I'd been itching to get into R/C for years. I told my son Ted,
that when he turned 10, we'd get into it together. So, in the spring of 1995, I
purchased my first kit, a Goldberg Eagle II, and we started to build. In the
meantime, my good friend and R/C pilot Russ Kuhn, loaned me a 1 meter sailplane,
a Drifter II, and taught me to fly at his field "Lone Oak" behind his
home, west of Columbus.
It was powered by a little Cox .049, and it could barley fly with that power.
It would only climb if there was a breeze to fly into! But, I did learn.
Meanwhile, Ted and I worked on the Eagle and it was ready to fly by
September. The plane was named Ursa Minor (meaning Little Bear, A sort of
nick-name for Ted). The nose art was actually the constellation Ursa Minor. Russ
took her up for the first test flight, and aside from needing some down elevator
trim, she flew great! I probably only had a half dozen or so flights on her
before winter set in.
My first flight in 1996 became the near total destruction of Ursa
Minor. I was flying at Russ's and the Eagle got away from me. I let her
get over behind where we flew and I was all over the place, I lost her behind a
tree, and knowing that I was above houses, just pulled back the throttle and
hoped she'd come from behind the trees. hose of you who have put a plane
in a tree can no doubt remember the sound. It's awful! We walked across the
street, and back in a wooded area was what was left. Half of the wing was still
in the tree. The fuse was broken behind the cabin, elevators and stab
gone. I was just happy that it hadn't hit anything important.
Here's what was left.....
The rest of the summer was spent rebuilding the Eagle II. I was
fortunate enough to be given and old trainer to fly by Jim Sachleben, and flew
it the rest of the summer. A new wing kit was ordered, and Ursa was
rebuilt as a tail dragger. I don't remember for sure when I had her rebuilt by,
It was late in the summer before she was ready to go again.
Ursa Minor reborn.
Eagle II's are great trainers in my book, and it sure was fun to fly as tail
dragger! Now I had to get Ted flying. He was upset when I crashed the Eagle that
spring, and he had little interest in flying yet. He'd also witnessed a couple
of other "losses" at the field, and I think he just wasn't ready to
It took a while, but Ted started to get at ease enough to take
a shot in flying. The
fact that I was doing better (no more disasters fortunately), helped I'm
sure. By July he was ready to start. After maybe only 3-4 flights
on the buddy box, I thought he was ready. Ted wasn't so sure. We had been going
down the the field in Vernon, IN to fly some. Because it was a more open
than Russ's, we decided to go down there for Ted's solo attempt. He did one
take-off and landing on the buddy box, and then he was ready, although it
did take some...persuasion. His solo went off with-out a hitch! It was a
Ted's Solo- July 20, 1997
to be continued......
Wright Flyer project photos updated 5-2-03