I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

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I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:04 am

Caring for my elderly parents is not always easy. I often need a let out.

Its too cold to work on the XJR so presently its inside activities. I`ve been finishing a 1920`s style model aircraft for my Father but needed some supplies from the model shop to finish it...so off I went to the model shop over at Ewell in Surrey. At least I escaped the house for the morning. Grabbing what I required from the shop keeper, I noticed a nice little ARTF (Almost ready to fly) 1200mm wingspan Hawker Hurricane model kit on the shelf. Made from a resilient foam, detailed and painted, the kit came with pre-installed electric servos, retracting undercarriage and an electric motor. All one had to do to complete the model was stick the dozen or so parts together with Osma pipe weld plastic cement, buy a re-chargable Lipo power cell and fit a radio receiver. My Father has loads of receivers and a radio transmitter, so the idea looked quite promising.

I returned to the car, climbed in, then out again. Waving my card at the model shop proprietor, I bought the kit and the Lipo battery. It seemed the right thing to do. Five minutes and £150 lighter, I climbed back into the car.

The model built up in a couple of hours. No problem at all. The Secretary of my Fathers model club arrived on Saturday and we set up the radio gear, made sure the controls were operating in the correct direction and tested the undercarriage retract system. I`ve bought two more Lipo batteries so three ten minute flights are possible on a hot Sunday afternoon. Fathers model club operates near Tunbridge which is not too far away. Come the better weather, I can quietly go up onto the old Kenley Battle of Britain aerodrome and have a couple of early morning flights before the parks department Land Rover arrives to chase me over the fence...When I was a boy it was the RAF Police who used to see us off. Quite crazy really because this massive area of land only gets used by dog walkers and a bit by the air cadets gliding club. 99% of the time, its just an enigmatic open space. At night, it is said you can hear Rolls Royce Merlins firing up across the airfield.

So here is my little Hurricane which is now ready to fly." Daka, daka, daka, dak. Spring pigeon to shite hawk in one easy lesson". Remember that from the Battle of Britain film?
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I`ve not forgotten my flying similar if differently constructed models like this in my teens. Perhaps reliability might have improved. Transmitter technology has greatly improved. A degree in comms and radios now seems to be the norm for successful flight. Setting that radio gear up is mind boggling. The result will be the same as forty years ago. A ten minute flight followed by an hours tree climbing to recover a shattered pile of bits! I`ll take a camera with me on the first outing. There might be nothing left for a second!!

Watch this space.

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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:03 am

The Hurricane still awaits to be flown when the better weather arrives.

In the meantime, a little internet surfing has taken place to attempt to secure either a set of plans, an old stock and now discontinued balsa model kit or a complete model of a highly aerobatic model biplane that I used to fly in my teens...horrifyingly calculated to be about forty five years ago!

To my astonishment, I found a complete if somewhat tatty down at heal model Aeromaster on the British Model Flying Association web site. I felt like J R Heartly finding the book he wrote years before! Internationally, these once very popular little 54" wingspan Aeromaster biplanes are rarer than hens teeth. I suspect I now have the only example of this model offered for sale anywhere in the entire Universe for the past ten years! Yes, I`m very pleased indeed.
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Having arranged with the seller to collect the model and not knowing what real structural state this forty year old example might be in, I jumped into the XJR at the bottom of the M25 this morning. A very enjoyable hour and a quarter drive on the M25, through the Dartford Tunnel and straight up the A12 took me to West Mersea on the East Coast of Essex. The seller lived in a gorgeous house fronting onto the wide and muddy creek. What a wonderful place. Boats and ducks everywhere!

Shown into the kitchen, the seller showed me his model Aeromaster. Dirty, with sagging coverings, neglected and un-cared for, morale dropped a bit until I realised I was not interested in the appearance of this once proud flying heap, but rather more what lay beneath the filth and muck. The seller lifted the tail of the model and half a pint of vintage diesel fuel flowed from the open fuel supply pipe onto his right foot...I seized the opportunity and thrust £80 in his hand whilst he and his wife began what I suspect was going to turn out to be a frightful argument! Around the corner from the house, I removed the obnoxious and smelly 14oz fuel tank from the model and put it in the Co-op shop rubbish skip! I didn`t want it. This model after overhaul, re-engining, recovering and having had a modern radio control system fitted, is going all electric with Lipo batteries! No noise, no methanol and castor oil running all over the model and no need to cart a gallon of inflammable fuel around in the car. Best of all no smell and no need to dash for the loo after a flying session. Just plug it in to the mains and recharge it.
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Back at base, my Father declared my vintage acquisition a pile of c##p! He was possibly correct. It certainly gave that visual impression upon first sight. Mother asked if I had paid good money for the thing and asked how many models we already had in "The Hanger" (conservatory). Father replied with a figure of twenty six and a half. Mother asked how that could be. Father replied it was because she had stood on one which hadn`t yet been repaired! Mother stomped off readying herself for yet another geriatric tantrum.

