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  1. Yesterday
  2. From Holbrook Long Island, NY, Sal Calvagna will for the first time be competing at Top Gun with his Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar. Competing in the Pro-Am Sportsman class, Sal built his Ki-43 from Jerry Bates plans with laser-cut parts from LaserCutUSA.com. Sal’s 1/5-scale Japanese warbird has traditional balsa and plywood construction and is covered and finished with 3/4 oz., fiberglass cloth and Z-Poxy Finishing resin. The paint is a combination of Krylon spray paint and custom mixed Behr’s exterior Latex paint topped off with Krylon clear coat. All the markings are hand painted with the exception of the tail badges which are home-made water-slide decals. Sal’s Oscar is powered with a Zenoah G62 (turning a 22×10 Menz prop), with a custom-made exhaust system. Guidance comes from a Spektrum DX9 Radio using Hitec metal gear hi-torque servos. Sierra Giant Scale retractable landing gear are used and the entire airframe is detailed with panel lines, hatches and thousands of rivets. It took a little over seven months for Sal to complete the Oscar. The Oscar is painted in the markings of a Nakajima Ki-43-II Otsu Hayabusa, Burmese presentation aircraft from 1944 with the Burmese national emblem (Peacock) on the tail. The presentation cartouche on the rear fuselage translates to: “Asia Revival Burma No.1 tribute.” Sal made his own water slide decals for the tail markings on the Oscar. The post Road to Top Gun — Sal Calvagna’s Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  3. Last week
  4. Hailing from Saint James on Long Island NY, Lou Cetrangelo will be competing this year, (his ninth time), in the Pro-Am Sportsman class with his impressive Ziroli-designed Goodyear FG-1D Corsair. The FG-1D was a Chance Vought Corsair built under license by Goodyear, and Lou’s version has a monster of engine installed in the form of a 4-cylinder DLA 128. This 128cc powerplant sounds amazing while turning its 26×14 three-blade carbon-fiber prop. With its optional slanted spark plug configuration, it fits in the stock Ziroli cowling and provides gobs of power. It has twin ignition modules and two exhaust stacks. Lou cut slots in the elevator and stabilizer for scale hinging and used internal control horns for control. The tail gear is from Sierra Giant Scale, and Lou used the built-in sequencer feature of his Spektrum DX18 to operate the landing gear and gear doors. For increased scale detailing, added framework parts for the inside of the landing-gear doors using 3D printed parts from shapeways.com. Klass Kote epoxy paint and clear-coat was used for the finish, and the total weight of the Corsair is 40.5 pounds. It took just under a year to complete his Corsair. Lou has been building model airplanes 60 years, and flying his first RC plane about 35 years ago. The post Road to Top Gun — Lou Cetrangelo and his Goodyear FG-1D Corsair appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  5. Nearly all aerobatic maneuvers involve some segment(s) of inverted flight, so to keep progressing, you need to develop proficiency with inverted flight. To start, let’s do away with the often ... Continue reading ... Join our premium membership! The post Flight Technique: Secrets to Inverted Flight appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  6. RC Model Airplane Gas Engines

    OK, so you’ve installed your gasoline engine properly, and made sure that the fuel tank is properly installed and the fuel lines and fuel filter are all hooked up correctly, but you still can’t get any fire in the hole—the engine just won’t start. As a safety note here, we always recommend using a properly sized heavy duty starter like those from Sullivan Products. If however, you are starting your engine by hand, be sure to have a friend help and hold the tail of your airplane secure so the plane won’t move forward when the engine does fire up. What else can you do? 1. Well, the first thing is to check that the prop blade is positioned in relation to the magneto magnets or the electronic ignition’s triggering magnet as indicated in your engine’s operating manual. Sometimes a small adjustment in blade positioning will make all the difference. 2. I like to start my engines using my left hand and set the prop so that the blade is at 11 o’clock and I swing it to the 7 o’clock position. This directs the force downward instead of upward. The magneto fires the spark plug at about the 9:30. 3. If your engine starts, burns off the prime then quickly dies, this indicates a fuel draw issue. Check your fuel lines for any kinks, blockage or pin holes. 4. Also check your tank for proper internal setup. Sometimes, the fuel tank can be installed upside down, and won’t draw fuel properly. When you flip the prop with the choke closed, it should draw fuel. You can see it moving toward the carburetor in the fuel lines. 5. If the carburetor won’t draw any fuel, check to make sure the needle valves are open. 6. Also, make sure the carburetor is tightly fastened in place and that the small hole and passage feeding pulse pressure from the engine case to the carburetor isn’t blocked. 7. Check the fuel intake screen filter and make sure it is clean. This screen is located under the carburetor’s top cap (the one held in place with a single screw). If it’s dirty, carefully remove it and flush it with fresh gas until it is clean, or replace it. 8. Check that the engine head/cylinder case is tightly fastened to the engine case and that the gasket is undamaged. Even a small air leak here can prevent the engine from starting. 9. If there’s no spark, make sure the kill switch is in the correct (Run) position. With electronic ignitions, make sure the battery is fully charged and the wiring to the timing sensor is properly connected. 10. If your engine loses compression, check for a stuck or broken piston ring. If this happens suddenly during flight, don’t turn the engine over by hand, as this could score or gouge the sleeve. Carefully disassemble the engine and check for internal damage. If you don’t want to do it, send the engine in for inspection and repair. 11. To ensure proper operation of your gasoline engine, always use clean, well filtered fuel. Use a filter in your fuel supply container, as well as between your engine and fuel tank. If you use a T-fitting in the engine supply line for filling and defueling your model, place the filter between the carburetor and the T Fitting. Once set up properly and adjusted, gasoline engines are very user-friendly, start easily and provide excellent fuel economy. Once the carburetor is set, it won’t usually have to be adjusted for most if not all of the flying season. The post RC Model Airplane Gas Engines appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  7. It is hard to believe, but it is again that time of year where we put together the highlighted pilots and aircraft for our annual Road to Top Gun presentation. This year is the 30th annual Scale Invitational hosted by Frank Tiano at the Paradise Field in Lakeland FL. With that said, here is our first sneak peek. Coming back to Top Gun, Eduardo Esteves of Lakeland, FL, will be competing with his new F-16 Fighting Falcon. The 1/5-scale jet is from the BVM Plug and Play F-16 package and Eduardo will be piloting it in the Pro Jet class. His new F16 is finished in the Israeli color scheme, and is powered by a KingTech 210 turbine. Eduardo is using a Jeti DS24 radio system and has installed a Bavarian Cortex Pro 3-axis flight stabilization system. His 1/5-scale F-16 is 120 inches long and has a wingspan 80 inches. It weighs 46 empty (no fuel). The post Road to Top Gun — Eduardo Esteves and his F-16 Fighting Falcon appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  8. Earlier
