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October 2012

Go to SFM Newsletter Page

The next meeting of the winter season of the Scale Flyers of Minnesota will be held on Friday, November 30, 2012 at the American Legion Post-6501 Portland, Richfield.  Come early and dine in the restaurant.  (Meeting Directions)

 At the last meeting ...


Send Chris Launer an email if you can help him out at:


Cal Branton told a fascinating tale about the theft of Tim Johnson’s Corvette and how his wife Karen Johnson was the EMT at the final scene!

Darren Bitzer described a possible new flying site for Tri-Valley east and south of the golf course on Co 42, east of Hwy 52, not far from a site investigated last year (see November 2011 SFM Newsletter on our Newsletter Page).  The site is currently a gravel pit.

Darren was “totally disappointed” that there were only two non-ARF scale models at this year’s NATS.  Sadly this scenario is popping up all over the country and hopefully scale builders will continue to build and complete with designs that more than challenge the ARF market.

Dan Schmidt presented two of his latest “Designer Table Top” scratch-built airplanes.  Both assembled on his kitchen table.

His 1916 Gotha G4 in a daylight bombing scheme started with Cleveland plans.  But only the outline was used.  Aerodrome RC cut the ribs.  The first batch was too soft, so Dan asked for another set of firmer wood which they provided.  Spars are carbon fiber

tubes.  The holes were drilled perfectly.  Two Speed 400 electric motors with 3-cell 2200 battery Lipo packs.  It was covered with Polyspan, a heat shrinkable polyester non-woven fabric and two coats of MinWax plus polyurethane house paint.  The swastika-like symbol is mirror-imaged on both sides and is actually an ancient hunting symbol.  85 full-sized were built and used to bomb London in WW1.  Marginally successful.  A novel feature is a “gun tunnel” hole in the fuselage through which the gunner can shoot downward.

Dan’s 1934 DeHavilland Dragonfly is a model of a business aircraft.  The all wood fuselage will be glassed, the wing covered with Solartex.  A single split flap below the fuselage was new for the era.  This aircraft is a predecessor of the DH88 Comet and the Mosquito.

Two E-Flite 46 motors and two 500 4-cell packs.  The tail cone is held on with magnets and the nose swings open for access to the control cables.  The landing gear is spring loaded.  Contra-rotating props are not necessary for this model.

Amazing workmanship...

Up Coming SFM Meetings

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday, March 29, 20113

Scott Russell showed a new molding product, InstaMorph - Moldable Plastic.  When poured into hot water, it forms a modeling clay that can be removed with a spoon and formed.  When cooled it is clear and hard.  $20/jar.  Scott passed around a P-38 yoke that he made from the product.


The always creative Joe Niedermayr demonstrated the retractable landing gear of his Mosquito.  Completely original and scratch-built, it is “as close as possible to scale.”  Doors are closed with rubber bands and pushed open by the dual struts.  Unusually large mud flaps.  Joe designed the gear to be constructed with simple hand tools so that others can duplicate the process.


Dennis Batty and Tim Brockman built and flew a C47 from an old Royal kit.  Two EV 36 engines.  “A lot of work.”  12 lb, 13 oz.  Overweight by 1-2 lbs.  Kit was “a lot of blocks, a lot of sanding and not a whole lot of instructions.”   Worse, it “doesn’t fly very well.”   It tends to tip stall.  A group discussion developed about the possible causes and solutions - washout, CG, wing loading, taper and sweepback, etc.   “I will never start another plane without doing serious study of incidence, etc.” Dennis said.


Dave Andersen talked about his latest design, a 1/5th scale Ki 45 Nick.  Twin engines, 120” span.  He taped two sheets of the 7-sheet plans to the wall and briefly discussed the design process and some of the tools involved.  Design ideas from Roy Maynard and Jeff Quesenberry were included.  With increasingly excited speech, he carried away about tracing, lofting, printing and how this design has no pushrods in the primary control surfaces.

A team of four world-class modelers have come together for this project.  Roy, Jeff and Dick Steine are building three prototypes while Jeff Micko is making molded parts.  Jeff described the fiberglass molding process he used and he displayed a set of Ki-45 parts.  As usual, his stuff has outstanding quality.

The builders have been warned that the plans are preliminary so they are tasked to report mistakes or omissions found during construction and test flights.  So far there have been a few and the plans have been updated. Dick Steine remarked about the horizontal and vertical scales on each sheet of the plans.  This allows the modeler to measure the accuracy of the printing process.  Why don’t all model plans have this simple feature?

Finally, Dave revealed his messianic vision of the future for scale building.  He predicted that laser/CNC machines will become small and inexpensive enough for home use.  Modelers will download CAD files and cut parts on the laser/CNC machine instead of a band saw or scroll saw.  So he intends to include CAD files for parts when he eventually publishes the Ki-45 design on the Website.  A discussion of various CAD programs for modeling ensued.

