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Author Topic: My Sherman Gillespie project  (Read 901 times)
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atesus
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« on: July 29, 2021, 02:14:23 AM »

I was looking for Gollywock plans in the workshop to build a new one and crossed paths with this shopping bag-full of drawings. These are some complete, some half-complete drawings I inherited from late Sherman Gillespie.

Sherm's models characteristically look good, are easy to build, and are great flyers. I so far built two, a Navy Flyer and an a Square Bird, and I lost both OOS.

I decided that I should build these models as an ongoing background project, in his honor. They are mostly rubber jobs for sport flying, with some gas models mixed in. I'll share my progress on this thread. Well... that's the plan at least  Grin.
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atesus
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2021, 02:16:36 AM »

The first one will be the "Red Bird", randomly picked out of the bag by my wife.

Red Bird is a 24" wingspan rubber model, which has a "fast, high climb and a long, clean glide" per Sherm's notes on the plan.

The wing is mostly built already, except for setting up the dihedral. I'll score the leading and trailing edges on the top side and cut and shorten the top spars. A tricky maneuver I find, but nothing that can't be fixed with gussets, should things go wrong  Grin.
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Dan Snow
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2021, 07:18:57 AM »

Nice looking model Ates, nice, clean and simple.

BTW - I'm planning a trim session this coming Saturday (7/31) early morning at Waegall.  I'll be taking the Skiptown Mystery, the IL-2, the Broussard, and the Martin M0-1. The forecast is for the lowest temp (91°) for the next 2 weeks. I figure it's about time to fly and justify all the building I've been doing.
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2021, 10:23:55 AM »

Atesus The Redbird is a simple model indeed but I see a lot of other planes in its lines. Are you going to use a DT? I am familiar with the Navy flier. Good luck with the build!
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atesus
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2021, 01:05:07 PM »

Nice looking model Ates, nice, clean and simple.

BTW - I'm planning a trim session this coming Saturday (7/31) early morning at Waegall.  I'll be taking the Skiptown Mystery, the IL-2, the Broussard, and the Martin M0-1. The forecast is for the lowest temp (91°) for the next 2 weeks. I figure it's about time to fly and justify all the building I've been doing.

Have fun at Waegell. I'm going to SAM-27 site in Lakeville this weekend.

Atesus The Redbird is a simple model indeed but I see a lot of other planes in its lines. Are you going to use a DT? I am familiar with the Navy flier. Good luck with the build!

Yes, I'll try my new RDT on this one, and install it under the nose as I expect the model to need nose weight to balance. I'm planning to use a wing pop-off setup. I may do away with the sliding wing arrangement in the process and move the wing all the way up, as shown on the plan. If things don't work out and I have to move the wing back, I will build a Square Bird-like wing mount, per the designer's notes in the plan. The Square Bird has a wing seat built outside of the fuselage so should be no problem to add it later on.
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2021, 06:25:17 PM »

Atesus, it would seem that you knew Sherman. I only know him from his published designs but he must have been a most interesting man. Could you tell us more about him please?
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2021, 07:30:31 PM »

Any complete designs that aren't available here, on Outerzone, or on RC Groups? It would be great to see scans.
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2021, 09:23:09 PM »

Sherman Gillespie, May, 2013
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Mark
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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2021, 09:44:22 PM »

There is some background info about SG in this issue of the Flying Aces Club newsletter, page 13

http://www.flyingacesclub.com/Newsletters/FACN270.pdf         

Also check out the linked article on p.13:     https://obscureco.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/how-sherman-gillespie-changed-my-life/
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atesus
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2021, 03:06:31 PM »

There is some background info about SG in this issue of the Flying Aces Club newsletter, page 13

http://www.flyingacesclub.com/Newsletters/FACN270.pdf         

Also check out the linked article on p.13:     https://obscureco.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/how-sherman-gillespie-changed-my-life/

Thank you for this, I hadn't seen it yet.

Atesus, it would seem that you knew Sherman. I only know him from his published designs but he must have been a most interesting man. Could you tell us more about him please?

Unfortunately I have not met him in person. By the time I joined the Oakland Cloud Dusters club, he had mostly retired from flying though he still was a household name in club circles. I have flown a couple of his old models for him, a Square Bird and a Commercial, and made videos for him to enjoy in the retirement home where he was residing. After his passing, I inherited his drawings and decided to build at least some of them, maybe add the missing pieces and publish them on the OCD web site so that they don't get lost forever.

