Friday, June 17, 2005

Louis Bester on his "gutter" aeroplane

I have built myself a "gutter" airplane from 80mm square gutter downpipe as manufactured in South Africa by Marley. I had a 40-sized trainer wing left over from a previous aircraft and used this as the basic input into my design. The wing has a chord (width) of 270mm. Using some basic guidelines I made the bit between the prop backplate and the LE of the wing 1.5 x chord. The total length of the downpipe is therefore the wing chord + (1.5 x chord) = 2.5 x chord.

The fuselage part between the TE of the wing and the tail feathers is made of 20 x 20mm Obechi wood. Total length of this is 2.4 x wing chord. I allowed some extra length as I mounted the servos and the tail feathers on it as well. I made a H-type bracket out of 3-ply and mounted this and the servos directly onto the one end of the Obechi. The tail feathers were folded out of correx and mounted with self tappers directly onto the other end of the Obechi. I used normal 6mm dowels as pushrods between the servos and the tail feathers. This whole arrangement is mounted inside the Marley pipe with another set of self tappers, i.e. the servo end is mounted inside the pipe.

The aircraft is powered by a MVVS 49 with a mini-tune pipe and swinging a 10x6 prop - what an amasing engine. A word of advise should you wish to built this aircraft - keep the nose section long (1.5 x chord) otherwise you will have a problem (a) mounting the tank internally and (b) be required add a lot of weight to the tail in order to balance it.
The aircraft doesn't look as flashy as the ARFs but it flies like a dream. It is exceptionally strong as well and was extremely cheap to build - the 3 metre downpipe was R66 approximately. I would also highly recommend this aircraft as a trainer/ beginner/ Sunday flier.

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