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RC Guys 33% Pitts S1 ARF

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Old 11-27-2013, 07:28 AM
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Default RC Guys 33% Pitts S1 ARF

Hi Guys. I'm starting a new thread because there are no substantial threads about this RC Guys 33% Pitts S1 ARF to date (that I can find). I've always been a bipe-crazed individual, but when you start talking about a Pitts, I can barely keep it together. I get weak in the knees, and the drooling problem forces my wife to put me out with the dog.

This whole journey started when I bought a 40CC Twin gasser from Valley View. I intended to use it to power my RC Guys Decathlon, which is also a pretty sweet bird.

While the V V 40CC Twin gas engine was en route to me, I decided to go play in the RC Guys website. That was when their newest versions of the 33% Pitts caught my eye. Their videos and the YouTube videos out there drew me in further, and before long, I was hooked, and mindlessly whipping out my cell phone with one hand, and my plastic with the other. Yesterday I arrived home to find a rather large box on my porch, containing the yellow version of the 33% Pitts S1.

RC Guys usually does a pretty nice job on their birds, but this yellow Pitts is the single nicest ARF I've ever seen, period.

Double-boxed and super-well protected, it was flawless. The covering didn't have so much as a wrinkle on any of the surfaces or fuselage. Not even one. The cowl is a thing of beauty. You can't imagine the size of this cowl! The paint was perfect in every detail. Wheel pants were just the same, and beautifully wrapped in foam sheets.

I pulled the V V 40CC Twin out of its box, and held it inside of the cowl. Yes, INSIDE of the cowl, with probably an inch and a half to spare on each side. This engine and the RC Guys Pitts is a slam-dunk match-up. Since the power range for the Pitts is 25CC to 40CC if you're using a gas engine, it's just perfect. There's so much room to work with!

Now, I typically do build threads on my new planes, and I will try to keep you up on this build as I progress, but I can't promise you the same level of coverage as I used to provide. With my books now selling, and me having to go on the road and do signings (weird, eh?), my free time is more limited than it used to be. I promise to do my best. This time, I went to Valley View for my engine, and it came without a hitch, so we are ready to roll. Also, I'm insanely pumped about building another Pitts of this size. Over thirty years ago, I built a Pilot Pitts from a kit, nearly identical in size (68-1/2" top wing). It was a nice kit, but it built up pretty heavy (or perhaps I built it too heavy. I can't discount that as a possibility). With the advances in modern ARF frameworks today, combined with super-light, ultra-powerful gas engines, this should be a completely different animal in the air.

It's estimated to have an AUW (all-up-weight) of 12 to 14 pounds. I'm going to estimate the completed bird at 14.5 to 15 pounds, due to my typical building techniques. At 1572 Square inches of wing area, this bird should carry that weight effortlessly. My Giant Super Sportster is just under 15 pounds, and at just under 1300 Square inches of wing area, it'll float right past the field, especially when I'm using the flaperons. I noticed when inspecting the wings that the Pitts has flat-bottomed airfoils, which further increases the lift. This should be a sweet-flying bipe.

The manual is downloaded and printed from the RC Guys website, and a brief thumbing-through shows it's pretty thorough. I'll comment more about that when I get time to really read it and look at the model, but it looks good so far.

I'll break out the digital camera and tripod, and keep them handy.

Jim

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Old 11-27-2013, 09:47 PM
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I have two photos here that I took of the Valley View engine inside the Pitts cowl. Let me know what you think!

Do those cooling holes line up nice, or what?

Jim
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Old 11-30-2013, 02:32 PM
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I thought with the mount box and the engine standoffs that I'd be in pretty good shape for engine length, but I was wrong. I have to add 1-1/4" standoffs to the firewall. I've reinforced the back of the firewall and the inside of the mount box with hardwood tri-stock, effectively doubling the firewall thickness. I used top-grade ply. The mount box came from the factory with some tri-stock reinforcement already on the outside, and I think it would probably have been fine, but they recommend reinforcement inside with 1/8" ply if the engine size exceeds 35CC. The mount box comes open on top, which so far has been a big help accessing the nose interior and firewall. I can't find anything that tells me if it should be closed in later. I'll let you know what I learn.
The manual that comes with this RC Guys 33% Pitts is not nearly as good as the manual that came with the RC Guys Decathlon. Lots of little details are left out, and I'm having trouble finding certain things. For instance, I haven't yet found CG recommendations, or angles of attack, etc.. It's a pretty straightforward build, and I've built Pitts and plenty of other bipes in the past, so I can rely on experience to get me through those spots where it's light on information. The ARF isn't a tough build, and it seems to me that almost any intermediate builder could easily do the job, if the manual was somewhat better.
It's probably the author in me, but I find myself wanting to rewrite the text so that the missing words are there and the typos are repaired.
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Old 11-30-2013, 03:42 PM
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I know exactly how you feel. Only not with an ARF, good luck with the assembly.
Andy Sheber Pitts s1s
and now
Pitts S1-S by EMHW .

