Flying Styro P-51D Conversion - RC Groups
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Mar 16, 2005, 04:59 PM
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Aubard's Avatar

Flying Styro P-51D Conversion

If you came to this thread expecting to see a new Flying Styro P-51 model you are going to be disappointed. I know of no such model in the works. Sorry, I didn't mean to tease you.

This thread is concerned with the conversion of an old Flying Styro P-51D Free Flight kit to electric RC. And it may turn out to be a total failure. The plane is very small - 1:20 scale with a 550mm wingspan (i.e. 21.5 inches for us Americans). If it is going to fly it must be light.

Since there is a good chance of failure, I almost decided not to post this build/conversion thread. (I donít really like the idea of exposing my incompetence to the world.) But I know there is at least one other person out there who owns this kit and wants to try the conversion. So Donodo, this threadís for you. It may become an instruction manual describing what NOT to do.

If anyone out there has successfully converted this little beauty, I invite your wisdom and suggestions. This is my second attempt at converting the P-51 to RC. The first was a total failure, but Iím at it again. If you arenít interested in my personal odyssey with the FSK P-51D please skip the HISTORY section of this post and go straight to the SPECS.

Two years ago I was given the Flying Styro P-51D kit as a present. At the time I had very little building and flying experience (LiteStik and Tiger Moth). I built and learned to fly a LiteStik in the late summer of 2002 and later received a Tiger Moth for Christmas.

During the winter of 2003 I started work on the P-51 intending to make it a R/E/T ship since thatís all I knew. I equipped it with 2 GWS Pico servos, IPS S2 motor, R-4P receiver, ISC50 ESC, and 6-cell 280 mAh NiMH. I donít know the final weight, but it was too heavy for such a small plane.

The first ďflightĒ lasted all of 2 seconds Ė just long enough to leave my hand and spiral into the ground, breaking off a wing. To make a long story short, over the next few weeks I destroyed the plane in my attempts to get it to fly. I have always felt bad about that since it was a gift. So now I have decided to put my two years of building experience to the test and see if I can make this plane fly.

With the advances in lithium polymer batteries and the introduction of the Cirrus Micro Joule Airborne System, I may be able to build this plane light enough to fly.

The intended setup:
Motor: GWS LPS-B2C 6.2:1 gearing with 8x6 prop (12 grams)
Flight Pack: Cirrus Micro Joule (12 grams)
Battery: 2S E-Tech 250 Li-poly (14 grams)
Control: A/E/T

The planeís fuselage, wings and stabilizer weigh 27 grams. My goal is to keep the total weight below 90 grams (i.e. approx. 3 oz).

Any pictures I attach to this thread will be poor quality as my digital camera isnít the best. But I hope they will give an idea of what Iím trying to accomplish in the build.

So, here are the P-51 parts laid out and next to a Flying Styro Bf 109 for size reference.

Let the madness begin!
Last edited by Aubard; Mar 16, 2005 at 05:52 PM.
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Mar 16, 2005, 09:49 PM
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Hi Aubard, I'm really glad you are going to share with us your building of the Flying Styro P-51. The pictures are fine as it shows the size differences between the 1/13th scale Me-109 (29 1/2in wingspan) and the 1/20th scale P-51. I really looks small doesn't it.

Judging from your target weight of 3oz I"m sure it'll be a pretty good flying plane in no wind conditions. Where did you acquire your Me-109 and P-51? I got mine from in San Diego but ordered it over the Internet.

Please keep posting your build sequences as I know I'm going to have to reference it for both the Me-109 and P-51.
Mar 17, 2005, 07:01 PM
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Hi Donodo,

Yes I got my 109 and P-51 from too. I hope you are correct about the P-51's flying abilities.

My work on the plane is going slowly and the NCAA Basketball Tournament is making it very difficult to get anything done. I'm spending way too much time in front of the TV.

I did manage to get the horizontal stabilizer installed. Be prepared to do a bit of sanding to the fuselage opening in order to get the stabilizer to sit level. I cut the elevators out and hinged them with some leftover GWS hinge matterial. It is very light and works great. The elevator halves are held together with a small piece of .032 wire from a Du-Bro Micro Pushrod System.

Next up: Cutting and hinging the ailerons.

Here's two pictures of the stabilizer installed with the hinge matterial. And two shots of the completed elevator. I didn't notice any real weight increase, but the control horn and pushrod will no doubt add a bit of weight to the tail when they are installed.

Mar 17, 2005, 10:49 PM
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Hi Aubard,

I know what you mean watching the hoops action. I'm getting nothing done. At least you're pressing on with the P-51 build. Not sure if its the picture but on the bottom right makes the stabilizer and rudder appear miss-aligned to the fuselage. On the other 3 pictures it looks pretty straight. Its gotta be the camera.
Mar 18, 2005, 09:16 AM
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Yes, I noticed that the rudder seems a bit off. Mostly, it's the camera angle, but there is a slight bend in the rudder. I may have to cut it off, do some sanding/trimming and re-attach it to straighten things out. We'll see.

