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Fieseler Storch: The Big ARF That Can’t.


Old 05-27-2012, 06:34 AM
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Default Fieseler Storch: The Big ARF That Can’t.

I am among the oddballs who find the Fieseler Storch in all its quirky looks and momentary place in the spotlight of aviation history both intriguing and appealing. Which is unfortunate for us as, without the popular appeal of the WWII icons of flight like the P-51, the Corsair, P-47, etc., the Storch lacks the commercial appeal ARF manufacturers need for production of an example in 1/5 scale or larger.

ESM, a maker of high quality warbird ARFs, ventured into the world of STOL (short take off/landing) aircraft with an attractive version that was quickly discontinued both for fabrication issues and a lack of demand. I had one on backorder that never arrived.

At this point I ordered a set of plans for a 1/6 scale Storch, a short kit and custom landing gear from Unitracts International in the UK. All of which barely had time to settle on my bench when up popped a 112” Storch ARF from BH Models, advertised by just two retailers with only one Chief Aircraft—having it in stock.

Last time I ordered from Chief I could have watched an infant reach his majority before the plane finally showed up. But sometimes you have to deal with the devil.

Out of the box, the plane arrived with a crushed rudder and broken aileron components. After advising Chief, I confirmed the parts and fastener inventory and started assembly. First thing I discovered is that the fasteners called for in the instructions are too short. Without further thought I quickly used up the longer ones included and ended up buying the necessary sizes to replace all the useless ones. A week after I’ve all but finished assembly I’m advised by Chief that no replacement parts are, or ever will be, available. They graciously offer to take the plane back but by now I have the hours of effort behind me and the boxes long gone. I repair the broken stuff, balance the bird per instruction and head for the field where experience and logic take a turn into the dark side to leave me confused and mystified.

Flight profile: Sluggish into the air despite a motor with 50% more HP than asked for. Slow to respond to flight controls, too, but this is a snail of a plane in full scale anyway so I wasn’t surprised. I also quickly discover that I can maintain level flight only at full throttle. Reduction of RPM induced a rapid sink rate rather than a glide. On the second circuit of the field the plane no longer responded to up elevator and went into the dirt.

I’ll bet you’ve just run through your full list of possible causes, right? In post mortem by four builder/flyers with a total of 100+ years of experience we quickly blew past all but two of the obvious: balance point and oddly-distorted elevator push rods. During assembly, I noted that the solder joint between push rods and links would bend easily. These I reinforced with a bit of 3/32 piano wire reinforcing over the weak joint – in tact and unbent after crash, but the pushrods were bowed out I think by pressures they were too weak to overcome.

To balance this critter I suspended it fully set up without fuel in the tank. Using a baggie and small size lead shot carefully placed where the added weight would be positioned in the plane, I set it up to a five degree down pitch at the factory-specified BP. The five guys fondling the bits and pieces heaped on the table afterwards went round and round on BP issues, from dumb factory advice to the aeronautical formula for locating the BP.

On the bench I measured the chord of the wing from the leading edge and from the leading edge slat which is about 25mm longer. All measurements placed the BP well forward of the factory point. Am I crazy or do these measured points therefore require even more weight in a plane already nose heavy?
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