  9. From Futaba: How easy is it to set up SBus Servos to operate with the 16SZ? Well, World Champion Pilot Chip Hyde can show you how to connect and operate the servos in less than three minutes! Visit FutabaRC.com See more posts about Futaba The post SBus Servo Assigning & Programming With the 16SZ [VIDEO] appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  10. From Hangar 9: A must-have for any RC pilot, the Ultra Stick™ sport plane is widely popular for its unmatched versatility and simplicity. The design makes it possible to choose from wide range of power systems, from electric to internal combustion, without compromising its rock solid handling or ability to perform a wide variety of tasks. The Hangar 9® Ultra Stick 10cc sport plane is simply a joy to fly. Like its big 30cc cousin, this compact version takes full advantage of any power system in its class and allows you to fly from one extreme to the other—fly crazy 3D flight one minute then hand the transmitter over to your buddy in the same flight who wants touch-n-go practice. Nothing compares with an Ultra Stick. Features: A tried and true Ultra Stick design with outstanding flight performance Expertly constructed with lightweight, laser-cut balsa and plywood Large, double-beveled control surfaces and steerable tail wheel Double-beveled flaps offer a wide range of control surface mixing options Painted aluminum landing gear with matching fiberglass wheel pants Large front hatch provides easy access and convenient battery installation Tool-free field assembly with a one-piece wing and thumb screws Float-ready with the recommended lightweight float set (sold separately) Vibrant finish in genuine Hangar 9® UltraCote® covering Designed around the Evolution® 10cc (EVOE10GX2) gasoline engine Electric motor mount included makes EP installation simple Complete hardware kit includes a matching spinner Specifications: Wingspan: 60.0 in (1524mm) Wing Area: 810 sq in (52.3 sq dm) Overall Length: 57.0 in (1448mm) Flying Weight: 7.0 lb (3.2 kg) Radio: 6+ channel, full-range transmitter and receiver Construction: All-wood laser cut balsa and plywood Engine: 10cc 2- to 4-stroke gas/petrol (sold separately) Electric: 52-size outrunner with a 60A ESC on a 4S LiPo (Sold Separately) Servos: (6) Standard servos (5 for electric) (sold separately) Flaps: Yes Floats: Optional (sold separately) Experience Level: Intermediate to advanced Assembly Time: Approx. 7+ hours #HAN2345 – $229.99 Visit Hangar-9.com See more posts about Hangar 9 The post Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 10cc ARF 60″ [VIDEO] appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  11. From Blade: The Blade® Fusion™ 270 BNF® Basic helicopter begins a new era of high-end Blade products, with all the features, style, and performance intermediate through advanced customers demand. This powerhouse features a lightweight and strong carbon fiber frame and landing gear, black anodized aluminum components, and an all-new, high-torque 4S optimized power system. Combined with Spektrum™ metal gear servos, helical main gear and the durable belt driven tail design, there is nothing stopping you from trying the most aggressive maneuvers imaginable. If you push things a little too far, the Fusion 270 is equipped with a Spektrum AR636A flight controller with SAFE® Technology Panic Recovery mode to prevent a crash. For seasoned pilots, the Fusion 270 delivers leading-edge heli action straight out of the box leaving the competition missing in action. By popular demand, the Fusion 270 will also be offered in an ARF variant (BLH5360), so pilots can build this machine with their favorite components! The Fusion 270 frame comes pre-assembled with the ARF, while also including the motor, and ESC. SAFE® Technology with Panic Recovery The Panic Recovery feature allows pilots to prevent a crash and recover the heli to level flight at the press of a button. Spektrum™ AR636 Receiver Newly refined algorithms within this receiver and 6 axis flybarless system make the Fusion 270 handle with cutting -edge precision and stability. New aluminum lower case on the receiver offers improved dampening increases tolerance to vibration. Carbon Fiber & Anodized Aluminum Construction Stylish black anodized head, swashplate, servo block, and blade grips give a high-end finish that stands out from the pack. Rigid carbon fiber and aluminum frame construction features carbon fiber landing gear for a new stance that is light and durable. Optimized Servo Geometry Proven optimized servo geometry provides exceptional response and control, while improving servo efficiency and minimizing mechanical loss to the swashplate. Spektrum™ High-Speed Metal Geared Servos High speed metal geared servos drive the cyclic and tail, featuring robust gear movement and digital precision to meet the demands of this flybarless machine. Oversized Mechanics Triple ball-bearing support offers the oversized main shaft, spindle and blade grip components the ability to deliver the precision of Blade optimized servo geometry even under heavy flight loads. Belt-driven Tail A robust belt driven tail design provides rock solid tail performance and control, while minimizing collateral gear damage in a crash. New Tail Case Assembly Newly designed tail case and new metal pulley tail shaft with larger bearings reduces vibrations and adds durability and support. New ESC The all new, 45A brushless ESC with built in governor is provides reliable performance tuned for a 4S power system. Redefined Power System: Optimized power system utilizes common 4S 1300mAh batteries to drive a top-mounted 2950Kv brusless motor. Helical Main Gear Low wear and quiet main gear provides consistent power and rotation in a more durable design. High Visibility Newly designed fiberglass canopy features a bright trim scheme and matching vertical fin for unsurpassed visibility. Included Inside the Box: BNF Basic: Fusion 270 Installed: Motor, ESC, Servos, Receiver ARF: Fusion 270 Frame (Assembled) Installed: Motor, ESC #BLH5350 – Fusion 270 BNF Basic – $349.99 #BLH5360 – Fusion 270 ARF – $259.99 Visit BladeHelis.com See more posts about Blade The post Blade Fusion 270 BNF Basic & ARF [VIDEO] appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  12. From Spektrum: The Spektrum VT1000 is the FPV pilot’s video transmitter solution. Prevailing features like a built in microphone, 32 channels available on the 5 common bands, power output selectable (25, 200, and 600mw), and a simple to understand user interface. Changing VTX settings is simple with the 2 button interface, but the VT1000 brings the convenience of remote settings change via a serial data connection. Easily be able to change Video Channel, Band and power level right from their transmitter with the Spektrum VT1000 Video Transmitter. No special firmware or programming required. The VT1000 utilizes a single serial data lead that can be used with popular BetaFlight and RaceFlight controller via an open UART port for changing Channels, Band, and Power via OSD or Radio commands (utilizes Tramp Telemetry Protocol). But pilots can also control this VTX via the Spektrum Serial Data lead off a Spektrum Receiver via the Remote receiver port. Now airplane pilots can enjoy the convenience of the VTX Setup Menu for changing Channel, Band, and Power right from their Spektrum Radio. The VT1000 features a durable and light weight MMCX connector. These connectors are strong, take up less space, and offer users to expand into the newer forms for FPV antennas on the market. The VT1000 mounts easily in a quad miniquad flight control stack, and stays cool enough during operation to be used on a foam airplane fuselage. SPMVT1000 KEY FEATURES: Remotely change Channel, Band and Power right from your Spektrum Radio On Board Microphone Stackable on standard 30.5×30.5 Flight Controller mounting holes Wide input range (2-6s) with Filtered 5 volt out for Camera Durable MMCX antenna connection Simple to use 1 wire Telemetry lead allows interface with a Flight Controller via UART port for channel adjustment from Transmitter or compatible OSD OR connect directly to a Spektrum Receiver, no special programming or update required SPMVC623 KEY FEATURES: 2.3mm Wide angle Lens Same Swift 2 Performance crammed into a micro sized camera Incredibly light weight at 5.6 grams Wide Voltage input range 5-17 volt Voltage and Timer OSD Includes multiple mounting options, hardware, cables and OSD adjuster SPMVC621 KEY FEATURES: 2.1mm Wide angle Lens 1/3 SONY Super HAD II CCD image sensor for 600TVL resolution and excellent color Wide Dynamic Range and 2D Noise Reduction Wide Voltage input range 5-17 volt Voltage and Timer OSD Built – In Microphone Includes multiple mounting options, hardware, cables, and optional case #SPMVC621 – Swift 2 FPV Camera with 2.1mm Lens – $44.99 #SPMVC623 – Micro Swift 2 FPV Camera with 2.3mm Lens – $39.99 #SPMVT1000 – 25-200-600mW Adjustable Power Video Transmitter – $39.99 Visit SpektrumRC.com See more posts about Spektrum The post Spektrum FPV Cameras & Video Transmitter appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  13. From ParkZone: The ParkZone® Conscendo™ Advanced 1.5m motor glider features thrilling power and reinforced EPO foam construction in a lightweight design that’s versatile so that hitting max altitude, or advancing from a basic trainer airplane, is easy and fun. Enjoy air time anytime from parks to wide open