anyway. And I would love to see the newsletter.

Thanks for the Murphy's Law, I'll add it to the site.

How's the weather up there lately? You like this new thing we came up with this year? We, down here in South Florida have decided that we don't want any hurricanes this year, so we're telling them all to go up north and visit you folks until next year rolls along, then we'll be happy to take them back.

Take care, and watch your six.
The Flying Penguin

P.S. My real name is Jimmy Hoffa, but don't tell anyone.



Dear Mr. Hoffa,
Thanks for the use of yer material, I'm sure I'll find someplace to stick it in b'tween lines. The Hurricanes are welcome here...gets me outa work! More time fer buildin'!! Werkin' on a Sig Faser, I love that l'il plane.I'll use a MVVS 40 w/tuned pipe....lotsa power and light too! No time to chat now...deadlines approaching..'preciate the "pilfering".

Talk to ya L8TR!

D.B. Cooper Alias
Gary Johnson,



Dear Mr. Osorio,
This isn't an R/C related question. I just happened to come across your web page and I really admire the layout of it.

Thanks! Flattery is an excellent way to get my attention.

I am helping a friend design a web page for a university library and I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of web authoring software you use? ...the editor we use is about one step away from using pen and paper.

'Fraid so is mine. I write in raw HTML. I'm a programmer (although not a good one) and I find you can make a far better looking page by working with the raw HTML rather than one of those pretty WYSIWYG front end editors. The editor I use is called Homesite HTML Editor for Win95. It's FAR better than Hot Dog and just about the best straight text editor. Better yet, it's freeware. It's available at Lately I have been experimenting with Microsoft Front Page. It does a nice job and lets you do your work quicker.

I don't intend to lift any ideas that you used for your page.

Well you are free to plagarize anything you like. I love anarchy and the Web is the ultimate anarchist's realm. I, unlike most of these idiots on the Web who think it's a potential source of revenue (the only ones making any money are the Internet Service Providers) believe in the full free exchange of ideas (okay, yeah, I know there's a copyright at the bottom of my home page - capitalism dies hard...)

Perhaps you could suggest some reading material as well. I know HTML code fairly well since I helped design my law firms page at but

Hmmm, I generally don't associate with lawyers or people who associate with lawyers, but you sound like a nice guy. I got most of my info off the web itself. A search on Yahoo for HTML TOOLS or HTML REFERENCE will generally yield all sorts of wonderful goodies. Netscape has some interesting info on their web site as well. I've bought a couple of books on HTML, but have yet to read a one of them. The animations are really easy to do. They're not JAVA or anything like that, they're just animated GIF files. I use GIF Construction Set and a good photo retouching program like Picture Publisher or Corel Photo-Paint. Gif Construction Set is shareware and is available at or Everything else is pretty much straight plain vanilla HTML.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Ur welcome. Have fun.
The Flying Penguin




Here's an aeromodelling club that you will never have heard of. Alderney is the third largest of the British Channel Islands, sixty miles off the South Coast of England. measures just 3.5 miles by 1.5 miles. Population 2,000. We have a thriving aeromodelling club with an extensive membership. There's me, my wife Jane, Richard and Dennis. There used to be Dave, but he pushed off somewhere to build a house. We are lucky with our facilities. There are some lovely cliffs for the slope soarers (Jane is a fanatic glider guider) and in the summer months our airport closes at 7:00 pm, after which it is ALL OURS. We love meeting people, so I thought I would send out a "Hello" signal and see what comes back. If you would like to hear more about us, drop us an E-mail.

Mike Aireton

Hello Mike,
Sounds like you've found yourself a little slice of heaven. Where I live, in Miami, Florida, U.S.A., the terrain is mostly flat. As a matter of fact, the only hills here are artificial. We do have a place to slope fly, but it's the top of a refuse landfill (I'm not kidding) thus the winds may be favorable, but they certainly aren't flavorable...

