CL is on the Upswing!

CL is on the Upswing!

CL is on the Upswing!

By Bob Angel | samrcflier@verizon.net

As seen in the October 2022 issue of Model Aviation.

ALONG WITH MANY OTHERS, I hadn’t flown Control Line (CL) models for a number of years. However, after fighting dizziness and putting in a few short CL flights lately, I’ve paid more attention to it and I find that it’s doing quite well.

World Champion Bill Werwage displays the Vulcan, one of his many original designs. Bill’s AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame biography includes copious event wins, including several world championships. Dick Byron submitted the photo.World Champion Bill Werwage displays the Vulcan, one of his many original designs. Bill’s AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame biography includes copious event wins, including several world championships. Dick Byron submitted the photo.

CL Precision Aerobatics (called Stunt in its formative years) is the starting point and training ground for many other interesting CL disciplines. CL Combat gets adrenaline pumping for competitors and spectators alike. The event features far more close-in action and streamer cuts in less time and at higher speeds than the similar RC event. CL Racing and Speed events are also exciting.

The Precision Aerobatics Model Pilots Association (PAMPA) newsletter, Stunt News, hasn’t been published since 2018, although the Special Interest Group’s website continues to provide lots of good technical information in archived copies.

This year, PAMPA was able to restart Stunt News on a more conservative basis as a quarterly printed publication. Its first two issues have focused mainly on contest reports and district news, but the group has spread the word that it is looking for more technical articles that will increase interest, especially for new fliers. PAMPA is the primary group that produces the CL Aerobatics events at the AMA Nats contests each year.

The second issue of the new Stunt News featured a report and complete results of the 33rd annual Vintage Stunt Championships. This is one of the premier CL Aerobatics competitions in the US and certainly the largest for Old-Timer (OT) CL activities. The event is usually held in Tucson, Arizona—a good choice because it’s normally scheduled during the end of winter.

CL, along with Free Flight, has long been overshadowed by RC, primarily because of general popularity and the pure number of participants. For those who are interested, there is still a lot of action in each of those older activities when you take the time to look into them. You can specifically seek them out on the internet.

Robin Sizemore, of Tucson AZ, displays his Madman. The designer, J.C. Yates, was also nicknamed Madman for some of his wild stunts while flying his Orwick spark ignition-powered original. Photo by Jim Hoffman.Robin Sizemore, of Tucson AZ, displays his Madman. The designer, J.C. Yates, was also nicknamed Madman for some of his wild stunts while flying his Orwick spark ignition-powered original. Photo by Jim Hoffman.

This modern-looking Cobra was designed by AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame member Steve Wooley (1939-1971) and constructed by Bill Ervin of Las Vegas. It’s flown in OT Classic and Open events. Hoffman photo. This modern-looking Cobra was designed by AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame member Steve Wooley (1939-1971) and constructed by Bill Ervin of Las Vegas. It’s flown in OT Classic and Open events. Hoffman photo.

I started Googling various word combinations of CL flying on YouTube and soon noticed that I could probably build a new model in less time than it takes to check out many of the CL internet websites. Unfortunately, many of them require that you join (with a username, password, etc.) in order to see everything.

I will, however, cite one busy CL forum in "Sources," if for no other reason than the ease of signing in. I usually shun such internet sites because of a record of less than 50% success in simply filling in a username and password that the site decides to accept. After typing a simple statement of interest, a Facebook CL group’s acceptance message quickly appeared in my email. It contained a click box that opened directly to the site. There are more than 7,000 members.

Gene Alldredge

Years had passed in which I hadn’t seen Gene Alldredge, a flying friend from my CL days. Gene had moved into RC and quickly became quite skilled in RC Aerobatics. A surprise came when I scanned the Facebook CL group page previously mentioned and saw this current post from Gene:

"I just started flying Control Line again after 56 years. Been flying RC since I was 15 years old. Now flying a Brodak P-40 profile ARF electric and Vector ARF electric. They both fly great. I fly CL two times a week and RC the rest. I forgot how much fun CL was."

F2A Speed Run

If you can spare just 2 minutes, you can view an interesting and smoothly documented F2A Speed run on the internet. The link in "Sources" takes you there directly. It’s a 2001 video of an FAI aircraft in which a little .15 cubic-inch engine achieves a speed of 208 mph. Turn up the volume and listen to a tuned pipe "coming in" at approximately 35,000 rpm!

Prediction

A current combination of events gives me reason to stick my neck out with a prediction about CL flying. I believe we’ll see a slight but noticeable resurgence of CL sport and aerobatic flying in the coming years.

Here’s the background. Flying sites continue to disappear faster than new ones can be located. It was with tongue in cheek that a few years ago I predicted in a newsletter that we’d soon be limited to flying small, electric-powered CL aircraft. This came from simply observing the flying space limitations, noise restrictions, altitude limits, etc. that were closing in on us. Not too long afterward, I found myself in that situation.

In my June and August columns, I noted that the half-dozen flying fields we’d used to hold the annual John Pond Commemorative contest. In almost every instance, the move was precipitated by some form of so-called "progress" taking over the former site.

I also mentioned the thriving local Tri-Valley RC club, which was organized approximately 50 years ago. Just days after I submitted the column, I learned that the club’s site lease was not going to be renewed and it would be searching for another site. The members had invested thousands of dollars in site improvements, but progress had once more wiped that out.

Our last good, local Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) flying site was lost to progress 5 years ago and we’ve yet to find another. The nearest place to fly SAM-type airplanes is more than 65 miles away in a sparsely settled area, where we can "get away" with flying only occasionally. If we registered the site, as would probably be required by the FAA, the local residents would shut us down when more frequent flying began taking place.

Almost every school ground once offered a spot for CL flying. Unfortunately, the constant cyclic Doppler effect was—and is—one of the most irritating model aircraft sounds, even when using mufflers. However, more than half of all CL aircraft today are electric powered, which alleviates that problem. Still, most schools are now fenced and locked for security reasons when not in use.

That leaves us with green spaces and a few parks in most urban areas. I’ve put in a few short CL flights at two such nearby areas without objection so far, and there are a few other possibilities within a short drive. These small, open areas, combined with using electric motors and common courtesy, are the basis for my prediction of an upsurge in CL flying.

A Good Trophy Source

Our SAM chapter has been relying on Bob Holman Plans Service for plaque-type contest trophies for years. Bob had been subletting the actual trophy production to Mike Foscolos. To reduce his own workload, Bob has recently turned the operation completely over to Mike, with whom you can deal directly. Check the "Sources" for contact information.

You can email a photo to Mike, who can add any wording you prescribe into the photo and turn it into a beautiful glossy, fuel-proof plaque. We usually order the 7 × 9-inch size as a souvenir for each attendee, plus slightly larger "keeper" plaques for the annual winners of each "stand-up"-type perpetual trophy. One of these plaques was pictured in my July 2022 column.

SOURCES:

Control Line Flying Facebook Group

www.facebook.com/groups/906304736107218

YouTube

F2A World Record–Control-line model aircraft speed video

https://youtu.be/4vAw1CC4A3g

Mike Foscolos

(909) 322-6981

mfoscolos107@gmail.com

The AMA History Project Presents Biography of Steve Wooley

www.modelaircraft.org/sites/default/files/files/WooleySteve.pdf

The AMA History Project Presents Biography of William (Bill) P. Werwage

www.modelaircraft.org/sites/default/files/files/WerwageWilliamPBill.pdf

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