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Resurrecting a Great Plans 1/3 Scale Pitts Special ARF

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Resurrecting a Great Plans 1/3 Scale Pitts Special ARF

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Old 02-19-2019, 07:36 PM
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Default Resurrecting a Great Plans 1/3 Scale Pitts Special ARF

A friend received a Great Planes "1/3 Scale" (in reality it is more like 1/3.5) Pitts Special and asked if I would like to assist in resurrecting it to flying condition, which here in Australia will require it to pass a Heavy Model Inspection prior to be allowed to be flown, being over 7kg in weight.
The full history of this aeroplane is unknown. It was received with a 50cc CRRC-Pro engine, which is a very old petrol engine.

I received the fuselage only at this stage. It was immediately noted that at the very least it had a landing which damaged the landing gear, as is obvious by the crude repair.
I went ahead and assessed the required work by removing some of the covering where I suspected to find damage.

Also in the photos below you can see a square hardwood "fix" that was done to the former where the wing saddle is, a hole in the horizontal stabiliser and covering held by clear tape all the way to the back of the aeroplane.






Last edited by erans; 02-19-2019 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:40 PM
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Good for you for fixing this, I have a friend that has rebuilt a favorite Pitts of his so many times I am not sure if anything but parts of the tail are from the original plane... He finally put it in so hard there was no chance to rebuild.. But it had MANY lives It took one of the younger members of the club a couple minutes to pull the motor out of the field ! One of those crashes where the back of the firewall was below ground.

hope it goes well.
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:19 PM
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foodstick - Great to hear that your friend enjoyed his Pitts to the very end. My personal philosophy is that if you have a crash, do it proper. It seems that your friend did just that.

I started assessing the required work on the obvious section at the front. Removing the covering, it is not a pretty sight...








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Old 02-20-2019, 07:29 PM
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While at it, I cut out the tray that was added in the front to allow me getting my hands into this area.
I also looked into the fuel tank which was side mounted and plumbing in bad shape. My friend wanted to keep this fuel tank, so it was re-plumbed and put back in place.














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Old 02-21-2019, 05:00 AM
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With an unknown like this that has obviously had a few rough times, I'd be tempted to strip all the covering off and look for hidden damage in the entire structure. More time and more hassle but in the end, you'll know what you have and the inspection will probably go much better.
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:39 PM
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Appowner - While I am tempted, this is not my own aeroplane and the owner do not have too much cash to spend on it. I will be doing the repair work within these limitations.

As mentioned before, the bottom of the fuselage covering was "held by tape" and of inferior covering material, which raise suspicion that some damage was covered. It was easy to spot one area of concern as shown in the photos. I used a torch to look to the back, and had to remove another tray that was interrupting the investigation and was not part of the original aeroplane anyway. Considering the amount of additional led weights at the firewall I am confident that additional weight at the back will not be needed.
The owner was not sure which batteries he will be using, so I made trays for both NiMh and LiFe and located them as far forward as practical for easy removal.

Cheers,
Eran











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Old 02-24-2019, 10:19 PM
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It was time to do some real work. First job was to relocate the landing gear to the approximate correct location prior to the previous. The location was established by calculating distances on the manual photo.
With the landing gear in place, it was time to re-create the shape of the fuselage next to it.







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Old 02-24-2019, 10:21 PM
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After taking care of another minor cosmetic repair on the wing saddle, the landing gear cosmetic cover was created from two bits of scrap balsa.


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Old 02-24-2019, 10:27 PM
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Next, some more sanding and shaping, and the screw holes hardened with CA






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Old 02-24-2019, 10:32 PM
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Next was the finishing cosmetic touches to the "rear" section and the fuselage sides next to the landing gear









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Old 02-28-2019, 06:41 PM
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The last portion of shaping the underside of the front fuselage. Testing the result with the cowl on and it looks quite good.






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Old 02-28-2019, 06:45 PM
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Some more small damage fix, and the decision is made to take the covering off the length of the bottom of the fuselage (which was of very poor quality anyway) to allow proper inspection. Some dead wildlife was also found...






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Old 02-28-2019, 06:48 PM
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With inspection completed revealing no further structural issues, I applied filler and sanded.






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Old 03-01-2019, 06:16 PM
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The repairs are coming along very nicely. Do you plan on a complete recover? Sadly a Pitts is one of the airplanes that I just have not gotten around to yet. I always invisioned duplicating David Carradine’s Pitts in the movie Cloud Dancer. Keep up the good work
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:15 PM
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speedracerntrixie - I will not cover the entire aeroplane for two reasons. First it is not my aeroplane and the owner do not want to spend the money and second, the original covering is not too bad (speaking of the fuselage, as I am yet to see the wings). I will only cover where repairs are done.

Talking of covering, enjoy...








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Old 03-02-2019, 11:19 PM
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And a bit more of the bottom, which prompt some more covering removal and cosmetic repairs to allow larger contact area for tighter covering.


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Old 03-06-2019, 10:24 PM
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After my failing to upload photos of my progress yesterday, here they are. Some more covering...







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Old 03-06-2019, 10:28 PM
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Next was creating better former fix then the one done by previous owner using a cardboard template






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Old 03-09-2019, 09:24 PM
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Final touches on the fuselage. I requested the owner to bring the wings to allow me to check the assembly.









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Old 03-12-2019, 12:23 AM
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I received the wings and it is obvious that some repair was done to them in the past...





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Old 03-12-2019, 12:28 AM
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Close inspection revealed repair to the secondary spar using popsicle sticks and further sheeting damage








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Old 03-14-2019, 12:27 AM
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The repairs to the wing secondary spar started with cutting off additional covering checking the next bay for damage. There was none. Then the damaged section was cut with two 45 degree cuts. A new balsa spar was glued into place with corresponding 45 degree ends.




The same was then performed from the other side with new balsa spar glued into place and adding reinforcing piece over the joint






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Old 03-14-2019, 12:33 AM
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Next was to reinstate the balsa shear web, and reinforce everything with plywood shear web on the other side







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Old 03-14-2019, 12:36 AM
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This is what I found on the other side...





and therefore a repeat of similar repair job...




To be continued....
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:40 AM
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More photos of the repair












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