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My Senior Falcon saves Grandpa's life!

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My Senior Falcon saves Grandpa's life!

Old 08-28-2017, 08:23 AM
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JT Hammer
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Default My Senior Falcon saves Grandpa's life!

OK, my brothers (and sisters!) in RC, it's time to tell this story. It is time to tell this story because if I wait much longer, I may forget more of the specifics than I have already. It is an incredible story so much so that you may have trouble believing it. If that is the case, I forgive you! You may choose to believe or not! However, I will state right up front, the following events are based on actual people, places and times. If I have incorrectly stated the exact year, or product information somewhat, please forgive. Also, please excuse if you feel I am writing an epistle. My wife has made me aware that I am terribly long winded in this format.

First, a bit about me. My love with 'flying' things began very early on. As a very young child just after the war, I clearly remember staring into the blue at the Royal Air Force's bright yellow biplanes still plying the skies.. Perhaps it was this fascination that led me into building the models, all kinds of them. I remember using scrapped cedar shingles as building materials, and making single line fling around's that would almost break the sound barrier (in my mind)! Tissue and dope free-flighters were in the progression of many models that followed, At age nine my brother and I got into the real gas controline models. That first OK Cub .049 was the first nitro engine. It was quite frustrating when it wouldn't start at first. Once we determined that the flip had to be anticlockwise, we had better success!

Moving ahead several years, at about age 16, and having learned about the miracle of RC, I became determined that someday I would experience that miracle. In 1959. An unfortunate accident occurred at this time, a fall from a tree. This resulted resulted in a high thoracic injury. In other words, I broke my back. This basically meant, I had no feeling or voluntary movement below my armpits. During the months of recuperation and rehabilitation in hospital I read a lot, including model magazines. These included American Modeler, Flying Models, Model Airplane News. (RCM, another favorite came along later). My interest in the possibilities of rc increased. Skipping ahead again, the next year after rehab, and now at home, I managed to save enough money, $20.00 for an old tuber set of radio controls. It even came with a rubber powered escapement. (many of you will remember those!). I believe it was called E.D.,a set made in England. The transmitter sat on the ground and used a huge antenna; the single button controller on the end of a long cable plugged into the transmitter. The model I used was a Sterling J-3 Cub, and the engine, a Veco .19.. I am amazed that when all was put together, it all worked, a least in a fashion. The escapement click-clapped happily, the engine ran, etc, etc. The enormous amount of batteries required, and the constant fiddling with the relays became quite frustrating. The other problem was the weight to power factor with the model itself. It was much too heavy to succeed with what could be considered real flight. In short, a different approach to RC was required!

Enter the Carl Goldberg Falcons. Sometime in the early 60's, I caught sight of these lovely birds, naturally, in the magazines. Well, I probably build 5 or 6 of the little falcons. The tiny transistor relayless single channel units were now available, and coupled with a small motor servo, they resulted in wonderful, successful rudder only flying! About this time I purchased a Testors Skylark model that used a pulse rudder only radio. It actually used a left/right control stick. The noise the rudder made in it's operation was overlooked, because it worked well and resulted in successful flight. This Testors unit was eventually installed in a couple of the small Goldderg Falcons, again with much success.

This finally brings us to the point of the Senior Falcon, and my love affair with this model airplane. I can't tell you what year Goldberg introduced this remarkable model, but it had to be in the middle to late 60's. At any rate, I had to have one. Finally, when I could afford it, it arrived. It was carefully built and covered with red and white Solarfilm, a covering very similar to Monokote, or Ultrcote. Oh, how she looked, so eager to have an engine and radio installed. The only engine I had to use was a very tired and old, Super Tiger .61 (the one with two needle valves on the main, if I remember correctly). So this was installed with some trepidation. I was quite lucky with respect to the radio. A few months before, I had received from family, a gift of a new, 'real', proportional radio. This was an Orbit 4 channel unit in a gleaming shiny back box, complete with 4 servos, charger and everything required. I felt I had died and gone to heaven when I received it! I first checked this system out by installing in my old Junior 60 model, built from an old English kit. I modified it so I could use not only rudder, but added elevator and engine control, as well. This was a remarkable success, and much and experience was acquired with this combination. It was finally time to install the Orbit in the lovely Senior Falcon......SORRY GUYS, I NEED TO TAKE A BREAK... STAY TUNED AS IT GETS A LOT MORE EXCITING...I PROMISE! WILL TRY TO GET BACK TO THIS LATER TODAY OR TOMORROW.

Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-24-2017 at 09:11 AM. Reason: political correctness/wording
Old 08-29-2017, 02:48 AM
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:01 AM
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I am also subscribed. The story runs parallel to my experiences in the hobby. The Senior Falcon was a marvelous airplane.
Old 08-29-2017, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by JT Hammer View Post
OK, my brothers in RC, it's time to tell this story. It is time to tell this story because if I wait much longer, I may forget more of the specifics than I have already. It is an incredible story so much so that you may have trouble believing it. If that is the case, I forgive you! You may choose to believe or not! However, I will state right up front, the following events are based on actual people, places and times. If I have incorrectly stated the exact year, or product information somewhat, please forgive. Also, please excuse if you feel I am writing an epistle. My wife has made me aware that I am terribly long winded in this format.

