Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Lars B. wrote from Sweden requesting that I scan this "Wind Flying" article from the September 1972 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. It describes a method for replacing engines and motors with human power for preforming some pretty impressive C/L aerobatics on windy days. I can remember doing this as a teenager, only I did it with the engine in place but not running.
By John Hunton
Three inside loops followed by some lazy eights, a couple of wingovers, the wires are whistling now. There is a strong, steady breeze at your back. An inside loop followed by half a loop. Down elevator, the outside loop portion,. up elevator. The plane rounds out six feet off the ground and is moving fast enough to begin another vertical eight, but you have been flying for half an hour now and you should be getting back home. You bring the plane down to six inches off the ground and let it kill off speed. It touches the ground once, but so what. No prop to break. The plane finally stalls and lands. You wind up the lines, pick up your stunt model and leave. There is nothing else to carry. No tool box, no oil to wipe off, no prop to break, no muffler, no noise - just plain fun.
Earlier that day you had awakened to the sound of the wind whistling. Other modelers had turned over and gone back to sleep. They wouldn't fly in this wind, but this is exactly the type of day you have been waiting for - to go wind flying. Wind flying is a ball. If you cannot fly inverted, your repertoire will be wingovers and a limited number of loops. If you can fly inverted, the world of silent flights is yours.
For years I have seen experienced stunt fliers finish a flight with a few dead-stick loops. At a contest in Frederick, Maryland, a storm hit and the high winds cancelled flying temporarily. My brother Hugh took his stunt job up with a short tank and began dead-sticking in the high wind-he stunted until the wind tapered off. Later, I got out an old fuel-soaked stunt job, filled the nose with modeling clay and found that the model would fly even in a modest wind, evidently because of reduced drag by having no motor or propeller. After trying several different models, I have the following suggestions as to the type of model you use.
A ringmaster type model will perform fairly well, but it takes a strong wind which is not always available. Refinements can make it possible to stunt in a light breeze. Select an old stunt job or build a new one. Remove the motor and add an equivalent amount of nose weight. Use a model with wing flaps - flaps make wings much more efficient in turns. Reduce drag as much as possible. Remove landing gear and add skids. Reduce rudder area to half of normal to minimize weather-vaning.
Author's modified and cleaned-up Sig "Banshee." Lead in nose compartment is smoothed in with clay
Flying technique is very important.
Fly smoothly. Jerky motions or over-controlling add drag. Wait for a good windy day. If you have a U-Reely, you can operate alone. You can let out an amount of line appropriate for the amount of wind. If you do not have a U-Reely, have a strong friend run as fast as he can and throw as hard as he can with the point of release on the downwind side. Keep the plane down low and whip. After 11 couple of laps of whip-ping, the plane should have good speed up. Now you can relax.
The basic speed-building maneuver is a smooth, open wingover with the high point into the wind and the low point downwind. A few wingovers will have the model zinging along and you will be ready to proceed to other stunts. Smooth, wide inside loops also build speed. Another basic speed building maneuver is the lazy eight.
With a Jim Walker U-Reeley handle each flight starts from hand slowly letting the lines all the way out. Model can be recovered in flight too-just reverse the launching procedure.
From the above basic maneuvers the rest is up to you. Almost any maneuver in the AMA stunt routine can be done with a good plane in enough wind.
Although wind flying began in a storm, I do not recommend flying in an electrical storm. Static electricity can zap you good, and who wants to become a conductor for lightning!
So go ahead. Dig out that old stunt job or build a new one. Then wait for a windy day. Now that is a switch, isn't it?
Spirit of St. Louis stunter is an unlikely subject for aerobatics and an even more unlikely subject for powerless flight, but it does very well. Note many patches, fuel-proof dope is not necessary.
Posted August 12, 2014