Crowds of neighbors would come out and watch, on the six vacant lots that served as the town park in the center of town. It would be two guys with planes, holding a U shaped handle in one hand, the ends attached two white kite strings, one for ruddering up and one for down, spinning around together; and if one plane went over or under the other, one guy would have to duck under the other's lines. It was quite the choreography. The object was to cut the other guys paper mache tail with the prop of the plane.
But that was not the real show. The real deal was when one of the guys looped his plane over upside down, so they were going in opposite directions one flying upside down, or they both might loop over making it a bit easier. I always figured you had to remember the controls were reversed. I myself at some point, had a big McCOY 29 model airplane engine, but never was able to get it together to build a plane and fly it.
Hardly would any of these things finish without a nose-dive into the ground and everybody applauded a crash free landing that only came when the gas was gone. They were stuck flying regardless, whether dizzy or not from the spinning, until the engine ran out of gas. They had tiny little gas tanks. There was the acrid smell of the model engine fuel, and the starting of these things was by finger-flipping the propeller, with adjustments of the idle screw. The engines were wired to a six volt battery with electrical clips for spark until it started. If the engine kicked back, it might be a bloody finger.
(2 of 13)