Model Airplane News http://www.modelairplanenews.com The #1 resource for RC plane and helicopter enthusiasts featuring news, videos, product releases and tech tips. Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:39:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dusty Crophopper – Kit Bashing an Animated Disney Superstar http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/29/dusty-crophopper-kit-bashing-an-animated-disney-superstar/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/29/dusty-crophopper-kit-bashing-an-animated-disney-superstar/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:11:42 +0000 Carl Layden http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=228959

Kit Bashing is always fun and entertaining, for both Logan (my 12 year old son) and me. What is ‘kit-bashing? This is the question asked when my latest project was described to a modeler friend. Well, It’s part way between building from scratch and building a traditional kit. Using an existing kit as a basic [...]

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Kit Bashing is always fun and entertaining, for both Logan (my 12 year old son) and me. What is ‘kit-bashing? This is the question asked when my latest project was described to a modeler friend. Well, It’s part way between building from scratch and building a traditional kit. Using an existing kit as a basic starting point that you modify to create something unique.

Inspiration can come from a variety of sources, books, movies, magazines, TV shows, even cartoons. Recently our family attended the Disney movie “Planes”, which provided my inspiration. “SPOILER ALERT” as the story progresses the main character Dusty Crophopper (looks like an AT-502) but then undergoes a metamorphous after a crash at sea during a race, leaves him in need of serious repair. His wings are replaced with T-33 Shooting Star wings and retracts, a new exhaust system, propeller and many other parts. Only Disney would dream up this concept merging these many parts into a new aircraft. At the end of the film Dusty is on an aircraft carrier with a “Jolly Wrenches” paint scheme. This was the airplane I wanted to build.

Hidden deep in my workshop was an old House of Balsa Mustang 20 kit which served nicely as my starting for my Naval version of Dusty.  This sport scale model had about the right proportions to pass as Dusty and would need only a few simple changes. Most of this build followed the original instructions. I taped plain white paper over the sections of the plans to work out the changes for the fuselage. These were at the canopy, chin scoop and the rudder and tailwheel. I redrew the canopy to form the agricultural-style canopy of an Air-Tractor. The P-51Mustang chin scoop was completely eliminated. The fuselage was shortened by one inch and the rudder and vertical fin were moved forward.

New Chin Canopy Fin

I also lowered the elevator and horizontal stab 3/16 inch, however that is completely optional. It was more work with limited benefit. The original method of attaching stab & elevator is fine. The fuselage was then built following the construction instructions, a couple of the die-cut parts did need to be changed or not used. The plywood nose ring needed to be reshaped to be a 1 ¾-inch ring without an opening for chin scoop. The intake scoop under the wing on the aft fuselage was also not needed and I just sheeted the bottom of the fuselage up to the wing’s trailing edge. The chin block needed a lot of sanding to create the smooth taper to the nose ring. A sharp razor plane helps a lot with this.

Fuselage Firewall Fuse formers top

The canopy area was enclosed using 3/16-inch balsa in the same way the fore and aft turtle decks are constructed. Using the outline for the new canopy sides are made from 3/16-inch balsa. Cut the canopy area on the fuselage to accommodate the ‘Dusty’ style canopy and glue in place. Use balsa sheet on the top and back. I did remove the extension that was forward of the vertical stab but the tail surfaces remain unchanged.  The tail surfaces are glued in place after covering.

Canopy Sheeting img_9228-1280x853 Dusty Canopy

Wings and Retracts

Next were the wings and for the most part, they were built using the kits instructions with the exception of the addition of the wingtip tanks and the retractable landing gear. Adding retracts really begins before starting the wing construction.  The kit includes two hard wood blocks to mount the fixed gear.  You will need to cut two more blocks the same size (the groove in block for wire gear isn’t needed). The ply doublers for the ribs need to be notched to accommodate a second hardwood block.  The notch should be spaced forward of original block to accommodate the retract units, in my case this was ¾ inch.  Repeat the process for all four ply landing gear doublers.

