Fun build 5 Guillow's PBY - RC Groups
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Mar 02, 2012, 08:10 PM
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conrad907's Avatar

Fun build 5 Guillow's PBY

I know this model has been done before, but, I am beginning a new build thread on it. This will be my first electric model, as well as my first RC model.

My initial thoughts for it are:

Try to cut weight as I go as much as I can.
Build it in ROW configuration, no gear.
Either a water rudder, or dual ESC's for engine steering. (Is this realistic?)
Use as much of the plastic parts as possible since I haven't ever pulled molds yet.
Sheeted fuselage, vertical and horiz. stabs, with silkspan control surfaces.
I would like to do a sheeted wing, but probably add to much weight. Maybe do as I have seen done, and just sheet the first 25% on top, or so.

I had an old Eureka D-18 Beechcraft kit that would be fun to build as an electric, but too advanced of a project for me at this time. Besides, with that great foam build entry of the same plane in the contest, I will just follow that build with interest.

As a young lad, models were a great passion for me, guess I am trying to renew the addiction. I will definitely need some advice along the way.

Smokin' Beaver has already enlightened me to the fact that I will need tip floats for ROW, and straightened me out on the fact that these PBY's didn't have flaps! I will decide on manual set tip floats, or retractable later.

This will be my first RC plane as well as my first Electric. I'm confident I can build a good looking model, but as far as building a plane that flys, and learning to fly RC myself, those are my personal goals, and how I will judge the success of my project.

So far I have gotten the fuselage started.
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Mar 02, 2012, 10:51 PM
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Bill Smudge's Avatar

This will be my first RC plane as well as my first Electric. I'm confident I can build a good looking model, but as far as building a plane that flys, and learning to fly RC myself, those are my personal goals, and how I will judge the success of my project.


Conrad, when you start you start BIG. Your fuse/ boat looks great to me.

Thats some ambitious project you have going there. I would say you have great building skills for a guy thats never build an RC airplane. You called your alignment jig "crude", I'd hate to see one you spend a little time on building, that thing looks fantastic.

I also was into the hobby as a kid and on and off
until last June. I built a litttle Guillows Birddog the darned thing took me about 3 weeks, I was trying to get my grandson interested in model planes but so far not too much luck. Anyway the bug bit me deep and hard, and here I am knee deep in balsa dust enjoying every minute of it....

BTW you are going to build/buy a nice high wing trainer to learn to fly on arn't you? I learned last July on a foamy thats super easy to build and fly, it's Russ40's Trainer Type Plane or (TTP). His thread is here:

You can knock one of these together in a day or two.

I'll certainly be keeping an eye on your build with great interest.

Mar 03, 2012, 08:09 AM
It must have a machinegun
Scaledown's Avatar
You're off to a great start, but please, please don't attempt to fly it until you have learned to fly on a cheaper more expendable plane. Scale planes like this are unforgiving. Make one mistake and its toothpicks.

Flying from water presents even more difficulties. Expect water to splash everywhere and expect it to flip upside down occasionally. Balsa will soak up water and be ruined if not sealed. Silkspan is not waterproof.
Mar 03, 2012, 10:49 AM
Big gov never Works
St. Martin's Avatar
Conrad, you may find this helpful. I gave it to Mark(milesperpound), and he has finished and flown it.
Guillows PBY Catalina Maiden (2 min 7 sec)

Mar 03, 2012, 11:57 AM
Registered User
conrad907's Avatar
Bill, thanks for comments on the jig. I built it at work out of scrap in the machine shop. By my standards it is crude, but this is only because of the precision jigs our machine shop turns out for turbine work here at the job. For modeling it should work quite well.

As far as a trainer, I bought a mini-Telemaster to do a quick build on and use for a trainer, but after looking at the link you sent, I think that looks like a better approach. Thanks for that.

The comments on silkspan suitability for ROW are well taken. I loved to work with silkspan in my formative years, but, I can see where this is not the proper application. Guess Doculam or some other new skill needs to be added to my project. I had considered brushing on a coat of West System epoxy on the sheeting for sealing. I will experiment with this first to insure it is not too heavy, plan B was Deft laquer for sealing.

The video is great Fuzz, I like the dolly! So many clever solutions to things in these forums!

We have a great local museum here in Anchorage. These are some pics of what originally piqued my interest in these flying boats. It is a rescued PBY, called the "Ghost of Dago Lake" on display here.
Mar 03, 2012, 03:32 PM
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Taildragger55's Avatar
Hi Conrad907. I have an Electrifly PBY and it's a fairly easy to fly model. Of course it's somewhat different than the Guillows model, fiberglass fuse, balsa and ply wing and tail and a different airfoil. The Electrifly has an undercambered wing. The video posted showed me that they do fly quite similar.

Realflight version 5 and above has the Electrifly PBY and it's a good one to practice with before flying the Guillows. A flight simulator is well worth the money in terms of time and money spent learning to fly without wrecking a lot of models.

An alternitive is to learn to fly with our local club. We have several flying fields and our members are very friendly and eager to teach new pilots who want to learn to fly. We have several trainer models and qualified instructors. You DON"T have to be a member to fly with an instructor. Visitors and folks wanting to learn to fly are welcome to attend our events.

Click on the Forum button, then click on the top topic, "Club News/Events," then click on the 2012 FFF event schedule. In fact, we're having a FunFly tomorrow the 4th. start time is noon.

Below is a photo of my PBY at Mirror Lake. We hold an event there every summer. My PBY is set up with counter-rotating props. I highly recommend using that set-up. The left motor rotates normally, the right motor uses the pusher prop and rotates opposite. As far as legal places to fly waterplanes, any lake that full sized airplanes fly from, R/C models can fly ther too, that's from the Parks and Recreation Dept. Taku lake here in Anchorage has been used for many years by the model boat club, airplanes may be flown there too.
Mar 03, 2012, 04:04 PM
jeffh22037's Avatar
Originally Posted by conrad907
Either a water rudder, or dual ESC's for engine steering. (Is this realistic?)...