mountain slopes and everywhere in between. The sleek airframe of the ParkZone Conscendo Advanced 1.5m sport glider cuts through the air with a high level of efficiency. The simple configuration without landing gear keeps weight and drag to a minimum while a generous amount of wing area delivers high lift potential and low touch-down speeds. Features: A powered glider with sport aerobatic performance Optional SAFE® Select flight mode for newer pilots (BNF Basic only) 3S Brushless Power System expands flight envelope and performance Spektrum™ 6-channel DSMX® receiver installed (BNF Basic only) Stability and precision of AS3X® technology (BNF Basic only) Assembles in minutes Long Flights with Combined Soaring and Sport Flying Lightweight, reinforced EPO foam construction Simple 4-channel control with four micro servos installed Two-piece, plug-in wings Folding propeller for an enhanced soaring experience Large, easy-access battery hatch Ideal for use with 1300mAh 3S 11.1V 20C LiPo packs Specifications: Wingspan: 59.0 in (1500mm) Length: 39.6 in (1005mm) Wing Area: 405 sq in (26.1 sq dm) Flying Weight: 22.5 oz (635 g) Motor Size: 370-Size Brushless Outrunner (installed) Receiver: Spektrum DSMX®/DSM2® with AS3X® and SAFE® Select Technologies (BNF Basic Version) Servos: (4) Spektrum A330 Micro, 9 Gram (installed) ESC: 30A Brushless, Brake Enabled (installed) Experience Level: Intermediate Aprox. Assembly Time: Less than 1 hour Battery Range: 1300mAh 3S LiPo with EC3™ Connector (sold separately) Recommended Environment: Park #PKZ8150 – Conscendo Advanced 1.5m BNF Basic – $149.99 #PKZ8175 – Conscendo Advanced 1.5m PNP – $129.99 Visit ParkZone.com See more posts about ParkZone The post ParkZone Conscendo Advanced 1.5m PNP/BNF [VIDEO] appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  14. Top 10 RC Oddities

    You never know what you’re going to find when you’re searching YouTube for a cool video to share with Model Airplane News readers. Case in point: this “Top 10 Strangest RC Aircraft” compilation post by JD Rock. From an 18-wing ornithopter that looks like a flying centipede (if a centipede could fly) to a flying twin umbrella contraption to a plane made out of two KFC buckets, you can’t knock the creativity of the inventors who made them. I hope you enjoy this collection of oddballs as much as I did. Which one’s your favorite? The post Top 10 RC Oddities appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  15. One of MAN’s most popular construction plans are for the 1/3-scale Howard Ike racer designed by Henry Haffke. Several years ago, I teamed up with Henry to help him build and finish his giant-scale version of his popular 1970s era, .40-size Howard Ike DGA-5 racer, the Miss Chevrolet. Howard Ike Ready to Cover It included several interesting building techniques, one of which was the building and finishing of its long engine cowl. This article takes you through the steps to build and finish a sheet and balsa-block engine cowl. The techniques can easily be applied to any type of scale or sport airplane as the materials and tools required to do the job are basically the same. Let’s get started. What’s Needed Needed Supplies This is a classic technique that uses basic tools and supplies. Besides a completely built model, you need… ■ 5oz. and 1oz. fiberglass cloth ■ Sharp scissors ■ Pacer’s Finishing Resin ■ Denatured alcohol ■ Several grades of sandpaper (150, 220, 320 and 400 grits) ■ Long sanding bars/blocks ■ Mixing cups ■ Playing cards (use as resin squeezes) ■ Plenty of paper towels for cleanup ■ Balsa filler material ■ Spot glazing putty 1.The first thing to do before starting to assemble your cowl is to install the engine and the fuel system. In this photo, a Zenoah G26 is bolted to the plywood firewall. Be sure to plug the carburetor with paper towel to keep out debris. Zenoah G 260 from BH Hanson 2.For the most part, the engine cowl section of the Miss Chevrolet starts just in front of the wing. The fuselage is sheeted with 1⁄8-inch balsa up to the firewall. From the firewall forward, hollow balsa rings are glued together to start covering the engine. This is done because aft of the firewall, all the panels are straight with no bends. The forward section of the cowl starts to become compound curves to blend into the cowl front piece which is shaped from a solid block of balsa (several ½-inch thick layers of balsa sheeting form the block). Balsa Ring buildup 3. As the balsa rings are added, the carburetor breather opening is cut in place. The last balsa ring is faced with 1⁄8-inch lite-ply to form a hard mating surface for the cowl front piece. This helps produce a straight separation line between the two parts. Breather Hole 4. Here the nose front piece has been carved to shape and sanded smooth. The aft surface of this part is also faced with lite-ply and it is indexed to fit in place with alignment dowels that key into the aft cowling face. Once this is down, go over all the wood surfaces and fill in any major seams and defects with wood filler. Let dry and sand smooth. Nose Piece 5. Remove the nosepiece and the engine so you can fuel proof the inside surfaces of the engine compartment. Use Pacer finishing resin for this. Mix the two parts together and use a stiff brush to apply at least two hefty coatings, letting the first coat cure before adding the second. The resin will absorb into the wood and very little sanding is needed after the resin has cured. Sealed Firewall 6. Now sand with 220-grit sandpaper and start filling in seams and defects with glazing and Spot putty. Use a mixing stick or scrap balsa to smear the putty into place and let dry. Use a long sanding block and sand over the surfaces. The long block will take off the high spots and leave areas needing more filler and putty. Filler application 7. Repeat this process until you have filled all the blemishes and seams and there are no more shallow areas needing to be filled. Go over everything again with 320-grit sandpaper and then wipe clean with a Tach cloth. Ready to sand Ready for glass 8. Cut your fiberglass cloth to size and lay in place on the area to be finished. Use a stiff paintbrush and stroke the cloth into place. Static electricity will help the cloth cling in place. Glass cloth ready for resin 9. In a disposable plastic cup, mix the finishing resin with one part A, one part B and one part alcohol. Dribble some of the resin on the top of the cowling and use a playing card to spread the resin into the weave of the fiberglass cloth. No need for a brush at this time. Reposition the model so the side is facing up and repeat the process until you have fully saturated the cloth with resin. Check for any dry areas requiring more resin—these show up as white areas. Apply more resin as needed. Spreading resin 10. After the resin has cured up, lightly sand the cloth with 150-grit sandpaper to remove the gloss finish. Wipe clean with a tack cloth and apply a second layer of fiberglass cloth and resin. Any area where the cloth and resin do not lay down flat against the wood, cut slits in the cloth and press it over itself and apply more resin. Fold the cloth over at the front, add more resin and work it until it all lays flat against the wood. Resin applied and access cloth cut away 11. Now, do the same thing for the nose piece. Apply the cloth and resin and cut any wrinkles or buckles in the cloth so it will lay flat. Apply resin, let cure, lightly sand. Wipe clean and apply a second layer of cloth and resin. Nose piece ready for glass application 12. The second layer has been applied and you can see the excess material hanging down. The best way to trim the cloth is to use 220-grit sandpaper and rub where the cloth and wood edge join. Do it lightly and if needed, apply more resin and let set to produce a nice smooth finished edge. Do the same for the openings in the nosepiece. Nose piece with resin applied 13. Here the nose piece has been lightly primed with white sandable primer and placed in position on the front of the model. The priming and sanding is very important and may take several coats and sandings to produce a nice smooth finish. Take your time and let the primer coats dry before sanding. Start with 220-grit sandpaper and when you get close to a perfect finish, switch to 320 sandpaper. Nose piece with primer added 14. Even after several coats of primer, you will still find small blemishes needing to be filled. I find that fast-drying Squadron White Putty used for scale plastic models works very well here. Just swipe it on with a fingertip, let dry and sand the access off. Filler putty added to in holes 15. Here