Second International Sky Bunny Postal Contest

2015 – Second International Sky Bunny Postal Contest – Results

Junior (up to age 12)

Daniel Walter (9) 47 seconds

Rory Pike (6) 46.8 seconds

Abigail Ritacco (9) 22 seconds

Caitlin Pike (4) Attempt (<10 seconds)

Senior (13-18)

Robert Walter (14) 64 seconds

Open (19-65)

Manuel Cisneros 125 seconds

Bill Kuhl 115 seconds

Ates Gurcan 106 seconds

Ronnie Espolt 103 seconds

Braulio Carreno 97 seconds

Martin Pike 69 seconds

Thayer Syme 63 seconds

Old Fart (over 65)

Bill Vanderbeek 490 seconds

Jon McVay 50.4 seconds

Earl Smith 45 seconds

Fred Terzian 32 seconds

Truman Cross 27 seconds

The Sky Bunny

The Sky Bunny is the third of four free flight rubber powered model airplanes described in a 14-part series of articles written by modeler, designer and teacher Bill Warner. It was titled “Hey Kid! Ya Wanna Build a Model Airplane?” and published in Model Builder magazine from November 1987 to December 1988. It was intended to instruct beginning modelers in the basic skills of model aviation. The series was so popular that it was republished as three books by Tab Books in 1992. At the same time, Peck-Polymers produced a kit containing plans, instructions and materials for building a Sky Bunny. Peck-Polymers has changed hands two times since then, with lapses in production, but kits are being offered again. This kit has been a popular one for parents or grandparents to build with children. Building and flying Sky Bunnies has also been a popular club or group activity.

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The 2014 Postal Contest

In 2014 there was a proposal and request to hold a postal contest for the Sky Bunny. A postal contest is one in which modelers fly and time flights locally and mail the results to a remote contest director, who tallies scores and publishes the results. This is a fun activity to do with friends and family. Bill Warner conducted an Easter Postal Contest in 2014, as announced in this flyer:

Sky Bunny

Easter was chosen for the association with Bunnies and because it was a time when families could build and fly together.

Karl's Sky Bunny

This is the 2014 winner in the OF category, built and flown by Karl Gies. He built it when it was first published in Model Builder magazine and it is still flying.

THE 2015 POSTAL CONTEST

In early 2015 Bill heard from past contestants that they were still snowed in. The contest had to be postponed. The 2015 contest will be held over the four day Labor Day weekend. This gives more time to build and fly. Today postal contests are conducted online.

The 2015 Postal Contest Rules

2015 INTERNATIONAL  SKY BUNNY POSTAL CONTEST RULES

1. Open to Bill Warner’s Sky Bunny design. Planes may be made from any edition of the Peck-Polymers kit or a published plan, according to the materials and dimensions on the plan. Both top and bottom sides of wings must be covered with tissue. Rubber motor is as specified on the plan, or equivalent.

2. For those who are enlarging plans from a book or Internet site, the plan must have a maximum total wingspan of 18″ as measured flat on the plan.

3. Enter in one of four age classes: Junior (up to age 12), Senior (13-18), Open (19-65) or Old Fart (over 65).

4. Flights must be made on the Labor Day weekend between 12:01 AM, Friday the 4th of September to Midnight, Monday, the 7th of September, 2015, local time. Although Labor Day is a US holiday, the international contest is open to anyone.

5. Make as many flights as you want, indoors or outdoors, and report your age class and best time as your score to Comments, under the Leave a Reply heading, below, within two weeks of your flights. The results will be tabulated and published here on EndlessLift.

competition as a stimulus to learning

A competition allows flyers to compare their times with others and encourages them to learn how to do better. This is part of the learning process. Everyone is a winner if they learn something. Especially if they can improve their time. Some of that learning will go up on EndlessLift before and after the contest.

You can post your stories and pictures here on EndlessLift through the Comment feature. We welcome your stories, questions and discoveries. This is primarily a beginner event and a stimulus to learning. We hope that questions and discussion will facilitate improved times leading up to the official contest date. Get started building now so you have plenty of time to learn how to get the best from your plane.

Sources of Kits and Plans

Peck-Polymers has changed ownership, but is once again making kits. Visit the new web site by clicking the highlighted name. Chuck has ramped up production of Sky Bunny kits just to give you a head start on the Sky Bunny Contest.

Kits were being sold by FAI Model Supply. They recently went out of stock. I expect FAI and other retailers will be stocking kits now that they are back in production.

If you would like to build from a plan, there are several sources. The original Model Builder magazines published a plan.

Online sources are: Hey Kid 2OCD Sky Bunny and RC Groups Sky BunnyThe first of these includes the magazine articles. Adjust your printer settings to get the wingspan you want.

The book Building the Sky Bunny by Bill Warner published a reduced plan. You can find copies of the book online, at Amazon, eBay or other sources. The entire book series  is republished here: Volare Hey Kid!

If you plan to build using plans from magazines, books or online sources, see the Plan Discrepancies section below. You will want to adjust some discrepancies.

The Sky Bunny contest Participant Pin

Sky%20Bunny%20pin2[2]

We had gold plastic Sky Bunny Pins, donated by Bill Warner. All pins had been distributed by the end of July 2015. Cost was based on the cost of the padded envelope and postage, which was $2.54 for up to a dozen pins within the continental US. I could order more, but cost would be an additional dollar or two per pin, depending on how many I ordered. If I get enough requests in the Comment section, below, I might order 50 or 100 more.

