1/5 scale Tiger Moth Maiden Flight - Photos and Video! - RC Groups
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Sep 12, 2004, 11:48 AM
Props and Baby Food!
tdavis's Avatar

1/5 scale Tiger Moth Maiden Flight - Photos and Video!

After months of building and flight preparation, I finally got the chance to give my Tiger Moth it's maiden flight!
She is the Great Planes Tiger Moth ARF kit, powered by an O.S. 91 Surpass II four stroke engine. Swinging a 16x6 wood prop.
Take-off and landing was done with the recommended low-rate throws (which I think Great Planes hit the nail on the head with!).
Most of the flight was done at 1/4 throttle, moving up to half at times for loops and slow, scale, rolls!
This plane was an absolute joy to build, and even greater feeling of accomplishment to see it fly, and fly so well, on the very first time up!
I had one of the "club pros" take it up for me the first time, while I shot video.

More Photos and the Video can be found here:
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Sep 12, 2004, 08:16 PM
It looks real pretty. Flight was nice, too. Kind of motored along, about what I guess a real one might look like.

Nice job!

Sep 12, 2004, 08:24 PM
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Quacker's Avatar
Looking good! They fly great, don't they? I have one that I converted to electric. I also did some upgrades. If you want to hear about them, just ask.

Sep 12, 2004, 09:32 PM
Props and Baby Food!
tdavis's Avatar
Quacker, I was hoping you would tell me about them in the other thread I posted. So, now I'm asking! haha! Yes, I'd love to hear about your upgrades. (though you can't beat the sound of a 4-stroke for that added realism!)
Sep 12, 2004, 10:22 PM
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Ha-ha. No sweat about the 4-stroke noise. The TM is big enough to carry a good sized speaker. Make it sound like whatever you want! How about a round or two of "The Liberty Bell March?" (Monty Python theme). No, I didn't put a speaker in--only kidding.

I'm not going to talk you into electric, but for the interested, this thread would be worth it:


Here are some of the things that I did that might apply to us both:

Wheels. The wheels that GP ships are just too small. They just happend to be the largest that GP sells. True scale seems to be about 4". I wanted a bit more to insure good grass field performance. After hunting high and low for large wheels that looked reasonably good but were also light enough to satifsfy me, I settled on the DUBRO 1/4 scale CUB wheels measuring 4-1/4" I sanded and painted the hubs. No, I'm not a "scale nut" but I couldn't just leave the word "CUB" stamped on the hubs, could I?

I found the supplied landing gear to be a bit splayed out and allowed the wheels to land too far aft. This made ground handling a bit scary as I had that feeling that I was always about to nose over. I re-made the gear using 5/32" wire and set the wheels a good 2" or more forward of stock. It wasn't easy, but it looks and acts much better now.

GP says the top wing should have -2 degrees incidence. Mine came out much more (-) about 4.5 degrees. I kept throwing flat washers at the problem until I was satisfied. It flew without them, but it seems to fly better now--and slower. After all, now both wings are creating lift!

I substituted DUBRO "Pull-Pull" cable and black hardware for the stock flying wires. The DUBRO are much stronger and better looking. I also eliminated all the hardware from one end of the cable--opting instead for just a loop of cable, crimped in some copper tubing. That cleaned up the looks.

I put blind nuts everywhere I expected to be removing hardware. Good idea. I learned on RCU that if you do it right, the TM will come apart for transport, while leaving the flying wires untouched. I just pull the landing gear, cowl, prop and the 4 screws that hold the cabine struts at the body. Presto.

I just bought some paint to fix that black cowl. Like I said, I'm no scale nut but I defy anyone to come up with a picture of a full-size TM with a black cowl. Just a matter of taste. Oh yes, instead of screwing the cowl down, I used a Velcro-like system. This allows me to easily adjust and remove the cowl.

That's about it except for graphics and one more thing. I slapped in an FMA CoPilot to make it a more stable airborne video platform. (No videos yet). Wow, what a pussycat! I cranked in just enough to smooth out the bumps and is it ever sweet. I would now let anyone have the controls for a couple of turns. If you have not tried one, don't be embarrassed by thinking you will be looked at as a beginner. You'll love it!

