A Lost Treasure…In My Own Basement

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Rick Mitchell Baltimore MD The last time that I was active in radio control modeling was from 2005 through 2008, after having first flown R/C as far back as 1958. Most of my flying during that last three year period was with a Tower Kaos, but my last ten rides at the very end were with a Goldberg Skylark 56 ARF that I built in addition to my Kaos.
The Skylark was a very nice looking and flying airplane, and in some ways reminded me of Joe Bridi’s famous Dirty Birdy at a distance. I wanted a Dirty Birdy in addition to my Kaos, but there was no such thing as a Dirty Birdy ARF at that time. I did, however, keep a picture of a Dirty Birdy with a Royal Blue color scheme with white delta patterns and black pinstripe in my workshop. And in fact, in late 2007, as a compromise, I bought a second Skylark, and I decided to strip and recover it to look like that Dirty Birdy picture that I taped to my wall.
I completely recovered the Skylark and had it ready to assemble by 2008, but I left R/C before I finished it. So, I boxed it up and put it in my office across from my workshop. And there it sat, until eventually it was used like a small table. Soon I had envelopes and other office supplies sitting on the box. After a few years, the box seemed to disappear into the maze of odds and ends that one collects in a home office.
And then several weeks ago, I developed R/C fever again! I was retired for over a year, and now I could build and fly any day of the week and not just those days starting with the letter “S”! My first new model was a Tower Trainer 40 that I built after I realized that going into a Kaos first after more than four years of not flying was probably a bad idea. It would be like telling a fighter pilot who had not flown a jet in almost five years to go out on the ramp and re-qualify all by himself in an F-16! So I built and flew the Trainer and shook off the cobwebs. I had also built a new Kaos before the Trainer, but was I holding on to it. So, after 14 rides on the Trainer, I was fit for duty, and it was now Kaos time. But as I was pulling the radio and motor out of the Trainer for another model in addition to the Kaos, I asked myself, what about that Skylark that had been sitting in my office for nearly five years?

So I brought the recovered Skylark into my workshop, sat it on the bench, and opened it up. Quite frankly I was shocked at how nice its Royal Blue covering looked with its white trim panels and black pinstripe. The Tower Trainer’s manual encourages new pilots to become proficient on their Trainer, and then pull the radio and motor out and put them into something more advanced. I looked at the Skylark for about two minutes and said, “You have got to build this one next!” And so I did, and a week later, it was ready to fly. And what was so nice about this was that, as a package, this “New Old Stock” Skylark cost nothing to build. The plane was bought years ago, the radio and motor came from the Tower Trainer, and the white spinner and pilot figure had been sitting on my bench for years waiting for their call to duty.

My Skylark was a joy to build. But, as it turns out, the Skylark is no longer in production, and so, fly with care as there are no more! And as far as the Dirty Birdy idea is concerned, what got me interested in returning to R/C a few weeks ago was that the Dirty Birdy was now available as an ARF. I have been crazy about the Dirty Birdy since it first came out nearly 40 years ago, and I now have one waiting its turn in my building rotation.

But for now, it’s time to get re-acquainted with another great pattern ship from the 1970’s, my Goldberg Skylark 56!


Great photos! Maybe I should pull out my kit collecting dust ;)

So when will we see you at the field? I'm at CBRC almost every Sunday

Wish I could get one. I built a Tiger2 that looks similar

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