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JShumate

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  1. When it comes to really looking scale, it’s in the details that we make the most progress in giving our model’s that “used” look. For my 1/3-scale Fokker Triplane, I wanted to bring a better scale look to the front end so I installed a resin cast Oberusel rotary engine available from Nick Ziroli Plans. This is basically a German built copy of the LeRhone engine. This 1/3-scale kit includes the front of the engine as well as four cylinder back halves as well as induction intake pipes, cylinder heads and valve rocker details all resin casted in white. Overall this kit is nicely detailed with lots to look at but it does need to be painted before installing it in your airplane. Being 33% scale it fits all sorts of Fokker designs including Glenn Torrance Models, Ron Weiss and Balsa USA kits. Prep work After removing the engine cowling, I placed the main engine piece over the Zenoah GT-80 to check the fit. It fits nicely over the front housing and propeller hub, and I added some stick on foam str*ps to make a snug fit. I also painted the bottom of the engine compartment area black to add some depth behind the engine. As with all resin cast parts, before you can paint the engine, you have to wash all the parts in warm soapy water. I used dish detergent in an old p*t and an worn out toothbrush to really give it a good scrubbing. If you do not do this important step, your paint will easily chip and peel off. Be sure to really get into all the nooks and crannies with a good scrubbing to remove any mold release material that may still be on the parts. After washing the parts I use a covering heat gun and speed the drying process. Now is a good time to also remove any rough edges and flashing left over from molding the parts. Fine sandpaper and a sharp X-Acto blade does a good job. To get a good glue joint between the parts, I sand the parts with a belt-sander to produce a smooth flat surface between any mating parts. This includes the front and backs of the cylinders, and the tops of the cylinders and the cylinder heads. For this project, I used the new ZAP “Brush-On” CA adhesive and applied the glue with the built-in brush applicator. It is very easy to apply a nice thin layer and avoid drips and excess adhesive dripping over the edges. Here the back halves have been glued in place. Some fit perfectly while others need a little trimming to produce a smooth and flat surface. It is important to match up the cooling fins on the sides of the cylinders. Once the surfaces have been sanded flat, GLue on the cylinder heads and then the rocker arm details. Medium CA works best for a good bond and for filling in seams. Once the cylinder heads have been glued in place. You have to add the induction intake tubes. You can either trim the tubes to fit between the cylinders or you can trim away a little cylinder material to produce the clearance so the tube ends can be glued flat to the backside of the engine case. A Robart grinding bit makes quick work of the job. Here you can also see the foam str*ps I added to the center opening to fit around the model’s engine. After the parts are all glued together I couldn’t help but put the engine in place and see how it would look with the cowl in place. The fit is perfect. Aging with Paint The process of making a model part look real, is to detail it layer by layer and do the same thing as is done with scale pilot figures. You start with a base coat, apply highlights and undertones and avoid solid colors. The steps are as follows. Since the back of the engine has to painted too, I start with the back and check the coverage of the base flat black paint. I used flat black primer from Krylon applied with a rattle can. Be sure to spray square to the cylinders so you get the black in between and deep into the cooling fins. Also shown here is the lifter tubes I added made from brass wire and glued to the backs of the lifter arm details. Once the back is dry, paint the front of the engine as well. be sure to cover all the parts and recesses, you don’t want to see any white. Once the base flat black undertone has dried, spray on the silver base coat. Do this at a shallow angle to the engine to minimize the amount of silver that gets in between the cooling fins, then let dry. Here’s one of my tricks so to speak. I then apply a light mist of Master Modeler “Burnishing” Aluminum over the Krylon silver. I mist onto all the smooth larger areas and then when dry, I use an old tee shirt to buff the parts to a smooth, new appearance. The is done to the engine case and the bottoms of the induction tubes. The difference is subtle but noticeable. Again, I placed the engine on the Triplane to get a feel for how the engine is starting to look. The rest of the detailing is mostly done on the lower 4 cylinders that will be visible below the cowling face plate. I now take Master Modeler flat black and thin it with mineral spirits for form a thin wash and I just paint it on and wipe it off over and over until I get the look I am after. You want it to fill recesses and seams and build up slowly with less color on the outer surfaces. This really brings out the fine details like the bold heads around the engine case and the spring details around the lifter arms. You can also add a wash of light brown to add oil residue here and there. You really can’t make a mistake. If you apply too much, just wash it away with more mineral spirits before it dries. Next since this is a German rotary engine, it differs from the LeRhone engine in that that the induction tubes were made of steel and not brass or copper. So, they heated up a lot and produced a black and worn look that I reproduce with gloss black, flat black and Rub-N-Buf silver paste. Again, no solid black paint coats. Apply thin washes and scrub the parts with your brush. Flow it on and let it dry then flow on more. In a few areas like around the neck, apply blotches of glossy black to make it look baked on. Also add more black washes around the base of the cylinder and around the bolt heads. The post Install a Scale WW1 Engine appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  2. Know as the guy who brought us “Warbird Alley”, our good buddy and all-around nice guy, P.J. Ash from Search, Arkansas, has a new project for Top Gun this year in the form of an awesome looking Soviet MiG 15 jet. P.J. will be competing in the Pro/Am Jet class. Taking three months to build, the model is from the CARF-Models composite kit, the MiG 15 will be guided by a Spektrum DX18 transmitter with all Spektrum equipment onboard, and will be powered with a Kingtech K-100 turbine engine. The scale retracts are upgraded Down and Locked units with full gear door operation and the c*ckpit is fully detailed with parts from iflytallies.com. The pilot is from Warbirdpilots.com. P.J. went the added step and added an amazingly realistic highly weathered finish using Tamiya paints. J.J. applied the paint over a silver finish and then used tape to lift the paint off in spots to show the under-color making the MiG 15 look weather worn and heavily used. Scale Nomenclature markings are from Tailormade.com. The post Road to Top Gun: Soviet MiG 15 Jet Fighter appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  3. Now here’s a great-sounding engine! Detlef k*nkel designed and made this four-cylinder, V-construction four-str*ke with a transmission reduction of 1.7. The 220cc engine’s shaft power is 25hp max. Intended for ... Continue reading ... Join our premium membership! The post Homemade Big-Block 220cc V4 Powerhouse appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  4. Recently, Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, (founded by Paul G. Allen), successfully completed the first flight of the world’s largest all-composite aircraft on April 13, 2019. With a dual fuselage design and a wingspan greater than the length of a football field, the Stratolaunch aircraft took flight at 0658 PDT from the Mojave Air and Space Port. Achieving a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour, the plane flew for 2.5 hours over the Mojave Desert at altitudes up to 17,000 feet. As part of the initial flight, the pilots evaluated the aircraft’s performance and handling qualities before landing successfully back at the Mojave Air and Space Port. “What a fantastic first flight,” said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch. “Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground launched systems. We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today’s flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman’s Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port.” The test team conducted standard aircraft t*sting exercises performing a variety of flight control maneuvers to calibrate speed and test flight control systems, including roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips. They also conducted simulated landing approach exercises at a max altitude of 15,000 feet mean sea level. The Stratolaunch aircraft is a mobile launch platform that will enable airline-style access to space that is convenient, affordable and routine. The reinforced center wing can support multiple launch vehicles, weighing up to a total of 500,000 pounds. “We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today’s historic achievement,” said Jody Allen, Chair of Vulcan Inc., and Trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust. “The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and we congratulate everyone involved.” The post World’s Largest Plane Makes First Flight appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  5. Model Airplane News readers are an innovative bunch, and they’re always coming up with ways to make their models better while saving time and money. Here are two workshop secrets for ensuring secure servos, every time. Share your own techniques for securing servos in the comment section! Secure servo connections When you install servos in a wing or fuselage and use long servo extension leads, the connector between the two can come lose during flight due to vibration! A simple safeguard is to slip a length of heat-shrink tubing over the connectors and apply heat with a hot air covering gun. This will make a secure connection that’s easy to remove with a sharp X-Acto knife later on. Servo Tape Tips When you use double-side foam servo tape (like 3M attachment tape), always clean the servo case with some rubbing alcohol and then apply some clear tape to the case before applying the foam tape. For a proper bond, make sure the surface you stick the servo to is also clean. If your servo case is d*rty and has left-over foam tape adhesive in it, be sure to clean it before reinstalling the servo. “Crayon Away” (available at Wal-Mart) works great for removing that leftover tape residue. The post RC Workshop Tip: Secure Servos appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  6. With so many great-looking scale model ARFs to choose from today, one of the neatest ways you can make your particular Pitts Special or P-51 Mustang stand apart from the rest is to install a great-looking instrument panel for your pilot figure to look at. (You did install a scale pilot figure, didn’t you?) There’s som*thing special about a model with added c*ckpit details, and everyone always takes a peek inside. Top Flite T-34 Mentor with full c*ckpit detail. To do a really good job of outfitting the