Out in "The Hanger" I got busy with a scalpel, Mothers hair dryer and the rubbish bin from the garage. Two hours later, I had the Aeromaster stripped of its ancient and wrinkled heat sensitive sheet plastic shrink covering. Various bits of "Hanger Rash", holes, broken stringers, loose control service hinges, two split lower wing skins where the undercarriage must of finished up after a bad landing and other nasties became revealed. Not perhaps the finest built model or the best kept.
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But the model had revealed a secret. In a plastic bag stuffed inside the fuselage were four fairly new Futaba drive servos and all completely compatible with several 2.4Ghz radio transmitters and receivers we have in stock. I plugged them all in to a receiver, found a spare Lipo battery, switched the transmitter on and low and behold, all servos worked! I valued that haul at £50 so the total pile of flying c##p cost me £30 plus £30 petrol for the XJR! All done and dusted in four hours and back in time for lunch. Not such a bad deal after all.

Tonight, the model has had most of the covering and a load of defunct electronic detritus removed. It`s a bit fuel sodden at the front. That is to be expected from a former two stroke model internal combustion engine. It can be cleaned and fixed at the same time as I install a new bulkhead for what I expect to be a 360Kv brush-less electric motor and a 80amp speed control unit. More images shortly. (pun).

V=Ir except on Sundays!

Mike K
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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:25 am

This was the colour scheme applied to the model I built and flew around 44 years ago. A direct crib of one of the Stamp SV4a aircraft flown by the Tiger Club at Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey. I suspect the sad and battered little model I`ve just acquired will re-appear wearing similar livery!
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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby steve_m » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:27 am

Are you going to change the registration number to G-JAAG?

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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:32 pm

Nice lateral thinking, Steve.

G-AJAG , G-AXJR or G-AEAG after my currently defunct former marine services business are also options!

Here is another image of the flying pile I bought yesterday. You can see how badly worn the covering is...and that`s just the good bits! Its all a bit battered but well worth saving. It`s also a piece of model aircraft history and becoming very thin on the ground.
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My now very infirm Father spent around a year attempting to build a 48" wing span pastiche model of a 1920`s style plane named Dawn Flyer. He struggled badly building the triangular shaped fuselage which caused him great difficulties due to failing eyesight. Then he got rushed in to hospital mid-November with double pneumonia and heart failure. It was tear jerking watching him begin to pack up. Fortunately, he started to make a slow recovery and we towed him home after a 37 nights in hospital.

Over the period, he asked me to build him a set of wings for the model he had started. Whilst he was in hospital, I`d regularly take him the wings so he could see the progress. Finally, I took him the basic model and that helped him cheer up a bit. I finally had the model covered and presentable for him when he returned home a couple of days before Christmas. Here are a few pics of the build.
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All the radio, electric motor, power pack and electronic speed controller is in place. I`ve just got to put a couple of control cables in for the elevator and rudder. Then a bit of detailing and the model is fit to go. Hopefully, Father will be able to see it fly once the better weather is here.

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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:46 pm

The Hanger is now getting to overload capacity. The cleaner has refused to go out there. Mother is in despair. It has taken me nearly four months to achieve this level of apparent devastation. What will the neighbors think?! Worst things happen at sea in my opinion. I don`t understand what all the fuss is about.
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A few more images here of the stripped off Aeromaster. Regard it as a similar thing to breaking down a car for restoration. A gleamer comes out at the other end. See the image in a previous post of the Stampe SV4 to get an idea of what this clapped out old air-frame will morph into. More pics as the work progresses.
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Finally, another shot of the Hurricane.
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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby BrizzleJag » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:19 pm

Interesting stuff Mike, I enjoyed reading about your model making projects. Your desk in the man cave remains me of a quote from Albert Einstein: "If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign"? :D I have this on the wall above my desk at work. :lol:
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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:18 am

I think an empty desk in my case means I`ve run out of ideas for the next X350 magazine article!

Adding to curious personality traits, our James said he had a full car boot this afternoon and was going home early. I asked why that should be. He said the car was full of turf. Quite understandable I felt. I explained that it was an aspiration of mine, unfulfilled I must admit, that I too had at one time aspired to be in a position by the age of forty to be financially secure to afford to have to my own lawn taken away to be cut......What conclusion can be drawn? Perhaps that James has spent too much time in the company of grey haired old soaks like us and is getting strange habits!

