I want to thank those at the VRCS Yahoo Group
for providing this fabulous rendition of
the original DMECO decal.
VRCS Member #208
|The Dmeco Models Mark-2 version of the Hal DeBolt LiveWire Champ is my newest plane for
I've heard about these incredible old planes since I was 15 years old, and on Sunday, 20 June 2010 I took delivery of my very own
Hal DeBold LiveWire Champ!!!!!!!!
She's an old design, one of the oldest I've ever had. Originally designed in 1954 (a year BEFORE I started flying control-line planes) by Hal DeBolt, the
design is based on the Aironca Champion, from which she gets her name. The prototype plane apparently took the whole world by storm - winning its first
contest series by a very wide margin. Actually, it had a hand at revolutionizing the whole sport.
The plane I've got was built fairly recently, probably in North Carolina, and I know very little of her history, other than the fact that she's a Mark-2
version (ca. 1967) and has further been modified to include ailerons on the wings.
She was apparently test-flown some time back and was declared to be uncontrollable - tail-heavy, and that was pretty much the end of the story. She has a
slight bit of damage to the nose section but it's been pretty expertly repaired so, as I received her, she's pretty much ready to go.
First job was to re-balance her. That was accomplished by adding 5 oz. of bullet weights to the nose cheeks. Pics of her on my dining room table are just
|Ready for her first take-off
First flights!!!! After finally getting the balance something close to right, I took the leap and there we were at the flying field. The first pic above, center,
was just before I lined her up for her first lift-off, which wasn't all that successful. I was taking-off downwind and knew it would be a long liftoff but it
was even longer than I thought and I had to cut her and bring her back for a 2nd try, which turned out just beautiful.
The 3 flight shots were taken after that 2nd try, which was pretty as a picture - a classic (read that "BEAUTIFUL") take-off and flight, followed by one of
the most incredible dead-stick landings I've ever made - and that was with the trims so far off she was a bear to keep anything close to level on that first
flight. However, I touched her down 50' from me and she rolled right up to my shoelaces anyway.
I made a total of 4 flights that day. First was mainly to see what she needed in the way of trimming after my addition of 5 oz of weight to the nose (10 1/2oz
bullet-type fishing weights inside the nose cheeks - 5 on each side (and 1 oz came back off her, she was actually just a tad nose-heavy). Ailerons were off and
I had to use full left trim on both ailerons and rudder to keep her even close to level, and the elevator was set WAY too high - even full down-elevator trim
had her trying to climb for the stars at little more than 1/2 power.
After getting the controls right, and the trims back to center on the xmtr, the 2nd and 3rd flight shots were taken.
I actually got brave on the 3rd flight and tried some basic aerobatics with her. She loops, does rudder-rolls like any other 3-channel bird but more graceful,
aileron-only rolls aren't possible - they just don't seem to be very effective, if they work at all. Hammerheads are just a bit off from a true "straight" but
stall-turns are really nice. Spins are fair but not tight - probably due to being a bit nose-heavy.
At roughly 1/3 throttle she's a pussy-cat, at full throttle and the elevator trimmed down a bit she's a howler. This is a great little airplane and HUGE fun to
fly. I can hardly wait for Jason to come back to Luray to try her out - he's going to be sorry he parted with her.
Next was to take her out for a test spin. That happened on Monday, 28 June 2010.
Three flights, three pics. The pic on the right was taken while she was flying at about 1/3 throttle, HANDS-OFF the transmitter.
Very stable plane now.