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May 06, 2016, 06:21 PM
Too old to rock-n-roll...
TooJung2Die's Avatar
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Build Log

Schoolgirl vintage biplane foamboard conversion


Greetings RCGroups!

When I was a boy RC was out of reach so I built and flew balsa wood free flight and control line airplanes. The Schoolgirl was a Top Flite balsa wood kit designed by Ken Willard in the 1960ís. I built it and put a Cox .049 Teedee motor in it. Without RC it became a ceiling ornament for many years and never flew. Fast forward 40+ years and Iím rediscovering RC airplanes and foam board construction. What a difference there is!

Iím on a little mission to recreate the airplanes of my youth using foam board and fly them RC. I found the original Schoolgirl balsa wood plans on Outerzone and converted them to foam board templates. I constructed it from Adams Readi-Board using techniques I learned by building, flying, crashing, and rebuilding several Flite Test Tiny Trainers.

I didnít know if the maiden flight was going to be ten seconds or ten minutes long. All I did was check the CG and throw it into the sky. Fortunately the Schoolgirl is a very good flier. I guess it had to be because the RC available back in the 1960ís was primitive and airplanes had to be able to fly well hands off before they could hope to be controlled by RC.

The foam board Schoolgirl inherited the stable flying characteristics of its balsa wood ancestor. It is a fun and relaxing airplane to fly. Iíve set the throttle so it climbs gradually and flown it around just by giving it a little rudder bump when needed. Having only 3 channels, rudder, elevator and throttle, it will perform some basic aerobatics like loops and hammerheads but donít expect anything 3D. This is fine with me as Iím still a newbie RC pilot. The Schoolgirl is my favorite warmup airplane before switching to flying four channels.

This is my first post on RCG so here she is. I hope you like it!

Jon

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Maiden flight video. Nothing remarkable except my amazement that it flew. Fast forward to 7:30 for some loops and a nice landing.

Schoolgirl vintage RC biplane foam board maiden flight (9 min 15 sec)


Outerzone original balsa plans:

http://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=816

Full size PDF plans:

Schoolgirl fuselage
Schoolgirl top wing
Schoolgirl low wing
Schoolgirl vert stab
Schoolgirl horiz stab

These plans should make sense if you've built a few airplanes from Flite Test plans.

Motor: DYS BE1806-2300KV
Prop: 6040
ESC: 15A
Battery: 3S 850mAh
Servo: 9 gram (2)


Schoolgirl Biplane #2 (1 min 42 sec)


Schoolgirl #2

Motor: 2212-2200KV
Prop: 8060
ESC: 30A
Battery: 2S 1300 mAh
Servo: 12 gram metal gear(2)
Last edited by TooJung2Die; Jun 11, 2019 at 05:52 AM. Reason: insert video
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May 06, 2016, 06:51 PM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
This is almost an Old timer.

It's a sweety nonetheless !

Go crazy and put those monster Mulitplex Wheel on it ! :-)
May 06, 2016, 09:23 PM
Registered User
P-51 fan's Avatar
Fantastic job Jon! This has always been one of my favorite designs, and you have certainly captured 50yrs. of modeling history with this build.

Bob
May 06, 2016, 09:39 PM
Registered User

foam board build


congrads on the model, I've done something similar with a plane called twinney, looks like a wood job , flies good now and has really held up for the season #2 I also have a don juan 60 size patter plane with retracts just about ready to maiden,
I like the foam planes, but the don't look as good as I hoped for, at least mine don't but then again I don't paint well and the planes are covered with doculam so painting is mandetory yours looks nice though
May 06, 2016, 11:50 PM
Too old to rock-n-roll...
TooJung2Die's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by birdofplay
This is almost an Old timer.

It's a sweety nonetheless !