First, a bit about me. My love with 'flying' things began very early on. As a very young child just after the war, I clearly remember staring into the blue at the Royal Air Force's bright yellow biplanes still plying the skies.. Perhaps it was this fascination that led me into building the models, all kinds of them. I remember using scrapped cedar shingles as building materials, and making single line fling around's that would almost break the sound barrier (in my mind)! Tissue and dope free-flighters were in the progression of many models that followed, At age nine my brother and I got into the real gas controline models. That first OK Cub .049 was the first nitro engine. It was quite frustrating when it wouldn't start at first. Once we determined that the flip was to be anticlockwise, we had remarkable success.

Moving ahead several years, at about age 15, and having learned about the miracle of RC, I became determined that someday I would experience that miracle. In 1959, a very unfortunate accident, a fall from a tree, resulted in a high thoracic injury. In other words, I broke my back. This basically meant, I had no feeling or voluntary movement below my armpits. During the months of recuperation and rehabilitation in hospital I read a lot, including model magazines. These included American Modeler, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, and RC Modeler. Naturally, I once again became intriqued with RC. Skipping ahead again, the next year after rehab and at home, I managed to save enough money, $20.00 for an old tube set of controls. I believe it was called E.D.,a set made in England. The transmitter sat on the ground and used a huge antenna; the single button controller on the end of a long cable plugged into the transmitter. The model I used was a Sterling J-3 Cub, and the engine, a Veco .19.. I am amazed that when all was put together, it all worked, a least in a fashion. The escapement click-clapped happily, the engine ran, etc, etc. The enormous amount of batteries required, and the constant fiddling with the relays became quite frustrating. The other problem was the weight to power factor with the model itself. It was much too heavy to succeed with what could be considered real flight. In short, a different approach to RC was required!

Enter the Carl Goldberg Falcons. Sometime in the early 60's, I caught sight of these lovely birds, naturally, in the magazines. Well, I probably build 5 or 6 of the little falcons. The tiny transistor relayless single channel units were now available, and coupled with a small motor servo, they resulted in wonderful, successful rudder only flying! About this time I purchased a Testors Skylark model that used a pulse rudder only radio. It actually used a left/right control stick. The noise the rudder made in it's operation was overlooked, because it worked well and resulted in successful flight. This Testors unit was eventually installed in a couple of the small Goldderg Falcons, again with much success.

This finally brings us to the point of the Senior Falcon, and my love affair with this model airplane. I can't tell you what year Goldberg introduced this remarkable model, but it had to be in the middle to late 60's. At any rate, I had to have one. Finally, when I could afford it, it arrived. It was carefully built and covered with red and white Solarfilm, a covering very similar to Monokote, or Ultrcote. Oh, how she looked, so eager to have an engine and radio installed. The only engine I had to use was a very tired and old, Super Tiger .61 (the one with two needle valves on the main, if I remember correctly). So this was installed with some trepidation. I was quite lucky with respect to the radio. A few months before, I had received from family, a gift of a new, 'real', proportional radio. This was an Orbit 4 channel unit in a gleaming shiny back box, complete with 4 servos, charger and everything required. I felt I had died and gone to heaven when I received it! I first checked this system out by installing in my old Junior 60 model, built from an old English kit. I modified it so I could use not only rudder, but added elevator and engine control, as well. This was a remarkable success, and much and experience was acquired with this combination. It was finally time to install the Orbit in the lovely Senior Falcon......SORRY GUYS, I HAVE TO TAKE A BREAK FOR AGE AND DISABILITY REASONS. STAY TUNED AS IT GETS A LOT MORE EXCITING...I PROMISE! WILL TRY TO GET BACK TO THIS LATER TODAY OR TOMORROW.
OK; I am back....Just backtrack a bit. I got to looking at some of my very old Albums after posting the above. I had mentioned the Junior Falcons I had built. there were a few of these gems. I have enclosed 2 or three photos. another Goldberg 1/2 A I enjoyed was the little Skylane, see photo. I, also, talked about my Orbit radio. the only shot I had of it was the one sitting with my small Fleet Biplane (a Midwest kit if I remember correctly). I was so proud of this radio I made a custom kid leather pouch for it and carved a leather patch for the front of it! The radio is long since gone, but I found the leather pouch in my workshop yesterday! The Junior 60 I talked about was the test bed for the Orbit system, so I included a photo of it. I am not good with photo attachment but I will give it a go..
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Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-22-2017 at 11:44 AM. Reason: add photo
Old 08-29-2017, 12:33 PM
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Back again; The uploads appear to have worked - wonder of wonders!...After the tired Super Tiger was installed and the beautiful Orbit tucked away in the innards of the Senior Falcon, it was off to the gravel pit, the place we had to fly at the time. The only thing going for this spot was the fact that it was very open, well away from dwellings and buildings of any sort. This was important as crashes were fairly common back in the day. On the downside, it seemed to be windy more often than not in that location. The day I test flew the Falcon was different. It was rather overcast and threatening rain, but it was calm. The 12 oz tank was filled to the brim, and a quick C of G done. The old Super Tiger was coaxed into life and it was show time! Although the engine had little in power, it did idle well so I commenced to taxi around the gravel pit, in fact for quite some time. My assistant finally reminded me that the fuel tank only holds so much fuel! So, in spite of my nervous excitement I lined up into the little bit of breeze and advanced the throttle to high. I might mention that the throttle was on the right, as most were set up in mode 1 at the time. I would like to say that my Falcon leaped into the air. It did not! However, in it's own good time it graciously advanced skyward. And, oh my, how nice and what a great feeling it was to actually have control of an RC airplane. By this time with the experience I had with single channel, orientation was not a huge challenge, and I knew enough not to over-control. I did find aileron control a lot more effective than rudder. However, by aileron standards, they were, in fact, pretty gentle on this big bird. All I did on that first flight was gentle circuits. That was enough considering my mental state of excitement! I think this flight likely lasted only about 3 or 4 minutes. Having throttle and elevator made landing a piece of cake. Once lined up with us and the gravel pit, the landing part was almost anti-climatic. Reducing the throttle merely resulted in a gentle descent. She touched down without any elevator input. To be honest, I believe I forgot that I had elevator at the last moment. That was the only flight that day. I went home elated, and wanted to savor, in my mind what had transpired at the gravel pit that day. Many trips to the gravel pit followed, and as a result my flying skills increased. The windy/gusty conditions helped in this respect. In fact, my flying buddy, Leo and I began to enjoy the challenge that came with flying in these conditions. We were referred to as the 'windy weather flyers'! In my next entry I will talk about a couple engine changes I made in The Falcon that made differences in her flying ability. We will get to the title story! CHEERS FOR NOW

Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-17-2017 at 01:07 PM.
Old 08-30-2017, 07:03 AM
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Good morning. Before proceeding any further. Can someone tell me how to attach further images/photos at this point. I was able to attach a few earlier (see above). However, now I can't find the option to do this!.......JT
Old 08-30-2017, 04:05 PM
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In Quick Reply, click on 'Go Advanced' at the bottom. Then click on the paperclip at the top. Use the 'Choose File' buttons to attach your photo files.
Old 08-31-2017, 03:29 AM
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Thanks grotto2. I see that now. Will try it with my next attachment. I will try to get back to my thread asap!......JT
Old 08-31-2017, 02:24 PM
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The attached is a photo of one of my small Junior Falcons, using the Testor's single channel pulse systems. This combination as stated earlier worked well. I will get back to the main theme of my story soon. Bear with me!
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Old 08-31-2017, 03:31 PM
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JT-
Before attaching, you need to crop your photos so we can get better resolution without wasting file size. If you're working in Windows, you can do this with Paint. You may also be able to do it with your scanner application right from the get-go.
-Ron
Old 09-01-2017, 12:48 PM
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Finally back. Thx again Grotto2 re my attached photos. I am not very good with computer applications. I have not tried adjusting/cropping photos with windows but I have used the scanning app to upload the above, so maybe I will take a look at that if I upload anymore. The other problem with resolution is with the original photos themselves which are very poor to start with.

Getting back to the story! The initial flights with the Senior Falcon were accomplished with the very tired and worn Super Tiger engine. I mentioned earlier it was a .61. Not that it matters, but it could have been a .60. At any rate, many flights were had with with it up front. As time went by it became more finicky, so I considered changing it out for something else. Earlier that year I had acquired a brand new Merco .35. This was the only option I had at the time. It had a black head, but it was not the Merco like the .45's that had 2 glow plugs. Although I had intended to use it on some future project, I wondered if had enough oomph to fly my bird. One way to find out! With a little adjustment on the front end, a new motor mount, and with the addition of bit of lead up front, it was ready to go again. I had read that Mercos were not very fussy about high nitro content fuels. I made my own home brew from locally available methanol and a new synthetic oil called Klotz. This combination proved to work well. Before returning to the flying field (gravel pit) several tankfuls were put through the engine at home. After a few runs it seemed to smooth out, and didn't need any more than a chicken stick to start, and the top end while not remarkable, seemed adequate. And so, off to the gravel pit! The first takeoff indicated that the distance required was remarkably similar compared to the Super Tiger, as was the top speed. This was a pleasant surprise. The upside was the Merco's dependability and ease of operation. Overall, this combination was very good and a satisfying way to finish the season.

The next spring my flying buddy, Leo and I lucked out when we gained permission to fly at a mostly unused runway facility originally built for WWII training. This was near the town of Deseronto, a driving distance of about 20 miles, a small sacrifice to pay in return for an ideal place to fly. At this point I should state that my home town, Picton, Ontario, is located on Prince Edward County. If you check a map of North America, you will notice P.E.C. as a small chunk of land protruding from the north shore of Lake Ontario .The county in reality ought to be considered an island as it is completely surrounded by water. The only access to and from the mainland is via bridges or by boat. In order to get to Deseronto I needed to drive over the long 'Skyway' bridge, a distance of approximately 1.5 or 2 kilometers. I admit, this is a guess! Flying at the Mohawk airport as it was called, was wonderful, with lots of open space in all direction. For this reason, takeoffs and landings were much easier. At this time another friend in the hobby joined us. Charley was a more elderly gentleman, retired and more well to do than Leo and I.

The flying season in this part of Canada begins in April unless you choose to fly with skis or on ice. Due to my physical limitations and adversity to cold, I choose to not go this route! For some time that spring I flew my Falcon with the Merco .35. Although this was very enjoyable and many flights were had, I found myself wishing to have more power. With the .35, I could inside loop and do slow rolls, and really nice stall turns, that was about it. It was about this time that Charley, who could afford the best in equipment, purchased a new .61 engine for one of his pattern ships. It was a Webra .61 blackhead. How many of you remember that one? It became quite popular in it's day. Well Charley plunked it in the front of his latest models a sleek low winger. It may have been call a Leopard, but it may have his Sabre. At any rate, he showed up at the field ready to try this new engine, straight out of the box. Charley, also, used 5% or 10% fuel in all his engines. This combination did not work out very well. The engine would start when coaxed with the electric starter but the carb adjustment seemed all over the place. Two or three attempts at takeoff resulted in the engine stopping before liftoff. The final attempt concluded with a stall just after takeoff and a crash onto the tarmac. Charley was quite upset by this occurrence , but that is an understatement! He said some very uncomplimentary things about, and to, that poor Webra! Off the top of his head he said.."Does anyone want to buy this #@%#&@# engine cheap?" Off the top of my head I responded, "Sure Charley, I'll give you twenty bucks!" To my surprise, he said, "You got it!" Well, I couldn't believe my good luck. In less then 10 minutes he had it off the front of that airplane, and I had it in my hands! All the way home that day I was thinking about my plans to put the Webra into the Falcon.

