Why is a swept wing better than an unswept wing?
-Bill in Bassett, Wis.
Because cleanlines is next to Godliness.
Which is the better hobby, modeling or fishing?
Can't Decide in Camden, NJ
Dear Can't Decide:
They're both great. In fact, I like them each so much that I've
found a way to combine them. Stop by sometime and I'll show you
my collection of model fish. (The carp won Non-Military Scale at
Toledo in 1989).
I'm an electronics technician with the Air Force. As a military
member, I move frequently as my assignments change. My last two
assignments were Rome Air Force Base in upstate New York and Arnold
Air Force Base near Tullahoma, Tennessee. Both were rural areas
with lots of green grass and trees.
I've just recently moved to Edwards Air Force Base in the California
desert. No trees, no water, just sand and scrub brush.
Did I mention that I was an RC modeler? RC sailplanes, specifically.
Well, I've noticed that my planes just don't fly as well at my new
desert flying site as they used to back east where the flying fields
were all greenery. The sink rate is way up, the control response
is sluggish, and I haven't had a flight over two minutes since I
My question is this. Are there less aerions in the desert than
in the green belt? Is that why my ships are performing so poorly?
Staff Sergeant in Kern County, CA
Dear Staff Sergeant:
Desert air is hotter and drier than forest air, but not because
there are fewer aerions.
You have misinterpreted my past comments on aerions. Aerions
are not found in air, they are found in your airplane. The more
aerions your airplane has, the greater its aerodynamic half-life
will be. Aerodynamic half-life, I hope you recall, is the time it
takes for an airplane to lose half irs ability to fly. This decay
is the result ofaerion particle emission.
In your case, you appear to have been unaware that Air Force household
goods shipping regulations classify aerions as a hazardous material.
aerions wereprobably removed from your airplanes by the
government hauler before he would transport your models to
your new duty station. And typical of a lowest-bid contractor,
he no doubt failed to replace them upon delivery to your new
residence. That's why your airplanes don't fly worth a hoot.
It's an easy problem to remedy, however. Go down to Pep
Boys and get yourself an 9-ounce can of aerions. Ajax is a
good brand and so is Acme. Don't get suckered into the aerosol
can. I know it looks like a convenience, but it costs more
and you'll lose a lot to overspray. Find the holes in your
airframes where the mover pumped out your aerions and pour
in a fresh supply. Seal the holes and you'll soon be soaring
up a storm again.
What's the most prestigious award you've ever received?
Hank in Hollowell, NM
A pardon from the governor.
Would it be safe to use my 1989 radio in 1991?
Gene in Glen Cove, L.I.
Not if you haven't charged the battery in all that time.
I read in a letter near the beginning of this column that
the government considered aerions to be a hazardous material.
Why would that be the case?
Roscoe in Rye, NY
I was curious myself when I first heard that the Air Force
treated aerions as hazardous, so I did a little research to
find out why that was. It seems that after World War II, when
Werner von Braun had come over to our side, he was planning
some research with aerions to see if they
|would extend the range of ballistic missiles.
A Lt. Eugene Felch, an aide to the Air Force Chief of Staff,
transported some aerions to Washington, D.C. in his briefcase.
The aerions were to be a visual aid hoped to sway a Senate subcommittee
voting on funding for von Braun's project.
It seems that Felch's airliner was unable land due to
excess aerions that leaked out the lieutenant's briefcase
during the flight Apparently, it kept flying for days, even
before it ran out of gas. On the sixth day, passenger and
crew personal hygiene problems reached a critical state and
a massive cloud of beodes was released into the cabin. Beodes,
as you recall, are particles emitted by unwashed clothing
or bodies that are repelled by olfactorons and cause rising
air columns known as Bergstrom Oblate Air Masses, or B.O.
thermals. The ensuing atomic reaction. between the aerions
and the beodes caused a backwash in the airliner's lavatory
system, and a surge of blue fluid blew the tail cone right
off the airplane. It fell into a Georgia cotton field, killing
several boll weevils.
Based on this incident, the Air Force has deemed all aerions
hazardous and will not transport them through populated areas.
This policy has now also been adopted by the National Transportation
Safety Council which posts those "NC" signs warning trucks
with "hazardous cargo" to take the bypass routes around major
cities. Until the legislators grant us a waiver, those of
us driving around with aerion-laden model airplanes in our
station wagons will apparently have to keep off the interstates.
Alex Trebec, host of 'Jeopardy.'
Cal from Conway, NH.
What TV personality, originally from Canada, is an R/C
model airplane enthusiast?