Dusty_tips (5) Dusty_tips (6) Dusty_tips (7)

Finish the construction of the wing as described in the instruction manual, the wheel wells will be cut out later.  When sheeting the wing take care not to glue the sheeting to the hardwood landing gear blocks.  The gear doors are two small sheets of 1/16-inch balsa laminated together, using wax paper to protect the wing these are tapped to the wing in the area of gear doors while the glue cures.  The laminated sheets will have a curve matching the wing (mark the left and right).  Using the retract unit, strut and wheel carefully cut 1/16 sheeting to mount retract and the wheel well area.  Proceed slowly trimming the area a little at a time until it fits well and has enough clearance to operate retracts.  Using the laminated 1/16-inch balsa cut out gear doors to fit wheel well.  I epoxied the gear doors directly to the landing gear wire using a little ply as a spacer to keep it flush with wing sheeting when retracted.

Dusty_tips (10) Dusty_tips (11)

Tip Tanks

The tip tanks are a simple construct from balsa, starting as a box structure that is then sanded to shape. Using triangle stock and sheet balsa construct a box that is 1 x 1 x 8 with the ¼-inch triangle stock on the inside corners.  Glue a 1 inch block to one end of the box for the tank nose.  Another block is used at the tail end. Using your preferred method, sand and shape the tip tanks to shape and use scrap of 1/8-inch balsa to make T33-ish fins for the tip tank.

Dusty_tips (13) 

Covering and Finish

Scale guys will tell you that research and documentation is a huge part of any project.  This was true for this project too.  The Blu-Ray Disk for Planes, internet photos, die-cast models of Dusty all provided a wealth of information on how to detail Dusty.  However, Logan was my consultant on this project, and there’s nothing like the honesty of kids to tell you that you’ve got the color or decal wrong.

We watched the movie many times; often I heard “see Dad it’s shaped like that” etc.  The basic MonoKote finish uses white, black, grey and just a little yellow.  To make the Jolly Wrenches’ “Piston and Cross Wrench” logo, I first got the graphic online and printed it with an ink jet printer, using Avery 08665 Clear Full Sheet Labels.  To protect my homemade decals I sprayed them with Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear. The white logos were made by applying a black outlined logo to white vinyl.  The numbers and letters on the tail were cut from white stick on vinyl. Dusty’s eyes were from a downloaded blue-eye clip-art printed and glued to the canopy.

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Power System.

Dusty uses a brushless motor and to install it I added a firewall between the nose ring and the original plywood former. The original House of Balsa Mustang 20 was designed for a .20 glow motor.  I have seen this plane fly on anything from a .15 to a .40 including piped OS .32 some of these versions were very, very fast with structural re-enforcement.  That wasn’t my goal; this was to be an electric conversion.  This was accomplished by adding a 1/8 Ply firewall to the nose to accommodate the brushless motor.  The original fuel tank area forward of the wing was used for a 2200MaH 3S Lipo. The chin was made removable to allow for battery access.  The completed weight of the plane was 2lb. 3oz and the rule I follow for electric conversions (sport models) is 100 to 125 watts/lb.  I used a NTM 35-30 1100kv brushless motor and a 35amp brushless ESC.  The finished model on a 9×6 electric APC prop using this combination makes 350 Watts, so I expect good performance.

IMG_9824 IMG_9800

Final Thoughts

This kit bash project was fun.  The House of Balsa Mustang is an excellent choice custom kit-bashing. Dusty will be flown in the spring after the white stuff outside leaves. Pulling up the landing gear really makes Dusty look like he’s a winner. He is sure to be a hit at the flying field.

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12-Engine Flying Boat! http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/29/12-engine-flying-boat/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/29/12-engine-flying-boat/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:57:00 +0000 Debra Cleghorn http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=228951

A true scratch-built project, this 1/10-scale Dornier DO X1a was designed, built and piloted by Michael Bräuer. This impressive built-up plane has a 16-foot wingspan and weighs in at 132 pounds, and it’s powered by twelve (12!) O.S. .62 4-strokes. Michael notes that he spent one year building this giant plane and that it has Futaba [...]

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A true scratch-built project, this 1/10-scale Dornier DO X1a was designed, built and piloted by Michael Bräuer. This impressive built-up plane has a 16-foot wingspan and weighs in at 132 pounds, and it’s powered by twelve (12!) O.S. .62 4-strokes. Michael notes that he spent one year building this giant plane and that it has Futaba servos, fiberglass engine cowls and retracts and that its top speed is 59mph. The sound those 12 powerplants make is incredible, and the video shows how well the model handles in very heavy wind, even on landing. Thanks to RCScaleAirplanes for taking and posting this great video!