Motor Size

Competition rules usually specify a maximum motor weight. The motor size in the Labor Day Postal rules is an 18″ loop of 3/16″ as specified on the plan, or equivalent. The kit I have contained a 39 3/8″ strip of 3/16″ rubber weighing 4.9 grams. Some might like to strip to their preferred size. Others might like to use a different cross section and length using a standard width. There is a distance of 11″ between the two hooks which hold the motor. Equivalents using standard sizes would be:

12″, 6 strands of 3/32″

13.5″ loop of 1/4″ or 4 strands of 1/8″

18″ loop of 3/16″ or 4 strands of 3/32″

21.6″ loop of 5/32″

27″ loop of 1/8″

36″ loop of 3/32″ is pushing the limit of what you can wind and put on the hooks without knots jamming the motor. This would make sense only with a much lighter than usual plane.

All of these would weigh about 4.5 grams, plus a bit added at the ends for tying the knot. This allows adjustment of power output and rate of climb. The thicker motor will allow a rapid climb for altitude which is good when flying outdoors. The thinner motor will allow a more gradual climb to a lower altitude and a longer motor run which is better when flying indoors under a low ceiling. You can start with the kit motor size and adjust according to the results and your preferred flying style.

Plan Discrepancies

WINGSPAN

Competition rules typically specify a wingspan. I found discrepancies in the wingspan in different sources. In some cases the plan itself gives two different values, one in the text and one as measured on the plan. As long as the printed plan and the laser cut parts fit, there should be no problem constructing the model from a kit. The new kits are correct. Here is what I found, in order of increasing length;  16″, 16.4″, 16 3/4″, 17.22″, 17.64″, 17 3/4″, 17.87″ or 18″.

16″ – FAI Model Supply was offering kits described in the listing in this size. I suspect this is a nominal dimension or a typo. I suspect that these are from an A2Z production batch. When I checked recently, they were Out of Stock. I expect they will restock from the current manufacturer with proper dimensions.

16.4″ – The online scan prints out to 16.4″ on my machine, but should be rescaled in the print software.

16 3/4″ – The A2Z kit plan that I have measures 16 3/4″ flat on the plan. The stick on the book plan scales to 15 3/4″ at 166% and the kit stick is that size, but the kit plan shows the stick at 14 3/4″. The laser cut ribs are bigger than shown on the plan, too. This casts doubt on the accuracy of this plan size. If you are building from an older kit, check the dimensions of the plan. Print proper size plans as necessary.

17.22″ – Manuel Cisneros says that an original Model Builder magazine plan that he has shows a 17.22″ flat wingspan. The plan may have been reduced to fit the page and paper can change dimensions with humidity.

17.64″ – Ates Gurcan says “The MB plan we have on our web site has a 17.64″ flat wingspan.” This is printed from a digital file that may or may not be accurate when printed. It should be changed with the printer settings.

17 3/4″ – Bill Warner’s Easter Postal Contest Flyer specified this span. Fred Terzian reported that he bought two P-P Sky Bunny kits from Bill in the early 90’s that measure exactly 17 3/4″ on the plan. The note at the bottom of the plan page in the Tab book says “To achieve full size plans, enlarge these pages 166%.” If you do that, the flat span is 17.76″, essentially 17 3/4″. This seems to be the most authentic size.

17.87″ – Ates Gurcan reports “The Peck plan that I have (an original, came in a laser cut kit) measures 17.87″ flat, which results in a projected wingspan of 17.42″. ” This is the new kit. Mine measured 17 7/8″, essentially the same. The parts match the plan, so this one will go together without any mismatches.

18″ – Most plan title blocks say it is 18″. Early Peck catalogs and literature describe it as 18″ wingspan. The book says “You can, for example, enlarge the small plan of the Sky Bunny to 18 inches (standard size) from the one in this book.” The reduced plan is printed on two pages. It is not clear what dimension is to be enlarged to 18″. I assumed, since the title on the plan says “18 INCH R.O.G.” that the wing span would be enlarged to that size.

I copied from the book, enlarged to 18″ span and printed each component, wings, tailplane and fin, on separate sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. I found that the laser cut wing ribs do not quite fit between the spars on this plan, supporting the 17 3/4″ span.

Paper can change size with changes in humidity. This can account for some of the variation in kit plan sizes.

Check the sizes of the laser cut parts against your plan if you have an older kit. Enlarge the plan to fit. I am inclining to the conclusion that the plane was supposed to have a 17 3/4″ span and some plans have been printed too small. The 18″ may have been a nominal span. Postal competition rules will accept all of these size variations. Larger wingspan may have a slight competitive advantage. The difference between 17 3/4″ and 18″ is not significant.

PYLON

I saw a picture of a Sky Bunny online that appeared to have the pylon on backward. I checked and found that there are discrepancies in the various plans and instruction drawings. The magazine and book photos show the pylon leaning forward, the wing leading edge is forward of the base of the pylon.

Leaning forward: photos of Bill Warner’s planes in Model Builder and Tab book, Peck plans, A2Z plan, Tab book plan and part sheets.

