Giant Scale Aircraft - General Discuss all other giant scale aircraft here.

Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Reply

Old 12-02-2003, 07:23 PM
  #1  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

There is a lot of hoopla about this kit since it has now received several positive reviews from major publications. I am a rookie at building 1/4th scale aircraft. The biggest airplane I ever assembled before this one was the Great Planes Tiger Moth ARF. Everything before that was Guillows Kits as a teenager.

I'm a computer guy now but I have an engineering background. I hang out with nerds who do stuff like Finite Element Analysis for a living. I wanted to build something spectacular over the winter and gave it my best shot.

I was going to build the Flair Tiger Moth but my wife said that !QUOT!You already have one of those, why don't you build this one!QUOT!. I said OK, and that's how it started.

I started researching this aircraft and purchased !QUOT!The Pictorial History of Stearmans!QUOT!. I decided to build a NAVY Stearman because there are a lot of neat color schemes to choose from.

I bought a Saito 5-Cylinder engine for my Stearman. I broke it in and was trying to figure out how I was going to make an exhaust collector ring when I became disenchanted with it. The more work I put into the model, the more I felt that it deserved better than a very non-scale 5-cylinder engine. I justified buying the Robart on the reputation of the company, and the fact that it is probably the most scale 7-cylinder glow engine made. It's made in the USA and I was willing to put my money where my mouth was and buy American.

I took the Stearman manual to my monthly club meeting along with a main wheel. As everyone flipped through the manual they all were impressed at how well thought out the construction process was and the design and quality of the kit.

There is a lot of work involved in the type of construction Flair uses but it's almost impossible to
come out with warped wings or a twisted fuselage. It's all very light and strong. Some of Flair's customers are coming in at or below 20lbs. on a airplane this big. More typical is 24lbs. That's about 10lbs lighter than the Ziroli Stearman kit which comes in at 32-35lbs. That's even more amazing when you realize that the Flair kit it slightly bigger with it's 89!QUOT! wingspan.

I have had many positive email's with Richard Smart of Flair. I think I freaked him out when I told him what engine I was planing on using. He definitely thought that it was way to powerful for this airframe. My argument was the Nic Ziroli uses the same engine on even a smaller Stearman. His contention was that Nic's construction may be heavier to accommodate the additional power. Looking at the weight differential you could say that may be the case. I did it anyway.

I was able get my friend the Analyst to look at the design and he gave me some great ideas on how to strengthen things up. Flair also has some good recommendations on how to add additional strength if you are planning to use much more power.

I covered my Stearman with Stits Lite because it's the strongest covering fabric out there (I figured that I really needed that) and the lightest painted process. They also have color matched paint and chart for whatever year aircraft you are building. If that's not enough, the same covering process and products are used on full scale aircraft. The full scale fabric is a heavier weave of course.

After 5.5 months or about 300 hours of work I had enough done that I could test fly it to see what I had created. The biggest problem I had was that I didn't have enough down thrust built into my motor mount so she tended to climb on me. A few more test flight's with washers added in the right places and bingo! She flies sweet!

The highest I have ever had the throttle was 60%. I did a seriously big loop and she pulled her way around like a bat out of hell. Most of the time I'm between 1/3-1/2 throttle.

She is very stable, especially on takeoff. I was used to holding the tail down on my Tiger Moth or she would nose over and bury the prop in the ground. The horizontal stabilizer of the Stearman has an airfoil shape that pops the tail up at the right moment and keeps the fuselage level with authority.

All in all I'm very pleased with the way my Stearman turned out. There was a lot of time involved in the construction, but the method of construction almost forces you to turn out a quality product.

I give the Flair Stearman kit a 10 out of 10!

I documented the construction with over 100 digital photo's. I am willing to share anything I have learned through the course of this project with anyone planning to build the Flair kit. You can't go wrong!

PS,
I am attaching 2-photo's. The first is the bare bones, and the second is far enough a long to test fly but not detailed. I'm doing the detailing now.

I thank that God my wife is so supportive of my hobby!
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Vt57880.jpg
Views:	1433
Size:	203.4 KB
ID:	79174   Click image for larger version

Name:	Up48193.jpg
Views:	1458
Size:	154.7 KB
ID:	79175  
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2003, 09:27 PM
  #2  
TomCrump
 
TomCrump's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Traverse City, MI
Posts: 7,613
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Nice plane. Nicer wife!!!
TomCrump is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2003, 01:48 AM
  #3  
Herb Brown
Senior Member
My Feedback: (1)
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 103
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Nice job on your Stearman. It is a nice kit ,but a little shy of being quarter scale. The full scale Stearman has a wingspan of 32 feet, 2 inches. Quarter scale span is 96-1/2". I have a quarter scale Stearman, built from J&D plans, in Army Trainer colors. Great flying machine. Just getting construction underway on a Quarter Scale Super Stearman.
By the way, the link below will give you a great pic of a Stearman in Navy colors.

