Ziroli Douglas C-47 (Buzz Buggy) - RC Groups
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May 22, 2009, 10:21 PM
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Ed Couch's Avatar

Ziroli Douglas C-47 (Buzz Buggy)

About 12 years ago a gentlemen was on a long final at one of our local scale contest or Master qualifier when a down glitch hit his vehicle just prior to touchdown. Two G-38 engines were ejected from the big bird, the nose damaged, gear bent etc. All this time the big Gooney Bird has been sitting in a cold dark bedroom waiting patently for someone to drag her big bad #$@ out of the dark and put a little life into her tired old bones.

Open your big mouth sometimes and you sure can get into trouble and I did Monday night. I've always wanted to build the big Ziroli bird but never had time. A friend and I were talking about it when he remembered another friend of his in Garland had a C-47 in his bedroom. I even remembered the contest and events leading up to its low level crash just before touchdown. I told Bill that I would like to see it if available and damn if it didn't show up at our Tuesday afternoon flight session. I helped remove it from his van and took a hard long look. Grabbed a pen and wrote out a check which turned out to be more than he had wanted but hell I had already wrote out the check and was in a little shock at the size of the beast so I told him thanks and keep the change.

Hundreds of man hours have been saved by purchasing the big plane as it is still solid. I ordered a new nose and cowls from Nick that night. I planned on cutting the damaged portions out at the panel lines and graft the new fiberglass components in place. There are a few stress fractures in the skin and they will be easily fixed. The only time consumming item will be the rebuild of the nacelles but I have most of the wood that was torn out and most of that will fit back in nicely. The new cowls are on their way as well to cover up the new 80 by 85 mm Turnigy motors I plan on installing. She will be flying with a set of 10/3700 Rhino packs in a 4-4-2 configuration for each nacelle. One receiver will be taking care of the motors and all flight controls in the wing while a second unit will handle all flight controls in the tail. Only a 14 gauge set of power wires will be running from the batteries in the nose to power up the flight controls. It will make things much simpler and more reliable than using a single receiver and miles of cable running through the fuselage. The landing gears will be fixed for now but if all proves out as expected retracts will be added at a later date. I have everything I need to pull the build off in a couple of weeks so lets see what happens. Any comments appreciated. ed
Last edited by Ed Couch; May 25, 2009 at 09:58 AM.
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May 23, 2009, 02:57 AM
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Peter M's Avatar
Ed, You don't do things by halves!
I'm looking forward to following your progress and knowing what you actually said to your wife when you bought it home! (Or more to the point, what she actually said to you!)

May 23, 2009, 04:41 AM
No such thing as overpowered
Wilit run? 353's Avatar
Wow. that looks a big task. where can i find info on the 8085 turnigy?

are you going to repaint the C47
May 23, 2009, 07:38 AM
drksyd's Avatar
Nice big project. Don't know why but I like the DC-3/C-47's.
May 23, 2009, 07:43 AM
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Ed Couch's Avatar

Betty helped me assemble the big bird yesterday for the photos. There is a new car in the drive, money in the bank and we live in a new house, and our grand daughters are always over so grand ma is happy. We've been married a long time and she has put up with everything I do and laughs at most. In all these years we have honestly never raised our voice to one another. Great lady!!

The information on the Turnigy motors are as follows: http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/s...2&v=&sortlist= . These have proven excellent motors although the 80 by 100 motors I use in my large fighters have to have the bearings changed out before running. Not a big deal, but a pain any way.

As stated earlier, I do not plan on a total repaint except for a dull cote to be added prior to flight. The damaged panels will be taped off and paint only applied to those areas that need it. Save time and keep the theme of the original paint in tack. I told the original owner that he could be there for its next flight and he was grinning ear to ear when he left. He is now in his mid seventies and doesn't presue to scale meets anymore. ed
May 23, 2009, 12:57 PM
Registered User
Thanks for the pics. Saves me a drive-over I cannot make right now!


I might not repaint anythng but the damaged areas, looks like a war-weary bird that way.

Of course, later you could make it an EC-47 spy plane with the antennas and black radar nose dome and Vietnam camo scheme. Or Puff. Should look fine like it is though.

The flying is what will be nice, no mater the paint.

May 24, 2009, 12:11 AM
Registered User
Gonna love to follow the progress on this one, along with the neighboring B-36 build saga of DAG's. Some years ago, i saw a video of a big glo powered C-47 (it might have been a Ziroli model same as this one), and it went in during base leg turn to final due to tip stall. Seems the tapered wing calls for judicious management of airspeed in DC-3/C-47 models of this size/weight.
May 26, 2009, 12:39 AM
More Combat Please!
Wind_of_Change's Avatar
Ed, congratulations on finding such a great plane in such good condition. I'm really looking forward to seeing it electric powered. Best of luck with the reconstruction effort!