Below is a write-up about him, by his nephew.

Sherman Gillespie
August 1st, 1921 -- May 26th, 2020
By Lloyd Gillespie (Nephew)

Sherman was born in San Jose, California on August 1st, 1921. When he was 10 years old he was introduced to model airplane building by a neighborhood kid who became a lifelong friend.

Sherman excelled in academics and music through grade school and high school. He was popular, talented, a leader and devoted to family and friends. While he was building model airplanes, he kept his eyes to the sky, watching for early aircraft of the day that might pass by. When he was 12 years old, a bright red crop duster passed overhead and landed in a nearby field. He ran as fast as he could to get a closer look at this airplane with a radial engine. He studied it carefully, felt the fabric, kicked the tires and checked the propeller before running home and designed his first scale model of a real airplane. A hobby that would last 80 plus years!

During his youth, Sherman would scrape up a dime or two doing odd jobs around the neighborhood so he could go to the local hobby shop and buy the latest rubber powered model airplane kit. It was not long before he realized that he had a talent for designing or improving kits for building models of his own.

Before he graduated from high school or had his driver’s license, his sister-in-law would drive him out to the local airport in a Model A Ford, just so he could watch the biplanes take off and land. He was fascinated with flight.

Sherman majored in aeronautics at San Jose State College, until December 1st, 1941, When WWII was declared on December 7th, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, as did thousands of young American patriots. At 21 years of age he became a B-17 pilot and was sent to England to fight the war in Europe. During his first tour in England, his father passed away and he was sent home for the funeral. While at home, he finished a model of a Fokker D-8, which he had started before going overseas. It remained on his Mother’s fireplace mantel for the next 30 years. All of his nephews wanted that beautiful, iconic model.

On his 18th mission over Poland, his aircraft was shot up and disabled, and he heroically managed to limp his battered B-17, which was still being sought after by German Messerschmitts over the bitter cold Baltic Sea. He made it to safety in Sweden. He remained there with his wounded crew as an interned “POW” until the end of the war. He was awarded three Air Medals, a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service to his country...a true hero.
After Sherman was discharged from the military, he returned home. He soon returned to college to finish his degree, which he did. He got his private pilot’s license and continued flying. He also did a lot of writing and studying to become a fiction writer like Hemingway, Steinbeck, London and others.

From the time Sherman returned to civilian life, he designed, built, published and flew many small rubber powered free flight models. This continued until the age of 95 when his arthritic fingers prevented him from cutting and gluing balsa pieces together. However, he was very proud of the awards he received at AMA sponsored national competitions. He was never interested in Radio Control or large models powered by fuel soaked engines. At the age of 96 he was asked by a VA doctor :Do you ever dream of flying combat missions?” He emphatically said “NO! Only dream of building and flying model airplanes”!

Sherman became a well respected Spanish teacher at Mount Pleasant High School in San Jose, California. At one point, the student body was given an activity period each week to choose a topic to fill in the day’s curriculum. Sherman offered an activity of model airplane building. It became a huge success and he had to turn students away. He continued to provide that activity for 15 years after he retired. The administration even gave him a key to the gymnasium so the students could fly indoors on the weekends with his supervision. Besides the students at his high school, he introduced his hobby to all five of his nephews and grand nephews. One of those, who is now in his 70s, is a very fine modeler to this day, and also uses some of Sherman’s desirable and rare Japanese tissue from his early days. Free flight modelers from around the country have asked for his permission to use his designs in local competitions. He was humbly flattered that they even remembered so many of his designs that were published in the model magazines

Sadly, Sherman flew his last mission on May 26th, 2020 at age 98. He left behind a collection of model airplane magazines dating from 1927 through 2017. His workshop it seemed, had enough tissue paper to cover a Navy blimp, and balsa to build a log cabin! Much of his model building materials have been donated to his cherished club, the Oakland Cloud Dusters, hopefully to pass on to a new generation of free flighters![/i]

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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2021, 06:02:04 PM »

Many Thanks.

Sherman's models all had a unique appeal - it's great to know something of the interesting man behind them.

