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Apr 24, 2015, 02:36 PM
parkcityskier's Avatar
Build Log

A DH89-A Dragon Rapide for the lake

Five years ago I was looking around for a new project to build and since I really admired the designs of Ivan Pettigrew I decided to finally take the first step and get plans for one of his airplane designs. I thought that the DH89-A Dragon Rapide would be an airplane not often modeled so that is what I chose. I fly primarily off of the water, though, so I wanted to include an option to mount floats on the airplane. Being somewhat of a scale nut, before I did this I wanted to see if the full scale airplane ever had had floats mounted. A little research showed that it had indeed been done and with some success. I chose to render my version as a Dragon operated by Queen Charlotte Airlines in Canada many years ago. Although the float installation worked it was not economically viable for the airline due to the added weight and drag of the floats reducing the payload of the airplane and it was soon abandoned. Still, for my purposes, their version made for an attractive model so that was what I chose.
My build started about five years ago and has become a "shelf model" for the most part. It was constantly being shoved back in the build que for another build that "just had to be done first" I think that this has happened about four times now and will probably happen again but I just like having something on my work table to work on once in awhile so here it is again.

I'm starting this showing what has been done at this time. It will have the option of using wheeled landing gear or floats. Either option only takes the removal of a couple of screws to make the change. This will probably not be a traditional build log but more of an occasional progress report. I hope that it won't take another five years to completion, though.

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Apr 24, 2015, 02:41 PM
I eat glue
Yahoo! I've got this plan blown up to 1/6 scale for a 96" span. Another someday build.
Apr 24, 2015, 02:43 PM
parkcityskier's Avatar
These will show the color scheme that I will be using for the Dragon

Apr 24, 2015, 04:01 PM
There are some who call me....
campbelltf's Avatar
Such a distinctive plane. And on floats? Fahgetaboutit! I'll watch.
Apr 24, 2015, 04:22 PM
Wanted for breaking Ohm's Law
Dennis Sumner's Avatar

The Dragon Rapide on floats will reall look great! Just the Dragon Rapide is a cool design but on floats with your color scheme....sure won't be confused for an ARF...

Latest blog entry: RC Throw Gauge
Apr 24, 2015, 05:08 PM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
Ivan put his Dragon Rapide on floats (there's a picture on his plans page) but he did say that it flew much better off wheels!

Great workmanship on the model Jim, those cowls look the biz.
Apr 24, 2015, 05:56 PM
parkcityskier's Avatar

I'm sure that the Rapide will indeed fly better without the floats and that's why I making the plane easily converted between land and water. I'm always ready for something new, though, and having something said about it can't be done only makes it more of a challenge for me. What's life without a challenge once in awhile?

Apr 24, 2015, 07:14 PM
ChrisS's Avatar
Though not the Rapide, I did build one of Ivan's Dragonfly' a year ago. Wonderful flyer and you can't believe how good they look in the sky. It never fails to get all kinds of attention whenever I take it to the field. It's one of those planes people stop flying to watch. This plane will likely become your masterpiece. Finish it up, we all want to see it.

Here's my build log:

May 03, 2015, 05:41 PM
parkcityskier's Avatar
I'm still working on the Dragon in my spare time. I do a little covering when I feel like doing that and then switch to other tasks. After thinking about it, I decided to build the top wing before I start on the fuselage. That way, I can do the fitting, fuselage to wing, rather than the other way around. I'm making a two piece wing to make transport and storage easier.

May 05, 2015, 09:54 AM
71% of the world is runway . .
Bart83's Avatar
here he goes again . . .

Nice work Jim , intresting subject.


May 05, 2015, 07:18 PM
Registered User
Ah, yes QCA - "The Accidental Airline". Despite what I'm about to tell you, QCA was not called "the Accidental Airline" because it was more accident prone than any other pioneering air service on this glorious coast, but because the airline came into being "by accident", picking up the odd passenger - in the days before regulations - while Jimmy Spilsbury, the "father of QCA", was delivering radio parts to distant fishing vessels, and doing on-the-spot service on the radio sets of his very own manufacture that were installed on those boats.

Jimmy saw the commercial potential in these hitchhikers and picked up a coupla DH89 immediately after WWII. Put them on floats. One day one of them had gone "up the coast" to pick up a coupla nurses returning from a distant logging camp to the throbbing metropolis of Vancouver. Vancouver-bound after having made the pick-up, the pilot was caught by the gathering dusk, and, as everything was VFR on this coast in those days, he dropped the aircraft in a remove inlet where there was what passed for a "hotel" in those days. There was also a quite active "First Nations" fishing community. One of the local lads came in from sea a tad short on fuel for the old Evinrude, so in the morning it was the DH89 that, unbeknownst to the pilot, was a tad short of fuel.

Lumbering along at 500 feet over some remote island covered with primeval forest the engines coughed and quit. The pilot realized that with his L/D there was NO WAY he could reach water, so he did what any sensible bush pilot would do: He brought the aircraft in sort of low and dead slow and aimed the fuselage right between two mighty cedar trees so the wings were wiped off the aircraft and the forward motion was stopped gently, sort of, as the fuse settled to the forest floor. Being obviously smarter than the average bear, our intrepid pilot wrenched the landing light off the tattered wing, got the battery outta the fuse, and set up to use the light as an Aldis lamp. Then he settled down to party with his nurses.

Coupla days later when somebody thot the aircraft shoulda been back in Vancouver's Coal Harbour but wasn't, a search aircraft went out to see what they could see. When our man heard the aircraft he took a break from the partying and managed to flash the search aircraft with his homemade Aldis. The search aircraft reported back to Vancouver, and a coupla days later a boat arrived at the island and took them all back to the metropolis. Such a wonderful rescue called for a continuation of the party at the old Hotel Cecil on Granville Street - drinks on the pilot.

The aircraft was left where it lay, but I dare say that the wreckage is gone these five and sixty years later. But for the fact that "the Cece" was torn down a dozen years ago the nurses and the pilot might still have been partying there.

Some other day I may tell you about "the Cece" :-)


May 08, 2015, 11:13 PM
parkcityskier's Avatar
Hey Sam, that was an interesting story. Thanks. I have a bit of the feeling for the type of flying that went on, and still does to a certain extent, in the far north so I can believe that the type of things that you describe weren't much off of the norm. I flew an old C-119 for about six months on a contract, all over Alaska, and there were a lot of stories. Great flying, though.

My rendition of the DH89 should be fun but I hope to have more success than the one that you described.

Thanks, Bart. The first half of the top wing is about done so I'll keep plugging away at the airplane until something better comes along--like a new Dornier.

May 09, 2015, 08:43 PM
It's a fine fiddly business.
Robert R's Avatar
Completely and totally subscribed. I love the Dragon Rapide
May 10, 2015, 02:11 PM
71% of the world is runway . .
Bart83's Avatar
Originally Posted by parkcityskier

Thanks, Bart. The first half of the top wing is about done so I'll keep plugging away at the airplane until something better comes along--like a new Dornier.

Funny you mention that . . . cant wait to get building on that one either. PLans are ready for printing . . . .



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