On our Thanksgiving trip to Bozeman, my brother-in-law offered to take me flying. We took off mid morning and flew from Bozeman to Townsend. The weather was beautiful and we had a good flight.
My wife captured a few photos as we flew by the house.
My oldest daughter is now six and a half and has a mild interest in the airplanes she frequently sees me flying. Upon asking if she'd like to learn how to fly one, she jumped up and down and screamed for several seconds. Working off that bout of enthusiasm we started looking online at different planes that might make good candidates as a training platform. Being familiar with Flite Tests foam planes, it didn't take long to decide on the Tiny Trainer. The tiny trainer can be built as a glider, or a powered plane. It also has two wing designs, one is straight with ailerons and one without. I decided to build this as a two channel glider to keep it simple.
I've assembled just one other Flite test plane, the Baby Blender. I was considering purchasing the kit for the Tiny Trainer but after looking at the plans it didn't seem like that much foam to cut. :) After several evenings of cutting foam, we got started assembling the plane. Flite Test provides a build video which is very helpful. I utilized my phone to keep pace with the build video as I assembled things. It makes for a very convenient way to build a plane.
All told it only took one and a half sheets of foam board and took about a week to finish. I completed it right at her bed time but managed to sneak it up to her room so she could give it a quick look over before morning.
The next morning we went to the hardware store and purchased purple and pink duct tape for decorating the plane. We balanced it out before taking it to a nearby park. She got to fly it several times before we headed home.
We now have a couple of weekends of flights on the plane, considering it has seen several hard landings it's holding up quite well. The only issue encountered while building was getting the balance right, it took much more weight in the nose than I would have guessed. On average flights are about 80 yards off a hard throw.
Recently we relocated to Minnesota. My brother-in-law flew into the area with a 172 for a family function last week, so had the opportunity to get in a few minutes of flying with him. We also were able to take along a friend that hadn't been up in a plane before. Was a nice evening flight, here are a few pictures.
After Christmas we had a few friends in town from Oregon. We went on a mini vacation to Galveston for a few days to explore and relax. While the women and children went and enjoyed an aquarium, my friend and I ended up over at the Lone Star Flight Museum exploring their aircraft collection.
Several of the planes are flight ready which is very cool. The collection isn't huge but there are around 40 to 50 planes to admire. Admission was very reasonable for a flight museum. While I enjoyed looking at the planes, I found myself fascinated by the artwork displayed in the museums gift shop. I would love to have one of these to hang up in my office :)
Photos of the originals taken using my iPhone 5...
My wife came home from Hobby Lobby with a small balsa model that she'd picked up at the discount rack. I let it sit in the box for a couple weeks knowing that I didn't have much time to contribute to building the model. After several weeks I could no longer resist, so I talked our oldest daughter (who is 5) into helping me assemble the model. She was immediately a big help, dumping the contents of the box on the table and announcing that she would break out all the die cut parts. :)
I'd never built a Gullow's kit before having been suspicious of the pile of thin balsa inside the box. This particular kit is a build by number kit... meaning there are numbers printed on one side of the balsa pieces and numbers printed on the plans. Simply align the pieces on the plan with the pieces of balsa in the kit.
One issue I had was that I did not have a dedicated work-space for this project so when I finished working on the project for the day, I'd stick it up on the shelf. The entire project was small enough that I'd just find places around the living room to stick parts and pieces for the glue to dry. After a few weeks we'd completed the plane's skeleton and it was ready for the tissue paper covering. I gave the plane a quick sanding and we moved onto the covering step. Not wanting to deal with model dope because its pretty nasty stuff, I decided to use the alternative method of white glue and water. It's much easier to cover a plane with this method than I had imagined... perhaps easier than using a plastic covering material. It's a very forgiving method. In areas where I accidentally tore the paper, I'd just rip off another small piece of tissue wet it and stick it in place.
My daughter seemed to enjoy the experience of busting out the balsa wood, handing me the parts and gluing things. She didn't quite have the patience or strength to pin things to the building board. While fun to build, I didn't feel the urge to make this a flying model so it is a designated hangar queen.
The translucent film showing the ribs gives the plane a vintage look and makes an interesting nick-knack to stick on the shelf. Those of you that stick electronics in these kits and fly them have more patience than I do.