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Sep 19, 2008, 10:51 PM
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jimhorner's Avatar
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Jetco Navigator


I just finished up a JetCo Navigator built from decades old plans, and I thought I'd post a few shots and details here. I took a break from my Hall Bulldog https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=621105 to build the Navigator. I was trying to finish it up in time for a lake trip we were planning with some friends, but, unfortunately, it didn't get done in time for that. Oh well, it's still a lot of fun.

A little over a quarter of a century ago, I finally bought a kit of the Navigator that I'd been eyeing for years at the local hobby shop. I was about 16 at the time, and had no money for RC equipment. However, the plan was to fly it free-flight. I was living in Tennessee at the time, so there were lots of lakes and rivers available. My initial build all those years ago was powered by a COX TD 09 engine and was covered in silkspan and many, many coats of dope. The thing glistened! Unfortunately, it never flew successfully. I tried flying it several times, but each time it went into a zoom climb, the engine quit, and it nosed back down to earth. Never had much luck. My original model has been in my parents' attic in TN ever since.

Fast forward to now. I'm in my early 40's, and I've been doing the RC thing now for about 8 years. I've always had a fascination with Seaplanes, going back to the summer we had a full-size J-3 on floats which had been loaned to my Dad by the man he taught to fly. The lake trip we were planning recently caused me to get out my old Navigator plans and start balsa bashing.

The original plans called for a single-channel, escapement type of control driving only the rudder. I've modified things to have 4 channel control. The wing airfoil, outline, and rib-spacing are similar to the original design, but I did modify it a bit to add ailerons. In the original, the trailing edge is strip stock. My newer version has the trailing edge formed by 1/16" balsa sandwiching the ribs top and bottom. The Nacelle, too, has been modified from the original design to accept electric.

My version is powered by an E-flite 480 driving a Master Airscrew 9x7 three bladed prop. I use a 3S Thunderpower 2100 battery. I followed the plans to add plug-in wheels for land flying, and the tip floats are removable, being held in with permanent magnets. I've had a number of flights both from land and water over the past several days, and it flies beautifully. I have had some trouble with the tip floats coming out at times, so I may just glue them in.

It's been 26-27 years, but I finally have my RC water plane!

Jim
Last edited by jimhorner; Sep 20, 2008 at 12:43 AM.
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Sep 19, 2008, 11:02 PM
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Beautiful job, looks great on the water
Sep 19, 2008, 11:10 PM
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jimhorner's Avatar
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Originally Posted by jwhitacre
Beautiful job, looks great on the water
Thanks. I've always wanted a flying boat, and it's great to finally have one.
Sep 19, 2008, 11:34 PM
Registered User
I am getting ready to start a Herr Aqua-star and am planning to make it amphibious as well, how are the removeable LG setup on your ship?
Sep 20, 2008, 12:15 AM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
that's a pretty plane. nice work.
Sep 20, 2008, 12:51 AM
If it flies - I want one!
Petem's Avatar

Lovely job!


Nicely executed, Jim; you have really captured the atmosphere and style of the original with some sensible updates for the new century.
Thanks for the inspiration!
PeteM
Sep 20, 2008, 09:26 AM
Registered User
Thanks for the pics Once again congrats on a great looking bird
Sep 20, 2008, 07:30 PM
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r/cdawg's Avatar
Great job on the Navigator!

I remember buying one at a swap meet back in '74 or '75. I put an Enya .19 on it and it ended up pretty heavy. I was never able to get it to ROW so my dad would hand launch it off the dock. Few great as I remember and looked really cool in the air.

Have fun with it.

dawg
Sep 20, 2008, 07:36 PM
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planeman's Avatar
Should anyone want a copy of the JetCo Navigator plans in .PDF format just e-mail me at rcarswellsr@att.net and be sure to mention JetCo Navigator plans. I will send it back by return e-mail.

Planeman
Last edited by planeman; Feb 13, 2009 at 01:16 AM.
Sep 21, 2008, 12:07 AM
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jimhorner's Avatar
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Plans


I've attached my scan of the plans in both pdf and bmp format (zipped up). I don't think this violates the copyright because the Jetco company is long gone.

I'll also clean up the laser cut files and post them here. I used the laser cutter for the ribs, the nacelle pieces, and the tip floats. Look for those files in a few days. Since I had direct access to the laser cutter, I didn't bother with putting in tabs to hold the pieces to the main sheet. I'll be putting those tabs in so the files can be sent off to be laser cut.

Jim
Sep 21, 2008, 12:08 AM
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jimhorner's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r/cdawg
Great job on the Navigator!

I remember buying one at a swap meet back in '74 or '75. I put an Enya .19 on it and it ended up pretty heavy. I was never able to get it to ROW so my dad would hand launch it off the dock. Few great as I remember and looked really cool in the air.

Have fun with it.

dawg
Isn't electric power great? The E-flite 480 and Thunder power battery provide lots of umph for ROW takeoffs without the noise and mess of gas.

I'm having a ball with the plane.

Jim
Sep 22, 2008, 12:17 PM
Brighto?
Mike Denest's Avatar
I've admired this little airplane ever since I saw it in the AHC ad's way back when. I found a kit on Fleecebay and have it stashed for a future build, using electric power. Very nice job!
Sep 22, 2008, 04:37 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Hi Jim

Great looking airplane! I saw one at the WRAMS show this year- it's the prettiest pylon model I know of.

Are you talking about making a short kit of plans and laser cut parts available? Because if so- I'm in. I know that Uncle Willies has something-but I won't do business with him.

Thanks,

Sam
Oct 02, 2008, 05:00 PM
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jimhorner's Avatar
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DXF file


Quote:
Originally Posted by Megowcoupe
Hi Jim

Great looking airplane! I saw one at the WRAMS show this year- it's the prettiest pylon model I know of.

Are you talking about making a short kit of plans and laser cut parts available? Because if so- I'm in. I know that Uncle Willies has something-but I won't do business with him.

Thanks,

Sam
Hi Sam,

Thanks for the compliments.

No, I'm not going to be getting into the kit business right now. Also, even though JetCo is long gone, I wouldn't feel right trying to make any money off of someone else's design. However, I did post the plans earlier in this thread, and I've attached a zip'd up DXF file of all the laser cut parts I used to recreate the Navigator. You could send the DXF file to Alex at AK Models (http://ak-models.com/economylasercutservices.htm), and he could set you up with most of the parts. All of the fuselage pieces (keel, formers, etc.) and the tail pieces can be easily recreated. The hard parts for me were the ribs and ply pieces.

Anyway, if you do decide to build a Navigator for yourself, please let me know how it goes.

Jim
Last edited by jimhorner; Oct 02, 2008 at 05:32 PM.


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