Monday, May 14, 2018

Flying Aces Moth

To start out my winter 2017/2018 model building I picked out a classic rubber power model that had been occupying shelf space in my basement for a while, the Flying Aces Moth. This was from a Peck full-kit, I also have a Volare semi-kit in waiting to possibly build an improved version from what I learn from this one.  George Bredehoft tells me “the Moth originally appeared in the August 1937 Flying Aces magazine - and then was REPRINTED in the August 1941 Flying Aces magazine, by popular demand.” I understand there was a modified plan in Aeromodeller with a shorter nose for plastic propellers. For my model I purchased a balsa propeller blank from Volare, I was amazed the balsa propeller weighs almost half the weight of the included plastic propeller.

Construction is really typical of a stick and tissue model, the 3/32” square fuselage pieces were easier for me to handle than 1/16” square often used. I used a viscous DT timer built from a rotary damper I had purchased for under $3. For the first time I tried a wire in a tube bearing point for the front of the stab instead of just using rubber bands, it needed to be reinforced but might work out well. The model was covered in Esaki tissue and sprayed with nitrate 50/50 dope, the first model sprayed with my new airbrush system. Also the first time for using a wire to the front of the shaft freewheel system.  For rubber I used 12 grams of 3/32” rubber braided.

When I finished the model I was anxious to fly it although there was snow on the ground, I took it along with me for a cross country skiing outing and did some short flights over the now. It sure wanted to fly, too much to the left and up. I assumed like many rubber models it would need some down and right thrust which I added. The next flights were better but it still needed more right, I put that into the rudder. If the turn was gentle if flew nice but if too severe a turn it would hit the ground which was not snow covered any longer. The long landing gear broke loose from the bottom of the fuselage easily. I fixed it many times. After so many times I just rubber banded the gear to a cross piece in the fuselage, this saved the plane from further breakage.  The nose area was taking a beating too and I did some reinforcing there, the balsa tends to compress and then the thrust settings change. I now have some thin plywood in the contact areas around the propeller hub. 

Further flights were really inconsistent, sometimes the plane would not have enough right turn and other times too much and it would do a slow spiral into the ground. I would patch up the plane and just keep trying again. For the landing gear issue I ended up just adding another cross member of hard balsa and then gluing the wire to it with UHU POR glue. This glue has some elasticity and the landing has stayed intact through many flights. 

Major Rebuild

The turning point came when the fuselage broke in several places after a crash. I was tempted to destroy the plane and save myself further aggravation. After thinking to myself I was not going to give up, I ripped most of the covering from the fuselage and made repairs. Much of the vertical fin was redone and a small rudder tab was created. The amount of right thrust was decreased too; I feel that might be part of the issue too. As had been recommended I moved the rear peg up further because the rubber in the narrow rear part of the fuselage was ripping the tissue. This moved the CG forward a slight amount requiring more incidence but the recovery from a stall was much better.

More flights with hand winds showed great promise, no crashes under power. Flying on several days the trim appeared to stay pretty much unchanged. Recently I had a larger site to fly from and I made several flights using the winder gradually getting up to 400 turns. The plane handled greater torque fine, the glide might need a little tweaking yet. I really feel a sense of accomplishment and that I have learned much from working with this airplane. In the future I plan to build another one from the Volare short-kit and try to use the knowledge from the first one to build a better version from the start.

Bill Kuhl

Check Out my New Viscous DT Tutorial for Students

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Model Aviation Youth Success Story

Saturday May 5, 2018 was a great day at the Victor Valley R/C Flyers flying field located in Hesperia California for the Youth Foam Plate Rubber Powered Plane and Hand Chuck Glider event.  Over 50 entries total and 19 in the new AMA Alpha class. Winners were awarded plaques and merchandise. Many families attended as can be seen in the images. 

These award winners are the students with best scores. But all of the students gain a great deal of knowledge each year. Jokingly I was told that my classes had enrollment of over sixty per class for next year. I was not laughing. I may need to franchise to fulfill the demand. Ronnie Espolt

This blog post will be short and quote from comments on the Facebook group that Ronnie Espolt started the Youth and Education, Model Aviation Group. Ronnie works harder than anyone I know of in teaching model aviation to kids through classes at schools and to different groups. Quoting in a recent email from Ronnie gives an idea just how busy he is: “I have just a few things to work on now. County Fair in two weeks, buddy box this Saturday another for Millionaire Minds Kids Club in June. National Night Out, National Model Aviation Day, Youth day at Planes of Fame Museum.” Ronnie Espolt

Ronnie and I communicate almost daily and we have both been working with the ideas in building rubber powered model planes primarily out of foam plates but using a balsa stick for the fuselage. This past year the Academy of Model Aeronautics made available a really slick looking plane of this type with a rubber winder included for a great price known as the “Alpha”. One of the Alpha models had a 3 minute flight at the contest. Rick Pearson a member of the Victor Valley RC Flyers took many of the pictures.

