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Jun 28, 2016, 06:02 AM
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computermonkey's Avatar
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Visit to Ballistic Aircraft Company


Before I get too far into this, I just wanted to let everyone know that I do not work for, have not received any money or receive any free goods and have never meet Leo Steck before this weekend. We have only talked over the phone.


I’ve never been around or have had any knowledge of the making of fiberglass parts for model aircraft, so I was fascinated at chance to watch this. Leo allowed me to watch the making of a LA1 belly pan.
I’m not going to go into great detail as most of you probably already know, but I never considered the time that goes into prepping the mold before even cutting and laying of the glass cloth. Then the time laying of the cloth, different layers and weights. Working the cloth with the resin. Don’t ask me what resin BAC is using. I do not know. BAC is keeping this a closely guarded secret. I can tell you it is epoxy resin. After the working the resin the mold halves go into the oven. After a little while out they come for the joining and then back into the oven.

Watching this gave me an appreciation for this craft that I cannot explain. I greatly enjoyed this opportunity.

Now getting to the fun stuff. Looking at the Brushfire and LA1. Looking into the fuselage, it’s clean, with no runs inside. Well balanced. The fuselage comes out of the mold primed in a white epoxy based primer. I could not find one pin hole in a visual inspection on both the LA1 and the Brushfire. Looking down the fuse from the front end the rudder appears straight. I'll get the weights soon.



I was able to compare these fuselages to a couple of other venders. One fuse the joints between the fuselage and top cover where about a sixth of an inch off. One vender the rudder was crocked. Pin holes were visible. Yet another had so many white spots (I believe were epoxy and micro balloons) on the inside which appear was trying to fix voids maybe. Plus this fuselage was already tail heavy.

How many molds does BAC have? A lot. From the old school Nut Cracker to the Elite. Leo took some time to show me an older Tipo mold to a BAC Curare, Super Curare and a Shrike mold. The BAC mold was over three times the thickness, heavy, and solid. I bet hundreds plus pulls can be made with these molds.

I had an opportunity to speak with Leo after he showed me around. He is very type A personality. I’m saying this in a very positive matter, and is great for us. I was able to see a belly pan. I looked it over inside and out. The pan had sharp edges, no pin holes, flat flashing where it meets the fuselage, strong and wasn’t warped. Leo strictly stated that it wasn’t for sale. It was an earlier pull used for testing. The center mold line had some minor voids. Very easy to fix. Leo said nothing leaves the shop unless it would be up to his standard of something he would purchase.

I was running out of time for work. Here are a few pictures. I’ll try to post more as I get time.

http://www.klasskotemo.com
http://www.klasskotemo.com/patternplane.html
Last edited by computermonkey; Jun 29, 2016 at 07:24 PM.
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Jun 28, 2016, 09:54 AM
JOE MOCERI
It was nice meeting you Ralph. I agree the fiberglass fuselages that Leo makes are top quality.

The two aircraft you received are 2 of my favorites, Well all ballistic aircraft my favorites. LOL I know I have a problem.....

I look forward to some updates as you build them.

Joe
Jun 28, 2016, 10:53 AM
Registered User
jhaywood's Avatar
EU1A!!!! I will buy the fuse and cut my own cores
Jun 28, 2016, 11:53 AM
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Last edited by jzanutto; Nov 06, 2016 at 11:04 AM.
Jun 28, 2016, 02:14 PM
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Last edited by jzanutto; Nov 06, 2016 at 11:04 AM.
Jun 28, 2016, 03:00 PM
KM6UBL
Vertigo II's Avatar
Wow, those fuselages are beautiful! I want a Brushfire, paired up with a NovaRossi R60F. That would be a dream machine.

I understand Ralph and Jan's comments. I used to do this work, and there is a lots that goes into it. It is one of those things that you have to see first hand to have a full appreciation. Having done business with Leo several times over the past couple of years, I am comfortable to say that you will get your money's worth in quality and value.

Robert
Jun 28, 2016, 03:07 PM
CPA #100
flyonenow's Avatar
Quote:
Wow, those fuselages are beautiful! I want a Brushfire, paired up with a NovaRossi R60F. That would be a dream machine.
+ 1 on all that you said.

Paul
Jun 29, 2016, 06:55 PM
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computermonkey's Avatar
Thread OP
Finally got some time to upload some more pictures.
Jun 29, 2016, 07:23 PM
Registered User
Hi Ralph,
Thanks for sharing! Great photos, the workmanship on the fuselages and cores looks first class. Did you get the information you need to work on your Elite?
-Will
Jun 29, 2016, 08:03 PM
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computermonkey's Avatar
Thread OP
Still working on it. Sent you an email with more information. By the way BAC has the molds for the Elite.
Jun 29, 2016, 09:38 PM
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oysifly's Avatar
Without seeing the process with my own eyes....I do get to come every night to see my Phoenix 8 fuse. And I can verify the workmanship that went into it. Quality finish for sure. Nice work Leo
Jun 29, 2016, 10:27 PM
Scott
Pylonracr's Avatar
Naaah, Leo is a Bum........

Tell him I said that.

Seriously, Leo is a real stand up guy. He will bend over backwards to make sure every customer is happy. In this day of nonexistent customer service, he is the exception to the rule. I will gladly pay more money to buy something from him knowing I will get service after the sale.

Scott
Jul 02, 2016, 04:16 PM
Registered User
Jetpainter's Avatar
I have never met Leo, but I have talked to him on the phone and he seems like a stand up guy. I was able to help relieve him of a garage full of car parts by sending a friend over there. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go with him and see his work. I have seen photos of his stuff and it looks great.

Doug
Jul 07, 2016, 11:17 AM
2019 NSRCA D2 VP
time907356's Avatar
Makes me wonder how this build would have gone on the EU1-A I'm finishing up now. Like most conventional glass kits, there was a lot of paint prep that could have been avoided.
I use monocote over paint; I wonder if I could have monocoted over the primer? -It looks just as shiny as my paint job!
Nice work...+2 on the Brushfire comment.
We need some build threads on these Ralph!!
Jul 07, 2016, 11:51 PM
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computermonkey's Avatar
Thread OP
Hopefully coming in the near future.


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