(Another) Aerotech Phoenix Build

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ECayemberg

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I'll throw my name in the hat too! The other Phoenix thread had me wanting a Phoenix again; over the years I've bought and sold a couple. Time to build one! This won't be a step by step build thread; more of a photographic update every once in a while to show progress on this classic bird!

Bob, Joe, and a few others are planning a gathering of the Phoenix at Airfest this year. After being away for Argonia for a few years (WAY TOO LONG), I'm looking forward to playing too. With a little help from friends, I was able to pick up an original Aerotech Phoenix kit. With a planned completion date and a few test flights planned prior to Airfest, let's get this party started! It's been nearly 20 years since I built a built-up balsa and ply kit, and I'm really looking forward to it!

First up, clean off the workbench and get a straight piece of table top plywood for a work surface. The Phoenix shall occupy the right side of the basement bench for the next few months:



Sheeting the wing cores coming up next....asap.

-Eric-
 

Crawf56

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Looking forward to your progress. :wink:

So, what, when, and where is "Airfest"? (There may be some rocket glider fans at SMALL, which is an RC airplane event in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June.)
 

BBrown

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I'll throw my name in the hat too! The other Phoenix thread had me wanting a Phoenix again; over the years I've bought and sold a couple. Time to build one! This won't be a step by step build thread; more of a photographic update every once in a while to show progress on this classic bird!

Bob, Joe, and a few others are planning a gathering of the Phoenix at Airfest this year. After being away for Argonia for a few years (WAY TOO LONG), I'm looking forward to playing too. With a little help from friends, I was able to pick up an original Aerotech Phoenix kit. With a planned completion date and a few test flights planned prior to Airfest, let's get this party started! It's been nearly 20 years since I built a built-up balsa and ply kit, and I'm really looking forward to it!


-Eric-
Eric,
Good for you! As you well know, the more the merrier! I have to get busy and get mine finished (actually, I need to start!) Winter has always been my build time. I hope to have it completed by April or so.
Bring it on down to Airfest! Three or more in the air at one time certainly would be a record for the rocket pasture.
See you in September,
Bob
 

ECayemberg

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Eric,
Good for you! As you well know, the more the merrier! I have to get busy and get mine finished (actually, I need to start!) Winter has always been my build time. I hope to have it completed by April or so.
Bring it on down to Airfest! Three or more in the air at one time certainly would be a record for the rocket pasture.
See you in September,
Bob
Thanks Bob, and see you there! Greatly looking forward to returning to the rocket pasture in Septermber!

-Eric-
 

JoeG

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Eric,

Wade right in the water's fine. Balsa and plywood, the building materials of champions!! :)
 

ECayemberg

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Let's recap the progress so far....


....and there it is!



I started gluing the 1/16" balsa skins together, and then almost immediately ran out of thin CA. Doh! Alas, not much progress.

But, I did get distracted which led to practicing up on my Monokote/Ultracoat skills. My boys and I like air racing...starting with the 55" span Phoenix Models Strega, they stripped the covering and we began recovering in the scheme of their favorite racers. Bonus points to those who identify the Unlimited racers. Haven't done that much covering of an r/c plane in quite some time...this served as a good refresher!





I secured some more thin CA yesterday, so back to (beginning) work on the Phoenix again later this week!

-Eric-
 

burkefj

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Looks like precious metal and voodoo.....:)
 

JoeG

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Eric,

My son and I did some Giant Scale Air Racing a few years back sponsored by USRA. We went to California, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin (Oshkosh) and here in Ohio. Once you start racing it gets in your blood. Adam, my son, is looking at the new P-51 Reno Racer by CARF and stuff the 4 cylinder inline KOLM in it. I'm (still) building a 1/3 Scale Gee Bee R-2 with an Evolution 160CC radial.

By the way, I opened up my kit of the Phoenix last week and I am about as far along as you are. ;)
 

ECayemberg

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Looks like precious metal and voodoo.....:)
Right on, Frank! BTW...I need to pick up one or six of your boost gliders....so much fun stuff, so little time. Nevertheless, incoming inquiry in the near future!

Can't go wrong with either Voodoo or Precious Metal!
Nope...not even close. J-3 cub....I thought you of all people would recognize it! Just decreased the span, increased leading and trailing edge taper, increased taper of the ribs, and modified the airfoil to be a bit more symmetrical.:wink:

Eric,

My son and I did some Giant Scale Air Racing a few years back sponsored by USRA. We went to California, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin (Oshkosh) and here in Ohio. Once you start racing it gets in your blood. Adam, my son, is looking at the new P-51 Reno Racer by CARF and stuff the 4 cylinder inline KOLM in it. I'm (still) building a 1/3 Scale Gee Bee R-2 with an Evolution 160CC radial.

