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Frankenstein Rises !!!  My 1960's Citizenship Escapement goes, "Click!" Babe_b10
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Frankenstein Rises !!!  My 1960's Citizenship Escapement goes, "Click!" Empty Frankenstein Rises !!! My 1960's Citizenship Escapement goes, "Click!"

Post  Kim on Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:37 am

Spent a cold, windy evening trying to get my old Citizenship escapement radio set working.  My Uncle Wayne ordered it for me from Stanton Hobby back when I was kid.  A used rig, it still cost an incredible $25 ($66.25 new !), which represented a lot of laps around town, selling GRIT newspapers and mowing lawns.

Even more incredible, I actually got the thing installed and working in a Sterling 'Minnie Mambo'...putting in a lot of "controlled" and "no-so-controlled" flights with it.  Like others of it's time, the Minnie is really just a free-flighter with a working rudder, so "loss of control" usually just meant a foot chase (much to my Uncle Wayne's entertainment), with the plane often recovered undamaged. Probably why we were so skinny back then.

Frankenstein Rises !!!  My 1960's Citizenship Escapement goes, "Click!" Mambo_11

Even when "under control", the Minnie was still a free-flighter most of time it was in the air.  The transmitter was off except when the pilot pushed the spring-loaded button on the right (the left button was a "Carrier" switch that was supposed to dampen interference, but it never seemed to make a difference back then!).  Pushing the switch sent a "Tone" that caused the receiver to trip the single relay, releasing and catching the escapement wheel's little arms, and pausing the rudder in one of it's three positions; : Right, Left, or Neutral.  The wheel was powered by a length of rubber, stretching back to the rear of the plane.

Push up and Hold: Right Turn
Push Twice (really fast) and Hold: Left Turn
Release:  The wheel spins around and is stopped at Neutral

Seems like everything is wireless now, and no one notices EXCEPT when things stop working, but I can tell you...back then...to push a button, and have a free-flying airplane break into a right turn...was a rush that's hard to describe !

The flight-pack hadn't been powered up in a few decades, and some of it's wiring had been messed with down through the years, but at a recent swap meet, I was able to buy a NIB flight pack as a back-up and to help guide me in the wiring of the original dinosaur.  The new pack's crystal is a different value and won't respond to my transmitter at this point, but I'll fiddle with that later.

After bi-passing the dust/goop-filled switch in the original unit, I nearly fell out of my chair when the the flight-pack's relay responded to it's transmitter by clicking like some ancient telegraph!  I spent a several minutes just pushing the button and listening to the faint clicking...ah, life's simple pleasures!  It's got a range of about a foot at this point, which will hopefully increase after I've jammed a yard-long piece of music wire in the transmitter's antenna base, and soldered an equal length of wire to the receiver's stubby antenna.

Now, to make a working mock-up to show these youngsters an operational "Rubberband-Powered Servo", and point out just how good they got it with the play-with-it-right-out-of-the-box stuff we have today !!!

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Post  roddie on Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:05 am

Hi Kim! That's very cool! It's great that you have kept so many examples of your early modeling days.. and frequently share photos and your experience of their use, with us!

Did the "reed"-type radios supersede that design.. or "is" that a variation on a reed system? I'm sorry.. I don't know much about the early radios.
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Post  fredvon4 on Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:13 am

Damn Kim this is twice today you tickled my brain into fond memory mode. I remember selling Grit, Christmas Cards, mowing lawns (an extra quarter as a tip was a real treat) and collecting pop bottles to fund all my after school hobbies
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Post  Kim on Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:42 am

Yeah, I forgot about the deposits on soda bottles!  I also made a "Ton" of cash chopping and husking cane poles from the creek, but that involves another 'adventure' that I want to write about later.

Yeah Roddie, the reed units and escapements coexisted for a long time, but all I know about them is what I have read in my old mags.  I never had a clue as to how they were "tuned" to respond to the transmitter, but know there were "Up" buttons and "Down" buttons and so on...

There are guys over on the VRCS "Vintage Radio Control Society" site that still fly the reed units...which simply astounds a stump jumper like me!

All these things were hard-won back when I was kid, and so, much of my stuff got packed away for "someday", rather than getting trashed.

My Uncle Wayne still has his Min-X "Galloping Ghost " set which somehow pulled three control functions from a single, beeping channel.  His poor plane always looked as though it was having a seizure when the radio was turned on, with all of it's control surface writhing to their stops in time with the transmitter's beeping.  The thing rolled inverted and crashed every time he attempted to fly it, but our learning curve on simply knowing how to fly was something to be considered too.  The Minnie actually survived because of it's pilot's LACK of control !!!
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Post  rsv1cox on Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:51 pm

Well guys, let me join the Grit sellers association. It was 10 cents a copy when I was selling it in the late forty's. Teachers in our school were my best customers.