You'll find several threads on differential thrust steering in the Waterplanes forum
Many there say that it's essential.

I toyed with the idea on my DH-89 (just for fun since it has a steerable tail wheel and doesn't really need it) but backed off after realizing that the fail safe mode for the Spectrum receiver would potentially leave one motor spinning if the signal was lost.
Wasn't really worth the risk in the Rapide's case.

Mar 03, 2012, 04:33 PM
Registered User
conrad907's Avatar
A flight simulator is well worth the money in terms of time and money spent learning to fly without wrecking a lot of models.

Sounds like good advice to me, I will look into this.

My PBY is set up with counter-rotating props. I highly recommend using that set-up.

Ditto, on good advice, I will plan on going this route. Does your PBY have a little offset on the engines to direct thrust towards the tail, "toe out", just curious.

I work week on week off, but I will try and make your club meeting coming up at Peggy's.

Hope to meet you Taildragger, I am so new to RC, I am not even an apprentice pilot yet! Nice model you have, Mirror Lake sounds like a great flying site.

Thanks Jeff, I will go to the Waterplane threads to see what it would take for me to go with differntial steering. My guess is that it would eliminate the need for a water rudder, which I like the sound of. I hope to be able to grease this thing on good grass fields also, which would damage a water rudder
Mar 03, 2012, 08:25 PM
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Taildragger55's Avatar
Conrad, my PBY doesn't have offset motors however its a good idea. I'm only an intermediat pilot, I can take off, fly around, and land, but I don't do aerobatics. Wish I could, but I just don't fly enough to get comfortable doing them.

I usually go to the club meetings, but not all the time. I hope to meet you too. R/C model airplanes is a wonderful hobby, one can dabble in it, some just go plain nuts with it.

Differential throttle is very effictive at controlling a water plane in water without a rudder. Mike McDougall did a review on the new Electrifly Widgeon G-44 in Aircraft-Exotic and Special Interest/Waterplanes. Scroll a ways down on the Homepage.He goes by the handle Kingsflyer. There is another thred on the Widgeon and Mike explains how to program differential throttle. I've included a link to that thread. I'm definatly going to do it when I set up my Widgeon. May do it with the PBY too.

You'll have to wade through a few pages to get to it. You MUST HAVE a programmable radio to do it.
Last edited by Taildragger55; Mar 03, 2012 at 08:31 PM.
Mar 04, 2012, 02:05 PM
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conrad907's Avatar
The Widgeon is a beautiful plane. Grumman aircraft in general are fabulous!

I am going to try and save as much weight as I can on my build, I don't want to end up with an airboat! I go down to Lake Hood sometimes just to watch the float planes take-off. Some of those guys get so much weight in their planes they have a heck of a time breaking the suction of the water. I am sure the same principle applys to a model.

Since I am doing my week out of town at work, I have some time to re-read these threads and get my head full of ideas to take back to the build. After looking at reviews on lots of transmitters, I've decided to get a Futaba 7C.

Electrify PBY specs

Wingspan: 53.5 in (1360 mm)
Wing Area: 395 in² (25.5 dm²)
Weight: 3-3.25 lb (1.36-1.47 kg)
Wing Loading: 18-19 oz/ft² (55-58 g/dm²)
Length: 34.25 in (870 mm)
Requires: 4+ channel radio w/4 micro servos, two 950kV brushless outrunner motors, two 25A brushless ESCs, 11.1V 2100-3200mAh LiPo battery

Looking at the specs for your plane gives me optimisim as I am shooting for around 32oz. with a wing area of 306 sq. in.. I am curious where the CG is on your plane. I think Phil ended up with his real close to the LE with his Guillows PBY. Phil's plane flys very good, but I do not know if he ever had a successful ROW, even though I think he proved the plane was definitely capable of it. I am wondering if a compromise needs to be made between best fly-ability vs. ability to ROW, or if the two can go hand in hand?

So many questions,...sorry!
Apr 22, 2012, 05:30 PM
Registerd Beaver
Smokin' Beaver's Avatar
How did I miss this one? !
Nice job indeed


- Phil
Apr 26, 2012, 04:55 PM
Registered User
conrad907's Avatar
I will try and update my build progress some more. I have a few pictures I can post when I get off work. I am embarrassed to admit how many hours I have in this plane so far. I am seeing this through to the finish, and plan to have it flight ready by June.
I did follow the advice in the threads here, and bought a flight simulator, Phoenix, and I bought my first trainer, a foam 45" Piper Cub. The simulator has proven to me, I would have destroyed anything I tried to fly. Now, I am having good luck on the simulator, and hope to find a place to fly my foamie soon.
A lot of stressful changes in my life recently, but working on this plane has been great therapy for me, I forget about all the other stuff when I am working on it. I am glad I took on this project, hope it comes out as nicely as yours did Phil.
Apr 26, 2012, 07:14 PM
It flew once before...
jofrost's Avatar
Looking good
Apr 27, 2012, 08:53 PM
Registered User
conrad907's Avatar
A few more photos of where I am at on this plane. Actually progress is further than the photos show. I am playing with different hinge types still, and linkage types. Will probably go with Sullivan cables for the tail, and am considering torque tubes on the ailerons.
Not sure about using stock incidence specs, and would be interested in thoughts on that. My wing mount follows the shape of the bottom curve of the wing meaning I can slot the top holes and by sliding the wing a little fore and aft, I can change the incedence very easy, or just shim the wing slightly.

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