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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Twenty Six Percent Scale SE5A

This magnificent model airplane was built by Brian Perkins of Ottawa Canada.

Cockpit details are so realistic, even the pilot looks as though he might speak at any moment.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Unionviile Hobbies Noorduyn Norseman 40 size

 When I purchased this model I was very disappointed with it. The cabin windows were fake stick on silver colored decals.
 I spent a lot of time studying the structural details around the cabin to find the least invasive way to cut out the sheeting for the windows without having to remove or alter the covering material.
 Eventually it was decided to cut out the openings with a sharp exact o knife and slide strips of thin model train window material between the covering and the balsa sheeting and fix them from shifting by a couple of drops of zap adhesive.
 Those small modifications transformed this model for me from an ugly little plane into one that is suddenly pleasing to the eye, especially from 30 feet away.

This image of me piloting the Norseman during a landing was taken by a miniature camera shooting through the new cabin windows.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vintage Aluminium Model Airplane - Topping 100

Does anyone remember these?

Vintage Topping 100 Aluminium Control Line Model Airplane


Topping Models of Akron and Elyria, Ohio is best known for its plastic manufacturer's display models, made for aircraft companies, and others, from the 1940s into the late 1960s; many of those are offered for sale on the Display Models page link. Topping also made gas model airplane items including plastic propellers, an adjustable-pitch prop, and an incredible, pre-formed aluminum control-line model, the Topping "100" which came out in December 1945 and was on the market for a year or so (can't find any 1948 ads). An almost ready to fly Ukie model, the Topping "100" was elegantly constructed of die-formed alclad aluminum, spot welded where necessary, and came in a box, ready to assemble, including a plastic three-blade prop. Assembly, however, necessitated the installation of an engine, which required measuring and drilling holes, making cutouts, aligning the crankshaft with the fuselage centerline and figuring out how to install a modified fuel tank and various ignition system components - not an easy task. A number of engine installations were pictured on the instructions but exact details of dimensioning and cutouts were not provided. A wet cell flight battery was indicated but not provided - there were several companies advertising the wet cells in the 1945-46 era. The model kit sold for $10.00 (without engine and ignition components). Example of the first Topping 100 kit as advertised.

An example of the earlier Topping "100" model, the "100" was obtained with an Ohlsson 60 Custom (1940 model with 1/4" prop shaft) installed and equipped with an Ohlsson glow plug. There were no signs that the model had ever flown, no indication of an ignition system nor had the engine been run in the model. The model was completely restored and returned to the ignition system as originally sold prior to the glow plug invasion after 1947. Ignition components for the Kettering system are of the 40s vintage with an Austin-Craft pen-cell battery box, a metal Perfect fuel tank, a metal clad condenser, and a Smith Competitor Coil with fuse-type mounting clips. The model was wired properly and has a battery switch on the L.H. side; the engine has a "V" type Champion spark plug. Component installation and control wires and leads are all in accordance with the original "100" instruction sheet; the instructions for this early version gave the option of either rotational direction of flight as wires could extend from either wing tip. The aluminum fuselage was made from two elegantly formed aluminum shells so that the right hand side could be removed (two screws - three on the Madewell version) for access to the inside without removing the wing or horizontal tail. Jogged tabs aligned the shell halves when closed. The raised Topping logo is formed into the right hand shell. 3-blade version of Topping 100 displayed in the AMA National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana. CollectAir photo.

Although preformed, the early Topping "100" was a formidable project which many a modeler must have found out. A look at Topping advertisements for the "100" prove to be somewhat schizophrentic; as an example, the August 1946 ad in Air Trails is for the early version with "photograpghic guide for various engine installations" but the picture of the model shows a two-bladed prop with the new "wobble proof" plastic spinner. At some time later, the the two-bladed prop version became the factory-completed Madewell 49 version. This later model came equipped with a fine Madewell 49 lgnition engine and had cutouts for the timer arm, needle valve and fuel filler. All ignition components came with the model including a dry cell battery box, coil, condenser, switch and high tension lead. Included also was a wood propeller and the Topping "wobble proof" spinner and control wire with a handle - very complete. I can find no advertisements for this version of the Topping "100" in any of the model airplane magazines so I have no idea what the list price was with the engine (engine alone advertised elsewhere for $18.00 in late 1946), however if you add up all parts on the plan's "Parts and Price List", the sum comes to $34.65. One correspondent mentions purchase of the Madewell version at a Skelly gas station!

