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  1. #1

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    Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    I had a Concept Fleet I flew for some 4 or so years and , since it's retirement, miss flying the bipe.

    Logical is build another but not the Concept kit as I thought it loaded with lots of needless work. It was a great flyer with an Enya VT240 up front and was a delight to fly the pattern around. A bit top heavy on ground taxi and would oscilate from wheel to wheel leaving witness marks on the bottom wing covering.

    As well, chosing to build another Fleet , it seemed natural to go a bit bigger and find a suitable size plane for my Saito 450. Thus, I ordered up some Ron Weiss 1/3 plans sold by Ziroli. I ordered up and got a nice fiberglass cowl for the front.

    Rolling out the plans on the floor, all I could do was see the construction details of the earlier 1/4 scale kit on the market. I nearly rolled the plans back up but noticed the ribs were one piece but the forward and aft wing spares were still built up box bean style.

    Since I've 50 some years in the hobby , building from this plan set didn't pose too much problem. I did decide ,however, to forgo the ordering wood and cutting out frames and ribs, I took advantage of Precision Cut Kits and took much work out of the equation. Might I add just how nice it is to see all the ribs of the same size when stacked up, lazer straight plywood spar material, etc. Such a work of art with little charring. Packed very well, with bags to isolate major units and all pieces and bags marked to their placement withing the project.

    This is my first dealings with PCK and will not be the last. Excellent job.

    First photo is my old Fleet with VT 240 peeking through the Kinner jugs.

    2nd photo is of a full size Fleet 16 based here locally, and the owner graciously allowed me to take many close ups of his.

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    Fleet Brotherhood #7

  2. #2

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Looking at the plans, this bird is big. Plans layed out, dimensions of wood pieces for kit inventory, important items highlighted for later.



    And a lovely box full "O" wood and the aroma and MOJO it contains. As a young boy in the 50s and 60s, nothing gave me more satisfaction then the smell of a new model kit and Ambroid cement. Just plain magic....then I discovered girls.
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    Fleet Brotherhood #7

  3. #3
    retransit's Avatar
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Ray,
    What did PCK charge for the cut?

    Bob
    Bob
    Fleet Brotherhood #1, Club Saito #800

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Truthfully, I don't remember but a call to PCK would answer your question. I think the Website will list the prices of full and partial kits as well.

    Besides, with the price's of comodities fluxing daily, I'd imagine Balsa would be one of them.

    Ray W.
    Fleet Brotherhood #7

  5. #5

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    First project out of chute 2 is building things I usually find un-enjoyable. Thus..box beams.

    I set up a jig on my building board (interior door) to facilitate two spars at once but settled on a single as bending further over the board led to some discomefort in the back dept.

    Using a lazer line leveler, I first checked the flatness of the board. I've used this same door for some 20 years now and, between both sides, have produced a good many flyer both gliders and 1/4 scale. I used to use .020 Monel aviation lock wire to lay out some straight lines but these lazer goodies are more practical.

    I may still use the wire method on fuselage build up. We'll see.

    I noted with a red arrow, the addition of verticle 1/4 square balsa stock to keep the finished box beam from bowing or cupping inward. Added weight is neglagable. The Concept kit spars I built, did just that. After glue dry, the ply began to fold inward and took the rib stack up precision fit out of the mix. As well, its strength could be comprimised if not kept straight. I was tempted to re build the spars using spruce spars upper and lower and fit 1/16 planking in the sailplane genre.

    Do also note, the end of the spar is left open to received the joiner piece that will fit within the spar when assembling at the field. I used a place keeper that is not glued allowing removal when all is done.

    Ray W.

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    Fleet Brotherhood #7

  6. #6
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Ray, what type of wood is used for the square pieces on the top and bottom of the box spar.

    When I had to build a box spar for a replacement of a wing that was screwed up, I went to Lowe's and purchased a couple of pieces of poplar. It is on the low end of hardwoods as far as strength is concerned but is stronger than spruce, with a minute penalty of weight.

    Bob
    Bob
    Fleet Brotherhood #1, Club Saito #800

  7. #7

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    !/4 square spruce is the top and bottom of the box beam. The aft spar is 1/8 X 1/4 spruce.

    Thinking back a ways, seems to me that spruce has more resin within to prevent rot and was a bit more flexable before fracture. It resonates well making it a great choice for lutherers making stringed instruments. Maple is harder and heavier for the same size I believe and works well for engine mounts. I suspect spruce was most popular because of it's abundance in those days.