And it took me quite some time to decide whether to buy the RCGUYS or scratch build the little one.

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Old 11-30-2013, 07:04 PM
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Hi Robert,

I always make every effort to give an honest accounting of what I find as I build a model. I never intended to give the impression that I wasn't happy with this RC Guys Pitts 33% ARF.

I'm still delighted with it. So far, I've found only minor issues on what I'm finding to be an otherwise magnificent model. A few small issues with the manual is no biggie. Manuals can easily be upgraded, and usually the specs I seek are floating around out there online, or on RCU.

I'll keep working, and posting as the work progresses.

Jim
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:07 AM
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Here are a couple of photos I took, which should help anybody using a Valley View 40CC Twin gasser for this build. This tubing was originally bought for a 30CC Syssa, to be used to extend the exhaust pipes through the bottom of the cowling. As you can see here, it fits the V V40CC perfectly.

I'm in the process of fitting the engine to the Pitts, and I noticed the exhaust pipes were a long ways from the bottom, and remembered I still had this in my box of parts. I also had the receipt, and I knew almost anybody building this ARF was going to need something like this, so I took a couple of photos to help them to make it an easy fix.

I still think it's amazing how massive this engine compartment is! ~ Jim ~

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Old 12-01-2013, 05:10 PM
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I meant "I know how you feel about the Pitts". As for the rest, well, no matter what direction one takes whether it be scratch, kit, or Arf, there is always something we need to change/correct. I have seen a couple of the RCGUYS planes and they appeared to be as good as any. It's just in our nature to "Fix" things whether they need be or not.
I really like the fit of that 40cc in that cowl, you could have went bigger with that amount of space.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:47 PM
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Oh, absolutely. I've been known to cut open the belly of an ARF and repair and recover the framework if it's warranted. If I have any question about the hardware, I chuck it instantly.

This manual is more than a little sparse on details, I must say. I hope they have plans to upgrade it and add more specs. Several things I keep looking for, but so far, I cannot find; a factory designated CG, angles of attack on the rear, front, and upper wings.

I've just gone ahead and started doing it my own way, but I'm going to try to research those things before I end up in a bind without them. With Clark-Y airfoils, I know I can zero them all and then adjust as needed, but my stubborn side keeps telling me that, with a 500+ dollar ARF, I shouldn't have to do that. That being said, I'm still most impressed with the framework and covering work so far. I pushed back one of the first steps until later in the build. It recommends that the cabane struts are installed right away. They're quite tall, and really get in the way when you need to invert the model to work inside of it, as I am now with the initial fitting of the engine and related gear.

Yes, I could have gone with a larger gasser than the 40CC, but the 40CC is the largest recommended gas engine size for the Pitts, so I'm happy. It's a beautifully machined engine, and it doesn't look like they played it cheap on the metals or the machining. What I like is that the plug wire caps should fit inside the cowl, with no cutting at all. I haven't determined yet what the carb linkages will be like with this engine, but I love the fact that the carb is right out in the open, in case it needs servicing. My prior gas engine, the Syssa, requires that you remove the engine to service the carb, or at the very least one or more of the mount standoffs. NOT the most handy setup, as I recall, from the one time I had to service it.

Hoping to get some work hours in on the Pitts tomorrow. I'll keep the camera handy while I work.

Jim
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:10 PM
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Looking forward to it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:54 PM
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I was a bad boy today. I didn't work on the Pitts because I'd made an offer on a gorgeous1/4-scale Gee Bee R2 racer, and the owner accepted! I went and brought it home, and made room for it to hang on my garage ceiling. That's temporary, until I can create a place to hang it in my office, even though it's perfectly flyable. I wrote my book AERODYNAMIC about the Gee Bees and the Granvilles, so it only seems right to have a nice representation of one around to look at.