 

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Really Cool stuff that flies! RC Paper Airplanes http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/28/really-cool-stuff-that-flies-rc-paper-airplanes/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/28/really-cool-stuff-that-flies-rc-paper-airplanes/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:57:07 +0000 Model Airplane News http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=228933

Check this out. This guys a is genius and has developed a paper airplane that, with his kit, can be controlled with you iPhone. Way cool and you get to fold the paper airplane all by yourself so it is a DIY project for the person who has never built or flown a model airplane, [...]

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Check this out. This guys a is genius and has developed a paper airplane that, with his kit, can be controlled with you iPhone. Way cool and you get to fold the paper airplane all by yourself so it is a DIY project for the person who has never built or flown a model airplane, (or anything else for that matter,) before.

High on our cool factor gauge!

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Incredible 40%-Scale Eindecker http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/27/incredible-eindecker/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/27/incredible-eindecker/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:38:05 +0000 Debra Cleghorn http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=228918

Sleek, sophisticated WW II fighters usually get more props than earlier era warbirds, but this 40-percent-scale Fokker E.1 may change your mind. Made famous by none other than Max Immelmann himself, the Eindecker had wing warping instead of ailerons, and the model demonstrates just how well they worked! Built by Gerhard Reinsch and flown at [...]

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Sleek, sophisticated WW II fighters usually get more props than earlier era warbirds, but this 40-percent-scale Fokker E.1 may change your mind. Made famous by none other than Max Immelmann himself, the Eindecker had wing warping instead of ailerons, and the model demonstrates just how well they worked! Built by Gerhard Reinsch and flown at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Halifax Way, York in the UK, this incredible model is powered by a Valach 120cc gas 4-stroke and weighs in at around 42 pounds. Would you believe Gerhard spent just three weeks building it from the Paolo Severin kit? (We wonder if he sleeps!)  The video is a bit long, but I promise it’s time well spent — the plane flies Immelmans, stall turns, split-Ss and even a very axial ”aileron” roll! The video even includes a bit of the wing warp in action as well detail photos of this gorgeous aircraft.  Many thanks to Dean and Pete Coxon for sharing their video and reminding us how incredible those early flying machines were!

 

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How to: Make a Sliding Canopy http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/26/making-a-sliding-canopy-upgrading-a-f4u-corsair-arf/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/26/making-a-sliding-canopy-upgrading-a-f4u-corsair-arf/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:40:19 +0000 Model Airplane News http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=228892

Like many scale modelers, I simply can’t leave well enough alone and I often find myself  thinking of ways to improve a scale project. With the ESM ARF Corsair as a base model, I thought I would give it a complete makeover and add lots of details and special features. The sliding canopy is one [...]

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Like many scale modelers, I simply can’t leave well enough alone and I often find myself  thinking of ways to improve a scale project. With the ESM ARF Corsair as a base model, I thought I would give it a complete makeover and add lots of details and special features. The sliding canopy is one of the several sub projects I added to the stock airplane and this is how I did it! The ESM ARF comes finished as the famous ride of WW2 Ace Ira Kepford.

12

 Article and photos by Sean McHale

However, I had always been interested in the exploits of USMC aviator Gregory ‘Pappy’ Boyington, and decided to finish the plane in his markings. Nothing can ruin the appearance of a scale model faster than a cockpit void of a pilot, especially when it’s in the air. Fortunately for me Lyle Vasser of Best Pilots offer a very realistic 1/5-scale Pappy Boyington figure and he fits in place nicely.

1

Here’s the Starting Point of the ARF Corsair

The ESM kit comes with a molded-in floor allowing for only a pilot bust but I cut it away to installed a full-depth depth cockpit. I used the parts from a Ty’s Models cockpit kit, available from VQ Warbirds, to add a little extra detail to Pappy’s “office.” With all that taken care of, it was time to work on the canopy.

SLIDING CANOPY

I felt it was a shame to hide my scale Pappy under a full canopy so for this project I wanted the canopy to be functional. In the past I have only ever made canopies open manually, but for the Corsair, I went the extra mile and make the canopy open with my transmitter.

