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Monday, March 31, 2008

Scale Gliders

With the Sungazer scale slope weekend just weeks away its a good time to go over your glider and make sure its airworthy . Some of the gliders have been pulled out of storage after many years of gathering dust and would need a comprehensive check.
There are 3 areas to focus on
1. The airframe ,its possible that in storage the wings may have warped, covering torn, control surface and hindges damaged and linkages damaged . Plastic parts tend to become brittle and may snap under load, if you have any doubts repair or replace any part that may be suspect.

2. The batteries if they are old should be replaced with a new pack and cycled several times before considering flight, likewise old servos should be checked out and may just need to be opened up , cleaned inside and relubricate the gears with a bit of silicon or teflon based light grease, if they do not move smoothly rather replace them as they will let you down. Try carry out a range check from all sides and make sure the arial can receive a good signal especially if your fuselage contains carbon fiber .

3. Assemble your glider, check the wing joiners ,control surface movements, reprogram the radio if required, check the incedance and nose weight, as a basic rule a glider should balance about one third back from the leading edge if the wing is not very sweeped forward or backward, its safer to slope launch a slightly nose heavy plane.

The picture above shows a team launch at a slope event held at Hermanus in the Cape province, I think it is an ASW 26.

If you are a relative newcomer or not sure ask one of the other pilots to give your glider the once over he may spot something that you overlooked and help prevent a potential problem.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


With the Sungazer Scale Slope event only weeks away the preparation race is on the lovely shot above is not local , but typifies the late afternoon soaring one can experience at sunset when the "valley release " sometimes kicks in and you get to fly in "Champaigne Air"

The glider above will be at the Sungazer ...It's Russ from Durban out doing some test flights after a serious rebuild on his lovely ASW 24 .
Russ assures me it will now be finished with decals and a pilot.

Strange thing though ,he says it flies even better now that it has put on some weight , many larger gliders need a bit of weight to get them on the step , when slope soaring .Wing loadings on the large gliders can even reach 100 grams/dmsq, my big Dg500 Flies at 70 gr/dmsq but needs a bit of a blow (25-30kmh ) for launching to be safe.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ka 6e Scale Glider

Mark swung by my office for some help with his stunning Ka6e which was built by master builder Ken Kearns .
The model features a built up wing and glass fuselage and is very nicely detailed, including a homemade pilot . Mark had some minor wiring issues in the one wing ,but a bit of surgery and it's sorted.
Mark is possibly going to bring it to the Sungazer event as a day visitor and we all hope to see it fly, on the slope.

Ka-4 ZS-GED Foam work

The cutting was done on my building buddy Peter’s foam cutter and was straightforward.
The span 4.1m with a rootcord of 420mm.

Note the standard betteypack in the center of the wing.

This is the solid block of foam for the fuselage.

I set up my bow vertically to rufcut the top shape of the fuz that would serve as my datumline.

Afyer the rufcut the top shape was sanded to the correct profile.

The next step was to mark the vertical centerline and to section the block at the bulkhead breaks.

The next step will be to glue the formers to either side of the foam blocks and to cut the outside shape along the bulkheads.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

K8B Airbrakes

Progress on the K8B has been a little slow lately with last month end being financial year end and all that. But I did manage to get the basic planning done for the airbrakes and here is construction progress so far.

Started off with a full size cross section drawing from the wing - four ribs bays long by the depth of the wing at the point at which the brakes are to be installed. Then cut a balsa blade and two actuators. Pinned the actuators at their centre pivot point into the building board and adjusted the length until everything worked nicely. Yeah, not very scientific but adequately functional planning for me.

Then went out shopping to find some materials to build it. Builders Warehouse had some L-shaped extruded aluminium strip 1.4mm thick, 12.7mm deep and 6.35mm wide. Now who on earth in real life would require aluminium strip with these exact dimensions? Never mind - it was just perfect for me. Got a few 3mm bolts and nuts and headed back to the workshop.

I was going to make the actuator rods from aluminium as well until I remembered there was some 1,5mm fiberglass printed circuit board lying around on a shelf somewhere - just perfect for the job - cuts easily on the jig saw - a whole lot easier to work with than the aluminium. Measured everything carefully, drilled all the 3mm holes and below are the results:

Anyone know where I can get some neat little 3mm rivets to replace those ugly bolts?

Next step will be to build the plywood box for the unit, bolt the whole thing together and drop it into a hole in the wing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ka-4 project ZS-GED

This is my full size project a Ka-4 built in 1957 that has been referbished over the last couple of years . I hope to have it in the air by the end of March. The big project served as insparation for a smaller project a 4m standoff scale of it for the slope.

Building a scale model of my glider has been in the back of my mind for years but there always seemed to be another project to do first. When Mike came up with the Sun Gazer it got me going and I started working on the project.

If it is going to be ready for this event remains to be seen but i’ll be working on it franticly for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SZD-56 Diana 2

The Diana 2 is basically complete with regard to construction , and I must say it is slim and very elegant in design.

