UpNup's blog View Details
Posted by UpNup | Dec 05, 2018 @ 02:31 PM | 1,264 Views
When researching to build an RC scale balsa plane from plans, I have found that it was helpful to build a plastic model of it first. I found just what I was looking for on eBay for $14.

This week, I finished the 1967 Monogram 1/48 scale Ding Hao! P-51B. This was my first warbird and a real joy to research and build. The cockpit and wings had good detail. I can live with the final result.

However, 52 year-old decals do not go down easy. Micro-sol, Pledge floor wax, and finally CA at least got everything to eventually stick. And I mean everything peeled up from the “no step” to the “Stars and Stripes.” And this model certainly came with a generous collection of decals.

The P-51B base green plastic was rattle can sprayed with Testors paints (olive drab and gray) and a final coat of their dulling spray. I went with zinc chromate brushed on interior surfaces. And the coup de grace? My wife contributed a blond hair for the radio wire.

It will be great to see how this will be a reference for the RC version with 60” wingspan.
Posted by UpNup | Nov 09, 2018 @ 08:51 AM | 1,143 Views
Finished up. Guillows says the 1903 Wright Flyer was for ages 12 and older because it’ll often make you feel like a 12 yr-old!

The model is extremely delicate. I can see why many say they don’t finish. The plans go from highly directive instructions to photos with labels. The worst advice was to put rigging in the wings before adding all the other elements. Adding the motor, pilot, and chain runs would have been almost impossible.

The wood block provided as an engine was horrible. I googled the real engine and tried to make something a bit more sophisticated. Instead of black thread, I wish it had been thinner or gray. It stands out too prominently.

Yes I’ll be proud to display my Wright Flyer. Once the rigging was in place it became much stronger. The support struts and other pieces make it much stronger, but I’d never want to throw it to see if it glides.

It makes you appreciate what the Wright brothers invented!
Posted by UpNup | Oct 27, 2018 @ 06:15 PM | 1,501 Views
P-51B’s have a diamond-shaped airfoil. It’s pretty symmetrical end to end. Counsel online suggested unless you’re going pure scale, then the airfoil should change.

I looked st two airfoils that could work: Selig S8036 and NACA 2415 root, 2414 span, and 2412 at the wingtips. The Selig was just too thick for a Mustang.

1. Print AeroFred P-51B plans at Office copy place. I paid $7.50 for each page. I made two copies—one for reference and one to cut up in building. 57.75” WS P-51B Pony

2. In PowerPoint, create a large worksheet with 1” grids onscreen. Use plan graphic on the screen sized to accurate scale. Measure in real life to match the 1” grid in PPT.

3. Trace NACA airfoils to use. http://airfoiltools.com/airfoil/naca4digit

4. Put NACA airfoil lines over the printed plans onscreen. Add markings on each rib to the drawing. Use 4 pt. Line width. Add titles on plans.

5. Create PowerPoint file the size of a piece of paper. Tile it. In other words, transfer the tubes from the large PPT to the one that you can print from. Add a vertical red line on the edge of the page. The ribs will hang over. Copy the rib and put it below or on another page the rib. Make sure all of the right side of the rib is onscreen.

6. Print out the ribs. Cut them apart and tape the ends together if necessary. Place the new rib over the plans. Does the new rib match up at LE? Sheer Web marks? And the TE? Go back into the PPT to re-size until they all match.

7. Use the new ribs with the airfoil change.
Posted by UpNup | Oct 21, 2018 @ 07:56 PM | 1,272 Views
Began assembling the 1903 Wright Flyer 24” static. Full kit. Rib-ticklin’ fun!

So far the plans are very clear and accurate.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 30, 2018 @ 05:48 PM | 1,572 Views
Vented the rear with 9/16” drilled holes and one vent under the two front servos. The airscoop is a whit plastic spoon. I saved the plastic package formed to my 2” spinner. This would be a fix later on if it gets too warm in the fuse.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 27, 2018 @ 08:33 PM | 1,385 Views
More landing gear progress. Installed 425 and 322 Hi Tec servos.

The trick was getting the hole cut in the front wall and running the control rods exactly where they should go.

The cockpit slid down over the servos with plenty of room to spare.

The next challenge is the motor controls.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 19, 2018 @ 03:46 AM | 1,616 Views
Wheels on the landing gear need to be reamed out to fit the axle.

The nose gear is more scale liking with a new pastiche sleeve. I used a plastic rod from window blinds. I used a box cutter to slit the side and pop it over the nose gear wire. Then I put CA and clamped it to seal the slit. A white plastic straw would have been easier.