The canopy alone is very flimsy and brittle and running it under warm water before cutting helps ease trimming. I wasn’t confident that it would hold up so I ordered a replacement from VQ Warbirds which is identical in size and shape. I needed to stiffen the canopy frame so it would hold its shape while opening and closing. Using the original, un-cut ESM canopy, I taped it to the fuselage and made a simple external balsa frame to keep the canopy’s shape once I removed it from the fuselage.

4

External Bracing in place

I then removed the balsa cradle and canopy from the fuselage and sprayed the inside with some universal mold release. I then laid in two layers of carbon fiber cloth and allowed the epoxy to cure overnight. After popping it out of the canopy, it was trimmed to shape and became the perfect internal frame for my sliding canopy.

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A little spray of mold release inside the canopy prevents the layup from sticking in place.

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After the resin cures, the carbon fiber molding pops right out.

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Nice and smooth and it fits the canopy shape perfectly.

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Carbon fiber framework cut to shape.

For the guide rails, I used some slotted square brass rails and carefully installed them in the fuselage sides and along the inside edge of the cockpit opening. Ball links are used to capture canopy inside the rail and allows it to move with the use of a single, long-stroke air cylinder located forward of the instrument panel.

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Guide Rails made from K&S Square Brass Tubes slotted with a Moto-Tool and Cutoff disk.

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Guide Rails in position.

This arrangement gives a “push to open” and a “pull to close” operation. I cut the carbon fiber frame to shape with a Moto-Tool and a cut-off disc and then I glued the clear canopy to the inside of the frame. The canopy be removed from the rails by unscrewing the ball links which pass through the frames.

Operation

If I had more channels on my transmitter I’d put the canopy function on its own switch.  At the time I built the model, I only had an 8-channel radio so I slaved the canopy function off the flap channel with a Y-harness.

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Internal Drive setup to open and close Canopy.

I set it up so canopy does not open during landings (with one notch of flaps dialed in.) The model doesn’t need full flap to land. After landing I add another notch of flaps and the canopy sides open. The flaps do move down a little bit more but it only on the ground and does not affect anything else. With a 10-channel radio, it would be simple to assign the canopy function to its own channel and open it on command.

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Which way to the front!?

Having this bit of animation added to any scale plane greatly increases it realism and sends the “Wow Factor” right off the charts. For a little bit of work, you get a lot of attention. Give it a try, you’re buddies will be amazed!

opener inset Canopy closed 14

Canopy all buttoned up, ready for takeoff.

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Doesn’t look like an ARF anymore! Weathering helps a lot too!

 

Sources:

Best Pilots:         http://bestpilots.typepad.com/

ESM:                      www.esmmodel.com

VQ Warbirds:     www.vqwarbirds.com

 

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Workshop Build-Along Alien Aircraft ArrowMaster Bipe 5 — Fuselage http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/26/workshop-build-along-alien-aircraft-arrowmaster-bipe-5-fuselage/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/26/workshop-build-along-alien-aircraft-arrowmaster-bipe-5-fuselage/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:33:14 +0000 Model Airplane News http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=228858

One of the nice things about building a kit, is that you can make changes to the construction to suit your own tastes. Two areas that I changed on the Alien Aircraft ArrowMaster Bipe, were the mounting of the landing gear and the cabane struts. If you followed the instructions, these are epoxied into place [...]

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One of the nice things about building a kit, is that you can make changes to the construction to suit your own tastes. Two areas that I changed on the Alien Aircraft ArrowMaster Bipe, were the mounting of the landing gear and the cabane struts. If you followed the instructions, these are epoxied into place during final assembly of the model. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I wanted to make them removable, in case they got damaged. Being that the cabanes and landing gear both slide into pockets, it was easy to add some plywood on the top and bottom of the mounting plates and add 6-32 blind nuts.

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On the left is the landing gear mounting plate, to the right, is the top of the fuselage. I used scrap ply from the laser-cut sheets and added 6-32 blind nuts. The bolts will be installed from the bottom of the fuselage for the landing gear, and from the top for the cabane struts.

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Here’s the gear plate as it will be installed in the bottom of the fuselage.