I had a near identical set-up, only in a blue case. I never put it in an airplane and have no idea what ever became of it.
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Post  Kim on Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:11 pm

Selling that newspaper was my first "Real" job and I'm very fond of those memories !  It financed my Schwinn Stingray, and let me outfit it with the "prizes" from their catalog with the points from selling each paper.  I never had the discipline to hang in there and accumulate the points to claim the Cox Stuka they offered, but the Stingray WAS dressed out with a speedometer, headlight, and turn signals!

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Post  andrew on Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:34 pm

I've owned and flown planes with both escapements and tube type TXs and with Galloping Ghost setups. Escapement flying was mostly free flight with an occasional change in direction -- I chased about 98% of the time and actually had some semblance of control about 2% of the time (on a good day!!).

I found that I could tune my stereo amp to the frequency of my Galloping Ghost transmitter and actually hear the tones being transmitted and how they changed with stick movement. The GG actuator was purely mechanical and was driven by a motor that reversed direction very quickly. The elevator and rudder control depended on how quickly the motor reversed direction and by how far it ran in one direction. It was basically a frequency controlled pulse width modulation system. The throttle was changed by allowing the motor to run continuously in one direction or the other for a short period of time. It worked amazingly well, but the plane would wallow around like a drunken sailor when flown slowly.
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Post  rsv1cox on Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:53 pm

Ok Kim, this is getting scary.

The Gray Ghost Stingray I bought for my son on his birthday sometime in the early '70's

Frankenstein Rises !!!  My 1960's Citizenship Escapement goes, "Click!" Pbucket

His son, my grandson riding it many years later.

Frankenstein Rises !!!  My 1960's Citizenship Escapement goes, "Click!" Pbucket
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Post  Kim on Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:56 pm

The Forum can be a Spooky Place !! Lots of similar trails here !
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Post  Kim on Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:59 pm

andrew wrote:I've owned and flown planes with both escapements and tube type TXs and with Galloping Ghost setups.  Escapement flying was mostly free flight with an occasional change in direction  --  I chased about 98% of the time and actually had some semblance of control about 2% of the time (on a good day!!).  

I found that I could tune my stereo amp to the frequency of my Galloping Ghost transmitter and actually hear the tones being transmitted and how they changed with stick movement.  The GG actuator was purely mechanical and was driven by a motor that reversed direction very quickly.  The elevator and rudder control depended on how quickly the motor reversed direction and by how far it ran in one direction.  It was basically a frequency controlled pulse width modulation system.  The throttle was changed by allowing the motor to run continuously in one direction or the other for a short period of time. It worked amazingly well, but the plane would wallow around like a drunken sailor when flown slowly.

COOL !!!! I KNEW they must have been flyable! It just seemed like the battery would be drawn down quickly with all that wiggling ! What plane did you fly it in??!

Me too on the escapement...sometimes the Minnie would turn on it's own...figured a CB'r had intruded! I couldn't give it an opposing command, and just had to wait for to lose the alien signal, cycle to neutral, and let me try ot get it back !
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Post  Cribbs74 on Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:53 pm

rsv1cox wrote:Ok Kim, this is getting scary.

The Gray Ghost Stingray I bought for my son on his birthday sometime in the early '70's

Frankenstein Rises !!!  My 1960's Citizenship Escapement goes, "Click!" Pbucket

His son, my grandson riding it many years later.

Frankenstein Rises !!!  My 1960's Citizenship Escapement goes, "Click!" Pbucket

That is one cool bike!

Congrats on the "click" Kim
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Post  andrew on Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:40 pm

Kim wrote:
COOL !!!!  I KNEW they must have been flyable!  It just seemed like the battery would be drawn down quickly with all that wiggling !   What plane did you fly it in??!


The plane was loosely based on the Mayfly.  I drew up a set of plans from the set published in a magazine and scaled up the wingspan to around 48".  It had an Enya III R/C .15 on it -- I still have the engine.  In those days, we flew without mufflers, so there was no problem finding the plane in the air.  It was the plane I learned to really fly with (and it took some abuse).  I couldn't afford one of the early proportional radios.  One of the guys I was in graduate school with bought a radio, so we put his radio in my plane and flew the doody out of it -- shared fun, so to speak.

Having a fully proportional radio was better and smoothed out the flight, plus airtime was increased.  You're correct in that flight times were limited with the GG -- a 4 ounce tank on the Enya was about right.

It was ugly as sin and painted orange all over, so we named it the Orange Bomb.  I may build another just for nostalgia and use some modern equipment.

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