Carlos Rangel is a regular at the annual Top Gun Scale Invitational and he is also known as “the guy who builds all-aluminum airplanes”. We got an email from Carlos recently along with some photos of his 2013 competition plane. Here’s what he said.
“Well, I was supposed to compete this year in the Masters Class with a very interesting and big all-metal airplane but due to work constrains and traveling, I was unable to get it finished in time as promised. Instead, I will be competing in the Pro-Am prop category with my 30% scale Zenith 801. This particular Zenith was modeled after one of the prototypes of the four seater line 801 Series.
My aircraft was built the same way full size aircraft is built–with factory drawings, no RC technique used here. Although somewhat ugly, it is an accurate duplicate. Each skin panel and rivet line is exact scale. All the structures are also duplicated just like the real size. It took me many hours to design and build it.
I use any thing from 0.008 through 0.040 inch material depending on the stress level, I use solid rivets varying from 3/64th through 3/32 inch. Small rivets are very expensive not to mention the care one has to take to avoid “smiles” and “tipping!!”
The airplane may not win any beauty contests, but, it is my airplane and it is unique and it was awarded with the “Engineering Excellence” award back in Top Gun 2007. I don’t normally build airplanes that others might build. If you feel this airplane is worth publishing in your beautiful Road to Top Gun blog, I will be honored. It’s my desire to support Top Gun and maintain and encourage scale scratch building.”