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
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).
for the Propworn
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
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
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
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.