Home Page updated

By | March 16, 2021

Hi all,

Just to let you know that our Home page has been updated with some Photos of Chris’s scratch built 1/3 scale Pilatus B4. And a very fine sailplane it look too.

Joe continues to build and build

By | January 26, 2021

Joe has sent me some pictures of his latest creations. In Joes words: A ghastly Percival Prentice, and a DB Tiger Mouth, both electric powered, all ready for maiden flights. Who knows when ?  And: I Still have two models to go, another small 36” Tiger Moth by Dale Tattam, and a Flair Puppeteer.

Many more Tiger Moths Joe and you will need to fly them in formation like your Red Arrows display team. I know you like a challenge. (Robert)

Mediator build, part 3 – completion

By | January 17, 2021

I decided to try dyeing the balsa before covering with translucent film and chose pale pink to complement the ‘heather’ pink Solarfilm I’d bought for the underside.

I should have known that pink and yellow makes orange. Will orange and pink really GO together??

Rather than use plastic hinges I thought stitching might be nice.

After covering I dropped the radio gear in and discovered to my surprise that my little 4-cell NiMH battery was too heavy for the nose so it had to go above the switch in the fuse top.

Here’s the radio installation (plus the 2 flaperon servos in the wings). The nose is completely empty!

I avoided unsightly bands going over the fuselage top by adding a (sort of) 3rd wing dowel – so some of the wing bands also hold the top on.

For the finishing touch I simply taped a strip of film to the cutting board, taped a paper print of the word ‘mediator’ over the top, and cut through with a scalpel.

Bottoms up!

Finished weight under 850g/30oz. Wing loading only 9.5 oz/sq’ which is less than my Kloudrider!

For inspiration: thanks to George Aldrich (Peacemaker) and Steve Lange (Le Fish).

A K7 super build update from John

By | January 17, 2021

When I first fitted both wings there were ‘issues’ namely fit to fuselage root rib and span wise squareness to fuz. So there was some head scratching. In the end I had to adjust the main joiner tube in the fuz which fortunately had not been glued in. Although I could only move it a couple of millimetres each side it was enough to square the wings span wise which were about an inch out! I will still need to apply some balsa packing to the root ribs to fill a gap. All in all I am still quite pleased, the structure as in the pic weighs circa 7kgs….on track I think🤔


(Robert – Wait until you have added 5 litres of paint John :). I am very much looking forward to seeing your maiden flight)

Mediator build, part 2 – When is a fuselage not a fuselage?

By | December 19, 2020

Since I left the hobby around 1980, glider fuselages seem to have been on a diet – so many these days have extremely spindly bodies with hardly a curve in sight. I must concede, though, that the word ‘fuselage’ does in fact come from the French word fuseler meaning ‘shape into a spindle’. I’m sorry folks but spindly long-thin-stick fuselages just don’t do it for me AND they’re exactly the opposite of what you need for knife-edge flying and slow rolls.

First job was to cut out the 1/8  sides, 1mm doublers, and F1 through to F9. As I don’t have a jig and the fuse was deep and narrow I decided to stick all the formers to one side first before bending the two sides together. Each former had to meet the side at a different angle so each was temporarily held by a bespoke scrap of balsa.

When side two was added I used sash clamps to hold it all straight but it didn’t work well so I think I’ll make some sort of fuse jig for the next one. Any tips?

Before adding the bottom sheeting I put her back in the clamps to try and correct a slightly twisted nose. That worked a bit but I still had to add some balsa to correct it. I then found a slight bend at the tail end! Bit of a pain but not beyond correction later. I really must make a jig.

Then came the top sheeting, nose block, and canopy fashioned from as many scraps of soft 3/8 as I could find. I’d used ½” triangular section all along the top and bottom so I could do lots of rounding off the corners. After lots of work with the palm sander her rather pleasing shape emerged at last.


So here she is, temporarily pinned together in all her naked glory with, (as Kryten once said in Red Dwarf), “all her in and outy bits going all iny and outy”. Not a spindle in sight.
Happy Christmas everyone.

Tubes, sandwiches, & servos – the ‘Mediator’ build. Part 1

By | November 24, 2020

After the excitement of finishing The Plan I rather fancied celebratory drink and a sandwich. Not any old sandwich, a rib sandwich – two thick slices of aluminium filled with 13 balsa blanks. Once this aeronautical snack was rasped into shape (and the drink consumed), I finished it off with the sanding block, then repeated the whole process for the opposite wing. Hey presto! Two identical sets of 13 ribs.

‘Back in the day’ carbon spars hadn’t been invented, well at least I’d never seen one. We always used spruce. Seeing carbon amongst the balsa at my local store I thought why not? Not really having a clue, I went for two lengths of 6mm carbon tube with an 8mm joiner which seemed pretty light and remarkably stiff. Back at The Hanger I roughed up and epoxied the carbon tubes, then tapered and assembled the balsa trailing edge. So here we are with the spar, the TE, and two piles of sandwich filling:

I noticed that John said his laser cut K7 ribs had temporary little tabs sticking out that held each rib in perfect position above the building board. I had to devise my own way which was slightly complicated by my wing being not only tapered in both chord and thickness but also having a tip airfoil that’s different to the root airfoil. In the end I pinned tapered strips of scrap balsa to the board and pinned each rib to these. Theoretically this would hold each rib at the right height while the rib-spar joints dried. The aft strips remained pinned to the ribs until after the LE and TE were glued on. To make sure the ribs were equally spaced and vertical I cut all the bits of spar sheeting first and used them as temporary spacers. Just to make doubly sure the wing was ‘true’, at each critical stage I kept weighting it down with lead onto scraps of 18mm ply, packing the TE to take account of the tapers.

