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Sep 22, 2010, 02:04 AM
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LukeZ's Avatar
And nice to have you back! Sounds like you have lots of irons in the fire, what's one more?

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Sep 23, 2010, 05:33 AM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar

Ivan's Shoestring

Ivan sent me a copy of the Shoestring 58” plan about 18 months ago. It’s an almost scale (very semi-scale) model of a famous pylon racer from the ‘50s and is built in the now familiar Ivan minimalist style.

Ever since I started modelling, my flying skills have taken a back seat: I much prefer research, design and building. At least, this has been my story up until this year. At Chilliwack, Ivan was good enough to let me fly his much-repaired Shoestring (and I added to the scars, I’m ashamed to say), but he also took the time to give me some coaching in the more basic manoeuvres and by the end of the afternoon I was looping and rolling and landing on the middle of the patch, at least some of the time.

For some months Trevor had been telling me that I needed a model to fly with, rather than admire in the air at a distance, and that it needed to be one without too much investment: one that could be repaired after the inevitable accidents without worrying that it was no longer perfect. The Shoestring fitted the bill.

I built it pretty well off the plan, making only a few changes to simplify construction. I gave the ribs a flat aft underside profile so the wing could be built flat on the board (a half at a time, propping up the built half while the other one was built, thus making the top of the wing level) and made the main spar straight (it has a slight sweepback on the plan) but that’s about it. The covering is Solarfilm. It’s the first time I’ve used this material since the ‘80s and it seems lighter and easier to use than I remembered, but it looks fine. The excellent graphics are by Tim (35mHz), one of our Club-members. When flying his, I found Ivan’s Shoestring needed some downthrust, so mine has 2 degrees down and side, which has proved to be about right, and I strongly recommend building some in.

I still have not sourced a decent canopy, but the search goes on! (Afternote - Sarik Vacforms made a beautiful canopy for her which you can see later in the thread).

It’s powered by 3 cells and a 3530-1100 motor from 4-Max with a 11x5.5 prop. This is more than enough power for me at the moment, and gives a couple of vertical rolls before running out of puff. The next motor up is a 3536-1000, which gives 400 watts, 50 more than the 3530, and could take 4 cells. It has the same fittings, so might be a sensible upgrade for a flier needing more power.

Flying weight is typically Ivan: just 1024 grams (2 lb 4 oz) with a 2200 mAh 3-cell battery and 1160 grams (2 lb 9 oz) with a 3700 mAh 3-cell.

How does she fly? Once trimmed and with some time on the sticks, she is by far the most responsive model I’ve built and easily the most rewarding to fly (notice she’s a “she”, not an “it” now!) and makes me feel confident in trying our the various scale-like manoeuvres that I’ve admired in others’ models. They are not very smooth yet, but it's early days.

She also is one lucky plane! While taxiing back along the strip the other day, I gave her too much throttle and she leaped into the air. The subsequent bump merely dislodged the motor mount bulkhead, which epoxied back in a few minutes. But last Monday, on a misty day, she flew into a low cloud and completely disappeared! I put the controls at neutral and left the throttle where it was, and tried to track her by sound, but was really having no luck. After what seemed like 15 minutes, and can’t have been less than 15 seconds, she appeared serenely out of the cloud, straight and level, as if it was all part of the fun. Wow!

Anyone who would like a quick-build, low cost, lots of fun flying machine need look no further. Thanks Ivan!

The canopy was eventually supplied by Sarik Vacforms who gave an excellent and very reasonably-priced service. I have one canopy spare for whoever is first to offer a donation for it (4 Oct 2010) and of course I have the master should anyone else want one.
Last edited by Sopwith Mike; Oct 04, 2010 at 01:45 PM. Reason: canopy update
Sep 23, 2010, 08:09 AM
What could possibly go wrong?
nickchud's Avatar
Well done Mike!

She's a beauty. I really enjoyed your report and now you've inspired me to get my Shoestring plans out.

I read your article in the BMFA news about smuggling aeroplanes in your cabin luggage. Another good one. What a shame we broke your Canadair with a tentpole at Naseby. Everyone deserves a bit of luck sometimes!.


