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Old Mar 29, 2013, 10:09 AM
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jwfinn's Avatar
United States, GA, Warner Robins
Joined Mar 2005
506 Posts
Sam,

Several things...

1. I'd love it if you could scan the plans for this bird. It looks particularly fun.

2. Your prop is too small. Your model is of a competitive weight, but you'll not get much past 70-80 seconds with that little prop. I know because I've tried. I built a fantastic 23" SAI 207 some years ago (only 22 grams!) and flew it on a Peck 8". It used the same crazy number of winds as what you've got going on, and it was an 80 second airplane. Finally, in desperation, I made a real prop for it--a carved 11" prop with a P/D around 1.5, which is pretty high obviously. That transformed the model. It would fly 85 seconds on a little 15% motor which only took 850 turns. I was getting a minute indoors without really trying, and the monster motor I'd been using with that Peck 8" now gave me 2 1/2 minute flights.

3. If you really want to be competitive in WWII mass launch, there's the hard way and the easy way. The hard way is building these little planes super light and putting big props on them. Folks used to do that at Johnson City--you'd see little peanut scale Mustangs managed to stay up for 2 1/2 minutes. Well those folks didn't show up last year so a 2 minute flight was a win. I did that the easy way--brand new model, tired old motor that couldn't take full power, etc. And it took no real effort to make my plane do 2 minutes. Why? Well it's a thing called size. A 37" model will fly 2 minutes way easier that a peanut, so I could beat a peanut pretty easy because if I really push that plane, it'll do 3+ just because it's huge and a 14" prop is really efficient compared to a 6" prop.

4. I'll just throw out the thought that perhaps the best flying WWII subject I've worked with is the Judy. That's what I flew at USIC--flew almost right off the board in perfect right hand circles. Frank Rowsome has a little one, about 18" span, and it climbs like a rocket. No bad habits whatsoever.

So there are my thoughts on the whole thing. If you like little models, they're fine and can be made to be fairly competitive, but if you're willing to make plug-in wings and tails, you can have a huge, winning airplane without much trouble, and it's easy to rig for a DT, and it makes everybody stop what they're doing when you fly it. And you don't have to build very light. I believe my Judy is around 130 grams empty.
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Old Apr 01, 2013, 12:14 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,761 Posts
Hi Josh

Some good thoughts here so allow me to respond in a bit of detail....

If you want the plan of the P-40- if you shoot me your addy, I'll send you hard copy but it's basically just a blow up of the Comet plan.

I've never flown in anything near as large as Johnson City-the largest indoor site I fly at is Glastonbury. The site in Winthrop is a lot smaller. Your J-1 looks sweet.

Thanks for explaining how people did 2 1/2 minutes with peanuts- I always thought that was just based on height, but it sounds like there are some other tricks involved- like monster props and very light weight....We're flying with a two minute max- and we may start reducing points over 1 minute like FAC nationals. (its harder to score)

In terms of plastic props versus wood props in mass launch events.....I've occasionally built a few wood props for my airplanes- generally using molded prop blades although I've even carved a prop or two in my day (badly). My first scale ship that broke a minute was a Corben Super Ace with a molded blade wood prop- and that was many years ago. After that flight, I never got it much over 45 seconds. One of these days I'll build another. My Sturmovik exemplified the problem....I built that airplane using the kit wood and it was as light as anything I've ever built. I tried flying it on a plastic prop but it was too heavy- needed too much tail weight, so I bit the bullet and built a wood prop for it. I think the best I ever did with the airplane was 50 seconds. Why? Well, the added plastic parts and paint didn't help- but the airfoil wasn't as thin as it should be. The biggest problem though was the airplane just fell apart- every time I was in an event- another stringer on the fuse would break. (That airplane exemplified starved horse). I could never trim it out well and often the trimming session would end with a broken prop. I'm also trying to fly a Bellanca Junior in Golden Age, and I've been eliminated out because of a broken prop on more than one occasion but its my only Golden Age ship currently that fits our mass launch rules...(it has retracted wheels, but its been grandfathered- we're not that crazy about the new FAC rules....)