The instruction sheet for the early version was less specific than the plan which came with the Madewell version. A portion of the Madewell plan issalong with part of a November 1946 ad for the engine.The photos below picture the model being offered with the right hand, removable fuselage shell off. Note the mirror image of the interior on the lower surface of the wing. The stabilizer suffered a minor "crinkle" on the leading edge on both sides. THERE'S NO THRILL LIKE FLYING!

Anyone who has ever controlled the live power of an airplane and felt it lift free of the earth has experienced a real thrill! Whether it's a "hot" fighter plane splitting the clouds, a huge transport spanning the oceans or a trim graceful model whizzing through the air, an airplane in flight is a thing of beauty and excitement and genuine entertainment. Controlling it is a thrill that grows greater with increasing experience and skill. Years ago when life moved more slowly, the popular pastime of youngsters and oldsters alike was waiting at the depot to watch the train steam through. In those days, an electric train was the dreamed-of treasure of every youth. Today, the airport has taken the place of the railroad station as the romantic magnet of transportation that attracts and fascinates the youth of America. And today, owning a plane that flies under its own power is the ideal of boys of all ages. Topping, the pioneer in practical prefabricated flying model airplanes, is the first to serve American youth with an airplane that brings all the fun of flying with minimum time spent preparing for flight. Printed on the instruction sheet for the Topping 100.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Will Hobby 120 Size FW 190 All

History: The Focke Wulf FW 190 was a true engineering masterpiece of its time, it served with distinction from its inception in 1941 until the final days of the war. Originally, the FW 190 was produced with a BMW 801 radial engine, the radial-engine powered version is the "A/F/G/S" model or "short nose" 190. The only reason the FW 190 was initially allowed to be produced is because it used a radial engine, virtually all of the Daimler Benz 600 series engines were allotted for Messerschmitt 109 and 110 aircraft. If the Focke Wulf had been designed to use the Daimler Benz engine, it would never have been produced. Because of a need for better performance at high altitudes, the FW 190A was re-equipped with the Jumo 213 series engine. Again, the Jumo 213 was chosen because the Daimler Benz engine was produced primarily for the Bf 109. It is interesting to note that the Jumo 213 was used in bomber aircraft not high performance fighters. Because the Jumo 213 is an inverted inline V-12 engine as opposed the BMW 801 radial design, fitting the Jumo 213 to the FW 190A airframe caused the appearance of the Focke Wulf fighter to change significantly. The nose of the aircraft was much longer, and in order to maintain the correct C.G., an extension plug was added between the tail section and the fuselage. These design changes give the FW 190D version a stretched look when compared to the FW 190A. The Focke Wulf FW 190D-9 "long nose Dora" became operational in the summer of 1944 and was universally acclaimed as the best fighter available to the Luftwaffe at that time, and is generally considered Germany's best mass-produced piston engine fighter aircraft of WWII. Approximately 700 FW 190D-9's were produced and served on western and eastern fronts in a variety of roles. Specifications (Fw 190 D-9) General characteristics * Crew: 1 * Length: 10.20 m (33 ft 5 1/2 in) * Wingspan: 10.50 m (34 ft 5 in) * Height: 3.35 m (11 ft 0 in) * Wing area: 18.30 m² (196.99 ft²) * Empty weight: 3,490 kg (7,694 lb) * Loaded weight: 4,350 kg (9,590 lb) * Max takeoff weight: 4,840 kg (10,670 lb) * Powerplant: 1× Junkers Jumo 213 A-1 12-cylinder inverted-Vee piston engine, 1,287 kW, 1,544 kW with boost (1,750 PS / 2,100 PS) Performance * Maximum speed: 685 km/h at 6,600 m, 710 km/h at 11,300 m (426 mph at 21,655 ft / 440 mph at 37,000 ft (11,000 m)) * Range: 835 km (519 mi) * Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,370 ft) * Rate of climb: 17 m/s (3,300 ft/min) * Wing loading: 238 kg/m² (48.7 lb/ft²) * Power/mass: 0.30 - 0.35 kW/kg (0.18 - 0.21 hp/lb) Armament * 2 × 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns with 475 rpg * 2 × 20 mm MG 151 cannons with 250 rpg in the wing root * 1 × 500 kg (1,102 lb) SC 500 bomb (optional) Add a Comment:

Cockpit details revealed:

Cockpit details from IL-2 screen shots shown below in the following 3 images

The Cockpit details of the model generated from flight simulator screen images:

Irvine 120 2 stroke installed with the radial mount which was supplied by the manufacturer with the engine and attached to the plywood and oak sandwich spacer by 3 number 10 rubber well nuts providing a measure of vibration isolation.

