Yellow Aircraft F-18 Twin! Again!
I've recently started on another of the big Yellow Aircraft Hornets and thought I'd chronicle the process here. With my associate's help, I'm putting this one together as a JetCat Titan powered TWIN. The kit will be built stock, save for some reinforcement of the two main bulkheads.
The current kit is in its 5th generation. It's gone from the two-piece-fuse polyester kit orignally designed for twin Byron fans (then to tractor fans), to the one-piece-fuse with the improved hatches and accessories. After that, the kit was reintroduced with even further improvements like longer wing-spars and an improved horizontal stab apparatus. In 2002, the kit was brought out again with the new epoxy-glass layup with the carbon reinforcement. At the time, that kind of composite layup was usually found only in the really pricey kits. Finally, the kit has recently been updated to a turbine kit.
Although people have been flying this plane on turbine power since the mid-90's, the kit has been marketed and sold as a ducted fan kit. That meant that the builder, if able, could modify it for turbine use. To help, we came out with a couple of turbine accessories (most notably for this kit was the single inlet). With the latest kit, it's been internally redesigned by Dr. Tse to accomodate one large turbine. The internals have been almost entirely reworked. This was due mostly to the demand for the upgrade (and the lack of customers interested in flying the plane on twin DF power), but also due in part to concerns raised after an in-flight disintegration of one of the models. In that case, it seemed the builder assumed that the DF kit to be suitable 'as-is', and did not make the necessary modifications/reinforcements for use with a 36-pound turbine. After some consideration, the company decided to recognize the fact that turbine flight was no longer the exclusive province of the highly skilled or highly experienced pilot--and no longer leave the builder to his own wiles to safely fly the airplane on turbine power.
The newest generation of this kit is pretty nice. Make no mistake--it's a KIT, not an ARF or ARC or anything like that. A first-time builder would probably find this project too daunting, but anyone who has built a few ducted fan or turbine kits from before the turn of the millenium would find this easy except, perhaps, for it's brute size.
The wings and tail feathers are still of the tried-and-true sheeted foam construction. Though more time-consuming to construct than all-composite wings, some builders find the peace of mind that comes with self-built wings worth it. These wings are presheeted with high-quality balsa. The wings are reinforced with a 6-ounce carbon cloth swatch sandwiched between the foam and the balsa. The same is true for the stabs and fins. The builder has to cut off and cap the flaps and ailerons. After glassing, these wings are incredibly strong.
More to follow, along with some pics. Share your ideas, tips and stories!
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