Our major claim to fame here is the fact that we can fly all year long (of course fall hurricanes, summer heat stroke and third-degree sunburn are a harsh reality). I fly at Markham Park which is a flying field located inside a county owned public park. The field, being on public owned land, is free for use to the public (assuming you have an AMA license or SFA insurance) and membership to the two participating clubs is not required. Thus we get a lot of out-of-towners using the
field during the winter months (especially Canadians) which makes for an interesting experience.

We have a 500 foot paved runway and clear mowed grassland all around. Models run the gamut from old-timers through helis and scale aircraft to high-performance jets (we have a large jet community here). Right now, the temperature's a little brutal at an average of 97 degrees farenheight during the day, but if there's at least a fifteen knot breeze, it's not at all unpleasant. We generally have clear skies, although this area is notorious for it's sudden, vicious and (thankfully) short rain squalls that seem to materialize out of nowhere this time of year.

Nice to hear from the "Mother Country".

Take care and check your six,
The Flying Penguin :)



I'm rather new to this hobby and have seen something about "vacuum bagging" as a means to cover wings and the like. Can you give me some idea why and how this is done and should I consider if this technique is for me?


Hi Brad,
I personnaly have never tried using the vacuum bagging technique myself (I'm half in the bag most of the time anyway), but as I understand it, the reason for it is to ensure a good wing sheeting job over styrofoam wings using the minimum of glue (thus keeping the weight down). The usual method for applying balsa sheeting to a styrofoam wing is the liberal application of epoxy (some people also use Elmers Glue or UFO CA glue which doesn't attack styrofoam like regular CA) to the wing and then applying the balsa skin and holding it in place with some heavy weights. This is tricky and can lead to pockets of glue under the sheet and a puckered surface, if you're not careful.

With vacuum bagging, a thin layer of glue is applied between the balsa and the styrofoam, then the wing panel is placed in a plastic bag and all the air is pumped out. This forces the plastic bag to compress the balsa sheet onto the styrofoam with a near-perfect tight fit. Generally, this technique is used in the construction of competition gliders where weight savings and a smooth wing surface are critical, but many people are using it because it makes the job of "skinning" wings a little more goof-proof. I couldn't really tell you if it makes it any easier. Of course, there is a substantial investment in the initial purchase of the vacuum pump and hardware as well as bags you have to purchase with special fittings.

Whether or not you want to try this yourself will depend on how many styrofoam wings you plan on building, the size of your pocketbook, and whether you have a sense of adventure (mandatory for this hobby anyway). It's really not all that hard to "skin" wings without vacuum bagging, but it is an option, and it does save weight and ensure a more even surface.

Hope you find this info of use.

Take care,
The Flying Penguin



Hello, I'm new to the whole r/c thing, and am starting to get involved. Problem is, I don't know where to start, My interest is airplanes, I just bought an O.S fp40. Anyway my biggest problem is that I don't know ANYONE involved that can help me out, I'd like to know a few things, like how to get an AMA membership card, and which planes are better for beginners. Etc.. etc.. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated..


P.S.: I love The Flying Penguin! It's great! Glad to know there's still people that have a sense of humor around here.

Karel Jennings

Hi Karel,

Me? A sense of humor? You must be kidding! Anyway, my best advise to you is to avoid this hobby entirely - it'll suck you dry, steal your soul, and alienate you from your loved ones.

Still here? Oh well, worth a try... DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU.... Your best bet is to find a nearby hobby store. Unless you live in the boonies there should be one somewhere within driving distance. You can pickup an AMA application there, and get some advise on where there is a nearby flying field as well as a good choice for a first plane. Also, any R/C magazine will have an AMA or Sport Flyer's membership application in it as well. Buy lots of magazines - this is a great source of information for beginners and the experienced alike. My personal favorites are RCM and R/C Report. If you ARE in the boonies, then you might have a problem there. It is not easy to teach yourself how to fly (trust me, I taught myself, and crashed ALOT...).