Looking forward to hearing more of your project.
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2021, 09:52:18 PM »

Fuselage sides were built one on top of the other, sanded flat on both sides and sanded square around the perimeter, and split by a razor blade. I moved the rear peg forward by two bays to lighten up the tail since I'm trying to eliminate the moving wing arrangement and would like to have the wing situated in the location shown on the drawing. I believe it adds to the look and feel of this model.

Another characteristic feature of Sherman Gillespie's designs is that he has the aft end of the fuselage in a rectangular cross-section. That sure helps with rubber management, particularly when the rear peg is situated as far back as it originally was.

I'll use a GizmoGeezer nose button on this model for the convenience it brings to trimming. Sherman used a simple nylon nose button in his own builds, and I don't remember seeing any up/down or left/right thrust on the three models I had a chance to take a closer look. One of those is a model I currently fly, the Cadet Major (not his design), of which, the fuselage including the tail surfaces was built by Sherman, and I added the wing and got it flying. I'll share some photos and a video in a separate post.

I need to figure out how to install the landing gear. I probably need to strengthen the structure where the LG wires attach.

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atesus
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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2021, 10:14:08 PM »

I inherited the fuselage of the Cadet Major, which was built by Sherman, after his passing. I built a wing for it based on a plan I found online -an Italian knock-off of the original, "Zanzarone"- which wasn't very successful due to excessive warping of the wing. I then found the original plan on AMA's web site, and I built a new wing, this time with better luck. The video is with that second wing.

https://youtu.be/ZRVBHKx3WY0

And attached are some photos of the original model, taken by Sherman himself. I didn't have these photos when I built the second wing. Otherwise I would have tried to match the original colors. I instead, took a guess and covered the wing in the color of the trims, which is brown. The lettering on the fin was dry-transfer, which was peeling off so I removed it.
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2021, 10:36:53 PM »

Great pics and story - look forward to your progress and seeing more of the SG designs.
cheers
Tim
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Tim
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atesus
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« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2021, 10:04:14 PM »

I went out to the flying field to trim a couple models in preparation for a contest in Tangent, Oregon which happens next weekend. At the field I met a bright young kid, 7 years of age, Sam. He was there with his older brother and his father who was flying RC. Sam was fascinated with what we Free Flighters were doing. We had him toss a couple chuck gliders and launch the Cadet Major, fuselage built by Sherm, wings by yours truly, and he had a blast! I promised to him that I would build a model for him to keep and he was soooo excited. He hovered around me all day, asking when I could get it finished, whether it would be a good flyer like the Cadet Major, what color it would be and on and on... Smiley.

On one of the earlier posts, Indoorflyer linked an article which was published in the latest FAC Newsletter. There, I learned that Sherman Gillespie's first original design was a tiny model he called the "Doodle Bug". The name sounded familiar... I went back to the brown bag and sure  enough, there it was, a plan labeled the "Doodle Bug". It is a 10" wingspan, flat wing design. I'm surmising that Sherm drew this up from memory, to the best of his recollection from those early ages. The 6" prop on a 10" wingspan model particularly stands out.

What better model to build for Sam than the Doodle Bug! I therefore have my second project already selected Smiley. I'll build the Doodle Bug at 2x scale, hopefully making it an easier and funner model to fly, and the heavier wood may help it last longer in the hands of a 7 years old pilot.

In other news, all major construction of the Red Bird is done, and an update is due soon.
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2021, 01:38:44 AM »

Preparations for the NWFFC contest in Tangent, Oregon took me away from this project for a while. The 10 hour trip was well worth it though. I flew P-30 in rounds for the first time, and also flew the inaugural Vintage Wakefield event in rounds again, with my XL-56. Now back home and back to my regularly scheduled program Smiley.

I made a nose block for the Red Bird. Even though Sherm routinely uses a simple standard nylon nose button, I cannot be that certain of my getting everything exactly in place as it is designed, so I opted for a GizmoGeezer nose button for adjustability. This is nose button only, not the entire freewheeler setup. I'll install a carved balsa prop as it's called on the plans, but I'll have the ability to adjust the thrustline.

I first roughly shaped the nose block using a razor saw, then sanded it to shape. I'll coat it with a couple coats of thin CA glue to harden the balsa and cover it with tissue.

