A large output meter is seen above the antenna and plate-tuning pots on this gyro ground-based
transmitter. A cord with a telephone jack and button switch was plugged into the keying jack to
send a signal.
Webra and the theory was that a well-trimmed, rudder-only airplane would
climb under power and glide smoothly
when the engine ran out of gas. It was
also nice if the airplane flew in a large
circle in both powered and unpowered
flight so there was reasonable hope that
it would not land too far from the flying
field should the radio malfunction.
Radio malfunction? What about that?
I hadn’t thought about it because I was
sure my dad had bought me the best
that money could buy. However, a few
earlier trips to the flying field while
my Royal Rudderbug was still under
construction revealed that uncontrolled
flight happened more often than I
Being out of range, low batteries, and
cranky escapements were among the list
of things attributing to the frequent call
by pilots of, “I don’t have it!” These alerts
would be followed up by dispatching
cars and trucks with observers trying to
follow the airplane until it landed. Of
course, the flyaway airplanes never knew
enough to follow the road, so walking
through corn fields was common.
As I recall, the Royal Rudderbug
passed the glide tests and finally became
airborne one sunny afternoon. I had an
experienced pilot handle the control for
the first flight, and we were certain to
only fill the gas tank approximately half
full. Boy was I proud! I was then ready
to handle the control.
It sounds funny to refer to “control,”