New Kit – the SHAFT – with VIDEO

Here is one I built back in April of 2012 and just now decided to change it over to laser-cut – just because it is so cute and fun – “the Shaft” by Louis Bucalo from the January 1944 Flying Aces Magazine.  It’s an Old Time Stick but it was designed to save balsa and rubber during the war.  To give you an idea of the size, here is a photo of me with mine at the 2012 FAC Nats.

at the 2012 FAC Nats

at the 2012 FAC Nats

This model has a 13″ wingspan!  It is classified today as a “Victory” model – one of several diminutive sport planes published during those war years and now recognized by the FAC through the Pinkham Field Handbook rules.

I have had much fun with the yellow model over the years but it was never a real performer.  I managed to get one 60-second flight with it once, but my second version looks to have much more potential, already logging 30 seconds on just 500 turns.  Here are some photos of this build – which took me 24 hours from parts to flying (video at the end)!

shafttwo01Here is the redrawn plan, traced from the original, and the laser-cut wood.  In building, I discovered that a couple of pieces needed to be reworked.  This ALWAYS happens to me and is one reason why I never release anything that hasn’t been built and successfully flown.

shafttwo02One reason this took a few years to get to production was the concern of how to help the modeler build the triangular fuselage.  I decided to include the two jigs that would hold the keel at the proper height while the side pieces were added.  I also include approximate shapes for each side piece on the plan (see the red box in the photo of the plan).

shafttwo03All parts built and ready to cover.

shafttwo04All parts covered and ready to assemble.

shafttwo05The wing cabanes bent and installed.  the V shape needs to be the same as the V of the fuselage (or close).  Patterns provided on the plan.  I did change the plan a little – the original had these the same length and incidence was set by adjusting the tail.  I chose to make these different heights and have the tail fixed.

shafttwo06Ready to fly, without rubber.  This is pretty light considering the sticks are all 3/32″ and all of the ribs are 1/16″.  This model was over-engineered – 1/16″ square sticks would easily support the model.  But that’s not how it was done so we have a robust model that will take a lot of abuse.  Use the lightest 3/32″ wood you can find – it will be plenty strong.

shafttwoMy two Shafts.  The original plans call for a 5″ diameter single blade folder.  A couple years ago, the FAC rules stated that the props for OT models had to have the same number of blades as shown on the plan.  So I made a single blade (not a folder) from a 6″ Czech, cut down to 5″.  It worked, but a 2-blade plastic is so much easier.  Again, a cut-down Czech prop is on the new one.

shafttwo10 shafttwo09One test flight flew out of my back yard, over a 40 foot high row of trees, around to the front yard, finally landing on the back side of the house.  More trimming was obviously necessary!  Another landed in a little cherry tree in the back yard – I could just reach up and rescue that one.  IT also went up into trees in the back yard.  My 35′ pole got a workout 3 times fetching that plane.

Finally, here is the test flight video.  I did several test flights, tweaking the CG and the thrust.  This one was the last as it finally did that nice right climb.  As you can see, any more turns and I will be out of my yard and into the trees (again) – or lost!

You can find the Short Kit on my site – $10 as usual.

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