A View from Broadway

Plans for the F6F-5 Hellcat spread out and ready for building. Download a pdf version of the plans. Ken Burdick photo.

Northwest Sport 40 Carrier

By Ken Burdick

Yes folks, it's true.

I have always been “going to get around to trying carrier.” Heck, I even started a Grumman Guardian when I was a kid and later built most of a profile model. Girls, cars, combat flying and speed, put these projects on hold back in the day, so I am a novice in the art of carrier flying/building.

Nowadays to me, carrier has become a nightmare of high tech stuff and actually requires practice; this was definitely not what I had envisioned when I started looking at it way back then. I blame Jeff Rein for the line slider (See article on invention of line slider) and persistence of skilled pilots who practice hanging the model for very exciting 20 minute slow speed runs.

Present Day

Through the magic of “Do something or lose any people who may fly the event,” Mike Potter came to the same conclusion many others have for competition events. If you make it fun and low tech, you will get more flyers. Mike has put together a simple profile event and restricted it to things bound to make carrier flying a bit more fun for the average modeler.

See rules for new event.

Here are my attempts to collect components and build a model so far.

Batter up!

Strike One!

The engines specified, (OS 40 FP, 35 FP or Tower 40) are no longer manufactured by either OSor Tower, but can be found on eBay. Anyone should be able to at least get a profile put together, and make it a WWII model, even though it's not required to be. Simple, I thought. The first stop was eBay for the engine. I don't like used engines and was looking for an unused OS 40 FP. I bid on a Tower .40 up to about $46.00 without winning so I let that one get away. The OS motors were not very available but could at least be bid on in the future. I thought that maybe the Magnum series or the LA .40 or even the old K&B 40 might have been a better choice. After bidding on six engines at separate times, I finally connected on a new-in-the-box .40 FP. I recently purchased another for The Rein man at a local swap meet. Both engines were in the $60.00 range with freight and all that.

Strike Two!

Okay, no motor for a few months, but Joe Just was making an airplane for the event!!!

Joe is an expert carrier flyer and as soon as I realized this, I sent him an e-mail. He replied that he was only making eight of the kits and they were all taken. Hmmmmm….. Moving on to available profile kits, I found the line of Brodak carrier planes available for around $100.00. The last Brodak kit I purchased had nice light balsa, but may not be suitable for the rigors of this event. Other profile kits were being remade for Old Time Stunt and they really don't fit the bill for a carrier plane in my mind even though they would be allowed, I just cannot bring myself to fly a Ringmaster in Carrier. (Since writing this, Joe Just has decided to make more of his Wildcat kits available.)

Strike Three!

What do you do when you keep finding dead ends? There had been a pronounced silence from “those who know,” but there has since been the first of a series of articles on how to build for this event posted on Flying Lines. See article.

A New Direction

Like many fliers today, I'm pretty busy, so what really helps me is something that can be fabricated easily from a kit, but we've been down that road, so I thought that if I want to do this, I'm going to have to scratch build it.

There must be a zillion plans available someplace and I suppose that the AMA Plans Service might be a good place to start. I immediately tossed this idea out, and instead contacted Paul Bradley on his excellent site.

I asked Paul if he would scale up a warbird for me, Paul has several profile rubber Free-Flight plans that with a bit of tweaking would be just right.

Paul wrote back right away saying it would not be an issue and what wing area did I want! Wow ... pretty cool huh? He also asked what format I wanted the file to be sent in, and PDF seemed to be the best. I could now e-mail the plan set to Staples or any other type instant printer and get a 1:1 set of plans. The scaled-up prints arrived within 3 hours of my request. They are available on Flying Lines. (Download F6F plans) If you decide to have a set printed, be sure to ask them to turn off the auto-scaler feature on the plotter. You will only get the outline of the wing, fusealage and so on, details for ribs and such will have to be added by yourself.

Now what?

Things like the engine mounts, carrier hook and all that jazz will have to be added, but what the heck, how hard can that be?

I had decided on a thin planked wing for the F6f-5 Hellcat. There is no allowance for a line slider in the event and this is good for the average guy who is not an expert. What I have observed in .15 carrier, is that they hang the thing and burp the throttle to keep it afloat for slow speed. I read Eric Conley's "Flight Deck" articles and he suggests stalling the wing if you are going to “hang the model. A thin, pointy wing would help all this as well. So a thin planked it shall be! I have an old J-Roberts control unit, but I have also heard they are not to be used and instead use the Brodak handle and associated bellcrank for proper ratio between the two. There are a fistful of different bellcranks. Here is a note from the expert Eric regarding Brodak bellcranks.

Here is what and how I use the Brodak 3-wire bellcranks. First I only use the SHORT SPAN BELLCRANKs ... C22, use on the top of the outside wing behind the tank and engine ( Seafire, Corsair, and Hellcat). C24, use on the BOTTOM of the outside wing. C27, use on the BOTTOM of the inside wing ( profile MO-1). C28, use on the TOP of the inside wing. These are the only Brodak 3-wire bellcranks that I use. I use Brodak 3-wire control handles only. If you know what you are doing you can mix bellcranks and handles.

When the above BCs are used as stated it puts the elevator pushrod next to the fuselage not out away from the fuselage. I hope this helps. I don't use the long span BCs because they take up too much room.

There is no allowance for a line slider, but you can use adjustable leadouts just like the stunt guys. This can give you a maximum line tension at low speed and a slight trade off at high speed, it will allow you to trim your model to what works for you.

What about that new direction?

Okay, Okay ... Here are some thoughts, not all tried, for a new direction as suggested by The Rein Man. Jeff will be trying the following.

  1. Take all of the strain off of the wing and put it on the fuselage where it belongs. The benefit is you can build a much lighter wing out of foam. To do this, connect your bellcrank pivot to the fuselage and not to the wing.
  2. External controls on the bottom of the wing. The benefit is you will spoil the airfoil on the bottom and cause the wing to fly slightly outboard wing down and get a little more line tension with less leadout rake.
  3. Stop planning to crash the airplane. HUH? This means that in the past, a carrier plane has been designed to take huge amounts of abuse, such as crashing on the deck during landings, crashing on the grass during low speed runs because the engine flamed out. If you properly hang the model at low speed, there is no need to fall out of the air as you are revving the engine substantially to keep it in a stall position by hanging it from the prop. (Yes, it will take practice).
  4. Drop the drop hook. The idea is borrowed from the .15 carrier models seen that do not use a drop hook, but rather one that is affixed more like a tail skid would be. As you are hanging from the prop for slow speed, do the same for the landing and gently put the model on the deck. The advantage here is to reduce weight by using a smaller ga wire, and to make it less complex.

My head hurts!

Yeah, mine too, How did a simple event get to be so complicated? Maybe it's just in my take on all this and being a member of the BBB, all things are to be made complex ...

Joe Just has made life simple for us all however, and now has his Wildcat kit in stock.

The new Wildcat..40 size semi-ARF kits are now ready for shipment. See ad in Flying Flea Market. Bulk shipments or bulk delivery possible.

I have added the plan set file in PDF if any would like to scratch build the model. Below are a couple of WW11 pin up girls for decals if you are interested. Others are available by e-mail from Ken Burdick.

Happy Landings.

-- Kenny-b

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This page was upated Jan. 12, 2011