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Paul K. Guillow, Inc. Balsa Wood Airplanes VOUGHT F4U-4 CORSAIR

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Kit Number: 1004 Wing Span: 30 3/4" Scale: 1/16

[IMAGE] Nicknamed the "Sweetheart of Okinawa" by the U.S. Marines and "Whistling Death" by the Japanese, the Corsair performed effectively in two years- the Pacific conflict of World War 2 and the Korean engagement of the early 1950's. The first production Corsair flew on June 25, 1942 at a time when the Japanese offensive seemed irresistible. It was not until late that year, with the delivery of the first Corsair squadrons into the hands of the U.S. Marines on Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands, that the tide of air combat was permanently turned in favor of the Allied Forces. To the British Navy in the early 1944 goes credit for introducing the Corsair to carrier service. Nine months later, the U.S. Navy cleared the way for the Corsair to become the mainstay of its mighty carrier fleet.

The Corsair was designed by Rex Beisel and Igor Sikorsky, and incorporated the largest engine available at the time, the 2,000 hp (1,490 kW) 18-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial. To extract as much power as possible, a relatively large, 13 ft, 4 inch (4.06 m) Hamilton Standard Hydromatic three-blade propeller was used. To accommodate a folding wing, the designers considered retracting the main landing gear rearward, but for the chord of wing selected, it was difficult to fit gear struts long enough to provide sufficient clearance for the large propeller. Their solution was an inverted gull wing, the same layout used as Germany's infamous Stuka dive bomber, considerably shortening the length of the main gear legs[6] The "bend" in the wing also permitted the wing and fuselage to meet at the optimum angle for minimizing drag.[6] Offsetting these benefits, the bent wing was more difficult to construct and would weigh more than a straight one.

The Corsair's aerodynamics were an advancement over contemporary naval fighters. The F4U was the first U.S. Navy airplane to feature landing gear that retracted fully, exactly in the manner of the Curtiss P-40 in rotating through 90° during retraction with the wheel atop the lower end of the strut, leaving a completely streamlined wing.[7] Air intakes used slots in the leading edges of the wings rather than protruding scoops. Panels were attached with flush rivets, and the design took advantage of the newly-developed technique of spot welding. While employing this new technology, the Corsair was also the last American-produced, combat aircraft to feature fabric covered control surfaces, which was used for the top and bottom of each outer wing in addition to elevators.[citation needed] Despite being capable of speeds in excess of 400 mph (640 km/h), with full 60 degree flap deployment, the Corsair was capable of flying at speeds slow enough for carrier landings.

Despite advances in technology and a top speed greater than existing Navy aircraft, numerous technical problems had to be solved before the Corsair would enter service. Carrier suitability was a major development issue, prompting changes to the main landing gear, tail wheel and tailhook. Early prototypes had difficulty recovering from developed spins since the inverted gull wing's shape interfered with elevator authority. A small spoiler was added to the leading edge of the starboard wing to reduce adverse stall characteristics.

CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE

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First, you have to get your plans blown.

Cut your plan into 8.5 by 11 inch sections, and scan each section front and back at 216 dpi. (any larger is ridiculous) Then, using The Castle's Split Image Software cut each scan 3 by 3 or into 9 sections. Then the images will need to be printed, then the individual printed copies will be re-assembled, much like a jigsaw puzzle. Be sure to have plenty of clear tape on hand. I've found that a paper cutter comes in very handy, but a pair of scissors will get the job done for trimming the individual images as needed to make them fit your puzzle/plan. HINT: Cut each printed image on the top and left sde only. You may choose to print the images on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper in either portrait or landscape. This will affect the finished size of your plan and your finished airplane. If you have a printer that will handle it, you may also choose to print your plan on 11 by 17 inch paper, again in either portrait or landscape.

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Printing your plan on the smaller paper and in landscape, will achieve an aproximate 90 inch wingspan for your finished airplane. On the other hand, if you've got lots of room, printing the plan on big paper again in landscape will achieve an approximate 150 to 160 inch wingspan. Now, you get to make your templates. On the Guillow's plans, you'll find virtually every part you'll need, but you'd better study the plan for a while and make sure. Once you're good, you'll want to laminate all your parts templates with clear packing tape, then cut all the parts out with scissors. I like to mark all the templates with number required, part number, what material to cut them out of, etc... Once finished cutting out all you templates, lay them out on your plans layout to take inventory of what you may have missed. THIS AIN'T A KIT... PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS...