By the way, I opened up my kit of the Phoenix last week and I am about as far along as you are. ;)
Joe, I'm all geared up to go Giant Scale Air Racing....just need a race back on this side of the Mississippi. I've been to Rantoul and Oshkosh for the events....if only Ashtabula would start up again! Since we're off-topic, I have a few racers....a pair of 1/5 AT-6's (I'm a glutton for punishment!), a Proud Bird and GR-7 F1 planes, a Stiletto done up in Galloping Ghost colors, and a few kits. Love these planes, just need a place to race other than CA...that's a long haul! One of my favorites to play with: Big Red.



I've been trying to unsee that CARF Ghost since they announced availability. I've been trying to unhear that Kolm 200/230 since the vids of the Galloping Ghost appeared.
 

iqsy59

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Watching and learning, as usual.

I need to get the thought of building my Phoenix and flying it at AirFest out of my mind as quickly as possible...

Cheers,
Michael
 

iqsy59

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Oh man...I just remembered that I was on the field at AirFest (2014?) when my Phoenix came up for sale here on the forum and I couldn't resist the temptation. Is it my fate to fly it there this year?

Cheers,
Michael
 

ECayemberg

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Oh man...I just remembered that I was on the field at AirFest (2014?) when my Phoenix came up for sale here on the forum and I couldn't resist the temptation. Is it my fate to fly it there this year?

Cheers,
Michael
Do it. Do it. Do it! See you there!

BTW, actually going to work on the Phoenix this afternoon. Hoping to sheet the foam cores.

-Eric-
 

ECayemberg

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Finally some progress on the Phoenix!

Glued all those 1/16" skins together. Don't make the same mistake that I did and trim them *slightly* larger than the trimmed cores. Trim that quite a bit larger than the trimmed cores...compare to the plans. I didn't realize that the top and bottom skins were laminated together aft of the foam edge.:facepalm: No worries, laminated on the extra amount and off we go towards mating them to some foam.

Instead of using epoxy to glue the skins to the cores, I chose my long-time favorite foam-wing glue: polyurethane. Used to be Elmers Pro-bond, then Gorilla came out with the same formula and did a great job marketing it. So I'll just call it Gorilla Glue.:cool: But first, I still want laminating resin to epoxy the 1/2" wide glass to the skins. So did that first.

Skins on top have the glass in place and the excess epoxy blotted out with paper towel. Lower skins aren't complete, making the glass locations more visible:



After a few hours of epoxy curing, it's time for the p/u glue. Put some on the skins a lika dis:



And then use a spreader device to spread it on the skins....uniform and thin. Just need uniform coverage....this is a plane....keep her light and keep the wing loading down!



Almost forgot....when using p/u glue, gently dampening the surface(s) to be bonded causes the glue to expand. This is a feature that is both desirable and non-desirable. Considering we're bonding beaded foam and grained wood, a TINY bit of dampening of the surface helps fill the voids. Thus, a quick wipe of the foam core with a slightly damp rag, then on to putting the pieces together.

Put it all together, carefully aligning the leading and trailing edges, then with the foam cradles, and finally find a flat surface top and bottom and weight it all down. Alternatively, one could use a vacuum bag system at a low pull. I have the system, but find the uber-weight system to work just fine. Let dry for more time than you'd think would be necessary. This is how she rests for now.



-Eric-
 
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BBrown

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Hey Eric! Here's a gentle nudge to get your Phoenix done for AirFest! We had a one day launch on Sunday and the forecast was for pretty strong winds so Jay Bailey and I decided to fly our Phoenix gliders really early in the morning. I was lucky that a professor for one of the attending university teams happened to have his camera out. This was the maiden flight on my glider. I'm ready!
Phoenix1.jpg
Phoenix2.jpg
 

ECayemberg

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Hi Bob,

That is beautiful! Congrats on a successful maiden!

It occurred to me that I should update this thread at some point. I'll need to snap a few photos and post in the coming days. Progress is being made; I'll be there with mine! Wings are done, tail feathers are done, married the boom to the forward pod of the fuse last night. Bulkhead #6 and some bottom sheeting tonight...getting closer!

Those photos are inspirational! Can't wait!!!
 

ECayemberg

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As Bob hinted, there's a rising of the Phoenix' set to occur at Airfest this year. So, it's time to get back into this one and get it done...like NOW!

As promised, this thread isn't much of a step-by-step documentation of the build, rather a few photos and comments here and there as we go. Last update was...February....2017...DOH! The foam wing cores were skinned in balsa back then, and then I may have become distracted with life, other projects, etc. It's become a priority once again for the last week or two (THANKS BOB!), and finally we can see some progress!

About the kit...it's great! Well thought out and complete. That said, model airplane "kits" have evolved over time, and this one is consistent with the time from which it was produced. What does that mean? Well, it's a builder's kit: though there is some die cutting of sheet stock, much of the cutting and fitting of the components is left to the builder. There is no laser cutting, there are blocks of balsa that must be carved and shaped, and the parts that are cut are generally oversized and require further work to fit the assembly properly. Am I complaining? Heck no, this is fun; like R/C modeling used to be. Most "modelers" today are accustomed to and expect an ARF...well friends, this ain't it! I'm really enjoying the build, though it does take a bit of time and patience.

