February 10, 2010
Today, I started the build of the little 20" Playboy Senior. Over a year ago our club lost its flying field at the local airport when the current administration in Washington started giving out stimulus funds to airports. They put it (as we were told by a government representative) that there was a requirement that if they took funds, that modeling activities of any kind could no longer be conducted out there. So after 5 years we were no longer with a flying field. We searched for almost a year to find a field, but to no avail. I had a lot of contacts personally so I could go fly with friends at other clubs, but the drives to each pf the three fields were over an hour minimum. For a person who was used to flying 5-6 days a week, this was a major setback.
A Little History....
A few months ago, after sitting at home on so many beautiful days with planes hanging in the "hangar". I just had to fly. I have never purchased an ARF so I had not even considered one. I have scratch built every plane I ever had since I got started in modeling in 1951. Out of a nagging desire to fly close to home to keep up my flying skills, I remembered that my son had put together a little motorized sailplane of sorts a few years ago and flew it in our pasture so I started exploring options of something that I could just throw in the car and drive out into the back of the pasture and "put a bird in the air". There was not enough room for one of my full size planes, so a tiny park flyer was the only option. Not even considering the junk I saw in all the trades, I made up my mind that is I was going to get one it would have to be something i would not be ashamed of letting someone see me fly.
After several weeks of looking on the Internet, I finally saw something that caught my eye. It was a Parkzone J-3 Cub. I have had several Cubs down through the years, and this one actually had a little scale detailing so it was not just your average ARF junk. It really looks like an airplane. I already had a nice JR X9303 2.4 transmitter I use for my other planes, and it would work with it, so I could get out fairly cheap (Under $100 at least). I went online to Horizon Hobbies (www.horizon-hobbies.com) and put in the order. After 4-5 days it arrived, and when I opened it up I was surprised. It weighed almost nothing so the wing loading would be very light. I charged the Li-Po battery that came with it and after about 30 minutes I was in the field, ready to "Bind and Fly". It was literally that easy. The thing required a tiny bit of right trim and a little up and I was tooling around the field at half throttle having a ball. I felt like I was flying one of my large planes as it was responsive and easy to handle. I was back in the air close to home.
Bitten by the 'Tiny Bug"...
Though I will never abandon my larger planes, I had now found something that would allow me to keep flying close to home to fly daily like I am used to doing, and still throw some planes in the car and from time to time drive the hour plus to the other fields. I could fly when I wanted to 5 minutes from the shop.
It did not take but about a week of this however until I could not stand flying just one plane. Boredom had set in! The little J-3 Cub was great, but it was after all, still and ARF, and "I HATE ARFS!!". I had to have a "real" plane to fly close in. Loving the older designs as I do being involved in SAM and the VRCS I decided that it should not be all that hard to scale down one of the SAM legal designs to fly at home. I already had a set of plans in the computer for the Joe Elgin "Playboy Senior" so I scaled it down and using my large format printer, printed off a set of plans and got ready.
While I was preparing to build it I decided that I would use the radio and gear that is used in the Parkzone stuff as it is simple and easy to use. I put in an order for the parts from Horizon, and got ready to build my Playboy Senior replica.
More to come.......
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