I should be back at work on the Pitts tomorrow. I found the longer bolts and hardware I need to mount the engine with the standoffs.

~ Jim ~
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:39 PM
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Very cool, lets see it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:10 PM
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Nah. It's apart, and the parts are hung separately. The one thing about the R2 is that, with the body and wing together, from tip of the fin to the bottom of the wheels, its height is nearly 30 inches. It's a cool plane, but it can be difficult to find room to store it, to say the least.

Once I get it back together, I'll take a few shots.

~ Jim ~
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:41 AM
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Well Jim very good timing I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on the Red one, glad to hear the finish looks great on these. The CG is on the last page of the manual and the airfoil is symmetrical. The VVRC 40cc is a great choice for motor, nice if the exhaust comes out scale location. Good luck with it
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:45 PM
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I ordered the Red today, now to make up my mind on the engine! Oh, thanks for posting the info for the tubing I had a long section and finally used it up then I couldn't remember were I ordered it. BTW the new yellow looks great, I didn't like the old Easter egg finish.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:33 PM
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Ron,
Let's stay in touch on this and post as much as we can about our builds. This could be a lot of fun. By the way, the exhaust pipes on the V V40CC just touch the inside of the cowl, just on the edge of the lip of the semi-circle where it's cut out of the bottom. I mounted the cowl today, so I just happened to have that answer for you!

~ Jim ~

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Old 12-03-2013, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TexasSkyPilot View Post
Ron,
Let's stay in touch on this and post as much as we can about our builds. This could be a lot of fun. By the way, the exhaust pipes on the V V40CC just touch the inside of the cowl, just on the edge of the lip of the semi-circle where it's cut out of the bottom. I mounted the cowl today, so I just happened to have that answer for you!

~ Jim ~
Sounds good to me Jim, I have to warn you I'm either very very very slow or very fast I don't seem to have a middle gear. But I have wanted a nice Pitts since the 70's so that my be enough motivation.

Huge area inside the cowl, your twin looks like it could use some baffling to help control the cooling air.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:32 PM
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I haven't found any potential need for any baffling yet. The air outlets appear to be well-placed for air cooling a twin, which makes sense when you think of the configuration of the full-scale Pitts engine. Some of the air will come through the front holes and go up, off to the sides, and out. Some of it will come in through the front holes, and funnel down and out the half-circle at the bottom. It should run right past the cylinders, and cool them nicely. And there are two other small holes in the front center.
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:06 PM
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The red and white came today,it's my xmas gift to me. I decided on the 40cc twin for power, the question now is which 40cc twin. Heard nothing but good stuff about the VVRC 40cc twin, I have a DLE 20cc in my Seagull ultimate so I know how half of the DLE 40cc twin runs and I like it. Decisions! The DLE plugs stick straight out and the engine cost $469.00... little over priced if you ask me. Got to go rip this box open.
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:00 PM
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WOW what a beautiful job RC Guys have done on this 33% Pitts S1. Some of the threads years ago had a number of complaints on finish and assembly. I was some what concerned about having to live with something that didn't look right. This plane is gorgeous like you expect a Pitts to be. Now what to do about powering it.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:28 PM
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Ron,
Great to hear that yours has arrived! I've got my engine mounted now, which required extra standoff material. I used a piece of 3/4" oak to make the Valley View 40CC engine, the spinner, and the cowl all fit where they should. I hope to get the linkages lined up and the lines run this weekend, and the module placement determined as well.

I was thinking of finding a spot for the A123 battery packs, but I think it's a little early for that. I might need to move them back for weight distribution/setting the C.G. - though I doubt they'll be anywhere but in the nose.

I like how the engine mount box is open on top. It should make setting up the inside of the nose a lot easier. I was thinking I might mount something to the cover, and I could close it up with screws at the end.

With Christmas looming, and everybody wanting a piece of me, my time is sometimes limited, so I work as I can.

~ Jim ~

Last edited by PacificNWSkyPilot; 12-07-2013 at 11:06 AM. Reason: corrected oak standoff thickness
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:04 AM
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Jim,

Nice to see someone taking the time to put the spotlight on this great looking Pitts.....

Gotta say it wasn't always so good looking.....saw it at Toledo when it first came out and the scheme was way futt-bucking ugly .... could never see what they were thinking with the purple/yellow/red trim colors.