Go crazy and put those monster Mulitplex Wheel on it ! :-)
Then I must be a certified Old Timer. The wheels are sections of broomstick and the tires are pipe insulation. I made them large because of the rocky dirt flying field I frequently use. The landing gear is a soldered wire frame because I rarely miss hitting a rock when it lands. Those Multiplex wheels look great but buying wheels would sort of go against the theme of spending nothing and scavenging everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slam555
I like the foam planes, but the don't look as good as I hoped for, at least mine don't but then again I don't paint well and the planes are covered with doculam so painting is mandetory yours looks nice though
I love the beauty of building with balsa but if it wasn't for inexpensive foam board construction I probably wouldn't have gotten back into this hobby or stayed. I've thrown so many crashed airplanes in the trash I lost count. I also never would have tried designing an airplane. A redesign only takes a couple of evenings to complete.

I think the secret to airplane decoration is go bold and don't sweat the details. It's only foam board! The best material for color I've found so far is the self-stick vinyl sheeting I got for free from a sign shop. That's what you see on the Schoolgirl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P-51 fan
Fantastic job Jon! This has always been one of my favorite designs, and you have certainly captured 50yrs. of modeling history with this build.
Thanks, Bob. I hope you are going to show off the fantastic job you did with your customized, enlarged version of the Schoolgirl. Don't be shy! It looks awesome and flies great too.

Jon
May 07, 2016, 12:15 AM
Registered User
P-51 fan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by slam555
congrads on the model, I've done something similar with a plane called twinney, looks like a wood job , flies good now and has really held up for the season #2 I also have a don juan 60 size patter plane with retracts just about ready to maiden,
I like the foam planes, but the don't look as good as I hoped for, at least mine don't but then again I don't paint well and the planes are covered with doculam so painting is mandetory yours looks nice though
When you cover your planes with doculam I assume you are applying it with an iron and heat gun? Keep in mind you can paint the adhesive side of doculam, then when it is put on it will look like glossy Monokote.

I did build Jon's version of the Schoolgirl with foamboard, I am a hardcore balsa guy but I jumped on this one and I am very happy with it. I couldn't leave well enough alone and enlarged it to 138% and then covered it with cellophane gift wrap. It turned out pretty nice and flies fantastic, it kind of turned out to be a little bit of a hot rod but after I learned to just let it fly it will settle right down and be the floater it was meant to be. Total cost in building materials was less than $6, I can't complain about that.

I added ailerons to the top wing and they work very well. Top wing span on mine is 45". On the maiden I made the dumbest mistake I could, I had the ailerons reversed even though I went through a preflight somehow I didn't catch it and smashed the nose. Best part, I just cut the whole nose off and made another one, flew it the next day lol.

Bob
May 07, 2016, 06:54 AM
Registered User
[QUOTE=P-51 fan;34709696]When you cover your planes with doculam I assume you are applying it with an iron and heat gun? Keep in mind you can paint the adhesive side of doculam, then when it is put on it will look like glossy Monokote.

what kind of paint I've used the ones made for plastic they don't work and I've gone back to latex, my problem wasn't the firs coat, but the trim colors the tape would peel the paint away, I could never get a good line
May 07, 2016, 08:53 AM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
Hitting Rocks Every landing ? !

You must live in Oregon where there is a lot of volcanic debris !

Thanks for reacquainting me with this pretty little old Willard design.
It ON MY LIST !
May 07, 2016, 10:11 PM
Registered User
P-51 fan's Avatar
[QUOTE=slam555;34710939]
Quote:
Originally Posted by P-51 fan
When you cover your planes with doculam I assume you are applying it with an iron and heat gun? Keep in mind you can paint the adhesive side of doculam, then when it is put on it will look like glossy Monokote.

what kind of paint I've used the ones made for plastic they don't work and I've gone back to latex, my problem wasn't the firs coat, but the trim colors the tape would peel the paint away, I could never get a good line
I have always used just cheap off the shelf spray paint, different brands etc., but I have never had a problem with tape pulling away the paint. I use blue painters tape, usually I stick it to my shirt or something to take away some of the stickiness.

The roll of doculam I have is years old, I don't even remember where I bought it. This makes me wonder if there are different grades or qualities out there but I just thought it all was the same thing.