front office, do a little research first to find out which types of instruments are appropriate for your model. Piper Cubs with wooden props would not have manifold-pressure gauges, and an F-86 Sabre Jet wouldn’t have a magneto switch. Some instruments have their bezels inset and flush with the panel, while others have the entire instrument face and the mounting flanges installed on the outside of the panel. You get the idea. Decide how much detail you want to add. Sometimes, all you’ll have room for is an instrument panel and a pilot b*st. But if you have sufficient space, you can extend it to a half- or full-depth c*ckpit. This way, you can add side panels, a pilot seat, a control stick and rudder pedals. The amount of detail is up to you. Here are five great ways to add the magical details that will bring any model to life. 1: WOOD INSTRUMENT PANELS A homemade wooden panel for a 1/4-scale Pietenpol Air Camper. For vintage, open-c*ckpit airplanes, make your panel out of thin plywood layers. Cut the main back panel out of lite-ply or aircraft plywood, add a front faceplate with the instrument holes cut in it, add some photos of the instruments, and sandwich the entire assembly together with a thin sheet of acetate over the instruments to represent the glass plates. Stain and varnish the wood; then add some small scr*ws to complete the look. 2: PHOTO READY For an enclosed c*ckpit, bringing life to the model is as easy as installing a scale pilot b*st. There are dozens available so pick one that’s appropriate for your aircraft. And for som*thing for him to look at, add a simple photograph of an instrument panel. Take a photo of a commercial panel, or go on the Web and download an image of one. Print out the panel in the size you need on glossy, photo-quality paper. Cut the panel to shape, and glue it into place with some spray adhesive! 3: READY-MADE INSTRUMENT PANELS Ready made instrument panels are available from many sources and they add greatly to the realism of any scale, or sport scale model, kit built or ARF. The easiest way to outfit a c*ckpit is to use commercially available panels and just stick them into place. Some manufacturers offer custom-made panels for specific airplanes, but others make generic ones. You can trim them to size and make them fit a variety of different models. Separate scale instrument dial faces are also available from companies such as iflytailies.com. 4: c*ckPIT INTERIORS SE5a panels from Arizona Model Aircrafters’ kit. Top Flite T-34 Mentor c*ckpit interior kit With enough room available, you can build an entire “stage” to support the instrument panel. Some kits are available, but you can also make the parts out of bits and pieces from the workshop. Cut out pieces of heavy paper or plastic to form templates for the sides, rear bulkhead and c*ckpit floor. Tape them together to form the final layout and to see how everything will fit. You may have to trim some existing bulkheads to allow the templates to fit. Use the templates to develop the separate side panels, and work on each panel individually until it is complete. You can add kn*bs, switches and levers made of pinheads and str*ps of wire or thin aluminum. Paint each of the completed sections, and then add them to the inside of your c*ckpit area. If you are using a full-length pilot figure, make the seat and seat belts to hold him in place. 5: FINE DETAILS Above: Sopwith Camel interior kit from Arizona Model Aircrafters. Above: Super Cub cabin detail parts from E-flight. The little things add much to the realism of any c*ckpit. Designed to fit the Super Cub 25e, this kit will have your Super Cub looking compet*tion ready. Hiding the RC gear is a fringe benefit and besides, adding instrument panels and c*ckpit details is just plane fun. Give it a try, and see what a difference it makes! The post 5 Tips to Dress Up Your c*ckpit appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  7. Recently, I found out that home repair stores like Home Depot stock in their hardware section Rare-Earth magnets ideal for use as engine cowling attachment devices. They come in all sorts of sizes and types and for my ongoing workshop build-along for the Sopwith Camel, I used 1/4 inch and .47 inch diameter x 1/8 inch thick magnets. And, the best part, there are very cheap to buy, often less than $4 for a package of six or eight depending on size. The fiberglass engine cowl shown in this post comes from Fiberglass Specialties. So the first step was to make some lite ply retainer plates the magnets would fit in. I laser cut these 1×1 inch squares with the proper size holes cut in the center. The magnets are a snug fit in the holes and so a few drops of thin ZAP CA glue is all that’s needed to hold the magnets in place. They sit flush on both sides of the plates. Next use 5-minute epoxy and glue the magnetic retainer plates around the cowl ring on the fuselage as shown. Tape holds the plates in position until the epoxy has set. I placed the matching cowling retainer plates on top of the fuselage magnets and then made a plywood ring that’s a snug fit inside the cowling. I pushed the cowling and cowl ring into position with the double stack of magnetic retainers setting the proper gap distance. I then used some thick ZAP CA to tack glue the cowl ring inside the cowling. Below you can see the plywood ring tack glued in place within the fiberglass cowling. Notice the cutout area to clear the engine’s carburetor. Here you see the completed installation of the plywood cowl ring. I first CA glued in several sections of fiberglass take (2 oz. weight), and then I built up a fillet using a mixture of 15 minute Pacer Z-poxy and micro-balloons. THis thick mixture is trowelled into place with a mixing stick and smoothed into place before the mixture set up. I then applied 5 minute epoxy to the second row of magnets on the fuselage and quickly pressed the cowl and cowl plate into position using an index mark to make sure everything was lined up properly. I used tape to hold the cowl in place until the epoxy cured. About 20 minutes later, the epoxy had set long enough to all the cowling to be removed as can be seen below. I applied more 5-minute epoxy around the edges of the square plates to fill any gaps between them and the cowl ring. I also cleaned off any access epoxy from the face of the magnets with some solvent. That’s it, the strength of the .47 inch magnets is more than strong enough to hold the cowl in place even with the engine running at full power. All that’s now left is to clean off the engine cowl, paint it and finish off the rest of the Camel’s build. Give rare earth magnets a try. They are a great way to hold model parts together and eliminate those u*ly scr*w heads in your next scale project. As a side note, I also use size 1/4 inch x 1/8 inch thick magnets to hold the main hatch cover (canopy and machine gun h*mp), in place. The post Magnetic Engine Cowl Attachment appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  8. Here’s another great project from veteran model builder Rick Michelena. This time, Rick does some fun ARF math: P-51 + P-51 = F-82! He writes: The great element of RC modeling is this: using your imagination allows for any subject to be modeled. Over the past 30 years, I have witnessed the tremendous change that has occurred in our hobby with the introduction of foreign-made ARFs. In fact, when one club member showed up with a Giant Scale Planes .40 sized Mustang ARF, I immediately thought about turning this into som*thing rather unique. Here is my process for turning two .40 ARFs into an IMAA big bird. I ordered two of these .40 sized Mustangs from Giant Scale Planes. These birds have painted fiberglass fuselages and are available online for only $99. This photo shows the pre-painted fiberglass fuselages. These will make a great platform for my new multi-engine IMAA legal F-82 twin Mustang. I have placed the two fuselages on my saw horses. As far as dimensions, the original wing span is 53″. However, the IMAA rules for a monoplane is 80″. Therefore, I am going to slightly cheat on these dimensions by cutting my own foam wing. As an aside, the stock wings come covered in painted iron-on material. In South Texas, iron-on finishes tend to wrinkle in the summer heat. Therefore, my collection of giant scale warbirds consists of models I have built, fiberglassed, and painted. Since I will not use these wing panels, I have donated them to another club member. I have been cutting foam wings for 30 years and have all the equipment to do this. Therefore, I have cut two outboard wing panels for my “stand-off” F-82 twin Mustang. I also have cut a foam center section. I made 3/32″ balsa wing skins and attached them with “foam safe” contact cement. I then attached 1/2″ balsa str*ps for the leading edge. I used yellow carpenter’s wood glue and taped the balsa planks in place until the glue cured. The core on the bottom shows the balsa plank attached to the leading edge. The wing core on top shows the leading edge after shaping. I ordered a set of Century Jet .60 sized retracts and made gear mounts in the foam core center section which I had built earlier. As you can see, I used wing dowels in the front of the fuselage, and I used a single 1/4-20 metal bolt on the rear of each fuselage. I also made a single center flap that is attached with four Du-Bro giant scale hinges. This is the top of my center section. When I designed the wing core, I made channels in the wing so that I could route my wires and retract lines. Here is a tip. While this wire looks like FUTABA wiring, it is really 20 gauge security cable. I have a friend who owns the biggest home security business in town, and while watching him work one day, I noticed the wire he was using. It comes as a shielded “four conductor” wire. Therefore, I simply str*p the covering, remove the green conductor wire, and insert the other three wires into my drill, twisting them together. As a result, I have all the servo wire I need. I simply solder my servo leads to this wire during final assembly. I could not use any of the tail feathers included in the kit. Therefore, I simply cut another foam core and made some attachment points. Remember that the fuselages will be fixed eventually at a given distance on the center section. Therefore, the horizontal stabilizer will be held in place by pins and bolts. Here is how my “stand-off” F-82 twin Mustang now sits on my saw horses. I will be using Thunder Tiger PRO.46 ABCs in this project. Therefore, considering that I will be using 10 X 6 propellers, I chose to make the center section 24″ long. This means the distance between the propeller tips will be 4″. The outboard panels are now 28″, thus providing a total wingspan of 80″ which is the IMAA legal requirement. As you can see in the frame-up photo, this “stand off” F-82 doesn’t look bad. However, it is now time for filling, sanding, fiber-glassing, primering, painting, and detail riveting. I will save those details for another time and possible future article because I have many secrets to share. Here is my finished product. I increased the outboard panels to make this project IMAA legal. In fact, the increased wing area makes it easier to fly. I had a great time building this model. Therefore, I am thinking about ordering a Top Flite Giant Scale Mustang in the ARC version. I will order one additional fuselage and build my own center section while using the kit’s left and right wing panels. Yes, flying RC models is a great hobby. However, I also enjoy owning