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Here’s the fuselage top as it will be installed on the top of the fuselage.

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This is the pocket formed for the landing gear from the layers of ply.

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The landing gear is a 2-piece affair. I used 3, 6-32 bolts on each half to secure them. The same method is used for the cabane struts. Now is a good time to ensure the aluminum parts slide easily into their respective pockets.

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Once the cabanes were fitted, I glued the top of the fuselage in place.

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The top of the fuselage is made from 2 pieces to make a single piece that stretches from the nose all the way to the tail.

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Another view of the cabanes. Note the slots in the top fo the fuselage, formers will be glued into them to give the fuselage its rounded top. The bottom of the fuselage uses the same technique.

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As you can see, all of the parts are interlocking. The laser-cutting of the kit is extremely accurate and makes building the ArrowMaster a joy!

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Here’s a look inside the top of the fuselage. The bulkhead with the 2 holes are for the bottom wing retaining dowels. Now that the basic fuselage is built, mounting the bottom wing is next!

Bottom Wing Setup

Setting up the bottom wing is a pretty simple affair. I did make one change though, instead of tapping the ply wing bolt mount, I epoxied a couple of plywood pads to the inside of the mount and used 1/4-20 blind nuts for the wing bolts.

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The bottom wing is placed in the wing saddle and then centered, I used several rubber bands to tightly hold the wing in place.

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I used a long straight edge ruler and made sure the wing was equal in distance from each wing tip to the rear of the fuselage. Mine measured out to 34-1/16″ on each side.

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Now measure from side to side to center the wing.

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I used a 3/16″ bit to drill the bolt holes. After the first hole was drilled, I used another 3/16″ bit as a locating pin the prevent the wing from moving as I drilled the second hole.

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I made the one inch square pads from 3/16″ ply and drilled the holes for the 1/4-20 blind nuts.

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Here’s the blind nuts for the wing bolts epoxied in place.

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The holes for the wing hold down dowels are now drilled. I secured the wing with the wing bolts and some weight on the front to prevent it from moving. Use the holes in the bulkhead as a guide to drill the 1/4″ holes.

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Now insert the dowels, if the dowels are tight in the holes, use a round file to open the holes as necessary.

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Here’s the dowels in place, I’ll securely epoxy them to the wing after the wing is covered.

Engine Details

The way the nose of the ArrowMaster is designed, lends itself to many engine options. For my build, I decided to use a Saito FG-17 4-stroke gas engine. Being the engine is longer than the recommended OS 2-stroke 65, some changes were needed to accomodate the Saito.The distance from the firewall to the thrust washer on the ArrowMaster is 5 1/2″, and uses an engine box that’s built and installed on the firewall. The gas version of the Saito is rather long because the carb is installed on the rear of the engine, this pushes the engine further forward.

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After taking a few measurements, I determind that I needed to make a plate 3/16″ thick to put the thrust washer of the engine in the proper location. I cut the tabs off of the engine box, and used the engine mount to make the center hole in the parts.

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I used the face of the engine box as it has alignment marks on it making it easy to properly place the engine mount. The 3/16″ ply spacer is glued to the rear of the plate and I used the the engine box to locate the assembly in its correct location. I removed excess material and sanded it flush with the front of the engine plate.

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The engine mount is fastened with 8-32 bolts and blind nuts. The firewall assembly is now ready to the glued into place on the fuselage.

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I used some clamps and 30-minute epoxy the glue the firewall into place.

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Another view of the firewall clamped in place.

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As recommended in the instructions, I added triangle stock to reinforce the firewall joint. The tank floor and bottom of the fuselage will be installed after this area is fuelproofed with a thin coat of epoxy.

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The location of the throttle arm presented an interesting problem on how to run the throttle pushrod. I decided that running the pushrod straight back was the best solution. I used a DuBro flexible cable for the pushrod.

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I drilled a shallow-angle hole for the cable to enter into the radio compartment. I added a spacer to support the cable’s sheath and secured it with ZAP Goop.

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The throttle cable run is friction-free and takes no effort to move it by hand. I can see that I have a couple of options on where to install the throttle servo. I’ll make that decision as I start to install the receiver and other equipment. With this step completed, the rest of the fuselage can now be built.