Thanks for noticing and bringing it to my attention anyway. Those are the kind of things that are easily overlooked. I'll need all the help I can get to make this thing fly.

Mar 18, 2005, 11:28 AM
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My first GWS Spitfire also had the tail slightly bent. The plane was pretty insistent in turning to the left. I fixed it by flying the plane into a power line. Instant cure, so I got a new one.
Mar 18, 2005, 12:35 PM
Now with more COWBELL!
U2Steve's Avatar
Lookin' sweet! Do you plan on pull-pull systems, as in your Rare Bear, or pushrods for the control surfaces?

PS-flying looks possible this weekend- enjoy yours, reports Monday!-ss
Mar 18, 2005, 05:57 PM
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Hey Steve,

Pushrod for the elevator and torque rods for the ailerons. Pull-pull system is just too much work for me. If I fly this weekend you'll get a report first thing Monday morning. - dcl


That's a good solution to the problem, except I don't think I want to try building another FSK P-51 kit. Twice is my limit.

I'll work on the ailerons this weekend if I can tear myself away from the Hoops action long enough.

Mar 19, 2005, 01:23 AM
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Some pretty good games so far. On the Flying Styro planes I think you're right, twice is enough for any of their planes.

The GWS planes are really easy for me to put together. The first 2 GWS Spitfires didn't last long. Numbers 3 and 4 are different marks and still look like new and they're over 7 months old. It amazes me how different they are in flight charactoristics. I clipped the wings and used direct drive on number 4 to make it a Mk IX while number 3 is the stock looking Mk II with a Himax 2025-4200 in a gearbox.
Mar 20, 2005, 01:43 PM
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Aileron setup:

First I cut the ailerons out of each wing tip. Then I used some silver Testors acrylic paint to cover the exposed white foam.

While the paint was drying I fashioned the torque rods. I used Du-Bro Micro pushrods and GWS servo arms for the control horns. The rod fits through the center of the servo arm then is bent up and through the inside hole of the arm. I then put a little 5-minute epoxy in the center of the arm and let it harden over night to secure the torque rod and control horn together. If you use a 3-hole servo arm this will leave you with two holes for adjusting the amount of movement you want out the aileron.

Pictures include the cut-out ailerons and the torque rod system. Sorry the quality isn't better.
Mar 20, 2005, 01:47 PM
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Here's the wing ready for the aileron torque rod to be installed. And after installation, the aileron with GWS hinge matterial ready to be hinged in place.
Mar 20, 2005, 05:22 PM
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And finally, the ailerons are hinged to the wing. By the way, I am using R/C Modellers Craft Glue (white glue) for the hinges, as well as most other applications in this model.

When the glue on the hinges dries I will connect the wing halves together with the supplied balsa spar (which also sets the correct dihedral). Quite a bit of trimming and sanding has already been done to make the wing roots fit flush with the fuselage sides.
Mar 22, 2005, 04:43 AM
Hang gliding rules!
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Looking good there Davis. This will be an interesting project to follow for sure!

Mar 22, 2005, 05:07 AM
Time wounds all heels.
Since you have the 2s MJ set you might also consider the EDP50xc with a 3x2 DD. That will make 60g of thrust @1.5A and give you less concern with torque induced rolls at launch. With a 3x3 it makes almost 90g of thrust but you would probably need 340's, 2.1A draw I think.

You might run a search on the Micro forum for Guillows conversions and Hobbico conversions. I have a 20.5" Fw190 about 90% done from the Hobbico FF kit so I am working at about the same size you are.

With MJ servos EDP50xc, and a whopping 700mAH LiPo, 93g. I am considering a lighter pack, but the duration on 700mAH might be fun. Hoping for about a .67:1 thrust to weight. At 3oz it should be longlasting fun, a set of 250's would get the weight down almost an ounce. Would have nearly a 1:1 thrust to weight ratio.

On a 3s set of 340's at a fighting weight of roughly 3oz, a Feigao 17g DD would provide almost 2.5oz thrust. Probably run 50MPH.
Last edited by watersharer; Mar 22, 2005 at 05:25 AM.
Mar 22, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Thanks so much for the input! Torque roll has been a big concern to me on this project. I also have a 2S E-Tech 450 that would handle the extra amps of DD with the 3x3 prop. It's a tad heavier, but the extra thrust would compensate I should think.

I will definitely consider switching to the EDP50xc with either the 3x2 or 3x3 prop. I just finished gluing the wing halves together last night (pictures will follow later) and the motor installation is next on the list. I need to make a decision soon.

That's a nice looking FW190 you got there, by the way. Keep me posted on your progress.


Thanks, as always, for the encouragement!


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