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Cessna L19 Bird Dog

Old 06-04-2013, 04:01 AM
  #26  
Flyte Lyne
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Nice bird !
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:27 AM
  #27  
Nodd
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Thanks guys.

Graphics
I spent some time today working up a graphics design...



And to really get a feel for how this might look I imported the design into Real Flight simulator...

Click below to view
YouTube Video - Paint Scheme A001

Okay so these graphics aren't scale but I like the way this is looking.
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:50 AM
  #28  
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It's been suggested that I add some contrast to the bottom of the wings. Although hard to see in the video I have the bottom of the wing painted all black for contrast. I've become a big fan of black undersides, definitely helps make the plane pop against a bright sky. I may also add a couple of bold white stripes or something for those overcast days...



Covering material has been ordered, should be here soon.
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:58 AM
  #29  
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I like it to heck with the scale look this has a fun cool factor to it!
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:31 AM
  #30  
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Another great looking build, Sir.

I totally agree on the black undersides. I ignored that on one of my recent builds - a very shiny, two-tone blue biplane, and really disappears into the sky. (Realistic camo is worse )
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:45 AM
  #31  
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Thanks guys.

Yeah for your average park flyer or aerobatic plane, you can usually get away with just about any graphics. For sailplanes & aerotow tugs on the other hand which operate at extreme altitude, good viability is essential. For them it's all about being way up there. Besides, sitting on the ground where most folks get to see your plane up close, you can't see under the wing anyway.

Why have one when you can have three?
I don't like the idea of just one wimpy little dowel holding the entire wing in place. I considered swapping it out for a carbon-fiber rod but in a crash I need that to fail Vs ripping my fuselage apart. So I installed two additional dowels. I'll likely remove the original though. Again I want this to be strong but not so strong it can't fail in a crash...


Last edited by Nodd; 06-08-2013 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:53 AM
  #32  
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NACA Wing Droops
I've seen a few planes that use these plastic doohickeys mounted to the wing's leading edge...



From what I've read they help reduce tip-stalls, spins, reduce wing loading & increase lift. Well that all sure sounds handy. I'm a little concerned about the Bird Dog's wing loading so something like this might make sense. I also like the clear plastic approach as it doesn't mess with the scale outline too much...



If I decide to give these a try I figure I could just wrap some 1 mm canopy plastic around the LE & screw it down to some internal hard-points, maybe add a few plastic "riblets" to help hold the shape...



So in anticipation of maybe taking that route I added a few hard-wood pieces to the wing...



Again I'm not totally sold on this idea. I'll likely see how she flies first. At least I have a way to mount a NACA wing droop if I decide to.

Back to the build
Enough screwing around, time to get this wing back together. Putting the sheeting back...



Sanding, sanding & more sanding...



Feels good to have her closed up again & feels very good knowing there's some reinforcements under there too...



Now's a good time to shape the wingtips...



Sanding blocks on sticks, very handy...



A few guidelines here & there...



Whittling time *queue the banjo music*...



That looks pretty good...



Windows
I've been itching to cut the side windows out since day one. Finally got my wish...



Ahh that looks so much cooler...



Sweet!...



Pretty pleased with today's progress, nice to get the wing back together & those windows make a huge difference. Good stuff.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:56 PM
  #33  
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Good stuff indeed!!!
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:52 PM
  #34  
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If you want a set of the plastic cuffs, pm me. I have a set you can have.

I put them on a full sized Piper Cherokee and they helped lower the stall speed and overall flying characteristics a lot.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:30 AM
  #35  
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Thanks, yeah I'm still mulling over the idea of using wing droops. I assume one size doesn't necessarily fit all? I'll probably make some if I do decide to go for it. Appreciate the offer.

Wing Mount
I got rid of the middle wing dowel. Aligning three pegs at once was making the wing difficult to install/remove. Two pegs should be plenty strong (fingers crossed)...



A while back I tried & failed to reinforce this area. This time I have more beefy CF. After removing the sheeting I noticed there's hard-wood under there. It really doesn't need reinforcing but I've already done the work, may as well drop in the CF anyway...



Rear wing hold-down hardware...



That's looking good...



Tow Release
I have a commercial tow-release (thanks Conio) but it's a bit bulky & doesn't fit well with my tow location. I really like the DIY release featured at RC Aerotowing so I'm going with one of those instead. Here I am bending piano wire around a bolt..



A little gentle persuasion, bending the hoop part over...



Looks promising...



I made this odd looking hardwood piece to mount the whole thing just behind the wing's trailing edge. Drilling a few holes...



Here's my release hardware, a block, the hoop we just made, a heavy pushrod & a brass guide tube...



