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Frank Cronin
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Fond Memories

March 14, 2018 · in Aviation · · 9 Comments

When I was a very early teen I was into control line flying models. I began building and flying models and belonged to a flying club called the "Aerobats". We got together, young and old, and built and flew control line. I continued to do so until I was 16 or 17 then discovered there were beings, called girls. So much for model airplanes for some time.

The Aerobats went to contests and had our own, and had little gotcha projects for fun. We would all agree to build a Ringmaster overnight and fly it the very next day, just to see if we could. When I was about 14, I built a flying model kit by Veco, the Papoose. I did it up in bright yellow and had US stars and bars and NAVY on the side. It became my "go to" flying model. I flew it pretty close to two years and at the time I was flying it I was proficient at stunting. I did all kinds of stunts with this aircraft, loops, figure eights, wing overs, upside down, inside loops, etc, etc. On one very bright sunny day I was again doing my thing flying this yellow papoose in every stunt I knew. Then came a very simple wing over and as it was coming over the top, one of the lines broke. Full speed directly into the ground and made a hole you could put a plant into. Needless to say, I had a mass of yellow paper and balsa trash.

Thankfully girls were on the horizon...

As the years passed and as my girls were growing up I ventured into plastic scale modeling with my first venture being a Hawker . (which I still have) As time went on I began collecting old wooden model airplane kits and in this mix I acquired a Veco Papoose and a Dumas Papoose. Dumas at some point bought out Veco and relabeled the Papoose under their brand. It is exactly the same kit. At some point over a year ago I decided to try to replicate my old trusty yellow Papoose. I used the Dumas kit and I bought a K&B 19 green head, the same as my original, and in between a project or two for others, I built the Papoose again. Considering it had been roughly 65 years since I built the original I wondered how in the heck did I do this when I was 14. Anyway, in between other projects I finished it a while back and it is not exactly, but very close to what I had built years ago. It is all set up to fly with a tank and all the controls work but it will never fly again. I had a kick building this and as I said I marvel that I had more problems with building it now than I did when I was young.

This has been a kick for me to, in a very small way, relive my youth.

Lethargic, perhaps, boring to all of you, Perhaps, but I just felt like showing off this little yellow Papoose

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

9 responses

  1. Hello Frank !

    Man this brings back some great memories for me too. I used to build and fly U control planes too. I had one that was called "Lil Satan" that I built and covered with Chrome Monocoat. It was a small dedicated stunt plane and was powered by a Cox .049.

    Then I had a Midwest P-63 King Cobra kit that was a profile plane. It was powered by a Cox TD .15 if my memory is correct.

    This one had the typical fuel proof "dope" finish over silkspan tissue. Later I recovered the wing using the Iron on monocoat.

    My very first control line plane was the Cox PT-19 trainer. It was held together with rubber bands and was designed to fall apart on impact to help prevent damage. I ended up with quite a few different u control planes over the childhood years. Most were Cox planes like the Corsair, P-40, P-39 and Stuka. Then I had some of the Testors planes like the Sopwith Camel, Albatros, Spitfire, Zero, and the chrome Mustang.
    Good times.
    I have not flown a u control plane in years. I'd probably get too dizzy now and crash.

    • I remember building the "Lil Satan." It went like a bat out of hell with the 049. It was all I could do to control it. I cut my U teeth on the venerable Cox PT-19 and had many of the other Cox examples you mention, the Stuka being one of my favorites in both black and green. The prices these planes now command is unreal. Perhaps it is the smell of "Thimbledrome" fuel I remember best. I have a full can of it in my collection, along with a few early glow engines.

      In those early years, R/C was a dream that could only be pursued by adults with the money to put into the radio equipment. Today I cannot imagine flying U-Control with all the very affordable, scale R/C selections available. I have several, but cannot seem to get the hang of it, even after practicing with the R/C sim. After crashing a few smaller examples I finally gave up and relegated the larger ones to display status. However, I may try again with the advancement of FPV technology

  2. Brings back memories for me as well, the Cub Scouts. We built balsa airplanes covered with that tissue you spoke of. Seeing the ribs, spars and framework jogged the ol' bean.

  3. Well this post certainly brings back some memories! Flew the Cox P-40, P-39 and the Stuka powered with .049's with some school buddies of mine. Like you girls got involved so U-control went by by. However, a guy in my Battalion in Germany told me he also flew U-control so we started building planes together and circle airplane flying started again. The profile plane is a Magician 15 kit and I just didn't have the heart to trash it

    The Sterling F4U and engine were a Christmas gift from the wife and of course I've once again put in on the shelf as life interrupted my building it.

    The engine has only been out of the box to show people. Would be interesting to hear her fired up. Great fun those days, thanks for posting Frank.That little guy looks great in yellow and it sounds like you had a lot fun building her.

  4. Frank, Your Pappoose looks nice and must have been a lot of fun. You should go out into your front yard and fire that baby up !

    A fond childhood memory was of the neighbors (who were really into this), decide to build a prop car, kind of like a air boat /swamp boat, except on wheels. They stated it up in there back yard, let it go and instead of rolling across the patio, the front wheels came off the ground, the thing went skyward, and disappeared. We actually found it over 1/2 mile down rang in a field. My first physics lesson !

  5. Wow! I no longer feel I had a proper childhood. The only wooden aircraft I ever "made" had a huge red prop, spindley wire legs with red wheels and had a big rubber band for propulsion! I've always been into the plastic. (for the glue, perhaps?!)

    Great trip down memory lane, Frank!

  6. I had that Li'll Satan and the P-63 as a kid. Good memories.

  7. Frank, haven't lost the old touch, huh? It looks good! Renaissance guy!

  8. Great story and build !

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