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Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

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Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  JPvelo on Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:19 pm

Sorry this took so long to post, I had it all typed up and then lost it.

I started building the Bellanca in March. I jumped in and built like crazy and had it basically done save for the finish. That's when I hung it in the garage and left it until September. I didn't think I would finish it until I found out I was having hernia surgery sept. 11. I figured with a week off work I would just knock it out then. Ha! This thing turned into a part time job and rolled down to Tucson last weekend with a plane that not only hadn't been flown, I hadn't been able to fire all three motors at the same time.

I got to the field Saturday morning for the static judging and test flight day, I was the second one there. The other one was Kieth Trostle with his 3x Pee Wee .020 Farman . I wanted to put my plane back in the car.


Ken Gulliford, one of the judges, asked if wanted to learn to judge scale. I said yes and I was allowed to watch over the judges shoulders. I scored better than I thought I would compared to the rest and had a little confidence boost.

 After judging it was to windy to fly but I decided to try and fire all my engines. My process was to fuel all three, fire the inboard tune it and shut it down and then do the same to the center engine. After that I prime all three and , fire the outboard, fire the inboard, and then attempt to fire the center. I was about to fire the out board when former Nats stunt champ Lou Wolgast asked if I wanted him to flip the props. Uh, yes! With Lou flipping and me managing bladders and the glow clip we had all three fired in under a minute. I was literally shaking from nerves and adrenaline as I packed up but I felt a little more confident.

That night we met up at Kieth Trostles house for pizza. I've never seen more cool model airplane stuff in my life. His shop and den are like a model aviation museum.  

I got the field at eight the next morning. Leroy Black had offered to meet me at 7 for a test flight but I figured if it went all to hell on the first flight I wanted it to be an official flight. If I managed one full lap before destroying the airplane at least I would get scored and could say I competed. Understand this is a two pound plane that I felt was tail heavy even with three ounces of lead packed anywhere I could pack it in the nose. I thought the leadouts might be to far forward for the balance point. Thursday before the contest two of the brass inserts for the center engine pulled out and I JB welded them back in. I wasn't sure it would fly at all  and if it did I wasn't sure the center engine would stay attached for the whole ride. And everyone seemed to think it would be a rocket on 35" lines.

By the way I now agree completely with Ken Cook and will never use inserts again.

Static scores were posted, there was only a sixteen point spread but I found myself in dead last. So much for my confidence from the day before.

Flying started around 8:30 and I commenced with my fuel, fire, prime routine. When I felt ready I asked Lou if he would flip props for me again. He said yes and we took the plane to the circle. We were preparing to start when the judges reminded me I needed to declare my flight maneuvers. I said "Take off and hopefully land in one piece.". I decided on high flight, wing over, lazy eight, and climb & five. The lazy eight for scale is completely different from stunt and the wing over is as high as you can safely go, not overhead. Anyway, we gave the starting signal and again had all three turning and burning in under a minute. As I walked to the handle I told myself "your just flying a model airplane, no big deal". I don't remember who launched me, there was a lot going on. I took a deep breath, gave the launch signal, and prepared for the worst.  The rollout was perfect with nice tight lines and the climb was nice and smooth. I noticed it was actually flying a little nose out. I did a few level laps and then some gentle up and down to get a feel for it. It flys like a slightly nose heavy two pound airplane with a 1/4" thick airfoil. Let's just say there will be no aerobatics in its future. I went ahead and did my flight maneuvers, and it just kept going. I must have done fiftten laps before the outboard engine quit and then ten more on the other two. I did an unintentional touch and go on two engines but it looked pretty smooth. The center and inboard engine quit at the same time and the landing was reasonably smooth. Everyone their knew it was my first contest and the planes first flight so I recieved a big round of applause when I landed, that was really cool.

Round one continued and I busied myself shooting video.

When flight scores posted after the first round I realized I was in second place! I refuled and and started getting ready for round two. The airplane needed some tweaking, I thought about removing lead. I considered switching the 6x2 apc props to 5x3 to actually gain speed. Then I decided I had come to my first contest and flown my first official flight with an untested model and managed to land in second place. I thought it best to leave well enough alone and go home with my airplane in one piece. When I joined Central Arizona Control Line Club two years ago my goal was to start building airplanes that didn't look like a hunk of wood with paint. I was satisfied.

I managed to stay in second place at the finish, here's me representing CEF as I accept the trophy from Kieth Trostle:

I also won the "Plank Award", a judges choice award for the best model made of all sheet 1/4" maximum thickness. There were three eligible entries. Here's Kieth Trostle, Myself, and head judge Ken Gulliford:


I assure you, no one was more surprised than me. I have to chalk some of it up to beginners luck. I think a big factor in my flight score was I was one of two who kept all engines running for the full ten required laps. I have to thank Cox Engine Forum for that!

