What's It all About ???

This page is all about the building and flying of radio controlled model aircraft. It's a highly diversified hobby that takes in as many skills as you like to use. Everything from electronics to carpentry, to painting, to drawing and designing with a little bit of metal work thrown in. Some builders even go into doing their own machining, pattern designing, fibre glassing, moulding and engine design. You can use electric motors, 2 stroke or 4 stroke internal combustion engines or even minature turbine (jet) engines for power. My own models use 2 and 4 stroke internal combustion engines and range in size from about a metre in wingspan to well over 3 metres from tip to tip!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pusher Props & Other Peculiarities

There are some model aircraft supplies that I find difficult to source. Have you ever tried to find an 12 x 6 wooden PUSHER prop that wont defy all attempts to balance it? Or a crankcase for an ENYA CX11 that is in good condition? Or a set of decent plans for a (insert your own choice).

This particular annoyance is common across the hobby, particularly for those of us who collect and/or restore old nitro engines. The process of building a highly detailed scale model can also run foul of this problem.

For the engine collector/restorer the problem is replacement parts, many of the engines of interest to collectors are more than fifty years old and most manufacturers, if they still exist,  find it uneconomical to continue to supply parts for superseded motors. The nett result is that if you want something simple like a needle valve assembly or other carburettor part none are available. So some of us are forced to pursue the manly art of doing our own machining and making parts from scratch. Of course there are some components that defy all attempts to machine a decent facsimile of the original whether it is due to the limitations of the restorer,  his/her equipment or the shear bloody mindedness of the original designer. The next step in the pursuit of accurate facsimiles of original parts is to take up the mysterious alchemical art of casting bits. Lost wax casting and other equally exotic methodologies come to mind. Of course this brings it's own problems. In the quest for authenticity  we might seek to cast a replica crankcase from the same metal alloy as the original only to find that the bloody thing was made from the boiled down remains of the Ark of the Covenant or something approaching Unobtanium.

The scale model builder has problems of a different nature but equally frustrating. Because we are all odd bods we have to make our next scale project a museum quality replica of a single prototype that was flown only once in 1910. This is undoubtedly complicated by the fact that the fabled flight was actually conducted ten miles inland on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Said Island has of course now disappeared beneath the surface of that vast volume of water. The only three view we have had to work on is a faded and blurred photocopy from the only existing copy of the Mugwump Island Daily. We just HAVE to know the true diameter of the hand made brass priming pump that is hidden under the cowl. Ten years research in obscure aviation magazines that are written in either Russian or Chinese and can be accessed only after secret hand shakes and a long list of passwords result in two different magazines (the only reference found) producing two completely different descriptions of said component. The potentially contest winning project is relegated to the rear of the shed with all the other "One day I'll get it done" piles of balsa and ply for the termites to treat as desert.

I know of one dedicated scratch builder who, confronted with such a puzzle, dissolved into tears and went out and bought an ARF War bird with E*L*CTR*C power. Such is the horrible fate of some master craftsmen.