How to Build an RC Jet – Part 4

Rudder me This!

Final test fit of the dorsal before fibreglass

Final test fit of the dorsal before fibreglass

With the final shape of the dorsal completed for our RC Jet, it is on to cutting out and shaping the rudder. On the full size Skyray, the rudder was split into an upper and lower half.  The upper portion acted as a yaw damper primarily while also acting in unison with the rudder.  The lower half acted as the primary rudder surface.  Interestingly, in looking at videos of the Skyray in flight, the yaw damper doesn’t seem to act much in unison with the rudder at all.  Also, in talking with Mark Frankel, the rudder is quite effective on the model causing it to roll pretty substantially.  So, based on those two things, my intention on this model is to make the yaw damper fixed and use the lower half as the rudder.  We will be cutting out both the damper and rudder and splitting them, but when final installed into place, the yaw damper will be fixed.  This way, it will still appear to be a moveable surface.

 

Cut it…

Rudder template in place, ready for cutting

Rudder template in place, ready for cutting

Checking my 3-view to the plans, I traced the rudder shape and transferred it to the dorsal.  The key here when plotting it out is the allowances for the balsa rudder cap (in this case it’s about ½” of material) as well as the spar in the dorsal itself.  In other words, ½” of the rudder leading edge will be removed and thrown away and replaced with a solid balsa cap that gets sanded to shape.  Also, I had to take time to ensure I accounted and had a plan for the location of the spar so I had the proper scuffer setup on the dorsal as well once everything is hinged.  The idea is to have a nice scale looking flange on the dorsal and rounded Continue reading

How to Build an RC Jet – Part 3

Dorsal Town

Final shaped dorsal test fit on fuselage

Final shaped dorsal test fit on fuselage

When you build an RC jet like this one, it’s nice to start off small.  Progress comes with small milestones accomplished by small steps at a time.  It really only takes a few hours per week to see notable progress and the key is to just get into the shop and make that progress happen.  Yes, it takes time and will take a while to get done, but that’s half the fun.  So, with that in mind, I started off construction with the dorsal.  Note that I started this build before starting this blog, so in some cases, I’m limited on the pictures that I took.

Sub leading edge glued in place with 'Titebond'

Sub leading edge glued in place

With everything unboxed and setup in my shop, the first item of business was sheeting the dorsal foam core (I plan to make a tutorial video on how to do this when I sheet the wings). Mark’s design incorporates a sub leading edge before sheeting, so that was installed first with some wood glue (I like to use Titebond Premium Wood Glue).  The sheeting was made from contest grade 1/16” balsa (as light as possible) glued edge to edge as necessary to get full coverage over the core.  The grain of the wood runs parallel to the leading edge (important!) which helps with strength as well as makes it easier for the wood to contour over the foam core.  I used Pacer PT-40 Z-Poxy Finishing Resin to adhere the sheeting Continue reading

Lady Alice P-51 Ride

The Experience of a Lifetime!

rcgeek-P51-outside2It’s a rare thing to see a P-51 flying these days, let alone to be able to say that you personally know someone who owns one. Then, to be offered a ride in one is about as rare as it gets, especially for an airplane geek like me! February 28, 2015, armed with my wits, an iron will to hold my breakfast down 😉 and my iPhone, I took to the skies in the back of one of the most beautiful P-51s out there, “Lady Alice,” owned and operated by Ken Wagner. It was the ride of a lifetime, something that I have dreamt about so many times and it was incredible! Thank you, Ken, for one of the coolest experiences of my life!rcgeek-P51--1---in-the-air

It was a spontaneous event, so I only had my iPhone with me. Nonetheless I was able to put together a short video and some pictures from it so, I hope you enjoy! Needless to say, I feel a P-51 ARF kit bash in the future. I need a “Lady Alice” P-51 in my hangar so that I can push it around while making airplane noises to relive this unforgettable day! The full story follows below:

A Typical Morning

Saturday, February 28, 2015 started out like any other day really. We had driven up to my parents’ house the night before since we had some family activities to attend to that day. We had arrived late, but my dad Continue reading

How to Build an RC Jet – Part 2

Let’s talk about resources and documentation for Scale Competition for a minute…

on-kapowIf there is anything debated in scale competition, it sure seems to be scale documentation. 😉  I say this only from the standpoint that there’s really no one right way, or one right answer when it comes to a documentation book.  It’s ultimately how well you prove your model matches your documentation.  Also, I bring this up at the beginning of this build because, without a good solid documentation book, it’s very difficult to be competitive in a scale competition setting (static score is HALF of the total score).  Plus, if you are building your competition bird, it’s necessary to have a clear vision of the project from the start.

First of all, it’s important to know the rules.  For this bird, I will be primarily competing in the Scale Masters competitions, and so have gone through those rules numerous times (as well as have competed several times previously).  USSMA also has a decent aid on their website for how to put together a quality documentation book.  So, before starting, know what is necessary to present to the judges and have sufficient documentation for your aircraft.   From the start, a good 3-view resource is necessary so that one can ensure the shapes of the model match the drawing.  The paint scheme can evolve as the build progresses as sometimes you may have something in mind initially, and in the research process you may come across something you like more and/or can document color and markings better.

For me, I love the research and will typically buy whatever books I can find (it’s kind of a sickness that my wife gives me a hard time for) and spend numerous hours searching the internet.  For the Skyray, there are two definitive books that are absolutely a must for any Skyray fan and are listed below.  Also a must is a plastic kit (if available) as it helps to visualize shapes Continue reading