Aeromodelling 1960's Crashing About

basic cl

spectre This is a control line Mercury Monarch, built from plans I had lying around for a few years. Although I was still building radio control models I still wanted to keep my hand in with CL. I had come across an old ED Hunter 3.5cc rear induction diesel engine, which was really too large physically for the model, but I managed to shoehorn it in somehow.

Now, there is something strange that happens to people that build or fly their first model aeroplane; everyone wants to build a scale model of a Spitfire (nowadays probably some jet), although it's the most impractical thing to get to fly as a model and will usually end in tears if attempted.

With control line models, especially if it looks like it's aerobatic, people suddenly think it easy to loop it. It is in fact, very easy, provided you grasp the principle of how to work up to it; otherwise it's a bit like diving of very high diving board without getting some idea on the lowest one; you may get lucky; most probably you won't.

I was working out in the countryside for a while and had taken this model with me to show a colleague what I was talking about, and also fly it in a field adjacent to my workplace during my dinner hour. It was so docile to fly because of the forward center of gravity caused by a heavy engine, I let him attempt to fly it with explicit instructions to do nothing but fly it round strait and level. I hadn't even had the chance to evaluate it properly myself at this point.

As sure as eggs are eggs, after a few laps he decided to become a stunt pilot. At the top of the manoeuvre the inevitable sudden loss of line tension, and thus control, resulted in me, watching my model, diving vertically into the ground from a great height. The resultant impact cracked the engine crankcase and bent the shaft. The model was repairable but the engine was not, it had been out of production for quite a few years. To say I was peeved would be an understatement.