Home of the Kombat Airmadillos!
HISTORY OF THE AIRMADILLO
Orders, Free Catalogs, or Questions:
A LONG TIME AGO, IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY.....No wait a minute, that's the wrong story. Back around 1985 a friend and I started building and flying R/C planes. Back then all that was availabe was balsa kits. After spending a month or two building them, crashing them and repairing them, we finally learned to fly. Chasing each other around the sky was great fun, and pretty soon we were DOG FIGHTING! No streamers, just crash into the other plane! It was great fun and we would laugh and laugh until we got home and had to put it back together again.
I figured we needed something that was disposable and came up with a foam board design with a engine module that clamped on with wing nuts. You could crash it, un-bolt the module and slide in another fuselage. Maybe sell a pack of three replacement fuselages and wings. It flew pretty good, but since I only had one prototype fuselage, everytime I crashed I would have to glue it back together.
Why not replace the foam with an oak stick? It worked better, but the wings would flex under stress and finally the filiment tape would come loose. . I tried regular corrogated cardboard from refrigerator boxes. I would varnish it to make it water and fuel proof, but forgot it in the back of the pickup on night, it rained as it always does in Louisiana, and the next day it was history.
Had to find a better wing material.......hey, what's this? A real estate sign! No body's looking I think I will clean up the enviroment and take it! This design worked well, but the wooden fuselage still broke in crashes and was a pain to make. I was contracting houses at the time and had some aluminum square tubing left over from a job and a sheet of aluminum from the transom of a flat boat was behind the shop. I cut it up, added a few pop rivets and the first "modern" Kombat 40 was born.
It still needed plenty of refinement to make it simple. About 3 years later I was satisfied with the design and tooled up to make 100 kits. Plans were drawn up, box labels made, suppliers contacted, boxes ordered (By the way, I have a new respect for boxes, they are expensive, about a dollar apiece!) Designed some catalogs, put an ad in modelers magazines, made jigs to build all the parts and got to work.
When finished with the first run, I sent in some kits to magazines for review, gave out free samples, and sold a few. A friend who flys pattern knew Ron Van Putte and asked for one to give to him. He mentioned it in the article he writes for MODEL AVIATION and more orders started coming in.
The first models had a short fuselage and the wing cord was only 9". A fun machine, but a little hot for some folks. Very hard to take off without a ground loop. It did a hell of a flat spin, and at the first FUN FLY attended in Alabama, I let it flat spin all the way to the ground, right on the runway! Purely accidental, of course I acted like I meant to do it! It was spectacular. The guy who won the raffle brought the plane he won back the next day, ready to fly! They stayed up all night building it. "One hour!" he tells me, "Heck, it took us 3 hours to put this thing together, of course we were eating pizza and drinking beer all night!"
Over the years it has been redesigned, lengthened and refined and new designs were added, like the BIG MAMA. At the BATTLESHIP PARK flying field in Alabama the prototype of the BIG MAMA was flying with a Zenoah G-62. This is a beautiful site, with many real aircraft on display, along with submarines, tanks, etc. The announcer for the event was on the loud speaker telling about the BIG MAMA as it flew by....."And there goes the Big Mama, you can assemble it in....."SHIT" (those were his exact words over the loud speaker). The engine had come loose, pulling the fuel tank behind it, still running it seemed to accelerate to 200 miles per hour, leaving the rest of the plane behind. (I TOLD GLEN NOT TO USE 6-32 BOLTS TO MOUNT THE ENGINE) There are now four 1/4" high strength bolts in it's place.
The KOMBAT KOPTER was the biggest challange of all. Worked on for a total of 5 years, there was some whooping and hollaring the day it lifted off. Had a guy at the local field that tried for years building autogyro models from plans in modeling magazines, counter rotating blades, etc, but they never got off the ground. We tried the same designs and got the same results. Putting it on the back shelf for a couple years, being bored one day, we tried again. The blade design was the most critical, so Pat carved a set by hand. We thought he was nuts at the time, but after experiments with incidence, driving down the street in the back of his pickup truck, we finally got them to spin up!
One design, with a pusher engine was really funny. Since it used the blade design from a magazine article, it never flew, but when it cartwheeled down the runway, as it often did, it never stopped running
Vertical flight was also one of our projects. The engine is mounted on top of the blades with a regular propeller pointing straight up. The torque of the engine turns the blades in the opposite direction. This design worked, kind of, and I think would be successful if it had a few gyros. I did't think it was practical to add $300 worth of gyros to a $69 helicopter.
A newer design uses movable vanes under the duct to control movement. It too needs gyros to work properly.
Kombat Karnards are great fun also. The one below just about killed the camera man who was filming video of it at the time. I told him I did not know if it was balanced properly and to watch out. He kept on filming and the thing landed right where he was standing....good thing he moved at the last moment, the video really turned out funny!
This refined Kombat Karnard model is waiting to be put in production. It flys wonderful and can make the wildest landing you ever saw, a tail first landing. Just come in for a regular landing, keep pulling back on the elevator (the thing in the front) and increase the engine speed. All that prop wash over the elevator is real powerful and will lift it straight up, then decrease the power and land on the tail.
I have now grown into a giant industry with more than 100,000 workers, we have factorys all over the world! I am now worth more than Leroy Gates, (That's Bill Gates little brother) Check out the photos of the Factory. That's Kory, he packs the wheel and helps me count my billions. If anything is missing from your parts bag don't call me, blame it on him! His phone number is 1-800-EAT ..... no, sorry, that's my number, the phone in Kory's jail cell is broken.
HE LIVES ON TUNA SANDWICHES!
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