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Apr 27, 2016, 09:29 PM
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Joker 53150's Avatar
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Build Log

1/4 Scale Pietenpol from RMC Plans


Over the past 6 months I've gotten interested in building BIG planes, to the point I gave my daughter my Grand Cherokee so I could justify buying a Ford Expedition just to haul the planes . I've got a pair of 1/4 scale Sig Cubs (1 standard wing and 1 clipped wing), both were purchased used and converted to gas.

So I've rescued and re-built them, but I've never built my own big plane. I was looking for a subject to build and was considering scaling up plans for a T-28 when I ran across the 1/4 scale Pietenpol plans on Outerzone. It's been in the back of my mind for quite a while to build one of these, and I figured it was an ideal subject to get my feet wet on a big build. I've done smaller planes from plans and built a number of kits, but this will be the largest build for me so far.

Plans were printed and enough balsa to do the tail was ordered. My wife is starting to get wise to me and has even started counting my planes, so I want this one to stay off the radar if possible! Balsa USA shipped quickly and I set off on the vertical surfaces first.

Construction is a little different than I've done in the past. Instead of simply butt-joining the balsa it's also got gussets on both sides of the joints. These are eventually sanded and become a structural detail that will be visible once it's covered. I really like that kind of detail in a kit. It takes longer to build and is heavier than it really needs to be to be air-worthy, but visually it all pays off.

So the pictures of the almost finished pieces LOOK a lot heavier than they really are. I used rib caps that are wider than scale which makes the ribs look super thick. If I were to do it again I'd probably just use the scale thinner pieces, but either should look good when covered. I also noticed that some of my gussets have the balsa running the wrong grain direction. Not a huge deal since these pieces are all super-strong and over-built as-is.

The tail is just about done, so another order was placed for the wood needed to do the fuselage. It should be a relatively quick part of the build because there is so much open framework. We'll see how that goes!

In the last picture of the horizontal stab you can see the sheet used in the center section is darker than the rest of the wood. This is some "classic" balsa my dad had, or it may be from when I was very young trying balsa (and failing). Either way, it's been in my possession for decades and I try to use a little bit of it with each balsa build I do, and it really only matters to me, and I just like knowing it's there.

More to come.
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Apr 27, 2016, 10:00 PM
team sleprock
whiskykid's Avatar
very nice building!

be watching!
Apr 27, 2016, 10:31 PM
Where's the lift?
dgliderguy's Avatar
Joker,

NICE project! I have the House of Balsa kit of this Gene Wallock design, waiting for its day on my building board. I will be watching your build log with intensity.

I've always loved Pietenpols. They have barnstormer appeal, without all those flying wires and rigging headaches of a big biplane. This one seems to be quite scale, too, so you could really get carried away with detailing if you want, and it would be worth the trouble.

Have you decided on an engine for it? I have a NIB Magnum 91 four-stroke for mine.
Apr 28, 2016, 05:33 AM
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Joker 53150's Avatar
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Thanks. It has a ton of scale potential, but I'm not planning to go overboard with it. I'm more interested in simplicity with this one while keeping just enough detail to keep me happy.

For power it's still a toss-up between a gasser or electric. I know I won't be going with nitro, that is the only certainty. For gas, something just under 20cc should work. One of my 1/4 scale Cubs flies great on 20CC and it's bigger/heavier then the Pietenpol should end up. Electric would be nice for convenience and clean flight, but big batteries = big dollars. Game time decision!
Apr 28, 2016, 05:37 AM
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Joker 53150's Avatar
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Oh, and a funny thing (to me) about the build article in the RCM you show... They talk about getting full sized plans from the EAA, but list the address as Hales Corners, Wisconsin. I grew up and currently live about 3 miles from their original home, before they moved it all to Oshkosh, WI. I forgot all about their old site which was a couple blocks from my elementary school.
Apr 28, 2016, 07:10 PM
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portablevcb's Avatar
Electric isn't that expensive anymore. Probably only need a 6s5000 pack (or two 3s5000).