Gotta go for now - will pick this up asap....JT

Our flying season

Last edited by JT Hammer; 10-02-2017 at 03:36 AM.
Old 09-02-2017, 12:14 PM
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Back again.. Before proceeding with my story I will try to upload a photo of the little Goldberg Skylane I built in the late 1960's. I thought I had done this earlier - sorry! I flew this little gem on single channel for some time before converting it to 3 channels using a modern digital radio. I did this in 1970 according to the photo.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:58 PM
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On with the Falcon story. After becoming the recipient of the Webra .61 Blackhead, I proceeded to install it on the front end of the Senior Falcon. A couple of ounces of lead needed to be added to the front again. My bird was once again ready to fly one week later. Back to the flying site, the Mohawk Airport. It should be stated, the Webra was basically new and not broken in. However, my buddy and I were anxious to see how it would run on my homebrew, which as stated above was mehtanol and synthetic oil. A few flips with the chicken stick and she started! Although it seemed to run well, we elected to run one a tank of fuel through it just to be sure. Final carb adjustments seemed quite easy to make. The tank was filled again and the decision was made to to fly. After takeoff I immediately knew she was a different creature in the air. It seemed that she was very quick, definitely faster than anything I had flown before. The big difference was in the climbing and vertical maneuvers. It seemed not to slow done at all when going into a loop! Due to the speed the aircraft responded much more quickly to stick inputs. This flight was a joy. The Webra apparenty liked my homemade fuel. This pleased me, as well. When setting up for landing the engine did stop, but gliding in was not a problem. It turns out the the idle was set a tad to low, so that was remedied for the next flight.

For the next month or so much fun was had at the airport with the Falcon. I learned a few new maneuvers. The experience gained at this time came in handy for what comes later in this story. One fun thing we did at the airport was determining how fast the Falcon was flying at top speed. I was sure it was close to ballistic! So it was decided to follow it down the runway in a convertible which was available, and note it's speed on the speedometer. I was sitting on the passenger side with transmitter. Dave, another friend was the driver. I helped start the engine sitting in the car.. Once suitably adjusted, Leo set the Falcon on the runway, and away we went. It didn't take long for my bird to reach top speed. I was somewhat dismayed to discover it's speed was only between 65 and 70 mph! I guess it can be deceiving!

Next time I will relate another adventure we had with The Falcon. It won't be long before I get to the real story.
Old 09-05-2017, 06:46 AM
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Finally back again! About the same time as the above and while flying at the Mohawk airport I had another idea that might be fun.. Why not attempt to fly he Falcon over the Skyway Bridge. This bridge was located one or two kilometers from our flying site at the airport and the bridge itself, is perhaps one kilometer in length (I am not sure). This bridge connects the mainland to Prince Edward Country, where I lived. The body of water is the Bay of Quinte, a long reach of water, approx. 20 miles in length that eventually opens to Lake Ontario. Of course we had to utilize the convertible again to accomplish this feat. And so, with my friend Dave at the wheel and myself in the passenger side, we filled the 12 ounce tank and got the faithful Webra fired up. Transmitter in hand and takeoff from the tarmac, away we went. Half throttle seemed about right to keep the speed reasonable for us to keep up. I attempted to keep the Falcon about two or three hundred feet high in order to keep a good visual. We had to travel down a gravel road first in order to get to hwy 49 the main highway. This probably took only 3 or 4 minutes. At this point we were just a few moments from commencing up the long slope of the Skyway Bridge. I must admit, I became a bit apprehensive at this time, and thought what might happen if the engine quit part way over, i.e. try landing on the bridge, that would be reckless, or dump my bird in the bay. At any rate, we had come this far, so we elected to go for it. I advanced the throttle to high and took the Falcon high, thinking that height would be my friend if I had to glide. As it turned out, my fears were unfounded. We made it to the other side with no problem and had fuel left to spare. We drove another 2 or 3 miles before the Webra stopped. We simply glided down and landed on the wide shoulder of the road. On this particular day the hwy was quite devoid of traffic so it seemed ok to land on the shoulder. We had the option to land in a field as this was farm country, but choose not to. I will try to upload a pic of the Skyway Bridge.....Until the next time, cheers!
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Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-05-2017 at 06:50 AM.
Old 09-07-2017, 12:39 PM
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Finally made it back. Sorry for the delay. Moving ahead further in the season that the above transpired, we are now in the summer months. This, also, brings us closer to the theme of this story. We are now at the cottage where part of the summers are spent. This was because my father was a commercial fisherman and his base of operation for Lake Ontario fishing was at Indian Point, a few hundred yards from our cottage. At the time of this 'event' which was now mid way into August my brother and I were staying at the cottage and anxious to try the Senior falcon on floats for the first time. As I recollect the floats I used were made by 'Gee Bee'. These were made of some kind of plastic and came in various sizes (3 I believe), and the ones I had were the large largest. I had them jury rigged in a rather dubious on the underside of the Falcon with no water rudder, and was hoping the rudder on the airplane would suffice.