So we left off with the wing. Long story short, the skins were trimmed along all four edges, leading edges and tip blocks glued in and carved/sanded to shape, ailerons cut out and capped, servo pockets created, servo lead tunnel created, and wing halves joined. That takes us to this point:

20180807_051634 by ECayemberg, on Flickr

Fuselage construction begins with the tail boom which is essentially a box with 3/16" square stock as cleats to join the four corners. The boom is completed and the edges rounded off. The fuselage "pod" is largely made up of 1/8" lite ply. It gets partially framed up, then mated to the boom. Servo rails and bulkheads are added which takes us to this point:

20180807_051753 by ECayemberg, on Flickr

20180807_051741 by ECayemberg, on Flickr

Coming soon: mating the wing to the fuselage, adding the motor mount, shaping the tail feathers, covering, and installing radio gear.
 

JoeG

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Well, as usual I got a later start on my new Phoenix than I would have liked but I will have it done in time for the Phlock of Phoenix Phlight at Airfest. Wing and horizontal are built and covered. Vertical is built and hinged. Fuse is built and sanded, ready to cover. All servos are installed. Finish covering, joining of assemblies and radio install should finish it up. Oh yeah, I'm building the new launch stand. The 25 year old one has just about had it.

Haven't used any of the new G8's Hopefully my glider will be light enough for them.
 

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Coming from a r/c background I could get really into this. I knew of the oop Stratoblaster but I hadn't heard of this one. The build looks very good. Is this kit oop also?

-Bob
 

BBrown

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Coming from a r/c background I could get really into this. I knew of the oop Stratoblaster but I hadn't heard of this one. The build looks very good. Is this kit oop also?

-Bob
Indeed this kit is out of production. Marketed initially by Aerotech, some time later it was brought back to by a company called Skyking RC. They discontinued production in 2009.
 

Bruiser

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It looks like a pretty straight forward build. Are there plans with it like would come with a r/c aircraft kit?

-Bob
 

ECayemberg

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There are indeed full size plans that come with the kit; yes just like a "normal" r/c aircraft kit. It is a pretty straightforward build...foam core wings which are unique if you're used to built up wing ribs, but no big deal. And lots of balsa blocks....to be shaped to your mind's eye. I've got to admit, I am thoroughly enjoying building an r/c craft again...it's been too long and it's therapeutic!

Getting closer indeed. Made a lot of progress with just a little time in the last few days. Finished up the wing's structure and even got some covering on it yesterday. Fuse is ready for covering; just need some time to do it!

Nothing too exciting, but the wing all ready for covering:

20180812_103414 by ECayemberg, on Flickr

More to come ASAP...
 

Bruiser

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I don't know quite why, but it reminds me of a Hanger 9 Arresti .40 I have hanging in the garage.

Really nice work you are doing here.

-Bob
 

ECayemberg

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I don't know quite why, but it reminds me of a Hanger 9 Arresti .40 I have hanging in the garage.

Really nice work you are doing here.

-Bob
Thanks Bob!

Put some color on the main wing. Figured I better start covering this thing or (the other) Bob will beat me with a rocket or fencepost in 2.5 weeks! Still need to go over the wing as a whole with the heat gun and iron one last time yet...

Top:
20180813_170056 by ECayemberg, on Flickr

Bottom:
20180813_170132 by ECayemberg, on Flickr

Horizontal stab will have the same scheme top and bottom...coming soon!
 

BBrown

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Thanks Bob!

Put some color on the main wing. Figured I better start covering this thing or (the other) Bob will beat me with a rocket or fencepost in 2.5 weeks! Still need to go over the wing as a whole with the heat gun and iron one last time yet...

Top:
20180813_170056 by ECayemberg, on Flickr

Bottom:
20180813_170132 by ECayemberg, on Flickr

Horizontal stab will have the same scheme top and bottom...coming soon!
Eric,
That's looking great! I know Joe's is coming along as well. Jay and I flew last week and we both are really looking forward to this! It's truly amazing how four G motors in the air at the same time can be so satisfying.
See you in a couple of weeks,
Bob
 

burkefj

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Wait till you try the new G-12 and G-11's being certified, I flew them in my 29 oz model(not a phoenix) at Naram 60 last week, just kept going and going, they are 29 mm and about an ounce heavier than a 32mm G-12 reload but burn for 13.5 and 15 seconds respectively.....G-12 is just like a longer burning 32mm reload, the G-11 has a softer sustain but in a phoenix should not matter since I think they are around 25 oz rtf with the G-12 32mm so 26 oz with the new loads....Gary developed these and a new G-8 17 second motor for the BPS space thrust vectored rockets but are perfect for these sized models. Gary says these will all be certified hopefully within a month.

Frank

This is what I was flying it in.

Orion-on-final-approach.jpg
 
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