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Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44"

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Old 02-01-2007, 08:05 AM
  #1
Dan Vincent
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Default Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44"

I have a kit for a Sterling Tri-pacer with 44" wingspan. So far I built the fuselage and am worried about excessive weight as Sterling models usually come out very heavy. They are built like a tank and I don't think all the weight and strength are needed for an electric model.

Years ago I bought an already built larger 58" Sterling Tri-pacer and never did fly it because it weighed so much by the time you added the radio and engine. It was extremely heavy.

I'm thinking about just re-engineering the 44" Tri-pacer by using light wood and eliminating most of the heavy pieces such as the plywood window frames and excessive beam mounts.
Another thing is they made no provision for a removable cowl.

Has anyone already done this, I really love the old tri-pacer design and want to end up with a model that has a chance of flying.
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:14 PM
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Default RE: Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44"

Dan, I haven't built the Tri-pacer, but you are right, most of these were built for gas motors that vibrate the heck out of everything, hence the over build to handle it. Electrics don't vibrate so yeah cutting out the extras would be a wise idea, substituting contest grade balsa and thinner lite ply in place of the heavier stuff will make it a lot lighter. Even things like making the formers and such with lightning holes will help, as they don't have to be as strong for the fuselage to support the motors vs the engines.
One of the bonus' of electrics, they can be built lighter and will actually perform better then their gas counterparts.
Best of luck on the conversion and be sure to post some pics.
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:21 PM
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Default RE: Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44"

Yup, this Tri-pacer will be a down the road project. Right now I have my sights on that 48" foam Super Cub everyone is raving about. I may just go with the stuff that comes with it and then pick up an Axis Outrunner for my other projects.

This electric stuff really has me interested. Low noise and no fuel on the covering and structure is a definite plus.

Guess I'll have to start selling off my old engines to cover my upcoming electric expenses.
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:06 PM
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Default RE: Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44"


I bought a 44" Sterling Tri-Pacer at a garage sale, without plans! I would love to build this little guy if someone would be kind enough to email a photo of their plans, or sell me a set.
Thanks,
C.P.

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Old 05-21-2009, 07:35 AM
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Default RE: Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44



Ibuilt one of those a long time ago, it was my very first RC plane, it had an Enya .09 in it and it flew like an anvil.(Retiredafter one afternoon of flying with an instructor). As my 1st RC plane I did not build it very light (Lots of epoxy) and I am sure that a full size lat 70's vintage 6 channel Futabareceiver and 4 standard servosdid not help matters either.

As you pointed out there is no provision for removable cowl or hatch. Making the plastic cowl removable was fairly easy by adding support beams andfastening via smallscrews through the plastic. That was not enough access to mount / dismount the engine and deal with typical issues soI dealth with that by sheeting as usual, covering, then carfully cutting out "Access panels" that were fastened with small wood screws.This " feature"and a few others I have found made mebelieve it was designed to be accurate from a static scale standpoint but without much engineering effort spent on making it a functional R/Cflier. The scale wing does not have much lift (Thin airfoilshortish span ), the scale aileronswere all butuseless, and the short tail moment made it somewhat"Jumpy" in flight.

Ihave seen some reports about the 58 inch wingspan version that seemed more encouragingfrom a flying perpective. This 1/2A version was not much smaller with far less power, probably comparableweight and shorter wings.. Perhaps it would do better asan electric.


If I were to re-do this plane Iwould do the following:

- Make sure thatwhenyou build it, you take as much weight out of it as possible as mentionned before with light R/C gear /careful wood selection / less wood / Litespan type covering
- Iwould look into modyfying the wing profile to make it thicker or perhaps increase the wing spanto improve the lift charateristics
- Do it as a 3 channel plane and save time / weight on ailerons unless you over-size them. If you decide to include'emfor looks use really small servos to minimize the weight investment for such a small return in flight

Good luck with it.

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Old 03-10-2010, 07:42 PM
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Default RE: Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44

Dan, if you are considering the super cub you might want to take a look at the 81" wg. span super cub from Modeltech that I built with electric motor. It flys like a dream and has flaps to boot ( see my as well as other threads this web site). It apprently is in limited supply from Hobby People.net in Calif. It is docile and very easy to see. I only have to fly it at about 1/4-1/2 throttle. Terry
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:54 PM
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Default RE: Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44

I think you ran across a dead thred
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:36 PM
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Default RE: Sterling Piper Tri-pacer 44

Yea , I think you are right -forgot to look at the date. Thanks Terry
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