Oooh sparks...



Here's how the hoop & release pin are looking. A servo retracts the pin to release the towline...



And here's that servo, the biggest in the whole plane. I don't want any hesitation when I hit the release, that has to work instantly in an emergency...



A simple no nonsense setup, I like it...



I figure there might be a fair amount of pull on the release structure so I added these lightweight dowel braces...



I also started installing the rudder & elevator servos...



That'll have to do for today...

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Old 06-12-2013, 05:51 AM
  #36  
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Your builds always look so reassuringly solid.
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:39 AM
  #37  
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LOL, thanks Mark. My old man once told me, "don't muck around son, if you're going to build something, build it strong." That advise has served me well.

Battery Box
So I have this bloody enormous 5000 mah 6S LiPo that needs to fit somewhere...



I needed to figure out where to place the pack to balance the plane. Apparently the Bird Dog is too big for my usual balance stand so I hung her up on a couple of chairs...



And what do you know? She balances just perfect with the pack sitting directly under the wing. Very nice!

While I was at it, I figured now was a good time to check the weight situation...



I still have covering & some final assembly items to add so that'll go up a little before we're done. It's about what I was expecting though.

The bottom of the cabin is anything but flat so I created this frame to mount the battery tray on...



And here's the frame installed...



Paint
The major cabin items are complete, time for some color. For the interior I went with this olive green...



I think that works, has a cool military feel...



Hopefully my Ultracote will arrive soon so I can begin covering the outside.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:36 AM
  #38  
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Radio Tray
This is looking good, got some of the electronics installed...



I'm running a separate SBEC just in case the ESC goes up in smoke. In theory that'll keep the servos working while I get her back on the ground. I also have a capacitor in the loop. Those help stabilize the voltage to the receiver & thus protect against the dreaded brown-out-o-doom...



Battery Tray (continued)
Trying out different Velcro tie-downs, not sure I like these...



I have another set with a proper buckle that you can pull against to really tighten down the pack. I much prefer those but they're too short, might have to make something custom.

Anyway with the radio in, she's officially an RC airplane. Woohoo...

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Old 06-17-2013, 06:53 PM
  #39  
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High-Beams
I've had a few comments about the proximity of my receiver to the other electronics. It's been suggested that I separate the components more to guard against interference. In this setup's defense I present my electric sailplane that I've successfully flown at fairly long range without any issues...



As you can see the Rx is stuffed in there very close to the other electronics...



Now in that airframe I didn't have much choice (although maybe some external whip antennas would help) but in practice, this setup works fine. However, and here's an obscure example, a friend of mine once explained: "No, I don't use my high-beams on dark roads. I can see okay without them". Clearly he was missing the point. High-beams let you see better. And as everyone (except my friend) knows, better is... well... better. He should use them, it makes driving easier & yeah duh, it's safer. So not wanting to be that guy I think I'm going to move my components around some. Thanks guys for setting me straight.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:59 AM
  #40  
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Radio Tray - Take II
Here's the new radio tray, pretty ain't she...



Gone from the tray is the SBEC & the capacitor. I've reoriented the receiver so the antennas are further away from the servos. I also stuck the receiver up on a block so I can get my fingers under & around the servo plugs...



The SBEC & capacitor are mounted along the fuselage side, away from the receiver...



So hopefully this layout is a little more radio friendly...



Today I also got the motor & ESC wired up & mounted. I replaced the stock bullet connectors with some nice heavy duty ones...



So the bulk of the electronics are hooked up & in place, sweet...

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Old 06-18-2013, 07:50 AM
  #41  
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Looking intimidatingly nice!
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:57 AM
  #42  
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Wing Hookup
Today I spent an hour or so building the wiring harness to go from the Rx to the wing...



And with that, the electronics are done, woohoo!...



CLEAR PROP!
It was finally time to fire up this bird-puppy...



I took her outside for the actual first run of the motor, didn't want walls around me for parts to bounce off. I ran her up to around 50%, "BLOODY HELL!" I said to my self, scary power. I don't want to push her much further until I have my watt meter hooked up. Unfortunately I don't have the right connectors to make that work right now though. I do have the Castle Creations USB doohickey though, could see how she's performing on the computer instead, will have to read the manual some. One thing for sure, this plane is not lacking for power. I did one more low power run (maybe 20%) on my work-bench, then removed the prop & disconnected the motor's leads. This motor I'm gonna treat with some serious respect...



Very nice to see everything is working.
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:47 AM
  #43  
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The Move
Where the heck have I been? Well I decided to move my entire workshop into a new dedicated, RC only, space. Here we have the workbench installed. That's probably the last time it'll ever look that clean LOL...