airplanes that are quite uncommon at the field. By developing building skills, your next dream RC project is only limited by the effort you are willing to put forth. The post Turn Two Mustangs into an F-82 appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  9. Definitely considered an “Influencer” today, Frank Tiano is world famous for his many amazing RC events which he hosts at Paradise Field in Lakeland, FL. Of course his first ever serious event is, and has continued to be, the Top Gun Scale Invitations. Having just celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018, Frank has redefined how scale events are run and has set a very high standard for excellence. We chatted with Frank recently and asked him about his involvement in the RC hobby and industry. Here’s what he had to say. MAN: As the man who gave us Top Gun, can you give us a short version of how you pull such a major and important event together? FT: Well, the event relies on several factors to be a success. Of these many factors, not one is any more important than the others because they must all work together to contribute to Top Gun being the most colorful, exciting and the largest Scale event in the World today. Those components include lots of Sponsorship, (the kind that writes a check), a great Model Club with dedicated volunteers, (currently, The Imperial RC Club in Lakeland), intense media coverage, schooled and knowledgeable judges, and great coordination. Top Gun is a business as well as a fun event. Its budget approaches $100,000 and there is an extensive payroll, prize money and costly rental fees. By learning from past mistakes and aligning ourselves with the right kinds of companies and people, we get a lot of bang for our buck, which hopefully, will ultimately produce a successful event. MAN: What do you see as the most important issues for the future of RC (scale or otherwise)? FT: That’s easy. We simply cannot allow one or two companies to be in control of the entire industry. When that happens, it stifles new developments. If a new item becomes available but the large distributors have so much control that they refuse to allow that product to become available to the public, it suppresses some growth. I think that is a shame that there are principals in this industry that cannot see eye to eye. I have never seen an industry where competitors actually “hate” each other. If they would swallow their “freeking” egos they could do a lot for the growth of the sport. By combining their resources, they could start channeling their efforts in a different way and perhaps be very successful in educating more folks, especially younger ones, and turn them into true hobbyists. MAN: With your involvement in RC scale, Zap and the RC industry in general, what’s the driving force or motivator that keeps you excited about the hobby. FT: That’s an easy one! I love life and I love some of the finer things it has to offer. I’m not a sailboat or yacht guy, don’t own a full scale airplane and don’t have multiple homes throughout the country or abroad. What I do enjoy is the ability and freedom to take a mini vacation once in awhile, go to nice places for lunch or dinner and purchase what I need for my hobby. Being able to do this keeps me excited, but only because it all revolves around model aviation! When I started in this business, over 30 years ago, there was som*thing like 6,000 serious hobby shops large and small. Today there are less than 2000! There are many reasons for this and we, the modelers, (the ultimate purchasers), are somewhat responsible. Greed, on the part of several larger companies, is responsible for the balance. If we continue to show little or no support for our local shops, soon their numbers may be in the dozens and we just might find ourselves tripping though the puzzle aisle to find that “Made in the USA” Du-Bro fuel tank! The post Up Close with Frank Tiano appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  10. Top Gun regular Mike Grady is again competing this year with his well proven, Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress in the Unlimited class. David Payne will again be the bomber pilot. Mike’s B-17G is 1/9th and is finished in the B-17G “Nine–O-Nine” colors flown by the 323 Squadron, 91st Bomb Group and completed 140 missions without a single abort or loss of a crewman. Mike built the model from the WingSpan Models kit and it has a wingspan of 138 inches. The fuselage is 99 inches long and the model weighs 68 pounds ready for flight. Four Hacker A 60 motors and speed controls , powered by four Thunder Power 7700mAh 4S LiPo packs power the aircraft. The batteries are configured in two 8S circuits. Each circuit draws about 5500 watts at full throttle, using Master Airscr*w 16X10 three-bladed propellers. Robart struts, wheels and brakes are used. To aid ground handling, differential breaking is used to correct yaw at taxi speeds. They are operated by BVM electric brakes. The full-size bomber was flown by the 323 Bomber Squadron, 91st bomb group and entered service in February of 1944. By April 1945 it had completed 140 missions, including 18 trips to Berlin, dropping over a half million pounds of bombs, racking up some 1,129 combat hours. The crew completed 140 missions without a single abort or loss of a crewman. The model is finished in silver catalyzed urethane, covered with about 250,000 Pro Mark dry transfer rivets and fasteners and painted with Model Master enamel. The painted finish is wet sanded and tape pulled to add weathering and rivet detail. Pro Mark insignias and nomenclature detail are added after the painting. Mike chose Spektrum radio gear and JR servos. A Spektrum DX-20 has recently been added along with an IGyro for flight stabilization. The post Road to Top Gun: B-17 Nine-O-Nine appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  11. Some will say that the longevity and popularity of any event lies in its ability to adapt to a dynamic environment, expand to accommodate change and welcome participation from new sources. Event originator and promoter, Frank Tiano, seems to have accomplished these objectives with his event that passed it 30th continuous year in 2018. The Top Gun Scale Invitational remains unique and enjoys a worldwide reputation for bringing the best scale RC competitors together for an intense compet*tion with the victor being crowned “Mr. Top Gun.” (Opening photo) In 1989 Mr. Top Gun #1 was Bob Fiorenze, who competed with a F/A-18 Hornet built from a Yellow Aircraft kit. 2018 Mr. Top Gun j*ck Diaz This title has been bestowed upon a small number of outstanding modelers/fliers who clearly have what it takes to earn the honor. Some of them are so motivated, talented, and persevering that they’ve earned it multiple times. Guys like Terry Nitsch, David Hayes, Charlie Chambers, Dave Wigley, Bob Violett , Jeff Foley and j*ck Diaz have scored multiple wins and bested all challengers. Mr. Top Gun Winner List 1989 Bob Fiorenze F/A-18 Hornet (Yellow Aircraft kit) 1990 Ron Gilman Expert F-86 Sabre Jet (BVM kit) 1991 Mel Whitley Expert Hawker Sea Fury (Scratch built) 1992 Charlie Nelson Expert Waco VKS7F (Scratch built) 1993 Corvin Miller Expert Globe Swift (Scratch built) 1994-1996 Terry Nitsch Expert F-86 Sabre Jet (BVM Kit) 1997-1998 Charlie Chambers Expert P-61 Black Widow (Don Smith Plans) 1999 Terry Nitsch Expert F-80C Shooting Star (BVM Kit) 2000 Jeff Foley Designer Bf-109E (Original design) 2001 Terry Nitsch Expert Rafale B-01 (BVM kit) 2002 Bob Violett Designer F-100F Super Sabre (Prototype BVM kit) 2003 Jeff Foley Master Bf-109E (Original design) 2004 Terry Nitsch Expert F-100F Super Sabre (BVM Kit) 2005 Greg Hahn Expert B-25D Mitchell (Enlarged Ziroli Plans) 2006 Bob Violett Masters F-86 Sabre Jet (Prototype BVM kit) 2007 David Ribbe Masters MiG-15 (Prototype BMV kit) 2008-2009 David Hayes Masters Rockwell Thrush own design 2010- 2013 Dave Wigley Masters Bristol Beaufighter own design 2014 David Ribbe Masters MiG-15bis own design 2015 j*ck Diaz Expert Fouga Magister Avonds kit 2016 Peter Goldsmith Expert F-104 Airworld kit 2017 j*ck Diaz Expert Fouga Magister Avonds kit 18 j*ck Diaz Expert Fouga Magister Avonds kit Where Does Top Gun Go From Here? After an amazing 30 years, what will Top Gun look like in another 10 years? That’s really tough to say; it’s hard to imagine the models getting more sophisticated or the level of prefabrication improving enough to make a huge difference. Since the rules require that the model be of a man-carrying aircraft that pretty much rules out anything newer generation warbirds than the F-22 and F-35 as subjects. That pretty much ensures that the existing line of choices of model subjects will remain pretty much as it is. Of course, there are gains to be made in the area of electronics and accessories such as c*ckpits and markings, but we’ve pretty much covered those bases by now and whatever improvements to be realized are likely to be minimal. It’s conceivable that the entire event could be held on-line with the competitors participating from home via data links or other means. Programmed flight plans could be easily developed and employed, creating yet another component to be purchased rather than “built.” Eventually, the actual model airframe may become a very secondary issue to the compet*tion! Regardless of the path, Frank Tiano will undoubtedly make the necessary corrections to ensure that his “baby” will further mature and adapt the modeling climate to provide the compet*tive and entertainment value on which its reputation is based. Will this great event continue to grow, enjoy that reputation for bringing the best of the best together and field some of the most spectacular RC scale models to be seen anywhere? That’s a great question as certainly, it’s earned it! Will it remain as we see it today? Those questions can only be answered by Frank Tiano who, in fact, was asked at this year’s banquet. He looked around the packed room and solemnly responded, ”Right now, I don’t have an answer.” There are valid arguments on both sides of the issue but Frank will make the decision on the event’s future after looking at everything; he’s that kind of guy, count on it. Regardless of which way it goes, a lot of RC scale modelers around the world owe a lot to this guy! –Rich Uravitch The post Mr. Top Gun Winners: A history of Scale Excellence appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  12. Lou Cetrangelo of Saint James, NY will again compete at Top Gun with his amazing and well built Corsair. A Ziroli design, the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair, which he will be flying in the Pro-Am Sports Propeller category. Lou loves cool engines, so a new DLA 4-cylinder engine from Goldensky RC is bolted to the firewall. It is a bit overpowered at 128cc, but it looks and sounds great turning a 26×14 3-blade carbon-fiber prop. With its optional slanted plug configuration, it fits nicely in the stock cowl. It features two ignition modules and two exhaust stacks. The fuselage and cowl are fiberglass from Ziroli Plans and Lou cut out his own wing, stab, fin, and rudder ribs using the plans as a template. The receiver is a 12-channel PowerSafe spektrum with the T1000 telemetry module. In addition to the reception of the four receivers and battery voltage it also monitors the cylinder head temperature and engine RPM. For stability he is using an iGyro with a GPS module for gain control. The receivers are a mix of Spectrum and Hitec RCD. To power the electronics I