Hal DeBolt on early R/V

This was posted on the VRCS forum, but it is just too good not to share.
Hal DeBolt on some early R/C history November 18, 2004
Hi Bob, You want info on Live Wires. I will be quick, need more just ask. A preamble is needed regarding LWs My buddy George Swank had built a Rudder Bug. Another club member, Tom Parry, had demonstrated a R/C all one afternoon at a C/L meet, This convinced me that R/C was finally for real. I had been waiting for that to happen. George could not get the Aerotrol to work.I conned him out of the Bug and got it flyable. We flew the Bug every evening until dusk for 3 weeks. Learned what an R/C needed, Bug was sure not right.(1951) Good friend Bill Winter had R/C experience so I consulted him. Between us we came up with 14 factors we felt would make a good R/C. I was delegated to see if I could produce a design to feature them. I did my best and the result we labeled the Live Wire. This you would know as the LW Senior. Added the Senior name when we ran some investigative kits after the Trainer was in production, When the Live Wire design was offered to the industry the reply was no one would pay the $15 needed price. Highest priced model kit was $7.95 so I needed to have an R/C kit at that cost. Answer was to reduce the size of the Live Wire about 50% and cut material costs. Result was the Live Wire Trainer This one sold in many thouands. At the time all R/C was heavy. it could not be lighter for a smaller model. What was amazing was the little .o9 model flew fine with the heavy radio, Later on I tried it with a Schmidt 5 channel reeds, even that did not phase it! Actually the Trainer seemed at its best with a Mills .08 diesel, 10x6 prop. The Live Wire investigation showed guys would pay $15 for a kit. So we added scale like features to the Live Wire and called it the Cruiser and it did well. Now we had a .09 and a .19 kit while others had .15 kits. So it was thought dmeco needed a .15 also, So in effect we made a .15 size Live Wire as a Champion look a like. When it was ready to kit the shop was at capacity so it was put on the shelf and forgotten for over a year. Finally demand slackened and something was needed so it was easy to slip the the Champ in. Result was a surprise, seemed everyone wanted one Again we had a kit that was produced in many thousands, more than any other R/C easily. Noteable was for what ever reason the top gun modelers latched on to the Champ and it trained most all of the pioneers after the real early days. Names like Kraft, Dunham, Wieirke and on and on. The Champ remained in production through 3 versions (structural) for 32 years and if Midwest had not quit kit production it could still be available, would believe. Actually as a Trainer it was far better than these so called Trainers today in that anyone could have success with it without R/C experience. It flew itself so the pilot simply guided it. Cute could be that the prototype wound up in son Ron's hands with the R/C out of it and he flew it as a free flight for some time. On to the "Custom Live Wire" bipe. This was my competition design for several years and it got me a Nats Championship and on the first FAI team. What amazes me is to see these at a VR/CS event with modern euipment looks like they would be competitive today! Like most all designs this one evolved. I had an urge to fly inverted with R/C., this had yet to be done. Being a C/Ler I realized the virtues of a symmetrical airfoil. So I put a symmetrical wing on a Cruiser and was surprised when it worked like a charm, labeled that version the "Over and Under" This craft flew inverted as well as upright, performed the first outside loops etc. Obviously was the way to go. Much later the O&U would be kitted as the Sonic Cruiser. We had the first reed systems and they were heavy! Obviously low wing loadings was an asset. I had tried a large (big) Live Wire with about a 12 oz loading. It handled the weight well but was slow and sluggish. It flew maneuvers fine but they looked like it was floundering through them, not attractive? I had a lot of Bipe experience so the thought struck me a Bipe would have the desired area and be compact, thus should maneuver more crisply.
For a look see I added a trainer wing to a Cruiser, had a Cruiser bipe. This proved great., looked fine! Now I had two apparent possible assets, both adaptions to exsisting designs. There was available time so I thought it worthwhile to take a chance with the unknown, work from scratch and use both assets in a new craft.. Go all out with the design, hold nothing back.What you see today may not seem so radical but for those days the "Custom" was like a Form I compared to a NASCAR! Now I can say it was one of my best accomplishments, served me well with competition and actually sold well when kitted. Nuff sed? Boy, memories! You get into them and the required details to make them plausible drag on and on. nice thoughts but major writing efforts? Otherwise does everyone know my eldest son Ronald dropped dead? What an unexpected shock! He was only 59. I found it hard to believe, bawled my head off for a day and night. Boy, when your kids start leaving before you do it tells you something? God has sure watched over this old man, thank him daily! Anyhow Ron got taken care of well by his friend Barbara, they gave him a full military funeral in the National Cemetery at Bath, NY. Such a beautiful place! Gosh, you punched a button and I rattled on, hope as you wished? SUL and be good!
Hal snipped-for-privacy@juno.com.
Red S. VRCS Subscribe: snipped-for-privacy@yahoogroups.com
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good reading mk

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You really tugged at some memories for me. The Live Wire Champion wa
the first R/C model I built. It had a Veco 0.19 and my first "Multi", F & M 10 channel relay type radio, with Annco servoes. As I remembe the Veco 0.19 was a littile enemic with the 11 x 4 recommended prop but flew with a 9 x 6 ( if my memory is correct). The Champ gave m many memorable flights and I followed up building several more as th inevetable crashes took their toll
-- Ro
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Sorry if I'm way behind the subject, haven't read posts for several days, though. I too have some fond memories of the Live Wire Champion, as my first R/C plane. Built about 1958 era, with Veco .19 also, used the local (central Ohio) version of Galloping Ghost for rudder and elevator. No throttle on Veco, so no loss. My biggest problem was keeping it upwind, so when the Veco cutoff, I wouldn't be forced to land it in the 6 foot corn stalks downwind. It survived (after repairs) til I returned to R/C about 25 years later, using all new radio and control system. Still flew great.
Olin McDaniel, AMA 30932
wrote:

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