I'll work on the landing gear tonight.
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2021, 01:37:24 AM »

Landing gear attachment to fuselage was not clearly shown on the plan. I decided to strengthen the bays which will support the landing gear with gussets, and sandwiched the landing gear wires between 2 1/16" balsa pieces which are glued to the hardpoints thus formed. This area is safely away from the path of the motor, so the height of the support pieces shouldn't cause a problem.
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2021, 01:46:10 AM »

And here's where things stand as of tonight. The Red Bird will be covered in all red (no surprise there Grin). I'm planning to use a wing pop-off DT arrangement with an electronic timer under the nose.
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« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2021, 02:45:59 AM »

I'm calling the first of Sherman Gillespie designs I'm building, done. The model came out a bit on the heavy side at an AUW of 52g, but looked quite promising in early test flights with a plastic prop. I'll finish trimming it this weekend with the carved balsa prop, weather permitting.

This build gave me a chance to try out my first RDT system from BMK Free Flight Electronics. I'm using it with the band-burner board option in a wing-pop-off setup. I had installed a wing-pop-off setup on another Sherman Gillespie build, the Square Bird, and was very happy with it until I lost it. One unexpected side-effect of this very effective DT setup is that it doesn't forgive one's taking his eyes off of the model around DT time, because if DT timer expires right at that moment, the model literally falls out of the sky and is very hard to locate afterwards:). That's how I lost my Square Bird Grin.

As soon as I get the plan scanned, I'll add in a few items missing in the original and make it available online, on the Oakland Cloud Dusters web site.

On to the second Sherman Gillespie design, which I'll build for 7 year-old Sam, the 2x Doodle Bug.

--Ates
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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2021, 02:18:42 PM »

Sherman Gillespie Project - Red Bird

Here's a video of the first flights of the prototype and links to the updated and original plans.

Best,
--Ates

http://youtu.be/_W5lGDK8gbM

Cleaned-up and updated plan
http://www.oaklandclouddusters.org/resources/Documents/Plans/Rubber/Sherman%20Gillespie%20Collection/211214%20Sherman%20Gillespie%20-%20Red%20Bird%20updated.pdf

Original plan
http://www.oaklandclouddusters.org/resources/Documents/Plans/Rubber/Sherman%20Gillespie%20Collection/Sherman%20Gillespie-Red%20Bird%20-%20original.pdf
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« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2022, 09:31:04 PM »

Construction of the Doodle Bug is progressing quite fast, at least for me. This picture is from a week ago and yesterday I was already covering it.

I changed my plan of building the model at 2x and instead built it at 1.6x which turned out to be a more convenient size for a 16" wingspan. I added two more spars to the wing for additional strength, and will add reinforcements to the fuselage to strengthen the grip and landing gear attachment areas.

I'll see how the model flies with no dihedral, as it was designed. If there are stability problems, I'll look to adding tip plates.
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« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2022, 12:38:45 PM »

I bet the original actually had dihedral and the amount just didn't make it onto the drawing? You can see the wing breaks on the drawing. JMHO.
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« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2022, 02:21:34 PM »

I bet the original actually had dihedral and the amount just didn't make it onto the drawing? You can see the wing breaks on the drawing. JMHO.

Good eyes, you're absolutely right! The plans seem to imply dihedral breaks at expected locations. However, I was going by something I found in a correspondence with Gillespie published in the FAC Newsletter (in IndoorFlyer's message earlier on this thread) where he said "My first original design was a 10” span flat-wing model I named the “Doodle Bug.” To our great delight, it flew quite well - clear across the street! One kid and I had “contests” - seeing whose “Bug” could fly the farthest."

Now let's see how it flies...

Best,
--Ates
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« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2022, 04:19:45 AM »

The Doodle Bug turned out to be one funny fellow with a cartoonish look Cheesy. I hope it flies well enough to satisfy Sam! I'll fly it first with 4 strands of 3/32" rubber. If it turns out that it needs some dihedral, I'll have tip plates on hand.

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« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2022, 11:20:44 PM »

Fly it right-right against torque & P factor.  My Lacey M10 and Dayton-Wright racer flew very well both indoors and out with no dihedral.  Lacey did have endplates but not large enough to be effective.
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