My favorite airplane to fly on a lazy day is a 1/6 Pietenpol. Also have a 1/8 that has a .09 diesel and a 1/12 that has an .03 diesel. Next will build another 1/12 with electric and a 1/16 with electric. At some point I'll do a 1/4 scale and probably put my .90 diesel in it

charlie
Apr 28, 2016, 07:30 PM
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Joker 53150's Avatar
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I'm leaning hard towards gas right now. It just looks and sounds great to me as the plane cruises past.
Apr 28, 2016, 10:23 PM
Where's the lift?
dgliderguy's Avatar
I have a RCG15 in my 71" Tiger Moth. Nice engine, and it's not too heavy. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a small gasser.
Apr 29, 2016, 06:44 AM
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Joker 53150's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgliderguy
I have a RCG15 in my 71" Tiger Moth. Nice engine, and it's not too heavy. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a small gasser.
I've looked at that engine as well as some other options up to 20cc, although a 20 is over-kill for this plane. The smaller 15 should be able to hide fairly well under the cowl.
Apr 30, 2016, 12:47 PM
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Joker 53150's Avatar
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While waiting for the wood needed to build the fuselage, I was able to get a jump start by using some of the stock I had on-hand. Formers towards the front are all lite ply while the turtledeck formers are all balsa. The firewall area will be modified quite a bit from the plan, as the idea is to make a large flat surface that will allow me to get creative with whatever engine I end up with.

The tail is pretty much done now as well, except for the bracing which I still need to buy. The hinge detail is kind of interesting, as the plans call for a single wire to be put through all of the hinges in a line to create the pivot-point. I could do this with the brass cotter pins that came with these hinges or I could do like the plans show. Both would work, but I kind of like the look of the wire going between the surfaces - it's "mechanical" looking somehow to me.
Apr 30, 2016, 09:08 PM
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My order from Balsa USA showed up earlier than expected, so I was able to start on the fuselage this afternoon. Right side first, and then left side will be built on top of it. There are a few small modifications as I go along, plus I'm still confused by a bit of it, so we'll see how it all goes.
May 01, 2016, 05:48 AM
Bellanca Kruesair
epoxyearl's Avatar
I'm very interested in your build, since you're using mainly scale construction..

My building buddy and I built a 1/4 scale Pete, using the full scale plans from the EAA office in Hales Corners.
.When the construction was all done, it was too good to cover. We had built up the wing ribs from 1/8" spruce, exactly to scale.

Funny that you like to add a little 'old' stock to your models....We used Sitka spruce from the wing spar of a full scale Pietenpol, that had needed a spar replacement.

If you'd like to use a piece of it also, and you can saw it into strips, I'd be happy to send you a piece to use in your build.
PM your mailing address, and I'll donate a length.
Last edited by epoxyearl; May 01, 2016 at 05:57 AM.
May 01, 2016, 08:41 AM
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Joker 53150's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epoxyearl
I'm very interested in your build, since you're using mainly scale construction..

My building buddy and I built a 1/4 scale Pete, using the full scale plans from the EAA office in Hales Corners.
.When the construction was all done, it was too good to cover. We had built up the wing ribs from 1/8" spruce, exactly to scale.

Funny that you like to add a little 'old' stock to your models....We used Sitka spruce from the wing spar of a full scale Pietenpol, that had needed a spar replacement.

If you'd like to use a piece of it also, and you can saw it into strips, I'd be happy to send you a piece to use in your build.
PM your mailing address, and I'll donate a length.
Wow, that would be most cool of you to do that, PM sent! The size of that wood will be almost perfect, as the four cabane struts that hold the wing up at the fuselage are to be 1/4" x 3/4" dimension. I'll probably need to enlist my dad to use his bandsaw to cut the plank into strips, a task I'm sure he won't mind. Classic wood like that would at most get a clear-coat, but would otherwise be left natural - especially if I can keep any of the original patina. Or should I say "Pietina"?

I wish the EAA still had that office in Hales Corners. I checked the map and it would have been a whopping 2.3 mile drive from my house. I was there a few times as a kid, long before I could appreciate what I was seeing.
May 01, 2016, 10:08 AM
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My uncle Ron, who taught me to build as a kid in the early 1960's, built a 36" U-control version of the Pete. Powered by a McCoy Red Head 35 glow. It was scratch built from a blown up 3 view in a 1965 copy of Air Progress Homebuilt Aircraft. We had a family print shop and my father enlarged the plan for him, I still have the original magazine. It was always one of my favorites. Not very well known in those days, I guess he had never heard the name pronounced, so I grew up with his pronunciation - Pie - ten - pol, like in apple pie, instead of Pete. The drawing showed the original Ford Model A engine mostly exposed and he was a detai guy, so that's the way he built it right down to the radiator with screen wire and individual spark plugs from who knows what. He used a regular Clark Y flat bottom airfoil because that's what he used on all his scratch builds. Will enjoy watching your build Joker. Dave
May 01, 2016, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d wulff
Not very well known in those days, I guess he had never heard the name pronounced, so I grew up with his pronunciation - Pie - ten - pol, like in apple pie, instead of Pete.
Saying it is one thing, but I still have a problem SPELLING it!


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