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Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

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Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Old 03-20-2011, 06:01 AM
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gboulton
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Default Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Those who know me know of my fondness for the late Jim LeRoy, both as an airshow performer and as a friend and aviation mentor. Some may remember the scratch build I did 4 years ago of a 33% Bulldog.

While that one was a whole lot of fun, educational, and, given where I was at the time pretty darn cool, to be honest, it never flew well. It was heavy, and reflected the relative lack of builging experience its creator posessed at the time.

But it flew...it flew, it honored Jim in a way unlike any other I could have come up with, and it brought me a great many new friends (including Jim himself, as it turned out) and invaluable experience and knowledge.

Ever since its retirement, the idea of another one has lurked in the back of my mind. I wouldn't, to be honest, mind scratch-building another one eventually. The "downside" to doing so isn't so much the build, as it is acquiring some of the "components" (canopy, cowl, that sort of thing) that, frankly, I just don't enjoy fabricating that much.

I've learned, however, that I have a tremendous passion for "restoring" airplanes (ARFs, usually) that someone else has decided are past their time, or "too wrecked to repair" or what have you.

All that in mind, I was, then, pretty darn excited to come across THIS yesterday:





Its owner and I talked briefly, and came to an agreement that saw my ready-to-fly restored version 1 WH Edge 540 roll out of the trailer for the last time, and put this beauty on my build table.

It's a Great Planes 1/3rd scale Pitts Special, with a Zenoah G62 (With EI) in the nose. It is, in theory, ready to fly in its own right (and did so earlier this month, I'm told) but will, of course, never see the sky again in this scheme.

When all is said and done, mods will include:

Covering/Color Scheme of course. We'll be doing the Bulldog 1 again. I just can't quite bring myself to put a model of B-II in the hangar.
Wings will lose their tip bows, and get lengthened to the scale 78" on top, with accompanying extra length on the bottom.
Ailerons will be enlarged in both dimensions, per the Bulldog
Vertical stab and Rudder will get "squared off"/resized as on the Bulldog.
3 Blade prop and spinner
Flying wires on the tail feathers, per the Bulldog.
Some scale cockpit details, like a scale instrument panel, the JL pilot bust you see in the first photo (from my first Bulldog build)
And, of course, a Pitts muffler belching smoke.

Some equipment changes will happen as well.Servos are HiTec 635HBs, which will have to go away. I'm a big fan of HiTec stuff, but not of flying Karbonite gears on a gasser. The G62 also, while being EI, looks unfamiliar, so it may have to make a trip to RC for some lightening/looking over/etc, or we may even wind up with a DLE-55 in there, ya never know.

In any event, deconstruction will start today with a basic takedown and maybe some covering removal. I'd LOVE to have this done in time to fly this season, but you just never know.

We'll get there when we get there.




Old 03-20-2011, 08:02 AM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Here we are taken down, with much of the fuse stripped of covering.



And here's a closeup of the engine. Doesn't look like one I've ever seen come out of RC Ignitions, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Anyone got any input on this?



=================

Got to say...this is a fairly lucky airplane. When I got to pulling the elevators, I found that the left elevator half was being held on by a SINGLE CA hinge!!
Old 03-21-2011, 12:07 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Finished stripping the fuse and stabs of all covering last night, and unmounted the engine, pulled the tank, and all the electonics and radio gear.  It's pretty much a stripped barebones fuse now, nothing but wood.  

Also pulled the base out of the cockpit, since my JL figure is too tall, it'll have to be recessed a bit to hold the figure.

Also found that RC Guys offers a sliding canopy for their Pitts.  Since I know for a fact their standard canopy fits this bird, I can't see why the slider wouldn't as well.  So that's definitely going on the list of features that will be added, if for no other reason than the fact that Jim ALWAYS slid his back and gave the crowd a wave or a thumbs up as he was taxiing by.


(Both too large to display here)

Also tracked down this thread over on The Biplane Forum with some great detail shots of the Pitts slave rods.  I've always thought those slave rods at the LE of the ailerons were a pretty distinguishable feature, and would be cool to model.  That thread and those pictures make it seem like it should be fairly simple, in concept anyway, so I'm going to give that a try.

And finally, just got off the phone with Ralph Cunningham, he'll be working his magic on the G62.  Past experience suggests that what I'll get back is a significantly lighter rock solid beast of a motor.  Can't wait!  I figure I'll send the motor along to him within a few days, once I sort out exactly what kind of distance I'll want from motorbox to spinner backplate, etc etc.

So...off to the drawing board to prototype some "scale" slave rods!






Old 03-21-2011, 12:14 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

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Old 03-21-2011, 01:17 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

This is taking entirely toooooo long.
Old 03-21-2011, 01:19 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!


ORIGINAL: pdm52956

This is taking entirely toooooo long.
Well, I had to wait FOREVER for my parts guy to bring a fuel pump around so i could drain the half tank of gas left in it. :P

Old 03-21-2011, 04:13 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Say not sure if you have all them Bulldog graphics in this scale if not just PM me I think I can help you.
Old 03-21-2011, 04:22 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Jason,

Been having some trouble of late with RCU's PM system.