Also, staying at a small cottage next door were my Grandparents on my father's side, Grandma and Grandpa Scott. However, when addressing or referring to them I used the less formal title - 'Gramma' and 'Grampa'. Their first names were Florence and Norman. They were humble and simple folks, very advanced in age, but loved spending time in the summer by the water. In younger years Grandpa fished for a while to make a living. They looked for all the world like Ma and Pa Kettle. Perhaps you remember the series of humorous movies! My Grandma was quite obese, but always happy and positive in nature. She only wore simple baggy type dresses as one would expect to see in a kitchen. She never wore pants or slacks! Grandpa was a skinny, quiet, laid back kind of guy. He never spoke much but listened a lot. He rolled his own cigarettes but appeared not to smoke them. More often he could be seen with a bent one dangling from the side of his mouth. They were very simple folk from very humble backgrounds.

To set the scene further I have to tell you about 'Spit Island'. This tiny bit of land appeared like magic one spring out in the Adolphustown Reach, This was the body of water in front of our cottage. Just to the east of our location the Reach opened up into Lake Ontario. I am really not sure how far the 'Spit' was from our shore. On a bright summy day it looked incredibly close. A few brave swimmers even swam there and back! I would roughly estimate the distance to be 1/3 to 1/2 kilometer. Three or four years previous to the event and just as the ice was breaking up there arose a terrific storm with almost hurricane force winds. It was felt that strong underwater currents and natural forces was responsible for the appearance for this tiny island. The locals called it Spit Island because it seemed the creator himself just spat it out as an afterthought. In reality, it was the upheaval of a sandbar that was lurking not too far under the water's surface to start with. The island was destined to live only five or six years. Another upheaval of elements caused Spit Island to disappear almost as quickly as it arrived. In the short time it existed it became a popular spot to swim, have fish fries, or to just enjoy the sun and scenery. The dimensions of this minute bit of land likely did not exceed 150 feet by 75 feet. It's greatest asset was the wonderful sand - fine and white!.This was the reason why swimming became so popular there, mostly for the local folk. After the second year of it's existence cattails/bulrushes began to grow along part of it's minuscule shoreline. After a bit more time a treelike bush called 'sumack' began to grow here and there on this little sandy knoll. This bush looked for all the world like miniature palm trees, adding to the tropical look of this tiny island.

It should be stated at this time, despite Grampa's advanced age he still enjoyed taking a boat out for a run along the shoreline. More often than not Gramma would accompany him on these short excursions. My Dad being a commercial fisherman, used a large steel tug for out in the lake operations, however, he kept a small steel punt. about 16 feet in length, at the cottage. This was primarily for Grampa's use. This craft was powered by a 16 horsepower Mercury outboard motor. I can still see this motor in my mind's eye. It was green and silver in color! It did not have electric start so one had to pull the cord to do this. Somehow, Grampa could manage this operation.The boat it'self was totally devoid of comforts. The only seats were the steel bulkheads in the middle and aft end which could be sat upon. Grampa, despite being old still had adequate strength to push the craft off the shore where it was only partially pulled onto. This was made easier after Gramma got aboard. This was a spectacle in it'self! Once over the gunwale she would shift her weight towards the back end. This enabled the front end to slide into the water easier. Somehow Grampa was able to board at the last moment!.........The above information is relevant to what follows so bear with me!

Later...JT


OK on with the story. When Gramma and Grampa went on one of their small punt excursion we became a bit nervous for their safety. He had some savvy/experience with small boats and being on the water from his younger years. Now, however, he was old and not as able and sharp in a number of ways. Although the punt was equipped with life preservers neither of the pair would have anything to do with putting them on. Usually, their little trips consisted of travelling a mile or two along the coastline on either side of our cottage. To relieve our nervousness somewhat we equipped them with a walkie talkie. My Dad had purchased a pair for fishing operations. I am pretty sure they came from Radio Shack.It may have said Tandy or Lafayette on the package. The units themselves were bulky affairs, probably weighing a pound or two each. They had 3 channel, A, B, or C. I seem to remember some designation on the front, perhaps 'TRC-(then numbers---'. ! Does anyone remember these walkie talkies. They may have operated on citizen's band, but I am not sure. These units were advertised to have a five mile range, but they never proved to be that good. However, they were adequate for the purpose intended in this case, and gave the rest of us some sense of comfort. Grampa was not too keen on the idea of carting these things along on one of their outings. However, Gramma saw the utility of having them with them and had no trouble with the operation, which was simple. The unit that went with them was turned on just as they left, as was the one left with us. All she had to do was push the button to talk and let go to hear our reply! The 'gain' did not have be turned too high as they would only be travelling a short distance. We asked Gramma to give us a call occasionally on their first outing with the wallkie talkies. Other than competing with the sound of the outboard motor, they worked perfectly.
The next entry should get us to the day of the main event. Hang in there!

Let's continue...It was the day of the event that my brother and I chose to try the Senior Falcon on floats for the first time. It dawned with an uncanny calmness. The water was glassy smooth, almost mirror like. A little haze very early on had dissipated before mid-morning. We did notice, however, as the sun got a bit higher that the sky, rather than being perfectly blue, had a slight yellowy hue. My Grandparents had elected to do something special on this day, as well. They would pack a lunch, lawn chairs,, portable radio, etc and putt over to Spit Island to check it out, lounge on the beach and enjoy the experience any way they wished to. Although they would be navigating away from the relative safely of the shoreline, they would be travelling in a straight line from the viewpoint of our cottage. Basically, we could keep an eye on them! Besides, Gramma Florence would be equipped with one of the Radio Shack walkie-talkie providing us with some peace of mind.

