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Monthly Archives: November 2018

HOW TO STORE THEM

STO#1

 

Ever since the wingspan of rc models exceeded three feet in length, proper storage of flying models has been an issue.  During this blog, we’ll look at several methods of storing radio control planes under different conditions.

For rc modelers who have a large number of aircraft, the best approach is to get them off the floor to prevent damage from a number of sources.  The use of hangers, while not a new idea, will serve to mount the models from the ceiling where they may hang freely out of harm’s way.  The most common hangers are designed smaller aircraft weighing under four pounds.  Heavier models will require larger hangers.  An appropriate hanger size would be a 4′ by 3/16″ steel rod, big enough to reach a ceiling beam as well as strong enough to support the plane.  Bike hooks and smaller scale hooks may also be used to mount the hanger in the ceiling, depending upon the weight and size of the model.  Suggested tools are a ruler, vise, sandblaster or sandpaper, a degreaser, drill, stud finder, and pencil.  Optional tools include 24″ by 3/16″ inside diameter tubing for padding the rod where the wings are supported in addition to glass cleaner or hairspray.

The first step to preparing the hangers is to bend the steel rods.  Find  and mark the center point of the rod, securing it to a vise then bending a 90-degree angle into the rod.  Remove from the vise and complete the bend so the rod is folded in half.  Use the vise again, if necessary to reinforce the bend.  Find the center of the bent piece, bending it again to about 45-degrees, spreading the legs out slightly wider than the plane’s fuselage.  You can work different bends which correspond to the fuselage shape.  Next, prepare the hangers for painting.  This may be accomplished by using either a sandblaster or a bench grinder with a wire wheel.  Sandpaper may also be used.  The purpose is to remove any residual oils from the metal in order to give a good surface for the paint to adhere.  A degreaser or TSP will clean up any remaining residue.  Then, spray paint the hangers, making sure to let them dry completely.  The next step is to add tubing to insulate the hanger where it contacts the wing.  Be sure the inside diameter of the tube matches the outside diameter of the rod.  This will act as a buffer between the hanger and the wing of the rc plane, advantageous for heavier planes as well as those having a delicate finish.  Hairspray and glass cleaner are good treatments for the hanger surface with hairspray acting as an adhesive as it drys.  Finally, mount the hooks in the ceiling, draping the hangers through the hooks.

Planes may also be mounted on the wall area of a garage or storage building.  If space allows, the entire aircraft may be secured with hangers draped around wall mounted hooks, as with the ceiling example.  However, if storage space is limited, the fuselage and wing components may need to be stored separately.  By using metal shelf brackets placed about two feet above the floor level supporting a wooden shelf, wings may be placed in small storage bins on the shelf.  In this mode, the wings are high enough not to be disturbed by traffic inside the area, yet low enough not to conflict with fuselage storage.  Fuselages may be hung by either the tail or propeller, with the tail preferred due to the larger surface area.  The disadvantage of tail hanging is gasoline accumulation near the engine.  Rotating fuselage positions may help in overcoming this.  Finally, if no other space is available, an appropriate rc plane makes a good decorator item for a den or rec room.

Another method of storage, which has gained favor in recent years, is the use of PVC tubing.  Its advantages are simplicity, flexibility, and a relatively low cost.  With the use of a scissors-like cutting tool, PVC tubing may be cut to any length or configuration.  While three to four-tier racks are the most popular configuration, many variations are in use.  Since PVC racks are light, they are easily transportable, allowing an rc pilot the opportunity to fly several planes at an event.  Cement is usually not necessary to secure PVC tubing, since the tubing is usually snug at the 90-degree joints.  PVC pipes may also be used with metal hangers and hooks with the PVC acting as an insulator, as well as a work stand frame for rc models.

RC model stores sell a variety of storage kits, with most priced about $50, depending upon the configuration and type of kit.  Some avid enthusiasts have even purchased outdoor buildings in which to store their planes.   With all of the possibilities, rc model storage is not a one size fits all endeavor.

 

STO#2

 

 

 

MARINE AIR

MAR#1

 

Over the past 100 years, Marine Aviation has grown in both numbers and variety of missions.  During this blog, we’ll trace the history of USMC aviation from its inception to the many roles it plays in defense of our nation today.

The beginnings of Marine Aviation date back to 1912 when First Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham reported for aviation duty at the Naval Aviation Camp at Annapolis, Maryland.  The camp was composed of two officers, six mechanics, and three aircraft.  Cunningham soloed on August 20. 1912 after a mere two hours and forty minutes of instruction.  During the next four years, Lts. Bernard L. Smith, William M. Mcllvain, Francis T. Evans and Roy S. Geiger were assigned to the school.  Each pilot had his own concept of how this new arm could enhance Marine Corps. operations.  This resulted in two rival concepts of Marine Aviation, one in which the sole mission of the air arm was combat support of ground forces, while the other emphasized combined operations in which Marine Aviation supported the Navy.  A training exercise in 1914 proved the value of USMC aviation.  This exercise was a test of the ability of a Marine force to occupy, fortify and defend an advanced base and hold it against hostile attack.  The air contingent was composed of two officers with ten mechanics, one flying boat and one amphibian.  As the exercise progressed, two pilots took brigade commanders on reconnaissance flights over the battle area.  The brigade officers were impressed with the speed and field of vision of the aircraft and recommended doubling the size of both the pilots and ground crew.

