Woohoo! Guillows Aeronca Champ Flies! - RC Groups
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Sep 06, 2003, 12:31 AM
ZRX Doug's Avatar

Woohoo! Guillows Aeronca Champ Flies!

After reading of a failed attempt to convert a 24" Guillows Aeronca Champ rubber-powered model to R/C, I sort of felt that this would be a worthy challenge. This kit was one of the first I'd built as a kid (back in the dark ages) and it flew well as an .020 powered free-flight plane back then..finding the same kit at a local hobby shop for 10 bucks almost thirty years later was just icing on the cake.
I left the kit stock other than adding 1/16" square balsa diagonal bracing between the fuselage formers & stringers, and a fiberglass dowel behind the leading edge of the wing.
I modified the fuselage so that the whole cabin/wing detached in one piece, locating it at the rear with bamboo skewers & brass grommets, and at the front with two pair of "rare earth" magnets from Radio Shack. Lifting the cabin structure away leaves a spacious "bathtub" to install the radio gear & battery pack.
For power, I'm using MPI "EPU 3" motor & gear drive (same as a GWS IPS unit) with 3.5:1 ratio, swinging a GWS 7x6 prop. Radio gear is the usual GWS Pico flight pack stuff. Battery is a two cell 700 mah Li-Ion battery.
AUW is right around 6.5 ounces, give or take, with tissue covering using one coat of clear dope with food coloring added.
I had intended this plane for indoor use, but it was so calm at the park tonight that it got to make it's maiden flight early.
Bad news is, on the first toss I managed to tear the landing gear off after over-reacting and slamming the grass..good news, after the gear was completly removed, it was very happy to make belly landings on the grass. With the stock wing and long throws set up on the rudder and elevator, the plane was a real handfull to keep in the air, and extremely fast (for it's power source, anyway). I reduced the throws as far as I could, and tried to remind myself to keep the stick movements SMALL. This technique worked for a couple circuits of the small field, but I ended up diving straight in from fifteen or twenty feet. Dunno if it was a freak gust of wind, a radio glitch, or just inherent instability, but it flopped on it's back and dove in hard. Damage was slight, broke the motor mount and did minimal damage to the plastic cowl. The magnet-mounted cabin really helps reduce crash damage pretty well.
I've rebuilt the motor mount out of 1/16 ply this time, and am rethinking the landing gear mounts..but I think this is gonna be a sweet little flier once it's sorted out. It climbed out with real authority, and responded very nicely to control surface movements. I'm happy with the results so far, especially since this is my first conversion attempt, and my first stick & tissue model in almost 25 years.
I'll post pics ASAP, I'm having some probs with getting my camera to load pics to the 'puter right now.
Last edited by ZRX Doug; Sep 06, 2003 at 04:10 AM.
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Sep 23, 2003, 12:29 AM
ZRX Doug's Avatar

Finally the pics as promised.

Man, took forever to deal with a camera glitch.
These are pics taken during the initial build, showing the split cabin & original motor mount. I never took pics while it was all in one piece, and now it's torn apart for re-covering (with colored tissue this time, to reduce weight & improve on my abysmal paint job.) and a new undercambered wing. If you guys want, I'll snap a pic or two in it's naked state, with radio gear installed.
Sep 23, 2003, 12:32 AM
ZRX Doug's Avatar

Pic #2

Sep 23, 2003, 12:34 AM
ZRX Doug's Avatar

Last one..

Sep 23, 2003, 02:09 AM
ZRX Doug's Avatar
Man, tough audience! Here's a pic as it looks now, whether ya wanna see it or not, so there!
The two servos seen mounted to the rear of the cabin are GWS pico units, the reciever is mounted below the battery try two formers forward of the servos, and the speed control is below the battery tray directly behind the motor mount. Not shown are the control rods, which are made from bamboo skewers and feature rare earth magnet connections at the tail feathers.
Changes include the GWS wheels, (which sure are ugly, but are definitely more shock absorbant) and the new adjustable ply motor mount, along with losing the "swiss cheese" cabin floor in favor of a few 1/16" square ladder braces to get a bit more battery room. The ugly green paint is being replaced with a nice pale green tissue, and the whole cabin/wing structure is being duplicated with an undercambered wing to try and slow this beast down a bit.
I'll post a pic or two once it's completed (again) but it'll be awhile, as I can't seem to concentrate on one project at a time.
Sep 23, 2003, 02:16 AM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Hehe.. I think it's only a tough audience because the majority of us are sleeping.
Sep 23, 2003, 02:19 AM
Leave me alone!
Martin Hunter's Avatar
That's one impressively big hatch! Nicely done, Doug