If you've got the patience to build yourself, then a good first kit is a Goldberg Eagle. This is a good flying kit and easy to build. Other good kits are the Sig Kadet or Seniorita. The Sig kits are very light and practically fly themselves. The Kadet is huge, but so light that a 40 will easily power it. Don't let the big planes scare you away - it's actually easier to learn to fly a big plane rather than a smaller one. If you're the "I want to get into the air now!" type, then almost any of the 40 size ARF (Almost-Ready-to-Fly) Trainer kits around will do a fine job, but they can be a little pricey. Generally a 40 ARF will set you back between $150 and $200, and a radio will cost another $150 or so. If there is a club nearby you can go to, ask around for a second-hand trainer, you should be able to get a bargain - around here you can generally get one with engine and radio for between $200 and $250.

Good luck, let me know how things work out!

The Flying Penguin



Dear Robert,

Greetings from South Africa.Just a short note to tell you how much I enjoy your page on the net. As Editor of our clubs newsletter I must admit that Yours is the best I have seen. Our newsletter "Fli Bi" is really a 4 page two sheeter that is published 6 times a year. a really minor one compared to yours. Biggest cost in our newsletter is postage to 120 members.

I never really read the "fine print" on yours and borrowed some humour and some points on batteries from yours without giving you and the Flying Penguin credit. This will be corrected in the November issue. You can refer to me as the South African plagiarist. SORRY. I'm posting the September issue and have put you on our mailing list. Like you in Florida we can fly all year round but without the humidity. As you enter winter, we are in the middle of Spring. Today is about 80 degrees and dry with a 8 m.p.h. wind. Pity I have to sit in my hobby shop.

We have an active Dawn Patrol at our field on Sundays. About ten modelers are there at sunrise each week who have wives who want them home for Sunday lunch. In mid summer (Dec) sunrise is around 4:45am and everyone tries to beat the sun. As a matter of fact to join the Dawn Patrol you first have to be in the air before the sun breaks the horizon. So around Christmas it is not unusual to see guys assembling their planes by the lights of their cars at 4:15 a.m.

Anyway keep up the good work, your efforts are much appreciated by this scribe.

By the way South Africa is the gliding capital of the world. Just look up the full size records. Most are set up about 500 miles from here just South of the Namibian border. On a good day here in Johannesburg the problem is not getting the gliders up but getting them down. On a floater spoilers in the wing are not enough on a good day. You have to learn to fly your glider inverted with spoilers out -- then just maybe.

Vic de la Porte

Greetings Vic,

It sounds perfectly charming down there. No humidity? Now I know I have to visit your country some day. Don't fret about the plagerization - most of the fine print in the Flying Penguin was copied off the side of a cereal box anyway.

I can relate to your Dawn Patrol. While I haven't been able to do it for some time, I love getting out to the field just before dawn myself. The weather's usually cool and calm, and we have beautiful sunrises here.

Looking forward to reading your newsletter!

Take care,
The Flying Penguin



Dear Robert,

Thanks for your quick reply.I don't know how many other newsletters you get but I'm sure if you really asked nicely you would get hundreds. There are thousands of clubs around the world and in those clubs there are guys who really know what they are talking about. I started modeling in 1945 - control line- Ohlson 60 later went on to CL Stunt and speed and started Radio in the early fifties with single channel and escapement, then a Bramco reed set. It was about a cubic foot that stood on the ground with a lead to a small box that had the switches in. Whenever I lost range which happened quite often the guys - when I shouted "I've lost it" used to rush up and urinate on my ground peg which was attached to the box -----OK sometimes they just poured beer or water on the peg and then my range would come back. Those were the Smog Hog days. I skipped the ORBIT stage and got a Kraft propertional. I left the hobby for about 15 years and came back about 10 years ago. Since then I fly most anything. Model of choice at the moment is a Dick Sarpoulus Choice Cut with Zenoah 45cc power. Also fly Thermal glider (all glass) and a lot of float flying. Although 66 now I'm still known a the wild man at our club and prefer inverted to upright. I fly Mode 2 which is in the minority here. We have four official instructors at our club myself and the chairman Charles Bullock flying both modes and two other Mode 1 instructors.

