Peter Rake's Powell PH-2 Racer - RC Groups
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Apr 23, 2009, 11:38 PM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar
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Peter Rake's Powell PH-2 Racer

If lack of documentation found on the 'net is an indication of a 'rare bird', then the Powell PH-2 is certainly an obscure prototype. But then that's Peter's preference

The Powell series of small racing planes started in the 1920s with an all-wood version designed by Prof. Powell - an aeronautics instructor at Detroit Universtity. This was followed by the PH-2 - the subject of Peter's model. At least one later model was designed but looks much more contemporary.

I've found photos of the first all-wood version, one picture of a later machine and NONE of the PH-2! If anyone has further info, I'd love to hear.

Peter's introduction to the design is at:

On a personal note - to reduce stress, anxiety (and blood pressure ), I was not going to enter any competitions, build prototypes etc this year. I've failed miserably - I dont like deadlines or pressure but Pete has said he's not in a hurry and so this build may be fast or slow - we'll see

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Apr 23, 2009, 11:50 PM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar

A Small Start..

While I am waiting for Charlie/Vicki at Manzano to produce some parts for this model, I figured I'd get some of the hardware sorted.

The centre section struts and landing gear are simple wire shapes, bent up, soldered together, and fastened to the model. These bits were bent from 1.6 and 2mm wire (16 and 14 swg) using a pair of pliers and a thumb. I'll make some simple jigs to hold them together when soldering.

Apr 24, 2009, 12:41 AM
Registered User
Dan Parson's Avatar

What size is this plane, and what you planning on using for power?

You have got my interest peaked!
Apr 24, 2009, 01:05 AM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar
Dan - I should have given a few specs!
Span is 36" but dont let that fool you! She stands about 15" tall and has a fuselage about 36" long! That fuse is nearly 6" tall and 4.5" wide - it'll be cavernous!

As for power, Peter suggested and AXI 2814 - a very powerful motor for this size of plane. It is equivelant to an E-Flite Park 480 but only needs to swing prop about 9 - 10". The original had a 48" prop and the model is 1/5 scale.

Other 36" designs of Peter's I've built are the 36" SE5a which was about 24 oz and the AVRO Arrowscout - around 22 oz. Both of these were powered by a 40mm 'bell' outrunner on 3S with adequate performance.

Essentially, I'll wait and see how the AUW pans out and make a decision then. Both the AXI and the 1000 Kv bell outrunner will fit without modification.

Other details - a single servo driving the lower wing ailerons (none in the top), the spinner is 2.75" diameter and the front cowl is carved and hollowed balsa block. An enterprising builder would probably use glass or polystyrene. And then have to add nose weight!

As it is a 'home built', almost any colour scheme could be used - I've no details of a real scheme anyway!

Last edited by Pat Lynch; Apr 25, 2009 at 05:34 AM.
Apr 24, 2009, 02:51 AM
Registered User
Span is actually almost 37.7", but it's that fuselage that prompted me to show the larger motor, there's an awful lot of it. I did drop in a 'bell' motor, but it looked lost in there. The fact that both fit without modification, as does the E-Flite 480 means just about everyone can easily find a motor that will be at least powerful enough - even on two cell packs.

An indication of the fuselage size is that, if desired, the model could cope with a 14" prop and still have some ground clearance.

Apr 24, 2009, 05:57 AM
North East England
Originally Posted by maltone
As it is a 'home built', almost any colour scheme could be used - I've no details of a real scheme anyway!
Let your good lady choose a colour scheme, Pat - will put her in a good mood for your next 3 models at least

It's a very attractive prototype, though I'd hate to sit in that cockpit for more than 20 minutes (or have to get out of it in a hurry).

Apr 24, 2009, 10:16 PM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar

Wire-Work Assembly

The various UC and CS parts were held together in the vice or clamped to a wooden jig while being brazed. I chose to silver-braze because I have the facility but the normal binding with thin copper wire and soft soldering is OK too. The brazing rod used is known as 'Easy-Flo'.

Apart from the greater strength of the brazed joint, I like that the wire is a little easier to clad with wood without the bulky binding. Just a personal choice. As soon as the joint is made, the work should be plunged into a water bath to help preserve the temper of the spring wire.

After joining, the parts were scrubbed in warm soapy water with a wire brush to remove all traces of flux - same should be done for a soldered joint.

Apr 24, 2009, 10:28 PM
Registered User
supercubman's Avatar
Pat, looking forward to watching your build. If it is anything like your other builds it will be a masterpiece.

