Classic RC Pattern Flying Discuss here all pre 1996 RC Pattern Flying in this forum.

TOM BRETT'S DESIGNS-UPDATE

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Old 04-15-2015, 01:58 PM
  #501  
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That is just amazing! Glad that someone took on the challenge to recreate a very rare model. THanks for sharing Duane!

FB
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Old 04-15-2015, 07:53 PM
  #502  
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And there is more to come. Since I first received these pictures, I've been very curious about HOW Guido did it, and have been corresponding back and forth with him. I understand that Guido himself doesn't get on line and follow these forums, but he had a friend who did, and he forwarded him the information.

Guido is a tremendous builder--much in the manner of Tom himself. The workmanship is exquisite.

BTW-Helen sent me an e-mail just the other day asking about you, and "what happened to you". I think she'd like to hear from you.

Duane

It is astounding that Guido was able to come up with his TBX. How did he do it from pictures? I wonder how much it weighs. ... He is a dedicated builder, for sure.

I wonder about Free Bird. He was about ready to fly a couple years ago.

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Old 04-16-2015, 01:28 PM
  #503  
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About a week after the photos above, I received the following pictures from Beppe. This was an OMG moment. The similarity was striking! The 1965 original is on left; the newly created TBX on right...remarkable!!

COMMENTS??

Only after taking a detailed look at the two planes do you start to see differences, and some of those were intentional such as the difference in color scheme, plug-in wings, top hatch, and LG. We'll take a look at the LG later, but for now, Guido told me that his planes all use white transparent silk to show off the balsa grain and structure detail, and it does. It's quite attractive IMO.

It might just be the angle, but I think the vertical fin is taller on the original by a couple inches. The nose moment may be a bit longer as well
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Old 04-16-2015, 01:51 PM
  #504  
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Duplicating the Brett landing gear would have been a huge job, so it is certainly understandable that, unless his prime objective was to precisely duplicate the TBX, (which was not the case), some shortcuts would be taken here. Even if I wanted to build a duplicate, it would really take some determination to build that LG ,(especially with brakes). I'm not sure I'd even attempt it.
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Old 04-17-2015, 11:07 AM
  #505  
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Originally Posted by kingaltair View Post

It might just be the angle, but I think the vertical fin is taller on the original by a couple inches. The nose moment may be a bit longer as well
You are correct sir. Ask me how I know. The wing span is longer (2 inches??), the fuselage is longer and the vertical is lower.

Duane, now that Guido has unveiled his example, shall we let the cat out of the bag?

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Old 04-17-2015, 11:47 AM
  #506  
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OK, how do you know? Inquiring minds want to know.

What cat...what bag?? Could you PM me?

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Old 04-17-2015, 11:57 AM
  #507  
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A few days later, guess what?? Guido certainly looks like a man with a mission.

Guido sent the following report to Beppe, who passed it on to me:

Beppe
TBX-1 is airborne. This afternoon (April 6th), it made its first flight. My friend Urs Leodolter former F5B worldchampion (and capitain of a Swiss airbus) made the first flight. Very few corrections were necessary. It flew very well and rolled perfectely. I am very happy it is still in one piece.
Guido

The first TBX-like flight in 50 years! While not an exact TBX, it's close enough to give you "goose bumps" for those of us who are TBX fans!

That's all I can handle on this post...more to come!
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Old 04-18-2015, 02:50 AM
  #508  
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Originally Posted by kingaltair View Post
It might just be the angle, but I think the vertical fin is taller on the original by a couple inches. The nose moment may be a bit longer as well

Originally Posted by Michaelj2k View Post
You are correct sir. Ask me how I know. The wing span is longer (2 inches??), the fuselage is longer and the vertical is lower.

Duane, now that Guido has unveiled his example, shall we let the cat out of the bag?
I am interested ;-)

Hanna
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:09 AM
  #509  
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As if re-creating a very close replica of Tom Brett's TBX wasn't enough in itself, there is another big surprise that makes this model so very "cool". Although it may have been done earlier by someone, I haven't seen this done before.. Look at the nose...and the motor in particular.