One of the best builders I know is Tom Nallen II (the Tom Nallen around my age). Years ago, he tried flying his beautiful Vickers Wellesley in our mass launch event in Glastonbury. Some bozo flying a beat up P-39 came around and whacked him out of the air doing a fair amount of damage. (umm, that bozo would be me....and I felt awful.) In terms of which airplane could stay in the air the longest- the Wellesley probably had an easy 30 seconds on everything else- and my P-39 could break a minute. But the Wellesley couldn't take a hit from another airplane which really makes building something hyper lightweight problematic in a mass launch event- since these airplanes collect war wounds flying inside. We launch very close to each other because you want to center the airplane- and we stand (or kneel) along a single line. Tom's airplane was both beautiful and really lightweight (think it was published in MA) and he used wood sizes a lot smaller than I was accustomed too- think the LE was 1/32" square for example. Heck, I still build peanuts with 1/20"! Tom flies his hyper light stuff in scale and is untouchable- his airplanes are both beautiful and exceed 90 seconds- he's been flying a Japanese trainer (can't remember which one but it has fixed wheels) and a Heath LNB-4 (I think I've got that right) but in mass launch? Well, the Japanese trainer isn't legal in WWII but he might have flown the Heath in Winthrop which took a lot of guts. In WWII though, he's been flying a Brewster Buccaneer with a carved prop and a metric tonne of rubber for 15 years or so. He now aims at my Mustang trying to knock it down on launch. (I have a host of friends....) The Buccaneer is no lightweight though.

Pete Kateris once flew an I-16 which terrified me (and I think most of us) being a heavy, fast airplane with a lot of rubber on a 9" plastic prop. He likes flying outdoor airplanes inside which can work, but definitely adds to the pucker factor.

Why no Coconuts? Simple- we have a 24" wingspan limit on mass launch events. Also, I have a small car and I can travel with kids- my airplanes have to fit into a single U-Haul box when I'm flying in Winthrop.

About the Judy- I got into an email exchange with Don DeLoach about why wasn't the Judy on the list of approved airplanes at Midway and I think it has more to do with the perception that it's a killer airplane than historical accuracy (the Japanese flew two of them and one of them kept tabs on the Yorktown allowing the Japanese to attack her- seems to me that the airplane played a critical role in the battle... but I digress...) I keep hoping Dave Diels will bring out a kit- don't want to get into making canopies. (Hey- I never said I wasn't lazy).

Here are my thoughts on what works in our indoor events...
1) The airplane must be consistent. We fly lots of rounds- often more than 6, so an airplane that gets good flights 4 out of 5 times doesn't hack it- or you have to get lucky.
2) The airplane must be able to take a nudge from either the ceiling or a competitor. Having an airplane that gets killer times but falls out of trim and can't regain its equilibrium from some wake turbulence is a problem. Sooner or later airplanes will get hit. You can't build for that eventuality, but it makes flying something hyper light really risky.
3) The airplane that can put up the best single flight time does not necessarily win. Rich Zapf has proven that one time and time again.
4) The airplane must be in line with what other folks are flying and have the respect of the competitors. Stretching things so that you wind up with a cartoonish airplane may win, but there will be grumbling in the ranks.
5) Must be easy to wind- blast tubes are frowned upon. I don't like fancy prop hooks either- I have trouble with the reverse S-hook in battle. I have enough trouble that the Mustang uses two loops, rather than a single loop.

The advantage of these unofficial rules is that we're able to get some newbies flying with us who aren't completely intimidated-the Stealth Squadron seems to be better at attracting new blood than Glastonbury- they're younger guys. If you want to go for ultimate times- people are encouraged to enter scale, but mass launch events are a bit rough and tumble...hence, plastic props often work better than wood...

With respect to your comment that I need a bigger prop....I had my hands full at Winthrop this past Saturday with kids and I didn't really get to fly my P-40 much. Got third in WWII- but Rich Zapf's Hurri is going to be very tough to beat. I think my best flight in that venue was 35 seconds. Still working on the trimming- the flight that it got eliminated on was too low altitude- it burned its energy down low and never climbed. I've got a second noseblock ready for the airplane with a trimmed 7" prop- just haven't tried it yet. That 6" prop in the Easy Built P-39 which at 24" was a somewhat larger airplane used to give me flights of over a minute, using 1/8" rubber- the P-40 is definitely draggier and needs more power. Dunno if I'm going to be able to try it this weekend at Glastonbury- depends on who's coming and how many boxes I bring...

