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Nov 18, 2005, 11:08 AM
Veni Vidi Volavi
Build Log

Aerodrome R/C SE5a 54" Build Thread

Greetings All

As the above title says I am going to try to document my build of Kurt's new 54" span SE5a. Since I have never done this before please bear with me as I am sure it will take some time to work out the details.

The kit is typical of Kurt's offerings. This is the 4th of his designs that I have prototyped built for him (Mr Mulligan, 40" Pfalz DIIIa and the recent Stearman, I mean PT Military Trainer!!). The kit comes with plans, laser cut parts for the wing ribs, aileron parts, tips, fuselage sides and formers, tail parts etc. You must supply spar and stringer stock, sheeting, music wire for the cabanes and LG etc.

The deisgn is setup for either an AXI type outrunner or a Endoplasma type inrunner on the Olympus belt drive. The kit contains mounting options for either type.

My plane will use an AXI 2826-12 outrunner and either a 3S or 4S lipo pack depending on what prop I use, amp draw etc.

So here we go and let me know what you think.
Last edited by Brian Allen; May 03, 2006 at 10:03 AM.
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Nov 18, 2005, 11:14 AM
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I usually like to start with the tail as it is usually the easiest part and it gets me going. The vetical and horizontal tails are built up from several laser cut parts to make the outer structure and some laser cut sticks to frame out the internal structure. Hinges are Radio South CA type hinges. Vertical fin and rudder are shown here.
Nov 18, 2005, 11:23 AM
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The horizontal stabilizer and elevators are built in a similar manner. Kurt wanted to have the design be as close to the real deal s possible in terms of rib spacing and control surface function as possible. The elevators are separate units (not joined by a dowel or music wire joiner) and are each setup for pull pull cables. The cables are run from there scale location and this requires some internal tubing guides in the stab to get the cables to enter and exit the stab in the proper location. Kurt accomplishes this by using 1/16" od K$S aluminum tubing and setting it in the stab structure from the center section of the stab and routing/bending it to the scale exit location. This is done top and bottom on both sides. This requires that about 6 of the stick internal pieces be build up from 3 laminations of 1/16" balsa (these parts are all laser cut) to provide a channel run along the leading edge of the stab on the top and bottom so the aluminum tube runds flush with the top and bottom surface. This actually sounds much more complicated that it really is. The laminated pieces have the middle piece that is 1/16" longer than the top and bottom pieces at the stab LE to provide the channel for the aluminum tubing. In any event a picture is worth a thousand words but unfortunately I do not have a picture of this yest as I have not yet installed the aluminum tubing cable guides. I have not been able to bend the tubing smoothly yet, I need to get some 1/32" diameter monofilamnet line to use as a bend support and as soon as I get some I will bend and install the tubing and get a shot. Photos of the stab/elevator so far follow.
Nov 18, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Next step is to start the fuselage. The basic construction is a light ply forward section with a 1/16" ply doubler and a stick built tail using 3/16" sq balsa sticks. Fairly easy condtruction. Remember when gluing up the lite ply/ply doublers to a) make sure all the parts are aligned properly and b) make a right and left side. The lite ply seems to have a better finish on one side so that should be chosen for the outer surface. The tail section of each side is framed up using sticks and four laser cut pieces of 3/16" balsa. These should be added after the sides are built and joined as the tail area has a fairly severe bend in two places and when I went to glue the sides to the fuselage bottom tail piece I had to make razor cuts in the tail pieces and sticks in order to get the sides to bend properly around the lower fuselage bottom piece. The photos show this however this is not the best way to do things. I have asked Kurt to place a note on the plans about this.

Fuselage assembly is easy, each side took about 30 minutes to build (while watching Modern Marvels on the History Channel). Make sure you have good, tight joints on the stick section as it is a bit whippy until it is all joined together and it is easy to break the glue joints (don't ask how I know).

Photos of the basic fuselage side construction follow
Nov 18, 2005, 11:38 AM
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The firewall is made up of a 1/8" lite ply piece with a 1/16" ply doubler. There are two firewall options in the kit as mentioned above, the one shown here is for the AXI outrunner type. If you are using the Olympus geardrive then you would use the appropritae parts which would be laminated in the same way. The landing gear mounts are each two pieces of 1/8" lite ply laminated together.

If you are using the AXI type firewall that before you assemble the fuselage the laser cut slots in the side of each fuselage side whould either have the drop out piece glued in or replaced with a piece of scrap 1/8" balsa glued and sanded smooth.

Photos of the firewall and landing gear mounts follow.
Nov 18, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Fuselage assembly is next. The firewall and formers F2 to F6 are glued to one side of the fuselage. Check the fit of the tabs into the appropriate fuselage slots as a couple were a bit too tight and had to be opened slightly in order to get a good fit. The firewall is square to the sides, no down or right thrust as this is taken care of by motor mounting plate. When the formers are glued to one side, add the other side and check carefully to insure that all is square and in alignment and glued side two on. When dry, I then epoxied the landing gears mounts in place.

On former F2, the hole in the former leaves a somewhat narrow strip of balsa at the bottom of the former. It is very easy to break this so I would recommend adding a piece of 1/16" x 1/8" basswood across the bottom of F2 to reinforce this. Also not a bad idea for F5 also. You will be reaching into the fuselage a lot as you continue and it is asy to snag and break these areas.