It was 11 am before my Grandparents were finally ready to begin their voyage, which in reality would take only a very few minutes, if that! By this time the glassy smooth surface of the water had vanished. The breeze had come up somewhat but the conditions still looked suitable for their adventure. After the pair were aboard, we did a final walkie-talkie check, and we agreed to check in at regular intervals. Grampa got the Mercury outboard started after a half dozen pulls, with the ever present bent cigarette hanging from side of mouth! So, in a haze of exhaust smoke, they putted away, happy as two clams!

I'll get back to writing more soon.....

The little jaunt over to the 'Spit' didn't take any time at all. A confirmation from Gramma on the walkie talkie confirmed it - "Honey, we're here!". A little static accompanied her voice which was unusual, considering the short distance. At any rate, all seemed well for the pair, so my brother and I turned our attention to the Falcon. We busied ourselves with some last minute adjustments and tweaks with the Gee Float installation, which at best, looked dubious! By this time, it was around noon, and we observed that the conditions had changed. A fairly fresh breeze had arose, and the water in the reach appeared choppy. The sky now had a gray/yellow look, and seemed to be darkening as we watched. I guess we were so preoccupied with the Falcon, the sudden change in the weather, caught us by surprise. It was obvious at this point, the conditions were too rough to try the Falcon on floats., so it was set aside. It seemed that with every minute the wind was picking up. Conditions were deteriorating quickly!

We had neglected making a call on the W.T. until now, but quickly did so. The static in the speaker was worse now but Gramma's voice was still clear enough. She responded to my call; "Honey, looks like a storm is coming in real fast and Narman is gett'in real nervous!" She choose to call him that instead of Norman, for some reason. It should be noted that along the north shores of the the county, especially in the area of the Adolpustown Reach, weather changes can occur quickly. Heavy wind can come funneling down the reach bringing with it treacherous water conditions. No question about it, we had a local squall on our hands and it was coming in fast!

I used the W.T. to call Gramma, and told her to stay put for now. This type of squall can come and go very quickly. I asked how Grampa was feeling. She responded with a shaky voice, "Narman's not doing good; I think he's having a spell or something!" This was not the news we wanted to hear. We knew he had some heart issues, but these have been controlled for the most part with medication. I called back, "Do you have Grampa's heart pills with you?" The reply was worse than the one before. "Narman is too weak to stand; he is down on the sand now!"
I called back, " Gramma, do you have his heart pills?" Her response was not good, "No, they are still at the cottage!". This time there was fright in her voice. To complicate matters, it was now raining with a hint that a downpour was imminent. The waves in the reach had, also, built. It was incredible that this squall had come upon us so quickly!

The question was, what now? The storm was worsening before our eyes. We could see and hear lightening and thunder in the sky on the other side of the Reach. The wind was in our face, so it was coming this way fast. We called Gramma back and told her to get the ever present work tarp that was stored in the front of the punt. This tarp was rather old, stiff and heavy, but would offer good protection from the elements. I told her to hunker down by the punt on the sand and use the tarp to cover both of them. By now the static on the radios was pretty bad, but the W. T.'s were usable. I inquired again re Grampa's state. Her reply, "Narman has dreadful pain can't talk much!" My brother and I looked at each other in dismay. We had to move into the shelter of the front sun porch to get out of the elements. We knew rescue was needed, but how? If conditions were better, Ron (my brother) could have rowed the little PenYan dingy over to the Spit. This small craft was only 7 o 8 feet in length, and certainly not up to the task required at hand.

Not more than a few minutes later, the storm hit our side of the Reach. Heavy rain and wind, followed by the lightening and thunder and the whole nine yards! Well, not quite. Five minutes latter we got hail, and this was August! It was pea size being driven by a very strong wind. This is the the kind that would hurt if one was caught unprotected. We were thankful that out Grandparents, at least, had that heavy tarp for protection at this time. The hail drummed away on the tin covered roof for only 3 or 4 minutes, but the wind and rain continued. Without a phone and no close by neighbors there was nothing we could do but wait it out, hoping it would be short lived. We tried a W. T. call but it was now too crackly to to be useful..

My brother and I and our Mother, who was also present, were very apprehensive re the situation we had on our hands, and of course, of the state of Florence and Norman. However, much to our relief, the squall began to dissipate somewhat. By now, the rain had reduced, and the wind also, to about half of what it was; and, thankfully the lightening and thunder continued to trek southward. The temperature, however, had dropped remarkably; it actually felt cold! Our thoughts still revolved around rescue. Again we considered the possibility of using the tiny PenYan dingy to get to the Spit. Unfortunately, the waves remained too rough to make this attempt. WILL CONTINUE LATER; SORRY!

Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-21-2017 at 05:03 AM. Reason: wording
Old 09-15-2017, 01:24 PM
  #16  
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Back to the unfolding saga! As mentioned above, weather conditions were improving. That was a good sign. However, we realized Grampa was in rough shape. Without his pills he might not make it. One of these meds was nitroglycerin. He had been instructed by his doctor to keep these tiny white pills with him at all times, and to put one under his tongue at the first indication of pain or discomfort. Another heart med was, required at times like these, but I don't know what it was. It was unfortunate that the medications had been forgotten in haste, but this was the state of affairs.

