Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Getting Ready for Float Flying

There are two things I have never done that I am getting ready to do. The first one is to fly an RC plane at sea level. The lowest elevation I have ever flown was in Las Vegas and I believe it was around 2,500 feet above sea level. I grew up in Spearman, Texas and the elevation there is a whopping 3,000 feet asl. In Salt Lake City, our modelport was at 4,500 feet. I even flew at a funfly in Evanston, Wyoming where the elevation is 7,000 feet asl but it was a hot day and the density altitude was almost 10,000 feet. My Bridi Killer Kaos flew okay there but I took my son's Alpha trainer off and as quickly as it got out of the ground effect, it came back down, refusing to fly! I am looking forward to seeing what kind of differences there will be here in the Orlando area. I think I know what to expect but am not positive.

The second thing I am about to do is to fly my RC plane off of floats. I absolutely cannot find a place to fly around my home except for the many ponds and lakes in the area. I have always wanted to do this but never lived in a place where enough water was close enough to be convenient. I bought some styrofoam floats off of Ebay and I am in the LONG process of fiberglassing them. When I get through, they will be tough as nails but I really hate fiberglassing. Unlike many of you, my fellow modelers, I don't have a lot of patience. I want to fly and I want to fly now! Every time I fiberglass the fuselage of an airplane, I swear I will never do it again. But, I wait long enough in between building and I forget just how badly I do hate fiberglassing! Well, with styrofoam floats, fiberglassing is probably about the only way to go to make them strong. I would think that wood floats would need to be fiberglassed too. I started off with fiberglass finishing cloth but have switched to 3/4 oz cloth. it is tougher and allos me to sand a little more deeply without cutting through the cloth. On the top of the floats, I am going to put some fiberglass tape made for joining wing halves together. With that, I will use some 1/8" ply to mount the landing gear. I converted the Tower Trainer to a taildragger and I had to add a gear block in front of the center of gravity for the main gear. I am leaving the main landing gear block for the rear landing gear for the floats.

For a water rudder, I am using a 1/2 A nosegear made by DuBro. I used a 1/4" piece of balsa and cut a groove about half way through it. Then I made a bend in the landing gear and cut off the excess. I shaped the balsa and then pushed the wire into the groove and then used baking soda and cyano glue to cement everything in place. I will cover this with fiberglass too. On the back of the left float, I epoxied a 1/8" piece of plywood and the gear's steering block simply screws onto the wood. Since this is the first time for me to fly on floats, I looked for some help on the Internet. I found an excellent page that shows how to do the set up. Take a look at it here. Hopefully in a week or two, I will have a report on how things have worked out. I already have a pond in site for the maiden voyage!

If any of you may know who put these floats out, please let me know.

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