AERC F-4 Phantom Building and flying thread! - Page 10 - RC Groups
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Dec 08, 2002, 11:14 PM
Forgot how to fly
Mike Parsons's Avatar


Glad to see you unscathed!
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Dec 09, 2002, 11:57 PM
Registered User

ice ice baby

I feel your pain Phil, I'm in Charlotte.

Ok, I have never covered before and I need some pointers. I do understand how it works and I have been testing to get a little familiar with the stick and shrink. What I am worried about is which sections to do first. Obviously the tailerons can be done first...but I mean do I do the bottom of the plane first, then tail, then main fuse or what? Should I worry where seams are? The tail section just seems tricky

I am doing a simple yellow on bottom, black on top scheme if that makes any difference how I should start.

Dec 10, 2002, 08:09 PM
drbird's Avatar
Well covering is purely a matter of personal choice - for this plane I would do the tail first, then the bottom, and then the rest. That way when you go to overlap the top over the bottom you can just set the plane down and cut a nice straight line. I'm still a fan of just painting the wings but to each his own. Of cousre you are asking one of the worst coverers of all times! I can seem to get the covering to go on without wrinkles to save my life!

Dec 10, 2002, 10:24 PM
Dale Lindsay
Would sheeting the fuse and tail add too much weight? I would like to achieve that "sheet metal" appearence. Do the ribs/spars show through the fuse when you cover it? It might have the neat "Stearman" look going with monokote only
Dec 10, 2002, 10:46 PM
drbird's Avatar
You know thats a very close call. I think the EDF-50's have tremendous power for this plane but again not having done it I can't really give the ok. My only suggestions would be to weigh out all the balsa sheets you plan to use and then do the math from there. I don't want to say either way and I would hate to see you get it done and then it be too heavy. Whether or not the rib spars show through really depends on how tight the covering is and the color you use. I used a greyish/silver and had the covering extrememly tight. As you can see by the picture on the website there are a couple of places where the spars are visible but I think with a color like black or white you may have better luck. One option would be to add small balsa sheet "extenders" from the edges of the spars. This would give you a continous look and elimate the possibility of any showing through. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this subject.

Dec 10, 2002, 11:01 PM
Dale Lindsay
Thanks for the input. I'm by far "expert" when it comes to covering. If I go with this plane and opt'd to cover it with sheeting, it would be the thinnest balsa I could find.

The idea of the sheet extenders is a good idea too.

It's probably listed in this thread, but what's the AUW of the plane again?
Dec 10, 2002, 11:13 PM
drbird's Avatar
Originally posted by drbird
Well I hate to place a number on the weight and speed because they vary so much with equipment used. The AERC prototype came out to a little over 14 oz. and we tried to add some weight just to make sure flying capabilities were same for heavier models.

Again I would say that if you come out to be in the mid to low double digits in oz. (ie. 10 - 15) you should be perfect. If you come out lighter more power to you. If you come out slightly heavier I still think you'll be fine as long as it's not excessive.

Dec 11, 2002, 01:47 PM
Forgot how to fly
Mike Parsons's Avatar


Ok...maybe I am a little slow..but I am confused. Can someone go through the installation of the Ducts with me? Keep it simple, as in "there are dotted lines on the sheet" Are those to be matched up when glued? And what is the best way to secure those in? How about using a glue stick and rub it on the inside of the balsa formers to secure the ducting? Take a look at the picture as I have layed them out in the order that I think they this correct? Also take a look at the second picture. As you can probably tell, the fan Former is leaning about 4-5 mm towards the front. I thought it had setup enough and when I came in the next morning...I discovered that it hadnt and the weight of the fans had slowly pulled it forward. Is this going to be enough of a lean that I need to fix or do you think because of the ducting it will be ok? If I need to fix it, what will release CA?
Last edited by atlantae; Dec 11, 2002 at 04:12 PM.
Dec 11, 2002, 01:47 PM
Forgot how to fly
Mike Parsons's Avatar

The leaning tower

Here is the other
Dec 11, 2002, 04:57 PM
Registered User
pval3's Avatar


Hey folks,
there were two questions that I would like to add my input too:

Ducts first;
I found that the dotted lines on the duct work get you to the point where the duct is fit perfectly...except for the center duct on the inlet side, extend the ends of the duct so you have room to work. You can cut them down after they are glued into place.
I used simple glue stick to adhere the material together so I could get it in place. Glue stick has about a 10 minute window to get it right before it tears when you try to take it apart. Trial fit everything then tunnel the center duct first then add the outer duct on the front so the seam goes with the flow of air, not against it...