the nosepiece is about 95% ready for paint. There are still small pin holes needing filling and sanding. Most of the primer will be sanded off before paint is applied. Final coat of white primer 16. Prepare the aft portion of the cowling like you did with the nosepiece. When you get a very smooth almost flawless finish, add another coat of primer and sand most of it off. Check for mini blemishes and take care of them before moving on. Cowling primed 17. Start applying any surface details you want to enhance the model’s appearance. Here you see the fake piano hinge I added to the top. This was made with a strip of aluminum tape, small screws and a plastic coated wire glued down the center with thin CA. I cut the small barrels into the plastic coating so it looked like a long hinge. Surface details and louvers added 18. Here the cowl is being painted along with the rest of the panels applied to the fuselage. The fabric areas have been masked off to protect the finish. Apply two or three mist coats of paint. You should not have to sand anymore, all the imperfections were taken care of with the primer coats. Details and louvers primed 19. To complete the scale appearance of the engine cowl, I added the static scale propeller, decals and the fake exhaust stacks which are recessed in circular depressions about ¼ inch deep. Finished engine cowling with scale propeller, decals, and fake exhaust pipes added 20. That’s it. Here the new 1/3-scale “Miss Chevrolet” Howard Ike racer looks great on a sunny day at the flying field. The nose piece is held in place with long thin screws which can be seen in the cooling openings. It takes only a moment to gain access to the engine. Though this technique is easy to do, it does require an investment in time. It’s no secret, pay some attention to the details and use plenty of sandpaper to make the surfaces of the cowling look flawless. This technique can be used on all types of models regardless of the shape of the engine cowling. Just don’t forget to use lots of sandpaper for a smooth finish. Miss Chevrolet Ready for Takeoff The post RC Model Airplane Tips — Scale Engine Cowlings Made Easy appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  16. Someone told me once that landing is the only maneuver that we fly that is absolutely mandatory. If you think about it, this makes complete sense. We don’t have to take off, but once we do, the only thing that we must do is land! So, once you have takeoff down, it’s a good idea to make sure you are 100% competent in landing. The tricky part about landing is the fact that you will be flying so close to stall. Unlike full-scale pilots, we do not have an airspeed indicator and the connection to the plane that allows us to feel the stall. However, to me, landing a model aircraft is still very much a “by feel” thing. We just feel the stall in a different sense. The way we feel it is in our thumb that is on the stick that controls the elevator. As our model flies slower, the wing will need a higher angle of attack to maintain altitude. Therefore, while you are setting up for landing, if you suddenly have a need to add more and more elevator to maintain your altitude, it is time to add throttle to avoid the impending stall. Now, let’s talk about the hardest concept to grasp. When flying a model airplane, especially during landing, the concept is this: elevator controls speed, while throttle controls rate of descent/ascent. Most people believe the opposite to be true. This is painfully obvious when you are flying close to the ground and you run out of up-elevator and your plane comes crashing to the ground. The biggest mistake people make is using elevator alone to try to maintain their descent to landing. Instead you want to use throttle to slow your descent and avoid contact with the ground and elevator to slow the plane down, as it gets closer to touchdown. With a tricycle gear you can afford to bring the nose a little higher without worrying about losing control of the model once on the ground. We will try to cover this in a future article. MAKING LIFE EASIER Landing at different fields can add to the complexity of landing a “difficult” model. When you are landing a model that you need to focus on flying, you will want to lighten the load wherever you can. Here are a few things that I use to make things easier on my brain. The first things that I like to utilize are landmarks. When I first arrive at a new field I will take a few minutes to scan the area and look for visual landmarks. Some of my favorites are peaks of hills or mountains in the background, power poles, trees, or other things that stand out to the eye. Next is knowing the stall characteristics of the model that I am flying. Anytime I fly a new model I like to take her up to altitude once I know everything is working as it should and pull the throttle back. I then apply more and more elevator until I reach stall and see what the plane’s response is. This will remove any surprises when I am on final and altitude is at a premium. These two pointers can help save a number of models if you take the time to utilize them anytime you are at a new field or flying a new model. DIFFICULT-TO-LAND MODELS Although it’s not a warbird, you can use the steps in this article to help increase your success rate when landing aerobatic biplanes like the Checkmate pictured here. Notice the nose level attitude while landing this warbird. The increased airspeed helps to maintain rudder authority on touchdown. Of the different configurations of models, the tail-dragger plane is definitely more difficult to land well. Of course, we have to count out the “floaty” 3D models and aerobatic planes such as the Extras and Edges that are so popular. In general, our models are not difficult to land. Even most of our “heavy-metal” warbird models are so lightly wing loaded that they really don’t qualify as a “difficult” to land aircraft. However, even though they don’t have high wing loading, the fact that many of them are tail draggers makes this the “trickiest” class to land so we will focus here. So, what qualifies as a good landing with a tail-dragging warbird? To me, it is a nice, 2-point touchdown with no bounces and a controlled rollout. The most common mistake we make, as modelers, is not carrying enough speed when landing our warbirds. Just because the wing will fly down to a walking pace does not mean that is the speed we should land these models. Landing too slow will cause the bounces and uncontrolled rollout previously mentioned. I will first address airspeed. I like to land my models about 5 to 10mph above stall speed. This keeps enough airflow traveling over the vertical fin and rudder to control yaw on touchdown as well as over the horizontal stab and elevator to keep enough pitch authority to minimize bouncing. The next point of conversation is the attitude of the model. Unlike the 3D aerobatic planes we want to come in with the nose fairly level. Try to avoid coming in nose high like a jet fighter. This just leads to trouble. The third bullet point would be the flare. Since we have ample airspeed to keep the plane flying the flare is going to be more of a leveling out. I like to flare at about 6 inches above the runway. Once I level the plane off at this altitude, I will pull the throttle back to idle and allow the plane to slow. As the wheels get to the point of contact with the tarmac I will slowly release the back pressure on the elevator lessening the tendency of the tail to drop which creates a positive angle of attack of the wings, which will ultimately lead to the model taking to the skies again unintentionally. Once the main wheels are solidly on the ground, I focus on my rudder control and be sure to keep the model tracking as close to the centerline as possible. Finally, once my plane’s air speed is below flight speed, I will slowly add the up-elevator back in to firmly plant the tailwheel on the ground to avoid the undesirable nose over that we have all witnessed at the field. FINAL WORD If you take the tips above and focus on improving your skills one at a time, you definitely will see an improvement in your landing skills. All of the above points have proper timing. Additionally, every model you fly will require different timing for each of the points. Be patient and work on each step one at a time with every model you fly. Eventually, everything above will become second nature and you will not hesitate to fly any new model no matter how “scary” it is supposed to be on landing. Now get out there and shoot some landings! By Jason Benson The post RC Airplane Flight Tech: Prepare for landing! appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  17. It’s a question the editors at Model Airplane News and Electric Flight magazines hear all the time. “I want more power. What’s more important– Amps of Voltage” John Reid provides the information. The post Video Question of the Week: Amps or Volts? What’s more important for my RCmodel airplane appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  18. On the occasion of his 95th birthday, we celebrate General Yeager and hope you’ll enjoy watching this interview from 2016 as much as we did. He is an amazing human being … they don’t make ’em like that anymore! The post Aviation Legend: Interview with Gen. Chuck Yeager appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  19. It happens all the time… A new model airplane all set up to fly takes off and crashes because the pilot tried to fly it when it was too tail-heavy. Check out this video to see a very easy way to avoid this problem. It’s very easy and does not require measuring or math! The post RC Model Airplane Find the Correct Balance Point Video Tip appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  20. The 30th edition of the Top Gun Scale Invitational will feature a new category of competition called “Young Guns” which will offer, depending on number of entrants, up to three classes based on age. Ages 7-10, 11-14, and 15-17 are the classes defined at press time. One of the invited participants is Fischer Strickland from Melbourne, Florida. He’s been involved in RC flying for only about three years and represents what we hope will be the future of our hobby. Here are his own words…… My name is Fischer Strickland, but everyone calls me “Fish”. I was born in Melbourne, FL in May 2007. When I am not flying, I enjoy fishing and riding my bike. For my seventh birthday my dad bought me my first RC plane. The guy at the hobby shop told him they didn’t have anything that a 7-year-old could fly. He took a risk and bought me a Delta Ray. After many takeoffs and landings, both successful and not, I mastered flying it. During the time learning how to fly RC, I had the help of my father Jeremy, grandfather John Clark, and friends and mentors, Rich Uravitch and Tim Provencal. In the last 3 years, I have mastered flying a prop plane, an EDF jet, and also have flown a turbine. My favorite plane to fly is my 78-inch wingspan Carbon Z T-28. I am the youngest flyer in the Crossroads RC group where I fly every weekend in Palm Bay, Fl. My dream is to one day own an RC Boeing 747 plane. I plan on growing up to be a pilot. Model Airplane News wishes “Fish” the best of luck in his pursuits and we look forward to meeting him, and all the other “Young Guns”, at Top Gun 2018. See you there! The post Young Guns — New Category for Top Gun appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  21. On February 6, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket, thundered to life and cleared the launch gantry powered by 27 engines and nearly 5 million pounds of thrust. Kicking off a spectacular maiden flight for the Falcon Heavy, it sent founder Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster on a journey that will reach into the asteroid belt well beyond Mars. Easily the loudest and most dramatic launch from Florida’s “Space Coast” since the space shuttle retired in 2011, the Falcon Heavy, using three core stages powered by nine engines each, put on a dazzling show. Spectacular as it was, the launching was just the appetizer for a long-awaited test flight. Eight minutes after the rocket took off, two of the three Falcon 9 core stages that helped power the vehicle out of the lower atmosphere made rocket-powered descents to side-by-side touchdowns at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, generating thunderous sonic booms as they slowed for landing. The central core stage, however, ran out of propellant on the way down and was unable to restart its engines for descent into the lower atmosphere. Instead, it crashed into the Atlantic at about 300 mph, missing the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship by about the length of a football field, damaging two of the unpiloted ship’s thrusters and showering the deck with debris. None of the stages used for Tuesday’s flight were to be used again as SpaceX transitions to an upgraded version of the Falcon rocket and recovering the boosters was a secondary test objective. The major goal was demonstrating a new heavy-lift rocket and Musk was thrilled with the mission. “I’m really excited about today, incredibly proud of the SpaceX team,” Musk said after launch. “They’ve done an incredible job of creating what really is the most advanced rocket in the world, the biggest rocket in the world. I’m still trying to absorb everything that happened because it seems surreal to me.” Musk tried to downplay expectations before launch, warning that launching a powerful new rocket on its first flight was risky business. “I had this image of a giant explosion on the pad and a wheel bouncing down the road and the Tesla logo landing somewhere with a thud,” he told reporters after launch. “But fortunately, that’s not what happened. The mission has begun really as well as one could have hoped with the exception of the center core.” While the Tesla on board for the rocket’s first test flight tipped the scales at a relatively modest one ton weight, the Heavy has the ability to boost nearly 140,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit and more than 37,000 pounds to Earth-escape trajectories to Mars. NASA is currently building an even more powerful rocket known as the Space Launch System, or SLS, that will generate 8.8 million pounds of thrust in its initial configuration and up to 11.9 million pounds in a follow-on cargo variant. The initial version will be able to boost more than 50,000 pounds to Earth-escape velocity. But the SLS is not expected to fly until late 2019 or later. Until then, the Falcon Heavy will be the world’s most powerful rocket, offering a relatively low-cost option for getting heavy payloads into space for NASA, the Department of Defense and commercial satellite operators. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who attended the launch at the Kennedy Space Center, said the Heavy offers a promising alternative for heavy weight national security satellites that are too big for the Falcon 9 and currently fly exclusively on more expensive United Launch Alliance Delta 4s. As it accelerated skyward, aerodynamic forces quickly ramped up, forming an invisible “bow shock” over the nose of the central core stage, creating complex interactions and, possibly, localized heating as the spacecraft picked up speed plowing through the thick lower atmosphere. But the Heavy endured those stresses, rocketing through the speed of sound and the region of maximum aerodynamic stress about a minute after liftoff. The 18 engines in the two outboard core stages shut down two-and-a-half minutes after launch. Both stages then separated from the core booster, flipped around, restarted three engines each and began flying back to Florida. The nine center stage engines continued firing for another 30 seconds or so before they, too, shut down and the second stage pulled away on its own, lighting up a single Merlin engine to continue the boost toward a preliminary orbit. The central core stage then fired three of its engines to set up a landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” stationed several hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral. The two outboard stages, meanwhile, restarted three engines to slow down for atmospheric entry. The burns — brilliant side-by-side jets of flame — were clearly visible across Florida’s east coast as the two boosters plunged tail-first toward pads at Landing Zone 1 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Falling like bombs, the rockets each restarted a single engine to slow for touchdown, each one deploying four landing legs. “I think Heavy creates a lot of opportunities,” said John Young, an engineer on a SpaceX advisory board. “There are several communities in Washington that would love to have a bigger aperture, either optical or radar, to collect more (national security) data, so this creates a whole new opportunity.” But it’s unclear how SpaceX’s efforts to develop an even larger rocket, known as the BFR, will affect its near-term plans for the Heavy. Musk said last year the Heavy would be used to launch two paying customers on a flight to loop around the moon by the end of this year, but that mission is on hold. The post SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch Big Success! Launches Starman in a Tesla appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  22. Founded by Mike Celesky, John Olson and Ron Prestin, the Blue Max Scale Challenge and Fly In, held this year on January 25 to 27 at Sanford Aero Modelers RC Club in Sanford, FL., is one of the events we look forward. Not just an RC model airplane event, this is a successful gathering with a laid back atmosphere and great camaraderie. The weather was typically great and mother nature didn’t disappoint for 9th annual event. Our ace photo guy David Hart attended the event and took some amazing photos of all the vintage aerodrome action. The Blue Max is an event for anyone that is interested in early aviation and the WW I airplanes that existed from 1903-1919. It’s a celebration of the pioneer aircraft and the World War 1 fighter and the pilots that flew them. It is a way for RC pilots and enthusiasts to get together and re-create this exciting moment in time. History is preserved through events like the Blue Max. There arn’t a lot of museums or airfields remaining where you can go and see WW I airplanes fly. In the not too distant future, WWI RC events like this may actually be our only link to the past and early aviation. Here are just a few of David Hart’s photos from the Blue Max event The post Blue Max Scale Challenge — Highlights from the 9th Annual WW1 RC Fly In appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  23. 10 Field & Bench Tips

    With time, experience and lots of trial and error, we RC modelers all learn good way to do accomplish workshop tasks and/or flying field repairs. The simplest things can often make the biggest difference. Be sure to leave comments about your favorite field or bench trick or tip. 1 Charged Battery ID If you have a bunch of battery packs you use over and over, knowing which ones are charged and which are not can get confusing. An easy way to identify packs is to place a small ID sticker on the packs after you charge them. Once you’ve used the pack for a flight, peel the sticker off so you’ll know it’s in need of a recharge. 2 Propeller Safety Tips To prevent accidents, full-size aircraft are equipped with propellers that have brightly colored tips. Do the same with your model airplane propellers. Mask off the tips and spray on some bright yellow or white to make the prop tips more visible while it’s spinning. The finger you save might be your own! 3 Small Parts Sticker When building (or repairing) a model, it is sometimes hard to place a wooden part properly inside a narrow fuselage. An easy way to do this is to use a sharp awl as a “part sticker.” Now, simply add glue to the part, stick it with the “part sticker” and guide it into position. 4 Emergency Screwdriver It never fails that whenever you need a specific tool for the job, you’ll find that tool anywhere but where you need it. If you find yourself in need of a common, straight-blade screwdriver, you can always take a modeling blade and place it backwards in its handle. The exposed part of the blade can now be used to tighten that screw. 5 Throw-away Epoxy Mixing Pad While mixing epoxy, use a pad of Post-It notes for the mixing surface. Then after applying the adhesive to the model, simply throw the used note away and you’re ready to mix some more adhesive. No clean up required. 6 Easy Control Surface Alignment When you install and adjust your pushrods, it is better and easier to do if you lock your control surfaces in their neutral positions. Use a pair of coffee mixing sticks and a couple of clamping clothespins to keep the surfaces from moving. 7 Easy Clevis Keepers If a clevis were to pop off one of your model’s control horns, you could lose control and crash. A simple and cheap way to prevent this from happening is to add a clevis keeper. Simply slice a thin section from some model fuel tubing and slip it over the clevis. It will act like an O-ring and keep the clevis securely in place without binding. 8 Handy Clamp There are a hundred tasks in modeling during which you simply need a third hand. Soldering connectors to wire leads is a good example. In a pinch, you can use a pair of pliers with its handles wrapped with a rubber band. The pliers are heavy enough to act as a steady base and the rubber band provides enough clamping force to hold delicate items without damaging them. 9 Simple Building Board You don’t need a complete building bench or table to build model airplanes; just use a straight piece of pine board. But to make it easier to insert pins to hold the wood parts in place while the glue dries, get some cheap Peel-n-Stick cork sheeting from a hardware store or a convenience shop and stick them to the building board. Place your plans on top and protect it with some clear kitchen wrap or wax paper. Should the cork get damaged or you get some glue on it, simply peel the cork away and replace it with a new piece. 10 Sheet Separator If you build from plans or kits, you have to cover your model. Often, it is very difficult to separate the covering film from its backing sheet so you can iron it into place. The easiest way to do this is to apply strips of masking tape to each side and use them as pull tabs to separate the two thin layers of plastic. The post 10 Field & Bench Tips appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  24. Tim Cardin’s operating landing lights are beautiful on the Beechcraft Staggerwing he built from Ziroli plans. Since then, Tim has installed them on a P-47 and they could be modified and applied to almost any World War II aircraft. The exact lights that Tim used for this aircraft are now only available out of Europe. However, I’ve found that it could easily be adapted from a number of high-intensity LED lights that are available here in the U.S. from other RC manufacturers. LED lights that are available for RC car headlights or truck off-road light bars fit the bill perfectly for this type of adaptation. The key point here is to get high-intensity LED lights so they are easily seen during the day. If you are going to add that added scale detail of lights to aircraft, they should be able to be noticed either day or night. Enjoy! I picked up this LED high-intensity 22mm light from Mars480.com to use for my retractable landing lights. First order of business was to disassemble the light in order to modify the housing. I cut the back end off and fashioned a new end from aircraft plywood. I also drilled and tapped a 4-40 mounting hole in the housing so it could be attached the retract assembly. Here is the entire assembly. The light is reassembled with the new back end in place. The mounting panel is from .030″ fiberglass sheet. Brass tubing was used to make the rotating shaft and again for the shaft bushings. The bushings were epoxied to 3/32″ aircraft ply and then to the fiberglass to provide the spacing needed. Small pieces of ply glued to the fiberglass keep the assembly centered. The servo mount is also epoxied in place. A 2-56 rod threaded and soldered into the shaft makes the lever and a 2-56 rod with a ball link provides the connection to the servo arm. Small bends in the lever and drive rods get the geometry just right for smooth operation. I drilled holes through the back of the servo mount into the arms the servo screws into and CA glued toothpicks to reinforce the structure of the servo mount. The mount was then epoxied to the fiberglass. There’s not a lot of load, but it makes the servo mount very strong and is typical of any small structures I make. Due to the close rib spacing on the Staggerwing, I needed to use two rib bays for the assembly even using the mini servo. I mounted a micro switch to the rib so when the servo arm lowers the light, it actuates the switch near the end of travel turning the light on as it finishes lowering. Here is the retractable landing light I made for my P-47. On this application I used the piece of sheeting cut from the wing for the assembly. Wider rib spacing made things a bit easier on this one. A micro switch mounted inside the wing also provides the on/off action as the light finishes lowering. It was slightly overcast when this picture was taken, but these lights are bright enough to be seen on the brightest days. When lowered, there is a slight stagger as they turn on and even the avoidance lights are exceptionally bright. Occasionally, they are mistaken for landing lights — at least until I lower the formal landing lights. The post Scale How to: Retractable Landing Lights appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  25. No more flat loops!