See I've already messed up the workbench...



Windshield
Test fitting the front windshield. Naturally it doesn't quite fit...



Before that goes on though, I added these scale support strut things. Unlike the structural ones in the rear window holding the aerotow release in place, these are just for looks...



There's all sorts of options for gluing clear plastic canopies. I've found this stuff does a fair job...



Wing Struts
I've never done struts so making this up as I go. What ever I design, it has to include a quick release system...



The notches cut into the metal rods help give the epoxy something to grab onto. The cotter pins should make life easy when its time to install/remove the struts...



This aluminum bar doubles as a support for the main gear & as an anchor point for the struts...



The bar bolted into the fuselage...



The ends of the bar protrude through the sides of the fuselage where the struts connect...



Pretty sure that'll be good & strong, yet quick-n-easy to setup at the field...



The Other End
On the underside of the wing I made up these little bracket doohickeys to mount the other end of the struts too...



I'm using the same cotter pin system here but these need a 90 angle. Annoyingly my hardened piano wire rod cracked when I attempted to bend it that much, bugger!...



No big deal I thought, I'll try heating it first...



Well that didn't work...



I'm thinking I need to bend these first & then drill the holes for the cotter pin *sigh*

The Tail
I'll deal with the struts later, time for something a little less metallic...



There's a big gap under the vertical stabilizer, obviously I need to fill that in with some wood. I don't like that the v-stab will just be glued on top of that though. I'd prefer something a little more structural. So I decided to make a new v-stab, one that extends all the way down to the h-stab. And while I'm at it, lets make it just a smidgen larger...



As you can see the new v-stab will be bigger than the old one. As long as I don't tell anyone, nobody will notice it's not quite scale *wink*. I figure for aerotowing, a tad more yaw stability can't hurt. Here's the new v-stab roughed out & gluing...



While that's drying I decided to start covering on the h-stab...



And that's a wrap for now, I'll have more to show soon...

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Old 07-03-2013, 03:48 AM
  #44  
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Now why didn't I think of that earlier?
I spent an hour or so today visiting various industrial supply outlets & even a welding supply store. Fascinating places but do you think any of them had 1/8" plain steel rod? Nope. Then it hit me... how many times have I bent a nail trying to hammer it home? NAILS! of course...



And wouldn't you know? This stuff drills like, well a hot drill through butter...



Piece of cake...



There we go, some bad-arse struts...



Happy with those I got down to shaping the new v-stab...



She looks like she wants to get off this workbench & fly already. Soon enough :-)

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Old 07-03-2013, 06:23 AM
  #45  
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looking great
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:41 AM
  #46  
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Brilliant!
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:07 PM
  #47  
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I like the larger vertical fin idea. The L-19 was the first plane I was in that did an unintentional spin.

Whole project is coming out great. Nice job.
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Old 10-14-2013, 04:32 AM
  #48  
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Unintentional spin... yikes. Well you're not going to like this then...




There's dust on my Bird Dog!



Okay after goofing around with other projects for three months I'm actually back working on this. Yay!

If you recall I made a new vertical stabilizer, slightly larger & with a tab on the bottom that I figured might make a stronger joint...



That was great but I just can't get past how heavy the new tail is...



So I'm going to toss the heavy new tail & use the old one after all. But I'd still like some mechanical way to mount it to the horizontal stabilizer rather than just gluing it on top. So here's my solution...



This piece of hardwood sticking down into the tail will help make a better joint. Here's the new weight...



In the meantime I set the plane up on two identical chairs so she's sitting perfectly level with my bench. That'll help when its time to attach the horizontal stabilizer. I need that to be nice & level with the wings...



Also getting ready to square up the tail with the fuselage. Putting the tow release to work already...



That's all for today. Very nice to be back working on the old gal. We'll get her flying soon enough (& yeah you've heard that one before).
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:35 AM
  #49  
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The Tail
I need to carve a piece of wood to sit on top the horizontal stabilizer so that it blends in nicely with the top of the fuselage. It's a lot easier to do that before the tail goes on. So I created this plywood stand-in for the h-stab...



Next I CA tacked a block of balsa to the stand-in & got busy with the shaping...



Popped the balsa off the stand-in then gave her a test fit, looks good...



Hollowed out some of the underside to save weight then bored a hole to accept the rudder post...



Time to glue the horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage...



That's looking pretty square...

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Old 10-20-2013, 03:24 AM
  #50  
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Vertical Stabilizer
Time to get this mounted...



Added my fillet piece...



I figured it'd be easier to cover the v-stab before its mounted...



Ladies & gentlemen we have a tail...

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