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  1. #1
    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Hello All,

    Just thought I'd share my first giant scale effort. Actually, first giant scale, first"plans built",first gas engine, first engine conversion and first fabric covered (lots of firsts for me). It was a real blast to build scaling down the plans from affordaplane.com to 25% and it flies very scale (slow and lathargic like an ultralight). A friend shot some video last time out at the club field and I posted it on YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJAS82xpVDE. I'm kinda proud of my goofy little plane of firsts. Take a look if you have a minute or two...

    Peace,
    Pete




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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    I looks like a very good first effort to me. What size tubing did you use and how did you join it?

    Also where did you get the pilot?

    I could not get your picture to open but the U-tube link worked fine. It looks like a good flying plane that should be with you for a long time.
    Up elevator is not always your friend.

  3. #3
    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Thank you! The square fuselage tubing is 1/2" (the full scale plane uses 2") and it's all joined together with bolt-through sandwich-type gussets (a gusset on each side of the tubing and drill straight through the assembly and bolt it together). The front leading spars are round 1/2" tubing and the trailing edge is 3/8". The main struts are solid 1/4" rod, jury struts are 1/8" tubing and most of the tail and other bent pieces are solid 1/4" rod. Definitely not the lightest construction in the world but it worked really well and mimics the full scale design very closely. It was lots of fun to build.
    The pilot is from Hangar 9. A fully posable very lightweight replacement figure for their 1/4 scale cub ARF. Here's a link to the catalog page: www.hangar-9.com/Products/Default.aspx

    Thanks for taking the time to check out my project!!!

    Peace,
    Pete


  4. #4
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Hey Pete, Great looking project. Seems to fly very nicely too. Great Job!

    Tom

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    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Thank you! Gotta stay on your toes a little when she's airborne but she does pretty well just the same. Slow and gentle on the sticks is the order of the day with this plane. Wind is definitely the enemy too (big time). Love flying it regardless of any performance drawbacks. It's just a really neat goofy little airplane... :-)

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Very creative project, you should be proud.
    Will fly for coffee

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Great job! I've thought of building an RC version of the Affordaplane since I have a set of the A-Plane plans. I was going to build the Affordaplane but decided against it when I couldn't find enough info on it to know if it would be a safe ultralight to fly! I'm not taking a chance when my butt's in it! My other concern was if it could be built at the weight limit of 254lb. Over that and it doesn't meet the part 103 specs. I even thought of building a scaled down RC version before building the full size to see how it flies.

    Was the construction of it similar to the full size?




    Mike
    AMA 161101

  8. #8
    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Hi Mike,

    I stuck to the design/building techniques in the plans absolutely as much as possible. I too was interested to see how a plane built like this would fly. It's all bolted together and all aluminum with foam wing ribs and the same bracing and flying wires and everything. Was trying to make it a real scale project too (my first). I recently sent the story and pics and video to a few model mags just to see if I might get lucky enough to have a picture or two published. I'll paste the story here that basically tells the whole tale. I AM really proud of my goofy little plane. Thank you so much for the interest.

    Pete



    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 12"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 12">

    My name is Peter Donk. I’m a member of the Genesee Valley Aero Modelers RC club in Honeoye, NY. I joined GVAM and the AMA in 2008 when I got back into the hobby after many years away from it. I got my feet wet again that Summer with a Goldberg Protégé ARF (very nice flying plane) and was looking for an interesting Winter project because I really enjoy building as well as flying. Due to my renewed interest in all kinds of aviation (I’m an aspiring GA pilot too, soloed 1/18/09) I found myself looking at all kinds of different ultralight designs. One day I stumbled across a website (www.affordaplane.com) and discovered a unique little ultralight called the Affordaplane. I joined a Yahoo discussion group dedicated to the design and construction of the Affordaplane and learned all I could about it. After much consideration I decided I’d like to build a ¼ scale RC version of this remarkable little aircraft.

    This project would prove to be full of “firsts” for me. First “plans built” project (always built from kits before), first giant scale plane at 82.5”, first attempt at anything more than “sport scale”, first gas engine, first engine conversion , and first fabric covered model. I figured as long as I was trying many new things I’d also try to recreate the design as closely as possible. The full scale plane is built mostly from aluminum bolted together much like an overgrown erector set so I decided my model would be too. I wasn’t sure how heavy that would make the final product but I wanted to stay true to the real bird as much as possible. Part of my reasoning for that was there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of completed Affordaplanes actually flying successfully and there seems to be some argument about how air-worthy the design actually is. So, adding to the challenge of this project I’d also be trying to prove an apparently unproven design to satisfy my own curiosity.