    Guard against making the common mistake of releasing too much elevator, aka “hunting,” during the float and thus creating a flat spot on top of the loop. This occurs for the same reason people overcontrol at every skill level: they want to see their inputs doing something. Instead, you should concentrate on smoothly reducing the elevator input to a fixed position that is just enough to keep the loop from pinching. When the float is performed correctly, the loop remains round without any visible sign of when the elevator adjustments where made. When the loop is visible out of round, it’s usually due to trying to manage the float by watching the airplane instead of paying attention to the control inputs. Since the loop is entered from level flight with more speed compared to the first version of the P loop, propwash and P-factor won’t require corrections until the airplane has entered the slower section of the loop over the top. However, if a strong crosswind exists, you’ll likely need to input your rudder correction earlier and hold it in longer. After the airplane has made it past the top of the loop, idle the engine to slow the descent and get ready to quickly neutralize the elevator at the instant the plane points straight down. Despite the throttle reduction, airplanes tend to quickly build speed when pointing straight down, so hold the lines before and after the half-roll no longer than a count of “one.” Flying a perfect vertical downline is the mark of a professional-caliber P loop. If you do not have the time to display at least short vertical lines before and after the roll, you’ll have to enter the maneuver higher and/or fly much larger loops to enter the downline higher up. You think of it this way: if you don’t have enough altitude to dive straight at the ground, perform a half roll and pull out, you probably don’t have enough height to perform this version of the P loop. This is what we mean when we talk about “thinking ahead of the airplane!” The post No more flat loops! appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  26. If you are building a glow powered airplane for the first time, you will want to pay attention to the fuel tank assembly and installation. For your model to have a reliable fuel system, the tank, hardware and fuel lines have to be properly installed. Here’s a workshop video tip to show how it’s done. The post Fuel Tank Installation — Video Tips for a reliable fuel system appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  27. On Feb. 1, 2003, (15 years ago), the Space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas. This is the Miami Herald’s original coverage from that day. Space shuttle Columbia, carrying a cross-section of America’s human treasure and the first Israeli astronaut, disintegrated in flames Saturday over Texas. All seven astronauts died.They never had a chance. Astronauts have no way to escape a shuttle as it streaks through the atmosphere without power and at 13,000 miles an hour to a landing at Cape Canaveral. (Above) The Space Shuttle Columbia crew, from left, front row, Rick Husband, Kalpana Chawla, William McCool, back row, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson and Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon are shown in this undated photo. Initial speculation about the cause focused on possible damage sustained by the shuttle’s left wing during blastoff 16 days earlier. The crew included three U.S. military officers, one of the nation’s few black astronauts and a woman who immigrated to America from India. Six were married. Among them, the astronauts of shuttle Columbia had 12 children. Astronauts are pioneers on the frontiers of space and they depend on muscular but fragile technology and the machines failed them Saturday.“I take the risk because I think what we’re doing is really important,” Michael Anderson, 43, Columbia’s payload commander, said before the shuttle blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Jan. 16. It was the shuttle program’s 113th mission and second major disaster. “This day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country,” President Bush said. “The Columbia is lost. There are no survivors. “The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth, yet we can pray they all are safely home. May God bless the grieving families.” No cause was immediately apparent, but sensors aboard Columbia reported a sudden spike of intense heat, an indication that the ship’s heat shield had been breached — possibly on that left wing. The temperature at that point of reentry: 3,000 degrees. The altitude: 207,135 feet, the equivalent of 39 miles above Earth. Government officials said there was no indication of terrorism and the shuttle was well out of the range of missiles when the accident occurred. The president and others vowed that the human space program would continue, after a lengthy investigation. “It’s more than a job, this is a passion for us,” said Ron Dittemore, NASA’s shuttle program manager. “There’s going to be a period of mourning in this community, then we’re going to fix this problem and we’re going to get back on the launch pad.” The shuttle was only 16 minutes from the landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center when NASA lost communications with it. The last word from Columbia came at 9 a.m. from Rick Husband, 45, the shuttle’s commander and an Air Force colonel: “Roger.” MUFFLED SOUND Then, a muffled sound. Then, only static. Residents far below reported hearing a loud bang. Tragically reminiscent of the January 1986 explosion that destroyed shuttle Challenger and killed all seven astronauts on that ship, Saturday’s accident scarred the sky with smoke and debris, and failure, and death. Debris rained over hundreds of miles of Texas fields and highways, stretching from near Dallas all the way to Louisiana. Residents reported finding metal fragments and piles of ash and what appeared to be a door of the shuttle. In Hemphill, Texas, near the Louisiana border north of Jasper, debris and human remains were scattered across more than 50 sites, authorities said. Some debris was also found in Newton, Jasper and San Augustine counties. Several hundred workers from state, local and federal agencies logged the location of the evidence, tagged it and placed it in bags. Two astronauts were in the area, working with NASA, officials said. “Most sites contain debris,” Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox said. “Only a small number had human remains.” Debris from the space shuttle Columbia streaks across the sky over Tyler, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2003. Amateur photographer Dr. Scott Lieberman shot a series of photos showing the break-up of the space shuttle from his backyard in Tyler. Space shuttle Columbia broke apart in flames 200,000 feet over Texas, killing all seven astronauts just minutes before they were to glide to a landing in Florida. SCOTT LIEBERMAN AP Authorities throughout the region urged residents not to touch or even approach the debris. It could contain hazardous material, experts said, and it could carry vital clues to the cause of Columbia’s demise. Early today, recovery crews were still conducting the grim, agonizing search for human remains. NASA engineers and managers launched the first phase of a painstaking search for the cause. Early speculation centered on an explosion caused by a structural defect or the possibility that crucial, heat-protecting tiles on the shuttle’s left wing were damaged when they were struck by a piece of fuel-tank insulation during blastoff. NASA engineers concluded during the flight that any damage to the wing was minor and posed no safety hazard — an assertion certain to be tested during a probe that NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe promised would be complete and vigorous. Flags were lowered to half-staff at the White House, the Capitol, the Kennedy Space Center in Central Florida, the Johnson Space Center near Houston and at countless other locations around the nation. At the Kennedy Space Center, spouses and children of the astronauts were gathered from the landing strip after the accident and taken to a secluded location. A NASA official said they were “bearing up under the grief.” In addition to Anderson, who grew up on military bases and was black, and Husband, a former test pilot, also aboard Columbia were: Co-pilot William McCool, 41, a Navy commander; mission specialists David Brown, 46, a Navy captain; Kalpana Chawla, 41, who was born in India; Laurel Clark, 41, a flight surgeon, and Ilan Ramon, 48, a colonel in Israel’s air force. All but Brown were married. Ramon had four children, McCool had three, Anderson had two, Husband had two and Clark had one. Ramon, McCool, Brown and Clark were space rookies. Before the 16-day scientific flight, Ramon spoke evocatively about the symbolic nature of his assignment — and its meaning to