Leaning backward: Model Builder plan, parts diagram and building instruction drawings, Tab book building instruction drawings.

This is the plan which appears online, at RC Groups and on the OCD web site. The confusion probably originated in the drawing of the sheet parts which was printed backward so they could be transferred to balsa sheet with solvent. (Note that the sheet part plan was printed twice in the magazine, the first time too small, the second was corrected. Be sure your sheet parts match the plan you are building on.) The error is in the location of the dashed lines where it says GLUE SLIDER HERE. The drafter got it upside down. But that isn’t the whole story, because it is shown wrong on the full side view, too. I notice that the three different plans arrange the components differently on the sheet. The magazine plan jams the wing up against the edge of the sheet. The book and kit plans do not. Whatever the reason, you are now aware of the discrepancy. Both versions are acceptable for the Postal Contest. One advantage of the back leaning pylon is that you don’t have to worry about getting your wing into the propeller arc. But it might not let you get the wing as far forward as you might like for flight trimming.

If you build from the new kit, you will not have to worry about this. That plan is correct.

IMG_0716

Haoyang built his according to the OCD copy of the magazine plan. He had this to say about it.

“The picture shows one drawback of having the pylon slanting back: The plane is so nose-heavy that I have to slide the pylon way up to the nose.”

“I reduced the wing incidence in order to increase the speed the range (i.e., to flatten out both the climb and the descent). The reduction of wing incidence has to be compensated with a rearward CG. In the end I shoved the wing up to the nose. The plane has been very stable throughout the trimming process.”

Ates Sky Bunny

Ates built a wing saddle on top of his pylon, with a rubber band around the stick in back attached with a wire hook in front. The pylon can still be moved to balance the plane.

Ronnie Espolt strengthened the joint between the wing and the pylon. He said this:

“Okay here are pictures of my Sky Bunny pylon attachment. I made two changes. One, I put two small spacers between the tops of two pylon sides. Very little weight added lots if strength gained. The second was the bottom of wing. I added a strip of scrap wood from the rib sheet. It is flush to the gussets and rib. Gives strong mount to pylon and gives nice attachment area for tissue. I think it could be made smaller in the future.”
Ronnie Espolt
Youth and Education Coordinator
Victor Valley Radio Control Flyers
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Videos

There are several videos which are instructive.

Note the steep climb and loop at the beginning and that it is turning right under power, but left in the descent.

https://youtu.be/eXfPRl8njng

Long, high flight with steep descent at the end. Note that this plane has the pylon sloping back.

https://youtu.be/WyV1Kp329Hw

Note the power stall at the beginning and the left turn throughout.

https://youtu.be/NW0UbndB36k

Three nice long flights, turning in wide right circles with gradual climb. He is using a 10″ loop of 1/8″, which is less likely to produce a power stall on initial high torque. A longer motor would allow more turns and longer flights. It would also be wound to a higher percentage of maximum turns and would wear out with fewer flights.

https://youtu.be/aHvrbJhlXnQ

Again, note the power loop and stall under initial high torque.

https://youtu.be/qGLD0kCIKas

Indoor ROG flight, turning right, limited by the ceiling height.

https://youtu.be/VJFLJOW4hYc

Dave Gee just built his Sky Bunny from the new kit and recorded it on stop motion video.

landing gear

Dave noted in the above video that the landing gear wire would not fit through the holes in the wheel hubs. He drilled the holes out to make them fit.

Chuck Imbergamo, the new proprietor of Peck-Polymers, found that the molds for making these wheels, after some fifty years of use, had become worn. At great expense, he had the molds redone so now the wheels will turn freely on the standard 1/32″ diameter wire without any fussing on your part. New wheels have been in all kits shipped for some time and will be in all future kits henceforth. The following notes will be of interest only if you have one of the older kits.

The P-P plan reproduced in the Tab book says 0.045″ wire and 1″ Peck wheels. The 1″ P-P wheel is a very tight forced fit on the 0.0317″ wire provided in the kit, it will not turn, and only after I filed the cut off end to a taper. The sheared off end is somewhat elliptical and will not go in. The P-P wheel is a snug fit on a 0.0305″ drill bit shaft, it turns, but not freely. Older 1″ P-P wheels turned freely on 0.032″ wire. Careful examination found mold flash around the axle holes. Trimming this off with a razor blade freed up most of the wheels.

Chuck found that placing the wheel on a board and forcing the wire into the hole, then sliding the wheel rapidly back and forth on the wire, would free it up. I found that initially this made it tighter, but it made the wire hot to the touch. When the wire cooled down, the wheel was a close but freely turning fit. Be careful not to bend the wire or poke yourself while doing this.

Another fix would be to drill the holes with a No. 67 0.032″ drill, if you have one or can get one. Use a pin vise to hold the drill, or wrap the shank tightly in tape to get a better grip.

