About this Plan
Skycam. Radio control camera plane. Twin boom pusher model, for 40 power.
Quote: "Skycam. Get in the picture with Ian Warner's 60 inch camera plane for .40 engines. His father, Ron tells all.
As a model flying enthusiast and a keen photographer I was attracted to the concept of a relatively easy-to-build aircraft of practical dimensions designed specifically for aerial photography. My son became interested in the idea and chose to make it the subject of a study project. He realised that such a plane would not only be interesting for us to fly, but would perhaps have a practical application for others. The result was his design and construction of Skycam, which has indeed given us much enjoyable flying with the added dimension of some good photographic results.
Early in the design phase it became apparent that it was necessary to have the camera unit positioned forward of the engine in order to prevent exhaust from dirtying the lens. Because of this, only two orthodox airframe configurations were considered practical: either a twin boom, rear-mounted pusher type, or a type featuring a pylon-mounted power plant facing either forward or aft.
The twin boom configuration was judged to be superior because the overall form would be better aerodynamically; it would have the most efficient power plant position and it would be easier to counter-balance the camera with the engine. These advantages would obviously result in better flight characteristics. It was, however, unclear as to how both rudders and elevator could operate. Bearing in mind servo location, would complicated linkage mechanisms be necessary? As this was a prototype design specifically concerned with aerial photography, it was decided to commence with the fuselage, Thought had to be given to power plant location, wing seat location and general arrangement of compartments, as these would influence the airframe's overall balance. Also, it was imperative that the chosen airframe be capable, if required, of being dismantled, either for transportation or access to internal bays, etc.
Design notes: Fuselage: To enable access to the .40's needle valve and, to a lesser extent, its carburettor (which ruled out an inverted location} the power plant had to be installed with the cylinder block to the port side. A box silencer was adopted because a conventional bomb-shaped silencer would invariably foul the prop. Despite the engine location, it was necessary for the fuel tank to face forwards in the conventional way to ensure reliable operation.
Fuel supply to the carburettor is made possible by brass tubes running via Former 4 and then through Former 5 (fire wall), with fuel tubing used for actual connections. This arrangement also applies to the pressurization line running from the silencer to the tank, and has the added benefit of a filler and overflow socket located in an easily accessible position, ie on the starboard side under the leading edge.
A captive nut epoxied to a 3mm ply bracket enables the wing to be connected in the usual way with a nylon bolt. The undercarriage unit was situated just forward of Former 4, as it was considered that this position was most suitable for rotation, bearing in mind prop clearance.
The throttle servo, mounted on two supports, was located in the compartment between Formers 3 and 4. Former 3 and the additional strengthener contain both wing peg holes in order to complete the standard wing mounting, designed for a clean break in the event of crash.
Forward of this is the R/C compartment, access to which is gained via a hatch on the underside. Running through the side of this section are both an R/C on-off switch and an integral, remote glo-plug socket (wires running via Formers 3, 4 and 5 to power plant). Above this is the spring-loaded main hatch mechanism, which is quick and easy to operate, and antenna outlet. The antenna itself runs via a plastic guide inserted in the wing to the fin/tailplane connection, thus avoiding the prop.
Between Farmers 1 and 2 is the camera bay, which consists of two supports and an aperture in the starboard side of the fuselage..."
Skycam, RCM&E, July 1991.
Direct submission to Outerzone.
Supplementary file notes
Article pages, thanks to RFJ.
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