With the batteries still to be installed the model balances about an inch behind the recommended center of gravity location which is indicated by the line made with a black felt marking pen. At this point I am estimating that a pound or so nose weight will be required before I will attempt to fly it.
Since writing these words I this model has successfully completed its maiden flight. I took the model to the flying field yesterday together with its forty five year stable mate; another FW 190 A which incidentally is a very good flyer with many flights logged over the years. The plan was to have three or four flights on the trusted 190 then switch out the flight battery and satellite receiver and install them in the new model, then do some serious shake-down testing. It all went so well when she became airborne on a high speed taxi run and rather than abort at 10 feet altitude 
 we decided to do a few circuits of the field and land. The landing was controlled into a 12 kilometer headwind with 15 degrees of flaps, so the touchdown speed was quite low with a gentle sink rate. To my surprise the port landing gear unit separated the wing cleanly and the plane slid to a stop on one wheel. I was prepared for the eventuality that reinforcing would have to be made.  I have already filled the area with gap filling foam to help stabilize the built-up structural members; its a trick that I often perform for high stress areas and the results have usually been quite positive.
During what was to be a high speed taxi test the plane became suddenly airborne and the decision was made to do a circuit and land rather than to abort from 10 feet altitude.

The gap filling foam can be seen in the picture below as well as the pathetic glue area for securing the gear retract mounting beams.
The foam was cut away so that 1 X 1/2 X 2 inch oak beams were epoxied into the cavities and making sure that there was a good bond to the plywood box. Then the plywood gear mounting beams was epoxied and screwed to the oak beams. The repair seemed to holdup well during taxi tests, but are yet to be tested in a landing.   

Since these pictures were shot we have changed the engine and installed a small gas engine (DLE 20) in place of the Irvine 120.

All my flying buddies are seriously into gas power for their models; they say give up on your big fuel guzzling glow engines and switch to a gasser that runs reliably on pump gas. With these arguments in mind I decided to replace the big Irvine 20 cc glow engine with a DLE 20 gas engine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

F-35's Scary Outside Loop on Takeoff

Looping the Loop

F-35 unintentional loop at takeoff on a carrier This guy clearly has brass and you know the sailors on the flight deck had a cow when they saw this unfold in front of them. Intentional? Hardly! This is unbelievable! F-35 unintentional loop at takeoff a real "check your laundry" event. A supremely well-trained US Navy pilot, ice running in his veins instead of blood, fully regains control of his $70 million, F-35 joint strike force fighter, after a problematic vertical take-off attempt... Watch as the rear vertical thrust-er fires to cause the problem. There's nothing about this the pilot enjoys. If he could have ejected at 100' upside down and lived, he would have. Looks like the afterburner kicks in while still vectored for vertical takeoff. Lockheed would call this a "software malfunction" and do a little more "regressive testing". This is a good demonstration of power-to-weight ratio of this aircraft! And talk about stability control... wow! If he didn't come out of the loop wings-level, it probably would have been bad news; maybe taking some of the carrier with him! Add to this flying through your own exhaust, which can lead to equipment malfunctions, as in "flame out". The F-35 is single engine aircraft with vertical takeoff/landing capability, but it has the aerodynamics of a Steinway piano at zero airspeed. This is the most unbelievable piece of flying you will ever see in your life. This guy's coolness saved a 70 million-dollar aircraft! On the other hand, he might not have had time to react to anything except just ride it. (click on the picture to view his loop)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pan-Am's Boeing Clippers