Photos of this portion of the fuselage construction follow.
Nov 18, 2005, 11:47 AM
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That is all the photos I have available as of now. I have a number more in the camera that I need to download,as I do I will post them. I have the fuselage mostly complete as of this point. Tail is joined and the turtledeck is stringered. Cabane and lower wing mounts are in. Battery tray is in and upper section of the fuselage front is sheeted. Getting ready to start on the wings!!

Brian Allen

Veni Vidi Volavi

I came I saw I flew
Nov 18, 2005, 12:16 PM
Registered User
Fell in love with the PT Trainer. Now your doing it to me again. Been waiting for this build. Build looks good so far.. Looks like I'll have to send an order to Kurt.
Nov 18, 2005, 08:25 PM
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Greetings all, I am back. I have downloaded the other photos from the camera.

The following photo shows a bottom view of the fuselage with the sides joined at the tail along with the top and bottom fuelage pieces. Since I glued the rear fuselage pieces in place when I built the sides it required some judicious saw cuts and wetting of the tail area to get it to form properly around the lower fuselage piece. When completed, I thought the rear fuselage was somewhat whippy so I added 3/16" sq balsa diagonals on the bottom and top.
Nov 18, 2005, 08:28 PM
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The front cowl is made from three laminations of 1/4" thick balsa. Each piece is mad up of two smaller pieces that are glued together. The three assembled pieces are then glued together to form a 3/4" thick piece. There are two sets of cowl pieces in the kit depending on whether you are using the outrunner or gearbox. Since I am using the AXI outrunner the following photo shows those pieces. The completed cowl will be glued to the front of the fuselage after the motor mounting plate and supports are glued in place.
Nov 18, 2005, 08:32 PM
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The next couple of shots show the rear fuselage formers, the uper keel piece and the stringers in place. Fairly straightforward. Kurt's plan calls for balsa stringers but since I can get rather hamhanded at times I replaced them with basswood stringers. The only thing to watch for is that the stringers lay straight from F6 to the tail. I had to recut a few of the stringer slots to get them to lay straight. This happens in just about every stringered design I have ever built.
Nov 18, 2005, 08:41 PM
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The AXI motor mount is made of two pieces of 1/16" ply that are laminated together. I ran into a smal problem here due to the C clip that holds the shaft in against the front bearing. The hole in the mount is sized for the shaft but the C clip prevents the mount and motor from laying flat against each other. I glued small pieces of scrap 1/16" play on the backside of the mount on the mounting holes and redrilled the holes. This then spaces the mount away from the face of the motor enough to clear the C clip. The other option would be to enlarge the shaft hole to about 3/8". I have advise Kurt of this.

The laminated cowl pieces required some trimming due to the balsa pieces that get glued to the firewall that the motor mount glues to. They have an angle shape on the top and bottom and the cowl pieces had to be notched to clear this area. Once done, the two balsa mount pieces are glued in place. They are clearly marked left side and right side and it is important you get the correct one in the correct space as this sets the down and right thrust. Once glued in place, the cowl is glued in and then the ply motor mount is added.

The following pictures detail this area
Last edited by Brian Allen; Jan 21, 2006 at 03:47 PM.
Nov 18, 2005, 08:49 PM
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Next area is construction of the cabane and lower wing wire carrythrough pieces. These are easy to do. They consist of a piece of 1/8 x 3/8 basswood with 2 1/8 sq pieces glued to it to form a channel. A piece of 1/8" od brass tubing is epoxied into the channel and the whole thing is topped by another piece of 1/8 x 3/8 bass. There are 4 of these boxes made up, 2 for the cabanes and 2 for the lower wing wire. Once these pieces are dry they are epoxied into the forward fuselage in the notches provided in the sides. I also added some small pieces of triangle stock at each side to brace these pieces in better.

The following pictures detail this area.
Last edited by Brian Allen; Jan 21, 2006 at 03:47 PM.
Nov 18, 2005, 08:52 PM
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The next 2 shots show the battery tray. I made this from a piece of 1/8 balsa 3" wide by 9" long. It is glued to formers F2,F3 and F4 and the forward cabane box and reinforced with some triangle stock on the top side.
Nov 18, 2005, 08:59 PM
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The front of the fuselage is sheeted using 1/16 balsa. It requires a piece about 3 3/4 " wide so I edge glued some pieces together. The sheeting needs to be done using two pieces per side. The first from the firewall to F5 and the second from F5 to F6. The reason for this is that there is a sharp contour break in the cockpit area that is impossible to do with one long sheet. It just will not lay right. So I sheeted the cockpit area using a separate piece of sheeting.

At this point you wuould also add some soft balsa blocks around the headrest area on the rear fuselage keel and sand it to shape. I purchased a package of photos from Bob Banka of an SE5a that is in a museum and it has no headrest. As a result I wil be removing the headrest area of the real keel and adding some additional balsa sheeting in this area to match the photos.

At this point the major ssembly work on the fuselage is complete and it will be set aside for a bit to concentrate on the wings.

The following pictures detail the above.
Last edited by Brian Allen; Feb 13, 2006 at 06:56 PM.

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