I now have all the control runs installed and working on the odd little yellow and green Dawn Flyer that my Father started. The build now includes the operational radio control gear. Great, nearly finished, I thought. Naaaa! Even with that lot installed as far forward as possible, the centre of gravity, ie fore and aft balance, was miles out of limits and very tail heavy. Hung on a sky hook, 13 ounces of lead shot had to be mixed into some industrial epoxy and cotton fibre bulking and poured into the void space behind the engine to achieve the correct weight and balance schedule. Half an hour later, the epoxy matrix had set up and the lead shot is forever now the most substantial part of this model. On the hook again for weighing with the C of G now correct, the complete model comes out at 5lb dead. Shall we call it a flying brick? Father did always build heavy!
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Here is an American Youtube video of the little Hurricane model in action. Again just a tad tail heavy which shows in the landing sequences, this very light weight foam model is a real performer. Although flown far to fast on occasions to be convincing and with turns probably exceeding fifteen G, the model flys quite nicely. There is an option to fit flaps on the model which is quite easy. Presently the model is devoid of the service but a small amount of work together with another couple of extra servos would get that service going and make the model easier to fly on landing approaches. Anyway, here is the video.https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j ... DnzLzT2K5c

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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:57 pm

The little Dawn Flyer is now almost complete. The pilot is now painted, radio checked over and one of the underside panels screwed into place. Just a couple of small ply underside panels to cut out, cover with sticky shrink film and its ready to go.

Made a start on the flying pile today. This is the Aeromaster bi-plane I bought in quite shocking condition and for ridiculous money last weekend. It certainly wouldn`t get an airworthiness certificate had it come up against me when I was doing the big stuff. So three fuselage stringers replaced with new and an aircraft style insertion repair carried out to the port side aft skinning. Then the big chop. Unmercifully I cut off all the front structure where once lived a .91 cubic inch two stroke glow plug motor. Heck does old methanol and castor oil stink! Given the fuselage a good scrub with acetone around the frontal areas in an attempt to de-grease the rather oily balsa wood. It still pongs after the wash and I can smell the foul mix on my hands even after a couple of washes myself.

I finished up today by rough cutting an engine bulkhead from 3mm ply and epoxy gluing it across the old bulkhead.The area which the previous owner hacked out to house the glow plug motor silencer will be filled in with ply and balsa tomorrow to restore strength and appearance. Once a new electric motor has arrived, I can decide the visual appearance of the fuselage. Perhaps a radial cowl or maybe something more like a Gypsy engined Tiger Moth or Stampe. In the meantime, its just a question of examining every part of the model and reworking as required. I suspect this model will build up again quite quickly. Its fairly straight forward. More pics here.
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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby steve_m » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:21 am

It's starting to look ab it more like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miPCcpzRaPE

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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:08 am

Brilliant, Steve. You can actually see the tension on Hammond and May`s faces. Constructing that thing must of cost the license paying viewer a fortune!

Today, I could stand the visual misery no longer! I finally removed the last of the stubborn bits of covering from the fuselage and demolished the appallingly badly soldered piano wire cabane structure. Pictures speak louder than words in this case. It couldn`t have got any worse. My Proxon mini grinder with flappy wheel ground away fuse wire binding and lead solder as the "adhesive, Despite the dreadful rendition, it was quite surprising how strong the construction was. Only when I`d cleaned every last bit of the mess off and got down to the piano wire did demolition become a reality. Those piano wires took a fair bit of cleaning up.
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Here is a shot of the salvaged piano wire cabane braces together with, on the right, new ex-coat hanger wire used to make new cross brace wires where the old ones had failed due to corrosion and possible stress overload.This model only had cross braces on the front wires. I recall the same model I built forty odd years ago also had cross braces on the rear cabane wires also. Hence I made four new wires instead of just two. That should strengthen the cabane arrangement up by around 25%.
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This is the basic cabane structure. All the bits in the image above will be fuse wire rapped to it and then lead soldered. My job should be rather better than the first image in this sequence. I need to be shot if it is not!
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This is an image of the tail feathers now cleaner of the remains of the covering. It is all a bit battered but quite a good enough platform for some forceful restoration.
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The thundering great hole chewed out of the fuselage and bulkhead by the previous owner has been repaired. The ply bulkhead is of 3/8" and has to some extent been reinforced by various balsa and ply additions aft of the main panel. The total depth of that bulkhead appears to be little short of at least an inch and a quarter thick! Here is my repair built with epoxy, ply and balsa. What is seen here is the tip of the iceberg. The insert repair sheeting accounts for little more that just returning the former hole to some acceptable form. Its what underneath it that took the time to construct.
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So the worst is over for the fuselage. It has improved greatly since I bought the thing. Spent about ten hours on it today. Progress has been satisfyingly rapid so far.