You could also use thinner wire if you have it. I found that 0.028 wire was stiff enough to support the weight of a Sky Bunny and small enough to allow the wheels to turn freely.

lozenge tissue and insignia

Sky+Bunny+in+losenge+camo

Mix Barons with Bunnies. As Dave showed in the above video, he prepared German World War One lozenge camouflage tissue paper and insignia for his Sky Bunny. He has made it available to others at Zazzle.

flight trim

This design has flight trim problems typical of a wing on a pylon, as seen in the videos. At high power there is a strong up pitch which results in a power stall or loop. Correcting this with down elevator or moving the wing back results in a steep dive when the power comes off. Balancing these conflicting requirements results in something that is not optimal for either condition. One way to overcome this is to launch the plane in a steep right bank, just like launching a hand launched glider. The initial power will be converted into a climbing helix. After the power comes off, it will roll out into a more level flight circle. This can also be accomplished with a little right thrust or right rudder. When flying on a small field, a consistent turning direction is desired. Turning direction in descent is best controlled with rudder. When that has been set, turning direction under power may be set with propeller thrustline adjustments.

plastic prop hanger

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Fred has used a plastic propeller hanger. He says “My plastic prop hangar fit the fuselage dimensions, and I only had to sand two sides for right thrust and down thrust adjustments. Everything will be adjustable after the landing gear wire is attached.” This kind of experimentation is consistent with the intent of the original designer and the spirit of this contest. Notice the high level of craftsmanship in these assemblies. Patient, careful construction leads to reliable flight performance.

Here are pictures of the completed airplane.

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Blogs

This one has pictures of the wing pylon sloping back. The same plane is seen in one of the videos. These posts are in reverse chronology. Look at the dates and Reply #.

http://www.stickandtissue.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1206575648/40

Here are a couple colorful liveries. Click on the pictures to see them large.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=616269

This contains the original Postal Contest proposal.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=785382

Pictures From the Event

These pictures were sent in as emails to me and belong with the comments posted below.

Bill Vanderbeek with his Killer Bunny at Lagunita, not the location of his best flight.

IMG_4102

Closeup of the front end of Bill’s Killer Bunny.

IMG_4103

Thayer Syme’s Sky Bunny. Nice striping. I think the Williams Brothers scale wheels are what makes it nose heavy.

Sky Bunny-Thayer Syme

Bill Kuhl’s Sky Bunny right after landing. Those small wheels don’t roll very well on the lawn.

20150907_093912_resized

But the tail flashing up makes it easy to time. This was not Bill’s best flight.

20150907_093850_resized

Ates made this video of the Oakland Cloud Dusters contest in Palo Alto, California. You can see how  much fun they were having.

Braulio Carreno sent in three photos that go with his narrative in the Comments below.

bunny02

bunny09

bunny12

Here is what happened to my Sky Bunny:

Sky Bunny 003

I sprayed on a 1% solution of glycerin in water, hoping that the glycerin would act as a moisturizer and prevent shrink of the tissue. I took it out in the sun to dry. The tissue shrank anyway.

57 thoughts on “Second International Sky Bunny Postal Contest

  1. When I designed the Sky Bunny, I never imagined that someday there would be a contest for it! The debate seems to be whether the thing should have the pylon slanted forward or backwards. Last one I made ( Henry Frautschy’s revision) it was forward, which I think is best. Personally, I don’t think it makes a lot of difference.
    It was designed to be a simple transition between Bob Peck’s R.O.G. and something with a built-up fuselage. My first one was lost OOS at Shafter Airport in CA at something like 13 minutes. Wait for the thermal!

  2. I am happy that some use is being made of my old Sky Bunny! The 12 yr. old kid I am tutoring lost his OOS before the contest. The last one I flew went OOS at about 13 minutes over Shafter Airport many years ago! I found a guy in our Peace Group who had made one R/C long before we met. Good grief, Charlie Brown! R/C?
    Guess my mind set has always been on free flight uber alles. Anyway, my congratulations to Gary for running the event, and on behalf of the Bunny, thanks to all who flew!

  3. September 4

    Looks like kind of high winds and rain here this weekend. Much above 10 mph is hard to fly simple rubber powered planes. Maybe I will get lucky and find an open window of low winds and no rain. Humidity is so high grass is soaking wet in the evenings and morning.

    September 5

    Well, the grass is as wet as if it was raining, skies are cloudy, and winds are 16 gusting to 24. No sky bunny flying today. Maybe I will get a chance for a few flights this weekend. Not looking good though.

    Hope most of you have nice weather for flying is weekend.

    Paul Lachance

  4. September 7

    It has been rainy and windy across Montana for several days but at 9:19 a.m. it is 52 above with winds a seven mph. I am hoping for calmer weather later in the day for a shot at it.

    Cheers,

    Karl Gies
    cccnh

  5. September 12

    Gary,

    That 27 seconds was recorded on Sunday morning when I was using the rubber from the kit. I later used three strands (4.5 grams) of 1/16 and might have registered some better times if not for the cocked stabilizer.

    I flew a Skybunny on Monday that spiraled in twice under 10 seconds because the stabilizer was badly cocked as a result of being damaged by falling out of the basket on my bike on Sunday morning on the way home from test flying. Tom Faith took many pictures of that excursion, and I will try to enclose them here. A car did run over the fuselage but between the wheels, so the damage came from the fall. The wings were about a half mile back, quite intact. I had to leave early on Monday, but I think Ateş was leading in times, followed closely by Manny Cisneros.

    Whatever the results, it was a beautiful day, and “…a good time was had by all.”

    Peace,

    Truman

  6. I have been taking my Sky Bunny along with me to Radio Control events and flying before or during breaks. Most respond that WOW! It really does fly. The younger kids about eight have the most interest. I think they understand this is something they can do. I hope they have a adult near by them that can help.