The rear duct is the easiest to work with so get the hang of the duct work from there. This was the only tedious part of the process . . other than watching you tail on the tail assy....nuf said!

After running the motors up and playing with it, I am of the firm belief that the ONLY material to use with these fans is the LASER compatible transparency material. Go to your local office supply store, copy the ducting onto the sheet and go to town... there are three reasons I suggest this:
1) the ducting is increadibly smooth
2) the material is FAR easier to work with than that paper - even the 24# stuff
3) The duct does not change when the motors start running, my paper ducts flex under the vaccum like crazy when I punch the fans to full thrust! I glued them down well and even secured them to the fan units and they still flex, the HP transparency film does not!.


I used Hobby Lobby Litespan in black to cover my model.
I like the litespan for two reasons, it is the lightest thing out there and it does not stick to itself as you try to work with it putting it on the plane like the light weight film does!

I covered the wings, it worked great until I got overzealous with the sealing gun and started to melt the foam on one of the tips.... you can get the stuff tight - just take your time!

The fuselage was tough because it has many compound curves and few places to adhere the covering.

I added a few 1/32 X 1/16 stringers where I thought I would need it to ge the form right . . like on the front of F2 where the ducts meet the front of the fuselage and on the back at F5 (I think) where the exhaust comes out and the tail begins. I made a triangle of "tack points" with the need someplace to connect to for this part of the model. You could get regualr covering to stick . . but I am using lite span and I like it to stay where I put it . . mainly cosmetic though with minimal weight gain.

I split the fuselage into front side and botttom then did one sheet on each side from front to back. These two sheets went clear from nose to tail, draping over the ducts and coming to the stringer where the wing connects.

The bottom is covered in one sheet too from the intakes back to the exhausts with overhang on the wings by 2" to add to the strength of the wing assy..

The peach is shrinking the sheet over the fans, it leaves a lot of heat gun and iron work but should look best when finished.

Hope that answers some of the questions.
Dec 11, 2002, 05:01 PM
Registered User
pval3's Avatar

All Dressed Up with no place to go!

Awaiting a break in the weather for the video . . rained all day today and too windy yesterday . .

Mother Nature is a )(*&^%$$^%$&(*^

I have no phone lines yet but have power, finishing items done and ready to go .

Pray for a break in the weather all!

Dec 12, 2002, 07:07 PM
drbird's Avatar

Check Your CG!

Ok a few builders have e-mailed with questions regarding the CG on the F-4. The F-4 has a very "hair-trigger" CG - meaning that like most planes there is one and only one place for the CG given a certain equipment setup. For future kits we are removing the suggested location of equipment for this express reason. There are just to many different setups to try and accurtely guess any one persons CG. I would strongly recommend going to this site:

Use this site to get the correct CG for any and all kits you build and you can't go wrong. You can also use the most common method which is balancing the plane in the center of the wings by moving equip. around. Most of the e-mails w have received have been in regards to the plane being tail heavy. If you use a small battery pack and heavier radio gear this will do it everytime. In other words the CG is correct for most planes on the plans but more often then not the radio equipmet is not, don't just assume the plans for the CG are fool proof on any kit! If anyone has any questions please feel free to e-mail me:

Dec 12, 2002, 08:21 PM
I fly Army UAVs!
Kwesdog's Avatar
I did the exact same thing you did foam. I let it sit without bracing the former and when I returned later it was tilted forward as your is.

All I did was carefully break the former loose again from the sticks and do it the correct way.

I dont know how much glue you used and if it will be possible for you but on mine the sticks didnt break and you cant tell I ever had a problem.

I would think that if you left it the way you have it now you would lose some thrust because the airflow from the fan will be pointing towards the duct and deflect some air off the top of it.

Dec 12, 2002, 08:25 PM
drbird's Avatar
You can use a CA debonder - I'm sure Hobby Lobby has it - I know Tower does - however I have never actually bought a debonder that actually debonded - maybe someone else has had luck with a certain brand??

Dec 12, 2002, 09:34 PM
Forgot how to fly
Mike Parsons's Avatar


Thanks Kwesdog and Dbird. I am going to attempt it as is. I used a very good CA as I dont waste money in that department. A little of this CA goes a LOOONNNNGGG way and I too have never seen a debonder that actually holds up to its name. I measured the lean and it turned out to be 5.5 MM. I will be the beta tester to see if this actually causes a problem with thrust. I have already installed the rear ducting (what a Pain installing the ducting is!!) so it is too late to turn back now. Here is a questions though. Is it me or does the balsa on the elevons seem that they would snap under pressure? I understand that when they are covered, that will lend some strength to it, but I was thinking of a couple of pieces of packing tape? What do you think?

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