    I started just before Christmas 2008 with a 31cc Ryobi trimmer engine in front of me on the work bench. In keeping with the ultralight theme I wanted to convert an engine for my purpose rather than buy one because so many ultralights use converted snowmobile or industrial engines or anything they can find that will work. After doing some research about that particular engine it seemed to be a good candidate for RC conversion. I sent the cylinder and flywheel to my brother Doug in California (he’s a machinist) for some milling work. I had him remove as much of the flywheel fins as possible and machine .025” off the base of the cylinder to increase compression to a more reasonable level. I used a band saw and hand grinders to remove any material from the crankcase that wasn’t necessary for my purpose. I installed a Walbro 11mm chainsaw carburetor and tweaked the stop on the reed valve to allow it to open a bit more. I figured those mods would give me an engine with plenty of power to fly the model I was planning to build. I went with the stock magneto ignition also in keeping with the budget-minded low-tech intent of the Affordaplane. After a bit of R&D and fine tuning I ended up with an engine turning a 16X10 prop at 8100rpm on the test stand. My calculations indicated it should produce around 12lbs of static thrust. “Good enough,” I decided.

    After purchasing the full scale Affordaplane plans from the designer’s website I decided it would be a fairly simple task to reduce all the measurements to 25% and simply follow the instruction manual as if I were building a full scale version. The plans included full size templates for the gussets and wing ribs and some of the smaller pieces in PDF format and it was no big task to reduce those images to 25% and print them to use in my build. I went through things step by step following the manual and slowly my project started to take shape just as I’d read about the full scale plane taking shape. Square aluminum tubing and bolt-through gusseted sandwich joints are used for the single plane fuselage. Round aluminum tubing is used for front and rear wing main spars with foam board for ribs (the full scale design uses rigid foam insulation board that’s too thick for a model so I substituted Elmer’s foam craft board). The tail group is all tubing bent to shape (I used solid aluminum rod). I did opt for a little extra bracing in the tail ’cause I knew there’d be considerable shrinkage in the covering and I didn’t want any bending of parts.

    The plans allow some room for personalization and a certain amount of customizing by the individual so I built custom aluminum control horns and opted for no engine cowling as some others have as well as a custom seat and four point harness for the pilot. I located the ignition and radio switches on the instrument panel to mimic real controls but there wasn’t really a good way to hide the radio/battery and tail servos to keep the CG where I wanted it (about 1/3 of the wing chord) so they did end up mounted in plain sight (in a black box) toward the rear of the fuselage. I enclosed the wiring in a single shrink tube that follows the underside of the fuselage to be as unobtrusive as possible but still be serviceable if need be. The radio is a Futaba 6EX 2.4GHz mated with run of the mill S3004 servos (knew she wasn’t gonna be a stunt plane so standard servos would be plenty).

    Again, in keeping with the theme, I decided this plane HAD to be fabric covered. Any plane I’ve ever built I finished with Monokote so I had no experience with fabric of any kind. After reading up on the subject I decided to give Sig Koverall a try. I used their Stix-It adhesive and sealed it with nitrate dope. For color I used garden variety Valspar spray paint for the yellow and vinyl decal material for the purple trim. I chose to put the name “IRON BUTTERFLY” across the right wing because of the all metal construction and the fact that’s it’s an ultra light. Added to my affinity for rock music it seemed a very fitting name. All things considered I’m very happy with how my first experience with fabric turned out.

