DuBro TriStar R/C helicopter, Dumas Pride of Pay'n Pak R/C hydroplane, Airtronics
Aquila R/C sailplane
A few boats have figured into my hobbies over the years. In fact, the first radio controlled model
I ever operated was the makeshift airboat shown to the right. The RC airboat used my newly-acquired,
second-hand, OS Digital 3-channel radio and Cox Baby Bee .049 engine with a pusher prop. The hull and
radio compartment were made out of laminated 1/2" thick Styrofoam insulation that was cut and sanded
to shape, and then covered in Solarfilm (that was a low temperature Monokote-like iron-on covering).
The good thing about the Styrofoam construction is the craft was unsinkable. The bad part was the Cox
.049 Baby Bee that powered it was unreliable, so I could not take it any farther into Bear Creek (in
Mayo, Maryland) than I cared to wade or sometimes swim to retrieve it when the engine quit. It was lot
of fun, and I was mesmerized by the fact that I was at long last actually remotely controlling something
- anything! I supposed you'd have to be as smitten as I was with modeling to understand. Maybe you do.
Around 1978, before entering the U.S. Air Force, I built a
Dumas Pay N Pak unlimited hydroplane model. I cannot recall which engine I used, but it was a marine
type with the water-cooled head. To start the beast, I used a piece of string about 1/8" in diameter,
threaded it under the grooved flywheel, and gave it a tug. Once the engine was broken in, starting was
not so bad. I built it shortly before going into the USAF, and then on a trip home, brought it back
with me to the barracks. The photo to the left shows it hanging without the cowling in my barracks room
at Robins AFB, GA (c.1980). The Pay N Pak ran a few times
in a lake somewhere around Macon, Georgia. After the war (that's a joke), it ran a few times in the
Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland. Sometime before packing up to move to Vermont, I sold my Pay N
Pak to a local guy who answered an ad I placed in the newspaper. Also shown are my
DuBro Tri-Star helicopter and an
Airtronics Aquila RC glider with ABS plastic fuselage.
Melanie with her Thunder Tiger Victoria R/C sailboat at Prospect Lake in Colorado
Melanie Blattenberger with her Thunder Tiger Victoria RC sailboat at the small lake
behind the Hewlett Packard building in Loveland, Colorado (I worked for Agilent, formerly HP, at the
Many moons later, Melanie, my wife, developed an interest in RC sailboats, so we bought a
Thunder Tiger Victoria. It was apparent while assembling the
model that there were some deficiencies in the design as far as durability was concerned. We went ahead
and assembled everything per instructions and set is on its maiden voyage on Prospect Lake in Colorado
Springs, Colorado. After only about two voyages, our suspicions were borne out. The design engineering
cap camp out, and I set forth to right all the shortcomings. All of the modifications to the
Thunder Tiger Victoria RC sailboat made are documented in detail
beginning on the following page.
Above is my son, Philip, holding his plastic model of the USS Yorktown.
Sometime around 2004, Melanie decided she wanted to try her hand at building a model boat, so we
bought a Midwest Products Muscongus Bay Lobster
Smack (left) and a Sharpie Schooner (right). She
graciously offered to let me build them for her after surveying the immensity of the task. The Sharpie
Schooner actually won a 1st Place ribbon at the 2004 Dixie Classic Fair, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.