So what are you offering?  I DO have the vector graphics that have long been available at Jim's website, but no, I haven't really given much thought to how I'll have them done.

I'd LIKE to go vinyl, but I don't know if anyone can match the cub yellow.  I know a couple of shops offer vinyl packages for the bulldog, but match to Ultracoat "Bright Yellow" which, while the popular choice for Bulldog models (My own first 2 were done with it) is, it turns out, wrong.  Cub Yellow is the correct color.


Old 03-22-2011, 11:09 AM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Vinyl comes in many colors no doubt we could find a close Cub yellow but it seems to me the largest volume of the copy is black. Just e-mail me rcflyboy01@yahoo.com with your further questions thanks.
Old 03-22-2011, 11:59 AM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

E-Mail sent, Jason...thanks for taking the time to get involved.

Time to head to the shop and start tearing covering off wings!
Old 03-22-2011, 05:05 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Fair amount of progress on the top wing this evening. It's stripped of covering, and its wingtips have been lopped off, and the tips sanded down flush with the final wing rib:





The TE of the center section is also "mostly" filled in. Still have a bit of finish work to do to get a truly straight edge back there, but the round opening of the Pitts Special's top wing is filled in.

As it happens, the top wing will wind up being 62 3/4", to fall in line with the "shorter than actual 1/3 scale" length of the airplane. (Admittedly, I'm fudging a bit here to make the numbers work, but it'll easily meet the TLAR standard). With > 61" of wing left as it sits, some simple shaped balsa blocks on the tips will provide all the length I need without building new bays. This pleases me very much.

The one final advantage to working at this ~ 27% scale is that this puts the 230cm MT prop Jim swung on the Bulldog to JUST under 22". I know from experience that the G62 will swing a 22x8 3-blade Xoar VERY nicely, so this Bulldog will have a scale prop.

Overall, when it's all said and done, the presentation should be VERY appealing and convincing.


Old 03-23-2011, 01:18 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Redid the TE of the center section of the top wing...wasn't happy with the first effort. New work is MUCH cleaner and stronger, but added the same weight to the wing. I'll get a couple shots when the finish sanding is all done.
Fired up Excel, and started the spreadsheet for the Bulldog today. Gah. This RC airplane stuff is pricey. Right at $700, and that's INCLUDING the fact that I have 3 rolls of covering on hand already. @@

Granted, I could probably drop $100-$200 if I was less picky, and could drop another $235 if I was willing to use the servos that came with the airplane...

4" Pete Models CF Spinner $90
RC Guys Sliding Canopy $35
Slimline Pitts smoke muffler for G62 $125
Miracle Switch dual switch w/ fuel dot $40
Tail Wheel $25
5625MG servos, 5x$47 = $235
MPI 6v Regulators x 2 $40
5 more rolls of Ultracote at $16 a roll, $80

Could save/skimp/cut on:

CF spinner. Could go with aluminum, same $50 or so, but I'm expecting weight to be a bit of a big deal up front. We'll see...airplane originally had 6oz of lead on the tail. Granted, I'm not sure WHERE the prior owner had it balanced, nor am I certain how much weight the G62 will shed at Ralph's Zenoah Fat Farm...so might drop this one.

Sliding canopy HAS to stay..it just has to. So pfft.

Could probably find a cheaper muffler, and can certainly drill/tap it for a smoke nipple myself...so this may very well change.

Yes, the miracle switch is an extravagence...but now that I've seen Paul's on his Extra, it's one I HAVE to try.

The original tail wheel is servicable, probably..just ugly...so we'll see.

The servos I mentioned above. That's a chunk of change to replace a set of servos already on hand, but....geh...the idea of non-metal gear trains on a gasser just freaks me out. Just can't do it.

Regulators - Might drop one of these for the ign. Got to see what Ralph says about his ignition...I don't remember if it likes 2s lipos or not..or, for that matter, might just go with a 4s NiMh pack and call it good...just a weight/cost thing.

Rolls of ultracote - Unless any of you fine people have some rolls of black or Cub Yellow laying around you'd like to donate, pretty sure this is a fixed cost.




Old 03-24-2011, 02:49 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Started on the wingtips this evening.  Have the first 2 "blocks" cut for the right wing tip, glue drying as I type.  Pics to come when the process is complete for this wingtip, but the short description is : 2 x 5/8" balsa blocks cut to shape, then lightened considerably, followed by a final 1/4" block wingtip, which will be left solid for good covering adhesion. Nothing too complicated.

Got the chance also today to talk to Jason about the graphics, and he set my clueless self straight.  Looks like he'll be able to do a very nice set of graphics for the Bulldog when the time comes...he's certainly willing to spend time educating an idiot!  

Speaking of such things...Paul, you gonna be my "paint guy" again?
Old 03-25-2011, 12:11 AM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!