With the wealth of knowledge out in the clubs I think that someone (I thought of you) could edit a finite book on modeling. A sort of "RC Radio Control - a collection of everything there is to know" by the gurus from all over the world. Just think Joe Wurtz on finding thermals (see NE sailplane home page); Chuck Cunningham on Big Planes; Robert Osorio on Batteries; Vic de la Porte on The right way to install your linkages etc., etc. I'm joking about authors but I have found more how to articles on the internet than I ever read in RCM, MAN or others and from real experts. I always remember an article from Don Lowe about how he witnessed a first flight of a 30 lb Grumman. It snapped rolled on take off and on inspection there was nothing wrong with the plane. The owner said to Lowe "No damage - it sure is built strong". Lowe said "Yeah - and it would fly if it was built light". When I see the weights of your Top Gun planes I always chuckle knowing that if they flew in Johannesburg very few would get off the ground. We are at 5400 feet above sea level and I can tell you a Byron F16 doesn't fly here unless it weighs less than 12 pounds. Over 14 and it won't get on the step. That Spitfire that flys at our club is huge 110" wingspan, 50lbs and 80cc in line twin 3W power. It is a handful and bites near the stall. At the coast it is a baby.

It is Saturday morning in the shop and for some reason it is dead quiet, so I sit here talking bulls**t to you. Keep up the good work,

Vic de la Porte

Hello Vic,

Alway happy to bulls**t you (er, ummm, with you). I've got my own thoughts about Top Gun, not the least of which is what a great collection of highly detailed lawn darts it consists of. I live two and a half hours drive from the Polo Grounds, although the only Top Gun I've managed to catch was the '92 show. I normally work weekends so catching contests is tricky. The attraction to Top Gun is strictly ghoulish - just like watching stock car racing. I'm not intertested in who wins, I just want to watch the crashes. The combination of heavy, scale planes along with a perpetual 20 knot cross-wind and an obstacle course that would put Normandy Beach to shame, just makes for dandy entertainment. I really have no idea how those fellows can do it. To put your heart and time into such a magnificent model, then to bang it around the country in a shipping crate, deal with varying atmospheric conditions, and suffer under the tremendous time pressure to (often) get a machine with a less than perfect engine adjustment into the air - sorry, I have enough stress in my life already. If I want to sweat that much, I'll join the bomb squad.

I don't know about your idea about a DEFINATIVE how-to guide. I've found that, by it's very nature, there is no right way to do anything in this hobby. Part of the fun of this hobby is talking to people at the field and generally getting two dozen different opinions on any one topic, none of which are exactly wrong or right. As the years go by you don't so much get smarter as build up a database of generally usesless information to draw upon which may only vaguely be relevant to your present circumstances. Somehow from that we manage to postulate useful conclusions (glow fuel tastes bad, nistarters and bullets don't like to share pockets, wing bolts need to be tightened BEFORE the first flight of the day.....).

Take care,
The Flying Penguin :)



Just saw your picture of a South Florida Sunset, it would really be a great shot if it had a giant Ugly Stik in it! <grin>

Regards from the FROZEN North,

Ron Tibbetts
Perrysburg, OH

Oops, actually that was a picture of an Ugly Stick in flames, flying into the sunset - must've gotten them mixed up.

The Flying Penguin



The Foto dated 1/12/97 is almost the ugliest model that I have ever seen. I did notice the nice array of tools to keep it flying no doubt. I really enjoy your web page and also your monthly column in RCR. Gordon knows how to pick 'em, uh, not his nose. Anyway, keep the stuff coming and good weather, happy flying etc.

