Yard Ace Fuselage Construction

First side of the Yard Ace fuselage under construction.

First side of the Yard Ace fuselage under construction.  8″ ruler shows true size.

I am making good progress on a park flyer size variant of my Yard Ace design. All fuselage and wing structures are built and ready for covering.

As I discussed earlier it is fun to make a different size version of a previously flown model. Part of the process is incorporating design features as you do construction. In the case of the smaller Yard Ace I need to modify the sizes of the balsa wood used in the original version. The challenge is to ensure sufficient strength without adding too much weight.

One important change I had to make when constructing the fuselage is to increase the width slightly to accommodate the ParkZone electronics brick. This was discovered as I laid the electronics onto the fuselage plan top view.

I also had to consider adding a tray for the electronics as well as a custom balsa motor mount in the nose of the fuselage.

Both sides of the Yard Ace fuselage complete

Both sides of the Yard Ace fuselage complete

Adequate strength is important for these smaller models. I intend to use a lightweight iron-on plastic covering. These coverings are used by modelers everywhere, but they do shrink a lot and can induce warps should the structure be of insufficient strength. On the upside, a completed structure (wing, fuselage, etc.) can be much stronger once the covering is in place.

Yard Ace fuselage under construction over plans

Yard Ace fuselage under construction over plans

For the tail control surfaces I think that I will just cover one side to save a little weight and minimize inducing warps.

I know from experience that three ounces is about the upper model flight weight limit for the ParkZone prop and motor combination. A requirement for anyone constructing smaller models is the use of an accurate scale to actually weight the parts.

Yard Ace fuselage nearing completion

Yard Ace fuselage nearing completion

I purchased a digital scale on Amazon and it works great. Simply push a button and you get a numerical readout down to tenths of an ounce. If nothing else you can track the weight increase as you build and cover the various components.

Fokker Spin in flight

Fokker Spin in flight with spoke wheels

This attention to weight saved the day on my Fokker Spin model. For the initial test flights I had a pair of lightweight plastic wheels. The model flew well but the wheels looked horrible on this vintage flyer.

I had a perfect set of spoke wheels in my parts bin, but they certainly added weight. Luckily, the total of weight of the Spin with the new wheels was just a tad over three ounces. The model flew well, but the extra weight was certainly evident on model flight performance. The digital scale helped a lot with ensuring success with the heavier set of wheels.

 

Initial fit of ParkZone motor and electronic control brick

Initial fit of ParkZone motor and electronic control brick

Yard Ace Construction Begins

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Original size Yard Ace three channel RC plane 

I have started construction on a smaller version of my Yard Ace model airplane design. This variant is sized to accommodate the ParkZone line of electric motor and an electronics brick that contains two linear servos, a receiver and and electronic speed control.

Initial fit of ParkZone motor and electronic control brick

Initial fit of ParkZone motor and electronic control brick

From experience I know that a final model weight of around three ounces works well for the ParkZone motor. As discussed in an earlier post, I enlarged a set of plans to a smaller size from the original Yard Ace to be a better fit for the ParkZone set up.

Fit check of paper wing rib template

Fit check of paper wing rib template

As you build a smaller variant of a model there is an aspect of “designing while you build”. The original wood sizes will no longer be accurate for the new model and must be adjusted accordingly. You will have to consider the need for a strong wing and fuselage structure yet at the same time working constantly to keep weight at a minimum.

Front view of completed Guillow Lancer

Guillow Lancer offers useful insights to wood size needed for smaller Yard Ace variant

In addition the use of lightweight iron-on plastic covering has shown to add a lot of overall strength to the covered structure.

As the target model weight will be under three ounces, the model does not require the robust structure typically used in a larger aircraft. Gaining experience building other examples of indoor models such as the Stevens Aero or Guillow line can give useful insights as to just what size of balsa wood is needed for a successful variant.

More to follow as i complete the wing and next tackle the fuselage!

Stevens Aero BuzzBomb 400 Kit Review

I added a page on my construction of the Stevens Aero BuzzBomb 400 radio control model airplane. The kit went together like all other Stevens Aero kits, that is to say just as the instructions showed.  The laser engineering employed in all of the Stevens kits comes through with the BuzzBomb.

