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Posted by Phaedra | Feb 12, 2016 @ 02:46 PM | 2,673 Views
Last year, I was able to buy a second hand Twin Otter model, and I immediately was delighted with the quality and the flight characteristics of this model.
I decided to prepare this model for flight as soon as possible, and fly it unmodified during the 2015 season.
I quickly discovered that my ex-airline, Sabena, used to operate Twin Otters, and so the decision was easy to restyle my model to the Sabena livery.





I looked up pictures of the actual aircraft, but it's been very hard to get top- and bottom views to get the exact details.
Starting from these pictures, I ordered a set of decals from Callie Graphics, awaiting the great makeover.

And that day finally came...
Inspecting the standard finish of the model, I considered different options on how to tackle this.
The final livery is almost the opposite of the standard model finish. The belly is dark blue, where it needs to become light gray. The middle has to become blue and white.
The tail and rudder have 3 different colors, and has to become white and blue.

The only way to get away with this and get consistent colors all over the fuselage, is to strip the orange and blue covering, and replace it all by white Oracover, in order to get an even color base.

And so I started stripping of the original covering, which didn't always go as easy as I thought.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Jan 16, 2016 @ 12:32 PM | 1,473 Views
Blog entry moved to a separate thread:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2589190
Posted by Phaedra | Jan 11, 2016 @ 02:11 AM | 1,931 Views
Blog entry moved to a separate thread:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2589190
Posted by Phaedra | Jan 02, 2016 @ 09:06 AM | 1,595 Views
Blog entry moved to a separate thread:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2589190
Posted by Phaedra | Dec 08, 2015 @ 02:00 PM | 2,784 Views
Haven't been really progressing on this build lately, or on any rc-model-related things for that matter. Too much stress at work, too long hours, draining all energy.
And so I'm taking this one small step at a time, just to keep my sanity, I guess...

First thing I really wanted to tackle were the engines. I did a dynamic balancing with the tool I bought a while ago. Every time I do balancing I run into the same problem: getting consistent measurements. This time around I figured out that the very crude thrust stand that I built was causing this; the friction between the EDF housing and the metal retainer brace was the culprit. And so, after getting this tackled I was able to reduce vibrations with a factor 2 to 3.

And then came the long feared moment of cutting the flaps. After long pondering and doubting, I decided to use inboard and outboard flaps, and to have "fake" (i.e. inoperative) spoilers, mainly to cover up the fowler gap between flaps and wing.
I wanted to create the spoilers by using very thin plywood pieces, cut to size indicated by the panel lines on the wing. To transfer these panel lines to the plywood, I used an old child's trick with paper and pencil: tracing:


I then cut the plywood pieces and laid them up on the wing:


Once this was done, everything was ready for the first cut. I decided to make a slant cut from above, joining a straight cut from below, such that the flap already has its basic fowler shape, and leaving a...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Oct 04, 2015 @ 02:10 AM | 3,416 Views
Topmodel Ka8 3m (1 min 8 sec)


About a year ago, I bought a second-hand Ka8 model in Germany. In a previous blog entry of mine I already stated my doubts whether it had really flown as the previous owner claims.
And so I removed about 200g of lead from the nose to get the CG right, struggled to get a towhook installed next to the motor, and I went about maidening this beautiful model.
Performance wasn't exactly what the previous owner described to me.
On 4S with a 13x6 prop, this thing should rocket skywards. But all it did was climb steadily at an acceptable rate.
And then, from the second flight on, a problem developed. Whenever I opened the throttle more than half, the model started howling with a sound that best can be described as a howling cow, or the horn of a freight train.
The loss of power was so sudden that the model stalled several times during initial climb.
I thought I found the culprit when I discovered that the motor firewall had come loose on one side, but after fixing that, the problem still persisted.
So, last week, I decided to dig into this problem, and did some research.
Apparently there are two versions of this model: 3m and 3m20 of span. And I have the 3m version, which has a recommended 35mm motor, with a 14x8 prop, on 3S.
But I got a 4S battery with this model! And so I measured the motor, and sure enough, it's a 35mm one....which I tried to operate on 4S. A miracle that this motor even survived this treatment.