The Model 314 ' s nickname Clipper came from an especially fast type of sailing ship, used in the 19th century. 
The ship analogy was appropriate, as the Clipper landed on the water, not runways
Boeing Company's diagram of the different areas of the plane.
Night Over Water is a fictionalized account of the final flight of the Pan American Clipper passenger airplane during the first few days of World War II, early September, 1939. Follett is careful to state that, though the flight and all of the characters are fictional the plane, a Boeing 314, was real and was nicknamed the "Pan Am Clipper." It was a seaplane, an aircraft that landed in the sea, not on an airstrip, powered by 4 propeller engines. It was capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in little more than 24 hours with intermediate stops in Shannon Estuary at Foynes, Ireland, Bay of Exploits at Botwood, Newfoundland and Shediac Bay, Canada, at each of which stop Follett adds a scene or two of intrigue. This route made the Pan Am Clipper the fastest mode of transatlantic travel at the time — and very appealing to those who wanted to escape from Britain before the start of the war. The tale begins with several separated threads, telling the individual stories of the people who later all end up in this last flight to New York. Though Follett manages to bundle all these together, the events the characters share while travelling with the clipper are still told through the perspectives introduced before. Each of these main characters is heading for his own interests in the beginning but soon they melt together. 
On Pan Am flights, passengers had access to dressing rooms and a dining salon that could be converted into a lounge or bridal suite.

Seating accommodations converted into births for overnight flights.
Crew sleeping accommodations
Sparse complement of instruments in the cockpit suggests that flying a Clipper was a strenuous job. 
Flight Deck-It carried a crew of 10 to 16 depending on the length of the flight.
 urinal a part of the facilities in the washroom
Ladies power room

War time passenger President Franklin Roosevelt.

There was only one class on a Pan American clipper and that was first class.  Meals were prepared fresh on the aircraft and served on china.  Pan-American advertisements focused on the fact that each aircraft has at least two Stewards on every flight, to attend to food and drink.  Besides breakfast lunch and dinner, snacks and drinks were always available.