Sep 23, 2010, 08:37 AM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
Thanks Nick - the Canadair was flying pefectly on Monday, all the better for being reassembled in the correct configuration!
Sep 23, 2010, 01:28 PM
Registered User
LukeZ's Avatar
I love this group! Where else would someone think to themselves - "Hmm, self, I need an old beater to fly, one that doesn't take much investment to build, and is easy to repair..." And then choose for the model a quarter scale, scratch-built wood job from some obscure designer in Canada? You guys are a dying breed! Whereas the fellows I fly with have started squabbling about which foam models aren't worth the effort to "build"...

But she looks beautiful, and has great lines in the air as I know from watching Ivan's. After a few hours on this thing you'll be the smoothest pilot around. The canopies on these things are always the rub though, eh?

Tim, thanks for posting those graphics. I put a link to them at the beginning of this thread in the "Build Thread" section. Not quite a build thread but it still deserves pointing to!

Sep 23, 2010, 01:54 PM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
Yeah, "no investment" is a relative term...and no foam model is worth the effort!

I've got in touch with Sarik Vacform near Bristol (he does the work for some of the magazines, I'm told) and have sent off the canopy buck to him. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Sep 23, 2010, 02:14 PM
Registered User
pentaxman's Avatar

She looks great and I am so pleased for you that you are having some flying time and a bit of luck with her.
Keep her going and out of the trees.

Funny that the tent pole incident keeps being mentioned, so embarrasing.
Any chance we could forget it?
Sep 23, 2010, 02:31 PM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
No problem. What tent pole? What tree?
Sep 23, 2010, 04:18 PM
build like there is no 2moz
wallis_100's Avatar
Hi Guys...
Good to see the friendly banter is still going on
I too saw the BMFA article, i wonder if you will get any replies....

Mike, it certainly looks a nice model to fly, and i unfortunately must admit to having 'BUILT' one of those horrible foam things myself (Parkzone F4F... but only for windy (15knots+ ) flying)

I most look forward to seeing the shoestring at naseby next time around (any maybe by then i'll have got round to one more of my IP planes)

Sep 23, 2010, 07:12 PM
What could possibly go wrong?
nickchud's Avatar
I think there are 2 hobbies here, building and flying. There's a lad of about 11 years at our club who's one of the best flyers I've seen, of any age. He's interested in my canards and scale models but he's surprised that anyone might want to spend more time building/repairing than flying.

So I showed him a foamy that I built from plans on a wet Sunday afternoon with 2 sheets of 6mm Depron. It's a Stuntcat that you can find on Youtube by a guy who calls himself ModelAirRC. He'd never seen it before and within about 2 minutes he was whizzing down the strip inverted at about 3ft off the ground. He said it was his favorite plane ever so just maybe he will get the plans and try to build one.

Didn't we all start by flying before we got interested in building? I started with a Zagi. Foamies are perhaps a way of getting people started, IMHO.

Sep 23, 2010, 10:45 PM
Registered User
LukeZ's Avatar
Hey, what's that tent pole incident you guys are always talking about? No fair keeping secrets around here...

I think I got in to un-building before I got into either building or flying... At least that's what Mom and Dad says, "Luke, you left a trail of destroyed appliances, binoculars, lawn-mowers and other valuables in your wake as a kid!" That's unfortunate for them, but paid off for me later... thankfully we have all reconciled since.

Of course I don't mean to disparage foam models at all. I don't think anyone would accuse me of being a slack builder but even so if you were at Chilliwack this last spring you would have seen me with a big foam monstrosity that I "built" one week before the event. And I have lots more where that one came from!

But I'm impressed with the attitude of those in the Ivan community - whatever other types of flying or building they may do on the side, to a man they have all shown on at least one occasion unequivocal and undaunted determination, self-confidence, optimism, and sometimes a high tolerance for pain. All personality traits that seem increasingly rare, at least around my town: which is why the company here is so enjoyable and refreshing to me. But I'm not judging anyone else!

Sep 24, 2010, 02:43 AM
What could possibly go wrong?
nickchud's Avatar
Tent pole?
Sep 24, 2010, 03:26 AM
Registered User
Trevorh's Avatar

Missing Chippie?

Ivan sent me home from Chilliwack with his Chipmunk plan, which is probably next in my build list. Just re-visiting the front page of this thread, I can find no trace of the thread-owner's model - nothing in the Hall of Fame, nothing in the build threads.

Come on Luke, Undue modesty has no place on that list of laudable personality traits you attribute to us

Trevor (still slaving over a hot iron with the T61)
Sep 24, 2010, 03:40 AM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
You'll find it next to my Auster - and I had to prod Luke to put his Chippie in the H of F!

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