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vtdiy's blog
Posted by vtdiy | Aug 28, 2012 @ 08:32 PM | 2,864 Views



I recently built a copy of my first RC plane, the Sterling Mambo. The original was probably about 1962. I never successfully flew it. The crash was a giant disappointment back then, But I had no experience flying. Those were the days of escapements.

Fast forward to 2012, and I decided to get back up on that horse and get the Mambo in the air. I adapted the plane to foam construction (pink fanfold, covered with paper) , and put a good old Towerpro 2408-21 (aka BP-21) in it. Needed a little nose weight, so I turned a dummy engine cylinder from a scrap of aluminum, and she balanced perfectly. AUW was just 2 pounds.

The plane is a perfect trainer, extremely stable, good rate of climb, and she soars on thermals occasionally. It just loves to stay up in the air.

Build log:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1594303
Posted by vtdiy | Aug 27, 2012 @ 08:26 PM | 2,556 Views



This is one of those planes I had a lot of trouble with, and intend to build again at some point to try to figure what was the matter.

I actually built two of these. I found them to be easily damaged compared with my solid foam models. Any kind of nose-in is going to at least crease the foam on a profile job like this, and then thrustline is off and it's hard to repair without cutting the nose off and splicing in new material.

Part of the problem may have been the Cellfoam 88 that I used. It's very brittle with almost no bounce or shock absorbing quality. Perhaps fanfold or $Tree foam would have been a better choice.

Also, my piloting skills at that time played a part, I'm sure. And the plane was overpowered for those skills. Finally I used alternate spar materials (not the designed carbon fiber) and I had a negative G wing failure at one point.

It was an easy building plane, and I think they look great. You can whip one out in an evening, except for the paint job.

It was also my first try at using an airbrush -- I think it came out rather well.

Like I say, I may re-visit this one -- especially since I have complete patterns. But I'm also tempted to do it in, say, 1" thick foam instead of the thin stuff -- then I could bury the battery and receiver. And if I make a solid core airfoil wing, I'm sure it will be relatively bulletproof and stiffer. Of course that would be pretty much a different design with different characteristics. But it would sure be tougher, easier to mount a radial mount motor, and maybe just as quick to build. Tempting....

Build thread:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...t=p+40&page=21
Posted by vtdiy | Aug 27, 2012 @ 04:27 PM | 2,412 Views
This was an unusual project -- I'd been flying a Foamflyer So-11 for a year and it was looking pretty sad after all the crashes, so I decided to replace parts on it, one at a time with new ones, but this time try to make it look like a P-38. In effect, repair it into an entirely different new plane.

It worked!

Build thread:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1515960


Before:



After:


Posted by vtdiy | Aug 14, 2012 @ 11:09 PM | 3,518 Views
These are three small biplanes I built last winter. The DVII I built twice in two different sizes, based on Comet FF plans which I redesigned for foam and cardstock.

The SE5A was slightly larger (20") but was actually to the same scale as the Fokker.

Took awhile to get comfortable flying these -- highly affected by wind and very sensitive to rudder. The DVIIs are no more, but the SE55a is still flying strong. I've already cut out parts for a new DVII, but haven't had time lately to complete. Probably will do it as a winter project.

Build thread:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1587994

20" Fokker DVII:




SE5a:

Posted by vtdiy | Jul 25, 2012 @ 09:58 PM | 2,932 Views


This is the plane I actually learned to fly with. GPW's Trainer One. NimH batteries and a 180 brushed motor. This little plane went through a lot of crashes -- mainly because my flying field was tiny and surrounded by 100 foot trees. Not to mention the fact that I was trying to learn to fly in February in Vermont!

Nevertheless it came through with flying colors, and I did finally learn how to fly with it. Thanks GPW!

Build thread:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...383687&page=47
Posted by vtdiy | Jul 25, 2012 @ 09:22 PM | 2,954 Views


My second model was a Electric Orange's J-3 Cub. I really liked the looks of this model, and it promised to be an easy trainer. I built it before I had radio gear for it. Almost simultaneously I also decided to build a Foamflyer SO-11 -- which was not quite a trainer -- no dihedral, and a single aileron and no rudder. More about that one shortly.

Anyway, the Cub's construction in foam was an eye-opener. It was really great to work with such a carefully designed model and the parts fit together perfectly. Foam was so easy to cut compared to the balsa I had used back in my teenage years. I'd never built anything from scratch back then -- only kit balsa planes. Crossgrain cutting seemed impossible then, though I' became more of a woodworker later in life.

Unfortunately the Cub had problems for me, as a trainer. It was very sensitive to rudder, and the wings were not supported well enough for the gusty conditions I tried her in. The plane did some very squirrely stuff (maybe interference?) and in the maneuvering managed to crease one of the wing panels. I tried flyting again, and the wing folded this time.

I later tried a solid core foam wing, but never could get the plane trimmed properly, and crashed it beyond repair. The wing was undamaged, however -- I still have it.

This Cub is for me a mystery plane. I've always wondered why I couldn't fly it -- others had reported training fine on it. Some day I will have to build it again and try to figure out what happened -- was it me, or the design?
Posted by vtdiy | Jul 25, 2012 @ 08:38 PM | 2,761 Views


Time to start a blog I guess. Might as well start withe the reason I got back into R/C after 40 years absence. It was from reading a book about the Gee-Bee racers, and specifically the story of the Gee Bee Model Z, built not far from here in Springfield, Massachusetts.

After reading the book, I wanted to see the plane in real life. There were no available plastic models of it -- the Williams Bros. version of it was no longer available. So I started to look up models online. I happened across Faomflier's website and saw all of the hundreds of planes he'd built over the years -- most of them foamies.

So I decided to see if I could make a solid model of the Gee Bee Model Z out of foam using some of the techniques I'd read about.

I enjoyed working on that so much that I decided to tackle an R/C plane as well, even though I didn't yet have gear. The plane I chose was Electric Orange's Depron J3 Cub.

The Gee Bee turned out great, and being a newbie I posted my first thread question here, asking if anyone thought it might be flyable -- even though intended as a solid model.

No one answered!

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=649675