The wheel pants in the instruction manual are wrong. For one, it left out the axle. Slots must be cut on both sides of the wheel pants.

The key to the wheel pants assembly is to put the wood piece into the pants and screw it to the landing gear. Mash the assembled wheel, wheel collar and axle into the soft plastic wheel pants.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 01, 2018 @ 05:39 PM | 1,544 Views
Here is an instruction manual that I cobbled together from photos of the actual manual.
The guy that provided them has done an electric conversion.

Instruction Manual - Long EZ .46 Nitroplanes -- PDF file attached
Posted by UpNup | Aug 05, 2018 @ 04:54 PM | 1,274 Views
My Ford Flivver was several ounces too tail heavy. This pushed the CG back 3/4”. It’s test/maiden rocketed straight up and then dove. I pulled up the elevators enough to pancake and flip.

When planning for an electric build, it will be lighter up front so that needs to be taken into consideration when designing or re-engineering the tail feathers.

1. Replaced the Williams Bro. plastic & rubber tailwheel. Made a ply/balsa wheel. Slipped it over the axle bracket. Plastic wheel was twice the weight of the wood wheel.

2. Moved the 11 gram servo in the tail up to the firewall. Made a balsa control rod to drive the internal elevator control horn. Covered the ends with shrink wrap.

3. Moved the rudder servo with its pull-pull up to the ply rail next to the elevator servo. Had to cut New Kevlar strings.

4. Hollowed out the balsa base on my pilot figure. Firgured it couldn’t hurt.

5. Left off the hatch cover that was on the rear servo. Abd this will help the ESC get more airflow. I don’t think this will mess with the control.

With all that effort, I still had to add one ounce (28 grams) sticky lead weight to the battery compartment.

The plane now balances on the printed CG on the plans.
Posted by UpNup | Jul 21, 2018 @ 01:32 PM | 2,352 Views
On my Ford Flivver’s maiden flight, it rose six feet off the deck and then nose dived. I managed to pull up enough to just pancake. It landed in grass but the central landing gear wire shoved upward hard enough to break the wing-to-fuse “tongue.” She couldn’t fly and I had to take it home after its five second maiden. .

My mind went into overdrive. Reviewed the pre-flight check list. Had the throws set just so-so. Did the range test. Picked a dead-calm day. Why would this plane dive like that?

A guy at the field suspected that I decreased the elevators too much. That was the first hint. Elevators.

When I hung up the plane in my garage, I eventually saw the problem the next day. When I was in my pre-flight checkup. an older flier at the field noticed my elevators were reversed. And he quickly reversed the controls for me.

What I missed was that when the elevator controls were reversed to normal, I did not look at how they were now in a downward position when neutral. Boom. She dove.

My elevator servo was installed in the rear of the plane. It required only moving the control arm 1/8”, but that was enough to level out the elevators.

Some new balsa and Monokote patchwork put the plane back to ready. Looking forward to flying soon.

Another lesson learned. When reversing controls, check the flying surfaces to see if they changed.
Posted by UpNup | Jul 15, 2018 @ 07:37 PM | 1,814 Views
Developed a cockpit for my Long EZ ARF 46 by Nitroplanes. I plan to convert the plane to electric so left room beneath the floor for lipo and electronics.

The ARF came with a flimsy plastic sheet with bumps depicting controls and seat. My mod included 1/32” balsa sheets. Everything is in two pieces. There is a cross ply former that I didn’t want to destroy. This shoved the front seat much further frontward. The seat backs are hollow and slide down over the crossbeams. The floor is 1 1/8” below the sides.

The canopy on the Long EZ is very large. The plans call for mounting it in the corners with four screws. Because I need to change out lipos, the canopy needs to be removed and replaced with ease. I used six pairs of 5/16” diameter rare earth magnets. I made balsa supports that sit on the sides. I sunk a magnet into each one. Then I matched up the canopy and marked where the canopy magnets went. They sunk into the magnet holders on the fuse. This took some fiddling. I used 5 min epoxy on the canopy magnets.

