Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ohhhhh, off we go, into the wild blue yonder, duhn dah duhn, duhn da da duhn...

(Keep humming that tune as you read this - that'll put you in the proper state of mind for this story. After you get done with the first line of lyrics, just repeat them or sing, "Duhn, da duhn, duhn, duhn ... etc" like I do, because I don't know the rest of the song, unless you happen to KNOW the rest of the lyrics. And I DEFY you to get that song out of your head now that it's planted there.)

The P51 Mustang story (happened yesterday):

When I was a kid I flew control-line, gas powered airplanes. I always dreamed of owning a radio control plane, but I couldn't afford one. Still can't afford one, but bought one anyway. This is my new P51D Mustang. It has a 35" wing span so it's a LOT bigger than anything I used to fly.

Actually, I bought two. My big plane (in the pictures above) won't arrive until next week. I found a smaller, putsy version of the P51 at a local hobby shop and took to the skies yesterday. In hurricane-force winds. Not knowing how to fly radio control.

I took it across the street to a neighborhood school. It was sundown. Literally. My God, it had the makings of an epic fly-boy film, sun setting in a deep blue sky, wind in my hair, bad guys lurking in the tangerine-colored clouds - "I'll get 'em, Colonel, Sir!!!" - and with the lyrics, "Oh, off we go, into the wild blue yonder" in my head, my plane and I broke the surly bonds of Mother Earth.

For about 10 seconds.

Let me stop for a moment and explain that EVERY instructional site I visited on the Internet, said, and I must quote, "DO NOT FLY IN HEAVY WINDS!" But you see, what they don't understand is that I am DIFFERENT. I've FLOWN model airplanes before. Though those earlier planes were attached to wires that I held while I spun around in circles. And I fly in jets frequently - flying to Canada Monday as a matter of fact. Don't they know that the basic rules don't apply to a Veteran of the Sky? I SPIT on your rules, sir!

OK, back to the maiden voyage of my P51...

The plane accelerated across the concrete basketball court, deftly missing the goal thingies and she lifted into the sky. She made an unexpected bank to the left, but my years (???) of training automatically kicked-in and I corrected to the right. Ahhhhhh, level flight. Then I calmly banked her around until she was headed back toward me. It was at this point that I freaked-out because with the plane facing me, port (left to you commoners) is now starboard (right) and vice versa. Also about this time, the wind, which was much higher at about 25 feet of altitude, just SMACKED my little plane from behind and threw it into a dive. A dive I made worse by getting left confused with right - SCREW starboard and port, I'm fighting for my life here! And BAM! Nose dive into the ground from about 25 feet. The plane appeared to have survived. YAYYY! But in my panic, I forgot to kill the throttle (let off the gas). So after it bounced, up it went again. AAAAAAGGGHHHH!!! This time it went straight up, like a rocket. I backed off the throttle immediately and to my amazement executed an advanced aerobatic manuever - the plane just hovered about 8 feet off the ground, hanging from it's propeller. (I shall name it The Dingle-Berry Manuever.) COOL! But the wind smacked it again and swatted it to the ground. Upside down. SPLAT. So much for cool. Uh, she didn't come back up fighting this time. Nor did she bounce. The plane became "as one" with the ground.

10 seconds of disastrous flight and the foam tail was broken in three places. The wing tip was no longer the tip. And the nose cone now resembles that of our pugs.

And you know what REALLY sucks? There were a gang of little kids and their families practicing football at the opposite end of the field ... what were once spectators had become witnesses.

With my tail between my legs, I picked-up the pile of foam shards that was a plane only 10 seconds before and headed home. Short flight.

I'LL RETURN, YOU BASTARDS!!! Nobody can shoot down the Ace of Indiana and NOT pay for your insulence!!!

Post Note: it ain't as pretty, but Gorilla Glue works GREAT on foam! I'll have to drill a few "bullet holes" in the wings for effect. And to explain all the damage in a manly manner.

Post-Post Note: Now I'm afraid to fly my big plane when it arrives. Maybe I'll just hang it from fishing line, in attack pose, over my bed and look at it.


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