Quotes from Youth and Education, Model Aviation Group

“I tried an idea that worked well. My traditional contest has been an 18" Hand Chuck and a Foam Plate Rubber Powered Plane. All the students from the school come with families a long with my youth club. So each year we have had kids at the field with no planes to enter. These kids have always felt left out. This year I added the AMA Alpha Class and sold the kits with winder. We sold 19 for the contest at the event. The remaining Alpha planes were used as prizes for contestants. This kicked our entry count to over fifty. I have 38 new youth AMA memberships to send into headquarters.” Ronnie

Jim N. “Ronnie, what a fantastic thing you do all just because you can and you have a tremendous heart for the future. These kids would most likely not been exposed to model airplanes let alone all the little things that come along with it; science, math, and history. YES, history. Talking to kids about the different roles different planes filled both in peace and at war.  There are so many kids out there with no solid role model. Ronnie you deserve a huge thank you from everyone who cares about our youth. The best part is; Ronnie knows nothing of this. He's just a great guy and thought, hey, cool. I have kids that like to play with the same things as I do.”

Related Links   Victor Valley Facebook Page  "Youth and Education, Model Aviation Group" Purchase the AMA Alpha  AMA Alpha & Postal Contest Join Academy of Model Aeronautics  National Free Flight Society   - I recommend highly Simple Foam Free Flight Airplane  Detailed instructions on building rubber powered foam plate model airplane on my website. About Millionaire Mind Kids (MMK)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Details Matter in Model Aviation

Becoming successful in model aviation requires that one be detailed oriented, a very good skill to have but not always a trait that comes naturally to many people. This statement in an article in Inc. Magazine I found applies well, “Details often make or break accomplishments.”  Although I feel if one tries to become too perfect all at once it can be overwhelming and frustration will follow. For example I am learning the hard way when model plans specify a certain weight of wood and type of grain of wood, there really is a reason the designer specified that. In the past I might have used whatever I found at the hobby shop. Often the plane ended up too heavy to fly well but more recently I have used wood that was too light for the particular spot on the airplane.  

Bad Axe Embryo has Fuse DT 

An example of this was on the fuselage of a contest winning embryo design the Bad Axe from Volare. This was a short-kit which provided the more difficult to cut out sheet pieces but the builder provided the balsa strip pieces in the kit. It is normal practice to use hard balsa longerons for the square pieces that run the length of the edges of the fuselage and lighter wood for the cross members. With too light of wood for the longerons I was breaking the pieces just trying to construct the fuselage, if I added reinforcement in a spot it would just break next to where the reinforcement ends. Trying to cover the model with tissue and not get sagging areas is impossible too. When you try to fly the model it is so difficult to hold the model without breaking a fragile longeron even with a fairly gentle grip. 

Lighter Guillow's Super Cub Flies Well

Building a model that is too heavy is not good either and easily done. Several years ago I built a Champ kit that just had too heavy of balsa in the kit. No doubt this can happen even in what would appear to be a quality kit. It was easy to cover the model with tissue as the structure was rigid and it did not seem terrible heavy lifting it as it was a small model. Trying to fly the model it was difficult to adjust and it always appeared to me to be flying at the edge of a stall, I added more rubber which helped but now it was flying faster and crashing harder. Each repair added a little more weight and after major damage I gave up. I had trouble with a Guillow’s Cessna 180 also so when I built the smaller Super Cub kit which has the same basic structure I built it lighter by building a lighter tail with balsa curved around a form. The plane did not need any nose weight and it flies well.

Champ was too Heavy

In a more current project I believe my airplane came out too heavy for the wing area and the amount of rubber the model was carrying. I wanted to try a new to me electronic DT system that added 9 grams which does not seem too heavy but when you are on the edge it might be. Test glide without the rubber motor and tiny amount of clay for balance looked good.  Reduced winds test flights were a constant battle with a stall after the rubber ran out. I added right side thrust, down thrust and right rudder tab. To me the 16 strands of rubber seemed like a heavy load. Before destroying the fuselage the last time I had glided the model from a small hill, the glide looked flat but not diving. When it landed gently, it broke the vertical fin. I will rebuild the fuselage and use a fuse DT this time.

Gollywock Crash

Bill Kuhl

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