And so I...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Sep 25, 2015 @ 04:20 AM | 2,670 Views
It has taken a while (a rather shabby flying season coming inbetween), but I'm back at the Marchetti.
The last straws before covering took ages! It's the finishing that takes up all the time, getting all the pits and the wrinkles out.
So first up was to add some sort of smoother transition between wing and fuselage at the bottom. The standard kit leaves you with this:



Not really pretty....
And so I started by glueing on some lightweight and soft balsa:



And since it was soft balsa, it was fairly easy to shape and sand:

...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Aug 31, 2015 @ 09:38 AM | 3,147 Views
I happened to witness this at the Genk - Zwartberg airfield last Saturday:
Enjoy

T28 landing and taxi in (1 min 58 sec)

Posted by Phaedra | Aug 18, 2015 @ 01:44 PM | 2,897 Views
After a pretty shabby flying season so far, weather contiuously being too hot, or too much wind, or having to work on those rare days when the weather does cooperate, I spent more time building models than flying them. Oh well…
And so I picked up the Marchetti again, much sooner than anticipated (I was thinking rather in terms of "next winter"…). I want to get my woodworking skills up, and this is a very good opportunity to do just that.
Where to start, or should I say resume….?
Well, first thing to tackle are the wing-fuselage fairings. I already did one side the last time, so now I need to do the other side too.
This is how it looks when you build the model according to the manual: nasty:





And so I start by cutting out a piece of very soft and light balsa, in which I make a cutout for the wing leading edge:

...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Jun 15, 2015 @ 01:53 PM | 3,462 Views
After a long break, I picked up the work on the ASW22 wings again. Lots of things came inbetween, but now that the weather is finally changing for the better I really want to fly this beautiful bird again soon.
Extending the ailerons presents a special challenge mainly because it wasn't designed to do this.
One big problem I encountered was about the steel rond-and-tube to allow the wingtips to be removable. They are very close to the trailing edge, and thus leaving almost no space for hinges.
Second big problem is the thinness of the aileron near the wingtip. Inserting a hinge always causes a bulge on the aileron. When I try to take out a bit more wood from the hole for the hinge, the knife comes right through.
I did cut out all holes for all hinges, but then I was faced with the problem that I just couldn't get an even gap across the length of the ailerons.
So after a lot of trial and error, I decided to change the strategy, leave the plastic hinges out, and use a combination of fiberglass cloth and PU varnish for hinging.

I applied the fiberglass and varnish on both sides of the ailerons, and then applied Oracover for finish.

I had to give up the plan to keep the wingtips removable, because that would mean I would have to make the aileron in two pieces that can slide into each other. But the aileron is so flimsy at the wingtip that this would make it too weak, especially with the torsional forces in mind.
And so I took the easier and more sensible...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Apr 19, 2015 @ 12:48 PM | 3,915 Views
Last weekend I did the last details to get my trailer ready for the new flying season.
I installed my modular model rack, made from PVC tubes and isolation foam inside, containing my Hurricane, Spitfire and Mosquito.
It leaves plenty of room for another rack next to it.
And then it was time to fix some rack rails to the walls, so that I can insert supports wherever I need them.
On the pics you can see that I used those to securely stow my 3m Ka8 glider and its wings above the model rack.
Pretty happy with this result, now it's time to use it and find ways to still improve its versatility. I need a safe way to add another couple of gliders and the wings of my Twin Otter, which are hard to transport because of the three-blade props.
Posted by Phaedra | Mar 17, 2015 @ 03:06 PM | 4,645 Views
The new outdoor flying season approaching fast, it is time to set some priorities on the maintenance and building activities.
At the end of the previous season I made an extensive list of those, and it turned out to be a multi-page document! But since there's more to life than RC models, I barely got anything of that list done last winter. Most of my time was spent on two new models (Ka8 glider and Hangar 9 Twin Otter) and the continued build of my SF260 model.
So now it's time to prepare some models for the new season, and very high in my priorities sits the ASW22BE 4m glider that I gave a midlife update of motor and electronics more than a year ago. I re-maidened it after almost 20 years of sitting idle, and last summer it flew like never before. Details of its resurrection can be found in previous blog entries.
The upgrade made it lose some weight, and at 3,5 kg at 4m span the low-speed characteristics surely improved.
But one thing I didn't like was the lack of decent roll control. When turning final once I had to apply full stick deflection to counter some crosswind influence
And so, thanks to some tips of one of our senior instructors and experienced model glider pilot, I got the idea to extend the ailerons.
The problem here is that the wings have slide-on extensions, and the ailerons need to be extended up to almost the wing tips to be more effective. So I need a way to split each aileron into two pieces with also a slide-on capability.

