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Road to Top Gun — Carlos Rangel and his 30% Scale All-Aluminum Sonex

Road to Top Gun — Carlos Rangel and his 30% Scale All-Aluminum Sonex

A regular at the annual Top Gun Scale Invitational, Carlos Rangel is also known as “the guy who builds all-aluminum airplanes”. This year Carlos is again competing with his impressive 30% scale Sonex and will be flying in the Pro-AM Propeller class.

The Sonex Carlos is modeling is a single place home-built, experimental E.A.A. aircraft and his model is completely detailed inside and out. The cockpit is fully appointed and has a functional hinged canopy.

For the airframe, there no RC model building techniques used. His 30% Sonex is build entirely out of aluminum using the same building techniques as used to produce the full size aircraft using with factory drawings (kindly provided to him by Sonex Aircraft Company. It is an accurate duplicate with each skin panel and rivet line reproduced exactly to scale. All the internal structures are also duplicated just like the real thing. Carlos says it took him many hours to design and build it. He uses aluminum sheets from 0.008- through 0.040-inch thickness depending on the stress level, and uses solid rivets. These vary from 3/64- through 3/32-inch diameter.

Carlos commented that the small rivets are very expensive so he is very careful while shutting and bucking them into place. And much care is taken to avoid “smiles” and “tipping”.

For power, Carlos chose a ZDZ 50cc engine, and he is using a JR 11XG DMSS radio system. The only RC products used are the radio gear, engine and propeller. Everything else was custom built by Carlos.

Photos by Carlos Rangel & David Hart

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3 Comments

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  1. beautiful job on the sonex does it fly.

  2. Anything unique about the radio system because of the aluminum plane?

  3. YOUR LATEST ISSUE TALKED ABOUT AN ELECTRIC AT6. WE IN CANADA ALSO USED THEM AS A TRAINER USING THE NAME OF “HARVARD”. THERE IS A NUMBER OF THEM STILL FLYING OUT OF TILSONBURG ONTARIO AND YOU CAN PURCHASE A TICKET AND GO WITH A PILOT. THEY WERE DRAGGED ACROSS THE BORDER BY HORSES IN 1939 AND 40 BECAUSE OF THE US A BEING NOT AT WAR.

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