Ken Johnson
North Dallas RC Club
CA Debonder junkie

Hi Ken,

There's ugly, and then there's UGLY. 'Nuff said. Glad you enjoy my ramblings (that make two of you).

Take care,
The Flying Penguin



Greetings -
Just a quick note to let you know some info on the "infamous" JATO accident. Turns out it's just an urban legend. Arizona authorities have officially stated no such occurrence happened. For details and the statement, see the Urban Legends and Myths section of America Online. (But, the story still makes for damn good reading, eh?)

Kudos on the website you have created. Most entertaining.

Dave Williamson

Hi Dave,

Yup, I've heard something similar from the editor of R/C report - he says someone told him the same story about four years ago and he couldn't confirm it.

There's another famous one about a fellow who was accidentaly shot by his father while commiting suicide due to the fact that he himself had loaded the weapon without his father's knowledge in a plan to have his mother killed, and the medical examiner had a hard time determinuign whether it was murder or suicide. Turned out it was actually a hypothetical legal case made up for a law class test.

Thanks, glad you like the web site.
The Flying Penguin



Love the FP. If you feel impelled to respond to this lot, use my other address - this is my work number. Use"" (it's my column in RCMW mag over in England. I write about weird stuff no one does much of - sports RC that doesn't cost much. It is, my mailbag tells me, a wildy popular concept. Anyway, here's a couple of unzipped acronyms that your column leads me to think you may get a kick out of:

IMAA - Immense Model Aircraft Association or Important Modelling A@@^o!#s Association

LMA (the English version of the IMAA) - Lumbering Monsters Anonymous. An organisation that maintains a members help line. If a member feels an urge to build a simple, cheap and fun model (not a bit like an Ugly Stik), he can call this line and a volunteer will talk him out of that idea and into building a quarter scale B29. The number is sponsored by British suppliers of balsa wood, covering films and lawnmower engines.
Keep hitting the keyboard

Yours in modelling
Dereck Woodward


Every flying field needs someone like you to keep all these 90s people down to earth. Your column has to be the funniest I have ever read. If people don't like it I say too bad, get a lawyer and get in line with all the other ...holes out there. Keep up the great work.

A Penguin's Coop reader for life ...Todd M, Pres. Pass Area R/C Modelers.

Thanks Todd, I couldn't have, er, umm, &%$#ing said that better myself!

The Flying Penguin :)

Dear sir:

I thought that you might be able to add this to your list of odd sayings that are located on your web page. "The chance that you will totally trash your plane is directly proportional to the level of anxiety times the number of planes that you have built divided by the proabilty of flying your first plane at night that you had to use black covering."

The reasoning behind this: I had to buy a stunt glider as a fisrt glider and covered it with black and green covering, mostly black. And beings as the only time that I could work on it was after classes, the first, second, and third flights all took place at about ten o'clock at night. This is not a good thing when the field that you are testing the trim on has three or four soccer goalie nets. The worst part about it was that the entire section of dorms that I live in was watching, and laughing as I did this act of total stupidity.

Thank you and happy flying,

Joe Sampietro

Thanks for the contribution, I'll put it on the Murphy's Law page. Funny story, by the way...

The Flying Penguin :)

Dear Bob,

     Having just received my introductory issue of R/C REPORT, your coloum heading caught my eye... It became obvious that you a a life long member of the same fraternity that I and my flying buddies belong. The ORDER OF THE LEFT HANDED COMPLIMENT . Our idea of a "fly-in" is to do for those who need but award no prizes, have as many pilots poke holes in the sky as possible (we sometimes add multiple changes in weather to test pilot skills), banish those who only tell the truth about their flying skills to being head cook for the day, step on airplanes who's owners have taxied into the pits and duct tape closed orifices that expell negative comments. We have been known from time to time challange a passing seagull to a race, ravens to escape challenges and mimickry of flying turkeys. But [we] never pick on flightless birds especially Penguins (they like BMW's you know)...

