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Whatever happened to the good old days of nickel gliders and 25 cent plastic kits! This past Christmas it cost me $1.89 to put a balsa and plastic, rubber band powered "Frantic Flyer" in my grandson's stocking. The same thing, made with better wood and real strand rubber, cost is cents when I was a kid, and it flew better!
Have you seen the cost of silk and dope lately! It's no wonder everybody uses the iron- ons, and they're not cheap either. And motors! I could have put a straight six in my '47 Plymouth for what it costs for a tuned pipe .60 nowadays. Not that I could afford the fuel, anyhow. Thirty bucks a gallon, what an outrage!
Not to mention balsa wood! Do you have any idea what a house would cost if it was built of balsa wood! How about five or six million! Not counting the plumbing! Ecuador is supposed to be an impoverished country. Hah! With what we pay for balsa, they should be buying out the Arabs!
-A. Titus Huber, Ohio

Dear Mr. Tirus:
I bet you've still got the first dollar you ever borrowed.

Is it true that Tommy Smith has been selected as a poster child for adhesive abuse!
-Edgar in Eagle's Nest, WY

Dear Edgar:
No, but in March and April, Tommy was stuck to a poster for a truck and tractor pull.

You have written in the past about Emotional Torque (a pull between the Earth and attractive airplanes which causes them to spiral in and crash) and Kinematic Ugliness (a repulsion between the Earth and eyesore airplanes which causes them to last forever).

Advice for the Propworn
-By Jake

I wholeheartedly believe in these two phenomena. Every gorgeous airplane that I've ever spent hours and hours creating has lasted about as long as it took the paint to dry, while every thrown- together toad of an airplane I've ever had has outlived dirt.
I think I have isolated two additional forces that also play a role in determining an aircraft's life expectancy. They are Dyne to Improve It and Benign Neglect. Dyne to Improve It is a unit which measures the energy stored in the airframe whenever you tinker with it. This energy doubles when the work you do is unnecessary, i.e., when you fix something that ain't broke. When the is energy reaches a critical level, it discharges through the atmosphere, usually creating a radio glitch of sufficient duration to crash your airplane.
Benign Neglect, as the name implies, is maximized when you care so little about your airplane that you completely ignore it. Benign Neglect builds up in the airframe, and in large enough quantities, counters any tendency toward functional anomalies which would draw attention to the model. The result: uninterrupted, incident - free flights.
All these forces are interconnected. Obviously, the Emotionally Torqued airplane gets too much Dyne to Improve It and not enough Benign Neglect. Whereas the Kinematically Ugly airplane gets so much Benign Neglect, it can't help but last forever.
A neutral aircraft may receive no Benign Neglect. This can foster

attention-getting behavior in the model. The attention may come in the form of Dyne to Improve It energy. This in itself is dangerous, but enough Dyne to Improve It attention could actually bump the neutral aircraft into the Emotionally Torqued category and guarantee its demise. On the other hand, too much Benign Neglect of a neutral airplane could eventually degrade its appearance to the point where it finally became Kinematically Ugly, thereby assuring its immortality.
These forces are real. I know from experience that if I pamper and baby a ship, it's a goner. (Too Much Dyne to Improve It!) But let some doggy airplane rattle around in the trunk between flying lessons, and it'll still work when an archaeologist digs it up in 2292. (Benign Neglect at work!).
Thanks for your insight, Jake. I hope my own observations have shed a little light, too.
-Theorist in Asbury Park, NJ

Dear Theorist:
Thank you for your supportive letter and your very remarkable, yet indisputable, theories on the forces at work in our universe. Very few readers have shared your positive opinion on the validity of the Emotional Torque and Kinematic Ugliness ideas. In fact, many have. suggested that another force was at work in the formulation of these theories. That force, they claim, was the Critical Density of the author.
- jake

Reprinted From MODEL BUILDER Magazine May 1992
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