Designing & Building the Curtiss P-6E Bipe - Page 3 - RC Groups
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Dec 21, 2012, 10:24 AM
Registered User

Photos of P-6E (Another wordy post)

Two days ago, I went to the US Air Force Museum, and got some photos of the P-6E Hawk on display there.

The photos are now posted on Flickr. If you'd like to see them, try this link:

I may post a few here later.

A few notes about the photos:
- The photos focus on details, so don't expect any dramatic artistry.
- There's a lot of repetitive material. Sorry.
- Lighting was problematic. Some details showed up better under ambient light, and some showed up better with flash. Some details didn't show well under any conditions. Sorry, no fancy lighting.
- No captions yet. Maybe later.

And a few observations on the airplane:
- In general, the P-6E appears to be a typical 1930-technology biplane. But it does have a few interesting design quirks.
- The P-6E does, indeed, have ailerons on the top wing only. They're driven by pushrods from the lower wing. Looks pretty complex to my engineering eye. This system would look cool on the model, but . . . I'd rather see a simpler, lighter, more precise linkage in the model. Just my opinion.
- The fuselage is fabric-covered. No surprise there. But for maintenance access, they installed zippers in the fabric in several places. They're in a V-pattern, as shown in the photos. Interesting. Clever.
- The navigation light on the tail (the little white light) has a unique mounting. The light bulb is not installed in the airplane, but the photos show the mount in the top of the rudder. Not really a modelable feature at this scale, but, again, interesting.
- There are very few stencils on the airplane. I photographed all that I could find.
- The cockpit edge has very little padding. Original photos show big fat padding around the edge of the cockpit, so that's probably more authentic.
- The turtledeck behind the cockpit covers a baggage compartment. It's hinged on the right, and has latches on the left. The lock appears to be an old-style suitcase latch. Once again, interesting.
- The engine is a liquid-cooled V-12. It has two exhaust stacks per cylinder, so each side of the airplane has 12 short straight stacks poking out. No hint of why so many stacks. There's a similar (smaller) engine displayed next to the airplane.
- The engine radiator is a big bulbous thing, which hangs down below the fuselage, just in front of the landing gear legs. It's painted black, and did not photograph well. The model might look better with it deleted. Or is that heresy?
- The two machine guns are mounted behind the engine, on each side, below the cylinder heads. They fire forward through two channels in the side of the fuselage, just below the exhaust stacks. The gun barrels are barely visible in a couple of the photos. I couldn't figure out where the guns were hidden, while looking at the airplane. I didn't find them till I was digging through the photos later.
- With 600 horsepower in a 3000-odd pound airplane, the P-6E was probably a pretty good climber, and certainly ought to be maneuverable.

And now a modeling suggestion:
- I have proven how rugged your P-51 model is (more about that later). The P-6E model should be equally rugged, except for the top wing and struts, I think. I'd like to see a top wing (and struts) designed to pop off in a cartwheel landing, and reattach easily. And maintain accurate alignment. And strong enough and stiff enough to take normal flight loads. Is that enough of a challenge?

My apologies for the long-winded post. As you can see, I'm very interested in this project. Enjoy!
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Dec 21, 2012, 11:09 AM
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Red Flyer's Avatar

Thanks so much for your efforts and excellent photo's ! ! !

I've never seen the right hand side of the had wonderful access to it.

I've admired the airplane since I first saw it in the museum when I was a little boy. I was able to share viewing the Hawk with my Protege two summers ago.

Merry Christmas to all,

Red Flyer
Last edited by Red Flyer; Dec 21, 2012 at 11:25 AM.
Dec 21, 2012, 12:15 PM
Absolutely incredible stuff Hatman. Those images are way more than I could have hoped for. There is enough detail there to keep me illustrating for months! Really and truly brilliant. I'm pretty sure I will need very little in the way of other reference material now to complete the illustrations for the stickers.

I cant thank you enough!

As for the crash resistant top wing, I have a few ideas for a fixed system I want to explore first but a pop off wing could be the way forward if my idea doesn't hold up.

@Red Flyer - Merry Christmas to you too. I'm afraid your present isn't going to be delivered by Santa, maybe more likely the Easter Bunny!
Dec 21, 2012, 01:23 PM
Registered User
No problem. Happy to help.
Dec 31, 2012, 07:47 AM

Parts Alignment

Happy New Year everybody! Very much looking forward to 2013.

Well I didn't get anywhere near as much time as I thought over the holiday. Extended family descended on us like a pack of hungry wolves. Not that I minded - good fun and now I reckon I could load and unload the dishwasher blindfold with my hands tied behind my back

But then the post xmas sales were too much of a draw for those with the cash.The house emptied and I was able to continue with the Hawk.

I assembled all the Depron parts, tacking them together lightly, cut out and assembled the struts, created all the wireforms for U/C and the aileron control system. All seems to line up OK.

I only need to make a very small geometric change to the cabane struts to get the top wing bang-on flat.

The plywood struts seem to work very well and they integrate with the CF in the wings and the foam in the fuse to provide a very rigid structure even without the stickers on.

The total weight so far is 27g. Still got the covering and all the electronics to fit but it may well come in under my estimate.

The aileron control system seems to work well with good deflection and no binding. We'll see how that translates when the servo is installed.

Next step is to break it down again and start the build.The sticker material will be blank for this one as the illustration process hasn't started yet. But it will allow the aircraft to be test flown to check airworthiness and performance.


Oh - meant to say the interplane struts will be reduced in width in production. Cut 'em thick as I was hand cutting.
Last edited by MICROACES; Dec 31, 2012 at 08:00 AM.
Dec 31, 2012, 10:23 AM
miatamama's Avatar
Jon, Looks great so far. It should fly really good. Looking at the geometry of it it looks similar to my biplanes except for the swept wings. I use easy which is rectangular like the beast and all have flown very well so far.
Dec 31, 2012, 10:35 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by MICROACES
The aileron control system seems to work well with good deflection and no binding.
Looks great!

I'm really interested to see how your aileron control system works out.

Gene K
Jan 08, 2013, 02:12 PM

Ready for Take-Off!

Managed to put the finishing touches to the first prototype yesterday.

Just using blank stickers cut out by hand. It goes together exactly like a 'conventional' Microaces kit apart from adding a cabane strut during the process and then popping the interplane and the remote aileron control struts in place in final assembly.

It seems really solid in construction - but only time - and flying - will tell us if it's robust as the other kits. It comes in at 78g AUW with the 1s 300mAh battery, AP05 motor, XP-7A ESC and I've popped in one of those Target Hobbies/AR6400 copy receivers.

May have some COG fiddling but ready to play!

Maiden flight will be as soon as the weather is right. Possibly we'll get a video camera there to - very excited about this!

Jan 08, 2013, 03:34 PM
addictedtoplanes's Avatar
Amazing... now I know what I'm getting next...
Jan 08, 2013, 04:38 PM
UAS Pilot - FAA# *******HRK
CryHavoc's Avatar

Can't wait to see the video.

Jan 08, 2013, 06:49 PM
Crash Expert
Looks great!
Jan 08, 2013, 08:04 PM
Registered User
Chrizz's Avatar
Absolutely beautiful!
Jan 09, 2013, 12:34 AM
Fly Low - Hit Hard
Red Flyer's Avatar
Nailed it !!!!

Jan 09, 2013, 06:52 AM
Thanks guys.

Looks like the maiden could be tomorrow morning. It's a little breezy here at the moment. Not the stuff that would normally keep me from flying but I like to get the maiden done with all conditions as favourable as possible!
Jan 09, 2013, 10:24 AM
addictedtoplanes's Avatar
God luck!

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