The GOONY BIRD


A report on the GOONY BIRD by Vaughn Entwistle
Goony Bird was my second RC glider. It was built from plans supplied by Radio Modeller, the English RC magazine. The name of the original designer escapes me, but the 100" plank featured a constant, 12-1/2" chord center section with slightly tapered dihedraled tips. Although I built mine strictly as a sailplane, Goony Bird was originally designed as an electric soarer. To accommodate a motor and battery pack, it had a boxy, barge-like fuselage which canít have helped performance much. Another performance limiter was the airfoil section, which was a home-brew, thick, highly cambered, flat-bottomed section with a huge amount of reflex.

Performance-wise, Goony Bird had two speeds--slow, and just a little bit faster than slow. This was my first airplane built solely from plans, and Iím sure she was also heavier than need be. Despite the relatively low performance, I had more long, (up to an hour and longer) high-altitude flights with this sailplane than any of my conventional models. More than once Iíve landed just as the RX batteries died with a twitch of the rudder. Many times other members of the Greater Detroit club have driven onto the flying field to find me lying flat on my back, staring up at a barely visible speck. When a twelve and half inch chord straight overhead is winking in and out of sight, you know youíre pretty high. In fact, with no spoilers, getting down was initially a problem--giving full down elevator would merely cause Goony Bird to accelerate to a slightly higher speed and then remain there. I finally learned the secret to getting her down one day when Goony Bird got caught in an enormous thermal and went O.O.S straight overhead. In desperation, I gave full down and full rudder and watched the sky for falling fragments. Instead, after maybe half a minute of held breath, Goony Bird appeared, corkscrewing down under perfect control, sunlight flashing off the translucent red Monokote. From then on, high altitude flights became more relaxed, as I had discovered the trick of getting her down out of even the biggest killer thermal.

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