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Old Sep 24, 2013, 09:51 AM
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Giant scale OLD Citabria

Hi folks.
I sort of inherited a giant scale Citabria. It was meant to be quarter scale, but is actually just over quarter scale. It has close to a 9 ft wingspan, and as you see it in this photo, it only weighs 10 pounds. Of course, the old 2 cylinder opposed engine is gone from it now. The guy that gave me the plane only wanted the engine, because it was an old classic that was apparently worth a good amount. I gladly took the plane.

He bought this plane in an estate sale. He believes it was built in either the 60's or the 70's, but judging from the servos used, I'd have to guess it was in the 70's. I still have one of my Dad's servos from the early 60's and it used tube technology. Supposedly, this airplane is also scratch built. It may have been from plans, I don't know. It's in excellent structural condition, although the original canvas skin has some tears in it. The balsa inside is in excellent condition and would have cost a small fortune to build today. The wing ribs, for example, are cut from 1/2" thick balsa.

I cannot salvage the canvas on the wings, because of the rips, so I will be replacing that with something. I would like the replacement to be a woven skin, perhaps heat shrink, that doesn't need to be doped. I will also be re-skinning the tail surfaces, since the builder did not taper the leading or trailing edges and my perfectionist spirit just won't leave that alone. The fuselage skin will remain intact.
I am open to suggestions if anyone has any.

The gauges are beautifully detailed inside! But with the cloudy windows, it isn't visible. So I may be replacing those too.

I would like to convert this plane into a glider tow-plane probably, and I'm thinking of doing an electric conversion; although a 4 stroke gas motor would really make this airplane sweet. I would also like to give it my own paint job in a red and white starburst pattern, typical of Citabrias. So even if I do electrify this airplane, I may revisit the 4-stroke gas motor installation in the future. It's just that those engines are very spendy.

For those of you that are into 4-stroke gas engines, what would you suggest as possible engine candidates?
And what replacement skin products would be good on this plane? No plastic skins, please. The rest of the plane has cloth, so I want a woven skin for the wings and tail.

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Old Sep 25, 2013, 07:56 AM
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United States, KY, Taylorsville
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Solartex covering and a 120 four stroke. Is it an old Bud Nosen Citabria?
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Has to be Solartex mate. Iron on, heat shrink and ready treated to make it fuel resistant. Takes paint extremely well and can even be trimmed using more Solartex.

Pete
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARUP View Post
Solartex covering and a 120 four stroke. Is it an old Bud Nosen Citabria?
I really don't have any idea if it's a Bud Nosen Citabria. I will look into the 120 four stroke though and get some pricing. Solartex it is then. And I'd better plan on getting at least 3 or 4 rolls. Also, I'd better get it in white, which will take red paint better.

When you're dealing with a gas airplane, does it have to be butyrate dope, or would some of the modern spray enamels be fuel proof too? Well, in part, I can answer my own question. Engine enamel is fuel proof, it has to be. But I've found all enamels to be impervious to fuel.

Actually, come to think of it, I do think it would be a good idea to pull the skin off the wings, if for nothing else, to inspect it. I've also noticed a little too much wing flex for my comfort. I don't dare support it by its wing tips because that wing will bow up like a banana. So I'm pretty sure I'm going to be reinforcing the wing; probably using some good carbon fiber. That should give me better strength without adding noticeable weight.

Thanks, both of you.
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 11:37 AM
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Right on, Builderdude...take all of the covering off. A plane that old would most likely have some weak joints. Pick up the "natural" solartex; better to paint on than the white.
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 12:57 PM
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What is a good source for a 4-stroke engine? And what's a good brand to get?
I know what to do about electrics, but when it comes to gas engines, I'm a complete newbie.
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 01:57 PM
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are we too "assume" you will be updating the servo's, receiver and battery?

not knowing for sure what kit or plans it is made from, one would hafta assume that the struts are functional! might help with the twisty's in the wing!

OS and Saito would be the obvious choices, but if you are on a budget, then the magnum or ASP 120 four strokes which are clones of the OS, would be a good choice!
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 02:03 PM
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What do you mean by:

2 cylinder opposed engine



It would be interesting to know whether or not it had a glow or gas engine before. Does it still have the fuel tubing and tank in it? You can't use the same tubing/tank for glow as you do for gas...
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 03:36 PM
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Well, originally it had a 2 cylinder engine in it. The guy who gave it to me kept the engine, because he said it was worth money and that's what he wanted. It was apparently a gas engine because it has a coil mounted to the firewall, below the engine mount. A glow engine doesn't use a coil. Yes, it does still have the fuel lines and the tank. Here is a picture of a 2 cylinder opposed engine:
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskykid View Post
are we too "assume" you will be updating the servo's, receiver and battery?

not knowing for sure what kit or plans it is made from, one would hafta assume that the struts are functional! might help with the twisty's in the wing!

OS and Saito would be the obvious choices, but if you are on a budget, then the magnum or ASP 120 four strokes which are clones of the OS, would be a good choice!
I don't know the condition of the servos. I will definitely test them. They look like the big old conventional servos from the 70's-80's, metal geared monsters, but still the same basic type of servo as today. If they test okay, I'll keep them. If not, I'll change them out. Yes, I'll definitely put a new receiver and new battery in it.

The struts are functional and they are, in fact, metal. They're in good shape. I'd still like the wings to flex a little less than they currently do, even with the struts.

I am on a budget. Mostly because I have so many planes. 14 right now, with another one on the workbench being built, a jet. With that many planes, I have to be on a budget. (It's because I love building and can't stop).

The engine that goes back in this doesn't have to be a twin. Although the functional air ducting was perfect with a twin, and I'd love to put a twin back in this again. But no, a single cylinder motor with enough poop to haul this big girl up into the sky would be fine (and cheaper).
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 04:23 PM
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Looks like a new 120 4-stroke will run me about $300 bucks, give or take, from Magnum.
That's not too bad. I'll still keep an eye out on good deals for a twin, but otherwise, will probably get the single cylinder 120, as recommended.

Thanks.
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 06:15 PM
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I wouldn't rule out using a regular gas engine. Cheaper, cheap gas...you would need to do a little more work but it could be worth it.
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 06:30 PM
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that airframe would handle the extra weight of a 20cc gasser with ease, I would go with any one of the newer 20cc gasser's from RCG to DLE both of witch can be got, for well under $300
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by whiskykid View Post
that airframe would handle the extra weight of a 20cc gasser with ease, I would go with any one of the newer 20cc gasser's from RCG to DLE both of witch can be got, for well under $300
You're right. They do. In fact, the twin 2-strokes are a lot cheaper also. If I want a 4-stroke, then the prices are a lot higher. But you just can't beat the sound of a 4-stroke. They sound so authentic when flying, that I just fell in love with them. That being the case, I might have to pony up the extra money to get a 4-stroke engine, and then will probably end up settling for a single cylinder 120.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 12:32 PM
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Thought you folks might want to see how nice the gauge detail is on this airplane. Those gauges are just stunning. This plane could really use more detailing in the cockpit, with seats, etc. Maybe even a pilot figure. Or I could just go with the gauges and a pilot bust, which is a lot easier to accomplish and still looks good.



That servo you see in the lower right corner is the throttle servo for the engine. It's an old Futaba servo.
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