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If the principles of flight were learned by studying birds, why don't airplanes have feathers?
-Gregory in Grand Junction

Dear Gregory:
If there is intelligent life on Earth, how can you ask a question like that?

I'm trying to develop a free flight model that will climb in a left spiral, roll out at engine shut off with no stall or loss of altitude, and glide in a right hand circle. I plan to put poly-anhedral in the wing, dihedral in the tail, and an inverted V rudder. What do you think that will do for me! -D. Gasser in Dekalb

Dear D Gasser:
I think that will give you an airplane, that if handed to anyone else, would be launched upside down.

What is an autogyro, and why are they considered dangerous?
-Orson in Oak Park, Illinois

Dear Orson:
An autogyro is a submarine sandwich picked up at a fast food drive-thru and eaten in your car. They are dangerous because the belch that follows a particularly potent autogyro can blow out a windshield.

The Frankel proverse injection valve on my 1.67 cubic inch 1956 Rensenfurt left hand rotation ignition engine sticks above 6000 rpm.
-Collector in Covington, Kentucky

Dear Collector:
Really! That's quite unusual on a '56 Rensenfurt. It was the 1958 model that suffered from the chronic Frankel malfarction you describe. Nevertheless, you can free your Frankel with a 1.5 milliliter squirt of Halloran's Injecto-Lube, which was available from September 1956 to July 1961 at all Pep Boys Automotive.

Congratulations on your posthumous election to the Model Aviation Hall of Fame. Imagine my surprise and delight to hear that not only had you been selected for the Hall, but that you were dead. Congratulations again and thank you for your first truly significant contribution to modeling.
-Admirer in Elmira

Dear Admirer:
Thank you. It's very gratifying to be recognized after one's own time.

Why is tunnel testing of model airplanes so uncommon? Is it because it's too expensive?
-Perplexed in Peoria

Dear Perplexed:
No, tunnel testing is actually quite inexpensive. It's not popular because it's very dangerous. I once tested a gas free flight in the Holland Tunnel. It only cost me thirty- five cents to get into the tunnel, but when I launched
the model it hit the

Advice for the Propworn
-By Jake

ceiling almost immediately. Parts fell down on me and on the passing motorists, and all in all it was a very unsettling experience. There was also a very strong and unpleasant smell of automobile fumes. All things considered, I can't recommend tunnel testing model airplanes.

Hi, it's me, Tommy Smith. My mom is in the hospital because she had a cold. Well, she's sort of really in the hospital because I left a bottle of super glue in the medicine cabinet and she mistook it for nasal spray. Do you know how people talk funny when they hold their nose? Well, that's how my mom's been talking for a week now. At least the glue bottle isn't hanging out of her nose anymore. That only lasted three days. Does nose hair grow back?
-Your Friend, Tommy Smith

Dear Tommy:
Sounds like your mom could use some Cyn-Off or some Cyn-Aid. -jake

I have been reading a book by Jules Verne in which some people go exploring in a "bathysphere." What is a bathysphere?
-Laurence in Lawrence, Kansas

Dear Laurence:
A bathysphere is one of those machines that washes your golf ball.

My friends and I have been trying to categorize World War1fighter aircraft as to type and characteristics. Rotary and non-rotary are two obvious categories, as are monoplane. biplane, and multiplane. Another interesting distinction is whether the aircraft came before or after the introduction of the synchronous machine gun. We have been having an argument about whether a fuselage gunner station, a pusher configuration, or a top wing mounted gun was the most common characteristic of pre-synchronous airplanes. What would you say was the single most representative feature of aircraft produced before the invention of the synchronous machine gun?
-Aviation Buff in Butte. Montana

Dear Buff:
Shot-up propellers.

Allow me to tell you what happened to me at our second annual fan fly. The weather was gorgeous, the turnout was impressive and the quality of the aircraft on hand was spectacular. My Byron F-86, which I had spent hours and hours on was rather ordinary compared to some of the beautiful ships that were there. The day started out well enough, with a pancake breakfast, pilot's meeting and a photo session before the flying

began. By two o'clock I had flown twice and was preparing for my third flight. Unknown to me, but later described by an eyewitness a chain of events that would cost me my airplane was set into motion.
Shug McConnell has a little farm and keeps several cats around for rodent control. Whenever he drives his pickup out to the flying field, it's like as not to have a cat or two in the back.
Well, Shug and his truck were at the fan fly. So was a Mrs. Hester Cheswick, whose husband Carl was flying in the event.
Hester didn't much care for the noise of the airplanes so she stayed in the motorhome with her parakeets.
Well the Winnebago's pot must have been out of order because Hester went looking for a port-a-john. One of Shug's cats saw this as an opportunity and went in to check out the parakeets.
About this time I was firing up the F-86 prior to takeoff. As I taxied out, all hell was apparently breaking loose in the motorhome. just as I broke ground. Aflock of budgies with a cat in hot pursuit crossed my path.
I know commercial and military jets occasionally have problems with bird ingestion, but this was ridiculous. I blew so many feathers out the tailpipe it looked like a Three Stooges pillow fight. The engine flamed out and my poor F-86 went down in a heap. What a way to go, and needless to say when she got out of the can, Mrs. Cheswick was none too pleased either. Some days it just don't pay to get out of bed!
-Herb in Effingham, Illinois

Dear Herb:
Bird strikes are a serious threat to all forms of aviation. An acquaintance of mine worked at the Air Force's Vehicle Equipment laboratory where windshields were tested for their resistance to bird impact. This was done by firing supermarket chickens (whole fryers) out of a compressed air cannon at instrumented aircraft windshields.
One day, after loading the cannon and setting up a test, the group broke for lunch. Upon returning they resumed the test, and shot a very surprised and somewhat annoyed cat through the windshield of an F-4.
Seems the stray tabby had crawled into the cannon barrel to sample the chicken. This may sound like an expensive fiasco and the waste of a good windshield, but the Air Force now knows, with test data backed up certainty, exactly what will happen if an F-4 flying at Mach .85 at 30,000 feet hits a cat.
- jake

What's an alligator clip?
-Clinton in Cliffside Park

Dear Clinton: His toenails and coupons for Gatorade.
- jake

Reprinted From MODEL BUILDER Magazine December 1989
Click here to go to the DEAR JAKE archives.

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