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Old Oct 08, 2010, 02:35 PM
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blunight's Avatar
Brainerd, MN
Joined Aug 2008
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Balsa USA: EAA, Phaeton or Citaborea Pro?

I want to build an aerobatic airplane for a 26cc gas engine this winter and am looking for advice. I currently own a 27% GP Extra so I donít want another 3D airplane - but I donít want to be bored flying the new one either! My current top choices are all from Balsa USA:

1) EAA Bipe - at 60Ē span the 26cc should make it go
2) Phaeton 90 - Add additional ailerons with this one?
3) Citaborea Pro - I donít know if 26cc would be enough for itís 80Ē wingspan

Anyone have any comments or advice?

Thanks
Trent
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Old Oct 09, 2010, 04:06 PM
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Keller, TX
Joined Aug 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blunight View Post
I want to build an aerobatic airplane for a 26cc gas engine this winter and am looking for advice. I currently own a 27% GP Extra so I donít want another 3D airplane - but I donít want to be bored flying the new one either! My current top choices are all from Balsa USA:

1) EAA Bipe - at 60Ē span the 26cc should make it go
2) Phaeton 90 - Add additional ailerons with this one?
3) Citaborea Pro - I donít know if 26cc would be enough for itís 80Ē wingspan

Anyone have any comments or advice?

Thanks
Trent
1) The EAA Bipe is a scale project, modeled after a gentle flying full scale plane. It's not a muscle plane, and I don't know what you would need to do to make it so, and still keep the scale flavor.

2) The Phaeton bipe isn't scale anything, but it is a sturdy build that can accommodate some performance enhancement. I have one that is about 11 years old, originally flown with a converted 25cc Homelite engine, then later changed to a converted 25cc Toro (Brillelli version) which is smaller, lighter and stronger, reducing total weight by over a pound. The plane flew better. Mine is built stock, except I moved the firewall back 1 1/2 " to accommodate the heavier gas engine for balance purposes. Right now, mine is in process of refurbishing: I have stripped the covering and will recover and paint it. I thought about adding ailerons to the top wing as I have heard others have done, but I have decided against that. I really like the way this bird flies. It is sort of "golden age" style but very satisfying in the air. It's not going to do anything very quickly with the airfoil and force layouts in its design. In the air, whatever it does, it does with style.

If Pitts performance is what you want, this aint it, you need to get another plane.

3) Citabria Pro is a very gentle flyer. BTW, the spelling of Citabria is the word "Airbatic" spelled backward. 26cc gas ill be more than enough for this plane. It flies on the wing, not the propeller.

Good luck with your choice of build.
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Old Oct 09, 2010, 05:17 PM
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Have you considered building from plans? There's a few acro biplanes out there that'll fit your 26cc.

EJWash
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Dines View Post
.

3) Citabria Pro is a very gentle flyer. BTW, the spelling of Citabria is the word "Airbatic" spelled backward. 26cc gas ill be more than enough for this plane. It flies on the wing, not the propeller.
Jim,

Thanks for taking the time to respond! I'm looking for a relaxing plane that will also allow me to do basic aerobatics, ie: loops, rolls, hammerheads etc. etc. when I get bored flying in circles and doing touch and goes. I think I'm currently leaning towards the Citabria or the EAA bipe.

That being said, I LOVE the look of the Pitts and would consider that as my next plane if I could find the right kit! ("right" being well designed for a gas motor and reasonably priced)
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by EJWash1 View Post
Have you considered building from plans? There's a few acro biplanes out there that'll fit your 26cc.

EJWash
EJ,
I don't know if I'm up for another scratch build as I've only done one small pattern plane to date. I have not purchased the motor yet as I wanted to keep my options open, I would just like to keep the size and weight of the plane in the 26 to 30cc range.

Do you have a link to the acro biplane plans you think would be a good match?

Trent
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 05:50 PM
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Blunight,

The Bucker Jungmeister always stood out to me, and RCM offers Dave Platt's 68" plans. It lists power at .61-.91 2-stroke glow, so you're 26-30cc is in the ballpark:

http://www.rcmplans.com/index.php?ma...oducts_id=1552

Fiberglass Specialties offers the cowl.

Of course, the Jungmeister is an older plane (1935) but was a competition aerobatic contender of it's time.

Off the top of my head, I can't come up with a modern aerobatic biplane kit in your engine range. Doesn't mean that they're not out there.

EJWash
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 08:01 PM
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My experience is almost the same as Jim Dines with the Phaeton. I know you indicate that it is probably not now your choice but thought I'd add my two cents for Jim in recognition of going the almost identical route.

I used a converted John Deere (unkown size and self converted) weed trimmer engine and it flew fair. The engine was heavy and I'd also shortened the fire wall (one inch). After a couple of years the ignition failed so it was refitted with a G-20 and the plane really came to life aerobatically Unfortunately it weighed the same even though the engine was much lighter because I then had to add nose weight to equal the weed trimmer engine.

The Phaeton trades a little aerobatic pizazz for wonderful ground handling manners. It is one of the finest ground handling planes I've ever owned and really sets up well for a beautiful glide slope so makes great touch and goes. I also have only lower ailerons and the only time I've wanted duals is when rolling out on top of an Immelman turn.

Mine has heavy text covering and with the heavy motor setup is on the heavy side but of course the plane has the inches to handle some weight. If I were building again, I'd use a lighter 28-30 cc and not shorten the nose and cover with Ultracote to keep the weight off.

Having a lot of drag, it is not a fast flier and flies on the wing but that is what I've come to enjoy in a plane. If the plane has a draw back, it is that without headwind it takes a good distance to get it down. With a head wind, it requires quite a bit of throttle so lands much shorter.

