When I was a teenager, my big brother Paul had me design my own airplane in a notebook of pages of graph paper, and then he built it for me! Paul is an airplane genius and an expert model builder, as you can see by these pictures of me holding the end result. Then we went to the school field to see if "Old Elephant Wings" could fly.
Paul preferred free flight models rather than controlled, because of the adventure and the freedom of watching your creation control itself and go where it will. I had watched Paul fly several model planes (incidentally he became a pilot and actually flew me in real planes, too) and they all flew great. Old Elephant Wings was different. Oh, it flew! It made big spirals as it flew higher and higher with it's little engine, and I dreamed of being that little pilot Paul had fashioned, sitting out in front with nothing to obstruct his view and feeling the wind in his face. I gazed in wonder at my design, climbing ever higher, until finally the fuel ran out.
But then it's course suddenly changed from spiral to straight, and as it glided off making us have to chase it, my design proved to be a little faulty, for the plane began to make tremendous stalls -- diving straight down, then arcing and ascending upward until stopping, turning downward, and diving again -- over and over, while traveling in an otherwise straight direction. Now being the little pilot, this would have been fun, except inevitably as it finally reached the ground some distance away, Old Elephant Wings would make one last giant stall, then turn down and nosedive hard onto the dirt, bending the wheel and wreaking havoc with the pilot's styrofoam feet.
Nevertheless Paul would repair the damage, and we'd fly the plane again and again, always letting it take it's crazy course. Old Elephant Wings is gone now, and I don't know where. Today Paul sent me these pictures that I didn't even know existed, from that happy time; and so I share them with you.
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