This plane is an electric!! Note the workmanship

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Old 04-18-2015, 08:30 AM
  #510  
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Guido used the case of a Supre Tigre .56, and fit it with an electric motor. This gives you the ultimate in terms of an authentic vintage appearance, using the same engine Tom used, (including no muffler-- like the original), but having a modern electric set-up. The wing tube and top hatch has essentially "modernized" the TBX to state of the art technology. Maybe Tom would design and build his TBX more like this if he were doing it now.

From Guido:
I have an input power of approx 1100 Watt. The efficiency rate is slightly more than 90% , that gives approx 1100Watt with a 11x8 prop. With a 12x8 prop I can go up to 1200 Watt at the propeller. I prefer 11x8 which is still more than the original Super Tigre .56 and is by far good enough for flying this model.
Guido, (this is the first time I kept the original crankshaft and the 2 ball bearings. The balancing weight at the end of the crankshaft was removed by grinding (a friend of mine did that) only a very small ring was left to prevent it from sliding forward through the ball bearing.)
Guido

Helen Brett, Tom's wife said in a congratulatory note to Guido that "...Tom would be very proud..." BTW-Guido had sent Helen a picture of the Perigee he had previously built. Guido has an impressive "stable" of select vintage pattern planes--all the Kazmirski designs, and the Perigee. I don't know what else he may have.

From Helen Brett...

This is truly amazing and beautiful.

Guido, my regards to you on a job very well done. I know Tom would be very proud. I know it wasn't an easy task. I enjoyed the photos and am so glad to hear the plane flew well for you. The Perigee is beautiful, too.

Best regards

Helen

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Old 09-10-2016, 08:37 PM
  #511  
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Hi there! I'm the guy who started this thread back in 2009, and although this thread has been dormant for awhile, I DO have some new things to add to bring it up to date.

First, in July of 2015, I went to Switzerland to visit Guido and see the TBX first-hand! He was a gracious, fantastic host, letting me stay with him and showing me around the area.

The TBX had ONE flight on it when I arrived. I learned all I could, took lots of pictures, etc etc, then began writing up a small story for my SPA newsletter. The story appeared in the JULY/AUGUST 2015 newsletter. Please go to:

www.seniorpattern.com, then go to NEWSLETTERS, and select JULY/AUGUST 2015. You might also want to read about the Retroday that was part of my visit where Guido's TBX made its public debut. Ill send the exact link a bit later. Welcome back to the Tom Brett Designs Update thread!

Link:
http://www.seniorpattern.com/nl/2015-07-08.pdf

Until later;

Duane Wilson

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Old 06-09-2018, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by impactiq View Post
Duane,

Talk about neat as all heck!!!! I bet that the time you spent there went by very quickly!!! Did Helen mention what was to come of these planes since they are a piece of history?

Mark
This quote comes from one of the first posts on this thread in July 2009, (nine years ago), on page 1. I didn't know the answer, but I have always hoped that if and when Helen needed to find a home for Tom's planes, that I would be considered. Last week I received an e-mail from Helen telling me she was moving (downsizing), closer to her daughter's home and that Tom's planes needed a new home. I was very grateful that when the time came she thought of me and (naturally), I jumped at the chance when offered.

First, I want everyone who has followed this thread to know that, (in her late 80's), Helen is as healthy and active as ever, but after living in her home near Mt Clemens, Michigan for over 54 years, it just made more sense to relocate closer to family. Within three days of her email I was on the road to Michigan, and 1300+ miles later, the transition was complete. I can' hardly believe I'm able to refer to them any time up close at home. This opportunity also gives me the chance to comment further on the planes in this thread, and it opens up other possibilities. I'd like to thank Helen again for these past nine years, and the chance to get to know her, her family members, and of course see and learn more about Tom's planes over time. Thank you Helen for thinking of me--you've made me very happy. I actually feel more like I'm taking care of them for you as you downsize.

