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Old Jun 18, 2016, 05:30 PM
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Restoring an old fun-fly club favourite: Great Planes "Dazzler"

A few days ago a cousin of mine brought me an old beat-up model airplane of his that had been lying around in his garage for many years. He had mentioned it couple of times before and I asked him to bring it in to see if we can restore it and have it back in the air. The model turned out to be Great Planes "Dazzler". An old-time favourite at club fun-fly events from the early 2000s. It's an all wood balsa/ply built-up model boasting a generous wing area and a thick airfoil for an all-rounder performance as a fun-fly/sport model.

Other than the model the electronics too were very interesting and brought back memories of frequency crystals and tags at the flying field, foam rolled receivers, ni-cad battery packs and physically reversing y-harness servo leads for ailerons.

The model had a O.S MAX .46 SF with a tuned pipe muffler which I assume provided more than ample power for unlimited verticals. Unfortunately the engine seems to have locked-up due to gunk and rust built over the years. One of the mounting holes is also broken so its being held in place by steel plates.

I will be trying to restore the model back to flying condition and any and all comments and suggestions would be helpful. It might take me a bit of time to complete this project due to limited spare time. I am hoping once I have all the material i need it shouldn't take me more than a few days overall of build time if I put in a few hours every week-end. I will be updating my progress here for any feedback and suggestions.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 05:36 PM
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Started peeling off the covering and dismantling electronics.

Some interesting electronics and comparisons from what we have today compared to just a few years ago.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 05:38 PM
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A size comparison with today's typical 8-channel 2.4GHz Rx and a 7.4V 500mAh Lipo battery.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 05:40 PM
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Had to struggle getting the engine out from the mount. All the screws were jammed. You can see the gunk built-up inside.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 05:46 PM
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Covering is off from one top half of the wing. Also cut out the cracked part of the leading edge. Thinking of leaving the bottom covering as is and repairing it from inside instead of taking it all off for the few rips and nicks. Is it a good idea to patch up any small holes and rips from inside of the covering? Let me know of your experience and advice on patching up heat shrink covering like Monokote.
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Old Jun 19, 2016, 06:37 PM
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Got the other top half of the wing covering off. Also fixed some cracks in ribs and rib cap strips. Filled up the cut out area with 1/16 scrap balsa strips and using a PVC cement (DAP) as filler.
  
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Old Jun 19, 2016, 06:39 PM
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The tail would probably be the hardest part to fix since bottom part of the vertical stabilizer is glued solid to the fuselage but the rest is broken off. The rudder also need to be rehinged. I can make a new tail and rudder out of balsa but how to get the existing one off is the tough part. 
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Old Jul 09, 2016, 01:56 PM
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Got the broken tail surfaces off the fuselage however I have no idea how to get the bottom of tail fixed inside the fuselage tail former out. I just cut the protruding piece of wood using dremel tool and sanded it down to be level with the fuselage top.     

I am short on ideas on how to have a solid and durable attachment of the tail surfaces. I can try to carve notches or sits in the existing part of the tail left inside the fuselage former but don't have a easy way to do that while keeping the notch inside perfectly level and perpendicular to the horizontal stablizar. Drilling holes and using skewer pegs to attach the tail might be easier but maybe not as durable as i want it to be. Would appreciate if anyone has any ideas that will result in a perpendicular and strong tail surface.
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Old Jul 09, 2016, 01:57 PM
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Getting the tail surfaces ready. I used the existing wood where ever possible and used balsa strip to build up the remaining structure. Interestingly the tail is original stick built out of some sort of soft wood, probably pine and not balsa. I however used balsa as it is easier to form and shape.
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Old Jul 17, 2016, 12:39 PM
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I initially thought of carving out slots into the part of tail fixed inside the fuselage tail. The idea was to have tabs built into the tail assembly that would slide into these slots. The slots needed be very straight and true to ensure the two tabs on the tail assembly were aligned perfectly and at 90 degrees to the horizontal tail section. Name: IMG_20160716_225318.jpg
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Description: My initial idea was to cut two slots as marked in the existing part of the tail but it proved very difficult to carve out a straight and level cut.

However I found it very difficult to carve out these slots very accurately in the wood stuck inside the fuselage tail. I also thought that the lateral stability and strength of the tail would be a little bit compromised as most of the tail's bottom surface would be glued like a saddle mount outside the fuselage tail section. Other than the tabs there will be no lateral strength for the tail. So I did away with the slots and just carved out the whole area of the existing wood inside the fuselage tail. With more area to play with I was able to sand down the surface to an acceptable leveled finish using the small flat file that comes in the needle file sets. I then built the bottom part of the tail section making sure it aligned properly with the finished slot inside the fuselage.  Name: IMG_20160716_225548.jpg
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Here is the finished tail assembly ready for hinges and covering.  Name: IMG_20160716_225659.jpg
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The tail assembly now sits pretty flush with the bottom inside the fuselage and gets lateral stability throughout its length from the fuselage sides as well. Here is the tail slid inside the slot and it seems pretty decently straight and vertical to the horizontal surfaces.  Name: IMG_20160716_225741.jpg
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The next step is to install the hinges and rudder to complete the tail assembly before I glue it to the tail section. I have ordered some pin hinges and monokote heat shrink covering that should arrive in a week or so. Unluckily my local hobby store has closed down recently otherwise I would've preferred buying it and moving on to the next step right away.
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Old Jul 24, 2016, 08:59 PM
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Got the tail ready for covering. The tail structure was sealed with a lightweight spackling compound as a filler. This is a great filler which is very lightweight, water based and works on foam as well.
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After sanding with a 800 grit sandpaper for a smooth finish the structure was ready for covering. I glued hinges to one side of the tail only before I applied monokote covering on one side. The other part of the tail (rudder) was then joined to the hinges and then covered the remaining side with white monokote. Household iron and hair dryer was used to shrink and achieve a somewhat respectable finish. Stick-on trims were applied using monokote checkered trim pattern and thin strips cut from a role of Hobby King foam covering orange tape.
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Next up is covering the wing and taking care of a lot of rips and holes here and there
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