  7. I had read Bill Warner’s book and taught my children (8 and 10) how to build the Sky Bunny, they were very excited flying their creations. That’s when I heard about the contest, I thought it was a good opportunity to take the next step and put them to compete.

    We belong to the Martha’s Vineyard Model Flying Club, and after circulating an invitation, we had five people committed: two in the Old Fart category, my two kids in Junior and myself in Open.

    My friend Carl ordered the pins and gave them to the participants, this was a big factor encouraging the kids, they were excited and wore them every time we went to the flying field.

    Carl had an old Sky Bunny he built a long time ago but he knew he could get better performance building a new one, so he ordered the kit from Peck Polymers. Unfortunately Carl’s plane got damaged the day before the event and could not participate.

    My other friend, Jack, ordered the kit but was not able to finish construction on time.

    For my kids and I it was our first time competing and after learning we should aim for more than 1 minute, we started improving our models. Right thrust on both of my children’s planes was too sharp and they had to replace the nose tubes. In my plane the axle got bent and I had to replace it as well. We also tried different rubber configurations for the motor.

    But moving the wing and working on the balance was the factor that had the highest impact on performance. When I got 91 second and almost lost the plane in the woods I felt I was ready for the competition. My children were getting between 30 and 46 seconds.

    I flew Sunday the 6th as early as I could and my best time was 97 seconds, which is what I posted. My kids were not in the mood to go early and decided to wait, which was not a good idea because the wind picked up and there was not another chance to fly after that.

    We live on an island, not many people fly models here, and if we want to participate in an event it is always a long drive. This contest was a good motivation to hone our skills, it was also a great way to have fun with my kids.

    Thank you for organizing.

    Daniel, Tomas, and Braulio Carreno
    Martha’s Vineyard, MA

  8. I encourage everyone who flew to submit a time and a brief report of your flights. Never mind where you place in the ranking, we would just like to know how many people flew. What did you learn? What troubles did you have? We can advise on how to get better flights. I would also like to hear from those who had a plane ready to go, but who were prevented from flying by weather. I know of at least two. Several who said they would fly have not been heard from yet. Please submit your times.

    I appreciate the ideas submitted by Ronnie Espolt. I thought about not publishing times until everyone had reported in, but I also wanted people to report on their activities. Several people asked what kind of times to expect. After this year’s contest, I think we know what to expect from a Sky Bunny. Many fliers got over a minute and it looks like a well made and properly trimmed Sky Bunny is capable of two minute flights in still air. I considered next year holding off publishing the reports until the contest is over.

    However, I am thinking of changing the format to be like that of the Worldwide Postal, giving flyers the whole year to make flights. This would stop weather from preventing anyone from participating. Local clubs could have an annual Sky Bunny contest and report times here, or individuals may fly whenever they have an opportunity. Also, reported times might encourage people to try to beat the high times and improve their flights, as is often the case during a contest. Think of this as more of a fun flying activity with the contest a secondary spur to try for better times.

    I like the idea of the Mentor team effort. Something like that was recently introduced in Indoor competition. I will review that. One thing that was not part of this contest was the builder of the model rule.

  9. Abigail
    Junior (age 9)
    Cleveland, OH
    Skybunny flight took place on 6 Sept 2015
    Best flight time was 22 seconds
    This was our first try and we had a ton of fun building and flying the Skybunny together.

  10. While we are still waiting for the final tabulation of scores and the results to be disclosed, I would like to send out a round of pats on the back. I was just reading back thru the posting, pictures and videos linked to this contest and the Sky Bunny. I would commend Bill Warner for his years of service to youth and the work to make the Sky Bunny evolve into a great flyer for a educational tool. We also need to acknowledge Peck Polymers for stepping up and keeping up with the demand for kits this year. Also those at Endless Lift who contributed time and ideas.

    I have been kicking around a few ideas about next years contest. Gary I hope you will run this contest again. I like the format of this contest spread out over four days it opens up the schedule to everyone to get out at least one day. The scoring lends itself to beginners. Allowing many flights to get plane trimmed. Even a first time flyer can luck a plane into an out of sight flight. A new flyer would be hard pressed to put up six straight one minute flights.

    So here are my two suggested changes. After the start of contest post no times until final results are in. Discourage any hints of great times. We all would love to hear of flights and fun others had. But I fear that those who had very nice flights of one minute have been discouraged from bothering to submit the times and stories of the great day they had flying Sky Bunnys with us no matter where on the planet they are.

    Next I would propose one more class. I suggest calling it the “Mentor Class” it would be very much in the intent of this contest. Score would be the combined score of a contestant under 18 and one 18 or older. They will need to declare as a team prior to first flight of either contestant. I also suggest they each should be the builder of their own model.

    Ronnie Espolt
    Youth and Education Coordinator
    Victor Valley Radio Control Flyers

  11. Gary,

    I have some good news on the wheels; I’m not sure whether I told you before: We ended up taking the risk and incurring the expense and we got the mold fixed to work as was originally intended with the .032 wire. This was a tough decision since it was expensive and risky, but we wanted to do ‘the right thing’ so these wheels will work well going forward. A few weeks back, when we got the new wheels, we started to include them in every Sky Bunny kit. This should make working with the wheels on .032 wire very easy from now on.