    After six months build time using my spare time evenings and weekends she was ready to head to the field for the moment of truth. A perfect morning for a debut dawn patrol arrived on Sunday June 7th with almost no wind and partly cloudy skies. After a few quick taxi tests and some right rudder trim to keep her tracking straight I pointed her into what little wind there was and advanced the throttle to full. After a fairly long ground roll the tail came up nicely and very little elevator was required to get off the ground. I immediately realized this would be like no model I’d ever flown. The engine was winding away nicely but air speed was not that high. She climbed out slowly and lethargically and was both sensitive AND slow to respond to control inputs (if that makes any sense). After gaining some altitude and circling the field a couple times I was able to get things trimmed a bit and the color started to come back to my white knuckles a little. Once I had a few minutes to fly the plane in better trim it was clear that I in fact had a very scale flying ultralight model. She liked to run wide open and with lots of parasitic drag air speed was pretty low by comparison to any conventional RC model. Gentle turns and slow climbs were all she wanted to know about and wind of any kind was the enemy. In fact, the model definitely closely resembled ultralights I’d seen flying before with their 2-stroke engines winding away and slow air speed and gentle maneuvers on calm days only. Power off performance was different as well. She didn’t exactly drop like a rock but the glide slope was steeper than I was used to to say the least and I could tell the first landing was going to be a challenge. After about 15 minutes in the air and a couple practice approaches I decided it was time to land. As expected a hot approach was necessary and touchdown was at a higher ground speed than I’m used to but all in all it was mostly smooth and my goofy little Affordaplane was back on the ground in one piece. After three more successful flights that morning I was very happy with the result of all my work and as proud as a new father having seen my plane circle overhead for the first time and return to Earth safe and sound.

    The plane now has about 25 successful flights on it and it’s a real attention getter at the field. I’ve had many folks tell me how “neat” it is or how “unique” it is and they’ve never seen anything like it. It’s really fun to fly now that I’ve figured out how it behaves and what it will and won’t do. I’ve also satisfied my curiosity where the airworthiness of this design is concerned. It’s an ultralight that flies like an ultralight. I think I’ll be adding a little more right thrust to help alleviate some of the rudder trim it needs and reduce trim changes from power on to power off a bit but other than that I’ll leave her just the way she is. The building experience was the most fun I’ve ever had with an RC project and I’m really proud of my goofy little yellow plane. I can definitely say that no one else has a plane exactly like mine…

    >>

    Peter Donk

    2044 Deiter Rd.

    Wayland, NY 14572

    Peterdonk@aol.com

    >>

    >>

    >>

    ¼ Scale Affordaplane Ultralight Specs:

    >>

    Wingspan: 82.5”

    Length: 51.75”

    Weight: 16.5 lbs.

    Engine: 31cc Ryobi

    Ignition: Stock Magneto

    Fuel Capacity: 12 oz.

    Prop: 16X10 Master Airscrew (8100 rpm)

    Radio: Futaba 6EX 2.4GHs

    Servos: 6 Futaba S3004 (2 Aileron, Rudder, Elevator, Throttle, Choke)


  9. #9
    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    P.S... I added a couple more pics to my gallery that show the work in progress details a bit better...

    Pete

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    where did you find all your alum tubing?
    al ryan

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    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    The 1/2" square tubing for the fuselage I ended up ordering from a metal vendor advertising on EBay 'cause I couldn't find it locally but all the other sizes I picked up locally at hardware stores or Lowes/Home Depot or the hobby shop. I didn't use any actual aircraft grade materials. Just garden variety aluminum that I could find in the right sizes...

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Peter .... Awesome project ... Well done. I too had the same idea and as always, am amazed by the back yard engineers out there. The beauty of the RC flying world ... is the chance to try different projects and try out ideas. These ideas often scale down well and give a special insight into the full size aircraft.

    Again well done mate. Onwards and upwards.

    Phil
    Australia.

  13. #13
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Looks really nice, good job. How are the trusses attached to the square tubing that makes up the fuse? I see they are bolted to a bracket, but how did you attach the bracket to the square stock?
    Smooth, like Keith Stone.

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    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Thanks guys! Phil, I agree. I enjoy experimenting from time to time and this project definitely gave me the opportunity to do that. It also definitely gave me insight into the full scale plane. It was VERY interesting from start to finish to say the least.
    Mr. Big, most of the brackets for the struts and gear braces and things that are attached to the square fuse tubing are bolted on with a single bolt through the fuselage. If there's a matching bracket on the opposite side of the fuse the same bolt goes through it as well. The brackets for the diagonal braces in the empennage area are attached with a small sheet metal screw into the fuse tubing (not much strength needed there as that bracing is mostly cosmetic and not really needed for strength). Much of the attraction of the full scale design is that it is almost completely a bolt together proposition and therefore within the ability of many home builders. If you can use a drill press and band saw and simple metal working tools you can build an Affordaplane (or so they seem to say). I stuck to the plan/design for the most part and it went together like a really cool custom built erector set. Lots of 8-32 hex head machine screws on my goofy little model...