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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby BrizzleJag » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:33 pm

Tidy work Mike, looking much better.
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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:01 am

Snow here stopped any other play.
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Father up, dressed, washed and breakfasted. My time again for a couple of hours. Back in The Hanger again then for want of anything else to do.

I started off cutting a lower rear fuselage stringer and inserting a laminated balsa block picking up the load path of the stringer in the process. Being now about to become an electric powered model, one has to have a hot air exhaust outlet to let the heat out from the battery pack and the electronic speed controller.
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Next for the chop was the lower front of the fuselage with a hatch being cut into the 3/8" skin just in front of the undercarriage mount. This is to allow access to a Lipo batter pack and speed controller. In addition it also allows access for fitting the rear engine mount and fit nuts and washers to bolts which will eventually fix the motor to the front bulkhead. The hatch has been worked so that it now fits with a lip at the front and a pair of magnets at the rear.
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A view now of what is below the hatch. Note the round magnet for securing the hatch on the left and a quantity of lead shot ballast encapsulated in epoxy resin at the bottom of this void. Bare in mind the model is upside down in this view. To the right, note slots in the structure aft of the bulkhead. These slots afford another place that could be used to load more ballast and epoxy if further nose weight is required to obtain a correct centre of gravity.
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Here is a newly installed new 3mm ply cockpit floor. The previous rendition was 1/16" balsa, was cracked, over light as a stiffening structure and disintegrated as I tried to remove the pilot from his perch!
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Wanting a change from construction, I grabbed some of the radio gear I acquired on ebay, some of the electric servos found in a plastic bag in the model, a small battery pack and another ebay bargain, another 2.4Gh seven channel transmitter. The whole lot cost me about £95. New, this set up with transmitter and receiver is about £400. Note the diminutive size and light weight of this kit. Weighs little more than eight ounces. The 50p coin is there as a size comparison.
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At lunchtime, I weighed all the component parts I could gather together including the plastic film covering which is still on cardboard tubes. My estimate is that this model when complete will weigh in around 5.5 -6.0Lbs. The reason for toting all the parts up is that the supplier of the motor, the Lipo battery, speed controller and propeller has to have this information to run his power calculations. He can then correctly supply a correct package to give me what I require...namely about twelve pounds of thrust, ie 2:1 power to weight advantage for vertical flight, "stationary hovering" whilst hanging on the prop, blistering vertical acceleration and around twelve minutes flying time. Its not going to be cheap but my birthday is next week!
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This shot shows the centre line of propeller thrust measure down to the table top whilst the air frame is on a level plane. A 10"radius, ie 20" diameter prop would strike the ground. I imagine the recommended prop will probably have a diameter of 14" or 15". Pitch of the blade will be calculated for fast climbing rather than horizontal speed.
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I`ve also ordered a couple of additional small servos and control surface parts for the Hurricane. I discovered the landing flaps could be made operational by installing servo units for a sixth radio channel. Just a bit of work with a hacksaw blade to the wing. Flap hinging is present. Servo installation is with double sided 3m adhesive tape, running the power feed is easy and terminates at the receiver. Control rods and clevises come as part of the £25 upgrade kit. So some extra bits to help this model end up in a tree!

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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby steve_m » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:07 am

I saw this at a show somewhere once; pretty awesome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkJu3VjK8zs

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Re: I usually drive an XJR but now I`m going to be a Hurricane pilot!

Postby J44EAG » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:29 am

Probably the North Weald show which usually takes place in June or July annually, Steve.

Last time I went there, present was a 5/6 scale Pitts Python aerobatic biplane. Wingspan was about 15ft. At first glance I was unsure if this plane was real or indeed a model. It dwarfed everything else!

There is a fellow called Tony Nyhuis down in Hastings. He designs and builds mega scale models after doing his day job as a structural engineer in London. He hardly sleeps and will build models after a day in the office until about 03.00am next day. At 06.00am he gets on the train again! I`ve been interested in building his 103" fifth scale Hurricane. Based around a 65cc four stroke motor, it is quite a monster. The full kit is around £600...all laser cut. The build is done with super glue and a spray chemical "kicker" accelerator. That makes for a very fast build. Even so, you would be going it to have the thing built inside a year. Retracts, flaps and weighing in at around 14Kg. Total costs for the project would be around £1500 or more. I`d have to think twice about the level of investment and time for something like that.

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