The quality and craftsmanship of the aircraft competiting at the 2013 WRAM show static competition was truly amazing, and this year showed a bumper crop of entries! But there can be only one winner of “Best in Show” and this year that honor fell to our good friend and Model Airplane News contributor, and 3 time Top Gun champion, David Wigley with his amazing 1/5-scale Bristol Beaufighter!
Recently test flown David’s amazing twin warbird is powered by a pair of BME 102cc gas engines. The Beaufighter is built using traditional balsa, plywood, lite-ply construction that he finished with conventional fiberglass cloth and resin. Dave designed and scratch built the entire aircraft from 3-view drawings, illustrations and photos, along with measurements taken from a full-size museum airplane. The landing gear took one year to complete with Dave’s 3D CAD modeling and CNC CAD/CAM machining work. The project has taken 5 years to and Dave says he will be competing with his Baeufighter at the 2013 Top Gun Scale Invitational.
Wingspan: 138 inches
Weight: 82 lbs
Wing Area: 2350 sq. inches
Engines: Two BME 102′s
Overall Length: 96 inches
Props: Two Solo 24″ 3-Blade
Main and tail gear units and struts were designed and fabricated by the builder using 6061 bar stock aluminum.The main gear support assembly framework is brazed from 4130 Chromalloy steel and silver braze. Both main and tail units duplicate the full sized geometry
Klass Kote Epoxy paint custom mixed to match Federal Standard color chips that are cross referenced to U.K. BS381C order colors
- Scale retracts
- Scale functional “Porcupine” exhausts
- Counter rotating propellers
- Detailed cockpit with full figure pilot
- Scale hinges on all primary control surfaces with functional servo tabs on the elevators
- Fully proportional flaps
- Functional droppable torpedo
This aircraft was designed, drawn, and built from scratch from my own drawings. All the plugs, molds, and parts for cowls, nacelles, oil coolers, carburetor intake radome, dummy engines, static propellers and hubs, canopy, and cupola, were fabricated by the builder. Both engines have electronic ignition. I adjusted and tested the timing on the right engine so it operates in reverse rotation. This eliminates the problem with torque on a twin engine aircraft.
I used Fliteskin for the horizontal stab and elevator to keep the weight in the tail to an absolute minimum. It is thin fiberglass sheet that is ten thousands of an inch thick and smooth on both sides. It is available here: http://www.fliteskin.com. You glue it to the balsa structure with polyurethane glue (Gorilla Glue) or thick CA. I also sheeted the ailerons and flaps with it to get a scale like shape trailing edge. The only drawback is that it cannot be formed around compound curves.