Back in the early to mid 1970s, I began
construction on one of these Sterling Cirrus sailplanes. It got put aside when
I bought my first radio control system (a used 3-channel OS Digital). In a somewhat
desperate attempt to own an RC glider, I actually crammed two huge servos, a
huge receiver, and a NiCad airborne battery pack (the only part that has not
gotten smaller in 30 years) in the cockpit. Although the cockpit was very spacious,
the balsa frame construction was way too weak to support a radio system, but
that didn't stop me... well, not right away anyway. If I remember correctly,
the wingtips had a chord of about 1" and were about 3/16" thick.
After much work covering the undercambered
airfoil and compound curves around the fuselage with Japanese tissue, it was
finally ready to fly. It probably weighed three or four times the weight listed
on the box top. The first couple "flights" consisted of tossing the Sterling
Cirrus off a little ridge about 3 feet high, at Klinkin's Field, in Mayo, Maryland.
The flimsy wings flexed up into an extreme curve - it's amazing that they didn't
break. The landings were in soft, long grass, so the craft survived. That was
all well and good, but it was not exactly satisfying flying. Somehow, I talked
my father, who was skinny but was no athlete, into running with a tow line in
an attempt to get it aloft. Between the two of us, the Cirrus was rendered unusable
after about an hour. Oh well, live and learn (or don't learn).
Posted May 8, 2019