Duane.

Duane.
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Old 06-09-2018, 05:57 PM
  #513  
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That's great news Duane, take good care of them. It's better that you have them than some Ebay shill like what happened with Kazmirski.

Mike
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:10 PM
  #514  
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I received four of Tom's planes, TBX-1, Apogee, (sister ship of Perigee), Cirrus, and finally Nimbus III. The car was packed "to the gills"

While there I met and visited with daughter Sheryl as well as Helen. Sheryl is a fun person, and it was interesting to get her perspective on growing up in the Brett household while these planes were being built.

Because Tom was an excellent pilot, and Helen took such good care of the planes over the years, I would say that ALL FOUR of Tom's planes could be made airworthy, and could be flown, but at what cost? Both TBX-1 and Apogee I consider to be "classics". As much as I would love to personally fly them, I really can't with a good conscious. First, my flying skills are not up to Tom's, and my planes tend to require repair from time to time. If I knew that each landing would be as smooth as a commercial jetliner and that nothing would ever happen to the plane I might be tempted, but that would be foolhardy for me--something is going to happen, and it would kill me to see these planes damaged.

Second, I don't know what Tom used to paint his models, but I DO know I can't easily match the original paint schemes, or even be sure that modern paints are compatible with Aerogloss, (which is probably what Tom used.). I can always build my own model of Perigee, and eventually an authentic TBX-1 plan will be available for purchase to interested builders, (not from me BTW). I'll leave it up to the person who labored for years on the plan to make the announcement when he's ready. Instead, I will use the originals as reference models during the building process to make the models I'm building as accurate as possible, or to see how Tom did this or that. Maybe the planes may be displayed at VC/RS or SPA events.

It has been suggested that the planes should be donated to the AMA Museum, but I doubt they would be accepted. We felt the same way about the Taurus II, (Ed Kazmirski's final Taurus.) That plane, while interesting to us didn't really do anything worthy of being placed in a museum. We elected to refurbish and fly it, at least enough to get a feel for the flying characteristics of the plane and to get pictures of it in flight which we did. The Taurus II is still with us after about a total of twenty flights, (two of them on You Tube.) Interestingly, there was some damage done to the plane but it happened when some spectator bent over it to look and a camera fell out of his shirt pocket, puncturing the wing!!

So let's look at Tom's planes. First, Perigee is already there in the AMA Museum after winning the 1962 WC. They don't need Apogee which made the trip as Tom's back-up plane, but didn't fly. Of the four planes, I personally feel that only TBX might prove of value to them, (see November 2016 MA article on the TBX), but its main interest lies in its unusual design, (which won an award at the 1965 NATs), not for its winning record. Tom was nearing the end of his AMA competitive period in 1965, and unfortunately TBX had technical problems that prevented it from finishing very high in the standings at that NATs.

What about the last two models? Cirrus and Nimbus III are essentially unknown designs to the public in general and neither competed on the contest circuit. Still, these are ORIGINAL historic model aircraft from 52-56 years old, and are still in relatively good condition. That said, the OPEN areas of the silk and dope finish is quite brittle and easily damaged (especially on TBX and Apogee, which got the most exposure to the sun and the rigors or flying such as stress/vibration). The silk/dope finish on Cirrus would need some kind of reinforcement before flight as it shows signs of being brittle and prone to damage as well..

Bottom line, for now I'd like to restore each aircraft as much as possible to flyable condition without running the risk of damage by actually flying either TBX or Apogee. Cirrus and especially Nimbus III (more about her later), are possible candidates for flying but nothing along that line will happen anytime soon. Nimbus III, I would say is in pristine, essentially new condition including the silk in the open areas of the wing. For a number of reasons to be discussed later, I presently plan to fly Nimbus III sometime in the future rather than just have it sit in my basement display area next to my shop. I have already asked Helen about how she feels about this, and she considers it an apt tribute to Tom.

