Keith Francis Chief Flying Instructor

Keith Francis Chief Flying Instructor

Keith Francis Chief Flying Instructor

Keith Francis Chief Flying Instructor

Keith Francis Chief Flying Instructor

Started off as a teenager with the construction of basic stick kit-set control line aircraft, while I constructed quite a few (owing to the ground consuming them) it wasn’t’ until I constructed a scratch build spitfire (42”) with a three line handle enabling throttle control that I managed to loop and fly inverted. During these times the engines sizes were very much smaller than today’s engines with the .15 being about the usual size. I also remember the hours spent flicking over the small diesel adjusting the compression what seemed like 1 million times.

It wasn’t until my son had a school project to construct something out of balsa wood that I dug out the old engines and plans. We constructed a control line plane and away we went.

First Radio Controlled Model

Well as things happen it was my wife that purchased me a small foam radio controlled Cessna powered by a full screaming Cox .09 engine. I actually managed to carry out quite a few flights with it. Just hand throw and make sure you only turn one way circuits and when the fuel ran out simply glide down to the ground. It got some really good experiences with this plane. I was given the plane for Christmas while on holiday I drove some 80k to find the right place to fly, got out the plane wings fuel battery and after another 160k the transmitter I had left in the tent. I remember flying my left hand circuits but not keeping them within the confines of the paddock and allowing my tree climbing skills to be tested. But like all good first plane in the hands of highly skilled novice clearly the end would not be to many flights away, to this day I swear this was bought about by what could have been my first radio failure, while carrying out my left hand circuits it continued in a straight line and entered a dive, which continued with the Cox .09 screaming at full throttle straight down with out a problem until the bloody ground got in the way.

Ok I enjoyed the flying and after speaking (most likely down on both knees and my hands tightly together help up in front of me) to my dear wife off to model shop to price a 4 channel training, engine and transmitter.

Ist 4 Channel Aircraft

I purchased (luckily) a Goldberg Eagle 2, ASP .46 and a Hitec Focus 4. Following plenty of learning I completed the project and took it all across to local park for some practice. This started some wings off taxing, read some where to do this to stop it flying before I was ready, after adjusting the nose wheel on with the wings and yes into flight, well actually as soon as it lifted off the ground I shut it off and it glided back to ground after a few meters.

Now was the time to find someone to teach me to fly and leave the plane whole.

Learning to fly was done a club and took about 6 months, mainly due to the availability of instructors and waiting for the no wind days.

Following solo I remained with the Eagle 2 as my only plane for about six months, during this time I would practice touch and go circuits, spot landings, landing power off from just about anywhere in the circuit and flying in the wind. How much wind I don’t know but when Wayne put my plane center of the runway facing the wind he had to hold the tail until I applied plenty of power because the wind was blowing the plane backwards.

A bit of Fun.

On one occasion I build a lolly drop box under the Eagle 2, after not obtaining enough lift on the first take off attempt, we held the plane at the very start of the runway pushed it full throttle then released it. Despite the onlookers yelling abort the take off the lift got under the wings in time for the wheels to brush through the long grass at the end of the runway. The climb out was done with no elevator to allow speed to help. Now only one last challenge remained release the lollies, I had constructed the box with a door at the rear because if I had hinged doors under the box any problem closing them would have left the kind of landing we don’t want. However when I opened the door only 2 or 3 lollies feel out, after obtaining some more height I carried out a shallow dive then pulled straight up, it was heaven seeing the lollies fall to ground and I got back the Eagle 2 I was used to. Never filled that box so full again.

Well as we all know one thing leads to another and I obtained some more plans and I scratch built a Das Ugly Stick, then onto a few more aircraft…….

Today we teach using the basically the same Goldberg Eagle 2 that we learnt on. Ok some changes made during 2009 to the old Eagle, I have recovered the wings and main fuselage and despite my love of the old ASP (replace the sleeve and piston some time ago) a new engine was finally put on. The wings, tail and rear stabilizer live on.