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Author Topic: Ramrod history - the first plan  (Read 571 times)
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RobtP
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« on: May 14, 2019, 05:36:56 PM »

Building my first Ramrod, a 350 which I believe was the first of this great line built by Ron St Jean in 1953.  However I understand that the first actual drawing Ron produced was for a 750 in 1955 and that a copy of this plan along with an article was published in NFFS Digest some years back.  Any chance anyone has a copy of that plan and/or article they could post here or send me?  Would be much appreciated. My model is mostly built now using the 250 plan published 1956 but it would be great to check it against the earlier plan.

BobP
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Ramrod history - the first plan
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NormF
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 06:23:14 PM »

Lee Hines did that article. I believe he is here on HP.
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duration
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 07:04:43 PM »

My older brother won a free trip to the 1955 Nats in California. He brought back a set of plans for the Ramrod 250 and built it on our kitchen table that August. It seemed so much bigger than the Zeeks and Forbears we were flying. Our father was not enamored with the wing and stab construction, but did like the way it flew. He soon developed the Battle Axe, which is now on the Nostalgia list.

Louis
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RobtP
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2019, 08:14:33 PM »

Thanks Norm.  Found a post by Lee that mentions NFFS Digest Jan ’04 issue.  He also emphasised the importance of upsweep of the stab LE.  This is shown at 1/32 on the 250 plan I am using.  The later 600 plan shows 1/16.  None of the kit plans I have seen show it.  I haven't yet built the stab - so a notch under 3/64 for a 350 Smiley 
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Soc
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2019, 08:35:15 PM »

Bob

The original articles and plans from Model Airplane News, for the 250 and 600 can be downloaded from outerzone

https://outerzone.co.uk/search/results.asp?keyword=ramrod

The article for the 250 has data for the other sizes.

Sean
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RobtP
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 12:36:55 AM »

Thanks Sean.

The 250 plan on Outerzone is my own scan and the very plan I am building my 350 from Smiley.  I did consider using the 600 plan and even scaled it to 350 size for comparison.  According to the MAN article the 600 has a slightly longer fuselage and a few structural improvements but otherwise aerodynamically the same as earlier models.  To be honest I couldn't discern much difference in overall length after scaling both plans to 350 and in the end stuck with the 250 as the earlier plan.  My objective is to replicate as close as possible the original 350, hence my interest in the 750 plan from 1955 which apparently was the first known Ramrod drawing.

Louis, thanks for the memories! 

Well I guess Ron must be smiling down on me today as I have just discovered that the Lee Hines article was recently republished along with the plan and some other Ramrod history in a recent issue of SCAMPS "Gas Lines" magazine which can be viewed and downloaded here http://www.antiquemodeler.org/sam_new/news_letters/assets/hangar_rash_2019_01.pdf

The article makes fascinating reading.  Unfortunately the plan itself is quite small and low res.  I will PM Len Hines and see if he has a higher res scan that he might be be prepared to share Smiley   

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NormF
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 02:28:51 PM »

The long nose 600 plan was a response to an AMA rule change in 1959. The earlier 600’s were powered by 19-23’s. The long nose was to retain the CG with the Cox 15.
The upsweep on the stab was omitted on the Berkeley kits, along with the built up ribs.

I think there are a lot of different versions and plans because folks used the chart on the MAN article and drew their own. Like Louis’ Dad, my Dad’s version had a fuselage built Starduster style and used the then new, Benedek airfoils.

Norm
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JohnOSullivan
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 04:20:20 PM »

This thread I find is very significant and shows the incremental development of Free Flight Duration models during the 50’s and early 60’s.  You designed and built your dream model , flew it and found it did not behave as you expected. Wings broke in the centre panel. Next step was to beef that portion up and lighten the tips. Same with wing/stab ratios and other criteria. Eventually after playing around with various shapes and configurations you ended up (through several models) with a design which worked well and suited your flying style.  Back then we had very little theoretical background as to what exactly made the  ultimate fast climb, transition and perfect glide.    Ron St. Jean through his Ramrod developments appears to have gone through this routine.

In my case, I entered the Free Flight Power Duration scene in 1956, with a  donated Stomper fuselage which I fitted a scaled down Swiss Miss wing and tail. This was followed by a 1.5cc Frog Y-Bar which I lost OOS on my first contest flight. In 1957 I switched to Brian Eggleston’s Creep which got me my first contest 2nd place. In 1958  I flew Eliminators with Elfin 1.49s  without contest placings.

In December 1958 at a rather boring Christmas party, I adjourned and drew up my Hi-Tee 1.5cc design.           
The first two were OK, but I won the 1959 Irish Nationals with Mk. 3.   Thus started the long process of developing the design. By1963 I was up to Mk 12 which I flew in the WC in Austria.  Some were good and some not so, but by then I had learned enough to be able to know the design thoroughly and it knew me. Lightweight Mk 13 was published in Model Aircraft magazine in Feb. 1964.

In 1965, Sergio Savini visited Ireland with his FAITAIL elliptical design and we had discussions on merits of my tapered Hi-Tee and his elliptical design. I went home and designed my next development of the Hi-Tee ---- the elliptical EXECUTIONER (Nov 1965 Northern Area News). Next year Sergio appeared with a tapered tip model!

I flew the Executioner successfully in many contests up to 1979 when I moved permanently to Canada’s east coast where there is little or no Free Flight flown.  In 2013 I revamped the Hi-Tee as an E 36 electric model and have flown it and it's development models regularly since, though we have no contests here.  It was published in NFFS Magazine in July/Aug 2014 as the BLIZZARD.  Per Larsen from Denmark is having good success in Scandinavian contests with it.