It is a great sport plane much because of its great ground handling manners, good flight tracking and ruggedness and it will do all the basic aerobatic stuff.
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 08:27 PM
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EJ,

Thanks for the RCM link, there is a lot of material to look thru there.

AA5BY,

Looks like there are more Phaeton fans than my other choices:
A 30CC motor and not having to modify the firewall location make it a tempting choice. Looks like its time for more research.

Trent (old ham call: AA0LN )
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 09:24 AM
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Based on Jim's, AA5BY and David Lewis (Balsa USA rep) recomendations, I'll be building the Phaeton 90!

AA5BY/Jim,

The 26cc motor I'm considering for this project weighs 2# 7oz., do you think the nose should be shortened? Mr. Lewis recomended cutting 1 inch off of it.

I've looked for a build log for this plane but have not found one, perhaps I just missed it somehow?!

Trent
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by blunight View Post
Based on Jim's, AA5BY and David Lewis (Balsa USA rep) recomendations, I'll be building the Phaeton 90!

AA5BY/Jim,

The 26cc motor I'm considering for this project weighs 2# 7oz., do you think the nose should be shortened? Mr. Lewis recomended cutting 1 inch off of it.

I've looked for a build log for this plane but have not found one, perhaps I just missed it somehow?!

Trent
With that motor, I don't think shortening the firewall is necessary and doing so distracts slightly from the bottom fit of the cowl.

Otherwise, almost all of the Phaetons have required some down trim. This can be done in three different ways. 1. BUSA advises some negative incidence in the lower wing though the stock saddle is set up neutral. 2. Setting the upper wing with a degree or so negative incidence. 3. Setting the horizontal stab with a .5-1 degree positive.

I've talked with several as well as myself who accomplished good trim by shimming the upper wing for a slight negative incidence though all of us affirmed probably the best approach would have been a slight bit of positive in the stab. There are probably at least two couples that cause the need for down trim... 1. A spiraling down draft coming of the top wing hitting the top of the stab and 2. The drag of the upper wing.

I'm certain that .5 would not hurt a thing and if I were building again, I'd go 1 degree positive on the stab and neutral on both wings.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by AA5BY View Post
With that motor, I don't think shortening the firewall is necessary and doing so distracts slightly from the bottom fit of the cowl.

Otherwise, almost all of the Phaetons have required some down trim. This can be done in three different ways. 1. BUSA advises some negative incidence in the lower wing though the stock saddle is set up neutral. 2. Setting the upper wing with a degree or so negative incidence. 3. Setting the horizontal stab with a .5-1 degree positive.

I've talked with several as well as myself who accomplished good trim by shimming the upper wing for a slight negative incidence though all of us affirmed probably the best approach would have been a slight bit of positive in the stab. There are probably at least two couples that cause the need for down trim... 1. A spiraling down draft coming of the top wing hitting the top of the stab and 2. The drag of the upper wing.

I'm certain that .5 would not hurt a thing and if I were building again, I'd go 1 degree positive on the stab and neutral on both wings.

Thank you very much for the information; I guess it's about time I invested in an incident meter.

If I decide to do a build log I hope you decide to comment, your (and Jim's) knowledge would be VERY helpful.

Trent
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by blunight View Post
Thank you very much for the information; I guess it's about time I invested in an incident meter.

If I decide to do a build log I hope you decide to comment, your (and Jim's) knowledge would be VERY helpful.

Trent
Incidence meters can also be home built using one of the angle guages available at Harbor Freight and Tool. Use a round steel rod for boom as the guage has a magnetic base that will stick it to the rod. On a sheet stab, the guage can simply be rested on the stab and when checking motor side thrust or down trim, the guage can be rubber banded to a flat stick mounted on the prop shaft.
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Old Oct 12, 2010, 10:05 AM
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Florida
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I have built three of these Phaeton 90's. On the last one I installed a 75cc Quadra and I did shorten the nose a bit and beefed up the landing gear. It flew exceptionally well for 2 years but due to some dumb thumbs I now have to reinstall the firewall and do a few repairs. On all three of mine, I found that I needed to set the upper wing at minus 1.5 degrees relative to the lower wing (using the lower wing and stab as reference with both at zero). I also needed about 5 degrees downthrust and 3 degrees right thrust for best flying. Note: all three of these liked the upper wing at -1.5 degrees relative to the lower wing with the lower wing saddle as per plans.
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Old Oct 12, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
I have built three of these Phaeton 90's. On the last one I installed a 75cc Quadra and I did shorten the nose a bit and beefed up the landing gear. It flew exceptionally well for 2 years but due to some dumb thumbs I now have to reinstall the firewall and do a few repairs. On all three of mine, I found that I needed to set the upper wing at minus 1.5 degrees relative to the lower wing (using the lower wing and stab as reference with both at zero). I also needed about 5 degrees downthrust and 3 degrees right thrust for best flying. Note: all three of these liked the upper wing at -1.5 degrees relative to the lower wing with the lower wing saddle as per plans.

75cc That thing must be a rocket. Thanks for the incidence information...I was wondering what you guys think of the hardware package that comes with Balsa USA kits..is it about on par with the likes of Sig or Great Planes?
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Old Oct 13, 2010, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by blunight View Post
75cc That thing must be a rocket. Thanks for the incidence information...I was wondering what you guys think of the hardware package that comes with Balsa USA kits..is it about on par with the likes of Sig or Great Planes?
Hardware and linkage on mine is all 4-40. I don't recall if that is what came in the box, but I recommend using that size. I also changed the interplane strut mounts to bolt on type of attachment.
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