Sam
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Old Apr 04, 2013, 10:31 AM
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jwfinn's Avatar
United States, GA, Warner Robins
Joined Mar 2005
506 Posts
Sam,

I don't get along well with wingspan limits in mass launches. I'm ornery that way...

What kind of flight times are y'all seeing come out on top in WWI and WWII ML at that site? It's 30', right?

You're 100% correct about those peanuts. Jim Buxton's P-51 peanut is something like 4.5 grams w/o rubber. No idea about McGillivary's, but it was probably about the same. Those guys are in another league. I've heard tell of sanding down esaki tissue to save weight.

Midairs are definitely a big deal. Saving weight on leading edges is a really bad idea. Additionally, I use full-depth wing spars so that in the event of a leading edge failure, the airplane remains flyable. There's not much that's able to penetrate those wing spars.

Reverse S-hooks honestly are a must. If you take the time to get comfortable with them, it's no biggie. Using rubber O-rings does help in that area.

In terms of propellers, I highly recommend you look up laminated props. All of my carved stuff is like that. I make the leading and trailing edges of my blades from really hard wood, and the middle from punky stuff. Those props simply do not break unless you've got a fast, heavy airplane. For really heavy rough and tumble airplanes like my Corsair (28" span, 90 g empty, and outdoor only--it wanders aimlessly), I actually have a folding mechanism in the hub so that the blades will swing back in a hard landing.

Speaking of which, the Corsair is my favorite WWII subject, and it flies great. My old tattered one does about a minute on a 15% motor. That glide pattern is breathtaking...
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Old Apr 04, 2013, 07:56 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,761 Posts
Hi Josh

We're at 35 ft in Glastonbury, but it's not exactly clean up there-in fact, jungle comes to mind. Well, not that bad, but you can hang up an airplane and you aren't whacking something like a ceiling- more like wires.

For many years, WWI would probably be won by something in the 40 to 50 second range and probably still today, although we've finally gotten away from requiring peanuts. Some killer airplanes show up like Tom Nallen's Bristol that when it was flying well I think could break a minute. Probably we're at 50-60 seconds though these days.

WWII - 50-60 seconds used to be pretty good- anything over a minute was considered killer. That was until some bozo flying a Golden Age Repro P-51 began putting up flights in the 70-80 second range. When I first won the event, the CD pulled out the tape measure- and was chagrined to find out that I'm at least 0.5" under the limit. I'm still not sure I should have flown the airplane in this event, but the cat's out of the bag now since Rich Zapf built a larger Hurri that's breaking a minute.

And surprisingly, Golden Age often has times in the 40s. Well, we frown upon high wing airplanes so some folks are flying bipes and I've flown a Heath Midwing that was pretty competitive (and could break a minute) but now I'm down to a Bellanca Jr- have to see what that one will do. It's easily broken a minute-but I can't get a consistent pattern with that trim- and its getting heavier.

I've done laminated props a time or two and yes, they can work beautifully- and not break-or at least not easily, but I don't go to the lengths you do. One trick I once tried on the Sturmovik was to take a plastic prop- cut out the middle, and fill it with wood. Didn't think it was worth the aggravation.

I don't know what my favorite WWII subject is. For years, my killer airplane was the Easy Built 24" P-39, but that's pretty far from scale. I also did pretty good with the Comet 24" Hellcat (that was a big airplane for indoors)- it hit 70 seconds in its prime. My airplanes typically fly slower than the other ships up there. I've got a bunch of Corsair kits- I like the airplane, just haven't gotten up the nerve to build one. I've always liked P-51s and the FW 190D-9 could be really tough to beat. Spitfires if you can get enough washout in can also do OK, but years ago, the Comet 20" version I had could put in some nice flights- but was terribly inconsistent. Hard to argue with the Tony too.

Sam
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Old Apr 04, 2013, 11:05 PM
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carbondale il
Joined Jan 2007
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I like the W W ll fighter planes. I've built several small Hellcats and one 32" Hellcat. I used the Guillow's series 1000 plan and built it with contest wood. It's extremely light by my estimation ( got top get a scale ) even with ballast up front. But the finish is all messed up with blushing I can't get out with fingernail polish remover. I used Deft lacquer which I will never use again. So I'm playing with it now. I've taken dark blue and black Sharpy markers and used the Hellcat as a canvas with cross hatching over the paint I tried to cover the white splotches with but didn't quite match the tissue color. The paint added a little weight but it's not everywhere, just over the blushes, which was at every seam. All this to say when I get it flying I guess I'll build another one.