    Thanks for the interest!!! :-)

    Pete

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight


    Very NICE aircraft!!

    Looks very realistic and well built. You did a great jobb on that!

  16. #16
    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Just wanted to share something special that saved my Summer. It's been a rough couple of months for many reasons but when I flipped through the November issue of Model Airplane News and saw that my goofy little airplane had won "Pilot Project of the Month" I can't tell you how happy and proud I was. It was a labor of love and a project I'll remember always but to see it gracing the pages of a magazine was just too cool. It made up for a Summer that just didn't seem like Summer and lifted my spirits like they haven't been in a long time. Here's a link to what they put on their website if anyone's interested but the coolest thing is seeing it in hard copy print. Hope everyone feels as good as I do even once in a while!!!

    Peace,
    Pete

    http://www.modelairplanenews.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=17F3E50B054A4C1C9FDD81B36E52B522&nm=Site+Features&type=news&mod=News&mid=9A02E3B96F2A415ABC72CB5F516B4C10&tier=3&nid=7F1E992D83F448429757852E63963139

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    HA!

    Nice work Pete..... as they say "Your published!""


    Phil.

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    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Hello again all,

    Just wanted to toot my own horn again for a bit 'cause I'm really proud of last Winter's project. The December issue of Flying Models has a full four page spread with the whole story I wrote and many pics and details and whatnot about my 1/4 scale Affordaplane. I've framed the pages and hung them on a prominent wall in my shop. Probably won't ever see one of mine in a mag like that again so I'm really trying to enjoy the experience. Thanks again to all of you who expressed a genuine interest in my project!

    Also, on October 25th I took (and passed) my check ride and got my private pilot's certificate. I've built and flown many RC models over the years so maybe now it's time to consider building and flying something full scale? Maybe someday. Who knows? For now life is really good being a genuine aviator in the RC world and full scale universe!

    Keep building and flying,
    Pete

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Good on ya mate !! On both counts !!!

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    HI
    Amazing project!
    I am keen to do the same as I have several ryobi powered planes and was thinking of a full metal airframed ultralight.
    I downloaded the plans for the afordaplane some time ago and was thinking of building at same scale and ryobi powered. However I have been thinking of a 52cc engine and built at 33 % scale.
    even at33% scale it's 110 inchs, big but do-able.
    I love the idea of full metal exact scale build up.
    Thanks for posting this as I am keener then ever
    Rob

  21. #21
    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Thanks guys! Rob, if you have interest in the Affordaplane design I'm sure you will absolutely love it as a project. It was the most fun I've ever had building a model because it was so different from anything I've ever built. I thought of going bigger too but I wimped out. There are a couple hurdles I just didn't want to deal with in a bigger model. Cost was a major factor 'cause I was able to use an inexpensive engine and servos and lots of standard building supply store materials. Most of the math in converting to a 25% model worked out nice and simple too. The dimensions if the main fuse and wing pieces I guess was the biggest deal for me. The full scale plane uses 2" square tubing for the fuselage so 1/2" square tubing was easy and cheap to come up with. The main wing spars are 2" round so 1/2" round was easy and there's some 1" tubing that 1/4" rod worked well for. If you start figuring those sizes at 33% you end up with some very uncommon materials (at least around here) and I just didn't want that much of a challenge or expense at the time. Also, with the rigging wires and struts it becomes a fair chore to remove the wings and at 82.5" it will just fit in my strange pickup truck cap I have without disassembling so it makes trips to the flying field much more enjoyable.

    All that being said, a 1/3 scale bird would be awesome! Heck, if you're going that far with it why not 1/2 scale? Then those tubing sizes get a lot easier again and man would that be an impressive bird to see at the field! I'm gonna stick with my 1/4 scale plane. I really like it. I had thought of a whole new project this Winter but I think I'm gonna make a couple improvements to the A-Plane instead. I really want to see how she'll react to being lighter so I've worked out how to make a traditional wooden wing but keep it looking very scale and real. Should save some weight there and make for a much more rigid wing (the design is OK but there's definitely a bit of flex going on when she's in the air). I'm also gonna upgrade to CDI ignition to lose some nose weight and make for a better running Ryobi (hopefully). That'll be another first for me and something I've always wanted to do. Then to keep her balanced and lighter still I'm thinking traditional balsa tail group too if I can figure out how to make it all still look scale (pretty sure I can). Finally, I've designed a fully sprung main gear setup that should help on those rough landings a bit. I ended up bending a couple pieces of the gear when she came down a bit too hard a couple times so I'm going with something that looks much like the upgrades some of the full scale builders have done. Not true to the plans but definitely true to what I've seen done after the fact. I'm also toying with the idea of Monokote this time around to save more weight and time but I don't know if I can bring myself to do that. The fabric just looks so good and real. That should keep me plenty busy this Winter and make for a better model all the way around.

