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Dec 26, 2015, 05:59 PM
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Build Log

Shorts Sealand 480 Leslie Ward

I am interested in building Shorts aircraft as the companies last manufacturing base was in Northern Ireland before being bought by Bombardier.

Some time ago I purchased the plans from Ivan Pettigrew. This is only my second scratch build. My first was a Shorts Sunderland 2 years ago.

One of my friends has told me that the "stick" building technique is lacking in strength. Perhaps he is thinking of my flying abilities but I will try it out.
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Dec 27, 2015, 04:33 AM
ChrisS's Avatar
I built one of Ivan's Dragonflies a year or so ago. Another stick type build. Thing is, its so light, it just floats, you don't need it to be really strong. Flying planes like this is almost cheating, they pretty much land themselves. Any appreciable wind can be an issue, but aside from that, I'd think if you can fly a standard four channel plane, you'll have no issue with any of Ivan's planes.

My $.02

Dec 27, 2015, 03:18 PM
So I'M meant to be in control?
Colonel Blink's Avatar
Leslie - post your intention on the Ivan Pettigrew builders' thread:

You will find a wealth of info and support not only from the BIMBO (British Ivan Model Builders Organisation) but from worldwide fans and builders - and maybe even from Ivan Pettigrew himself......
Dec 30, 2015, 10:58 AM
Registered User
Chris I am quite impressed with the stick system. Thanks for your advice.

I will post what I have built to date later today.
Dec 30, 2015, 11:00 AM
Registered User
I will post to the thread as suggested,
Dec 30, 2015, 11:09 AM
Registered User
I have started with the fuselage and am using my steel topped table with magnets. This system has worked amazingly well with the fuselage sides which came together pretty rapidly.

As per some other blogs I used foam templates and a balsa rectangle as a jig to square the balsa sides as you will see from the attached photos I have now almost completed the stick part of the fuselage.
Dec 30, 2015, 12:51 PM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
Hi Leslie,

Looking good already - the thing about models like this is that they are designed to fly, not to survive a crash unscathed. Ergo they are lightweight and have amazing flight abilities. I've seen a dozen or so Sealands and they all look good and fly well.

I've added your build to the list on the BIMBO thread (thanks Colonel Blink for the puff) and we all look forward to hearing about your progress.

Dec 30, 2015, 12:57 PM
eye4wings's Avatar
Like Chris says the only downside of a lightly built model is that the world seems to be getting more windy. Everything else is plus. Scale flying speed, much less power used, cheaper...

A lot of flyers have got so used to their heavy models that they don't even notice that their models are having to fly far too fast for scale.

Have fun with your build!
Dec 30, 2015, 01:12 PM
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Trevorh's Avatar
Hello Leslie. Good to see another Sealand build underway. Mine is still going strong and has survived all the normal stresses of flying , landing and manhandling pretty well so don't pay too much attention to the worries of the flying brick brigade!

Hope to see you at a future BIMBO meeting - or maybe WetWings 2016?

Dec 30, 2015, 05:27 PM
I just want to go fly!
walter3rd's Avatar
Looks great.
Dec 30, 2015, 06:35 PM
71% of the world is runway . .
Bart83's Avatar
Great ! another Ivan build. I will be following this with great intrest. Im sure you will be very happy with how the model will fly. As mentioned earlier the lightweight model does not like wind but the fun it is when there is no wind makes up for that.
have an spirit of Ivan Empire flyingboat and only have a few days a year with no wind , even though i can't fly it as much as i would like it is my favorite flyingboat.

Have fun with the build.

Dec 31, 2015, 03:06 AM
eye4wings's Avatar
One of the problems with flying a light model in wind is the turbulence generated - particularly if flying in the lee of trees - this can be very effectively eliminated by using a 3-axis stabiliser. I have now used these on a number of my models and can heartily recommend them as a means of stopping the frequent sudden changes of flying attitude that give away the fact that the model is indeed a model and not a full-size aircraft at distance. Since we are trying to give the impression of the full-size in replicating scale flying speed by producing a light model I consider this 13 well spent.

A further advantage is that I only have to give input when I desire an attitude change so no longer have to watch the wings like a hawk in order to counter every turbulence-induced wing drop.... so I can relax more and just enjoy the sight of my own model in the air.

Of course the remaining problem is sheer wind speed. No use trying to fly if the model can't make headway!

Dec 31, 2015, 04:12 AM
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Trevorh's Avatar
I have an Eagle Tree Guardian in my Ivan Rapide, which is particularly susceptible to gusty air and I agree with Robin - as well as making the model more comfortable to fly in less than still air, it also looks so much better when it is not bouncing along on every little lump and bump.

However, I've never contemplated a stabiliser for the Sealand. To my embarrassment, I have already proved that it can fly perfectly well in winds strong enough to overturn the model when sitting on the water so I've no desire to widen the operating envelope any further. That said, the issue that day was really wind strength rather than turbulence so on a more tree-lined site, Robin's point might apply even to the flying boats. I have to say though that many Ivan models (including the Sealand and Comet, and especially the Chipmunk) handle turbulence better than some models of much higher wing loading.
Dec 31, 2015, 04:17 AM
71% of the world is runway . .
Bart83's Avatar
@ Robin , the turbulence is indeed what makes these models a handfull. When i fly at the lake were there are no objects to disturb the wind my empire can handle quite some wind.
On the other side when i go flying at my other flyinglocation were there are lots of trees surrounding the water even the slightest bit of wind causes turbulence which affects the models flying.

Dont mean to hijack the thread but i would like to show some video of both conditions. If the thead started does not like to see then here please mention it.

Kind regards,


Windy conditions at the open lake . .

Little wind but turbulence on the other location

Short S23 Empire Sunday morning in July (6 min 38 sec)
Jan 02, 2016, 09:14 AM
Registered User
Thanks you all for taking the time to send messages of advice and encouragement.

Bart I enjoyed watching your S23. I have a Shorts Sunderland which I have built too heavy. Consequently as Robin mentions in his post it cannot be flown scale and comes in to land like an express train. So different to the S23 landing.

Mike thanks for adding me to the BIMBO forum. I have always watched the BIMBO site with interest. Trevor,s build log first brought to my attention BIMBO and Ivan Pettigrews plans.


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