Apr 24, 2009, 11:16 PM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar

Making some 'P' clips...

Thanks Trey - because this should be a fairly simple build, I thought I'd spend a little more time explaining how basic things are done. Over the last few months, I've seen quite a few basic questions about how to do stuff and while I always say " a few build threads completely..." - not all the little processes are explained. So back to 'P' clips

I've used these to hold together many of my Rake and own-design models for a few years and love them. Being able to disassemble a model while planking, finishing (or repairing is great). They are called P clips because the end shape is like the letter 'P'

These were made from a 1cm wide strip cut from a produce can (empty). Cheap and easy to work. The strip is wrapped around a piece of wire the same diameter (or a size smaller) and squeezed with pliers or in a vice. After being cut to length, a clearance hole is drilled for the securing screw. Remove the burrs and it's done.

Note that the clips are left on the wire when drilling the holes. This keeps fingers away from the job in case the drill bit snags the clip. I dont like bleeding

In Peter's design for the Powell, he has specified saddle clamps to secure the centre struts to the top wing. These P clips serve the same purpose. I will also use them to fasten the UC legs to fuselage instead of binding and gluing. For me, it make assembly and finishing a little easier.

Last edited by Pat Lynch; Apr 25, 2009 at 03:24 AM.
Apr 26, 2009, 10:47 PM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar

Apropos of Nothing.......

While I was cleaning up my garage (also the hangar) I had a clump of my flyable models waiting to be stored on the shelf so they were paraded for a photo Three Peter Rakes, two Maltones and a couple of ARFs. All fully equipped and have flown recently (and survived the experience)!

The missing spinners/cowls is testament to a rough field, rougher piloting and nose-overs

Pat (back to the housekeeping....)
Apr 27, 2009, 05:44 AM
North East England
Nice 'squadron' pic, Pat. Here's one I took a while ago of part of my fleet at the time - only I don't have the luxury of a garage floor!

I've recently sold all my Rake planes - BE2c, Eastbourne, DH6, SE5a, EIII and Morane L - to an old club mate who is getting into WW1 electric flight. He only wanted the DH6 but then he made me a rather nice offer on the lot . Broke my heart to part with any of them but I simply need the space; the Eastbourne at 48" was really too big for my small field anyway.

Hot on the heels of this, I also sold the 'Emma' to another mate who was a Flambards fan. I liked this model but it flew quite fast which for me, spoiled the 'olde worlde' illusion. (The actual one used in Flambards was the same so Boddo slowed the film down to half-speed).

I intend to build nothing bigger than 30" in the future when I resume modelling - and to exercise restraint (I hope)

Last edited by Redbaron25; Oct 24, 2017 at 06:02 PM.
Apr 27, 2009, 12:17 PM
Matt Haugh
hoffboy's Avatar
Originally Posted by maltone
If anyone has further info, I'd love to hear.
This is, indeed, a rare bird. I've tried many spelling variations, and little of use is turning up.

You could always pick up a 1932 "Flying and Glider Manual," though it's hard to say what's revealed about the Powell Racer...

By the way, please keep the great building tips and companion photos coming. It's always helpful to see how others solve problems, even the routine stuff that we might take for granted. I was speaking with one of the modeling legends at our field last weekend about the "good old days" when you had to figure everything out on your own, with maybe a little help from the occasional magazine article or flying buddy. I came away from that conversation doubly grateful for this forum, and the fact that we can share information from all corners of the earth only sweetens the deal.
Apr 27, 2009, 05:55 PM
Registered User
portablevcb's Avatar
Hang in there Pat. It should get mailed out to you in a couple of days.

Congrats on getting the M1C and DIII back in the air. They really are too pretty to let sit.

May 05, 2009, 11:13 PM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar

Yippee! Powell Bits....

I suppose I should grow up one day, but I always get a bit of a thrill when a nice box arrives from the Postmans van all the way from Manzano I hear of others having problems with international post but this box arrived in Australia about 6 days after being posted in Arizona and was not intercepted or interfered with in any way by customs etc.

Twelve sheets of balsa, ply and liteply. All balsa seems to be of good, even quality. No noticably heavy or hard grade wood. Thanks Vicki (and Charlie) I cant wait to get gluing

Note the 12" (30cm) ruler across the liteply sheet - for a 37" model, that is a large fuselage former - nearly 6" X 4.5" !

I guess I'd better clean the workshop up a little....

Pat (I love building)
May 06, 2009, 12:23 AM
Registered User
portablevcb's Avatar
Vicki says 'you're welcome'

Have fun!

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