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How to Catch Flies: A Tutorial

The key to any successful FlyPower project is the ability to secure a proper "engine". In this case, a fly.

One of the beautiful things about FlyPowered aircraft is that we have an almost inexhaustible supply of the little critters, the trick is to find them and handle them with the tenderness and respect that is befitting any sophisticated piece of machinery.

For those of you who have dogs, finding flies should be no problem, and if you live on a horse farm, you may want to consider going into the business of being an Official Fly Engine Resource Center. Contact FlyPower for more details on how to become an authorized reseller of Fly Engines.

In any case, Flies will usually congregate near garbage cans, compost heaps and other similar locations. Most people encounter the little creeps in their homes, buzzing around windows and the like.

If none of these places fit into your life-style, build yourself a little Fly Trap. This can best be accomplished by using a small plastic bag (clear) and placing a small piece of fish or other animal part into the bag. Set the bag up with a 2" section from a toilet paper roll taped around the bag opening to allow the fly to enter.

Place the bag in a sunny location near an open window if possible. Check the bag often. If this isn't working, try sprinkling a small amount of sugar on the fish or whatever other bait you are using.

Tip from a viewer: Dave Whyte of Australia wrote-- "Did you know that Mr. Joe Average Housefly jumps up and backwards on take-off, so when you want to catch him, it pays to grasp him from behind in a swift cupping action of the hand, he generally jumps straight into your palm." Dave is absolutely correct although we have found that this method does require a bit of practice, and failed attempts do tend to be on the "messy" side.

Several readers and even a few scholars have proposed the judicious use of cryogenics to make the flies easier to handle. Basically this involves putting your "engine" in the freezer for a very short period of time ( 20 to 60 seconds) to get the little fellows to chill out. This will facilitate ease of handling. Our experience has been that this is an acquired talent and should be used only by experienced pilots. Also, recently thawed engines often do not generate sufficient power or hold up to the rigors of flight as well as fresh ones. But hell, try it out.

One other note: Be Careful in your handling of the fly. They are precision instruments and as such are delicate. The Instructions enclosed in your FlyPower Kit has some helpful hints as to precautions and procedures in handling your "engine". Also make sure to read the FlyPower Engine Maintenance Tips for further information.

FlyPower Policy Option: Some of our friends from Trout Unlimited mentioned the great success they have had with their Catch and Release policy. We wholeheartedly endorse this. If it works for fish it has to work with flies.

When you have finished using your plane, and assuming you haven't had any type of aerial combat, take a small pair of scissors and snip off the engine mount as close to the body as possible. It won't make a damn bit of difference to the fly, but you may feel better.

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