This diatribe is just to show that a top class Free Flight design does not come off the shelf in one go, but has to be developed and nourished on a model by model basis until the flier knows every nuance of his model and his model knows the flier just as well. That’s exactly what Ron St. Jean did with the RAMROD.

Several versions of my Hi-Tee plans are on Outerzone. Search O’Sullivan.
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John O'Sullivan
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2019, 06:22:57 AM »

RobtP

The stab was the problem with the (typically) poor Berkley kit. For some reason they switched from the bent strip balsa "ribs" on the original to conventional die-curshed flat bottom ribs on the kit. This changed the stab airfoil from a very slightly semi-semetrical airfoil to a flat bottom one.

If I recall correctly, on the plans my brother brought back from the 1955 Nats, the bottom stab ribs where glued in place flat on the plan, then the leading edge was shimmed up 1/16 and the spar and top ribs added.

I have no idea why Berkely changed the stab construction and, more importantly, the stab airfoil.

Louis



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RobtP
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2019, 07:27:51 PM »

Norm, John, Louis - thanks for the insights and memories!

I understand now about the lengthened nose on the 600.  Either tail moments are different or I have an issue with my scaling as, size for size, the overall difference in length at first didn't seem that much.  I will re-check:-[

From what I can make out of the 1955 ‘750’ plan, the MAN ‘250’ drawing is very similar with the stab build methodology just as you describe Louis (incidentally, Ron thought that "Berkeley screwed up with the flat stab bit with regular ribs" - letter to Phil Ronney included with the recent "Gas Lines" article).  Lee Hines also recalled that the stab and tail moments were bigger on the MAN version and thought that 250’s built from his 750 plan were the better flyers.  Ron doesn’t mention tail moment in the 600 build article, but it will be interesting to see how close it is to the original.  I will see if I can scale up the small plan from Lee’s article and compare the measurements.

John, your description of incremental development and the evolution of your Hi-Tee reminded me of something Ron wrote in 1959 in an article about wing loading:  
“Back in 1953 and 1954, we were satisfied with the Ramrod design and were building literally dozens of models just to find the best size for each engine we wanted to use.  For each particular engine size, the process was one of trial and error from beginning to end.  Many models were drawn up, built, tested, then discarded, only to repeat the process on one of a different size for the same engine.  Most of this could have been eliminated if we had known then what we know now.”

While the Ramrod evolved into other designs – Wizard, Show-Off and Wiz-Rod – it is the Ramrod that seems the most durable and maybe that 1955 plan hit the sweet spot!

John, my Ramrod is for electric power and I am reading your Blizzard build log with much interest to see if I can pick up some tips Smiley
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JohnOSullivan
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2019, 07:59:09 PM »

Multi model experimentation was the normal course of power model development in the 50's and early 60's while we figured out what worked and did not work with the rapidly developing breed of motors.   For instance Brian Eggleston's CREEP design, published in 1955 was at Mk.17 when published. Brian, fortunately did not stop there and is still a leading light in airfoil development.
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John O'Sullivan
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2019, 02:32:43 AM »

Could someone please explain why some models, like the Ramrod, use extreme downthrust while others get away with none at all? I thought maybe it was linked with a forward cg for stability but the cg shown is pretty far back.
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danberry
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2019, 03:39:26 PM »

Could someone please explain why some models, like the Ramrod, use extreme downthrust while others get away with none at all? I thought maybe it was linked with a forward cg for stability but the cg shown is pretty far back.

The Ramrod has it for VTO.
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2019, 07:52:41 PM »

The British SAM club's newsletter "The New Clarion" has a article about the Ram Rod in the Dec 2015 issue. The article includes the first page of the 1956 MAN article, plans for the 250, and a chart showing the important dimensions of the various size versions. The article also includes info on building a Ram Rod some half century later.

Warning: Reading the New Clarion is addictive---you will be on the computer for hours.

To find it search "SAM 1066.org.  Then look for the archived New Clarion issues.

Louis
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RobtP
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2019, 01:37:09 AM »

Thanks Louis, found it! Interesting reading, particularly John Thompsons experience with his new build - he reduced downthrust to 5% and also mentions that the glide transition was a bit messy.  Now I wonder if he built the uplift on the stab leading edge, a little hard to tell from the photos.  Ron St Jean said in the letter published with Lee Hines' article that the rounded out entry was to reduce transition stall!

I haven't started reading the other New Clarions yet Smiley

BTW do you have a photo or sketch of your father's "Battle Axe" you could post or send me?  I would be very interested to see it.  NormF mentioned it had a fuselage built Starduster style, so high thrust line?

BillDenis - re your down thrust query, I don't know enough to explain this technically, but my understanding is that high power, low thrust line models (like the Ramrod) have a tendency to pitch up at launch, so if launch is VTO, without down thrust, the model may loop right over before gathering enough speed for wing incidence and stab to take effect.  Hand launching will not need as much down thrust if any at all and I don't think high thrust line designs like the Starduster need it. One of Ron St Jeans later designs, Show Off designed for ROW, had only 3° down thrust.  I built a Show Off in the 60's and would hand launch it at about 30° and it climbed just fine.  However Ron's build article for the design also said it would still VTO with 3° down thrust , so go figure!

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NormF
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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2019, 12:08:32 PM »

snip---
BTW do you have a photo or sketch of your father's "Battle Axe" you could post or send me?  I would be very interested to see it.  NormF mentioned it had a fuselage built Starduster style, so high thrust line?
----snip


To clarify- I was writing of my Dad's variation on the RR design. The fuselage had the profile of the RR, but the construction was like a StarDuster, 1/8X1/2 framework with 1/16" sides.

Norm
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RobtP
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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2019, 11:44:40 PM »

Thanks Norm.  Yes I now see the Battle Axe is somewhat different, although it does have an underslung fin like a Starduster Smiley

Bob
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