am using dual two cell 2,500mAh “No BS” A123 batteries and a 4,000mAh 2 cell LiPo for the two ignition modules. During construction Lou added a full c*ckpit with a pneumatically controlled sliding canopy. The main and tail gear doors are molded fiberglass with 3D printed inner doors for a scale appearance. The retractable tail gear is from Sierra Giant Scale and the mains are by Robart. Both are operated by air as well as all the gear doors. The plane weights 46 pounds but it flies very well. Lou is using a 3-blade semi-scale carbon fiber Biela 26×14 prop. Lou says he must have over a hundred flghts on the Corsair. One of the best parts of flying the Corsair is its very distinctive sound at near full power. The Ziroli fiberglass fuselage comes with a separate tail section that is attached later on in the construction, and it made working on the Corsair a bit easier. Lou cut slots in the elevator and stabilizer for scale hinging and used a length of music wire with an internal control horn for control. He also fabricated two elevator horns from G10 fiberglass material attached to an aluminum rod for internal control. Though a wing kit is available, Lou cut out all the parts himself with a band saw and scroll saw. The tail gear is from Sierra Giant Scale, and Lou’s Spektrum DX18 built-in sequencer feature will be used to operate the landing gear and gear doors. He installed a separate air valve for each gear and door as well as for a functional sliding canopy. For increased scale detailing, Lou made up framework parts for the inside of the landing-gear doors using 3D printing from shapeways.com. Klass Kote epoxy paint and clearcoat was used for the finish, and the total weight of the Corsair is 40.5 pounds. The post Road to Top Gun: FG-1D Corsair appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  13. When it comes to firing up gas or glow model-airplane engines, safety always comes first. That’s why Model Airplane News editors always recommend that you secure your airplane first and then use an electric engine starter to fire up your model airplane’s engine. A high-quality tail restraint and a powerful engine starter are both at the top of the list of essential field equipment. [SPONSORED CONTENT] FIVE SAFETY POINTS FOR STARTING YOUR ENGINE ONE. Use a positive restraint to prevent the airplane from moving forward once the engine starts. The Tail Anchor from Sullivan Products does a great job of holding your airplane in place. It has a long sp*ke that you drive into the ground, and two padded tail restraints that brace the model at the front of the stabilizer. These restraints are easy to disengage and lay flat on the ground when you are ready to taxi to the runway. TWO. Even though you are using an electric starter, don’t try to start your plane’s engine by yourself. Have a friend secure the model before you engage your starter. You’ll have to push the starter cone firmly onto the model’s spinner or prop hub, and if your model is only secured with a restraint, it can lunge forward when the engine starts up. Also, with one hand on your plane and another holding your starter, it is difficult to get to your radio’s throttle stick should you have to quickly adjust the idle. THREE. Hold your starter straight and aligned with the engine’s centerline. If you hold the starter at an angle to the spinner, the cone can “walk off” to one side. If you are applying a lot of forward force, you can damage the model or the propeller, and at the very least, the rubber insert will come out of the starter’s aluminum cone. FOUR. When you set up your model at the flightline, position your starter battery and the power cord so that they are clear of the model’s propeller. If you typically hold the starter with your right hand, have the power cord come straight back and around you, with the battery behind and to the left of you. FIVE. Always use a fully charged starter battery, and make sure that the clips connecting to your battery (or power panel) are properly secured so that they deliver the most power to the starter. If your starter and battery cannot easily start your engine, avoid the temptation to have someone reach in to help swing the propeller. This is dangerous and defeats the purpose of using the starter. Using these few tips will minimize the chances of damaging your model and will maximize your engine-starting efforts, all while keeping you safe during the process. Be sure to always clean your starter; don’t just leave it on the ground where it will get d*rty. Have a space for it in your field box, and treat it with respect. Replace worn-out starter-cone inserts with new ones as old ones will slip and won’t deliver all the torque produced by the starter motor. Worn inserts also tend to slip out of place, leading to damaged propellers or models. SULLIVAN STARTERS A PERFECT MATCH FOR YOUR ENGINE THE MEGATRON STARTER This two-f*sted starter is designed to handle engines up to 5ci (80cc) depending on the engine’s condition and compression ratio. It has two steel handles and steel endplates, and features a big 3-inch aluminum cone with a durable silicone rubber insert. It can operate on 12V or 24V and has a maximum of 100 amps. The torque output is 600 oz.-in. at 12V and 1,200 oz.-in. at 24V. VALIDUS GRS PROFESSIONAL ENGINE STARTER The Validus GRS is Sullivan Products’ biggest engine starter yet. Meant for the professional pilot who needs a starter that can handle the really large engines (up to 350cc), it features a 3-inch aluminum nose cone, a tough silicone insert, and heavy-duty 6-gauge wire with standard battery-post connections. And it is comfortable to hold, with double hand grips molded to fit the shape of your hand. With 1.75hp, the Validus provides huge starting power. Stall torque is 225 in.-oz., and it has a maximum amp draw of 600. Priced a $479.80, this is the mother of all electric starters. THE HORNET STARTER This handy little starter really packs a punch. For small airplane engines up to .15 size, it has a high-rpm motor, a heavy-duty bronze switch, and a reversible silicone drive adapter. HI-TORK & DELUXE – HI-TORK STARTERS These original standard Sullivan starters are suitable for most sport engines, and are capable of starting large two-str*ke engines up to .60 size and many 1.20-size four-str*ke engines. THE DYNATRON STARTER Regarded by many RC modelers as the gold standard, this starter is a field-box essential. It has amazing starting power and can handle most engines up to 2.4ci (40cc). The post Safe Starts: Maximize your field time appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  14. From our good friend and long time MAN contributor Pat Tritle, this DIY construction project is for his WACO Model-SRE biplane. Intended as a sport scale lightly loaded flier, the WACO has traditional built-up wood construction, and, Pat offers last cut parts and formed plastic parts are also available to make the build just a bit easier. The model is built to 1:10 scale with a top wing span of 41.5-inches. Construction is primarily of balsa in the old school stick frame style of construction. The wings are built up “egg-crate” style to simplify and speed the building process. The wingtips and tail section outlines are bowed over foam board forms to make for strong yet very light structures. Power is provided by a Suppo 2212 Outrunner motor along with 6, sub-micro servos to run the elevator, rudder, ailerons and fl*ps, and a 1300 mah 2S Lipoly battery provides flight times in excess of 15 minutes. The wings are removable for ease of transport, and the battery and radio components are accessed through a simple hatch on the bottom of the fuselage. The plans will soon be available at our www.airagestore.com website, and it will be featured in a future issue of MAN, so stay tuned for updates. The post Coming Soon! WACO Model-SRE Construction Article appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  15. You don’t often see an RC version of the Japanese Aichi D3A (called “Val” by the Allies), let alone a monster scale version. This impressive Tora Tora Tora “torped* bomber” is a real stunner and the work of Jörg Albrecht. At a massive 1/3.2-scale, the Val weighs in at 147 pound, and it has a 14.5-foot wingspan. Powered by a Valach VM R420cc, 4-str*ke, five–cylinder radial, it has power to spare. Thanks to RCGiantScalePlanes for taking this video at the Icare Airmeet. The post Giant Scale Val Takes Flight appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  16. Here are seven superb workshop tips straight from the best modelers in the world — MAN readers! Have a tip you’d like to share? Send it to MAN@airage.com (no photo or ill*stration required!). KEEP CANOPY BOLTS FROM BACKING OUT Use this m*thod to help hold on to canopies. Take an 1/8-inch-thick piece of rubber sheet, cut just a small piece to fit onto the back side of the blind nut, and carefully glue it in place with CA glue. Once it is trimmed to fit, drill a 1/16-inch-diameter hole from the front side through the rubber. When the canopy scr*w goes through the back side of the blind nut, the rubber acts like a nylon locknut. This keeps the scr*ws from backing out and getting lost, saving me time and money. SAVE ALL THOSE COVERING-FILM BACKING SHEETS Those few of us who still build from plans or kits have long known that wax paper is less than satisfactory protection of plans when gluing with CA. Here is my solution. Try using the backing sheets from your covering film. CA absolutely will not stick to this stuff. Try to save the large pieces from covering wing panels and use it to protect your plans. Save money while recycling. PHOTO c*ckPIT Tired of your drab old c*ckpit? Spruce it up with a photo. You can get pictures of aircraft c*ckpits from magazines, books, or even online. Just take a picture with your digital camera, and edit it with your photo program to the correct size and shape. Print the picture on photo paper, and cut it to fit your plane’s c*ckpit. Paint the edges with a flat color that matches the background, drop your pilot in, and you’re all set. MAKING THE CUT Straightedge rulers tend to slide when you run a knife along them to str*p balsa or make cuts in covering. To help guide your blade with more authority, try using an office supply cork-backed stainless steel ruler. The cork will grip slippery surfaces and create a straight cut on your balsa or covering. The cool thing is that the ruler will flex and follow the contour of a wing or fuselages. The cork-backed ruler can also be used for making panel lines one your plane because of its flexibility and straight edge. LETTER LINEUP Applying individual letters and number can be tedious. One way to make it easier is to first lay down a str*p of low-tack masking tape (a little longer than what you need), sticky side up. Remove the figures one at a time from their backing and lay on the tape. Use one edge of the masking tape to keep them aligned straight so all you have to worry about is the spacing between letters. Apply the masking tape in place on the model and use your fingers to apply pressure to the letters or numbers in order to stick them down on the surface. Then, just remove the masking tape. HEX-WRENCH HOLDER Keeping track of your hex wrenches or ball drivers can sometimes be a headache. You can spend some time looking for the size you need, and how would you know if one was missing? Take a short length of 2×4 and drill holes large enough to stand each driver or wrench in it. Now you can easily find the one I need, and if any are