Next...new details about Nimbus III...
Duane

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Old 06-09-2018, 06:33 PM
  #515  
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Originally Posted by Michaelj2k View Post
It's better that you have them than some Ebay shill like what happened with Kazmirski.

Mike
What plane are you talking about and what did the "Ebay shill" do. Are you talking about this plane?

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Old 06-13-2018, 08:21 AM
  #516  
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The one acquired by the VRCS, now hanging in the AMA museum.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by kingaltair View Post
Second, I don't know what Tom used to paint his models, but I DO know I can't easily match the original paint schemes, or even be sure that modern paints are compatible with Aerogloss, (which is probably what Tom used.).
Tom used Hobbypoxy paints. You'll note that Apogee, Perigee and TBX are all the same blue shade. Since Hobbypoxy is no longer available, klasskote is probably the closest to it. Epoxy Coatings - Colors, Clears and Primers - Klass Kote
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:43 PM
  #518  
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Default Brett Designs Update

Everyone;

Lots of things have happened since my last post on this thread. Let me list them briefly to try to bring things up to date.
  • Helen, Tom's wife, chief cheerleader, and pit crew, downsized and relocated to live closer to her daughter Sheryl. She was kind enough to allow me to take care of four of Tom's plane. Apogee, (Perigee's sister ship), TBX-1, Cirrus, (designed Jan 1963 after WC with retracts), and his last plane the Nimbus III. I can't thank her enough for allowing me to be custodian of them. When I first visited her back in 2009, I was primarily interested in TBX and Apogee; those were the planes I was familiar with. I took only a passing interest in Nimbus and Cirrus.
  • After taking the planes home, I began to fully appreciate the engineering and building skill that went into the building of these models.. What I liked the most was that both of these lesser known models are considerably larger than Perigee and even TBX. Cirrus, (more about it later) has a full 74" wingspan while Nimbus has a 72" span. Tom's friend and flying buddy from back in the mid-60s, Willie McMath, (see photos from the earliest pages), said that "all Tom's planes fly alike--the only difference is the size". I have always preferred larger models and kind-of wished that Perigee was larger. Now I have two planes that look like and fly like Perigee, only they have the large size I've always wanted.
  • After talking with Helen, she gave me her blessing to re-outfit Cirrus, and fly it again as a tribute to Tom. I know there is a feeling from some that all vintage planes like this shouldn't be flown, but at the same time, I don't want to just have it sit in my basement. Although (at an age of 56 years) it is truly a vintage plane, (similar to Ed Kazmirski's final Taurus which was restored and flown a few years ago),it isn't as well known as the others (Perigee and TBX), and aren't really suitable as prized museum pieces. Neither of them won contests and they didn't win design awards (like TBX.). Helen and I both feel that it honors Tom to have Cirrus and Nimbus III come back to life and fly again, and I'm currently working on Cirrus to make it flyable for this coming season. By the way, Ed's Taurus has since been retired after a number of photos and videos were taken of it-see above.). I'd like to do the same thing with Nimbus and Cirrus and will take the best care of them possible. I plan to document how they fly like we did with Ed's Taurus. See the recent pictures of Cirrus below as it has received its new landing gear and engine.
  • I have worked with Klass Kote to match both of Tom's shades of blue. For those of you who might someday decide to build one of Tom's planes, you can now order Tom Brett Dark Blue and Light Blue in order to get authentic colors. (BTW--Tom only used Hpbbypoxy paint on his TBX and maybe (although I doubt it), Nimbus III. Hobbypoxy specially mixed colors to match Perigee's colors)
  • Cirrus This plane was the first designed by Tom after he was named 1962 world champion. Designed in early January 1963, Tom was working with early proportional radio manufacturer Don Brown (Dee Bee Quadruplex). Cirrus is Tom's ONLY plane designed specifically for proportional. You can see certain changes such as much reduced dihedral in the Cirrus. The original Cirrus also sported retractable landing gear, (something very rare in 1963). The gear was designed by Hal De Bolt. When I got the plane, only two of the three landing gear were in the plane, the nose wheel and the left main gear. I ordered new "state of the art" retracts with spring shock absorbers built in. The new gear fits perfectly. It took some time and effort to get the retractable nose wheel to work properly because the original De Bolt nose wheel was mounted totally differently, (see photos) The original Cirrus was powered by a Merco .49 which had long ago been removed. I ordered a much more powerful OS .55AX which fit perfectly in the allotted space. The new engine mounts on Tom's original aluminum engine mount. The fiberglass hatch required only minor reworking for the new engine, and it looks like it was meant for the OS. Thew new retracts and engine turn Tom's Cirrus into what would be regarded by him as his "dream machine", like the futuristic Delorean automobile in the movie "Back to the Future" went into the future to be drastically upgraded, I went 50 years into the future for the modern engine and retracts, not to mention the reliable computer radio that Tom could only dream about. Remember Tom used a "prehistoric" (by modern standards) early proportional in the Cirrus which failed repeatedly and needed to be returned three times, the third time for good, because of repeated radio problems.
  • Pictures include a photo of Cirrus compared to Agogee, (Perigee's sister ship) for size comparison
  • More to come.as we talk more about the Cirrus restoration project
.
More to come.