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Next, start laying out your parts on the plywood. I'm using 1/4 for all formers, and wing trailing edge, and 1/2 for all fuselage keel parts. 1/2 for vertical and horizontal stab parts, and used 1/2 laminations for the wing leading edge. You could use balsa, but when we built the F6F we used balsa and spent a gruntload of money. Pictured here is about $30 worth of plywood. About 10% the cost of balsa. Pick out your plywood carefully down at the Loews Handy Depot, as you can get some plywood that's real pretty on one side and fug bugly on the other side. Careful choices will get you good and decent if you take the time. I use a Sears Band Saw to cut out the parts. Works good.
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When you're building with balsa, you get to stick pins thru your parts into your workboard and hold everything down nice and tight. This ain't an option with plywood. So, why not get rid of the workboard as well? I'm lucky to have some old folding tables around, and nobody cares if I get glue on them, so I can work diectly onto the table's surface. Put the plan down, tape it with blue tape, put down waxed paper, tape that down too. Then I actually glue the parts to the waxed paper to keep them from sliding around.The Waxed paper peels off real nice when you're done.

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A couple of notes: The A5 keel part for the fuse has been modified to incorporate the cockpit outline on the front end of the part, (there ain't no plastic parts in this project) and the vertical stab (front half) on the back end of the part. Went ahead and put shelac on the entire vertical stab, so it'll paint nicer... The fuse formers are just "roughed" out in this photo, and the L1 part pictured had to be redone twice to get it (2) right. Remember that every part in a project of this sort is "blue printed" one part at a time.
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"Build straight, fly straight..." as the fellows on the Guillows Model Builders Forum say. Discovered that a few clamps in stategic locations around the keel was helpful in keeping things moving. One at a time, the parts are fitted and notched using the band saw and wood working chisel. Don't forget to glue on the left half of the tail wheel assembly BEFORE you start putting stringers on. Installed a 1/4 inch dowel stick in the top rear of A5 to facilitate the mounting of the odd Corsair verticle stabilator hinging system. You can't actually see it very well here, but I'll bring it up again later.

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Installing stringers is made very simple with an electric drill for pilot holes, glue, and #8 by 5/8 inch phillips wood screws. The clamps helped istall a "shelf" to allow attaching the anchor plate for the U-Control bell crank. Added lots of screws to make the whole assmbly safe in flight. PlanetBattery.Com batteries are visible at the back by the glue bottles. The batteries are carried in a belt at your waist, and the power runs down the control lines. Currently designing a C-130 like airframe that will allow the batteries to be onboard the aircraft.
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The stringers are cut 1/4 by 5/16 by 48 inches. About ten inches too short to cover the entire legth of the fuse. Small "screwing blocks" are glued to B9 so that the stringers can be "butted" together to complete the length of the fuse. The horizontal stab is shown here as well. Balsa 1/4 thick was laminated to 1/2 inch with hinges inlaid (sandwiched) and attached to the 1/2 plywood. Inlaying hinges into balsa is way easier than trying to fight with the hardwood.

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With the fuselage basically finished, it was time to thoroughly inspect all the joints and see what might have pulled apart while putting all the screws in. Only found one place, at B4 where the former pulled away from the bottom keel. More glue and a great big clamp overnight fixed this problem. the clamp in the photo is just there to hold her up purty for the picture. The yard stick in the photo is actually a meter stick, (what genius invented that?) and the fuse is right at 60 inches long.
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On the earliest of the big planes, we decided that hardpoints are important to allow the hanging of the plane, especially with the balsa projects. With the plywood planes, it's mandatory. The rope on the table is for hanging up the fuse while playing with it. We use chain to hang them from the ceiling. The hard points are made of coat hangar wire, and can be seen on the top keel of the fuse. They look like direction finding antennae.