    We are no longer shipping Sky Bunny kits with the old wheels, and have not been for some time.

    —Chuck Imbergamo
    Wind-it-up Enterprises (new owner of Peck-Polymers)
    http://www.peck-polymers.com

    1. Hi Chuck
      The wheels in my kits are perfect fit.
      With sand and dirt field we don’t roll very often.
      One flight the drift carried the Sky Bunny to the R/C runway.
      The landing rolled out perfect to cheers of other pilots that I finally found a plane I can land smoothly.

  12. O.K. Gary, I am only going to report on how well everyone else did this weekend. As we all know Bill Vanderbeek seemed to have achieved one of the best flights on Saturday. He took advantage of the the monthly Northern California Free Flight Council venue near Rancho Cordova. With a wide open field, the Sky Bunny could be kept in sight as it drifted in a strong thermal and gained more than 480 seconds before being lost Out of Sight!
    The rest of our Oakland Cloud Duster gang took advantage of trimming and flying at Stanford University in Palo Alto, in the Lagunita Basin. Stalwarts Ates Gurcan, Contest Director Truman Cross, Manuel Cisneros and I were in attendance Monday morning around 8 am and started to put in official flights by 9 am. Clear Skies with very little drift. Temperatures hovering around 72 degrees by 10 am.
    It was clear that my motors had lost their energy early, so I packed it up after two official flights, with my best score being 31 seconds. Pretty evident that I am more of a glider and gas powered type of guy! I have ten grand children that show potential, so it is hoped that they can make their grampa proud in the future. Ates and Manuel gave us a great show, as has been reported earlier. Truman suffered the going home routine on Sunday as his airplane vacated his bicycle basket and getting run over by an automobile, but surprisingly with little damage.
    Manuel managed his best flight on his fifth try, using Ates’ motor and getting 185 seconds. Ates only flew three rounds and achieved a best flight of 105 seconds.
    We thought that Ben Tarcher and Haoyang Wang would be in attendance, but they were no shows.
    All in all, a great weekend of flying–and we thank you for supporting this venue. I am sure you will continue to get reports during the next week or two. I certainly hope that Bill Warner gets word of this as well–after all he started this crazy concept years ago!
    Hopefully, our other contestants will put in their individual reports, along with photos and videos that were thaken throughout the morning.
    Great to see the reports from other locations! I particularly liked the one from Wales–sure wish I could figure out how to pronounce their flying location!

    Fred T. San Jose, California

  13. Gary,

    Well, we sure didn’t challenge Bill, but we still had fun.

    Unfortunately Gryffin didn’t get his Sky Bunny done in time. It is so very close, but he couldn’t quite muster enough focus over the last few days to pull it off. He has it all covered with just a bit of final assembly to go. It is done in printed lozenge camo I worked up inspired by Dave Gee’s video. He will likely get to it after tomorrow’s half day of school and will fly it before his Boy Scout meeting tomorrow evening if the wind forecast proves wrong.

    We did get half a dozen trim flights on mine tonight after sunset though, just before it got too dark to fly any more. I purposefully went to a schoolyard near where Gryffin’s best friend lives, so that he and his dad could come watch.

    Just in case you don’t recognize it, my scheme was inspired by Tom Hallman’s PT-26 in Norwegian colors. I pieced it together out of Esaki which remains uncoated for now. The fin is double covered to best show off the markings.

    We all lost sight of my Sky Bunny a few seconds before touchdown on its last flight, something about skinny yellow wings against dried grass all blending together in the dark. Fortunately when the wheels caught the grass it tipped up on its nose, flashing us with the flying surfaces so we were able to get a good time. ROG to touch down was 63 seconds. I don’t recall if we are doing a single time, or total of three. If the latter, earlier trim flights landed at 47 and 48 seconds.

    Specs include a Peck’s 8-inch prop, 16-inch loop of .175 Tan II with 1350 turns, 18 grams empty. I have a little washout in the left wing, so that made some trim tabs helpful. No question there is a lot more potential in this one. For starters, I will attack the prop with a razor and see what I can scrape off it. I have the wing all the way forward and it still feels nose heavy.

    The goal is for Gryffin to finish his tomorrow so he can fly it before his Boy Scout meeting in the evening. We are forecast for rather hot weather and since his school doesn’t have AC, they are letting the kids go at 11:10, just long enough to call it an official day. That should give him plenty of time to get it done after his homework. I will follow up with a couple photos once he has it ready.

    Gary, thanks for the pins and the inspiration. It was a lot of fun.

    Sincerely,

    Thayer Syme

    1. Just to clarify on a comment above, I made a pair of very light balsa wheels that I “painted” with silver and black Sharpies for my Sky Bunny. They are not Williams Brothers wheels. I believe the plastic prop is the root cause of my Sky Bunny being nose heavy. In other news, Gryffin and I have since flown his Sky Bunny with great success. We have a very small field at the end of our street that serves for impromptu flying sessions, as long as there is no drift. His best flight was this evening, touching down at 59 seconds. He is currently flying with a loop of 1/8 Tan II, though we will try 3/16 at the next outing. Inspired by Dave Gee’s video, his model looks very sharp in our version of printed camo tissue. I will be updating my web site in the next day or two with photos of our models.