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Old 02-23-2019, 06:42 AM
  #519  
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Lot of history there.
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:27 AM
  #520  
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Absolutely David. The more I started looking into Cirrus, the more history I could see. At the time this plane was at the cutting edge of technology, pushing the envelope with both the retracts and proportional-based design. Tom was world champion, and knew this design could potentially get a lot of attention. He wanted it to be the best and put a lot of time into small engineering details as we'll see later.

Tom designed his planes around the equipment used in the model.. You can really see this demonstrated with the retracts. The nose wheel in particular seemed like it was designed as a surgical implant. Removing it required a little thought--it would only come out, (or go in), a certain way. The nose wheel pictured here was very tight. Once my friend Dr. Ed Gonzalez (who is working with me on this project), and I figured out how it was installed, it wasn't hard to do, but it took a few minutes to figure out. Imagine the engineering process involved here to allow access for installation and removal.




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Old 02-23-2019, 11:35 AM
  #521  
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The Proportional Radio and Cirrus
As mentioned, Tom specifically designed Cirrus for a proportional radio. Tom himself was an expert in using (toggle switch) reed radios,but was essentially talked into working with early proportional radio developer Don Brown. As world champion, Brown wanted Tom on board using one of his systems and Tom was interested enough to devote his next design (Cirrus), for use with Brown's latest proportional. Design changes for Cirrus (other than the obvious addition of the concept of using retractable landing gear-- rare in 1963), included reducing the amount of dihedral, and the angle of the rudder may have been changed somewhat because proportional radio was totally different than reeds--there was no "blipping" of the totally on or off toggle switches that reed radios used to produce deflection of the control surfaces.

Discussing Proportional Radio- Of course proportional was much more intuitive to use for the pilot and produced much smoother response from the model. Proportional opened up R/C modeling to thousands of modelers who no longer had to contend with reeds. It's hard for today's modern R/C pilots to imagine flying totally by "blipping" toggle switches to control the aircraft. The "art" of timing the "blips" exactly to produce the desired effect had a much higher learning curve. Naturally, models tended to "jump" off the ground on takeoff, and flying by the average modeler tended to be more "jerky". Precision pattern flying involved a refined and delicate balance of trying to anticipate in advance what series of "blips" would be needed to produce the desired effect to perform smooth pattern maneuvers. You had to be way ahead of the plane due to the delayed response of reeds, and the "all or nothing" response of the control surfaces. Flying reeds was very much an "art", similar to learning to play the piano.

In contrast, proportional was so much easier, and "easier" translated to much higher participation in R/C. The relatively small, elite group of pioneer pattern pilots of which Tom was a member, dramatically increased once proportional radios became commonplace. In the end, Tom Brett decided against converting to the new radio format, but his Cirrus was his one foray into the approaching age of proportional. Cirrus was his last really "state of the art" competitive aircraft as will be discussed below.