But they more than made up for it with the classic red/white and yellow/black schemes.....actually bought one that had been started but never got to it, so it went off to a fellow in IN who was looking for one.

Slow but steady progress is the way to go, even with breaks in the action.

Subscribed.

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Old 12-07-2013, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by TexasSkyPilot View Post
Ron,
Great to hear that yours has arrived! I've got my engine mounted now, which required about 5/8" of oak wood to make the Valley View 40CC engine, the spinner, and the cowl all fit where they should. I hope to get the linkages lined up and the lines run this weekend, and the module placement determined as well.

I was thinking of finding a spot for the A123 battery packs, but I think it's a little early for that. I might need to move them back for weight distribution/setting the C.G. - though I doubt they'll be anywhere but in the nose.

I like how the engine mount box is open on top. It should make setting up the inside of the nose a lot easier. I was thinking I might mount something to the cover, and I could close it up with screws at the end.

With Christmas looming, and everybody wanting a piece of me, my time is sometimes limited, so I work as I can.

~ Jim ~
Glad to hear you made some progress, It's neat following behind you I get to see how issues are resolved prior to doing it myself. I was just playing with the cowl and wondering how long the engine is and how long the stand offs would need to be. I'v just about decided to use the VVRC 40cc twin, this motor sounds like it was designed for this plane. I want to do something about the exhaust the stock mufflers give a bark that would not sound right to me. I have the DLE 20cc with the same muffler it's like a straight pipe.
I noticed a few changes from the original kit, the engine box firewall assembly was modernized and now looks very strong, no mods required can be used as is. I like the open top also. I usually make a lid held on by 4 servo screws for the opening. Final placement of the batteries is the last thing I do. If this engine causes nose heaviness (44oz WOW very light!) I will put Rudder in the rear and Elev if needed.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:02 AM
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Hey Bill,

Great to hear from you! Yeah, the original color scheme was bad enough to scare off many a modeler, but the legend of the mighty Pitts still reeled some color-blind and/or masochistic individuals in. After all, it's a Pitts! They come in so many great color schemes, it's distracting. Even the choice between the yellow and the red was agonizing for me. I went with the visibility of the yellow/black.

I'll keep at it. I was going to start in on it this morning, but my lovely wife had other plans for me. I did manage a quick stop at the hobby store, to pick up another Sullivan SkyLite wheel (4.5 inches). I run larger wheels on my planes because I fly at grass fields. I also run the pants higher on the axle, for better clearance at the grass fields. With those two elements combined, the pants stay in great shape, and I can run wheel pants on a grass field without issues. Plus, bipes nearly always need plenty of weight in the front, and that helps.

Thanks for subscribing!

~ Jim ~
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:35 PM
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Ron,

I estimated the oak I used for additional standoff material the other day, and I gave you guys a bum steer. The piece of oak I used was 3/4" - but I told you 5/8" - and I want to make that correction before anybody ends up with things not fitting well. I used a 3/4" piece of oak plank for the standoff.
In my research on the model, I found a number of people who found it necessary to add some down-thrust to the engine to get the desired flight characteristics, so I added a couple of washers to the top two standoffs, and tipped it down about two degrees. The gap between the spinner plate at the top and the cowl is noticeable, and I might remove one of the top washers. I'm not sure whether I'll wait until I see how it flies. I should note that they have already built some right-thrust into the existing firewall, and they make a point of saying that you may wish to add some down thrust, which is NOT built into the firewall.

This engine is the best natural fit I've ever seen on any model. How often do you start fitting up an engine, and find yourself saying, "MAN, this is a cake walk!" ? Not too often.

Now that I have the cowl mounting holes drilled, I'll be lightly sanding the inside of the cowl around the holes and gluing CA hinges flat against the back, to toughen the area around the screw holes. If you decide to do this, put a piece of masking tape tightly against the outside of the cowl around the hole before gluing, so the thin CA doesn't run out through the holes and get all over the outside of the cowl (debonder time!) I'm a big fan of "toughening" with CA in places like these, also in servo screw holes, etc.

And I'll try to get more photos into the mix, as well.

~ Jim ~
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:27 PM
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Thanks for the correction, I don't have my engine yet, I need to get it ordered. Good idea using CA hinge material to toughen the screw hole area. I have tried several methods all work but aren't as quick as CA,
A two into one header would be nice for this motor, let me know if anyone know where one is. Seems all the Mfg say they will make one but never get around to it.
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