In all seriousness, don't. It ruins clubs and drives members away, Your column will hopefully point this out to those who are worthy of the DUCT TAPE awards that should be distributed more often at club meetings and flying fields...


Hi Ian,

    Duct tape is a wonderful thing. Do you realize that 20 rolls of duct tape go along on every Space Shuttle mission? It's endlessly useful for redirecting air vents towards fogging windows, holding floating objects in place, covering the radio microphones so that Mission Control can't tell the traditional 2nd day Toga Party is going on, and it keeps those pesky heat tiles in place.

Anyway, the only fraternity I've ever been a member of is Omega-Omega-Omega (otherwise known as the Bitter End). Our initiation involves getting a crew-cut using the business end of an Ugly Stick (glass props only).

Nice hearing from ya. Glad you enjoy the column,

The Flying Penguin :)

Hi Bob,

    While looking through the [AMA] Nat'l Newsletter I was surprised to find an article that you had written long ago, one of your infamous "Top Ten - Ten Rules of Model Airplane Etiquette". Although this article stuck out like a sore thumb as your work (the fire ant mound gave it away) is how should I say, well "unique". Too bad you were not listed as the original "creator" of this. It appears that you have become a victim of "creative editing". Although I'm sure this is not the first time (and deffinately not the last), I at least wanted to let you know.

    BTW, I've already "corrected" the District 10 newsletter exchange as they also posted an article of yours and didn't give you the source credit that you deserved. I'm afraid I don't know who to contact about the Nat'l Newsletters oversite. I'm sure that they would just send the usual "we can't be held responcible" or "we try to list the original author if we are provided that info" blah, blah, blah....

Well, it's nite nite time, so gotta go.....

Mark Kallio, Fremont, CA

Livermore Flying Electrons "The Flyer" Editor

.....kinda pisses me off when people take credit for someone else's labor....

Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the info. You can can't blame them though, considering the usual dull stuff they run in there. Besides, once it goes out on the Net, it's fair game for plagerization. Ah well, you know what they say about the sincerest form of flattery....


The Flying Penguin :)

Great stuff! or: GREAT STUFF!! (shouting)

I am going to make your page the kick-off or launch site for R/C Modeling. Keep it up and thank you.

Lowell Burruss

Thanks! I appreciate your candid and unsolicited remarks! Now what was that address I'm supposed to send the money to....

The Flying Penguin ;)

    I read with great interest the article in your newsletter on NiCad Batteries. A number of years ago RCM published an article on building a fast charger that uses a digital voltmeter to view the voltage. The unit plugs into any 12v source. I use my auto cigarette lighter socket. When the voltage reaches 6v on a four cell pack charging at 1 amp to 2 amps the pack is at approx. 85% of full charge. It takes about 15 minutes and the amperage drops down to about 1/2amp during that time. In short order from there, the amps continue to drop and if the charger is left unattended (actually if you forget about it ) for an extra few minutes it still will not over charge your pack due to the minuite amperage involved. If within 15 - 20 minutes the voltage has not reached the 6v level, this would indicate that the pack is getting weak and should be thouroughly checked out. The author swears by this method and says that your pack will definitely last longer using this method of charging. I personally am charging packs that are going on 5 years old with this method and I do indeed cycle my pack ever three months using what I consider the best cycler on the market - a UBA III + from Vencon Tech. in Toronto, Ontario Canada. This unit is used with a computer system for complete and acurate control of all charge/discharge rates specifically for the size and type of pack that you want tested and prints out a graph of the charge/discharge for future reference to compare with pervious tests. Theres alot more to it than that but I just wanted to let you know that my packs are still well within safe limits after almost 5 years of charging with this method. It is as stated in your article still the best insurance to test the voltage after every flight with an ESV. Its hard to believe that someone would pay up to hundreds of dollars (US) for an airplane and equipment and not bother to purchase an ESV for a measly $20.00 or so. Just wanted to add a little to the discussion for what its worth.