Sep 12, 2004, 11:31 PM
Props and Baby Food!
tdavis's Avatar
Thanks for all the great info and photos! I am definitly going to be upgrading to the 4 inch wheels, heard lots of talk of the scale relationship, AND the ground handling with that upgrade. Also, velcro on the cowl sounds like a wonderful idea, I hadn't thought of that. After the maiden flight yesterday, and another two flights today, I've lost 2 screws out of the cowl.
I have an enclosed trailer that I carry my planes in, but it's not big enough to carry the assembled moth. 4-wide x 8-long x 4-tall. So I have to remove the wings as well. However, I don't pull the prop or cowl off. Just removing the cabane screws from the fuse, and the landing gear, it really isn't that difficult to guide the wings (with flying wires still attached) over the cowl and prop. I have to turn the prop this way and that way to do it, but it's much quicker than removing the prop/cowl.
I didn't install the windshields, because I built a stand to install the wings, where the fuse is upside-down, and the piece between the two cockpits rests on a padded rail. Then the tail is tied down with a padded material and bungee.
I know you probably don't have this problem as bad, but at take-off, with a full tank of gas, it is REALLY wanting to nose over. Of the 4 flights so far, it's done it twice! But I agree, that moving the landing gear forward (with the new 4" wheels) may help solve this problem.
Thanks again for the awesome photos! And I've looked too, and have yet to see a full scale with a black cowl! I've seen 98% yellow, and the rest unpainted aluminum.
What was your method for those custom decals on the fuse? They look really nice, clean and professional in the photos!
Last edited by tdavis; Sep 12, 2004 at 11:33 PM.
Sep 12, 2004, 11:44 PM
I really love the graphics on your airplane. Where did you get them?

Also, I did a quick internet search, and you're apparently right. I can't find a black cowled TM on any yellow airplane. I found a few that had the upper 2/3s painted black, and the cowl was too, but not like this model.

Little yellow on the cowl ought to really brighten it up.

Both of you have wonderful looking airplanes.

Sep 13, 2004, 12:22 AM
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First I found the right font on the net and downloaded it. The custom graphics were first layed out in Powerpoint at full scale and saved as a very high resolution bitmap--TIFF, I think, then opened in Paint Shop Pro for coloring and shadowing. Then they were printed in two parts on an Inkjet using a special film that has a sticky back and backing sheet. This stuff is avialable in specialty stores and online. I was lucky to get to use a newer inkjet with pigmented inks so they don't fade with sun and time. The finished prints were sprayed with several coats of Krylon. The place where the decals go is a compound curve, so leaving them as a big square sheet was not an option. Instead I used an Xacto to cut the lettering out very close to the letters, but still keeping them intact as a word. Finally, I applied them using first a soapy water spray on the surface so that they float and alignment was possible. The water was then blotted out and left to dry. The under-wing AMA numbers were made up by my local quicky sign company for cheap. Phew..! (But fun and a great result)!

If you're going for 4" wheels you might like these at Hobby Lobby:

HLFK1802 4" Smooth Wheels, Pr, ..... $ 25.90 Only drawback is the chrome hub.

Anyway, don't forget to do as the full-scale pilots do and keep backpressure on the stick while ground handling and especially during the first part of takeoff. That will save you some props. BTW, the nose is not that strong, so a prop strike could take off the firewall!


PS. The wheels in the photos are not the big ones. That came later and they look better as well.
Last edited by Quacker; Sep 13, 2004 at 12:29 AM.
Sep 13, 2004, 12:48 AM
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OK. One more thing that I have not gotten around to assembling and painting:

Nov 22, 2005, 08:41 PM
Registered User
I am currently building my moth just wanted to find out if you use a header pipe on the os 91fs. How much weight did you put to balance? I see you used a 16x6 prop, how's the performance? Thank you.
Nov 23, 2005, 06:08 PM

I built GP Moth about a year ago. I used header pipe and needed no weight to balance the plane. I'm using 13x8 prop (down from 14x8 that had too much torque and was too hard to land). Be sure you are comfortable flying with a rudder because of slow flying speed ailerons are ineffective on landings.

I'll be glade to answer any questions.

Nov 24, 2005, 12:54 AM
Registered User

Appreciate the reply. Anyways my gp moth is still in the box. I am still in the process of going thru threads to find out the best set-up, power combo. Have you seen the video on this page? Its awesome! I believe he used a os91fs with a 16x6. What do you think of that combo? I have read in other forums that some even put a 120 4stroke. I can't wait to get started on this plane, its my kind of flying slow and relax. Just finished a gp lancair with a os 91fs 13x8 prop. The plane is just too fast for me.

Thanks again
Nov 24, 2005, 07:10 AM

Moth being biplane creates much more drag than Lancair, therefore 91fs with 13x8 will make it fly much slower. You could even reduce the pitch speed to maybe 13x6. If you increase diameter, plane might be hard to land (reason why some people labeled it as a floater!). I would suggest to get several props in 91FS operating range and try then all until you find what works best for your flying style. 120 engine is overkill for the Moth in my opinion, especially since you want relaxing slow flight. Also consider fuel consumption. I dare to say that plane would probably do just fine even with 70fs!


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