The giant Boeing B-314 Flying Boat lift off from the waters of Botwood Newfoundland bound for Foynes Ireland and finally Southampton England.  The aircraft named Yankee clipper and commanded by Captain La Porte carried 17 paying passengers and six hundred and 15 lbs. of mail on the July the eighth 1939 inaugural flight.  On the return journey July 13th the aircraft carried 19 passengers and 410 lbs. of mail.  A one-way ticket from South Hampton cost $375 U.S. in 1939 dollars.  Pan-American Airways had already conquered the the Pacific Ocean in November 1935 and was attempting to match that route to the Orient by providing trips across the Atlantic ocean. Trippe the founder of Pan American Airways wanted Pan American to truly become the first passenger liner to circle the globe.  Trippe recognized early on that the flights across the North Atlantic would not be an easy task.  From the point of a few of distance the northern route is the shortest distance. Only time will tell how many flights will be delayed by fog or because of cold and icy weather.  Trippe said in a newspaper interview "it was a daunting ambition and many serious obstacles stood in the way".  Aviation was still in its informative stage and the existing aircraft did not have the range and performance for the Atlantic crossing.  To be successful aircraft will also have to withstand terrible weather that routinely developed over the North Atlantic.  Support bases had to be established for the aircraft to refuel, equipped with advanced weather and navigation stations to provide the most accurate information possible for the safety of the passengers and crew.  The technology and infrastructure of the day dictated that a giant flying boat would be required.  In the 1930's airfields were mostly short grass strips that couldn't accommodate aircraft of the size and weight required for long-haul flights.  Landing and takeoff on water offered the compromise solution that led to the development of the great flying boats of that era.  Starting in the early 1930's Pan-American purchase several series of flying boats.  The first two series S 40 and the S 42 which were manufactured by Sikorsky Aviation.  Charles Lindbergh described the S 40 as " a maze of struts, braces, flying wires and outriggers".  The S 40 resembled nothing more than an aircraft that was a flying forest".  By 1935 Martin Aviation delivered to the M 130 which to the Pacific routes.  For the service across the North Atlantic Trippe realize that he would require an even larger flying boat, the largest ever built.  Eventually he settled on the Boeing P 314. It was 106 ft. long, 28 ft. tall with a wingspan of a hundred and fifty two feet..  The aircraft was powered by 4  cyclone engines, had range of 3500 statute miles and could carry 70 passengers 34 on overnight sleeper flights.  It carried a crew of 10 to 16 depending on the length of the flight.  There was only one class on a Pan American clipper and that was first class.  Meals were prepared fresh on the aircraft and served on china.  Pan-American advertisements focused on the fact that each aircraft has at least two Stewards on every flight, to attend to food and drink.  Besides breakfast lunch and dinner, snacks and drinks were always available. Sleeping compartments, dressing rooms and well-stocked bar were designed by renowned designers of the early Art Deco style of the time.  There was even a special honeymoon suite.  Trippe and the team of experts decided that the flights would depart from Port Washington N.Y.for staging at Shediac New Brunswick, Botwood Newfoundland, Foynes Ireland  and Southampton in the United.Kingdom.  Charles Lindbergh and his wife and Anne Morrow, who was his radio operator/navigator on many flights; made a refueling stop at Botwood in 1933.  Botwood eventually would become a vital refueling and navigation center for the pioneering flights. It would be a strategic link between two parts of the world and would become a lifeline during the war that was soon to grip most of the world.  Botwood and the near by Gander Center was to become a commercial juggernaut in the postwar prosperity the followed the hostilities.  Botwood's aviation history began in the 1920's and it provided a perfect area for flying boats.  Notre Dame Bay contained ample area of calm water required for landing and takeoff of large flying boats. The harbor its self was well sheltered and was an area that was a virtual a fog free zone and largely free of ice in the winter months.  Large flying boats required this type of geographical area for the ability to operate safely and efficiently.  Trippe sent Stanford B. Kaufman one of the most experienced managers and troubleshooters in the industry to Bootwood.  His journey began on the narrow gauge railway that links St. John's and what would soon to become a center of aeronautical travel.  At one point, the train had problems and all the passengers were told to disembark at half way to their destination.  Kaufman hitched a ride with the remote mailman driving what as he described it "a ramshackle car".  When he finally reached Bootwood he found that the little hotel had no rooms available.  But with the hospitality for which Newfoundlander s are famous; he was allowed to sleep in the front window of the local small department store, after the store was closed for business.  After a few days he was able to work out an arrangement with one of the occupants of a room at the hotel.  The guest worked shift on the railway; at night Kaufman could sleep in the bed and then the worker would take the bed over in the morning.  His first description of Botwood was "a godforsaken place that only British freighters visited now and then to pick up a load of wood and newspaper".  Kaufman did become impressed with the knowledge and skill of the locals however.  Saying "I approached a local who built fishing boats~~ a wonderful guy".  He said sure he could build something for me.  A sketch of a barge and boats that I wanted which would anchor offshore and were required for refueling and transportation of passengers and crew".  Within a short period of time the boats were completed.  The flying boats would be refueled and serviced on the water.  Passengers mail and cargo would be off loaded on the water in the same manner.  Quarters were constructed for the crew, in the spring of 1939 we took delivery of new Boeing B 314 flying boats that were developed for making the flight across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  They were four engine craft; the first was christened the Yankee Clipper by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt on the third of March 1939. "Pan-Am ordered 12 planes which became its entire over the ocean fleet" Kaufman wrote to in his notes. Finally on June the 24th 1939 B 314 the newly christened Yankee clipper under the command of Captain Harold Gray departed Botwood with Trippe special guests, government officials 2,543 lbs. of mail for Foynes Ireland.  The flight was a complete success and approval was given for the first full passenger trans Atlantic flight.  Mrs. Trippe wrote in her diary, " the Atlantic crossing was a never to be forgotten milestone".  It ushered in new era in Atlantic transportation.  Jaun's vision and the hard work of a fabulous group of men was made a dream come true in a relatively short time".  The Golden Age of Clippers was cut short, however: the Second World War started in September and eventually passenger service was curtailed.  The Clippers continued to arrive and depart at Botwood, but now under the control of the military.  One famous passenger on many flights was Mrs. Smith's; persona for Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt.  For a brief period, Botwood did have many famous visitors~~ like Bob Hope, Edward G. Robinson , Edger Bergman and his sidekick Charlie McCarthy, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Frances Langford, as well as kings and queens in living exile.  The technology and infrastructure improvements produced by the war subsequently made flying boats, all but obsolete and there was apparently little nostalgia for their impact on aeronautical history.  The 28 Pan-American Clippers were destroyed or used for spare parts and none survived to today intact.
Based on an August 1st 2009 article in the St. John's Telegram  commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first full-service trans Atlantic flight.
Pictures are courtesy of Pan-Am Historical Foundation. 

For those visiting the area check out this. 

Botwood Flying Boat Museum

Tourism Region: Exploits Valley
The Botwood Flying Boat Museum, through murals, models and artifacts depicts the aviation history of our town from 1920 to 1945. It also houses the Archive of the Botwood Heritage Society.