But first things...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Mar 02, 2015 @ 01:21 PM | 4,158 Views
With the models constantly getting bigger, it is getting harder to assemble them inside the house. And so I needed to think of a creative solution to make this process easier.
My latest acquisition, the Hangar 9 Twin Otter, poses an even bigger challenge: to mount the wings, the model needs to be upside-down in order to get the strut retaining bolts in. When I put the fuselage on my Robart stand however, the vertical stabilizer is so tall that touches the table surface, pushing the model up from the stand.
On the field, this would quickly become an ever bigger problem, so I really needed a solution.
So it was time to get out the drainage pipes again, and start puzzling.
It needed to be foldable, adjustable, and I prefer the model to be at a more practical height, so I don't need to bend much to work on the model.
I started from the concept of a foldable ironing board, which gave me the idea of height adjustment by more or less folding.
Above the hinge point, you get a wedge form, allowing a variable fit for any model.
The next problem to tackle, was how to fix the position of the stand, while still retaining the foldability.
I decided on a small plywood platform, on which I attached some clamps that clip over the horizontal tubes. Which comes in very handy as a place to put my transmitter while working on the model! When folding the stand, I can just unclip the platform/tray very easily and stow everything in the car.

The first prototype can be seen in the pics below, and mounting my 3m Ka8 on it showed a shortcoming: I still need a way to support the wing(s) while assembling.
I'm also thinking about integrating a CG balancer function, making it easy to check the balance before every flight. If I make wing supports, I might provide vertical holes in them that can take for instance a pencil, with the eraser part up, on which I could support the wing to determine CG.
Posted by Phaedra | Feb 15, 2015 @ 07:05 AM | 4,827 Views
I took a bit of a break in building this model, mainly because I bought (yet) another one (a Hangar 9 Twin Otter), and I wanted that one ready for maiden asap.
So while I'm waiting for parts on that one, it was time to get my attention back to the Marchetti, and finish the wings, so they can be covered soon.
First thing to tackle was the remainder of the planking around the wheels and retracts. Since that involves quite a complex shape, I decided to first make a template in thicker paper, just to get the shape straight before I start cutting balsa.
Nonetheless, the first balsa part I cut was wrong...made a stupid mistake.....too short....
But the second time, I got it right.
Before I could apply the planking, I had to sort out the problem with the wing retaining bolts. The manual (as usual) says nothing at all about this, and so it was up to the builders imagination and common sense to determine how this should be done.
First of all, just drilling holes through the planking just wasn't going to be strong enough, so I decided to glue a piece of balsa in-between both layers of planking.
I then drilled the hole from the top (where the blind nuts are in the fuselage) straight through the wing.
Then I had to think about the wire routing for the servos, to keep the possibility open to replace any servo without having to remove the planking. I decided to keep the female connectors within reach from the open wheel wells and from the flaps servo hatch on top.
I then...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Jan 18, 2015 @ 12:24 PM | 4,553 Views
Sooner or later, the less sexy work of installing servos and control horns can not be postponed anymore. Took a deep breath, and just started cutting, sawing and glueing mindlessly.
The kit provided some thin plywood "guides" that fit into cutouts in the ribs Onto these guides, the plywood frames and hatches need to bee glued and screwed.
Since I decided to install flaps on this model, I already had to extend these guides across three ribs, instead of two.
I found the original frame around the servo hatches to be too flimsy, so I decided to cut some covers in 1,5mm plywood, in which I cut out the space for the servo hatches.
I decided to use some servo installation screws to attach the hatches to the guides, on which I glued some dense balsa blocks to receive the screws in.
I cut some other dense balsa blocks on which I will attach the servos, and this assembly will be glued to the bottom of the servo hatches.
While some glue was setting? i worked a bit on the cockpit floor and the canopy.
I cut some 1mm plywood to the size of the cockpit floor, on which I will glue some balsa at the edge, on which I will glue the canopy.
I already rough-cut the canopy for a trial fit, and after I glued the canopy to the floor, I will fine-cut it, and finish it with a white trim.

