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Big Gull Tribute

Old 07-17-2021, 08:19 AM
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Fyg Leaf
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Default Big Gull Tribute

About 40 years ago I designed an antique, R/C tribute aircraft to Winnie Davis' "Big Gull" free flight design. It was different enough to have its own name, so I called it "Gulliver's Traveler" as a reminder of the aircraft that inspired it.

I framed it up over the course of many months back then, but then got involved through Don Lowe, Steve Rojecki and Tony F in pattern and TOC aircraft. Time flies, as they say, and the Traveler sat for years and years in an Ohio basement until 2012 and then in a North Carolina attic until about two weeks ago.

I have decided to finish it and have been piddling away at some small tasks while I wait for some materials and accessories that I had to order. Here's a photo of the most complete subassembly:




I can post some progress photos, if there's any interest, but as a minimum, I will provide some finished product shots , eventually.

Ken
Old 07-17-2021, 10:56 PM
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Great sanding job on the complex shape!
Old 07-18-2021, 06:28 AM
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Here's a shot of the fuselage in its current state. I've just completed the the wing to fuselage fillets. And it's definitely a big time gull wing.




Old 07-18-2021, 08:55 AM
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Wow, the whole airplane is one complex shape! Very unusual and somehow "organic". Now I see why there are skids under the stab. The open-rocker engine matches this piece of art. :-)

The Brushfire fuselage, which is complex enough, must have been child's play for you.

With the wheel up front, will this model take-off from ground or has it to be hand-launched?

Last edited by UStik; 07-18-2021 at 09:06 AM.
Old 07-18-2021, 12:15 PM
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The outboard skids have plywood cores and steel wire at the bottom to act as the surface that touches the ground. The fuselage skid also has a plywood core and is designed for a 1 1/2 inch diameter tail wheel that will be half exposed. I think a grass field would be preferred for takeoff and landing.

Old 07-20-2021, 09:41 AM
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Okay. I have it mostly sanded enough so that I'm not embarrassed to show you what the whole thing looks like. Sorry, but I couldn't get the dog to sit still next to it for a size reference.













Lot's of work to do before the covering process. I'll try to add update photos along the way.

Ken
Old 07-20-2021, 11:15 AM
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It just occurred to me that I did give you a size reference. The driveway block it's sitting on is 11.5 ft by 9 ft. The 11.5 is in the downhill direction.
Old 07-20-2021, 01:02 PM
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Stunning! How on earth did you build these wings? I imagine you made one jig for both and the enabling simplification was using a flat-bottom airfoil. And you didn't use CAD or laser-cutting, I suppose. Had the leading- and trailing-edge stock to be laminated to keep the curvature or is it all held by the main spars?

There are several size references: the engine, the garage, the perspective. Thanks for sharing!
Old 07-20-2021, 02:30 PM
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You are correct that the flat bottom airfoil was the key. I built a full span work board out of 3/4 inch plywood. The curved areas of the actual building surface plywood were back sawn every 1/4 inch in the chord-wise direction to a depth that left only 1/8 inch of wood. Three full span plywood pieces to support the work surface and hold its curvature true were sawn to match the wing's front view and required no grooving. A 3/4 inch end piece kept kept the building board square.

It was built very conventionally in the flat area between the two curved sections. The spars, leading edges and trailing edges in the curved sections were laminated from 1/8 balsa. All that glue probably makes it a little stronger.

The inboard curvature where the wing halves slide onto the aluminum tongues had to be a true circular arc. I think it's clear why that has to be.

Thanks for your enthusiasm. Getting back to work on the beast has reminded me what a pain it is to work on it. And probably why I set it aside so many years ago.
But retirement gives me the freedom to set it aside whenever it starts to become a grind. It make take a while, but I will finish it.

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