I ran into a few challenges with the alignment of the outer wing panels as well as the placement of the landing gear. In the page I discuss fixes for these issues.

The completed BuzzBomb makes for a fun sport flyer and manages to capture the inherent stability and sound flying characteristics of the original free flight inspiration. The photo illustrated construction guide walks you through each step.  The end result is a well flying model that is different from the various ready to fly models at your local flying field.  Do give this model a try!

Front view of the completed Buzz Bomb

Front view of the completed Buzz Bomb

Enlarging Yard Ace Plans

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

I took the first step on my next aircraft modeling project, making a smaller size version of the Yard Ace.

The Yard Ace is one of my earlier radio control model airplane designs. The Yard Ace uses a simple layout and is easy to build.  The model makes for a great first time plans build modeling project.  Many site visitors have made their own versions of the Yard Ace, to include such adaptations as all-foam construction.

I decided to make a version of the Yard Ace that will be around 75% smaller than the original design. The idea is to build to a size that can use the ParkZone line of ultra-micro radio control electronics and motor.

FedEx plans scanner and enlarger

FedEx plans scanner and enlarger

I really like the ParkZone electronics brick that includes within one unit two servos, a receiver and an electronic speed control. Several of my designs, such as the Fokker Spin and a Guillows conversion have successfully used the ParkZone hardware.

From experience I know a 28 inch wingspan is about the right model size for the thrust put out by the system’s electric motor. I figured out the appropriate enlargement conversion factors to the plans as printed out on my computer’s 8.5” by 11” printer (Yard Ace plans are available here).

8.5" by 11" print out of Yard Ace plans next to enlarged version

8.5″ by 11″ print out of Yard Ace plans next to enlarged version

The next step is to enlarge the plans to produce a full size version for construction of the model.

For this I checked with a nearby FedEx Office store. They have a wide format scanner that will scan in the paper print out of the plan and enlarge to a percentage that you type in.  It really could not be much easier.  The paper roll on this printer was 36 inches wide, so no problem with this smaller size enlargement.

As you can see from the photo, the enlarged plan came out just fine. I am still quite busy with my August United Express flying schedule.  Hope to start building this new version of the Yard Ace during the first week of September!

Electric RC Beginners

One of the neat items with working on a website like this is the various e-mails I get from visitors.

Following are two great examples:

Initial placement of the motor and RC electronics in the Guillow Lancer

Initial placement of the motor and RC electronics in the Guillow Lancer

Hi Gordon,

I stumbled upon your website as I am looking for some advice. I recently bought this old vintage plane model which actually used to fly with gas.
I’d like to restore it and make it fly again, but I have no idea where to look for help.

Do you have any direction/ recommendation?

Do you think it is worth trying to make it fly at all?

Thank you!

S.

Or this note from Mike:

Gordon: Thanks, I received the Yard Ace plans fine.

Detailed view of the nose section of the Stevens Aero 1919 White Monoplane

Detailed view of the nose section of the Stevens Aero 1919 White Monoplane

Having been out of modeling for years, I am “re-learning” techniques, etc. It’s all new for me. I have grandsons who are interested in modeling. Having no experience for electric motors, where and how can I learn about them, especially where to look for a motor for a 10oz. model.

Or any resources on small radio contol electronics. I am a wakefield/free flight guy, and no experience with RC.  Thanks!

Mike

It is fun to see modelers reentering modeling and radio control fight, working to learn about electric power systems.

I was in the same situation when I first flew electric powered model aircraft in 2000. Everything, and I mean everything, was new at the time. Back then it was nicad batteries, brushed geared electric motors and building models as light as humanly possible to ensure any type of successful flight.

Close up of the Finch nose section and fuselage underside

Close up of the Finch nose section and fuselage underside

Today, with the use of lipo batteries, computer controlled chargers and balancers combined with an incredibly wide range of electric motors, just about any model plane can be successfully “electrified” and truly fly well.

The question remains, with this wealth of information, where to start?

I’ve added a new section on Beginners which will attempt to answer some of these questions, and more importantly provide a framework to seek further answers as new hardware and software items become available.

The first entry covers motors and electronic speed controls, plus the selection of a lipo battery and charger. More to follow!