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Old Dec 19, 2010, 01:21 PM
"Auntie Samantha"
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USA, MO, Clever
Joined Dec 2009
4,742 Posts
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F4U Corsair: The Tail Wheel & Bay Doors

Once again, I gotta have my retracting/steerable tail wheel assembly!

Corsair TailWheel Bay Doors (1 min 19 sec)

Because I am planning to run the heavier SK 5055 580kv motor on 5S, I don't expect my tail wheel will dramatically effect the already tail heavy issue? In fact, when everything is done, I won't be surprised I might have to remove some, or all of those weights already embedded in the cowl? With that in mind, I started my tail wheel mod. From what I've learned from my first two builds, (P-51 & P-47), the Corsair was going to be a breeze!

I once again used the PZ #15090/312 E-Tract. I flipped it around so the gear would retract towards the front instead of the scale rearward inclination for 2 reasons. One: There is more room to retract the gear forward into the fuse and not require having to weaken the tail section by removing additional foam towards the rear. Second: With the tail wheel deployed I wanted the weight transferred to the back stop of the retract arm as opposed to all the force that would be applied to the worm drive in the opposite direction.

I GG the mounting flange on top of the ledge inside the tail wheel compartment. Because that would move the assembly deeper, I had to machine an additional 3/16" length to the strut leg to achieve the height I wanted for the wheel to clear the fuse when deployed and give it a proper stance. Once I got the tail wheel done, I lengthened both the E-Tract and steering servo leads to the length I needed to reach the RX, and the tail wheel was done.

Now it was time to start on the bay doors. Once I got the framing done, I wanted the doors to conform to the curvature of the of the tail section. I made a die/mold out of a piece of 2 x 4 pine cut and shaped to the exact proportion and curvature of the opening. I then took a piece of 1/16" balsa, banded it to the die/mold, soaked in some hot water, and let it to sit and dry. Once the doors dried, it was just a matter of cutting and fitting to the desired dimensions, setting the hinges, and mounting the springs. I have found that the 180 x .109 x .012 torsion springs from McCaster-Carr have just the right tension for the doors. I made some A hangers to hold them in place and epoxied everything in place. Before I glued the door assembly in place I painted the interior section with MM Interior Green #FS34151. The exterior will be white once the Marines Dream paint scheme is applied. Once the doors were glued in, I installed the actuator string to the tension I needed, and the tail wheel/bay door mod was complete!
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Last edited by Sandancer; Aug 23, 2012 at 06:36 PM.
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Old Dec 19, 2010, 02:06 PM
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Santoneski's Avatar
Canada, ON, Hamilton
Joined Feb 2009
721 Posts
looks good! are you going to add a tailhook for those carrier landings? heres a pic of one, you can sort of see it:
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 01:31 AM
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In Teh Garage (Rossville, GA. USA)
Joined Sep 2008
3,351 Posts
very cool
I have been looking for a way to add retractable tail wheel to the upgrades on the TVC Corsair
Thanks for sharing!
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Old Feb 10, 2011, 11:15 AM
ASB32's Avatar
United States, UT, Logan
Joined Dec 2008
822 Posts
Agreed, very cool.

A couple of questions:

Do you use separate mixed channels for the tail wheel and rudder? Or just the same channel?

Is the screw through the servo arm that connects to the wheel bracket in a slot or a hole? I'm just trying to figure out how it works and I'm dense enough that it isn't obvious. I've tried a couple of different things that weren't anywhere near as clean as this.
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Old Feb 10, 2011, 03:07 PM
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United States, UT, Logan
Joined Dec 2008
822 Posts
Okay, if I watch the video very closely, it seems to be a slot. Are the doors closed by a trip wire triggered by the retract mechanism?
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