Kev
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Old Apr 04, 2013, 11:15 PM
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carbondale il
Joined Jan 2007
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Here's the Hellcat. I haven't "treated" the center sides yet, but will. The belly is white so the blushing isn't observable.

Kev
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Old Apr 05, 2013, 09:32 AM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,761 Posts
Hi Kev

I dunno- I think it looks OK. Besides, airplanes flown in WWII were anything but pristine...

Sam
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Old Apr 07, 2013, 10:07 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,761 Posts
OK- I took the bird out and flew it today at our last indoor meet of the season.

Josh- your suggestion of a larger prop was a good one- my best flight was 48 seconds so a bit of an improvement. Did need a little noseweight though. The airplane has a good pattern for a tight venue- I could have gotten more time if I'd open up the turn some.

Think I'm using a loop of 5/32" with about 1500 turns (150 cranks on a Scalewinder.) Might have some reserve..

Found out that in the bad old days with Al Lawton flying peanut in WWI- you needed 70 seconds to win! Today, 44 seconds with a 20" Nieuport sufficed...(OK, I cannot tell a lie- that was my airplane.)

In WWII though- flights were in the 80 second range- that was my Mustang. Tom Nallen was pressing me with his Buccaneer- one of the rounds was a dead heat between our two airplanes- luckily not the last one.

Golden Age- about a minute.

Sam
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Old Apr 20, 2013, 10:21 AM
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jwfinn's Avatar
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Joined Mar 2005
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Sam, you're quite a flier. I saw a video of your Mustang beating out Gorman's 109, and it looks like a pretty light model. Sometime you'll have to share how you get it to stay in those nice left hand circles--something I've never been able to get a low winger to do--it's either right (requires lots of dihedral) or wandering for me. I know you're in a Cat II site, but that's still some good flying. I reckon my Junkers could do 80 seconds in there, but that's over your wingspan limit, too.
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Old Apr 21, 2013, 11:18 AM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,761 Posts
Thanks for the compliment- I'm blushing....high praise from a master...

The setup on the Mustang is as follows: lots of rudder- probably offset about 3/16" of an inch- and it's built in. (The back end of the fuse where it fairs in looked ugly if you didn't.) Not that much washout- probably about a couple of degrees in both tips- slight smile in the left wing- right wing straight although Tom Nallen thought that I had a fair amount in both wings. The airplane needed a smidge of up - but it's got a lot of downthrust- probably about 5-6 degrees. And yes, there's positive incidence in the wing too. No side thrust that I can see though. Earlier in its career when I was trimming it out, I needed tip weight to control the turn from opening up as the power wound down but these days- its gone and the airplane is flying fine without it.

Rich Zapf says that this airplane will fly well in anybody's hands- its a very good design. Note that I changed the airfoil- it's thinner and flat bottomed. Used most of the kit wood- Jim picks nice wood for his kits which is why I think they're a bargain.

Now I've got to go find this video....

Here's John Kramer who captured some of the excitement from our mass launch events last year:

Glastonbury Modelers Contest, 4/22/12, Mass Launch Highlights (12 min 10 sec)


and here's one that shows Dick Gorman and my final match of this year- although not shown is that my flight ended about 30 seconds after Dick came down...

WW2 Combat Final Glastonbury 2013 (0 min 53 sec)




Thanks,

Sam
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 11:51 AM
For us He died, in me He lives
Jimmy JFlyer's Avatar
United States, MI, Saint Clair Shores
Joined Dec 2008
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Love the 2nd vid. WWII Low-wingers are just the coolest. I need to do one once I get my feet wet in FF stick & tissues.

Jimmy
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 12:14 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,761 Posts
Hi all

Well, the P-40 hasn't distinguished itself yet in combat at Winthrop. The airplane is flying fine- it's relatively slow, which surprises me. I'm using a trimmed 7" Peck prop and 5/32" rubber- think about 1700 turns or so. The airplane has a nice pattern but uses most of the gym there.

I got eliminated in the middle of the rounds (I was 4th) when that evil Rich Zapf Hurri nearly clipped me and his prop wash upset my airplanes pattern and it blew into a wall. That's the joy of flying indoor. This happened about 30 seconds after the launch and the airplane still had height and turns, so I'm thinking its at least competitive.

Sam
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