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Aug 29, 2011, 06:04 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar

I will post some more detailed pictures of the fuse and gear in the coming days. I'm recovering from the Chicago contest this past weekend... lotsa travel and lotsa flying.

Mostly it's JR DS188s with pull / spring, though a 241/285 will fit if you're patient and don't use long horns. I'll also show pictures of how to mount ballast (lead sinkers on a piece of wire) but honestly with the wing I use, ballast is almost never necessary unless it's very turbulent.

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Aug 31, 2011, 05:33 PM
Registered User
I have to say, in the pictures the Fr3aK looks as good as any mouldie I've seen. Extremely nice work Tom! Prrrrrty!

It might be nice if you can post some more thoughts on how this plane performs/handles/setup compared to other mouldies. I know that you have notable stick time on a variety of the current crop... I know I'm quite curious; probably many others are as well!

Aug 31, 2011, 05:42 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Thanks Gerald... I will be doing so later in the week when I get all the photos from the contest last weekend. I had a friend who is a professional photographer take some shots of the ship at the contest and from what I saw on the small screen, they should be stunning. I started posting some details in the Zone V2 thread but I'll cross them in here since this is the post about the airplane.

You in particular will like it alot. I know you've seen one before, but that was a pretty crude early version that wasn't anywhere near optimal. Back to why you'd like it, it's very thin, VERY fast, quite nimble, and does most everything well. The cosmetics have really come around in the past few layups. There are little tricks you learn along the way that make things finish out cleaner, stiffer, lighter, etc. The nice thing is now I can lean on them and throw them hard with no worries about flutter or destruction. I've had a chance to stick this thing in varying conditions now and I'm completely hooked. The Bruce will be fun in a week.

My primary will be a new spread tow model, with the one I flew last week serving backup duties. I'll also be delivering the "USA F3K Postal Contest" winning model to Garth, another spread tow one that is postcuring in the hotbox right now.

Exciting times!
Sep 04, 2011, 10:16 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
The process has become quite repeatable. This is now my third straight wing between 128 and 131g.

The latest is the giveaway (Team USA F3K postal contest) bird for Garth. I hope to get one more banged out before heading to the Bruce this week.

Rick, I finished your replacement fuse accessories (canopy and stab mount) so it should go in the mail on Tuesday.

These are really exciting. I never dreamed I'd have this level of repeatability in the process. I can't wait to see how they perform next weekend.
Sep 04, 2011, 10:34 PM
Where is the lift?
cptsnoopy's Avatar
Those look really nice Tom!

Sep 04, 2011, 11:35 PM
ThomasLee's Avatar
Amazing work Tom!
Latest blog entry: Vibe Assembly Instructions
Sep 05, 2011, 12:11 AM
Blind Hawk
rdjay's Avatar
Thanks Tom.

I'm frantically trying to get the first one ready for our contest on the 10th! The second one will be built up as a "match" to the first this fall so your timing is fine.

Thanks again for taking care of the one damaged by the USPS.

Sep 05, 2011, 08:24 AM
Registered User

I got to see some of Tom's wings/fuses at the Chicago contest, and they look every bit as good in person as they do in the photos. Very impressive.

Tom, love the logo!

Ryan Thompson
Sep 05, 2011, 10:13 AM
excelling at mediocrity
gopherhunter's Avatar
Strong work Tom. Impressive!
Sep 05, 2011, 11:29 AM
tasbori's Avatar
Tom, really excellent work.
Let's see how that is performing @The Bruce
Sep 05, 2011, 07:53 PM
Launch high. Fly low.
Glad to see a US molded plane! Great job, Tom! Keep it up.

Sep 13, 2011, 06:00 PM
Registered User
I managed to get a few minutes of stick time on one of Tom's planes this past weekend at The Bruce. I did my usual flying (generally describable as insane, or so I've heard), making Tom cringe as I would bring the plane within a foot of trees...

I found the plane to be nicely maneuverable and predictable. I thought the handling was pretty good (for rudderless). Performance seemed quite nice. It was easy to read the air, without the plane being obnoxious about it. I would have enjoyed flying the Fr3aK in some rounds! It seemed to fly light and nimble for its weight, if that makes any sense. Turns seemed rather efficient, and the plane was rather happy with bank and crank.

Tom flew the Fr3aK for most if not all The Bruce, I think.

Sep 13, 2011, 07:39 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Thanks Gerald. I handed both of the Fr3aKs around to a few different people hoping to get some more flight reports. If you'd wanted to fly it in some rounds, you should have asked! I am pretty sure you could have used either.

Fr3aK 1 and Fr3aK 2 (think Dr. Seuss) were both used in the Bruce, and I flew no other airplanes, so I guess this was their first full contest. I had some stupidity issues on Saturday that kept my standing in the contest lower than I'd like but the airplanes performed beyond my wildest dreams. If you saw me on Sunday after I was flying the spread tow one, I could barely wipe the smile off my face.

The disser one was used most of Saturday and flew great, including a pretty hard midair that we survived in an early round with a bagged ship flown by PP. She's the heavier of the two at about 290g AUW. This is the same ship I flew in Chicago on Sunday two weeks ago for the win. This airplane did some crazy good things for me there and I knew if the wind blew I'd have one of the better airplanes at the contest. I believe this is the ship that Gerald flew. The spread tow one has a stronger spar, slightly lighter tails, and tips the scale at 280g AUW by Todd G's scale. I flew it Sunday when the wind came up and even added a 25g ballast stick for a couple of rounds when it blew harder and got turbulent. I have to say that I was able to throw this airplane as hard as I could, ballasted, and the results were quite nice. I was feeling like I'd lost a step in the launch phase when I went from the Steig back to Blasters, but now I think I'm throwing higher than the Steig. One unballasted launch during prep time on Sunday was 194 feet and I'm sure the ballasted launches were higher. I only had the how-hi in for a few tosses so I didn't get a good sampling.

In the 3x3 task at the end of the day on Sunday, I flew it as a straight turnaround task. The first flight I had a good read and quickly specked out. I used the last 1:20 to race the field boundary upwind and found another good thermal. At 3:00 I caught the tip, relit, and was back in the good stuff immediately. I think I left about :50 on the clock that round and walked off with with a perfect 9:00 and a HUGE smile.

They're coming along nicely, and I'll try to get them in more people's hands by the ECHLGF.

Pics of Fr3aK 1 and Fr3aK 2 after the Bruce are attached.
Last edited by tom43004; Sep 13, 2011 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Typo
Sep 14, 2011, 08:46 AM
Aurora Builder
I'll be at ECHLGF and would love to give one a go, I expect they'll fly like a molded version of my current bagged Zone V2 and I'll instantly want what I can't have!
Sep 14, 2011, 09:07 AM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Just come find me Sam.

Don't discount the fuse and tails making a difference on the handling of the airplane though. I've flown a couple of other airplanes that should be similar at least on paper and they're not. It's funny, we were just discussing this Sunday by my Subaru.

Here's another picture from the Bruce, as Gerald and I contemplated the tail sizing, airfoil, etc. I'd like to drive a couple of grams out of the tail and my vertical is pretty thick, so we're discussing another re-design of the tail this winter. I just don't want to sacrifice any of the handling characteristics I currently have.

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