missing, you’ll know right away. The post 6 Super Shop Tips from MAN Readers appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  17. The one thing you can truly count on while attending the Old Rhinebeck RC Jamboree in New York, is that you are going to see some beautiful WW1 Biplanes. Such is the case with an impressive RAF SE5a Scout built and flown by Ralph Perrone of Pittsfield, MA. Ralph’s electric powered Scout was a piece of art. World War 1 planes are all that uncommon at the vintage aviation aerodrome, but such a big electric powered biplane beauty like this one is a rare treat indeed. Here’s what Ralph had to say about his impressive model. MAN: Except for the absence of a gas engine exhaust note, your SE5a is completely at home here in the traffic pattern over the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Tell us a little about your British fighter. Ralph Perrone: I started building this model a long time ago and it has been on the bench for several years. It is scratch built from William Effinger plans and uses traditional wood construction though out. MAN: What are the model’s basic numbers? What scale is it and what’s the covering m*thod? RP: The SE5a is 1/4-scale and it has an 80-inch wing span. I covered the airframe with iron-on Solartex fabric and the model is painted in a semi-scale scheme using common Krylon spray paint. The finished ready to fly weight is 19 pounds. MAN: What about your power system, how does the model perform? RP: The SE5a is powered with an AXI 5330 brushless and I use a Castle Creation HV-85 controller. The power system is fed with two PolyQuest 5000mah 6S Li-Po packs wired in series. The SE5a flies very nicely and it has no trouble keeping up with all the gas powered planes. The current draw at full throttle is only 37 amps spinning an APC 21×14 Propeller. Another advantage of using an electric power system is less vibration and absolutely no engine exhaust residue so all the model’s details are clean and easy to work with. The post Electric SE5a Scout—On Patrol over the Aerodrome appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  18. When you’re flying a stable elevator, you can perform an inside “waterfall” (micro loop) by maintaining full up-elevator, and applying full power and a little right rudder to correct for increased propwash and P-factor. On the back side of the loop, quickly cut the power and neutralize the rudder. Then, at the instant the fuselage nears level at the bottom of the loop, simultaneously add a few clicks of power and a little right rudder to keep the fuselage level and correct for P-factor. You can then either descend in an elevator or increase the throttle and exit the maneuver. The plane will barrel roll out of this stunt if you fail to enter it with the wings level. Thus, only attempt an inside waterfall when the wings are level. With experience and altitude, you’ll be able to perform several inside waterfalls while dropping out of the sky in an elevator. Waterfalls can also be entered from slow flight or while hovering into the wind. The keys to this maneuver are getting settled into a stable elevator before attempting the waterfall and coordinating the correct amount of rudder with the throttle to maintain a constant heading. Waterfalls can be enhanced with 60-degree elevator deflections and an aft CG. As a rule, however, it is a mistake to increase the elevator travel for the sake of one or two maneuvers if it ends up making everything else more difficult. This is a case where an advanced 3D pilot would use a more sophisticated radio that’s capable of a third flight mode with 60-degree elevator deflections for certain maneuvers. The post Fly the Waterfall appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  19. This 16-foot-span 747-400 gives new meaning to the phrase “jumbo jet!” In this video, Adi Pitz’s 747-400 scale model puts on a show at the Hausen Flight Day in Switzerland with pilot M. Brauer at the controls. The largest plane Adi has ever built, it has over 2,000 hours of work into it! The 747 is powered by four Hammer Engines turbines, each with a thr*st of 14kg, and it’s controlled by Weatronic radio gear. The 131-pound giant has sequenced landing gear and is 17.8-feet long. Thanks to RCHeliJet for taking this great video at the Hausen Flight Day in Switzerland. The post Jumbo Jet Flight appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  20. The new E-flite 70mm EDF F-16 provides the performance and precision of the full size jet. The post Fly like a Thunderbird! appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  21. At the recent Model Fair in Stuttgart, Germany this gigantic Airbus wowed the crowd. The biggest indoor flier we’ve seen yet, it has a 15.74-foot wingspan and weighs less than a pound. It’s the handiwork of Airstage, a company who creates RC ultralight models for the marketing and entertainment industries (the airliner is not for sale to individuals). Thanks to RC RC RC for taking this terrific video. The post Indoor Airliner: it’s a floater! appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  22. Once you get to a certain level of scale modeling, you’ll start making parts that need to be produced in multiples and, most likely, are not commercially available. This is easily dealt with by making a master part and then reproducing it with a mold and resin casting liquid. Resin casting is considered an advanced technique, but you will be surprised that it is fairly easy if you use the proper materials and techniques. Here’s how I made several 1/3-scale spark plugs for a resin-cast rotary engine. The original engine casting is available from Nick Ziroli Plans and just like all other parts of a scale model, the finer details are what make it look realistic. So the first step is to produce a master part to cast. Of course, if you want to save time and effort, the Evolution 1/4-32 spark plugs ($13) for the Evolution gas engines from Horizon Hobby are perfect for a 1/3-scale part. At the very least, it can be used as a guide for making your own less expensive copies. So I started with an old burned out O.S. #8 glow plug and turned down the unneeded threads and I drilled out the coil. This is easy to do with any small shop machine lathe. I then used a piece of acrylic plastic rod (from Michaels Craft Store), and I turned the top insulator to shape. I used a jeweler’s file and 400 grit sandpaper to smooth it and then I flipped it around in the lathe chuck and drilled out its base with a 3/32-inch drill bit so it would fit over the top of the glow plug. With a couple drops of medium ZAP CA glue, I glued the insulator to the glow plug. Looks pretty convincing to me. Now it’s time to make a silicone mold of the master part. Everything needed for making resin cast parts and silicone molds is readily available online. Check on www.Amazon.com. I prefer to use Amazing Casting Resin (www.moldputty.com), and Alumilite HS3 Silicone molding material. If you prefer to make a 2-part mold, you also need the mold release spray. For this simple technique, we’ll make a single piece mold, since the HS3 is very strong and flexible so it can really be stretched to release your part after it cures. The Base of the silicone is thick but pourable and it has to be mixed with its catalyst. You mix it 1 part catalyst to 10 parts base (by volume or weight,) with the included measuring/mixing cups. I use a digital gram scale to make the ratios precise. so for 28 grams (1 oz. of base) you would then pour in 2.8g of catalyst. The base is white and the catalyst is pink. Mix it very well so that there are no swirls of color in the mixture. To make my mold making container, I simply use a drop of thick ZAP to tack glue the master to the center of one of my mixing cups. This makes for a quick and easy setup. You could also use smooth sheet plastic and a base and glue a box around your master. Once your mold mixture is completely mixed through, gently pour it into the container. Do this with a steady stream poured in from high above. This helps eliminate bubbles in the silicone as it flows around and over your master. The silicone takes about 18 to 24 hours to fully cure, but you have about an hour before it starts to setup. Here’s a tip for saving the relatively expensive materials. Should you not mix enough silicone to cover your master completely, (you should have at least a 1/4 inch over the top of it,) you can insert objects into the container to raise the level of the silicone. AA and AAA batteries are ideal for this. But make sure what ever you use, that it does not come in contact with your master piece. Now set the mixture aside, on a level surface and let the silicone cure fully. So here you see the master part, which is easily removed from the mold after the mold has been removed from the container. Notice the container and the master are perfectly clean. Silicone only sticks to more silicone and to nothing else. Even the batteries come out easily. The casting resin is a much less critical mix. Both parts are mixed together 50:50 and you have about a minute or two to work with it. Use the included mixing cups and sticks and mix together for 30 seconds. Again mix until there are no visible swirls in the mixture. Here the resin has been mixed together and is ready to pour into the opening in the top of the silicone mold. Notice I re inserted the batteries to ensure the mold isn’t deformed before pouring in the resin. Very quickly, the resin with start to turn white as it cures. An unusual aspect of casting resin is that larger batches of it cure more quickly than smaller amounts. So, the left over material in the mixing cup will fire off in about 2 minutes. And the material in the mold will take somewhat longer to cure. This is because the chemical reaction is a thermal event, and the mixture gets hot to cause the resin to cure. The less resin, the longer it takes to cure. Here you see the resin is still clear. Time in mold, 2 minutes. After about 3 and a half minutes you see the center of the casting is starting to turn white. Here it is after 5 minutes. It is still not opaque but getting close. After about 15 minutes the casting is completely white and as you can see, if you stretch the mold, it easily separates from the inside of the mold. I use a pencil to tap the top of the casting while it is in the mold to see when it is hard. if the casting is still soft, you will leave slight indents on the outer surface of the casting. In about 20 minutes the part is hard enough to pull out of the mold. (Tech Tip) Because heat is needed to cause the resin to cure, you can speed the process by preheating the mold. This can be done by placing your mold in a 175 degree heated oven for about 10 minutes. Then the resin casted part will cure more quickly. So here is the resin casted part next to the master. As you can see it has the same smooth surface as the original part, straight out of the mold. It has the same exact details as the original part and after about a half hour, the cast part is fully hardened. You can easily drill it, cut and sand off the waste material and paint it. ZAP CA glue works great for gluing unpainted resin casted surfaces. So here is the original resin casted part I made using an actual Evolution 1/4-32 spark plug as a master. I made several reproductions using a 2-piece mold. Here’s the painted and detailed rotary engine with four spark plugs and ignition wires added. Subtle detailing is what scale RC is all about. 