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Time to start the wing. More folding tables allowed the plan to be laid out fully. Waxed paper over the top, and parts are inventoried. Center wing section parts were notched using the band saw, and wood chisels, then sanded smooth to allow good tight fit. Leading and trail edges were sanded using the table belt sander to achieve airfoil shape, then screwd and glued to the center wing section formers.
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Once the glue dried, center wing section is glued directly to the waxed paper over the plan so as to hold it still while the rest of the outer section wing parts are assembled. Part F1 is 1/2 plywood and are both F4 parts. F2, F3, and F5 are 1/4 plywood. Used 2" deck screws and glue to hold F1 and Both F4 formers to leading and trailing edge. Smaller #8 by 5/8" screws on the 1/4 plywood parts.

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Leading and trailing outer wing section edges are glued to the wax paper over the plan to keep them from wiggling while the formers are installed. Formers are then notched, sanded, and fitted one at a time to conform to the plan.
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1/4 by 5/16 inch strips were glued to each side of the formers, F6 through F12, to improve the surface area of the former nose for glueing. This was so effective that we didn't have to use screws to hold the formers to the leading edge.
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Ordinarily, you'd want to put the wing bottom stringers on the wing AFTER you've comepleted the top wing assembly. Here, with plywood and the added weight, it's alot easier to glue the wing formers down on the bottom stringers for structural support while adding the dihedral. Once you got the wing picked up at the proper angle, put your top strings on, and screw them down.
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Now you can flip your wing over and screw down the bottom stringers. Don't forget to do your wingtips...

Now, with most of the structural out of the way, we can start sanding and covering.

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About ten years ago we decided to see just how big we could blow up the plan for the Guillows P-40. It came out to an 80" wingspan. Then for years we just stood around and looked at the plan, trying to decide if it would be practical to try to build it. Turns out, that sometimes you just have to do, what you have to do.

The plane became a "proof-of-concept" aircraft, demonstrating that the Guillow construction technique is sound for even the largest of models. It has proven that we can build an even larger model, and fly it U-Control.

So, we blew up the plan for the Guillows F4U-4. This time the plan came out to a 90" wingspan. Because we wanted a flying plane, (U-Control) there were quite a few engineering issues to solve before the first piece of balsa wood could be cut. We didn't want to even get started with the expense of a gas powered engine large enough to get this thing into the air. Not to mention fuel proof paint, and other issues related to gas power including noise. So, electric power beacame the best idea. After searching the web for DC Electric Motors powerful enought to drag this airframe around the circle, we found that a hobby shop motor designed specifically to do what we wanted to do would cost in the neighborhood of $700! After pricing batteries, a charger for the batteries, and other related accessories needed, we were looking at $1200, and the plane would only fly for about 5 to 7 minutes on a charge.

Then, we discovered Skycraft Parts and Surplus. We found a motor that would put out the power required for only $5.95 each! Yes, 6 dollars! The motor draws approximately 1 amp no load @ 12VDC. RPM 13,700 @ 12 VDC, 11,000 @ 9 VDC, 7,000 @ 6 VDC. We bought 4 of them. Now, what battery? Enter: PlanetBattery.Com. We bought 2 batteries for $20 each and a charger for $40. After testing with a 19" propeller, we found that hooked up in series at 12 volts, these 6v batteries would give us all the flight time we needed. So much so that we put a switch on the control handle for turning the motor on and off.

The model is covered with 100% cotton muslin fabric, sold at Hancock's. We used Shelac as a substitute for the far more expensive airplane dope. Tite-Bond (yellow) glue turned out to be a fairly good choice for sticking it together.

Insignia from the web, and enhanced in PhotoShop, then printed, and laminated onto the skin of the model with thinned glue. Aircraft total weight is 12 pounds.

The paint is: Manor Hall Exterior Latex from the Monarch Paint Company, as suggested by the paint contractor here in our new subdivision. We mixed custom colors with Testors Model Enamels, then made paint chips and sent them down to Monarch, where they again mixed custom colors. Never used better paint.

What are we going to do with it? WE'RE GOING TO FLY IT!.

NEXT?: (110" wingspan...)

NIEUPORT II KIT NUMBER 203 Wing Span: 24" BLOWN TO 85"

Parker Information Resources
Houston, Texas
E-mail: bparker@parkerinfo.com
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