Next task was to try this new-fangled idea of sticking servos in the wings (well new to me anyway). In real terms, servos in the 70’s were more than twice the price they are today. More importantly, todays can be less than half the size. There didn’t seem any point using the fixing screws supplied as there’d be no way to access them so I just glued in a few scraps of balsa to hold each servo in place. I reckoned the necessary cuts in the LE sheeting would be weak spots in the wing so I beefed them up with tiny scraps of 1/64” ply. You’ll have realised by now, I ‘have a thing’ about using up scraps.

Looks like those exiting servo leads are going to be very vulnerable. I’ll have to address that later.

Next the center section sheeting went on. Then I ‘slotted’ the ends of the carbon spar to accept those distinctive ‘Peacemaker-style’ wing tips, fashioned the flaperons from 3/8” sheet, and cut the P-style tailplane from 3/16”. There’s something very satisfying about watching your own design gradually turn into reality (even if it was inspired by someone else’s).

Meanwhile, with Christmas looming, I’ve been making two chuck gliders as gifts – one for each of our elder grandsons.  I found a delightful little design called the Aleda by Joshua Finn on YouTube which I scaled up to 12” span. I added little bendable rudder trims. Here they are before being sealed and decorated:

John’s K 7 Update

By | November 18, 2020

Hi all,

The fuselage and the tail end have been put on one side now for some weeks  while I began construction of the wings. As with the rest of the kit there are many laser cut parts including false ply LE, all ribs, main spar web ( the 1mm ply sheet glued between top and bottom 1/2 x 1/4 spruce spars) and other ply webs needed around the route section. Tabs as shown are part of the ribs and false LE to allow these parts to sit on your board at the correct attitude, they are cut off later…very clever, makes life much easier. The first wing took a bit of thought and even then I left out a doubler around the joiner…Doh! Too late now. The first job is to make the bottom spar which because of its length needs 2 joints splicing and tapered to 1/4” at the tip. This is then glued to the spar web which the ribs just slot over, grooves pre cut, The top spar is then glued on, nearly done, that’ll be a no then! Still lots of parts to fit and glue. A model this big hoovers up a lorra lorra glue.  I have left the aileron attached to save damage for now. The trailing edge construction of 0.4 ply top and bottom with balsa in between is simple enough but I am in thoughts about how to go about building a strong attachment to the wing ribs which also follows the wing section.

As you can see the second wing, which I hope is the opposite and mirror image of the first is well under way with the first hanging above me for reference. There was no plan for the second wing so by pushing a pin through the plan, thanks Joe, I have marked the key outlines on the back of the plan and also laid the first wing on top upside down to double check dimensions. Because the laser cut parts are designed to fit together you can’t get them in the wrong place, well mostly. The K7s wings are angled forwards so I will make a special effort to get the angle of the route rib for fwd sweep and dihedral the same as wing one. Each wing is 2.7mtrs long ( I have measured up the Honda and they just fit) so it will not need to be much out to make a big difference at the tip. Watch this space! Next time I hope to show you the assembled framework, however there are still servos to install in the wing for brakes and ailerons and the canopy to make.  Maiden scheduled for late Spring…famous last words!

All the best and trust everyone is coping with this awful situation


David’s new glider design, the ‘Mediator’

By | November 10, 2020

Back in ‘71/72, we used to fly control line models for three hours every Sunday morning in a field next to The Rowdens at the top of Eastcliff Lane in Teignmouth. Not a silencer in sight. How the neighbours stood the noise I will never know. As far as combat flying and aerobatics were concerned, the model that really stands out in my memory was the ‘Peacemaker’ designed by George Aldrich. Wow. What a great flyer that was! A legend in its own lunchtime. Not many 50 year old designs have their own Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/George-Aldrich-Peacemaker-411836712594945/ Maybe I could I create a slope soaring version of the Peacemaker?

Control line model the ‘Peacemaker’

Whilst researching a previous creation, I accidentally came across VTPR high performance aerobatic gliders (VTPR is French for “aerobatics very close to the ground”). If you’ve not seen it before take a look at this  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oBuqhEg0xU. I was amazed(!) and set myself the task of creating a new design that combined three things; the shape of a Peacemaker, some of the principals of  VTPR design, and my own ideas.

I stretched the Peacemaker’s wing-shape spanwise but kept the aspect ratio still quite low at 1:6.5 rather than 1:4.3. Used a completely different wing structure and airfoil – semi-symetrical SBV96V at the root and symmetrical at the tips – and made the ailerons pretty huge (as per VTPR). I retained the characteristic Peacemaker wing tips and tailplane shape but moved the elevator hinge line forward which dramatically increased the elevator size. I designed the fuselage profile pretty much from scratch. Its wing position is as per VTPR and its canopy and fin shape reminiscent of the Peacemaker but that’s where the similarity ends. I played around with it for ages. The “if it looks right it is right” theory only works if it actually does look right. In the end I’m very happy indeed with its nice curvy outline.

Rubber banded wings are great – delightfully simple and very forgiving in crash – but not so easy with a mid-wing design. After much head scratching I came up with a simple three-piece design. The one piece 54” wing will be banded onto the lower half of the fuse and then the top half of the fuse will be banded over it. Two of the servos will be in the wings – that’s a first for me – which means the fuselage can be unusually narrow (another VTPR design feature) which apparently aids knife edge flying, not that I’m capable of doing it(!) but at least the model might be. So here’s my Plan for the ‘Mediator’…