While we were sitting in the sun porch, pondering the situation, my eyes rested upon the Senior Falcon that had been brought in just before the storm started. She was still sitting there looking pretty, with GeeBee still attached, basically good to go when we were ready.It was at this moment the brainstorm struck. I said to Ron, "Hey, let's fly Grampa's pills over to the Spit on my airplane!" He didn't say anything, but just stared at me for a few moments. Then, "You aren't kidding, are you!" He added, "It's still way too windy!" I responded, "You know Leo and I are known as the Windy Weather Flyers. "Let's go for it!'

By now it was mid afternoon, and it was time to put our plan into action. We tried a quick call on the W.T. and were pleased to hear it working well enough to use. Grampa was not well. He was lying under the tarp, and shaking now. During the squall the temperature had dropped at least 10 degrees. This did not help matters! Gramma said he was still hurting. During this call I told Gramma that we were going to fly Grampa's pills over to them on my model airplane. She responded without a hint of wonder, "Ok honey, I'll be waiting; please hurry!" Ron and I knew this plan was a longshot, but we had to go for it!

Indeed, we did hurry.; we knew first off, that it would be a hand launch, so the Big floats were quickly pulled off, having been primarily installed using rubber bands and bits of wire and tape. We had never hand launched this bird before. However, the fuselage was not very wide and when brother Ron hefted it above his head in launching mode, he said it felt good. My Mother found Grammpa's pills (left on by his bed), We needed to affix them to the Falcon in such a way that Gramma would would see them, and they would need to be waterproofed. A small empty aspirin tin was used to carry two kinds of pills, the tiny nitroglycerin, and one other that needed to be taken at the same time. Mother put 2 or three of each in the aspirin tin. We then used a thin plastic wrap called Saran Wrap and wound that around the tin several times. This was then rubber banded on top of the airp[lane fuselage, just in front of the stabilizer. The extra weight was negligible.

We left the sun porch with bird and transmitter in hand, and the starting paraphernalia as well. Our cottage and sun porch squarely faced Spit Island and was literally a few feet from the rocky shoreline. The hand launch position would be right beside the cottage, and directly toward the 'Spit'. There was about a 4 foot drop from the level we were launching from to the waterline. This was good, in case we needed the extra height. We quickly filled the 12 ounce tank with my home brew that I knew the Webra liked.

Another call to Gramma. My brother asked her to carefully watch and listen for the model airplane, and to call us when she could see it. At this point my own excitement was building. I wondered if I could really do this! At any rate, with our bird on the starting stand we fired up the Blackhead with no trouble at all. Only a click of 'rich' was required on the needle. A control check indicated that everything was responding to my transmitter correctly. It was a go! It was still windy as heck, and there was a lingering fine mist blowing straight into my eyes. Thankfully, I didn't require glasses to see, as that would have been a problem.

My brother lifted the Falcon high over his head waiting for my nod to launch. I worked the throttle one more time up and down to make sure it would respond. Then advancing to full high throttle, gave Ron the nod. I wasn't quite prepared for the elevator climb, which was vertical. The endeavor would have ended had it got behind me. However, a handful of down elevator remedied this in short order. She was on the way to the Spit'!

Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-20-2017 at 10:02 AM. Reason: redundant text
Old 09-16-2017, 11:24 AM
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Disregard this post

Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-20-2017 at 10:05 AM. Reason: post not needed
Old 09-17-2017, 01:37 PM
  #18  
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I am suspecting my Falcon story entries are not getting posting. I have made several entries since Aug. 28. I have used the 'auto save' feature to edit and 'save' . I have assumed it gets posted automatically at that point. sometimes I return to that portion to edit, i.e. spelling, bad grammar etc. So has anyone been able to read my falcon story. I have made several entries since Aug. 28. the last one should dated Sept. 16 .I would like to finish my story, but only if it's getting posted!....JT
Old 09-17-2017, 01:46 PM
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Your entries are getting posted. I've enjoyed reading your story and looking forward to the rest of it.
Old 09-17-2017, 02:26 PM
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Thanks Russmall. I am glad to hear I have at least one reader! My Falcon story is almost done. I will get to it asap!
Old 09-18-2017, 01:13 PM
  #21  
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Ok, I finally made it back to continue this saga! As mentioned above my Senior Falcon was successfully launched in spite of the rather violent climb when she was released. Once I got her leveled out I realized the wind was indeed strong. At first my bird seemed to be only inching ahead, barely competing with the headwind. However, after gaining momentum and catching up with engine speed she started moving forward with more authority. It didn't seem to take any time at all before I began considering the fact that visibility could become a factor. Fortunately, my vision was better than 20/20 in those days. I did find myself having to blink almost constantly due to a very fine mist that remained after the downpour. Wearing glasses would have made this endeavor impossible.

It wasn't long at all, before the vibrant red and white colors of the Falcon disappeared; all that could be seen was a dark or black image of a model airplane flying away. At this point control became challenging. At least I was flying straight on into the wind. However, elevator and aileron control became ultra critical. It seemed difficult to maintain a constant altitude. Extra strong gusts resulted in my airplane bucking up and down like a bronco! The twitchy ailerons also required constant attention on the sticks in order to keep the wings in a reasonably level state. I was not having fun, only trying to keep up with a situation that I was beginning to think I could not keep up with. At this point the drone of the Webra was barely discernable.