You have a great newsletter and web site. Keep up the good work.

Charles G. Maker

Hi Charles,

    Thanks for the infomative e-mail! If you're getting five years out of a battery, I'd have to say you're doing everything right. I know of people who've gotten up to eight. The thing to remember when you're using older packs is that the older the pack gets, the greater the statistical likelyhood that the pack will suffer a shorted cell (and remember, the odds increase for transmitter packs because they have more cells). This is no problem if, like you, you cycle your batteries often to check their capacities, and use an ESV prior to every flight (very cheap insurance indeed!).

   I've gotten up to six years out of a pack, but since I don't use a cycler, I generally toss them at that age to play safe. I highly recommend the use of a cycler, but I personally find it too much trouble to use one myself considering my situation (my planes are stored in a warehouse away from my home).

Take care,

The Flying penguin :)

   After searching the net for information on r/c flight, I stumbled onto your page. I found it not only to be witty and different, but the most original and humorous site I have found on the net in any topic range. OK enough sucking up. Great page, please continue to update (twice a week too much to ask?) thanks.


    TWICE A WEEK? OUCH! Hard enough to update it twice a month, but I'll try. Thanks for the kind words - you suck up very well.

The Flying Penguin :)

Dear Flying Penguin,

    First of all, congratulations to your Web page. Especially the article about smoke system installation was better (also in the sense of carrying more useful information) than anything else I've read before. This includes the three leading German magazines as well as MAN and RCM. But have you ever installed a smoke system on a airplane equipped with a tuned pipe? At the moment I'm working on a CG Buecker Jungmann which will be powered by a Webra 120 with an internal carbon fiber tuned pipe. I would like to have an idea whether it makes sense to plan for future smoke system installation. On the one hand the long time the smoke fluid stays in the pipe might help to vaporize the fluid, on the other hand might it happen that the already vaporized fluid condenses again in the 2 not-so-hot muffling chambers, which are located in the rear section of the pipe...

     Obviously the best smoke fluid you tested is the stuff from Advanced Marketing. Could you please email me their complete address so I can write them a letter? By the way, there is a homepage of a colleague of mine, which you might want to try out:

Thanks in advance

Thomas Loeser

Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for the compliments! It's not really practical to setup a tuned pipe for smoke. A tuned pipe sets up a pressure wave that takes exhaust gases and injects them back into the cylinder so that unburned fuel/air mix from the last cycle can be burned again. This would cause some of your smoke fuel to be forced back into the cylinder which would affect performance. I actually did it once, and it will work (sort of) but you lose any performance gain from the pipe, and usually take an additional performance penalty. It you want smoke, best to put a standard muffler on it.


The Flying Penguin :-)

    Great sounding and looking article on Smoking. I am a keen modeller from Malta and have just gone over your section on smoking because I have been experimenting the same topic. I have a home page on the hobby, and like you maniacs out there, I am totally addicted. Please visit my home page and submit your comments.

Franz Zammit Haber

Hi Franz,

    Just checked out your web site. Looks very nice. I've added it to my bookmarks, and I'll include a link to it on my site. That's a gorgeous picture of a Hellcat on your info page (it is a Hellcat isn't it? Wildcat, Hellcat... Grumman had a feline frenzy in those days). That's a beatifully framed photo, looks very real. Glad you found the smoke article of some interest, I've been getting a lot of positive responses on it. I love smoke. Currently the only smoker I have is the red Aeromaster on my Gallery page, but I'm in the process of repairing the wings. Went deadstick on me right after rotating on takeoff and (with a belly full of smoke fuel) dropped like a rock. Hard landing, then cartwheeled and snapped the wings. Hopefully I'll have it back up in the air in a week. We've been having these beautiful clear blue skies lately - just made for a smoker.

Take care,

The Flying Penguin :)

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