    A Fleet Model 10D was evaluated by the RCAF and ordered changes to the airframe. One of the changes was to swap the spruce spars for Douglas Fir. Other beefing up and was labled Fleet Model 16.

    I forgot to add a picture that before I glue up the spars, check the wood surfaces to pick out the best glue edge. Seen is two identical 1/4 square spruce but close examination will reveal that they were cut well from a 1/4 inche slab. One can see the saw blade marks ever so slightly on the top example but the dress side (lower stick) is the side to pick for the gluing. More glue/wood contact make for a great joint.

    Of which...when I build my first Fleet, I use CA for the spars not thinking that how brittle that glue can be with sharp impacts. This time, some nice 30 min epoxy or perhaps Elmers wood working glue may be the choice.
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    Fleet Brotherhood #7

  8. #8
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Spruce was used for its strength to weight advantage. I don't have any facts, but I always thought that douglas fir was denser and heavier.

    I got a hunk of maple from the local lumber yard and I use it for landing gear mounts in ARFs that spit out their cracked soft wood on rough landings.

    The reason I went with the poplar is because it was already cut to the dimensions I needed and spruce was nowhere to be found.

    Good idea to stay away from the CA. One thing to take into account with epoxy and a carpenter's glue is that epoxy is a contact adhesive. It relies on the ribbon of epoxy resin to stick the two pieces together. Elmer's or Titebond glues will penetrate and rely on clamping pressure for the integrity of the joint due to saturation of the wood fibers. If you clamp epoxy, you will squeeze out the adhesive, making the bond weak. Also your overall dimension of the piece can be better controlled with clamping pressure rather then laying one piece on top of the other.

    Bob
    Bob
    Fleet Brotherhood #1, Club Saito #800

  9. #9

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Yup , and epoxy is heavier too. Did I tell you I am a lightness freak?
    Fleet Brotherhood #7

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Morning result is one true and light box beam spar. Looks like spar aday but along side, one can see spar #2 on the ways.

    Ray W.
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  11. #11
    retransit's Avatar
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Nice and straight, Ray.

    Bob
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Thanks Bob,

    Last box spar glued up and readying the jig for the rear box spars that are different in size.

    Alumnium extrusions that lay abouts are good source of strait edges for sanding in the world of sailplanes. Long with sticky back sand paper of different grades make life easy. They, however, must be straight as can be. I've found some door threasholds that were just right except they had a bend or twist that just wouldn't come out. I've also had good results with indoor veneered plywood of 3/4 inch that stayed dimentionally stable and straight over the years.

    Here , I've used mine for equal down force along the spar as the glue dries. Too much down force could warp the work.
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  13. #13
    retransit's Avatar
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Ray,
    I can see your attention to detail, but I would just clamp it to my workbench. Besides, isn't that what they make trims on your Tx for? LOL!

    Bob
    Bob
    Fleet Brotherhood #1, Club Saito #800

  14. #14

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Chuckling on the trims.

    My old Fleet would change aileron trim change to a different setting after each field assy. Made me wonder what was going on inside the covering.

    Forgot to mention, the flying wires on the 1/3 Fleet are solid and required by the notes on the plan. Completely functional sooooo...

    I may buy a large trailer and keep the bird assembled. 1/16 music wire all around and I may roll it down a bit from the round appearence.
    Fleet Brotherhood #7

  15. #15
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Ray,

    You might give a look-see to the cable that Sullivan offers.

    http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXFV30&P=7

    If done correctly, the landing and flying wires will sufficiently box the wing structure to prevent folding. The rigid music wire does not offer an advantage.

    You can also internally brace the wing without a large weight penalty.

    Bob
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    Bob
    Fleet Brotherhood #1, Club Saito #800

  16. #16
    retransit's Avatar
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Ray, you can also split the top wing into three pieces (left, right and center section) if plans don't already show it, and keep your rigging intact when disassembling it. The upper and lower wing can be detached as a unit.

    Bob
    Bob
    Fleet Brotherhood #1, Club Saito #800

  17. #17

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    As depicted in the Concept plans, These too show cross bracing withing the rib bays. 1/8 wood dowel but that is only as strong as the glue joints. I'll include the wood dowel but will consider some additional mechanical contraption to help a glued butt joint. (sounds painful).

    Considering that all the exterior support wires are under tension, I'd lean also , to flex cable. The tail structure could remain solid but I shudder at the thought of bending a solid wire between the wings. Besides setting up a failure point, it would just look unseamly.

    Ray W.

    PS thanks for those wonderful pix.
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  18. #18
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Ray,

    I am using the Sullivan wires on the tail and will probably go with the same arrangement on the wings. It originally had music wire but I prefer the cable so I retrofitted it.