http://www.avweb.com/newspics/week0321-med.jpg

Enjoy your big bird.
Herb Brown is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2003, 06:17 PM
  #4  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

My wife Connie thanks you! You put a big smile on her face.
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2003, 06:23 PM
  #5  
TomCrump
 
TomCrump's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Traverse City, MI
Posts: 7,613
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Can you get Connie to talk with my wife? She goes along with my hobby, but not to that extent!!!
ORIGINAL: Cybertom

My wife Connie thanks you! You put a big smile on her face.
TomCrump is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2003, 06:30 PM
  #6  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Herb,
I went to airliners.net to get my color scheme. There are hundreds of Stearman pictures there. I was looking for more detailed photo's and couldn't find any so I joined a Stearman restorers website.

I asked if anyone had a Stearman in my area that I could take photo's of. A week later I got a response from a great guy. He said he would be honored to have his Stearman serve as an example.

It turned out that his plane was at an airport 15 minutes from my house. His Stearman one best of show this year. He beat out 135 other Stearman. His plane is 2-years old. It's a complete ground up restoration (spare no expense).

I took the Robart engine with me and some photo's of my airplane and next thing you know I'm flying in the real thing. I'm going to be starting lessons in the spring and they have a slot open for a 1/4th owner on a nice ARMY Stearman.

Can you believe that! Talk about getting lucky! I used my quota for this year.
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2003, 06:34 PM
  #7  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

From TomC to TomC
Connie says we have only been married a year, and she can't cook that well so that's what keeps me happy.
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2003, 07:13 PM
  #8  
TomCrump
 
TomCrump's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Traverse City, MI
Posts: 7,613
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Tom, I'll trade food for airplanes anytime.

You have a beautiful bride and airplane.
TomCrump is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2003, 11:08 AM
  #9  
P-51B
Senior Member
My Feedback: (5)
 
P-51B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: An Iceburg in, ANTARCTICA
Posts: 6,747
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Good to hear more positives on this kit, I have been thinking about getting one.
P-51B is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2003, 04:27 PM
  #10  
Doug D.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Wilson, NC
Posts: 1,179
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Great job on that Stearman !!! I am building a Flair kit also, a little smaller one. The Bristol F2b, but I'm enjoying the construction process as well. I plan on building there Tiger Moth when finished with this one.
I'm wondering if you considered the Technopower series of radial engines? I've heard some good stuff about them.
Most of the Flair Stearmans that I've read about have had the Laser V twins powering them. Someone here on the east coast has been flying one with a laser 300v twin. Now they ofer them in an enlarged 360 version. Any way Good job, good luck, and have fun !!! [&:]
Doug D. is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2003, 07:31 AM
  #11  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Last year I had a good conversation with Marc Linville, President of TechnoPower Engines
(technopower@attglobal.net). At the time they were in the process of changing manufacturing techniques. You might give him a call or send an email to find out where they stand.


PS,
Seidel has a 7-Cylinder 70cc engine. That displacement should be around 5-HP in a radial.
http://www.seidel-triebwerke.de
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2003, 09:30 AM
  #12  
Boss248
Senior Member
 
Boss248's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: River City, TX
Posts: 400
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Tom...does Flair have a web site???If so can you post the URL for me...damn nice plane...something you can sure be proud of...I love to build big planes also.
Boss248 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2003, 11:12 AM
  #13  
Doug D.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Wilson, NC
Posts: 1,179
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

I'm not Tom but here's the Flair web site. www.flairproducts.co.uk/ [&:]
Doug D. is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2004, 04:25 PM
  #14  
mfranke
Senior Member
My Feedback: (1)
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Chantilly, VA
Posts: 183
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Hey
saw your post weeks ago. Now considering the kit after I get used to the Great Planes ARF. Do you have any idea how long it took you to frame it up?
Thanks
Mark Franke
Fairfax, Va
mfranke is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2004, 02:37 AM
  #15  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

I don't have exact figures but it was about 100 hours of work over a 2-month period. The Flair Stearman is an awesome kit. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Don't let my 100 hours scare you. I'm really slow and admire my work way to much. I used Stits covering and added all of the finishing tape and simulated stitches. That takes a bit longer than Monokote but the added strength and realism was worth it.
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Mk26852.jpg
Views:	804
Size:	34.7 KB
ID:	123163  
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2004, 03:51 PM
  #16  
pemiller
Member
 
pemiller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: North Yorkshire, UNITED KINGDOM
Posts: 62
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Let's see...., a hundred hours with your schedule...,
that works out to be...., complete in 2017!