All that and my wife and I got treated to a beautiful sunset on the drive back to Phoenix:

Here's the quick and dirty build thread:





I left plenty of open space for lead between the engine bearers on the nacelles and fuselage.



9" root chord, 42" span.












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Re: Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  dckrsn on Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:17 pm

Look at you!!!

Way to go Jim. Thanks for sharing.
I'm elated for you, you must be buzzing.
Beer Cheers cheers Hand Shake
Thanks for sharing, wish I was there.
  Bob
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Re: Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  Kim on Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:11 am

FANTASTIC !!!!!!!!!!

Ditto what Bob said! What a 'Coming Our Party' for the Bellanca!

I know the 'your just flying a model airplane, no big deal' mind speech well ! It's great that the plane turned out to fly so well. Congratulations on your win. IS there a chance it's gonna show up in one of the magazines? This little contest is certainly worthy of some print space in a main publication, and reminds of some the reports I always skipped to read first in the old Model Airplane News and Flying Model mags.

With you and Rusty smoking things up, I think it's be cool to have some sort of "CEF...Yep, Them's Our Boys' permanent listing !

Anyway, once again, thanks for the work and note about the contest...guess I ought to go dust off the building table !
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Re: Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  Marleysky on Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:19 am

YEAAAA! cheers cheers cheers     Three cheers for the winner!   CEF engine of the month,  2nd place and the Plank ...now that's a "Trifecta " for a Tri motor aircraft
Congratulations Jim. Thanks for the contest update and the pictures of the "quick" build. (How did you get your wife to let you use that granite work surface?? Lots of take out dinners?). lol!
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Re: Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  roddie on Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:10 pm

Way cool Jim! I loved reading about your experience! What a great experience it must have been! I really like the Bellanca's construction photos. Really really nice work Jim. Hope you're feeling better physically.
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Re: Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  JPvelo on Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:47 pm

Marleysky wrote: (How did you get your wife to let you use that granite work surface?? Lots of take out dinners?).    lol!

The fact that I love cooking and do most of it helps. But mostly it's the fact that I generally get home from work a good three hours before my wife lol!
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Re: Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  NEW222 on Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:50 pm

Awesome pictures. I really enjoyed the build pictures. While looking at them, I would like to ask. Did you dope the airframe at anytime before using the primer, or do you just use primer and no dope? I like the finish a lot and am just trying to figure this stuff all out. Thank you.
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Re: Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  RknRusty on Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:58 pm

That is fantastic! You're an inspiration, and I'm glad you've found how much fun trying out a contest can be. Very rewarding. And the beautiful trophy is a bonus keepsake, really nice prize. The sound of multi engine ships is a treat to hear. We're proud of you for just going for it. Congratulations, Jim.
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Re: Tucson 1cc Multi Engine Scale Contest report

Post  JPvelo on Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:20 pm

NEW222 wrote:Awesome pictures. I really enjoyed the build pictures.  While looking at them, I would like to ask. Did you dope the airframe at anytime before using the primer, or do you just use primer and no dope?  I like the finish a lot and am just trying to figure this stuff all out.  Thank you.

I go over the entire model with 320 grit when it is bare balsa. When it's nice and smooth apply 3 coats butyrate dope thinned at least 50%, sanding with 320 between coats. Use dope to apply tissue over the entire model, apply two more coats thinned dope over the tissue. Sand after both  coats with 320 trying to smooth out all the seams. Now mix up about 50% thinner, 35% dope, and 15% cornstarch. Introduce the cornstarch to the thinner first and shake well to mix, then add the dope. This prevents clumping. Brush on successive coats, stir the bottom of the mixture with the brush because the starch settles. Sand between coats with 320 until the tissue is smooth and the model feels plasticky, about 3 good coats. Now apply one more coat and sand with 400. You'll be real sick of sanding that damn airplane about now but you're not done yet!

Clean the model with rubbing alcohol and spray with some DC540 primer you picked up at NAPA auto parts. DC540 sprays nice, dries in 5 minutes and sands super super easy.  Once you use it you'll never go back. Sand that coat almost compleatly off. Spray a second coat, sand with 400. You're done sanding! Thank god.

This is what the model is finished with:



Buy it NAPA as well. There is a decent selection of colors and they seem impervious to 10% nitro.  Don't forget to clean the primed and sanded model with rubbing alcohol and give it a lite wipe with a tack cloth right before you paint. NAPA sells a Bondo brand tack cloth I really like.  If you haven't  had enough sanding fun yet you can always wet sand with a little 800 before you apply decals and clear coat.

Now you know why it hung I'm my garage for five months waiting to be painted lol!

The sore fingered Jim.
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