Jeff Quesenberry (AKA F4u5) has already started a Ki-45 build forum on RCScaleBuilder.  You'll need to become a registered user at RCScaleBuilder to use the following direct link to Jeff's Ki-45 Build Forum.


Where Will “New” Giant Scale Plans Come From?

Several months ago we sent an email to a few top R/C designers asking just a few questions about the future of scale plans, ARF proliferation in the hobby etc.  Nick Ziroli responded and his comments were included in our December 2010 Newsletter.

In August of this year Roy Vaillancourt of Vailly Aviation, 19 Oakdale Ave., Farmingville, NY 11738 - 631.732.4715 ... got back to us with his thoughts on a few of our discussion points.

Roy Vaillancourt's responses are highlighted in Gray Lettering.  Roy thank you for taking time away from your projects to share your thoughts and options within our SFM Newsletter!

SFM Questions:

1.) Has the digital age taken away your incentive to publish new aircraft designs/plans?

Not at all.  I have slowed down mostly due to other interest.  Like old car restoration.  But I can tell you of my experiences with “digital” plans production.  I draw all my stuff by hand.  Even though my engineering career was heavy CAD based I prefer drawing by hand. It gives the design / drawing life. CAD is so cold....  Anyway, when I first started selling plans we duplicated them on the old Diazo machines.  This is a process where the master and the copy paper are laid on top of one another and passed thru a “light” machine where the light passed thru the Mylar original and burned an image onto the copy paper.  This copy paper was then exposed to ammonia to “develop” it. This process produces an “exact” copy of the master. Unfortunately this method has gone the way of the dinosaurs and nobody does this anymore.

It is even hard to get parts etc for the machines.  The modern XEROX or copy machines have taken over.  In the digital age there are two problem areas. 1)  The first is that if a drawing was done by CAD and stored as a file when it is printed it is subject to the distortion of the printer.  There is no printer made today that will give you 100% exact sizes on long sheets of paper. I’m talking about 8 to 12 feet long.  2) When a hand drawn sheet is scanned into the computer to be stored and reprinted later this scanner / printer error can happen twice.  Once when it is scanned and then again when it is printed. And it happens every time you print out a new sheet.  To complicate things this error will be different on each sheet of the set. Now what you have is a set of drawings that you can no longer guarantee the fit of the parts that will be cut from it.  It gets worse... Now suppose you bought a set of plans that were originally hand drawn, scanned into a computer and then printed out. You get this printed out version as a customer.  Then you decide you want one of the many kit cutters to cut you a kit. So you send them this print out that you have and they in turn scan in that version. Here is another possible error.  In the end what you get is a part that looks like what the designer had in mind but it is nowhere near the right size.  Consequently parts do not fit and the designer or the kit cutter gets the bad rap ... where in fact technology has let them down.

When I build from my own plans I still run a set off on a Diazo machine.  Then when I build, if I get a part that does not fit I KNOW for sure I did not draw it right.  So I then correct it on the master.  No guess work here as to where the error came form.  This is also a reason I never have a prototype cut from a laser guy.  I cut all my own parts etc. for the same “verify fit” reasons.

2.) What should Scale Enthusiast who doesn’t have your drawing/design skills, while desiring something different on the flight line do?

Find a buddy that has these skills and likes the same plane as you. Then do it as a team effort and build two.  Or.... start with a design that is close to what you want and do some modifying to get what you want.

3.) How do you feel we could deepen the Scale interest of the Top Model Magazines and encourage them to go beyond ARF’s.

Unfortunately I don’t think this is going to happen.  Magazines are in the business to make money, Not promote the hobby as you might hope.  Whatever the general public wants is what they will promote.  Even though there is still interest in scale the scratch builders are diminishing.  Yes, there are still those guys you see at Top Gun,  etc ... but these are the minorities of this hobby.  With the modern way of life of limited time and the desire for instant results the old school ways are fading.  There will always be those guys that start by growing the tree first.  But they are a small group.  They do it for the love of it and for them the time needed is worth it!


When asked about scale building from plans ... Jeff Quesenberry quipped!

"Cutting all those parts is half the FUN!"

To Our International Visitors ...

Thank you for checking into our website from time to time.  We appreciate your desire to keep Scale & Giant Scale R/C planes flying everywhere!


Cal Branton, President

(651) 459-5107

Brian Crossley, Treasurer

(612) 721-4989

D. Andersen, Secretary

(952) 890-9529

Jon Bomers, Web Editor

(651) 343-3407

Fly well, fly safely and share your skills

David P. Andersen, Secretary of The Scale Flyers of Minnesota.

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