2-Parts Molds Two piece molds are a little more involved to make but the basic techniques is the same. For 2-part molds, I recommend HS2 silicone molding material. It is slightly less stretchy and is more suited to this type of mold. The technique requires making a molding box, (Lego Blocks work great), and then adding a 1/4 inch thick layer of modeling clay in the bottom of the box. You then press the master part into the clay so that half of it is exposed. (Above) Here’s the finished casting with the mold haves opened. Use the back of a paint brush handle to poke indents into the clay next to the part. These form keying nubs that help align the finished mold halves. After this you pour the first half of the silicone material into the box to cover the master. Once the silicone has fully cured, (24 hours,) flip the mold box over, and remove the clay. Clean off any scr*p clay from the master. Now spray on a healthy coat or two of mold release agent over the silicone mold and replace the part in the mold. Make sure to completely cover the face of the silicone mold or the second half will stick to it sealing your part inside. Now mix and pour in the second half of the mold into the box and let cure overnight. Separate the mold halves, remove the master and then, with a sharp X-Acto blade, cut in a pouring channel so you can pour in the resin. To cast a new part, tape the two mold halves together and place on a level surface with channel opening at the top. Mix and pour in your casting resin and the rest of the technique is the same as described earlier. So there you have it, Resin Casting made, easy. Give it a try. The post Resin Casting Scale Parts: Mass Production Spark Plugs appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  23. If you want to become the best aerobatic pilot possible, you need to master key maneuvers by taking small steps. First, make sure you’re proficient in performing maneuvers like inverted flight, vertical and horizontal rolls, inside and outside loops and the stall turn. You can then perform these moves in sequence to create a show-stopping routine. Let’s talk about a precision stunt called the “figure M,” which incorporates two stall turns with a little twist. Before you attempt your first “figure M,” it’s important that you’re able to perform vertical rolls, the stall turn and an outside loop. This maneuver combines elements of all three of these maneuvers, and pilot proficiency is a must for success. For the most part, precision aerobatic airplanes, which are often referred to as “pattern” or “F3A-style” airplanes, are used to perform a maneuver like the figure M. We have all heard the expression that you need the right tool for the right job. Similarly, not only do you need an aerobatic model to perform this maneuver, but you also need the proper mechanical and programming setup for your aircraft. To simplify this, I always recommend the use of a flight mode (all dual or triple rates for all control surfaces are on one switch). In the low rate condition of this flight mode, start with low rate aileron and elevator values of about 20 degrees of deflection on the aileron control surface with 35% expo and 12 degrees of elevator deflection with 35% exponential. You should then use maximum deflection on the rudder with about 65% expo. AN OVERVIEW We’ll perform this maneuver with 3/4 rolls in the same direction to the left on all vertical segments. When performing any precision maneuver, flying smoothly is essential, and all roll rates should be the same throughout this stunt. As a side note, the figure M is a “centered” maneuver and the model should be inverted and 50% complete with a 1/2 outside loop right when the model approaches the pilot’s center. Now, let’s break this maneuver into four steps: Establish a flight path that’s parallel to the runway and add full power. Then, before the model comes to the aerobatic center (where you’re standing), pull to a vertical up-line. Show a brief line segment (about two seconds long) and perform a 3/4 roll to the left. Then, show another line segment that’s equal to the first line segment. Pull the throttle back and perform a stall turn by applying full-rudder deflection. Release rudder input after the model pivots 180 degrees to establish a vertical down-line. Perform another line segment that is equal in length to the previous two and then perform a 3/4 roll to the left. After the roll, show another line segment of equal length and perform a 1/2 outside loop while increasing power to establish a vertical up line. As I mentioned earlier, the model should be inverted and the maneuver 50% complete as the airplane is directly in front of you. After the 1/2 loop has been performed and the model is tracking on a vertical up line, show another line segment of equal length. Then, perform another 3/4 roll to the left. After the roll, show another line segment of equal length and gradually pull the throttle back to perform another stall turn. Right before the model stops traveling up, apply full rudder deflection and let the model pivot 180 degrees to another vertical down line. Usually, the model will pivot more easily in one direction (mostly into the wind). Pivot the model so it will perform a stall turn and not “flop” over the top. In compet*tion aerobatics, if a stall turn isn’t done throughout this maneuver and the model “flops” over the top, a final score of a zero is given to the pilot! After the vertical down line is established, perform another line segment of equal length, another 3/4 roll to the left, the final line segment that is still equal in length to the previous line segments. Lastly, perform a 1/4 loop to a horizontal upright exit while increasing power so that the model remains at a constant flight speed. When complete, make a 180-degree turn and give this maneuver another try! Remember, practice makes perfect, especially after complex maneuvers like this one. In closing, you’ve now learned the fundamentals in performing the figure M with 3/4 rolls. Aside from knowing how to perform a given aerobatic move, spend the time to properly set up your aircraft to ensure success. For example, if your airplane is a bit sensitive when pushing on the 1/2 outside loop, try decreasing the elevator throw on that dual or triple-rate setting and/or try adding a touch more exponential. As time goes on, you’ll learn that behind every great aerobatic pilot is a well-trimmed and set-up aircraft. Until next time, patience is a virtue. Safe flying and always remember to have fun! The post Mastering the Figure M appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  24. Story by Flight Journal Editor in Chief Budd Davisson. It was 1971 and I was again at the Flying Tiger Air Museum in Paris, Texas, hiding in the back of a North American SNJ-5, for my second session of Junior Burchinal’s how-to-be-a-fighter-pilot course. If things went according to schedule, I would get another couple of hops in the SNJ and then get ready to have a go at the P-51 Mustang. Just thinking about tangling with a 1,450hp, full-fledged fighter, after the trouble I’d had with a 600-hp trainer, made my knees turn to silly-putty. I’ve dreamed my entire life about flying a Mustang, and now that I was close, I wasn’t sure whether it was a dream or a nightmare. Luckily, my first landing in the SNJ after a month’s lay-off was a no-flap “wheelie” in a crosswind, and I pasted it on with nary a wiggle. In the past, when the tail came down during the roll-out in a wheel landing, it would try to swerve, but this time I was ahead of it, nailing the rudder as needed. For some miraculous reason, all my troubles of a month ago disappeared, and the SNJ became just another airplane with a few oddball characteristics all its own. I even managed to make some decent three-points in a hard left crosswind. Junior decided to put me into the Mustang to taxi around some more and feel out its ground handling. I carefully (very carefully) added enough power to get it rolling and then found I couldn’t pull back on the power hard enough to keep it from accelerating. Even at idle power that four-bladed prop out front wanted to drag me around at 50 mph, if I’d let it. It took little stabs of brake every so often to keep it from accelerating. The tailwheel lock is controlled by the stick. With the stick in any position except full forward, the tailwheel steers about six degrees either direction, plenty for taxiways and takeoffs and landings. Push the stick hard forward and you can feel it pull the locking pin out of the tailwheel mechanism allowing it to full swivel. With the stick back, the Mustang steers not unlike a Citabria with weak tail wheel/rudder springs. It’s extremely easy to control and an absolute delight after dashing from rudder to rudder on the SNJ to keep from ending up in a ditch. The only trick is remembering to unlock the tailwheel while it’s still rolling perfectly straight. If you are in even the slightest turn and try to unlock it, it won’t go; the tailwheel will hop sideways, possibly damaging the tail post. The c*ckpit layout is not only well thought out, but is almost a duplicate of the SNJ. The left console under your arm has the fl*ps at the extreme rear. They’re set in notches of about 10 degrees apiece up to 50 degrees. It takes a bit of twisting to get your arm back there, but there is no mistaking it for the gear handle. The top of the left console has the rudder and aileron trim kn*bs and the alternate air source levers. The handbook says to use 6 degrees right rudder trim for takeoff, which was an ominous warning if I ever saw one. The elevator trim is at the left edge of the seat and the gear handle is down by your left foot. You have to pull it in and then up, and there are no weight-actuated downlocks to prevent you from accidentally bringing the gear up on the ground, so you treat that handle with respect. The throttle is a Luger-like grip affair. Just inboard of the throttle is the prop pitch control and on the very back of the quadrant, moving up and down, is the mixture control. The handbook is full of detailed operating data and fills you with despair of ever figuring out all the systems, but once in the airplane, everything seems entirely normal and logical-except for the airspeed and manifold pressure gauges. The airspeed goes up to the astronomical number of 600 mph and the top of the green arc on the manifold pressure is 61 inches! My eyes could hardly focus on those numbers! Burchinal’s Mustang is a P-51 D and is painted in the colors of Col. J.J. Christiansen of the 479th Fighter Group, 455th Fighter Squadron, Eighth Air Force, European Theater of Operations. Christiansen and his Louie IV were shot down over France in 1944, but they are well remembered. No chronicle of the Mustang is ever complete without at least one picture of the colorful Louie IV. One of the additional advantages of flying with junior Burchinal is that you are bound to be personally involved in some of the never-ending maintenance that warbirds need. This is especially important to the guy who intends to buy one and it is interesting to any redblooded warbird nut. Besides learning how to service the Mustang, checking coolant, oil, leaks, and so forth, junior fills you in on all the little details that are nice to know if you want to operate a warbird. As it was bound to, the big day finally arrived. Today I was going to launch in the Mustang. Since there’s only one set of controls in the Mustang, you only get one go at it, and it had better be good. All that Junior can do is explain procedures