A scribe in a rival magazine has recently been beguiling us with the problems which he has been experiencing when attempting to run a motor on silencer pressure. This has prompting a lot of correspondence on the subject of just where he is going wrong. Much as I hate to titter at the afflicted, I cannot resist a wry smile.
Let us assume that for some reason you should take up banging your head against a brick wall as a spare time activity. To your surprise, you find that it hurts. Do you then write a magazine article about your problem and invite comments on how to rectify the situation. It really wouldn't be too unexpected these days if you got a lot of helpful comments about wrapping a towel around your head or wearing a crash helmet! Would anyone suggest that you stop, I wonder? Or would anyone be really constructive and query just why you were doing it?
Well now, where was I? Oh yes, silencer pressure. I am totally baffled as to why the writer in question should be so determined to ignore all the obvious signs that he is wasting his time and be so determined to keep on with such a futile quest.
One of the correspondents who wrote in offering advice came up with the revelation that the pressure line was pumping unburnt castor oil into the tank with dire effects to the fuel mixture (roughly on a par with stating that headbanging ruptures blood vessels!). The 'cure' was to extend the pressure nipple into the silencer so that it could not pick up oil from the silencer wall (have the blood vessels surgically removed!).
By now, I am sure that many of you will have starting reaching for pens (hooray) to justify your own indulgence is this strange activity. Yes, most motor manufacturers do include pressure nipples with silencers - because you, the customer, insisted on it. In at least one case, the cast boss which the nipple now screws into was originally intended for priming. Early HP 61 silencers had a priming nipple which was later modified to accept a pressure pipe.
A lot of less experienced pylon racing types are still trying to make a tuned pipe work with silencer pressure. Go along to a race meeting sometime and let them weep on your shoulder.
It would be interesting to trace the identity of the original perpetrator of this strange masochism. Maybe the same person who suggested putting a fuel filter in the model. Someone from the noise abatement society perhaps!
Look at it this way. To pressurise something you have to seal it against leaks. How the hell do you expect to obtain consistent, useable, pressure from something which has a bloody great hole in the back of it? QED?
I am coming more and more to the conclusion that this is not the universe that I was born into or, at least, not the one that I was brought up in.
We are plagued locally with bands of children of school age who walk along pavements three or four abreast, forcing everyone else into the road. If you stick to your line, one of them will, perhaps, move an arm or so out of your way, giving you about 6 inches to squeeze through. Should you attempt to do so, you will be followed by shouts of profanity.
It all has some connection with the posse's which surround the magazine section of newsagents. Not only do they vigorously reject anyone who actually wants to buy a magazine, but they are stealing the copy from the magazines which they are reading.
There is a modelling connection here too. We have already mentioned the nameless bunch who would have you waste your time by connecting the tuned pipe on your pylon racer to the tank vent. So how about the current 'plot' - I can think of no other word - to make you fit your helicopter with a tuned pipe. Surely it would be difficult to think of a greater exercise in futility? Not so, actually, since there is an increasing trend to fit ABC motors into helicopters too.
Now if the people who actually do these strange things to their helicopters are experienced modellers, presumably with a fair degree of intelligence, it follows that some agency must be applying some form of pressure (ouch), or persuasion, to make them do so.
Assuming that I have not slipped through into some other universe, it would seem that the world is being taken over by some organisation which is dedicated to undermining society as we know it. This is done by driving through red lights, riding pushbikes on pavements, behaving in a thoroughly antisocial manner and pretending that everyone else is doing so - and running model engines on silencer pressure!
It's been quite some time now since we had any letters from readers. This may be partly due to one of the Argus hierarchy insisting that we stick to subjects concerning modelling (What he actually said was 'Lay off the LMA' - Ed). The fact that most of the more outrageous - and true - comments tend to get censored anyway does little to help.
I search in vain for some little facet of the modelling movement which is nursing a guilty conscience in the hope of eliciting some vitriolic reaction but most of these has been done to death already. Here again, things are severely limited by the fact that this is an R/C magazine. Most of the really challenging and worthwhile things occur in other branches of the hobby.
Did any of that stir someone into reaching for a pen? Perhaps its all a plot to starve this column into submission.
I note a recent reference in the modelling press to the occurrence of miniature whirlwinds. No, I can't remember exactly where, so you will have to do your own research. These were last noted at one or two modelling meetings in the late forties, or early fifties. Since then they have - like 'foo' fighters - faded away into history.
Some may well regard this as carrying nostalgia a bit too far but, assuming that such things have made a reappearance, it gives some interesting possibilities for conjecture. Perhaps they have some connection with the types of model being flown, or the type of motor fitted, or even the mental state of the observer.
You may perhaps think that this idea is a little far fetched, but consider the already mentioned 'foo' fighters. If lots of people were to fly around the sky for huge numbers of hours in high powered piston engined aircraft after having had far too little sleep and having consumed far to much alcohol - not to mention other activities - they might make a reappearance too!
Perhaps I should now hasten to add that I too have seen some strange things in the sky in my time and would be most interested to read any stories concerning miniature whirlwinds or 'foo' fighters - though I can't guarantee that they will be published in this column.