To test the strength I blasted the fuse and canopy with a leaf blower. My anemometer only measures up to 27 mph, but I had a variable speed control on the leaf blower and at least doubled the wind. The canopy held fast....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Jun 15, 2018 @ 10:41 AM | 2,256 Views
Hey, it's Friday! Here's a smile for you.
Posted by UpNup | May 27, 2018 @ 04:03 PM | 1,769 Views
Being tired of my Sport Cub S2 Landing Gear bending after virtually every flight, I saw supports that were soldered onto the LG. I’ve noticed that the Carbon Cub S+ have identical LG and brackets. The version of the support struts that I saw at my flying field attached using the plastic holders in the rear for floats. Since I had floats, all the hardware, 3/32” piano wire, linesman pliers, and solder, this project took about three hours.

Usually these planes are red and white but I covered mine in Econokote. My scale model example was Nate Saint’s Piper PA-14 flown into Ecuador’s jungles. He and four others were martyred. Their story is in the 2005 movie, “End of the Spear.” I also used fabric-coated rubber bands and rubber tubing for struts.

Update: Removed the brace after flying. It made the plane not as stable. Since the plane was covered in Econokote the tail was already a bit heavier. I moved the lipo as far forward as possible but the brace wire messed with the CG.
Posted by UpNup | May 21, 2018 @ 11:55 AM | 2,016 Views
The US Air Force Museum in Dayton Oh unveiled the fully-restored Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress. The date was set on May 17, the 75th anniversary of her 25th bombing run in 1943. It was the first B-17 to complete the 25 runs. The plane was received by the museum for restoration in 2005, so this took awhile to complete.

The Memphis Belle was brought to the States from Europe to help with the War Bond drives around the country. Before scrapping it, the city of Memphis displayed it on Mud Island where it deteriorated from weather and vandalism.

The plane is impressive. You can walk under it. There were 160 WWII re-enactment actors who really set the stage and gladly posed for photos. I went with my brother and his son and grandson. Well worth the time.
Posted by UpNup | Apr 28, 2018 @ 09:59 AM | 3,089 Views
A Long EZ has to have its designer at the controls, right?

Here’s my stab at putting Burt Rutan in the cockpit circa 1985ish. The ARF is from Nitroplanes about 2005.

Rutan liked Elvis and kept his chops. Mine are from a thick polyester yarn I use to hang my planes. Metal microphone arm came with the pilot figure....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Apr 13, 2018 @ 02:21 PM | 2,204 Views
After hanging a new plane, I feel like a mother hen checking on her chicks. Will the 3M hooks hold? Each hook is rated at 3 lbs. apiece.

Each 3M hook has thick, soft yarn attached to it. This system costs about $5.00 per plane. Note that I put a pillow below my Ford Flivver and foam guards around the dummy engine cylinders.

The yellow plane is a PZ Sport Cub S2. It has been hanging that way for a year. It weighs two pounds. The Ford Flivver, without battery, weighs about 3 pounds.m

These planes hang in the corner of my garage waiting for the weather to break. They’re exposed to below freezing temps and heat in the 100s with no ill effects so far.
Posted by UpNup | Apr 07, 2018 @ 03:00 PM | 1,653 Views
The 10 X 8 propeller is battleship gray for the electric motor in the Ford Flivver 268 build. Rather than paint it, I used a brown Sharpie pen.

The tips were painted yellow using just a dab of Testors enamel yellow. Then, starting at the hub, I made long, unbroken stripes to the tip. I started in the backside in case I messed up, but didn’t need to worry.

When the Sharpie stripes dried (in minutes), I made horizontal swipes with the marker over the yellow painted tips. This gave the illusion of copper plates that the original Ford Flivver has on its prop tips.
Posted by UpNup | Apr 06, 2018 @ 03:21 PM | 2,166 Views
My Ford Flivver 268 1/5 scale build took about 160 hours stretched over 11 months, and took several hundred dollars. This was my first build from plans. The CG was right where it should be, which was tricky for an electric conversion. The final weight was 3 lbs., 9 oz., one ounce below the target weight. My UpNup blog follows steps to completion over the past year. Start at May 2017 when I first printed out the plans.

As for my plans for the maiden flight, I want to build up skills to fly it in a couple of months. Thanks for reading!
Posted by UpNup | Apr 06, 2018 @ 03:08 PM | 2,007 Views
The Ford Flivver 268 build included the need to reverse the rudder servo. Reversing is a hidden gem in the settings. And it’s so very simple.

My Spektrum DX6e does it this way:

1. Scroll to SYSTEM SERVO.
2. Tap Travel twice as if it were a hyperlink.
3. The screen changes and you’re at REVERSE.
4. Scroll Down to the rectangles this look like switches. Click on RUD. You’ve now changed it.
5. Rudder servo should now work the way you wanted it to be.