thoroughly and have you ride around in the back for a while getting a feel of it, and then let you go. He put me in the back and we went out to see how the aircraft does certain things. We did stalls and torque rolls, none of which really helped me because I was just a passenger and I couldn’t appreciate what was necessary to keep things under control. He did impress me by slowing to 100 mph and adding power until he was out of right rudder and the airplane was still slewing left. The Mustang has a power-on Vmc just like a twin-engine airplane, but it only has one engine. With a lot of power, it takes speed to make the rudder effective enough to overcome torque and P-factor. We headed for c*x Field, Burchinal’s practice airport, and I knew things were getting close. He shot a couple of landings with me perched on his shoulder like a gremlin, trying to learn as much as I could secondhand. He even had me reach around him and make turns with ailerons only so that control effectiveness wouldn’t come as a surprise when I made my first flight. He talked to me-correction, yelled to me-all the way through his approaches trying to tell me what was happening. He flew the approaches exactly as we had in the SNJ except that the numbers were much faster. Then it happened. He pulled over to the side, climbed out, and said go fly it—just as if he were soloing a kid in a Cherokee. He said som*thing about me doing fine, but I couldn’t be sure because my heartbeat drowned him and the Merlin out completely. Actually, I was quite calm, all things considered. We had talked, and trained, and flown, aiming everything at this moment, and I felt prepared. The Mustang taxied easily into position, squarely between the two white centerlines. Prop forward, fl*ps up, boost on, tank on right. A thousand hangar tales raced through my mind at one time—maybe I was a little scared. Torque rolls, screaming swerves, 1,450 horsepower. I once again noticed where the horizon split the spinner for future reference, and started moving the throttle slowly forward. I really didn’t mean to start the takeoff roll, but I couldn’t think of anything else to check. I was out of excuses and eager to fly. Visibility was excellent and I began feeding power in more rapidly because I was eating up runway like crazy. More left arm, more power, more noise. Anything you hear about a Mustang’s c*ckpit noise can be believed. It ceased to be sound and became a pressure, forcing against my eardrums. My right foot nervously twitched at the right rudder, coiled, wired, positively aching to trounce the rudder to the floor the minute the long skinny snoot started swerving, as I knew it must. Thirty inches, thirty-five inches, forty inches. My right arm tired of trying to hold the tail on the ground. It was going to come up despite anything I could do, so I neutralized the stick and the tail blew off the ground. As the nose leveled out, howling its way toward the other end of the runway, it was suddenly as if I were standing up in the airplane; the visibility was tremendous. My eyes darted back and forth from one side to the next, keeping the long line of Dzus fasteners in the center of the cowl lined up with the expansion joints in the pavement. At 45 inches, it suddenly felt as if it were dragging me forward and I was being rammed toward the tail, a helpless passenger strapped to a cannon ball that was going to pull me through space. Noise, noise, noise! At 50 inches, 55 inches, my foot still pressed lightly, but firmly on the right rudder. When was I going to get the chance to play Mustang driver and fight to keep the nose straight, mashing the rudder to the floor, using brake when the rudder was gone? When was the torque going to become the uncontrollable genie all the big guys talk about? Suddenly, it was off the ground. I’m flying a P-51! Whooee! They could hear me in the next county. Back to business. By the time I was off the ground and had a chance to check the airspeed, I was already passing through 140 mph. The program called for me to stay in the pattern for the first flight, leaving the gear down. On the next flight, I would clean it up and go out into the area to hunt FWs. Bringing the power back to Burchinal’s supereconomy climb settings of 29 inches and 1850 rpm, I held 130 mph and banked easily left onto crosswind. At this low speed the controls are extremely light, maybe even a little soft. Even though I was terribly slow, the airplane felt extremely solid and comfortable-and so strangely familiar. I was sitting on top of the world-in my own private little bubble. In level flight on downwind, visibility was totally unrestricted, but things were getting a little busy for sight-seeing. Flying an aircraft with a wing loading of over 45 pounds per square foot and a general reputation of gliding like a cast-iron frisbee, I was really afraid to reduce power. I considered leaving 30 inches on and driving it onto the ground, but I knew that the second I lowered the nose I’d be charging around at 200 mph. The Burchinal m*thod is three-point or forget it, so I figured I’d stay with the program and have at it. The airspeed showed 130 mph when I ran my 35th GUMP check. I gingerly brought the power back a bit, and reached back with my left hand to shove the fl*ps down two notches. The nose tried to pitch down, but the stick forces are so light that my right hand automatically came back, maintaining an attitude that came out as 130 mph while I rolled in enough trim to hold it. I kept an anxious vigil – airspeed, manifold pressure, altitude. I was still carrying about 20 inches when I turned base and slowed to 120 mph. I kept waiting. When was the bottom going to fall out like a real fighter? So far it had acted like a lady, flying as if it were on rails. Roll out on final, twisting my arm again to grab the rest of the fl*ps. Oh, oh, here it comes. I rolled a little up trim and jumped up to the throttle as we sink just a little low. I figured I had to catch it or it would fall to the ground like the proverbial rock. I was afraid of the throttle. It’s a dynamite plunger that all the books say will roll you on your back if you even touch it. But I was low and I had to add power. I eased the throttle forward, intending to keep my arm moving as fast as necessary to keep from bouncing off the Texas landscape, right leg ready to jump. The left hand started moving and the sink stopped just as quickly. What’s this? It flies on final just like an airplane. Well, the ground was coming up and the worst was probably yet to come. Burch said 100 to 110 over the fence, so the power came back a little more and the stick did the same. While I was doing this, I suddenly realized I could see the runway right over the nose! Even a Citabria is blinder than that! The numbers disappeared; I had it made. The power was all the way back, and the Merlin barked in protest. As the runway came up to meet me, it didn’t seem a bit different from the SNJ, except I could see what’s going on. I leveled out what I figured to be a foot or so up and the airplane surprised me by actually floating. Here I was in a solid brick of aluminum and it had a bit of float to it. As it tried to settle, I brought the stick back until the horizon split the nose exactly where it had when I sat in it all those hours logging c*ckpit time. I was in a three-point attitude; all I could do now was wait until I hit the runway. Just as on every approach in the SNJ, I moved my feet up to get better leverage on the brakes and got ready to kick. A slight b*mp, two from the tail as the tailwheel skipped, and we were down and rolling straight, me and the Mustang. Was that it? Wasn’t it going to careen down the runway, letting me live up to the super pilot image? With the stick in my lap, that steerable tailwheel made the rollout almost Cherokee simple. One thing is certain: the P-51 doesn’t want to stop running. Even on the ground, it gives up speed very grudgingly. I pulled on the throttle several times to satisfy myself that I wasn’t carrying just a little power. I was in no real hurry to stop, so I just let it roll, using very little brake at the far end of the 5,000-foot runway to make the turnoff. While still rolling straight, I pushed the stick hard forward, unlocking the tailwheel. Once on the taxiway, I reached back and brought the fl*ps up and rolled the canopy open. Rolled the canopy open! I couldn’t believe it! For a lifetime I had dreamed of it, and now I had done it. I had soloed a Mustang! I went back and made several more gear-down circuits of the field, none of the landings being as good or as satisfying as that first one. Then Junior told me to clean it up and go play with the Messerschmitts. Tidying up the c*ckpit after that first takeoff, I found I had forgotten to use the recommended 6 degrees right rudder trim, but I had applied power so slowly that the torque/P-factor buildup had been negligible. In subsequent takeoffs, I started moving the throttle faster and faster, trying to see at what point things would become scary. I must admit that I wasn’t really aware of what was happening on that first takeoff, so I started noticing more and more things as I experimented. For instance, I found that I didn’t have to rush the power very much before my right foot became very useful. Also, at around 40 inches there was a definite change in sound and torque, som*thing like a governor surge that increased the acceleration and usually swung the nose left. It was easily corrected, however. Actually, it looks as if you’d have to either let the hammer down fairly fast and hard, or hoist the tail too soon, or both, to get into completely uncontrollable trouble. The airplane will fly itself off at almost any power setting. I took off once at 40 to 45 inches, so there are plenty of ways to keep yourself out of trouble, providing you’re trained right and are treating the craft like the fighter it is. With 50 to 55 inches for takeoff, the airplane seemed to accelerate almost immediately to 140 mph and then jumped to 200 mph when I brought the gear up. I had always wondered how a Mustang gear handle felt when you moved it, and now I know—it requires almost no pressure to pull in and up. Burchinal climbs and cruises all his airplanes and his pick-up truck at 29 inches and 1850 rpm to keep gas consumption down. When I used this power setting and a climb speed of 175 mph I was showing only about 1,500 fpm rate of climb. I knew Mustangs were supposed to climb better than that, so I played with power settings up to around 35 inches, where I got a solid 2,200 fpm. Junior had cautioned me to stay below 35 inches because anything higher was starting to work the engine too hard. In the climbs, the nose covers everything ahead, so I S-turned constantly to make sure I didn’t slice into a Cessna or som*thing. It took a while to get used to the fact that I was climbing at 175 mph indicated, which was faster than the top speeds of most of the aircraft I normally fly. I kept climbing because I wanted all the air I could get between Texas and me, when I started playing. Leveling off at 7,000 feet, I let the airspeed build and set up the traditional 29/1850 power combination. As the speed came up, I had to use more and more forward trim to keep from gaining altitude. When the airspeed indicator finally stabilized, it showed about 240 mph, which was almost 260 true, and I was at a power setting so low it wasn’t even on the power charts. Again, I played with different power settings up to 35 inches and got up to 265 