  14. Gary,

    Just walked in the door from a short flying session at Lagunita. High time for the four man contingent from the OCD was 125 seconds by yours truly with several 90+ second flights by Ates Gurcan and some inspiring flights by Fred Terzian and Truman Cross.

    I have to say I feel bad about putting in the longest flight, I made it with rubber I borrowed from Ates. I had been getting 40-60 second flights with one 18″ loop of 3/16″ while Ates had been getting 90 second flights with two 18″ loops of 3/32″.

    The difference seemed to be in the power run profile. Although my 3/16′ motor had had four flights on it, my SB kept jumping into the air like a scalded cat while Ates’ model was climbing up at much more leisurely, and I think, more efficient pace resulting in longer times.

    I had given up flying when Ates suggested I try one of his motors, which I did. I wound to 1300 turns (Ates told me he had put on 1350 on his last flight) and launched. My flight pattern was an almost perfect copy of Ates’ with maybe a slightly smaller turn radius. 125 seconds later my SB came down much to my embarrassment for having beat Ates with his rubber. Ates took it like a gentleman.

    Fred said I had to put in another flight to prove it wasn’t a fluke so I started to wind again but a strand broke at about 600 turns. Taking this as a warning from Hung, I packed it in and reluctantly (yeah, right!) let Fred record the time, which will be sent in to the appropriate authorities by Fred later today.

    Now, of course, this was all done in the shadow of Bill Vanderbeek’s 490 (yes, that’s right!) second flight at Weagel Field on Saturday. You can read the account of that flight on Gary’s Endless Lift blog. Bill had the audacity to show up at Lagunita this morning to silently scoff at us mere mortals and pretend he was all humble about his flight and all, but
    we knew he just wanted lord over us with what has to be the winning flight for the Postal.

    Well, I’m going to make myself some pancakes and watch the last few episodes of the original version of Battlestar Galactica because I have to return the DVDs to the library tomorrow. I’ll have to ponder this 3/16″ vs 3/32″ motor thing, I’m sure plenty of people have assured me the motors should be equivalent but it sure didn’t look that way this morning.

    Ain’t life grand?

    Manuel Cisneros.

  15. After much struggling today under completely overcast skies I just had a 109 second flight.

    I knew my flight would be beaten but I hate to risk the plane anymore than I did.

    Great job guys.

    Bill Kuhl

  16. At Victor Valley Radio Control Flyers, Hesperia CA thermal activity was great but alas the traveling speed was so high we were far down wind and near out of sight at one and a half minutes. To continue would have guarantied a loss of plane at less then two minutes. Our best times from Saturday will stand. Our hats are off to the out of sight 490 second flight. The only good demise of a free flight is “out of sight”.
    Daniel Walter age 9 AMA1033325 high time 47 seconds.
    Robert Walter age 14 AMA1033095 high time 64 seconds.
    Ronnie Espolt age 57 AMA891144 high time 103 seconds.

  17. 115 seconds was my best flight today. I am going with that. This was an outdoor flight from a rather small field and I thought surely I would lose the plane.

  18. Hi Gary,

    I flew the Sky Bunny at Weagel Field Saturday. I entered it in an event at the same time I was flying it for the postal contest. Event was Rubber under 150 sq. inches. First flight was 181 sec, second flight 56 sec. And third flight was 490 sec. Out Of Sight, yes never to be seen again. I placed first in the rubber event! Bud Romak timed the flights. Model was built from a kit provided by Ates and was a bit heavy. This was good as the weather got windy early. Model climbed great and was most stable.

    Please post the 490 sec. as my score for the postal.

    Thermals,

    Bill Vanderbeek

  19. Gary,

    Bill Vanderbeek entered his Sky Bunny in Small Open Rubber at a Waegell Field meet near Sacramento yesterday, and also flew it for the Postal. He wound up winning the small rubber event and then achieved an 8 minute, ten second fly away flight after it could no longer be seen in the thermal that it hooked! It was last seen by Bill and his timer, Bud Romak crossing over the intersection of Jackson Road and Grant Line Road near Rancho Cordova heading southeast! He left me a message on my cell phone at 10:50 a.m. so I assume the flight was taken just before that call.

    No photos were taken before his flight but I have several of his “Killer Bunny” taken earlier this year. Hope to pass them on to Gary to post for all to see after Monday.

    Attached are a couple of photos of my Sky Bunny

    Fred Terzian
    Oakland Cloud Dusters

  20. Old Farts class…….50.4 seconds…..6:30am CDT/Temp 77 F/Humidity@87%/S.E. wind @6 mph
    I only took three attempts…..I’m only 5 mins. from my small field so just for fun when I got home
    I weighed my Skybunny…it had picked up 2 grams of moisture in the little time I was at the field.

  21. My name is Braulio Carreno AMA 854562, from the Martha’s Vineyard Model Flying Club, posted here two weeks ago when I was getting 35 sec. Since then I’ve been trimming my Sky Bunny and improving my flights, also making several repairs. Today at 9:31 AM EST my best time was 97 sec (Open). Used a 18″ loop of 3/16″ rubber with 1,100 turns. Wind was 0 with 4 mph gusts and 22C (72F)

    Thanks for organizing the contest

  22. I flew my Sky Bunny early this morning from small field and 56 seconds was the best flight. I am hoping for another chance with low wind to get longer flights.

