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Old Dec 11, 2012, 02:30 AM
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A Sailaire Build Thread......Kinda

This thread is for those who bravely constructed and sucessfully completed a Craftair/Dreamcatcher Sailaire. Please post your experiences, tips, and completed pics/videos of your ship to share with our members for this is no kit for the squeamish!

Seriously though, this thread came about because I could not find a blog or thread anywhere in cyberspace describing the building methods or construction pictures in one forum for the Sailaire which for those who have completed one knows what a challenge this kit can be. It is definitely not a beginner kit so if you have one and you don't have a few kits under your belt, I would suggest some help from an experienced builder. Heck even that might not help. I'll explain.

Even if you have built model kits for most of your life, this one will certainly have your wife and kids wondering what all the screaming and expletives are about coming from your work shop. If you have hair, you probably won't after you are done building her from pulling it all out. If you don't drink, you will before this kit is completed.

I've been building kits for about 25 years. scratch built planes, kit planes, RC scale boats, race boats, rockets, trains, RC cars, helis, etc and the Sailaire has definitely taxed me to the max in the short three weeks I have worked on her More than any other model I have worked on.

Why you ask? The plans, and the instructions. Not exactly builder friendly IMO but necessary to have to complete her. My scratch built Merlyn was easier than this!

I would like to thank my new friend Randy (rkuntz) for selling me this fine kit. Thank you Randy. My doctor has been busy treating me for CA fumes and balsa dust. And my wife also noticed that I have invented new expletives during the construction of this model. Just joking about the Dr. thing.

So I say all of this in FUN okay? Don't get all bent out of shape thinking that I'm bashing this kit.....well ok maybe thinking of physically bashing it into pieces on my bad days. From the videos I have seen and the testimonials I have read, the pain will be well worth it. You will be rewarded with a beautiful flying machine from the bygone days.

This thread won't be a full build thread because I started the kit earlier and did not plan on doing a build thread because of time constraints and family life. Plus I was just too burned out to do another build thread on one of my models but I felt it was necessary to do this one thread because the plane is very special to the sailplane community and an RC legend. I will explain to the best of my ability each part I have done and mods if any I have performed and would appreciate you join in on the fun.

Now lets get this thread started!!
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 02:34 AM
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My Sailaire will be an E powered version.

This is it's power system suggested by rkuntz. The only change I made was the spinner and prop adapter which I got off eBay. It's 50mm.

Motor - Turnigy (Hobby King Brand) 50-55B (Equiv. 4120/14 motor) About $29.00@
Battery - Turnigy 3600ma 4 cell 14.8 volt LiPo's rated at 20C (Single battery on board.) About $31.53@
Speed Controller - 60-70amp Turnigy brand speed controller About $25.00@
Prop Adapter - 8mm to 3/8x24 = Great Planes Item# LMXSG-7 (Available through Tower Hobbies) $6.29?
Prop - Aeronaut 14x8 carbon fiber folding set up from Hobby Lobby International
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 02:51 AM
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Here are my wings and hstab. I will post more pics soon.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 03:07 AM
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Wing construction with home made 1/8 inch ply wing joiners in lieu of the wire joiners called out in the kit. 30 min epoxy mixed with shredded carbon fiber encapsulating the wing joiner tubes in lieu balsa wedges wedged and epoxied on top and bottom of the tubes. A little heavier but with a motor and battery pack in my model, this mod should prove stronger for my type of flying.

Also added balsa triangles for added strength to the end of all the wing ribs. Prior to the addition of the triangles, the end of the wing ribs were weak and easily knocked out of place when the wing was being handled or sanded. So back to the bench for modifications!
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Now that I've got Rudderman hooked into building a Mono-Kote overcast, hee hee.... Nice job on the build and the thread Perry. Great shots. Since I'm almost out of alcohol and CA "rehab" from my latest Sailaire build I thought I would post a couple of shots of what the possibilities can be if one ventures over to the "dark side" of building a Sailaire. Start saving your lunch money for the Mono-Kote bills now!

Climb rates with the recommended powertrain are equivelant to a good winch launch and when you fly around on a hot day with the spoilers deployed for 20 minutes and your variometer tells you "this thing is still climbing" it will all come together. The weeks of sawdust, CA fumes and heavy drinking will be a thing of the past. - rk.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:16 AM
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thank you

Randy and Rudderman, you two have made my day!

Beauty is the sun shining through a open frame 'woody' glider- the bigger the better.

thanks for the details so far, these will be useful to me as i have aquired some of these kits for future use - once they are gone, they really are....

js
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jswain View Post
Randy and Rudderman, you two have made my day!

Beauty is the sun shining through a open frame 'woody' glider- the bigger the better.

thanks for the details so far, these will be useful to me as i have aquired some of these kits for future use - once they are gone, they really are....

js

JS,
Your welcome. I'll be posting more details of the build shortly.

Rk, those Sailaire's of yours are beauties!

Rm
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:21 PM
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So here is a small segment of the horizontal stab construction.

The instructions say that the left and right hstab construction are identical. That is true. Unless you cut the end of the spar off by a millimeter like I did which in turn changed the airfoil shape of the ribs.

The hstab main spar is tapered so the ends need to be squared off EVENLY before assembly begins...OOPS! No biggie. I just made the right hand stab the left, and vice versa. Now it looks even Steven lol!