    Anyway, thanks again and good luck if you build one of any size. Please fill me in on the details of the project if it happens. I'd really enjoy seeing what you come up with...

    Peace,
    Pete

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    HI APLANEGUY
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    1/2 scale .... I had thought of that but in Australia over 7kg requires some planning and paper work and over 25kg is a nightmare!
    If i go a scale that leaves me with odd side tubes I was just going to use the closest size and hope no-one notices.
    1/3 scale gives me 110 inchs span and thats a good size with out being too hard to transport.
    I was also thinking of using one of the cheaper 50 cc motors, and at 40% scale the prop size will be about right.
    If I thought I could get 1/2 scale in under 25KG and find a cheap enough engine I would have a serious think about going that big. Would be amazing to see...
    Once I get a size sorted out I will start drawing up the plan, this is going to be a slow project as time and money is always short.
    Last big plane took me nearly a year!
    I will post any progress pics as I go
    Thanks
    Rob

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Well, in the all-American spirit of "good is never good enough" and "if it ain't brokelet's fix it anyway" I'vedecided this Winter is a good time to make someimprovements to my crazy ultralight model. MyRyobi conversion served me very well for a season of flying but after hearingso many good things aboutvariable timing CDI ignition systems and making a real effort toactually make my scale ultralight a bit lighter I decided to try an RCEXL CDI ignition system. The photobelow shows the unit installed after an afternoon of preliminary testing on the test stand. I manufactured a prop hub by cutting the center out of the flywheel and intalled the trigger magnet as per the instructions that came with the unit. After setting the timing exactlyas the instructions indicated I fired 'er up and started tuning and tinkering. A little idle adjustment was necessary and a bit more fuelat WOT also but basically theadjustments were minor and a snap. With the old flywheel/mag ignitionthe best I could get out of it with the 16X10 prop was 8100rpm. Withthe new ignition and reduced reciprocating mass she would spin right up to 8400rpm in a heartbeat. The idle is also slower and smoother and starting is abit easier (I'll always use mySullivan starter but I'm guessing she'd hand prop fairly easily now.The starter was mandatory before).My little trimmer engine is probably running on the raggededge of self destruction at8400rpm so I'll be going to an 18X8 prop beforeshe sees any more run time. If my calculations are correct I'll be going from a static thrust of around 12lbs to almost 17lbs and saving several ounces of dead weightin the nose besides(score that a win in a big way).

    Also in the interest of saving weight and improving performance I decided to build up a pair of more traditional balsa wings. After I engineered a good wayto mount the wings to thefuse and still maintain the scale look I laid out asimple but effective balsa wing design. I thought of going with a d-tube design but atypical top/bottom spar with webbing in between and rib bracing should be more than enough for this application. This is a bird that will only get upside down if something goes radically wrong so the d-tube would be overkill. I also took the opportunity to design MUCH stronger mounts for the wing strut brackets. I had one try to pull loose last Summer. No chance of that this time around.

    Also on the drawing board is a balsa tail group, hi-torque servosand Monokote covering. The fabric I used originallywas VERY sexy and scale looking but I miss the ease offilm covering and I'm going for weight savings this time too. Itmay also get an engine cowl depending on how industrious Ifeel and how the weight/balance works out.All in all when I'm done this time around the plane should be lighter and fly even more scale (if I stay out of the throttle) and be more rigid and true in flight. I never thought I could have so much fun with a model but this one is going into year number two with a major redesign and I'm stillhaving a blast with it. Iguess that's what loving a hobby is allabout...









  24. #24

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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    Does anyone have a still have a copy of those ultralight plans for download?

  25. #25
    APLANEGUY's Avatar
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    RE: 1/4 Scale Affordaplane Aluminum Ultralight

    You should be able to go to www.affordaplane.comand buy them. Last I knew they were VERY cheap and they just email you pdf files you can save and open on your pc and print right to an ordinary printer. Very neat way to do it...


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