IAS in level flight, which is around 305 mph true! I had to constantly keep looking around to keep my bearings because the towns in Texas seemed to be rather close together at that kind of speed. As speeds go up, so do control pressures, but they never get heavy. They always stay on the stiffish, but very effective, side. It’s an intoxicating feeling to look around, feeling nearly n*ked because of the bubble canopy, monitoring airspeeds most of us never see, and looking down at my right hand with the trigger under the index finger. I’ve played fighter pilot plenty of times in homebuilts, Swifts, Zlins, and other spiffy little airplanes, but this time I wasn’t playing. When I moved the stick, it was a Mustang that responded, not a Swift. When I dropped the nose and the speed leaped up to 300 IAS, that was mph, not kilometers as in the Zlin. Junior had positively forbid my doing any aerobatics until I had more time in the airplane—a frustrating, but smart piece of advice. So, I had to satisfy myself with screaming, cheeksagging turns and whatever else I could think of that couldn’t be called aerobatics. It was really fun to drop the nose just a little, get 300 on the gauge and pull up into a chandelle that would gain as much as 3,000 feet before I’d level out at 125 mph. After I felt that I could control the airplane and I knew how it flew, I decided to find out how it didn’t fly—I was going to stall it. Somehow, just the idea of stalling a Mustang was scary. I had plenty of altitude, and she had proven capable of being tamed so I went ahead and did the pilot report thing. I decided to do power—off straight-ahead stalls first, with nothing hanging out, no gear or fl*ps. I brought the power back and pulled the nose up slowly. Just in the process of slowing down, I picked up 1,000 feet! Down to 130, 115, 105. Suddenly, as 100 mph came up, I was looking nearly straight down at Texas, in a diving left hand turn. The nose attitude wasn’t as steep as it had first appeared, but there was no warning other than a slight looseness of the controls. The stall broke, dropped the left wing, and pointed the nose down, almost as fast as I could think about it. I was careful to add power smoothly and pulled out after dropping less than 1,500 feet. With a little practice, I found I could stall it and add just enough power to gain speed and altitude, but not introduce torque problems and keep the altitude loss to around 600 feet or even less. As I dirtied up the airplane, the stall speed came down and it began to give a little warning. With everything hanging out, the stall still broke fairly cleanly and rolled left, but there was a little buffeting and a definite sloppiness to the elevator. At all slow flight speeds, right up to stall, the airplane was completely stable and easy to control. Even though the controls were a little soft, they were effective, and the airplane felt fine at almost any speed. It looked as if I could make a go-round at 30-35 inches and 100 mph. I dived and swooped and twisted and turned, and it was all I could do to keep it right side up. It just seemed to whisper in my ear, “Go ahead, roll me,” but junior had his reasons for prohibiting aerobatics and I knew I had heard the siren call of the Mustang. I could see that this airplane could easily install false confidence in the inexperienced pilot, such as myself, and he could get himself into serious trouble. Knowing I could resist the siren call only so long, I decided to take junior’s plaything home before I backed myself into a corner. Besides, I hadn’t seen a single FW-190. I was at 6,000 feet and I thought I’d never get that thing down from altitude. At 175 mph it has a glide ratio of nearly 15:1; it will glide three miles for every thousand feet of altitude. I tried dropping the nose and diving down at 250 mph, but then found when I got to the altitude I wanted, the airplane didn’t want to slow down, and I’d gain altitude trying to bring the nose up. So, this is what a high-performance airplane is like. The Mustang is so slippery, that you really have to work to get it down to 200 mph. Under 200 mph, it’s fairly easy to control the speed, but above 200, even the slightest j*rk on the stick picks up 500 feet and may not even budge the airspeed. I made lots and lots of circles getting down to pattern altitude. As soon as I had 170 mph and pattern altitude, I dropped the gear so that it would be easier to slow down. The gears falls into place with a very audible and easily felt “clunk, clunk.” Even if the gear hydraulic system failed, I could let it free fall into place by pulling the hydraulic release handle on the lower panel. Once down to 150 mph, the landing was just a repeat performance of the last ones, except it was a little crosswind and I was a little too fast. I didn’t k*ll the power soon enough and came over the fence at around 115 mph, which was too fast. I was floating like a Taylorcraft and I couldn’t get into the three-point position without ballooning, so I wheel-landed it and got on the brakes. On the main gear, it’s dead stable, although you feel as if you pick up 20 mph when you hit because it doesn’t slow down at all. The tail is heavy enough that you can drop it early if you want, which I did, and depend on the tailwheel steering. Even though I was fast, it still slowed fast enough that 5,000 feet was plenty of runway. Now, if I’d wanted to make the middle intersection, I might have been in trouble. So, now I’ve done it. I’ve flown a Mustang in all regimes of flight and played fighter pilot as much as I dare. What are my initial impressions? I have to be careful what I say because I was probably about as well trained as neophyte civilian types get before they fly Mustangs. I had 10 hours of fairly concentrated SNJ work and hours and hours of talking and studying, not to mention additional hours sitting in the c*ckpit, learning the airplane. What are my impressions? Surprise, relief, exhilaration, and even disappointment. I was surprised at how easy and how stable the airplane was. It was a relief after battling; with the SNJ. The airplane is exhilarating in every phase of its performance and is still docile enough that with sufficient training it is entirely safe. Disappointment? Yes, maybe a little, because the Mustang wasn’t nearly the killer I had expected and read about, and I know that even though I now belong to a fairly elite group, I know deep inside that it was nothing but opportunity that put me in that group, not talent. The Mustang was built to be flown by well-trained 200-hour pilots. I repeat, well trained, and if a pilot gets that same sort of training, the Mustang will be a piece of cake. On the other hand, if you approach the Mustang figuring you can whip it because you have thousands of hours in Bonanzas and the like, it’ll chase you all over the airport. The P-51 has characteristics that nothing in civilian aviation can prepare you for. A military airplane is a military airplane, and it takes a certain amount of military type training in an SNJ or T-6 to make you safe enough to fly it. Although I’m competent enough in almost all civilian tailwheel types, that 10 hours in the SNJ is probably the best insurance for flying warbirds. Want to fly a fighter? Going to buy a fighter? Used to fly them and want another go at them? Whatever your reasons, whatever your desires, the Flying Tigers Air Museum is the place to go. I don’t know of another place in the world where you can plunk down your piggybank and be trained to fly this type of airplane-and be trained well. Bearcat, Mustang, Corsair, Lightning, Mitchell—take your pick. The post Soloing a P-51 Mustang appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  25. One of the quickest ways to ruin the look of a scale model airplane is to install your RC radio power switch so everyone can see it. Hiding radio switches is big part of every scale project and with my current project I also wanted to hide the radio’s on/off switch and charge receptacle. With any scale model the first place to look is a scale 3-view drawing which includes various details such as hatch covers. So on the left side of the full-size Nieuport 24, there are a couple very obvious hatches. One of them is for removing spent ammunition casings and with my model, this hatch would be 3×2 inches, perfect for getting to my radio switch The area where this hatch is located on my model is covered with 1/32 inch plywood so it is very smooth, and has a hard surface. Working with my 3-views I determined that I would slightly modify this hatch. The full size has a series of thumb scr*ws all around the edges and this would be too time consuming to get to the on/off switch. So, I decided to add a length of miniature piano hinge to the top edge of the hatch cover. This is about 3/8-inch wide (3/16 Inch either side of the hinge pin) and they are available in 1-foot lengths at most hobby shops.If you don’t find it there check out micromark.com. These hinges are not made of brass, though they have a brass plated finish. They made of mild steel and you can easily cut them with a rotary tool and a cutoff disc. To make the hatch cover, I laminated two layers of 1/64-inch plywood together using yellow wood glue. I glued the two layers together and then taped them to the side of the fuselage so they would when dry, retain the curved profile that matched the fuselage side panel. I used some clear food wrap to prevent the pieces of plywood from gluing to the fuselage. Once the glue had dried, I removed the tape and then cut and sanded the hatch cover to the required size.I then held the hatch cover in position and then traced its shape onto the side panel. Again using a cutoff disc, I carefully removed the material from the new hatch opening make sure to be neat and not cut outside of the pencil guidelines. I then drilled several 1mm scr*w holes in the hinge tabs and staggered the scr*w spacing. A tip here is to make the hatch opening slightly smaller than the cover, then carefully sand the edges of the cover for a precise fit. Here you see the hatch cover installed in the fuselage side panel. Note that the hinge knuckles are recessed slightly into the movable part of the hatch cover. This minimizes the space between the two mating edges. Also note that the spacing all around the cover is very even for a neat appearance. Also note the two scr*w heads in the lower corners. By inserting a hex driver into the front scr*whead and turning counter-clockwise, you release the latch holding the cover closed. The right scr*w is non-functional and is there just for scale looks. Under the edges of the opening there are thin plywood str*ps to form an ledge for the hatch cover to seat against. The latch slips under the ledge to securely hold the cover shut. You could also use strong magnets to secure the hatch cover, but this would require adding a thin piece of steel to the underside of the cover. Here you see the latch. It is simply made with a scr*w and nut, a plywood spacer the same width as the inner ledge and a brass latch tab. The tab was soldered to the locking nut and then threaded into the scr*w. Tighten into place and the job is done. Now all that’s left is to install the RC radio switch harness to the inner surface of the fuselage structure directly under the hatch cover. Neat and completely out of sight when the model is painted and finished. The post Scale RC Switch Hatch Cover appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
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