So, not much to show after a lot of boring work, but even that needs to be done sooner or later....Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Jan 16, 2015 @ 09:17 AM | 5,566 Views
To get a break from the balsa works, I decided to work on my model rack.
I will allow me to stack my models while I transport them in my trailer, and will double as model stands when I'm at the field.
I saw the idea here and there, so I wanted to make my own concept, using drainage pipes.
I went to the local hardware store to get me some plastic 32mm pipes and a whole box full of T-joints. It made me look like some hardcore Lego or Knexx fan...
In one of my previous blog entries I showed some pics of my new trailer that will serve as a mobile hangar. I already started experimenting with some fixed racks inside the trailer, but then I discovered it would require a too cumbersome to fix the models in place.
So I got some ideas left and right, and started experimenting with a removable rack built out of drainage pipes, which can be partially disassembled into separate model stands for each model.
The pictures show the first concept already. It took some figuring out why the rack was always so crooked at first, but then I found out that:
1) the T-joints are not 90°, but rather 87°
2) and they are asymmetric: there is one short and one longer side, and obviously, I had swapped them around for each layer
So now everything looks straighter, and I will be adding some side-supports to keep the rack centered inside my trainer. Instead of using the 87° corner pieces, I will also use T-joints and point some tubes outward too, to fit it exactly inside the trailer.
The...Continue Reading
Posted by Phaedra | Jan 14, 2015 @ 02:27 PM | 4,823 Views
After all the cutting and the sanding on the fuselage, I just had to let the dust settle for a bit. Literally.
So I diverted my attention to the wings, and more specifically the retracts.
I started by connecting a metal gear servo to the mechanical retracts. Only to be surprised by the amount of friction in them. It took so much force to move them that the steel wire I used just bent. Hmm. This is clearly not good. I don't know where the friction came from; maybe it was from the heat of grinding the struts, melting the plastic guides?
So I started looking for some alternatives, but finding metal retracts of this size seems impossible. Considering the cost of buying another set of plastic retracts and the risk of running into the same problems, I compared different options, including making my own metal units.
But while gathering some leftover material from defective retracts, I had another look at the Eflite units I bought for this model.
I then saw the modifications I did to them more than a year ago, trying to fit the struts as close to the retracts body as possible.
That's when I suddenly realized that this was almost the solution I needed.
I made the retract go the other way, just by drilling a new hole in the trunnion, so that the gear extended position was now the retracted position, the strut hole being shifted 90 degrees.
I just had to open the cutout in the retract housing a bit more, so that the struts can enter inside the housing when the gear is retracted.
Then I only had to made some more openings in the wing ribs to accommodate the retract unit in the new position and orientation, and then I was finally able to install it into the wing. First tests show this to work perfectly.
I feel like I finally cracked the retracts code on this model!
Now I can install the flaps and ailerons servos and start testing, before I finish planking the wings.
Posted by Phaedra | Jan 11, 2015 @ 09:25 AM | 4,848 Views
And the saga continues....cut-glue-sand-repeat. The joys of balsa building
Luckily I went over to the LHS to get me some balsa, otherwise I don't know where I would have needed to get the required wood for all the planking I have been doing lately.
As it stands now, the top of the nose is finished, I added the necessary balsa to the aft fuselage bottom, and planked the top.
That was the easy part.
But then the time came to construct the tail around the horizontal and vertical stab. According to the manual, you had to first insert a "dummy" of the stabs, so that you can glue and sand the balsa inserts around it. Easy enough
First challenge was to place the dummy inserts in the correct place and orientation.
When glueing in the 6mm balsa pieces around it, care had to be taken not to glue it to the dummy inserts, or it could ruin the rest of your day.
Layer after layer, I cut and glued the balsa pieces, and while the glue set, I started on the bottom of the nose, with some more cutting, glueing and sanding of 6mm balsa pieces.
The advantages of having some decent and sharp tools around can not be underestimated in this.
A couple more evenings like this, and I can start thinking about installing some electronics, and see some surfaces moving!
But before I can do that, I think I might need to do some cleaning of my workspace......Continue Reading