As we'll see later,Tom's experience with the Dee Bee Quadruplex (in spite of its reputation for being relatively reliable for the time), wasn't very positive, and rather than try other systems, he eventually elected to go back to his beloved reed radio that he was a master at. It is likely that if his experience had been more positive, he may have stayed with the new radios, but we'll never know for sure. There was still a majority of reed pilots back in early 1963 with no need or pressure to convert. In 1963, proportional was something brand new and far from perfected. Reeds were still the standard.

It seems at least to me that the problems with Cirrus we will discuss may have changed his focus from primarily wanting to be on the cutting edge of competition, to following other personal interests and challenges in R/C. After Cirrus, Tom's next project would be his award winning design TBX-1 in 1965. While less competitive than some planes, TBX still flew pattern well, but It was first and foremost, a semi-experimental, extremely futuristic design--and totally different from anything else. The emphasis had shifted from being on the cutting edge of competition to exploring his interests in design.. In 1963, Cirrus really was on the edge of technology and pressing the competitive envelope. Cirrus was Tom's last design that was primarily for competition.

Last edited by kingaltair; 02-23-2019 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 02-23-2019, 12:26 PM
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The Quadruplex Mk II

The Don Brown Quadruplex radio was central in the design of Cirrus. Helen Brett told me that Tom designed all his planes around the equipment.. The size/shape of the equipment dictated the size of the model. We know that Tom designed his Cirrus specifically to fly on proportional; Cirrus was Tom's only proportional-specific plane.

Which version of the Quadruplex was in the Cirrus? Don Brown wanted his latest radio to be used by Tom in this model. Since Cirrus was designed early in January 1963, the most advanced radio available in late 1962 would be the one. The pictures below are due to the courtesy of Tom Mavracic who has quite a collection of early proportional radios including the Quadruplex line, (Tom points out that his radios are in workable condition.) It is Tom's best guess that the model available in late 1962 would be the Quadruplex Mk II pictured below. Look at the sheer size of the components and the metal servo cases. This every early radio is quite removed from the lightweight, sophisticated computerized radios we have some 55 years later. Even the least expensive available radio today is light-years technology-wise ahead of this primitive radio--yet it was state-of-the-art then..

The Quadruplex was related to, but was not a Galloping Ghost radio, (a early ancestor of proportional.) Anyone who has seen a GG system in operation remembers how strange it looked because the control surfaces gyrated back and forth to essentially their full range during operation. These movements wouldn't seriously affect flight because the "back and forth" was so quick. People have described the GG as looking like a "wounded quail flopping on the ground". The Quadruplex was a more refined version of the very early GG method of control with much less back and forth movements, (maybe 1/8" or so each way. The following is a description of how it worked. Tom warns that this is a greatly simplified explanation and not technically exact, but I appreciate that because I can (almost) understand it. There are much more detailed and accurate explanations elsewhere:

:A GG radio sends out a single tone (one channel). The speed of the pulse (pulse rate) and time on and off (pulse width) is how the rudder and elevator functions are controlled. Motor is via a full on or full off tone transmission which the receiver unscrambles via what is known as a POD circuit (Pulse Omission Detector). The Quadruplex MKII and "21" transmit three separate pulsed tones (3 channels) for aileron, elevator, and rudder. The receiver has three special encapsulated filter circuits to segregate the tones. Motor control is similar to the GG's POD method and is tied into the rudder channel. When you push and hold the high motor button, the rudder will quickly move to the right (or left) and return to center. Low motor does the same except the quick blip rudder is in the opposite direction. A weak point of the Mark II and "21" is that the receivers still make use of a relay to separate the rudder and motor signals from the POD circuit. The CL5 Quadruplex is a "more modern" proportional radio using feedback servos.

Mu sincere thanks to Tom for all his help on the Quadruplex including a link to a great article on the Quadruplex history which is included below:

http://www.rchalloffame.org/Manufacturer/Quadruplex/history/index.html



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