  23. What a great day flying the “Sky Bunny” on Saturday the 2nd day of the 2015 postal contest. Two young men from my earlier hand chuck contest showed up with Bunnies they had built. They tossed up a few admirable flights. Daniel Walter AMA 1033325 age 9 set the bar early with 47 seconds. His older brother Robert Walter AMA 1033095 age 14 struggled with trim issues. But he persevered, gaining control to finally put up some good times with a high of 64 seconds. Ronnie Espolt AMA 891144 age 57 almost had a flyaway. With great luck the rubber motor came loose from prop shaft and worked as a dethermalizer at 103 seconds. The Bunny showed no intention of coming down until balance shifted. With two days remaining I hope we will see some higher times. Good Luck to all. We also flew one of Bill Kuhl’s “Fantastic Foam Plate Planes” everyone was impressed with the flights it made most closing in on the 60 second mark.

  24. I am 6 years old. My red and yellow Sky Bunny was built from the Peck kit by Daddy. My single flight today was 46.8sec. (Jnr.)
    Daddy flew my sister Caitlin’s yellow and blue Sky Bunny for 1 min 9 sec. (Open). Caitlin (4) had trouble launching it.

    Flying outside in Mynydd Llandegai, North Wales, UK on 5.9.2015 1800.
    Weather dry , sunny, 11 deg C, wind 4mph.

    Thanks for organising this postal competition.
    Written by Daddy – Martin Pike

  25. With a week to go I checked the weather and wind report. At Victor Valle Radio Control Flyers we are looking great. Cooler then it has been at 95 degrees. Calm in the AM hours. Early is best. I will be building a couple new ones as my Sky Bunny is getting a bit beat up.

    1. Braulio,

      I have not had any reports for the Sky Bunny Contest yet, but several members of the Oakland Cloud Dusters flew Sky Bunnies in the 23rd Worldwide Postal Contest. They flew at Lagunita with a 60 second max. You can see their times in the first event listed, 20″ Rubber, HERE. Also, scroll down to the section Reports From the Field and read the report of CD Dick Douglas.

      This will give you an idea of what to aim for. There were many flights of over a minute. Read the notes on flying and consider what you may do to improve flight times.

  26. I feel like I’m constantly looking for interesting things to read about a variety of subjects, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have compelling entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more amazing material coming!

  27. Gary,

    Given the obvious demand, will there be more pins made? Please say yes, as apparently I have missed out.

    Thanks,
    Thayer

  28. I finished my Sky Bunny.
    Waiting for clear weather to test.
    I will be building 27 Sky Bunny kits with Civil Air Patrol cadets.
    I will be pushing them to enter the postal contest.

  29. I did not feel comfortable with wing to pylon attachment. So I added a little fill wood from the rib sheet stock. Now pylon is wood to wood with a small area for attachment of tissue.

    1. I was looking at that, too. I will post Ronnie’s pictures so others can see what he did. There may be other ways to do this, too.

  30. I would dearly like to get three of those nice pins from you if they are still around. As I will be participating in this interesting event. I ordered two kits. One for me and the other for my little friend who loves flying models. He will be in the junior class and I, well of course, I’ll be with the “OLD FARTS”. LOL Please send me the pins and the details in paying for them. I do use Pay Pal if that is any help.
    Looking forward in this exciting event,
    Paul Stamison

    1. Yes, I can do PayPal. Anyone wanting pins, post a comment below with your request and address. I will reply privately to arrange postage and payment.

  31. I belong to the “Victor Valley Radio Control Fliers” even though we are a RC field, we are open to all AMA flyers. We are welcoming any who would like to fly the Sky Bunny Postal Contest to our field for 2015 Labor Day Weekend. We sit on 85 acres almost treeless. There will be no charge except a $5 day fee if you use the RC runway. You may camp also at no charge. I look forward to a fun relaxing weekend. Please come and enjoy a barbecue with us. (310)344-3140 vvrcf.org

  32. I live on Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. At least five of our model club members including at least two juniors are building Sky Bunnies for the upcoming postal event over the Labor Day weekend. I would like to order 10 Skybunny pins to primarily handout to the junior partcipants. Please let me know where and to whom to send a check or cash. My snail mail address is [removed] (no usps home delivery in this part of the island).
    Thanks for this great event.

    Carl Watt
    AMA 92877

  33. I just pulled out the Sky Bunny wing I framed up last year trying to make the 2014 contest. Built from a late production A2Z kit. Each wing panel measures a hair over 8 7/8 ” which would put it pretty close to the 17 3/4 flat span.

  34. Count us in!!! We would like to order 2 Skybunny pins please advise how to make payment
    Thanks

  35. I will have to build another one, the first one I built got so beat-up from so much flying, it was a good flyer. I will advertise this also.

    Bill Kuhl

    1. Hey this is great, I just purchased “Hey Kid” a few weeks ago. The Sky Bunny was already on my build list. I will encourage a couple kids from my glider contest to also build some.
      Ronnie Espolt

      1. The sky bunny pin is ideal for a summer work shop that I am doing. How can I obtain 24 of the pins?

        Thanks,

        Clift Reed

            1. Earl, I have a Sky Bunny Certificate for you, signed by Bill Warner. If you want it, let me know how I can get it to you.

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