    Bob
    Bob
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  19. #19
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Ray,
    Many years ago in high school Assemby and Rigging shop class, we built a wing section and it contained cross bracing between the front and rear spar. If you want to go really nuts, you can install wires in the rib bays. But then it would be an utter shame to cover it.

    Bob
    Bob
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  20. #20

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Indeed, I've seen a few Proctor builds of the jenny that was just unbeleaveable. Visiting Fantasy of Flight, we got a tour of the back spaces where the old planes are given new life. Included was a Jenny that was cut in half by a falling hangar during a hurricane. One could go bizerk adjusting all those turnbuckles.

    Some work on the aft spar buildups. New dimensions of the spar caps. 1/8 by 1/4 of some real twisty spruce. Knowing that the plank was good and straight before it was cut to size. Then, the internal stresses took over and extra work. Stacking an 1/8 twisted cap on edge took some doings and some additional hold fasts for the glue up.

    Laser line showed a bit off somehow and I had to add a hold down or two to get things straingt. The little vertical scrap piece really highlights the laser light. This little goodie is a must and the best, one can gets the wifes approval if framed in the mindset that your going to level all the wall pictures for her. Easier than selling her on a $60 servo.

    One pix in the mix, shows the fuselage blade ala Concept Fleet and how it will slip into the spar by 5 inches.

    Ray W.
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    Fleet Brotherhood #7

  21. #21

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Not much new to report or discribe. 2 aft spars down, 2 more to go and life seems to have it's way of interferring with a good hobby.

    Sooo...if'n you need to know what I'm doing, go back about 3 reports and repeat once more.

    Ray W.

    I wish I could do loops around a cloud and get paid for it.
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  22. #22
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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    That honeydo stuff stinks.

    Bob
    Bob
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  23. #23

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Honey doo I can handle , it's the coming out of retirement thing that I sorta resent. Well anyway, no work being done on the Fleet at the moment but to keep things interesting I'll post a few pix of the real thing. Some of you have seen these already but what the heck, deserving of seeing them again.

    Ray W.

    The most interesting and enlightening picture is of the verticle fin of the Model 16. Do note the fin offset AND the asymetrical treatment all to counter the large mass of engine and prop spinning up front:

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    Fleet Brotherhood #7

  24. #24

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    I was able to get to the Fleet for a few Fleeting minutes...ugh.

    All four built up spars completed, sanded and staying true even with all our humidity this summer. Thoughts on the spars when I looked at the blueprints, I could have measured out from the wing root to where the N struts will afix. I could have layed in a hard piece of spruce or hard balsa to where the N strut fittings would go. I could then just fashion a strap of sorts that bolts through the spar. Alas, hindsight ...

    After the buildup of spars, I had two pieces of ply that were cut same dimension as the spars and ,initially, I thought it was just spare wood or a nice extra from the kit cutter. After consulting with the plans for another issue, I realized that those pieces will be cut along with spruce stock that will become the lower fuselage attach points for the wing spars ... ala...Concept Fleet.

    Over some apprehension, I was going to build the lower and upper wings as one piece. Top wing wouldn't be difficult providing one has a long truck bed or trailer. The lower wing would require some re-engineering of the lower fuse. Oh well.

    Fitting ribs on the schedule. While the laser burns are nearly clean, a nice finish sanding with some custom sized sanding boards make a nice fit. Not all ribs fit smoothly and required some opening for the spars. Nice snug fits completely unlike an old Stearling Kits of days past.

    Ray W.
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  25. #25

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    RE: Ron Weiss 1/3 Fleet

    Land O Gorshin..stop the presses.

    Unless I unravel a mystery or find a note I missed on the blueprints, the spars are about 4 inches short on the top wing.

    Spars as built for the lower fwd and aft are fine and just cut to the right length but the uppers are well shorted. Sooooo, what to do. Looks like a spar extension spliced to the outboard end of the spar. fit will be well past the N strut and spliced up with spruce stock should take care of the situation.

    Outboard of the N strut seems to me the best. Less flex moments and I'll scab on additional 1/16 ply both sides. Should be no problem but what a suprise to find when I put down my built up wing to mark the rib locations. Took a few moments to rationalize that it was too short. On the right side of the print, written is a "Note" that I included in the picturelog below. I wonder if this may have been the dimension the spars were cut to.

    Anyway, now its back to jig molds for some shortened spars to be installe din the upper wing. Building without a instruction book is most interesting. Thank goodness for experience.

    Ray W.
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