[Headline: Building season and new offerings from Pat Tritle]
It has been a while since my friend and prolific designer/builder, Pat Tritle, has released anything. Pat does custom building for others and 2014 has been a busy year for him. Fortunately, he was able to get two new designs out of his computer and into the air.
The first is an impressive Lockheed AC-130 gunship. With a 60-inch wingspan, it is on the larger end of our small-field spectrum. The AC-130 is lightweight for its size. At 49 ounces, it has the great handling qualities of a lightly loaded model.
Power comes from four 2215-09 Arrowind Hobby Co. brushless motors that turn 7 x 5 APC propellers. The motors get their energy from a three-cell 2,200 mAh LiPo battery pack. The battery is accessed through a functional cargo door so there are no external hatches.
All of the control functions and flaps are operational. Pat noted that he did not duplicate the full-scale Fowler flap hinging, but used a simpler LE hinge arrangement. He said that the large four-section flaps are effective.
In terms of flying qualities, Pat commented, “In the air, she’s a real jewel—very stable and extremely easy to fly. The controls are smooth and quite responsive all the way through the speed range.” Plug-in wing panels make transportation easy.
Pat’s AC-130 will be offered as a full kit by Brodak Manufacturing’s Dare Design Products. If not available by the time you read this, it should be soon.
In addition to the AC-130, Pat produced a nice 35-inch wingspan, 14.7-ounce version of the World War I Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a. Model airplanes were still a new concept when the S.E.5a was designed, but it seems to me as though it was designed with the model airplane builder in mind.
Pat’s rendition of the S.E.5a hits the small-field bull’s-eye. It is large enough to be visible in the air, easy to handle while building, and has flying qualities that make it easy to fly in small areas.
A Suppo 2212 brushless motor that swings a 9 x 6 propeller is up front. A two-cell pack provides plenty of power for a scalelike World War I performance. Ailerons are included in the control functions and each pair has its own servo. The top and bottom ailerons are linked via aluminum tubes and heat-shrink sleeves.
A construction article for Pat’s S.E.5a is in the November 2014 issue of Model Airplane News.
Have you ever looked at a puddle-covered flying site after a good rain and thought it would be nice to have something to fly off the water? For those of us who fly small-field models, taking advantage of a puddle-covered field is easier than you might think.
While pondering some significant instances of post-rain standing water in the Houston area, past contributor Jack Pignolo had a nice idea that we could pursue. He is the owner of an E-flite UMX Radian. This is a nice, small-field model with good power.
Jack believed that the aircraft had enough power reserve to easily carry a set of lightweight foam floats, and he was correct. After a few hours of work, his UMX Radian was ready to go with a set of easy-to-mount and dismount floats. When the rain comes, Jack can enjoy some nice, water-based takeoffs and landings.
Jack’s float design is not the only one that will work on the UMX Radian. Look at the photo he provided to see his floats. It should not be hard to develop a set of floats for your UMX Radian. Thanks for the idea, Jack.
John Krouse is known for his unique approach to building model airplanes. The tried-and-true method of bent carbon-rod airframes has been the subject of his recent efforts.
One difficulty when using the bent rod method is the creation of ribs and attaching them to the bent carbon-rod outline. John uses a combination of carbon tubes and rods with a few balsa or foam ribs thrown into the mix.
Look at the photo John sent of a wing that uses this method. He uses carbon tubes to create the wing center section LEs and TEs. Balsa ribs are then glued to the tubes. After the center section tubes are connected with the ribs, he creates the tips using bent carbon rods. The ends of the rods slip into the ends of the center section tubes.
The wing is covered with plastic wrap. A thread is attached to one wingtip and wrapped around the carbon rod of the opposite tip, but not glued. It is pulled tight until the desired amount of dihedral is generated, then it is glued.
This method could be used on models larger than John’s by using larger carbon tubes and rods. Thanks for the idea, John.
That’s it for this installment. Please let me know what you are up to in the world of small-field flying. My contact information is in the “Sources”listing.