Baby Me 109 (oz13873)
About this Plan
Baby Me 109. Radio control scale model WWII German fighter, for electric power. Balsa and blue foam contruction.
Quote: "Baby Me 109. Chris Golds uses proprietary electrics to produce this attractive little warbird.
I saw an advert in our dearly beloved magazine and promptly contacted J Perkins and purchased an ER/C Spitfire and ER/C Mustang to see what they were like.
They are well moulded, well finished and look just the part for two famous WWII fighters. But I found them quite hard to fly until I got used to letting them alone and flying them mostly in trim-mode. Each model is astonishingly light at just over one ounce when ready to fly. I calculated the wing loading to be about 4 ounces per square foot and I take my hat off to the designer of these delightful models.
I wanted to see if I could design, build and fly a model slightly larger - to allow more visibility - and light enough to provide a lower wing loading. So I set to with ruler and pencil and drew a Messerschmitt Bf 109E with a span of 17-3/4 inches, a wing area of 75 square inches and a target weight of just two ounces. These figures were generally twice that of the Spitfire with its 14 inch wingspan and 35 square inches of wing area. Despite the increases, my wing loading eventually worked out at just 3-1/2 ounces per square foot, so I picked up my trusty Stanley knife and set to.
The airframe was simple in the extreme with a 1/16 balsa sided box fuselage with hollowed blue foam blocks to round off the top and bottom profiles. The tail surfaces were very light 1/16 balsa and the wing was designed as an under-cambered blue foam plank, cut and supported by a .8 mm ply dihedral brace but without a single spar!
I wanted the lightest possible finish with realistic colours and markings, so I investigated the range of water-based Acrylic. waterproof brush-paints which I discovered in my local art shop. I selected my colours from the range of 'Anita' All Purpose Acrylic craft paints, which come in 2 ounce plastic bottles. The range is wide enough to encompass the classic Luftwaffe schwarz-grun and dunkel-grun topside colours, with light blue, black, white and bright yellow to complete my baby Messerschmitt 109 to my great satisfaction.
The whole empty airframe, once decorated, weighed just .8 ounce and I was delighted. Wow! I had built something recognisable and extremely light AT LAST!
All the mechanical/electrical parts came from J Perkins Ltd as spares for the ER/C micro models and it did not take me long to work out how to fit them into my foam and balsa baby. However, working at such a tiny level was quite stressful to say the least!
The all-up-weight came to just 48 grams (sorry that I have switched to grams so late in life!) and I just had to summon all my patience to await calm, dry conditions.
Sunday 15th August 2010 turned out to be calm and dry after a long period of wind and rain - though the latter has been much appreciated during this very dry year. Being a Sunday of course I had two Church services and two bell ringing sessions to get through before I could meet Rob May (photos) and Dave Brock (video) and stiffen my sinews at about 4 pm. It took about six launches with short, wriggly flights until eventually I achieved an in-trim 360 degree circle mainly by leaving the model alone and hanging in there with very small control movements. My third orbit actually caused me to have to duck as my baby aimed itself at my head in passing - talk about personal modelling!
So there we are. A micro model made within my very strict weight parameters and one which flies well enough, albeit in an underpowered fashion.
Its colour scheme and finish are enough to satisfy my needs without adding too much to the airframe weight and the whole project has brought me much pleasure."
Direct submission to Outerzone.
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