ORIGINAL: gboulton

Speaking of such things...Paul, you gonna be my ''paint guy'' again?
Dude..........I don't know how to do anything else and I'm too old to learn now.
Old 03-25-2011, 09:08 AM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!


ORIGINAL: pdm52956
Dude..........I don't know how to do anything else and I'm too old to learn now.


========

Right wingtip's done.





More pictures may be found athttps://picasaweb.google.com/1053578...yBulldogTake2#if anyone cares.
Old 03-25-2011, 11:40 AM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Nice build!

I took this photo at the Sussex Airshow in NJ some years ago. I had a VIP pass so I was able to actually touch the airplane.

You said you have all the Bulldog graphics in "vector" format? I would be interested in that. I do offer some of the Bulldog stuff, but I'm working on the rest. Lots of stuff on that aircraft, and it should be as accurate as possible.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:08 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

A couple pics I took at the QUAD CITY Air Show a few years back
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:27 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Roger,

Nice shots! Certainly an attractive aircraft.

What camera set-up?
Old 03-25-2011, 12:36 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Just a Canon REBEL and a 100-300mm 3.5.
Would like bigger and better but...........
The hird picture he had his breaks on and was doing a 360 with smoke on.
Thanks
Old 03-25-2011, 01:42 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Charles,
The graphics are, as they have been all along, available on Jim's website, http://bulldogairshows.com Just check the multimedia section.
========
Guys, those are some spectacular shots. I had a similar experience in Tullahoma in 2006, Charles. That was the first time I actually met Jim, and he took me back to see the Bulldog up close and personal. It was quite the treat, and Jim was, as I'd later learn he always was, quite the humble and gracious "host".
Roger, you and I have entirely too much in common. I shoot a canon as well, and, as it happens, have used it to shoot the Bulldog AND a Red Bull Edge...though, admittedly, I never got them TOGETHER. My RBAR photos have been more along the lines of :
Old 03-25-2011, 05:28 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

I've been to that website some time back. I do have a bitmap three view, which I can work off of however;

And interesting, because it says the graphics are available in Illustrator. This means vector files.

I cannot open or save the files? The only one that opens is the Photoshop file at 300 DPI's.

Could you send me an Illustrator file in an EMAIL? This would be great!
Old 03-25-2011, 06:02 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

WOW!, Are you keeping secrets on your photography?

That Red Bull shot was made by moving the camera while following the aircraft in flight, correct? Tripod?

As far as the graphics. I played with the files and was able to open the AI file. However, the graphics, in that file were limited.

They did, however, open as a vector file. Most of which I already have. There's plenty of stuff on that model that's not in the AI file on the Bull Dog website. Or am I just not seeing it in my Illustrator 9? Mac driven BTW!

Old 03-25-2011, 07:17 PM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!


ORIGINAL: Avaiojet

WOW!, Are you keeping secrets on your photography?

That Red Bull shot was made by moving the camera while following the aircraft in flight, correct? Tripod?
Thanks for the compliment.

And yes, correct...panned with the aircraft in flight. And no, no tripod. Hand held. Shot it with a Canon Rebel XT, 100-400mm lens. 1/200th, F14, zoomed all the way out to 400mm. That one was on a fairly cloudy, dreary day, Saturday qualifying of the 2010 Windsor/Detroit race.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1053578...20055040908498is the full high res (3456×2304 )shot, if you're interested.

The "secret"? I've shot a BUNCH (over 200) of NHL hockey games in my life. The typical NHL rink is POORLY lit for photography, and your background is this BIG SOLID WHITE THING, with dozens of rapidly moving people...up quite close to you...and half of them are ALSO predominantly white. (Meaning their uniforms, not race).

Combine all that, and then try to pick out a 3" diameter rubber disk moving at roughly 100 mph. Get it all together, frame it, and then pan to freeze it.

Trust me...learn to pan in THAT environment, and RBAR airplanes are nothing.

As far as the graphics. I played with the files and was able to open the AI file. However, the graphics, in that file were limited.

They did, however, open as a vector file. Most of which I already have. There's plenty of stuff on that model that's not in the AI file on the Bull Dog website. Or am I just not seeing it in my Illustrator 9? Mac driven BTW!
Not sure. Keep in mind, that's pretty specifically the 2003 artwork. If there's something not on there from the 2003 season, then I don't know what it is.

I WILL, if you wish, be glad to send over what I wind up with when all is said and done with this bird. No promises it'll be perfect though, since I've no intent to "compete" with this airplane.

Old 03-26-2011, 09:08 AM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Swung by Hobby-Lobby's sidewalk sale this morning, found a small stash of Ultracote...they just happened to have 3 rolls of Cub yellow remaining!  They now have 0.
Old 03-27-2011, 07:08 AM
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Default RE: Jim LeRoy Pitts Bulldog - Take 2!

Gee,I wonder what a Great Planes Pitts would look like as the Bulldog II????
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