With the US declaration of war against Germany in 1917, Marine Aviation entered a period of rapid growth in both manpower and equipment.  The Marine Corps entered the war with 511 officers and 13,214 enlisted.  By wars end the Corps. commitment totaled 2,400 officers and 70,000 enlisted.  While the initial concept of Marine deployment to France was to send a brigade to fight alongside the Army, Marine Aviation began to assert itself to ensure that the new arm got its share of Corps. manpower, additionally providing air support for the brigade.  However, Marine Corps. Aviation found itself split between two competing missions.  Land-based planes provided artillery spotting and reconnaissance for the brigade deployed to France, as well as a seaplane unit flying antisubmarine patrols.  In addition to flying cover for ground forces, Marine Air units carried out fourteen bombing missions against railway yards, canals, and supply dumps, resulting in the destruction of four German aircraft.

After World War I ended, the Marine Corps., along with the other services, began a desperate struggle to persuade Congress to maintain prewar levels of bases, personnel, and equipment.  As a sidebar to the overall battle for military appropriations, Lt. (now Maj.) Cunningham fought for a permanent status for Marine Aviation.  He appeared before a number of military organizations, in addition to Congressional Committees.  Cunningham also wrote a number of articles emphasizing the role of aviation in future military conflicts.  As a result of his efforts and those of other military leaders, Marine Aviation had survived with Congress authorizing Marine Corps. strength at twenty percent of total Navy strength in 1920.  The Corps. found it necessary to conduct a number of well-publicized exercises in order to garner further support from both Congress and the American public.  One such exercise was conducted in 1922 in which a force of 4,000 Marines marched from Quantico, Va. to Gettysburg, Pa.  Three heavy Martin MTB bombers were assigned to support the march.  The Marine aviators flew a total of 500 hours and 40,000 air miles, carrying passengers and freight, as well as executing simulated attack missions.  Marine aviators tested both new equipment and techniques, with the first successful dive-bombing conducted in 1919.  They also made several long-distance flights, in addition to participating in a number of key air races.   Overseas deployments to the Carribean, China, and the Western Pacific in the 1930s proved the flexibility of Marine Air.

Marine Aviation experienced a phenomenal growth during World War II.  In 1936 there were only 145 Marine pilots on active duty with a gradual increase to 245 by mid-1940.  By the end of that year, it had swelled to 425, augmented by the Marine Corps. Aviation Reserve.  At the time of Pearl Harbor, Marine Aviation was composed of 13 squadrons and 204 aircraft.  By the end of the war, its strength had increased to 145 squadrons and approximately 3,000 aircraft.  To support this expansion, new bases were required in the continental United States.  New and larger bases such as Cherry Point, NC replaced the original base at Quantico Virginia, while El Toro, CA replaced the older base at San Diego on the West Coast.  The location of both bases was in close proximity to the major Marine ground bases at Camp Lejune, North Carolina and Camp Pendleton, California.  The location of these bases facilitated the doctrine of close air support of Marine ground units by Marine Aviation.  Though outnumbered, Marine pilots performed admirably in the defense of Wake Island, sinking the destroyer Kisaragi and shooting down seven Japanese aircraft.  While sustaining heavy losses at Midway, Marine aviators nevertheless played a vital role in the victory there.  They plowed their way up the Solomons from Henderson Field at Guadalcanal to Okinawa, providing dedicated ground support.  Marine aviation ended the war with 2,335 aircraft destroyed, producing 121 aces.

After World War II, Marine aviation began to emphasize operations from aircraft carriers, which actually began late in that war.  The development of the helicopter also broadened the horizons of Marine Aviation.  When the Korean War began in 1950, Marine Aviation units were alerted for combat duty.  Within six weeks, a carrier-based squadron was flying ground attack missions.  Marine air gave a good account of itself flying ground support missions for UN forces in the Pusan Perimeter, as well as providing valuable close air support for the Inchon landing from carriers and later Kimpo Airfield.  Along with the Navy and Air Force, Marine aircraft supplied the 1st Marine Division and evacuated more than 5,000 casualties during the withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir.  By the end of the war in July 1953, Marine aircraft flew more than 118,000 sorties, of which 29,500 were close support missions.  Marine helicopter squadrons evacuated approximately 10,000 ground troops during the course of the war.

Marine Aviation was at the forefront during the Viet Nam War, and both Gulf Wars.  It has a long tradition of providing close air support and material support of ground forces.  Though its missions have changed in recent years, it remains a force of readiness for the nation.

 

MAR#3