That’s it for this time, be sure to stay tuned as more updates are to follow.

To see the previous installment of this Build-Along project, click the link: http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/08/workshop-build-along-alien-aircraft-arrowmaster-4-top-wing/

 

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End loopy takeoffs with a gyro http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/25/end-loopy-takeoffs-with-a-gyro/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/25/end-loopy-takeoffs-with-a-gyro/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:00:00 +0000 Model Airplane News http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2010/06/25/end-loopy-takeoffs-with-a-gyro/

Like many of you, I have a few different planes, and enjoy flying most of them. However, I do have one or two that are just plain nasty in their ground handling and take offs. You probably have seen these – some Piper Cubs, Beavers, and especially some of the narrow under carriage warbirds. Strangely, [...]

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Like many of you, I have a few different planes, and enjoy flying most of them. However, I do have one or two that are just plain nasty in their ground handling and take offs. You probably have seen these – some Piper Cubs, Beavers, and especially some of the narrow under carriage warbirds. Strangely, not all tail draggers do this. But with one of these “loopy” planes, they are lined up on the runway, power is slowly advanced, and the plane skitters to the left, it skitters to the right, and may loop in a complete circle. Even if it is kept straight for a while, as power is advanced and the tail lifts, it then skewers over to the left from torque. And if insufficient speed has been built up, for example it was heading for the fence and you horsed it up too soon, you are rewarded with a spectacular left wing cartwheel.

I know, when you are relating this story to your mates, you either get a “yup, that’s why I would never get a Beaver, Piper, warbird, whatever …”, or you get a “pilot skill problem, with more flying experience you will be able to handle it.” I understand that more skill may help, but honestly I go flying to have fun, not to work on creating an ulcer worrying whether the plane will get off the ground today. I sure wouldn’t mind some sort of electronic help. And after all, I don’t see people complaining that using exponential on our radios means we are cheating or aren’t skillful flyers.

Now our helicopter brethren long ago found out that even with super human reflexes, it was really difficult to keep the tail straight on their choppers – the least wind, change of engine speed, etc. would make it swing. They discovered gyros. Suddenly, their craft would stay straight, and hovering and flying became a whole lot easier.

The object of a rudder gyro then, is to provide some computer fast electronic help on keeping it straight down the runway on roll out, and fast correction of that torque roll to the left just as it just gets airborne. Once fast enough, the plane generally flies straight without any extra help for sure.

Originally, gyros consisted of a small electric motor spinning two heavy brass disks. These spinning disks resisted movement, just like bicycle wheels or a spinning top. Today, the gyros are solid state and utilize a piezo crystal to detect movement. And specifically, they detect movement only in one rotational direction. Thus a gyro used for rudder control will only detect rotational movement about the yaw axis. Electronics “read” this rotation, and output a correctional signal to the servo, in this case the rudder. Any other movement, i.e. acceleration forward, braking, or pitch and roll are ignored by the gyro.

 There are two kinds of gyros available for model use: rate control (also known as normal mode) and heading hold.

 In Rate Control mode, if anything other than you moving the rudder stick changes the plane’s horizontal direction (yaw), the gyro will give a brief but not sustained correction to help keep it straight.

 In contrast, the heading hold mode is best used just for the take off run. In this mode, when you first line up the plane, you ‘instruct’ the gyro that it is to stay on this exact heading. As you taxi, it will automatically, and lightning fast, make corrections to keep the plane on this heading. After, takeoff, however, unless you want the plane to stay on this course forever, best to switch to normal mode, so that you can turn and do a circuit, etc. Generally on these gyros, you utilize an additional switch on your transmitter to disable the heading hold mode right after takeoff, then defaulting to the rate control mode (normal mode) for the rest of the flight.

 What if we put one of their gyros in our ‘problem’ planes to help with takeoff rudder control? Clearly not all, or even many, of our planes need this, but when you have one of these “ground loopers,” maybe a rudder gyro could help. So, I chose my worst problem planes to try this. The first one is a kit-built electric conversion Mustang, 56” wingspan, about 8 lbs all up battery in. I know, kind of heavy. Never the less, this plane is a lot of fun to fly in the air, and with gear and flaps down, is not so bad to land either. But the take off always makes we wonder if this day is going to end with another trip to the repair bench with it.

