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"old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

"1/2 A" & "1/8 A" airplanes These are the small ones...more popular now than ever.

"old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

Old 02-23-2004, 07:20 PM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

the main hobby dealer over here still likes to start beginners on the 1/2A "banana", rudder-elevator, 39" wing and 22-24 oz. with standard radio gear. basic power is a cox product engine with the old style #1 black widow cylinder. the engine comes this way from cox with the "banana" label on the box.

these things fly great and are a small investment for younger kids who don't have their own income yet. after learning the basics there is an aileron wing kit that can be bought as well as lighter servos and stronger engines. at some of the larger get-togethers there is usually a combat event just for these planes. 10 or more planes in the air at once, full contact, last one down wins.

Old 02-23-2004, 07:38 PM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

One of my favorite planes in the late 60s was the Top Dawg by Ken Willard
It was a kit by Top Flight when I built it in 1968. I have the RCM # 180 plan now and hope to build it again someday.
I really didn't realize how large this plane was: 42 x 9 inch wing, and a fuse wide enough to hold any radio in that day. "the single channel .049 version should weigh somewhere in the 25-30 range......the multi channel .09-.10 powered Top Dawg should weigh 36-42 ozs.".....man that was some massive plane! ....you should see how thick the airfoil is.
I think my plane lasted one flight and landed in a pond.[X(]
...needless to say I had not mastered landing yet.
Old 02-23-2004, 07:43 PM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

Way back in the late 70s I used to race half A. Locally only we had TDs that turned over 20000 on the ground. I still have two of the planes that I used to fly. One is a Ace GLH with the standard size servos Futaba Fs 16s, two. I read this thread, so I went down and put it on the scale. To my surprise it weighs less than 16 Oz's. It flew very well at that weight for several years. Know what you can do with modern equipment and technology you could probably build a GLH motor glider?
Old 02-23-2004, 07:51 PM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

I've often wondered about this...

It's a bit like trying to get a feather to no be blown away in a breeze.

I built quite a few 36" mini pattern ships with OS 15's in them, they're were great fun to fly and most would have been about 30oz if they were an ounce.

And they'd go like wildfire! Untill you tail touch in an inverted low pass
Old 02-23-2004, 08:38 PM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

I built my first 1/2A RC model back in the 1970's and it was a semi-scale F4 Phantom (own design). It had the swept tip-dihedral wings and the anhedral tailplane -- looked really cool.

The wings were built-up but fully sheeted and inside it had a 500mAH battery pack with 2 Futaba S128 servos (heavy!).

Up front was a poor old Golden Bee that (quite surprisingly) hauled that little plane along at a pretty respectable pace.

A few years later I picked up some S20 servos (nice and small) and built a *loverly* pattern ship. I also switched to a 225mAH battery pack and had a TD 051 in the nose with crankcase pressure.

That was the sweetest plane I *ever* had and it grooved better than all my bigger planes. In the evenings I could fly from the local park (before the term Park Flyer was ever invented) but on the weekends I could put in a *very* respectable perfomance against the .40 and .60-powered ships others in the club were flying.

In fact I recall numerous instances when I was the only one flying because it was too windy for everyone else.

I tend to think that these little ships often do good things for one's flying skills too. They need fast thumbs and, since the old Cox engines had no throttles, every landing was a dead-stick so learning to control altitude and speed on the glide became second nature. Those guys with the *big* planes would almost have a heart-attack if their engines ever stopped during a flight "Look out -- deadstick!" they'd shout and everyone would slowly edge away from the strip :-)

Now I should get my finger out of my ear and finish my new 1/2A ship and get back into the air after 20 years of being too busy for aeromodelling.
Old 02-23-2004, 11:47 PM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

[quote]ORIGINAL: BobHH

I almost was ready to give it away when an old timer at the field told me I needed to add weight. WHAT? I had always been taught to build light as possible. Finally, with kinda a bet going I added around 12 oz if I remember correctly. It flew like a dream!! !! What are your thoughts on this?

Bob Harris
Early RC Models

Yes, this is what I mentioned earlyer, The "old timer" knew what can be shown in software today. A lighter model at a point will be unable to fly as well as a slightly heavy one of the same construction, just more weight. This only happens over a narrow range, "sweet spot", but it is there. Dickybird stated correctly that a lighter model will get to speed faster than the other, but if built to use it's peek weight, it can travel further than the lighter one. This kinoledge is used in Rocketry software, but I know of nothing for RC that allows to zero in on the ideal weight. I Just add a bit of weight through trial N error, going for the slightly added weight side.
Old 02-24-2004, 12:23 AM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

I'm with you on the deadstick thing. I cut my teeth on schoolyard 1/2a's, and deadstick was EVERY FLIGHT!
My favorite was when a spectator would show up and ask the question "what happens when the engine quits?"
I would answer "Don't know, first time I've flown one of these things" Then proceed to
gain a lot of altitude towards the end, and when the engine quit, put her in a nice spiral dive, "zoom"
the pull-out, knock of two loops, and glide it in at our feet. That always got a reaction.
And that was the great thing about flying at the local schoolyard, people ALWAYS would stop around
(especially kids) and ask all the usual questions:
How much did it cost?
How Far away can it go?
How fast can it go?
Can I try it?
Anyway, that's my trip down memory lane. And I can't tell you how happy I was to have a 2 channel
Cannon flight pack that weighed just 6 ounces. I had an RCM "Hornet" that was 15 oz ready to fly.
Great little plane that one, just like the 1/2a SST Hobby Shack used to sell
Old 02-24-2004, 07:31 AM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

Dave, here is my hornet, circa 1984 powered by a cox 049 and guided by a kraft brick 3 channel radio! I want to build another also some day....


(thats me and my hornet on the right hand side - thats the first plane I bought plans for, from RCM and still have them!)
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Old 02-24-2004, 08:42 PM
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Default RE: "old" 1/2A planes and weights... interesting

I had a Livewire Champ--very similar to the Esquire and other old trainers of the 1950s but a little larger than most--56 inch span, 595 sq. in. I built it light and put an OS .15 FP on it. Weight RTF was 2 lbs 14 oz. Beautiful touch and goes at practically a walking pace; spins, barrel rolls, Cuban 8s etc. and a friend actually did some rolling circles with it at a VRCS meet. To look at it you wouldn't think it could do so much on the little .15, but the low weight was the key. I flew it in quite a bit of wind too. Sometimes it would get caught in a side gust and cartwheel but it was never damaged.

I don't know what to make of the Esquire that flew poorly till it was weighted down. It should be a great flier at low weight and a very lively performer with the OS .15 FP. Someone did a construction article on the Esquire for Model Builder magazine--he used a light Ace pulse radio and OS .10 for power and loved it. Something else was wrong.


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