[TowerTalk] Anyone use a 120' qso king?

Chuck Smallhouse w7cs at theriver.com
Tue Jan 28 23:49:29 EST 2014

Using wooden clothes pins reminds of many years ago, in the early 
years of Ultra Light Aircraft.

Living/working in the SF Bay Area at the time, one weekend I happened 
to visit an unused runway at the Milpitas Airport.  Does it still 
exist along the south end of the bay, west of Highway 17 ?

That day there were several guys experimenting in trying to fly some 
of the early concepts of Ultra LIghts.  These were really no more 
than hang gliders with "washing machine" motors and pusher props 
suspended from them.   The "Pilot" would take the classic position of 
a hang glider rider, with his hands on the horizontal supports of the 
wing(s) to control his direction.  He would then have buddy start up 
the engine and hand him the throttle cable, on whose end was a wooden 
clothes pin, that he inserted into his mouth.  It was a "fail safe" 
arrangement.  The harder that he bit down on the clothes pin, the 
faster the engine would run.    If anything happened and the wooden 
clothes pin fell out of his mouth, the washing machine engine would 
shut down, at least to an idle !

To get this contraption off of the ground, he had to run as fast as 
he could, with additional help of two buddies pushing on each end of 
the wing.  Lift off was in about 50 feet.

One of their later(?) designs could of been taken right out of the 
Wright Bros. design book.  It had bi-plane fabric wings and a rear 
mounted pusher prop motor and even some wheels, the pilot was 
suspended in a harness type arrangement.  I think that he had a more 
normal throttle control method, in lieu of the wooden clothes 
pin.  With a little bit of extra outside help, it could get off of 
the ground using it's wheels instead of the pilots feet.

Their flight time was not very long and hardly more than a 100 feet 
in altitude.  The scarry part is that they would circle right over 
the busy Oakland divided highway, as their "runway" was quite adjacent !

Chuck,  W7CS

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