 For my first test, I tried a Futaba GY401 heading hold gyro(~$135.00). It mounts next to the receiver with a supplied special double sided foam mounting tape. You plug the one gyro lead into the rudder channel of your receiver, and plug the rudder gyro lead into another lead on the gyro. The third gyro lead plugs into an unused receiver channel to select the gyro mode. I used the Aux 2 switch on my Spektrum DX7 transmitter to switch from ‘heading hold mode’ to ‘normal mode’. The manual describes a few adjustments and selection switch for Futaba digital servo or other analog servo.

After installation and testing, I was off to the flying field. Once I had the plane lined up straight on the runway, I rapidly flipped the Aux switch on and off 3 times, leaving it in the Heading Hold position. This instructs the gyro that this is now the desired course of the plane, and the rudder is in a neutral position. I then accelerated down the runway, and if the course was a bit off, I could still manually move the rudder to keep the plane headed down the middle of the runway. But, virtually all that nasty swing one side to the other was gone, and once some speed is built up, no more torque role to the left! As the plane lifted off, I switched off the heading hold mode, and continued with whatever my usual flight routine would be. Interestingly, in flight, and with the gyro in the Rate Control mode (Normal Mode), I could bank, climb, dive, etc. and the plane really didn’t feel much different to me. Landing was straight forward, perhaps even straighter than usual for me!

 For my next test, I tried the GWS PG-03 gyro ($38) in my electric Spitfire. This plane is 56” wing span, 6 lbs all up. Initially I flew with a 4S-5000 battery, and the plane was reasonable on take off, but still requiring a fair amount of finesse to keep straight and not torque over to the left. However, in the air the plane was a bit underpowered and somewhat anemic in normal flight patterns. Since the motor could h
andle it, I then switched to a 5S-5000 pack, and rebalanced the plane. Now takeoff was not so mild mannered at all, but once in the air a whole lot more power and fun. I installed the GWS gyro by merely taping it to the inside of the fuselage wall close to the receiver, using the supplied special foam mounting tape. The gyro plugs into the rudder channel of the receiver, and the rudder servo lead plugs into the gyro. This gyro is always in Rate Control (normal mode), so no other connections or receiver channels are needed. One simple adjustment, described in the gyro manual, is required to ‘center’ the servo output, and a second adjustment to set maximum sensitivity.

 

Again at the flying field, I now lined up on the runway and slowly accelerated. But this time I still needed to input some torque correcting right rudder transmitter stick movement, but it was much easier. There was no nasty or sudden swinging left to right, and a very smooth takeoff. Once in the air, again, I was not really aware of any impact on my usual flying routine form the gyro. Landing was uneventful, and even easier to keep straight.

 Overall, the heading hold gyro is superior, but more expensive and requires an unused function on your transmitter to turn the modes on and off. The rate control gyro is considerably cheaper, easier to install, and does not require any other transmitter channels. Thus, if I have any more “ground looper” planes, I probably would try the simpler and cheaper rate control (normal mode) gyro first.

 If you try this, and it works nicely as it has for me, then it will be up to you whether you tell any of your fellow pilots about the gyro, or whether you just bask in their complements about how skillful your takeoffs have suddenly become.

By John Falconer

  

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Greased Lightning: 10 electric motors, 10-foot wing! http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/21/greased-lightning-10-electric-motors-10-foot-wing/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/21/greased-lightning-10-electric-motors-10-foot-wing/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:11:07 +0000 Debra Cleghorn http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=228853

Check out this prototype! Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center hope unmanned aerial systems like this GL-10 Greased Lightning will be able to fly like a plane and hover like a multirotor. The GL-10 recently flew successfully while tethered; full flight tests are planned in the fall of 2014.

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Check out this prototype! Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center hope unmanned aerial systems like this GL-10 Greased Lightning will be able to fly like a plane and hover like a multirotor. The GL-10 recently flew successfully while tethered; full flight tests are planned in the fall of 2014.

Model Airplane News - The #1 resource for RC plane and helicopter enthusiasts featuring news, videos, product releases and tech tips.

