Muscoda, August 2004- (written by Doug Birlingmair)

I arrived with my 12T4 “Proteus” at 11:30am on Friday.  Dan Brewer was there with his newly bought High School shop project 12T4 (affectionately named the “Bondo Bucket”) along with Norm Frakes, who is getting ideas for his first build.  Dave LaComb with Oblio was already at his campsite.  Friday was spent helping Dan rig up his throttle linkage, and watching various craft arrive.  Dan went out for his maiden voyage, but had some thrust problems, so he beached on a sandbar downstream (the river was great, very low with bars all over!).  Dave LaComb, Dave Schnieder, Mike McCourtney (?) and I flew out to see what was up, and Dave L. towed him back with the “HUV” (Hover Utility Vehicle – another name for Oblio).  Dave actually got him over hump speed towing!  Terry Tousignant arrived with his 18SP, but the starter broke off on his first engine start!  Towards evening folks went into town for dinner, then did some campfire talk. 

Saturday promised to be a great day.  After the fog burned off around 8:30, hovers were coming and going all day.  Terry found a starter for his 18SP and had it going quickly.  Ken Roberts cruised a lot in his 12R.  A gaggle of Starcruisers went for a long cruise down river, while some of us just made short trips up and down the river bar hopping – sandbar hopping, that is.  My wife and kids, and grandkids arrived around noon, so I almost always had “co-pilots” with me.  Don Schultz with his 18SPW and the HoverBus showed up, as well as a Scat (John and Stacy, what is your last name???).  It was Johns first time out with the Scat and he loved it.  Eric Strakowski had arrived Friday with a very futuristic design, kind of a “James Bond Meets Star Wars” concept.  He had a ductless prop that whistled as it turned.  Very distinctive.  If he was far enough out, all you heard was the prop whistle.  Verdon Weber flew his RC plane that was a flying wing and looked like a bat.  Verdon Weber had a fan powered bicycle – a 3.5hp engine turning a small ducted fan.  Someone told me it would do 40mph!

Sunday was another great Hover Day.  The river had dropped even lower.  I went out early and did some 180’s and 360’s on a bar that had appeared in the middle of the channel.  Later that morning six Starcruisers lined up on the bar for a photo shoot.  Don’s 18SPW made some ground effect flights up and down the river, while another 18SP with rudders in an X configuration, got ready to launch.  Alas, they had some engine trouble and never got off the trailer.  James Gilles and son arrived with their newly built 13PT.  It was his maiden flight also!  He did well out to the bridge, but then blew out his skirt coming back and had to be pulled out.  I helped Dan get his throttle linkage working and he went out for a two mile cruise up stream.  Later in the afternoon, Dave Schnieder (13P) gave rides to a group of onlookers.  They all loved it!  Dave would demonstrate his skill by bringing his craft up the ramp, spin around and set down inches from my 12T4.  Then Vernon Weber did the same thing, but miscalculated and bumped into my hull – no damage, but he got teased a little about it!  The HoverBus went on a three hour cruise up river.  By noon, folks were loading up and heading back home. 

Here is the impromptu roster that Linda and I came up with:

Doug Birlingmair - 12T4 "Proteus"
Dave LaCombe - orig. design, "Oblio" (MN)
Dan Brewer - 12T4 "Bondo Bucket" (just kidding Dan)
Dave Schnieder - 13P (MN)
Eric Strakowski - orig. design (MI)
Terry Tousignant - 18SP "Wigged Out"  (MN)
Verdon Weber - SC, RC plane, fan powered bike
Vernon Weber - SC
Linda Weber - SC "Pink Lady"
Mike McCourtney - SC "Mad Mag" (IA)
Ray Mathews - SC "Prowler"
Don and Jean Searls - SC (MO)
Dennis Alm - SC (MN)
Mike, Kathy and Yvonne Cohen - (formerly K Jernigan craft SC)
Don Schultz - 18SPW & "Hover Bus"
Jim Gilles – 13PT (orange with bike handlebars) (MN)
Pat Foley - 18SP (we called it the X-Wing due to the rudder design)
Dennis Alm – SC (MN)
John and Stacey ??? – Scat (IL)
Ken Roberts - 12R  (IL)

All in all, a great weekend.  Three maiden flights, and very few mechanical problems, weather was great, and the river was awesome.

Doug Birlingmair
Elkhorn, Wisconsin

A few pictures.....more to come!


Pictures from Mike Courtney!




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