Don't forget to take pics and video of the maiden!

May 26, 2009, 06:03 PM
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Ed Couch's Avatar

Rebuild Initiated

I've flown for the last eight days and finally decided to stay at home for a couple of days and work on the beast. All the formers and replacement bulkheads are cut, motor mounts holes are drilled and blindnuts installed. I've also trial fitted all the remaining wood parts that were with the vehicle when I purchased her. Most everything will fit back with minimal rework although a bit of planking will be required plus putting in hatches for the batteries. The parts ordered from Ziroli arrived a few minutes ago so molding in the nose should not take more than a day in itself. Goals!!

I've beat myself up on the radio installation and decided to go with two receivers with one being located in the tail and the other in the wing itself to keep cabling to a minimum. The only thing common to the two units will be a 4700 6 volt power package in the nose powering the units via a 14 gauge power cable to both the wing and tail. This is how I handle my 20 foot outboor airships and I have never had a problem with the DX-7 radio in this configuration. NCIS is on now so I'll take a break for a while and watch Gibbs and Abby do their things. Got a thing for Ziva!!

Tomorrows plan is to add all the bulkheads and the firwalls. Test mount the batteries and make sure thing fit. Also if possible, start a little sanding and maybe a few hours out at the field with my FW-190A. It needs a little tender loving care itself as it has been a few month since it was put back on ceiling. I love the retirement end of the stick.
Last edited by Ed Couch; May 26, 2009 at 06:22 PM.
May 27, 2009, 07:56 PM
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Ed Couch's Avatar
This morning proved bright and shiney with a possibility of rain so I set my mind to working in the shop. Grabbed my first cup of coffee and Skippy peanut butter toast and headed for the shop about 0730. After almost 10 hours of continous work I called it a halt as I'm tired of biting the damn glue from my fingers. I got a lot of work done and hope to finish with the wood work on the nacelles by Friday as I have a standing date on Thursday to fly indoor rubber at a local gym and then maybe off to the field for a few hours as I got caught up in the moment today and didn't make it to the field. I've got to get my priorities straight.

Anyway, I managed to get everything back in alignment and started planking of the nacelles. Figured I might as well mount the spare motor to see what it would look like as well. Took about 6 dollars of hardware from the local Ace store to mount both motors. Looks like something from my Maytag for sure. Once I finish on the planking I'll start with the damage to the fuselage. I need to get the gear to a friend tomorrow for straighting as the after gear bar is bent on both gears. May be able to repair or replace if I'm not lucky.
Another day and a good time had by my Pom and I in the shop. ed
May 27, 2009, 08:21 PM
More Combat Please!
Wind_of_Change's Avatar
That's looking great Ed, you're going to have that thing flying in no time at the rate you're going.

Seriously, I cannot wait to see your maiden. Did I mention that it would be really really sweet if you got video of that?

Sure would be sweet!
May 27, 2009, 08:26 PM
PSALM 14:1
Sammy70's Avatar
Wow, you guys and your giant scale planes really amaze me. Thanks for taking the time to post all the pics and write about the details. You must be blessed with a beautiful flying field to fly birds this big Keep up the great work and keep posting so that some of us can live vicariously through you Ed!!

May 27, 2009, 09:24 PM
Registered User
Ed Couch's Avatar

My field is over 550 feet of perfectfly manicured Bermuda grass. It is mowed at least twice a week and watered when needed. We actually use a gang of 5 reel type fairway mowers just for the runway. I've been a member almost since day one of the club. It is only five minutes away from the house. We are lucky in having drink machines, water, and electricity avaliable as well. Over 250 members and any good day will have 25 plus flyers all day long even on a Monday and Tuesday. Its a hoot and a great bunch of flyers. Take a look http://www.flygsw.org/ . More Friday or Saturday afternoon. ed
May 31, 2009, 01:47 PM
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Ed Couch's Avatar
It's been a couple of days but I have an excuse, I've been flying! I finished the planking of the nacelles this morning and finished a very rough sanding of the components. Not too bad considering the years since I've last planked an aircraft. About 16 years or more I think, now I know why I like ARFs. It took about 20 actual working hours to complete over the last week. The weather around here has been beautiful and I've been flying whenever I can. Now it time to do a final sanding and get out the new bottle of Z Poxy and 1 ounce fiberglass cloth and get things wrapped and in the primer stage. Oh Yeah, don't forget a can of bondo as I ain't perfect and its weight forward if need be. Motors arriving this week and props are right behind them. I'll start on fuselage in a week or so and hopefully have things ready for late June.

Have a great day, I'm headed to the field. ed
May 31, 2009, 01:56 PM
Registered User
Looks like the repair work is perfect from here. Would have loved to see how you got it back to gether on a repair video.

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