If you start today!!

/pem
pemiller is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2004, 09:04 PM
  #17  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Well lets see, 5pm to midnight is 7 hours and 12 more on Saturday and Sunday that gives me a potential of 59 hours per week. Since it took me 2-months instead of 2-weeks that's realistically about 15 hours per week. Some weeks I didn't get a chance to work on it at all and some I swear I put in 60! God bless the man that can build it in 125 hours. I'm not worthy!

I guess I'm just lucky I married the right Gal. One benefit for her is this keeps me out of trouble! Just look at her check the alignment of the center section while standing on my workbench... You got to love it!
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Nl30042.jpg
Views:	870
Size:	48.9 KB
ID:	124659  
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2004, 09:49 PM
  #18  
Donnie7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 450
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Nice job on the Stearman. I hope you give us all some more building tips. Wish my wife would take an intrests.
Donnie
Donnie7 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2004, 10:04 PM
  #19  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Thanks,
I am willing to share everything I did to whoever is interested. I don't claim to be and expert, I just am showing what I did.

Speaking of which I created a DVD of my first test flight with music and everything. I also stored all of my digital photo's of the construction on the disk. I mailed out 2-DVD's for a couple of guys who are building the Flair Stearman kit. I hope they take the time to comment once they have seen it.
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2004, 09:48 AM
  #20  
Live Wire
Senior Member
 
Live Wire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Sterling , CO
Posts: 6,059
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

You better patend this and make a mint on building dvd's, great idea for instruction aid!
Live Wire is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2004, 08:18 PM
  #21  
phread59
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: coal township, PA
Posts: 1,483
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Tom I will say congratulations on both accounts. A lovely airplane and lovely wife. My wife supports me too. My last 2 stroker my wife picked out at the hobby shop. She liked the red one (Irvine 53). So I bought it with her blessings. I can only dream of Robart radials. I did kinda sneak a Zenoah G-38 into the shop. I am going to do a Navy Stearman too. I will do the small Ziroli one. I like going from plans. And that plan was done with this engine in mind. So I think this may be my winter project (money withstanding). Once again congratulations.

Mark Shuman
phread59 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2004, 08:44 PM
  #22  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

Thanks Mark,

Congratulations on finding a great Gal! Give her my best! Got to LOVE EM!

You know my wife is the reason I bought the Stearman kit. I had the Great Planes Tiger Moth and was going to build the Flair Tiger Moth kit. My wife said you already have one of those, why don't you build this one.

I did a some research on the Stearman and basically fell in love with it. What a tough airplane, and lots of history behind it. I couldn't believe that it's rated for 13 positive G's and 9 negative! No wonder they were used for crop dusting. Load her up with all that chemical weight and slap on a big Jacob's radial to pull her out at the end of the field before she hits the power lines! What a beast!

There is only one Army paint scheme that I know of and many NAVY variations. I found a full scale that I chose to model on airliners.net. That site has tons of Stearman photo's. I included those on my DVD along with my construction photo's.

PS,
I have video clips of the Robart R780 in my Stearman while it's flying and a clip of my Saito 325R5D radial running on a test stand. I could probably knock out a small MPEG video if anyone is interested in hearing both engines run.
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Xu62345.jpg
Views:	661
Size:	49.9 KB
ID:	124991  
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2004, 09:39 PM
  #23  
Kmot
My Feedback: (24)
 
Kmot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Northridge, CA
Posts: 10,941
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

ORIGINAL: Cybertom

I have video clips of the Robart R780 in my Stearman while it's flying and a clip of my Saito 325R5D radial running on a test stand. I could probably knock out a small MPEG video if anyone is interested in hearing both engines run.
Yes, please do! Beautiful model you built!
Kmot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2004, 09:54 PM
  #24  
Cybertom
Thread Starter
 
Cybertom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Streetsboro, OH
Posts: 635
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

The Saito video is 3.2MB. The video is the engine running on a test stand from idle to screaming.

The Robart R780 is 2.7MB. The video is my Stearman performing a high speed pass (R780 screaming) and a photo of the engine mounted on my Stearman with the idle sound in the background.

Send me a email if you would like a copy. Better yet someone find a website where I can post this.
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Fd92446.jpg
Views:	693
Size:	44.1 KB
ID:	125023   Click image for larger version

Name:	Ez82495.jpg
Views:	1175
Size:	72.3 KB
ID:	125024  
Cybertom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2004, 10:15 PM
  #25  
Kmot
My Feedback: (24)
 
Kmot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Northridge, CA
Posts: 10,941
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default RE: Flair 1/4 Scale PT-17 Stearman Review

You've got a PM!
Kmot is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service