My interest in aeromodelling was rekindled about 8 years ago since leaving it in the 1960's. I have a nostalgic attitude to my scale models and think about what they mean and what they represent. My first venture into scale was a 56" span 1917 RAF SE5a fitted with a 80 size four stroke finished in the colours of James McCudden VC, of 56 Squadron RFC/RAF. I have researched his life (and death) and found his story and that of 56 Sqdn during the First World War very moving. I now find that 56 Sqdn were using Tempests in 1944 and that Pierre Clostermann flew with this outfit for a while.
I have carried out some variations to the Ian Bailey plan as I suspect most builders have. The elevators are independent with separate servos and the tail has been reinforced to give more support to the tailwheel. I have modified the structure around the mainwheel support, creating a box girder in ply and balsa linking the two undercarriage mechanisms to each other across the fuselage. In the event of a heavy landing, the forces will now transmit directly to the fuselage and not try to break the wing. The ply dihedral braces are in two parts top and bottom at each spar joint. I considered that effectively reinforcing the spars (used spruce for these) with tapered ply shaped plates was sufficient. The photo shows the full length main spar box reinforcement extending to the outer wing and just one of the lower rear spar plates in position. There is a similar one in the top and repeated again for the rearmost spar.
I have also split the cowling, an idea suggested by Ian Bailey when I discussed the project with him and confirmed by the photos of Sivert Björk's magnificent model. As you see I too obtained an 'Elite Forces' pilot and I now have to construct a cockpit for him.
Trying to cram all the weight up front is interesting to say the least. Ian Bailey put his batteries over the engine and I think this is a very sensible arrangement. Without the engine and servos, the weight was 5lbs(2.3k) and the engine alone weighs in at 3.5lbs(1.6k)!
The exhausts are homemade from 15mm copper waterpipe and what they call 'street bends' larger radius bends which I squashed to shape and silver soldered on. 'Silver' soldering is done at about 600 deg C so is better than soft soldering for an exhaust and not as difficult as brazing.
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