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Soldering Made Easy — Dealing with Printed Circuits http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/21/soldering-made-easy-dealing-with-printed-circuits/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/21/soldering-made-easy-dealing-with-printed-circuits/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:58:29 +0000 Gerry Yarrish http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=228838

Soldering things together takes all forms and sizes relative to our RC hobby. Back in the day, you needed to have the steady hands of an electronic tech guy to assemble entire RC transmitters from kits. Today most of the soldering chores deal with batteries and ESCs. One of the easiest ways to deal with [...]

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Soldering things together takes all forms and sizes relative to our RC hobby. Back in the day, you needed to have the steady hands of an electronic tech guy to assemble entire RC transmitters from kits. Today most of the soldering chores deal with batteries and ESCs. One of the easiest ways to deal with multiple speed controllers, like with quadcopters and other multi-motor models, is to use a power distribution board. These printed circuits are easy to use and require basic soldering skills. Here’s how to do it.

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Here’s a basic power distribution board from HobbyKing. First thing to do is to identify the races for positive and negative polarity. As you see the two races terminate at two points where the battery connection leads will be soldered to.

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The basic tools for the job. The TrakPower soldering station works great and allows adjustment of the soldering iron’s temperature. Also, a holding jig comes in real handy.

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Next you need to strip off some of the insulation from the wire leads and tin the ends. Use sharp good quality tools.

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The easiest way to tin the end of the power leads is to use a holding fixture or jig. Here you see the solder and heat applied to the lead which is sewcurely held in place.

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If the wire leads do not fit the holes in the circuit board, carefully enlarge the holes with a pin-vice and a small drill bit of the proper size.

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Be sure to clean the solder pads on the board before soldering.

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The leads are inserted into the solder points from the back of the board.

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Place the board in a holding fixture, secure the wire lead, and apply a small dab of solder paste.

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Apply heat to one side of the pad and touch the solder to the other side. When the pad and lead are hot enough the solder will flow into the joint.

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Here all of the power leads for the battery pack and the ESCs have been soldered into place on the board. This held simplify the wiring within a model or quadcopter. Be sure to remove any access soldering paste by wiping the board with some rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.

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Everything is now ready to install in a quadcopter or an electric powered B-17 or B-24!

The techniques for soldering are easy and the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Remember use plenty of heat and keep everything clean.

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Keeping Loops Round http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/21/keeping-loops-round/ http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/08/21/keeping-loops-round/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:00:27 +0000 Model Airplane News http://www.modelairplanenews.com/?p=216466

Guard against making the common mistake of releasing too much elevator, aka “hunting,” during the float and thus creating a flat spot on top of the loop. This occurs for the same reason people overcontrol at every skill level: they want to see their inputs doing something. Instead, you should concentrate on smoothly reducing the [...]

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Guard against making the common mistake of releasing too much elevator, aka “hunting,” during the float and thus creating a flat spot on top of the loop. This occurs for the same reason people overcontrol at every skill level: they want to see their inputs doing something. Instead, you should concentrate on smoothly reducing the elevator input to a fixed position that is just enough to keep the loop from pinching. When the float is performed correctly, the loop remains round without any visible sign of when the elevator adjustments where made. When the loop is visible out of round, it’s usually due to trying to manage the float by watching the airplane instead of paying attention to the control inputs.

Since the loop is entered from level flight with more speed compared to the first version of the P loop, propwash and P-factor won’t require corrections until the airplane has entered the slower section of the loop over the top. However, if a strong crosswind exists, you’ll likely need to input your rudder correction earlier and hold it in longer.

After the airplane has made it past the top of the loop, idle the engine to slow the descent and get ready to quickly neutralize the elevator at the instant the plane points straight down. Despite the throttle reduction, airplanes tend to quickly build speed when pointing straight down, so hold the lines before and after the half-roll no longer than a count of “one.” Flying a perfect vertical downline is the mark of a professional-caliber P loop. If you do not have the time to display at least short vertical lines before and after the roll, you’ll have to enter the maneuver higher and/or fly much larger loops to enter the downline higher up. You think of it this way: if you don’t have enough altitude to dive straight at the ground, perform a half roll and pull out, you probably don’t have enough height to perform this version of the P loop. This is what we mean when we talk about “thinking ahead of the airplane!” BY DAVID SCOTT

 

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