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Oct 24, 2017, 07:57 AM
Newbie with a Gee Bee
airgoon's Avatar

Gee Bee freaks unite!

Hi folks,

For me, the Gee Bee has a very important place in aviation history, it has almost cult status and has many fans.
I have loved this plane since I was a kid.
Incidentally I'm also responsible for modeling the Virtavia GeeBee for Flight Simulator FS9 and FSX, in case we have any FS freaks out there.

I just started rc flying a couple of months ago and was fortunate enough to snatch up the last two UMX Gee Bees at the local hobby store (one for learning and crashing, the other one for backup ).
True, the Gee Bee is not an easy plane to learn on but I enjoy the challenge and I couldn't pass the opportunity up because I have always loved the plane so much, and if you start to get it under control it is incredibly rewarding.
(You should have seen the look on the face of the guy in the store where I bought it when I told him I'm totally new to RC flying and this would be my very first rc plane... I've never seen anyone biting his tongue so hard ... HAHAHAHA...!!!)

I know, there is already a huge thread dedicated to the UMX Gee Bee but this one is more about the cult status of the Gee Bee and about those of us who don't take "discontinued" for an answer but keep the delightful "killer Bee" in the air as long as possible.
Even though Horizon Hobby has discontinued this plane, I'm absolutely certain that there are still a number of diehards out there who have one and love flying it.
I also thought it would be nice to share tips and tricks on how we keep our little Gee Bees from dying, how we keep maintaining and especially crash proofing this wonderful little plane to keep it from going the way of other discontinued models. The UMX Gee Bee deserves to live on!

And especially - if anyone is flying a Gee Bee other than the UMX version, PLEASE join in, it can only widen our horizon and that's always a good thing.

Let's hear it for the Gee Bee...!!!
Last edited by airgoon; Oct 24, 2017 at 09:53 PM.
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Oct 25, 2017, 10:02 PM
Newbie with a Gee Bee
airgoon's Avatar
I didn't have to wait very long to have to do some serious repair - on my very first flight I managed to rip a wing off after I lost control as I was trying to trim the plane in flight (remember I'm an absolute beginner...).
Fortunately all it takes to glue it back on is some ordinary white glue - smother the joint, let it dry and it holds beautifully.
Of course when the wing breaks off, so do the carbon rods which simulate the wing support wires.
Right from the start I began replacing them with very thin spring wire, again - glued in with lots of white glue and they are a lot tougher.

On a subsequent flight I attacked a weeping willow and not only broke off the other wing, but also bent it.
Not good.
So I tried to mend it somewhat by laminating both wings with packing tape - seemed to be a good idea to do on any wing right from the outset.
So I flew around with a bent wing and huge amount of counter - trim until the idea accurred to me to straighten the bent wing with a piece of wire, and that did the trick.
Oct 25, 2017, 10:20 PM
Newbie with a Gee Bee
airgoon's Avatar
My next accomplishment was to rip the landing gear off. That was an easy fix - just glue it back on with lots of white glue.
And replace the torn off carbon support wires with more steel wire...

Then came my first flight from a landable surface - no longer hand-launched and long-grass nose-over, this was the real deal.
Managed a landing without breaking anything, but the second landing was a little harder.
Even though the landing gear legs have plastic rods added to their sides at the thinnest part, once the spats break off, the rods are useless.
The spats are egg-shell-thin foam, that can't last, at least the way I'm flying.

So - smother the plastic support rods with white glue, and smear a thick layer of white glue all over the entire landing gear assembly, especially the spats.
Once they break, you see how incredibly thin the material is at that point
Putting a layer of white glue over everything helped to keep the landing gear from collapsing at the legs, but on my next flying day I broke the spats again on a medium hard landing.
That's when I decided it was time to bring out the heavy guns - run some thread soaked in white glue around the spats and finally - no more problems since then.
Even during MY landings...LOL

You may find that the plane is starting to look really ugly and you're right, but hey, this one is for learning to fly, so looks are not important at this point. and in the air, you won't see any of this, the plane looks as cool as ever even when it darts by only three feet away from your head... LOL
And it is starting to be bomb-proof too during all this.

But it's still getting worse - stay tuned...
Last edited by airgoon; Nov 07, 2017 at 06:52 AM.
Oct 25, 2017, 10:36 PM
Newbie with a Gee Bee
airgoon's Avatar
Then, one fine day at our local baseball diamond with the wonderfully landable hard sand surface, I decided to impress my friend who was watching with a turn around one of those high intensity light masts. Well, instead of flying around the mast, I flew the plane right into it.
Try that yourself - pick a six inches diameter mast about 30 feet away from you and try hitting it coming in sideways from your right - not a chance.
However if you're NOT trying to hit it it - you will, trust me.
At least for me it worked...

So, the nose was all crunched up, the motor was pushed in and there were some serious cracks in the cowling.
By now, I couldn't bend the nose back into its original shape - the removable battery cover is only held down by two of the four magnets by now (one broke off anyway during an earlier misadventure) and the lid doesn't fit that well anymore.
But it still holds and that's what counts.
Motor glued back in place, prop adapter replaced, cracks filled with white glue - and she flies again.

Stay tuned for more mayhem...

