This .40-size Dirty Birdy pattern ship was the last plane I built. It was finished sometime around 1980 and represents the epitome of my model building abilities -- fuselage covered with fiberglass cloth, microballoon blending of wing and fuselage, airbrushed epoxy finish, etc. I flew this plane a few times then dropped out of the hobby. Little things like marriage (yes, that is my wife below), business travel, college courses, kids and home ownership kind of distracted me a little. Twenty years later I decided to introduce my son to the world of radio controlled model airplanes. While I got him started with a trainer, I got the Dirty Birdy back up to flying condition for me to fly (second picture). I added a tuned pipe (third picture) more for looks than for the extra performance, although I did get more power out of the engine as a result.

7/9/05 -- Update
Well, all good things must come to an end (see fourth picture). I had hoped to retire my Dirty Birdy before something like this happened, but it wasn't meant to be. This plane sat idle for twenty years, then started flying again in 2002 and has flown for four seasons, three of those year-round in Florida. Last weekend I lost it in the sun, and couldn't get orientation back. I knew early on that I had made a mistake painting this plane black. Now I have paid the ultimate price. It's always been difficult to stay on top of orientation. You have to know what this plane is doing every second in order to know what inputs to give next. I lost it a few times, but had always recovered. Such is the nature of this hobby, though. Time to get back on the horse.


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