New Products Action Report – PBY NoCal, the Shaft, F-4 JetCat, Guillows P-51D

Here is a brief summary of the three planes I built in two weeks and was able to fly yesterday.


This flies – or will fly.  I only gave it limited testing because I forgot to design and build a stooge attachment.  The best stooge for this is a human stooge and my flying partner (son Jack) stayed home.  I did borrow Winn Moore and Chris Boehm for stooging duties, but didn’t take a lot of their time, so I got about 4 test flights.

It is very stable and required nose weight and thrust adjustments, but I left it flying in the 30-40 second range, still needing trim, as it was stalling all over the place.

pby-02 pby-01 The Shaft

It’s no secret that I like this little OT Stick.  My old one would fly for 30+ seconds – without any predictability.  This one is very stable, flying a left-left on a loop of 1/8″ with about 1500 turns.  It repeated 60 second  +/- flights every time.  I need to do some slight adjustments to trim the glide a little better, but this is just for fun anyway.  I don’t know why these photos didn’t come out better.

shaft02 shaft01F-4 Phantom II JetCat

This has been a fun project.  I’ve built three of these (first one flew into the woods, never to be seen again) and Jack has built one.  This is a design by Harrison Knapp.  He built his as a tribute:  he flew choppers in Viet Nam and said he often called on the F-4s to provide support.

I am not sure that these will ever be top performers in JetCat – think 15-20 seconds.  This event is really being stretched by experts building light high-wings capable of easy thermalling.  This is just like the real thing – heavy and fast.  But it is lots of fun and in the initial climb-out and banking turn to the left, it really does look like an F-4.  I managed to snap some in-flight photos – it is very hard to launch and then spot/focus/shoot, but I got some shots.

I know many of you are looking for this – it will be a kit in a month or so.  I lightend up the pieces and trimmed 25% of the weight for the black one.  I also made some ribs that I tacked onto the sheet wings and covered with tissue.  And I made the tail surfaces a bit smaller, setting the h-stab to a lower incidence. – It flies a little better than the yellow one, but stalls out when the speed comes off – I think the tips need washout or something.

f4sf4-b-01 f4-b-02 f4-y-01

Guillows #905 P-51D

I don’t have any flight shots of this, but I want to report that this is a very stable flyer.  I eventually got up to about 1500 turns on a loop of 3/16″ rubber.  When it came time for WWII, after the first round (five participants), I imagined I could get 2nd place.  Going into the 3rd and final round, Winn Moore broke a motor and surrendered 1st place to my Mustang.  I am not a Guillows fanboy, in fact, I don’t build them – EXCEPT I wanted to prove an assumption of mine – that the 900 Series planes (the Mustang, the Chipmunk, and maybe the Trojan) are viable entry-level kits that can fly with no real modifications, other than the noseblock (and replace the nose, nose bearing, prop, and rubber).


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2 Responses to New Products Action Report – PBY NoCal, the Shaft, F-4 JetCat, Guillows P-51D

  1. Bob Kabchef says:

    That F-4 looks sharp. They fascinated me when I was at Da Nang in ’66. What Free Flight type can’t appreciate a jet with polyhedral tips and an anhedral stab? You’d think maybe Lanzo or Korda had been on the concept development team.

  2. Pingback: Lessons Learned – Mass Launch Fun | Volaré Products

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