When laying up the 1/16 strips of balsa as the ribs, use stronger balsa. I used some very soft balsa and broke a good majority of the ribs when handling them. They have been replaced.

I also used more balsa spacers in between the ribs which didn't really add that much of a weight penalty but made the overall stabilizer much stronger.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 04:54 PM
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Thanks JS, you made our day too. Glad to know people still appreciate a good woodie. (Did I really say that?) They are a grand thing to see floating around.

Quite a few old one's still in existance. They are durable for being a big ship.

1. We sometimes fly out of a tree farm here in Atlanta, nothing big just some 4-5" diameter 15 foot tall trees. I mis-judged the runway and hit them on final. I was able to tape the leading edge up and fly that afternoon. The guy that owns the tree farm made me replace the 4 trees I knocked down.

2. One guy had one hanging in a hobby shop for years in Atlanta. It never sold. People just thought it was part of the ceiling.

Let's fly shall we?

Dolly Launch:
Sailaire Sailplane Dolly Launch at River Green IMG_0250.MOV (0 min 14 sec)


Side shot:
Sailaire Wingtip Cam at Rivergreen Complex North of Atlanta (7 min 51 sec)


Tail shot:
Sailaire Tail Shot at River Green Complex (14 min 40 sec)


Randy
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Great thread; bringing back lots of memories.

I built one back in the 1970s. It had a detachable power pod with a Super Tigre X20 (I think). I had many great flights with it. IIRC it climbed out well enough. I used to loop it fairly often. Each time I looped when my dad was flying with me, he was convinced I would fold the wings. Never did.

I don't remember anything at all about building it, so it must have gone together without a hitch. This picture was posted a few years ago, but here it is again.

Jim
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Jim,

That's a great looking Sailaire! And that power pod, COOL!
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 12:22 PM
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Sailaire-- the original mondo gasbag of all gasbags

Perry,

A Sailaire thread! Great idea!

I built my Sailaire back in the spring of 1999, so I have only vague memories of the build. I do remember it took a lot longer than I had expected. I built my Paragon in three short weeks, where the Sailaire seemed to go on and on and on. My only mods were to use a push-pull braided cable for the elevator rather than the bellcrank, which made for a slop-free and frictionless actuation, and I lengthened the wings by two rib bays out at the tips, just to be obnoxious. I wanted to have the biggest wingspan Sailaire out there, but I ended up kinda regretting it, as with the longer span (160"), my Sailaire tends to tip stall in slow thermal turns. I have to keep the bank angle shallow to keep the inboard tip at flying speed. I may clip them back by one bay some day, dunno. Mine is covered in Sig Koverall and clear nitrate dope, and Krylon on the fuse. AUW is 7lbs. A glorious ship to fly, without any doubt.

I don't fly the Sailaire very much lately, as I do not have access to a long, open field for hi-starting. I have flown it at my local power field (ERMA in Marysville), with a shorty hi-start, and gotten some good, long flights. (It is amazing how this huge monster can grab lawn thermals and speck out from fifty feet up!)

My thoughts now are to either electricize it, as you are doing, or make a power pod for it with my Magnum XL15, as Jim did (poster jjscott). The power pod appeals to me because I can easily revert to pure glider whenever I want to, though I think the Sailaire is draggy enough without a pod. Streamlining it with a fully cowled nacelle and strut fairing may be worth the effort.

I just got a pair of electric spoilers for my Sailaire from Esprit Models. While not cheap, they function really well, and the installation is quick and easy. My old clapper spoilers have warped a bit with time, and I never did like the fabric hinges that would separate from the wood. The electric spoilers will be problem-free, I'm sure.

Have fun with yours. I'll be following along with your progress.

Don.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 12:32 PM
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She's a real beauty Don. Majestic!
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 12:51 PM
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She's a real beauty Don. Majestic!
I second that. Thank you Don for sharing.

C'mon guys! Where are all the other Sailaire bretheren?

Perry
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 01:24 PM
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My memory is starting to come back to me now.... I got one of the very first editions when Roy Simpson reintroduced the kit under his Dream Catcher label, back in '98.

When the kit arrived, I was very disappointed. The fuselage was way too thin, like one layup of 1.5oz glass, which rumpled when I squeezed it, and under the pressure of packing and shipping, it had taken on a permanent distortion in one sidewall. I was considering adding some glass matte to the inside, but when I started the wing center section build, and realized that the ribs were all too tall by a quarter inch or so, so that nothing was fitting properly, I called Roy on the phone.

Dunno how many of you knew Roy. I'm sure he was a good man, and loved by his family, but I found him to be flinty and unnecessarily self-defensive. He suggested I shave the ribs down to the correct size (not an easy task now that the center section was already framed up), and he insisted the fuselage pod was plenty strong, and would save weight. I just wanted my two-hundred-fifty dollars back. A few weeks later, he finally agreed to send me a new kit from his second run, if I would send the old one back to him.

The new kit arrived a month after I sent him back the first one, and lo and behold it had the correct rib outlines, and a nice new fuselage of the proper gage thickness, so apparently he knew he had it wrong with the first run. The build went together without any hiccups, although it took nearly four months of off-and-on work to complete it, if I recall correctly. Well worth it, considering the hours and hours of sheer thermalling pleasure the big beast has provided me over the years. This is a project for purists, without a doubt.
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