It looks more like a model in its lines than a full size glider
. Next part of the build is to cut the control surfaces and do the silicon hindging, prior to this exercise I will polish the wing and taiplane with good car polish, the reason for this is as you fill the gap between the top and bottom skins of the wing , with a mixture of resin and balloons, where the surfaces have been cut out.

If any of this mix happens to get on the wing surfaces it will come off easily


The wing incedance peg that I have used in the last three builds has been a short length of threaded rod about 8mm in diameter, this has a nut threaded on the inside of the fuselage ,and once the wings are on there is no way the wings can come off in flight.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Peters Astir CS

Peter demonstrating the rudder fit

At this stage the aircraft has a coat of spray filler on and is awaitng its 2k coats of final finish white.

The red trim and logos will be added as per the full size.

Like a kid with a new toy,
Peters new Astir is taking shape and being finished for the Sungazer Scale Slope fly-in.
I visited Peter and took a few spy photos, I must say Peter is a craftsman and finishes off his aircraft with great care and attention to details . This baby is just under 6 mtr and feels nice and light , should be a .great soarer.

This glider(full size) is manufactured by Grob but is a different model to the Speed Astir tha Charl has built, it has a distinctive wing planform.

I am sure it will look great in the air-currents above the Drakenberg mountain foothills at Volksrust.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Go Big Or Go Home

Check out this glider for thoose that fancy a huge scale model
it's a ASW 22 .
Maybe next year The Sungazer Scale fly in may have a monster like this.
it looks to be about half scale.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Speed Astir completion

The final step in this project was to spray all the trim with my air brush and to have the decals madeup.

Masking and painting all the trim was quite a job but it ended up looking very good.
This was the final result.

Note Grey cat doing the preflight.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

SZD-56 Diana 2

The Sungazer Scale Slope event is just over a month away , and scale gliders are currently flavour of the month.

Laptop problems have really slowed my posts on this build thread but I am online so here goes.

The wings were bagged and came out well at about 1kg each which is ok for a 2mtr wing.

The ply end ribs attached and then its 2 rounds of light sanding and spray with 2k. The curved leading edge was achieved by cutting 3 panels and carefull sanding. the tail boom and fin now go onto the pod, more filling, and spraying once that is complete. Looking good for the Sungazer Scale slope fly-in.
The rolled boom tube is made up of uni-directional carbon lengthways and two layers of 163gr glass and a finishing layer of 104gr its light and strong.
The paint is sanded away on the parts to be bonded so the epoxy can adhere well.
Some time and care is needed to align the boom in all 3 planes but with some jigging and reference lines the end result looks to be ok.
The boom to fuse join has been filled with a mix of balloons and epoxy and sanded to shape.
The final coats of 2k white will cover the join.
In this photo I have also sanded the wing end ribs to get a parallel fit to the fuselage sides.

The tailplane is being built last and is blue foam with a balsa veneer ,to keep the weight down in the rear, as this glider has a long tail moment arm, and I would like to put the elevator servo in the tailplane with a direct coupling.Weight needs to be saved behind the balance point.

The Diana 2 is starting to look like a glider and in this photo the balsa winglets are being attached prior to glassing and spraying.

Hope it flies as sexy as it looks.

Cheers for now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

HTL #2 Groengoud

Sunday 2nd March HTL#2 at Groengoud. Perfect weather, perfect field, perfect everything. The weather conditions were extremely challenging, with a very light and variable wind giving everyone a fair chance. Thermals were rather weak considering the sweltering temperature and ground bubbles fairly small. This gave the little two meter models opportunity to compete very favourably with the bigger and more advanced F3J models and in some slots, gave them a really tough time.

Above, while awaiting the pilot's briefing (Lionel being handed his breakfast just before he was about to start talking) we were kept entertained by Craig Baker and his little electric pylon racer. Left, Martie again producing a great breakfast and lunch and kept us from dehydration through the scorching hot day. Right, our CD for the day, Marcel giving us his "Ja, just you try that one again, buster" look.

Chris Adrian
and his
Pike Perfect.

My little
Sagitta 600
on landing
with Evan
doing the

Left, Simon showing Volney the way and right, Herman and Stephen giving Jason some support.

Scores show the SGC guys flew the best with the MMS team second. BERG team third ETB not performing to their usual standards this round. The only casualty of the day was Peter Joffe who broke his open model on very hard landing and had to revert to his Tsotsi for the rest of the contest.
One of the local birds of prey showing keen interest in Stephen's model ...

... and we saw a bit of cool spot dancing by Stephen and Simon.

BERG team in
action: Piet
timing and Evan
coming in for
one of his
better spot
landings with
the Emoyeni.

The MMS team
about to get
Michelle's model
into the air.
Lionel launching,
Edmund, Evan
and I observing.

Lionel flying,
Wolfie timing
and spotting.

You can click
on Lionel
(or Wolfie
for low res
to link to Lionel's
article on the
day's events
and more