his people. Though a secular Jew, he planned to observe the Sabbath, when possible, and eat kosher food aboard the shuttle. He called it an “act of solidarity with Jewish tradition.” “I was born in Israel,” said Ramon, “and I’m kind of the proof for the whole Israeli people that whatever we fought for and we’ve been going through in the last century — or maybe in the last 2,000 years – is becoming true.” (Above) In this image from television on Feb. 1, 2003, NASA mission control in Houston, Texas, wait to hear from the space shuttle Columbia. Space shuttle Columbia disintegrated in flames over Texas minutes before it was to land in Florida. TV video showed what appeared to be falling debris, as NASA declared an emergency and warned residents to beware of falling objects. Clark, another rookie, echoed his words. “This is my first flight and I’m very excited,” she said before liftoff. “I can’t wait to look down on our planet from space.” The oldest shuttle in the fleet, Columbia was inaugurated in flight on April 12, 1981. This was its 28th trip to space. It was supposed to land at the Kennedy Space Center at 9:16 a.m. EST. NASA reported shortly after 9 a.m. that it had lost contact with the returning spaceship. At Mission Control near Houston, flight controllers stared solemnly at their computers. The shuttle and crew were over north-central Texas at that time, according to NASA. “It kind of sounded like something hit the top of our house, almost,” said Courtenay Hanson, 34, who lives north of Dallas. “We were sitting at the kitchen table, and the house rumbled. The windows rumbled.” They walked outside a few minutes later. “We could see two white streaks,” she said. “We watched them go from over our house out into the horizon.” Courtenay’s 4-year-old daughter, Caitlin, watched the streaks and asked what had happened. “We just said that there was an accident with a space shuttle,” Hanson said. “She just asked if people got hurt. We said, ‘Yeah, they did.’ She asked if they went to Heaven. We said, ‘Yeah, they did.’ ” Despite the assurances of government officials, suspicions of terrorism or sabotage were likely to be aroused because of the presence onboard of Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut. Ramon’s father, Eliezer Wolferman, was watching the landing at an Israeli television studio. At first, Wolferman expressed hope that what they were seeing was “just a little mistake.” When he and broadcasters learned about the shuttle, the cameras panned away, respecting the man’s privacy. Back in the United States, the loss of Columbia and its crew jolted a nation still mourning the losses of Sept. 11, 2001, a nation still anxious, a nation still on high alert. In Viera, about 30 miles south of the Kennedy Space Center, Brad Bettin of Melbourne stood outside a Wendy’s at lunchtime. He noticed a flag outside, and he slowly lowered it to half staff. “I just stopped to get my son food, saw this and it didn’t belong up,” he said. With the shuttle likely to be grounded for a lengthy period, the fate of the already controversial space station was in serious doubt. Costing taxpayers $52.7 billion and scheduled to take more than six years, the space station is the most ambitious U.S. space project since the Apollo moon landing. Its construction requires dozens of shuttle flights. SPACE STATION The current occupants of that station — NASA astronauts Ken Bowersox and Don Pettit and Russian Nikolai Budarin — can return to earth aboard Russian spacecraft. The quasi-independent Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel and other experts have been warning NASA for years about the dangers of an aging shuttle fleet and the need for safety upgrades that have been delayed because of a lack of funds. In the recent past, then-NASA Administrator Dan Goldin had been candid about the inherent hazards of space flight. “When you go into space,” he said, “you risk your life.” The post 15 years ago today — The Loss of Columbia appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  28. When building my Balsa USA Fokker Triplane, I switched from the included fiberglass cowling to one made from aluminum for some improved scale appearance, I replaced the one that comes with the kit with the Arizona Model Aircrafters aluminum cowl. Start by installing the engine in your fuselage so you can center the face plate on the cowling. Tape the face plate to the front of the cowling and measure the distance from the center prop-hub opening to the outer edges of the cowling ring. It should be equal in all dimensions top, bottom, and sides. Mark the location on the face plate, and remove it from the outside and tape it to the inside of the cowl. Use your hash marks to set it in the correct position. For my engine, The Zenoah GT-80 I had to enlarge the prop-hub opening so I used a half-round file and held the face plate in a vice. Remove the mufflers and then slip the cowling into place. Tape the cowling into place with the opening centered around the engine’s prop hub. Double check the cowling’s position and then mark the lower corners of the fuselage where it meets the aft edge of the engine cowl. Transfer the corner marks to the inside surface of the engine cowling along the aft edge. The cowling comes with a “Cut Template” and it is used to remove the bottom portion of the cowl ring. There is a side of the pie shaped template that has an arrow printed on as shown above. This should be aligned with the cowl’s aft edge. With the template taped to the inside of the engine cowl, trace the cut line onto the inside edge cowling using the template. It should end with the bottom point resting on the corner of the faceplate. Before cutting the cowling’s opening, use small button head sheet metal screws to attach the face plate. It is easier to do this while the cowling is still in one piece. after the cowl is cut, it will spring open and it’s diameter will change slightly throwing off the face plate’s positioning. I use screws from Micro Fasteners Here the cowling has been reinstalled to again check the position of the face plate. Remove the face plate, use a Dremel Moto-Tool and a cut-off disc to cut away the bottom portion of the cowling ring. Sand and file the cut edges smooth and position the cowl on the fuselage to check the bottom corner alignment. To add strength to the fuselage face, I added a lite-ply doubler ring as shown above. This is what the attachment blcoks (there are 7,) will be glued to. Note that the middle wing alignment dowel has to clear the inside edge. Before gluing the blocks into place, drill the holes in the center of the blocks and install the blind nuts as shown. Also, I sanded a very slight radius on the outer face of the block to match the curve of the cowling. I used ZAP CA Gel adhesive. Also, later the blocks will be cross-drilled and round wooden toothpicks will be used to strengthen the glue bond to the fuselage face/doubler ring. Before drilling the holes for the attachment bolts, be sure to check the cowl positioning and draw reference lines on the fuselage to make sure the cowl remains straight. Reattach the face place . All the screws should match up to the holes and when all tightened into place, they will pull the cowling back into shape. Check the fit of the cowling to the fuselage again. Make sure the bottom corners line up with the fuselage and the bottom of the faceplate is level. When the cowling and faceplate are joined, the stress of the cowl ring with the bottom section removed causes the faceplate to bow outward. this is fixed by gluing a 1/4-inch carbon fiber tube to the inside edge of the faceplate. To add some stiffness to the bottom edge of the faceplate, I also bend a curf into the bottom edge, and the CF tube will rest in the backside of this bend. Here you see the CF tube glued into place with JB-Weld epoxy. Be sure to clean and sand the surfaces to make a strong bond. Use more JB-Weld to glue and seal the face plate to the cowl ring. Also clip the screws down with a pair of wire cutters. Let the JB-Weld cure overnight. Measure the position of the hole in the top block and transfer to the cowling then drill a pilot hole. Enlarge the hole to fit your screw (I use a 4-40 hex-head bolt with washer) and secure the cowling by snugging the screw into place. Do the same for the two lower screws and snug them bolts into place. Finally install the 4 side screws and snug into place. There are a total of 7 cowling attachment screws. There you have it. A nice aluminum engine cowling in true Fokker Triplane fashion center and secured to the fuselage. The job takes a little time, but the end result is much better than using the weak, non-scale fiberglass cowling that comes with the kit. All that’s left to do is clean and paint the cowling. The post Working with Aluminum Engine Cowlings appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
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