Oh yes, I also sent a request to the city to move the light post over by a couple of inches.
Last edited by airgoon; Oct 25, 2017 at 11:22 PM.
Oct 25, 2017, 11:12 PM
Newbie with a Gee Bee
airgoon's Avatar
The next episode was not nearly as spectacular as the previous ones but by now the foam around the nose was getting pretty soft.

Flew from a new location, a paved parking lot in a nice big park, did a landing so smooth that even a pro would have been proud of it.
Except at the end of the roll-out the plane got stuck underneath my car... oh well...

Then there was a tree that jumped into my flight path right out of nowhere.
After giving in to another urge to comply with gravity, the soft nose of the plane started to show some serious signs of disintegration, but I could still fly it, just about - so I did, I didn't want to go home quite yet.

Another smooth landing, a big pat on the back from myself, and of course one good turn deserves another.
Put in a fresh battery, took off again, lost control during the take-off run and crashed first into a parked car (nobody saw that...!) and then the usual co-operation with gravity, nose first of course.
That was it for the nose, I collected it from within a radius of about ten feet.
What happened?
The pushrod for the rudder was broken and I couldn't keep the plane straight on take-off...

Now this was a big repair,
I must have left a couple of pieces from the nose on the flying field, as I put it back together with lots of white glue, there were still some parts missing that left two holes, a small one on the left side and a big gaping one on the right side of the cowling.
What to do? Easy - just take some tissue, soak it with white glue, stuff it into the gap and let it dry.
Looks like new - almost. well, not quite - but at least it holds...

But what to do about the broken pushrod?
I don't have any spares and don't know how to remove it and fix those - so I moved the broken ends as close together as I could and dropped a fat glob of crazy glue on the ends so that they would be held together by the drop once it dries.
Then second that with a big fat glob of white glue and the rudder works again.

The motor mount was also mush by that time, so I built an interior skeleton from tongue depressors to which I then also attached the velcro pad for the battery.

And that did it - she flies again, waiting for more punishment.

By now the plane is almost indestructable - within reason that is.
And the backup Gee Bee I bought is still in the box, I'll fly that once I know what I'm doing, but for now I'm flying my Frankenplane Gee Bee. to get some more experience.

Funny enough - you still don't see any of the scars once the plane is in the air, it still looks stunning as it tears up the sky...

Well, I'm hoping this is the end of the repairs and the bad luck but I think I just heard a voice from somewhere saying something like "hold my beer..."
Last edited by airgoon; Nov 07, 2017 at 06:57 AM.
Oct 25, 2017, 11:13 PM
Newbie with a Gee Bee
airgoon's Avatar
So, that's it for me - how do you guys keep your Gee Bees flying with less and less available spare parts?
Oct 26, 2017, 07:01 PM
Or current resident
glewis's Avatar
Your poor GeeBee has taken a beating!
Mine is still going strong. Only damage was from a big staple that holds our fabric runway down. It was sticking up about 1/2" and, yep, caught the wheel spat on it. Ripped the leg off at the glue joint. Glued it back on and good as new. I love this plane, just wish it was a hair faster. Did all the mods in the big GeeBee thread and while it does perform better, it could still use a bit more. I don't want to repower it, I would rip the wings off!
Oct 28, 2017, 06:28 AM
Boogie_'s Avatar
Luv GeeBees.

Built three over the years, an E, Y & Z models.
All great flyers.
Oct 29, 2017, 04:38 AM
Registered User
Is that jet a Thud? What model is it?
Oct 30, 2017, 11:02 AM
Boogie_'s Avatar
Originally Posted by Herrsavage
Is that jet a Thud? What model is it?
Yep, F-105.

Scratch built, more info in my blog.
Nov 01, 2017, 01:32 PM
Registered User
My GeeBee is the Dynam version, and is a blast to fly. Quite gentle, and has good power and speed.
Nov 01, 2017, 02:16 PM
love to fly, hate to crash
John.G's Avatar
Love the Gee Bee and regret selling the UMX one I had. I have scratch/kit built a few from small foam ones to a monster 1/3 scale both the R1 and R2. They are a challenge to fly on the best of days but boy do they look good when in the air going fast on there side around the field. John
Nov 02, 2017, 07:35 PM
Registered User
I have a Herr Engineering Gee Bee R2 kit that I'm just starting on too. The original kit was for rubber band power free flight, but folks have converted these to elec, which is my plan, following a thread here on rcg. Nice little 25" wing span, and will be sticking a Lemon Rx with stability into it, to help it fly better. Pretty much a stick built umx gee bee.
Nov 07, 2017, 06:44 AM
Newbie with a Gee Bee
airgoon's Avatar
I have a Herr Engineering Gee Bee R2 kit that I'm just starting on too. The original kit was for rubber band power free flight, but folks have converted these to elec, which is my plan, following a thread here on rcg. Nice little 25" wing span, and will be sticking a Lemon Rx with stability into it, to help it fly better. Pretty much a stick built umx gee bee.
Can't wait to see it!
Feel free to post progress pictures of your build in this thread!
Nov 11, 2017, 08:40 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by airgoon
Can't wait to see it!
Feel free to post progress pictures of your build in this thread!
here is my progress so far. First half of the body gets built on the plans. Second half has to be built on the round first half, so I use a piece of Styrofoam for holding it in place.

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