My brother got on his W.T once again and reminded Gramma to be on the lookout for the airplane, or to let us know when the engine could be heard. She responded in her usual way. "All right honey!" Now visibility was becoming a real concern. Ron who wore glasses was having a problem seeing it at all. Once you lost visual contact now, it would be difficult to pick it up again. I can't say how long The Falcon had been flying by the time she was beginning to look almost too small to control. I, also, don't know how strong the wind was during the flight. I do know that even flying a slow model in a straight line doesn't take very long at all before it disappears! This particular flight seemed to go on forever! I dearly wanted to hear a call from Gramma on the W.T. I asked my brother to check with her again. So, "Gramma, can you see or hear the airplane!" The reply, "Not yet!" This was not good. I was really straining to see the falcon; the fuselage had become a small spot and the wings, just a thin horizontal line. Then just as I was contemplating failure, a crackly voice sounded on the W.T. in Ron's hand. "Honey, I hear a buzz in the sky; I think it's your airplane!" This was the message we were waiting for, but was it too late? I had already comes to terms with the fact that I would not be 'landing' on Spit Island. It would basically be an intentional crash. If we were very lucky, we would hit the target! This would be akin to firing a dart to the board!

With the oncoming wind and with the way sound works I figured that my airplane must be almost there. To this end I pushed the elevator stick forward somewhat to bring the Falcon down much lower. I wanted to have her visually in front of the island so I could see the land in the background. By so doing I hoped that I would not overshoot this tiny mound of sand! I felt this was a good plan until I managed to do it. Once the airplane descended to the point where there was no sky contrast, I all but lost it. It was now heading directly at or into the Spit, or worse, into the drink!

Just at the point when I thought all was lost another call came through from Gramma, crackly once again, but clear enough to receive the message we so dearly wanted to here, "Honey, I see your airplane; it's right here above my head! You gotta land right now!" I didn't require any further instructions, although her idea of landing was different from mine! If the Falcon was directly over her head, I realized I needed to just 'dump' it in. The horrible thought entered my mind that this action had the remote possibility of crashing into one of my Grandparents. I pushed that out of my mind, and instead, pushed the elevator stick forward, but not to the full extent I felt this should result in a steep but not vertical dive. At the same time, I pulled the throttle stick all the way down.

SORRY FOLKS; DON'T WANT TO LEAVE AT THIS POINT BE BACK ASAP...JT

Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-19-2017 at 03:22 PM. Reason: spelling, etc
Old 09-19-2017, 01:13 PM
  #22  
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Re my story above. I apologize. I might have managed to post part of the saga more than once. If you find repeating text just scroll to the part that follows correctly! We are getting close to the end. I will continue tomorrow....JT......OPP'S...disregard; I think I fixed it!

Last edited by JT Hammer; 09-20-2017 at 03:29 AM. Reason: mistake in texting
Old 09-20-2017, 11:39 AM
  #23  
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I am sorry it has taken this long to get back to the story. We are almost to the end!

So, continuing on from above....I had committed to sacrificing my Falcon by crashing, in the interest of my Grandfather's health. It was a long shot but my hope was that the crash would occur right there on the 'Spit'. In that moment when I pushed the elevator stick downwards, the rate of my heartbeat had to be off the scale. Due to the extreme concentration required to control the airplane and maintain visual contact with this tiny object, I had stopped breathing for a time! After launching the Falcon from our side we could hear the steady drone of the faithful engine for most of it's flight, but towards the end, the sound was difficult to pick up. However, now I was sure my Falcon was down, somewhere! At this moment, a gasp of air escaped from my lungs. I began breathing again!

Brother Ron was still standing beside me with walkie talkie in hand. "Hurry, give Gramma a call!" He responded with an anxious voice, "Gramma, do you see Terry's airplane?" There was no immediate reply so we had more anxious moments listening for her response. By now after a few hours of use we were concerned with the charge left in the W.T. batteries. Finally, after what seemed like minutes, we received the reply. Crackly, and filled with static, the message was clear enough, "Terry's airplane crashed in the water!" This was the worst possible news! With the wind still blowing forcefully toward us and away from the "spit", the model, or what was left of it, would very quickly drift away. My heart, and I am sure that of my brother, plummeted. All was for naught, and what about our poor grandfather? Whilst in the midst of sorting out thoughts and coping with feelings of disappointment and failure, another call came through. This time the message was wonderfully different. "It's caught in the cattails, I think I can get it!" Now, our feelings became polar opposite to what they had been moments before. Ron and I looked at each other, thinking the same thought, I am sure; there was hope! However, a new concern arose.The visitors who swam at Spit Island loved the sand and clear water but they needed to remember the steep drop-off that happened quite close to shore. The area where the cattails grew was narrow. It was just at the outer edge of the band of cattails that the drop-off occurred. Gramma would need to be careful not to slip off the sandbar into deep water!

All we could do at this point was wait. We could imagine our lovably obese Grandmother, wearing her ever present sloppy house style dress, wading into the cattail bed! We anxiously waited for what seemed like a long period of time, but still, there was no response. Ron turned the volume and gain to higher levels. This action only resulted in audible static. The battery level on our unit was now critically low. Perhaps Gramma's W.T. had died!

BE BACK ASAP

Last edited by JT Hammer; 10-02-2017 at 04:24 AM. Reason: spelling/grammer
Old 09-20-2017, 08:14 PM
  #24  
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WOW! Just found this thread - "breathtaking" would be the understatement of all time. Definitely subscribed.

Oh yeah - I'm another Sr Falcon lover. Mine has been in the air since 1974.
Old 09-21-2017, 10:42 AM
  #25  
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Thanks for those words skylark-flier. Haven't heard from you for ages. In fact since I did the Debolt Champ build back in 2011. Can it be that long? Anyway in my next post I will get back to my Senior Falcon saga. Enjoy!....JT

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