Sep 23, 2003, 02:30 AM
ZRX Doug's Avatar
Thanks Martin..yeah, I realized the rest of the world was probably asleep right after I posted that last pic. One of the upsides (?) of self-employment are the weird hours you can choose to operate at..
As to the huge hatch, Guillow's kits really lend themselves to this sort of thing with the horizontal "keel" setup they use. Just build the fuse, then cut the formers level with the top of the side "keels" and add a new plate to the bottom of the removed portion. I just purchased a Guillow's Spitfire kit, and it's going to get the same treatment, with a removable upper section from the second former to the turtledeck.
Last edited by ZRX Doug; Sep 23, 2003 at 02:36 AM.
Sep 23, 2003, 06:36 AM
Registered User
I really like the hatch...very clever. I'll be interested to hear how it flys. I've been searching for a good champ to build as a float plane.
Sep 23, 2003, 07:05 AM
Crash Master
Gene Bond's Avatar
Looks good Doug. I have eyed this kit a few times, myself...

I wonder if the wings may have wound up 'washed-in', causing the instability. It's been the biggest challenge I fought with my PicoPiper. I was really shocked how much wash-out it took to stabilize the little bugger.

You can lose a good bit of weight by going to the LPS-B2C-C drive with a 7x6 or 8x4.3 and a pair of ET250 cells. It's about 25g on the batteries alone! It's another 15g or so for the motor... Pretty much, when you consider that's about 15% of the weight...
Sep 23, 2003, 07:43 AM
Registered User
rtherbe's Avatar
Hey ZRX keep it goin, I'm watching. Just finished the Guillow's Thomas Morse Bipe I converted it to IPS-LI-Po Came out at less than 6.5 oz. You might want to check out Warren Jones thread in scale modeling he is doing a Guillows Spit as we speak... His thread is titled 6 channel Guillow's. I havent flown mine yet,( bad weather), but she test glides great a real floater...
Sep 23, 2003, 09:14 AM
Registered User
jamesgood72's Avatar
Lovely looking Thomas Morse biplane there
rtherbe, would love to hear how it goes when you fly it.


Sep 23, 2003, 09:33 AM
De-Brushed user
Nice Scout! Ive been working off and on on a Guillows Morse Scout (hobby lobby had em 1/2 price). Did you do any mods to it? Thanks
Sep 23, 2003, 03:59 PM
Registered User
rtherbe's Avatar
Thanks James,and CAF
I'm a bit nervous to fly her only have experience with an Iteractive Stealth and a GWS Moth. I started building it to see if it was a plausable conversion,I was eventually going to build the Guillows S.E.5A but it turns out that the Morse has considerably more wing area @210 versus S.E.5A@only 160 so the Morse should be a better conversion. Gerald in scale modeling did this when Guillows first started using laser method he has a good thread just search morse scout in the scale forum. CAF- I only really reinforced the gear as well as tail feathers to support hinges I even used monokote LHS doesnt have lite-span or such. Still comes in light @ >6.5 oz. Take care
Sep 23, 2003, 05:26 PM
ZRX Doug's Avatar
I don't think washout's the problem, I built in 1/4" when I laid out the wing framework, and then added a bit more with the ol' tea kettle after covering. I think it's mostly a wing loading issue, compounded by a less than stellar "scale-like" airfoil. The plane actually flew fairly well, just too darn fast..way more like a warbird than a high-wing commuter. Losing the weight from the motor & batteries would be a step in the right direction, for sure..but I dunno how I'd be able to get my CG back if I lost any more weight off the nose! I'll be adding a couple inches of span to the new undercambered wing to try & even the score a bit more without losing the scale appearance of the plane too much.

Man, that's a pretty Scout! I almost grabbed one of those kits off the shelf last week but the Spitfire caught my eye. I've been following the "6 channel Guillows" thread also, it's actually what tipped me over into picking up the kit. I'm thinking my spit will "only" be four channel though, with aileron/elevator/retracts & speed control..but that's in the distant future. Gotta get this & two other planes sorted, rebuild my ZRX engine/tranny, and do a couple million other things before I can even think about opening up the Spitfire kit.

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