I checked out your Twinney, cool looking little bi-plane.

Bob
May 07, 2016, 10:48 PM
Too old to rock-n-roll...
TooJung2Die's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by slam555
congrads on the model, I've done something similar with a plane called twinney, looks like a wood job...
I found your Twinney. Interesting build using DTFB instead of balsa for most of the airframe. Sure does look like a balsa wood build. Gotta love a bipe.

Jon
May 08, 2016, 08:26 AM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
I've DL'd your PDF's and found Vector in them.

Good job done in the CAD dept.

I'm adding Formers derived from your drawings as well as top and bottom sheet parts.

Since I will be building from Depron Foam I will add some thin ply
doublers across the Top wing saddle to hold the Dowels and well as another
across the bottom wing saddle and LG area.

Not sure if I'm going to make it a simple flat winged foamy or
do a UC foiled real slow version, or opt for a built up foil.

Probably flat on bottom and Optional on the top wing.

Pic shows where I am at as of this moment.
May 08, 2016, 09:26 AM
Too old to rock-n-roll...
TooJung2Die's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by birdofplay
I've DL'd your PDF's and found Vector in them.
Good job done in the CAD dept.
I'm adding Formers derived from your drawings as well as top and bottom sheet parts.
<snip>
Pic shows where I am at as of this moment.
Excellent work! Thank you!!
I expected anyone with building experience to use these templates as a starting point and add to it or modify as needed using knowledge and TLAR. I'm becoming familiar with Inkscape. Using the original balsa plans as a guide will give the modeler many building tips that translate to foam board as well. Mr. Willard really over engineered this baby IMHO.

For example, there are two cut lines at the tail of the fuselage because the original had a kick-up elevator only, no down motion of the control surface. I added the shorter cut line to allow for down motion of the elevator. Or, you could leave the fuselage the original length and notch it to allow for down motion.

I thought I would need bulkheads but the fuselage seemed strong enough without them. Adding a battery shelf in the nose and a servo shelf under the top wing was enough reinforcement. I added side doublers where the wings mount the same as in your drawing.

As you figured, the same template is used for the top and bottom of the fuselage, only the cut lines are different. I put cut lines in the drawings where I thought they should go but ended up cutting to fit the top and bottom, again using TLAR.

I decided against using a swappable power pod a-la Flite Test and used a fixed firewall instead. Power pods take up a lot of room and I have enough motors I don't need to swap. I used the motor down thrust for the Cox .020 motor shown in the original Willard plans and no right thrust angle. Seems about right.

I've only been scratch building airplanes from my own plans for a few months so every idea for improvement shared by experienced modelers like P-51 fan, slam555 and birdofplay is greatly appreciated.

The Schoolgirl is the only airplane I've flown multiple times without incident. It is a really docile airplane. The day will come when I will have to build another. Bet on it.

Jon
Last edited by TooJung2Die; May 08, 2016 at 09:39 AM.
May 08, 2016, 09:57 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by TooJung2Die
I found your Twinney. Interesting build using DTFB instead of balsa for most of the airframe. Sure does look like a balsa wood build. Gotta love a bipe.

Jon
twinney was the third trial for the foamboard construction, the first 2 sowed stress and wear after a few flights, the fuse sides and tail and fin are elmers board, and the rest is dollar tree, my bottom wing was damaged this spring and I replaced it with an armin style wing, my biggest problem with twinney was balance, it was so close, it flew great but had trouble landing, 4 washers fixed that, I like the foam construction for the ease of the build and the local supply, but I need to get it refined in order to really compete with the balsa models, the don juan is done and looks good, but has flaws due to how the foam works, I'l post some pics when I get it finished, it'll be my first with retracts should be interesting
May 08, 2016, 01:15 PM
Ken's CAD Models
dz1sfb's Avatar
This was one of my first RC planes.

Still a fave!
Ken
May 08, 2016, 06:27 PM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
Hey Lucy, Pleaz 'splain "twinney" I don get it, please ?


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