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Author Topic: Basic info for beginners: penny planes, easy Bs and nocals  (Read 5517 times)
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BG
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« on: March 06, 2011, 12:17:13 PM »

Hi All,
My club CMAC has finally gotten reasonably priced access to an indoor facility. So now the problem is that we are a bunch of rookies trying to figure out what to do.

I started this thread to ask that the indoor gurus on HPA to provide some good starting info for us. We have a ~25-30' ceiling basketball gym with a roof covered in the usual girders etc.

1. Obviously we want to avoid hangups in the girders (had my limited penny plane (RTF bulldog with homemade prop) stuck up there last night). What are the general rules for avoiding this issue (rubber, prop design, model design?)....(and what target time should we be shooting for in this types of space).

2. What is the best class for the group to start with?

3. Can you all recommend great designs and target times for beginners in this type of space.

4. How do you deal with loading fully wound motors onto LPPs and other duration models....I find doing this very awkward (damn near break the model every time)...there must be a better way.

Thanks in advance for you help.

Bernard
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 02:48:55 PM »

I wouldn't call myself a guru, but I've been a complete rookie at indoor a while back (and hopefully will soon be a near-rookie again). I'd suggest Limited Penny and P24 as good starter classes -- P24 is the indoor equivalent of P30, but the rules have prevented the technology race that has taken place in P30 (especially, it seems, in Europe where FAI doesn't have a Builder of Model rule); wood size requirement, covering restrictions, and plastic propeller limit the performance and tend to emphasize flying technique (picking the right rubber size and length and correct amount of turns). Anyone who can complete an AMA Cub or a Squirrel ought to be able to build a P24 (in fact, you could modify a Squirrel to fly in P24 with very little effort -- increase the span to 24", increase chord to the maximum permitted, and add a tail boom extension with some offset to ensure a reliable indoor turning circle). Limited Penny seems to have suffered some technology creep since I flew indoors last, but it's still possible to make a model that can compete under a low ceiling with plain wood structure, Esaki or condenser paper covering and a propeller made from a foam hot drink cup, yogurt container, or similar.

As I recall from the mid-1980s, you can expect P24 to fly up to about two minutes under that ceiling height, while Limited Penny ought to be good for five minutes or more when you get everything just right (I won a Penny Plane contest with, as I recall, just over five minutes under 25 foot rafters, though the real experts were flying EZB that day). Avoiding rafters is pretty much a matter of setting the model up to cruise, rather than burst-climb; you should be close to half your final time when the model peaks, and it should peak close to (but below) the lowest obstructions in your flying circle. That's mostly a matter of getting the rubber sized just right (both thickness and length) and winding it the correct amount.

As for getting the wound rubber onto the airplane, I used to grab the rubber close to the winder and let the winder fall, opening a small loop as the last quarter inch or less unwound; that left me a hand free to pick up the model and hook the propeller shaft on to the rubber. Once that was connected, holding the propeller and motor stick freed the other hand to take the other end of the motor off the stooge, again letting the last quarter inch or less unwind, and hooking the look thus created to the rear hook. The real technique is doing this in the correct hand order so you have the free hand on the correct side of the model and don't have to reach around the wing or similar. A little practice with a model less delicate than a contest-grade LPP is probably a good idea, but this is a technique easily practiced with the much sturdier P24 models, or with first iteration Penny builds (which tend to be overweight and more robust than necessary for actual flight).

Oh, yeah -- Bostonian is another nice indoor class, for those who prefer scale-like cabin style models, and you can also fly Embryo indoors (indoor Embryo models tend to be much lighter than outdoor ones). A Bostonian built to the 7 gram minimum weight can fly two minutes or more under your rafters; I can't say what an indoor Embryo (or a Legal Eagle, another indoor cabin class) might do.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 05:28:22 PM »

Thanks Zeiss, that is a good start. Does anyone have the full rules for the P24 class?

Rubber: is there a good formula for determining how much rubber to use for a given models weight etc. my bulldog LPP is about 4 grams. Or perhaps I just need a good torque reading... I can work from that.

thanks all.
Bernard
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 08:27:35 PM »

Well, it looks like P-24 has changed in the 25 years I've been away from free flight -- it looks like it's now a one-design mass launch event at the AMA Indoor Nats (http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/2011IndoorFFNFFSEventsRules.pdf), using the P-24 Condor kit built exactly per plan, using the kit propeller and kit-specified dihedral -- there aren't any rules for the event that I can find in either AMA or FAC rules documents, other than the specs for the one-design mass launch.

When I was flying indoor models in the 1980s, P-24 was much like P-30 in outdoor flying: anything goes, within restrictions on span and overall length (24" for each), chord (as I recall, 3"), minimum wood size (1/16", I think, though it might have been as big as 1/8" -- this was a beginner's and children's event, after all), paper covering (tissue or condenser paper, no plastic films or microfilm), and a set diameter plastic freewheeling propeller (as I recall, it was 7"), no modifications allowed other than balancing. There was no minimum weight, no motor stick limitation (other than the overall length limit), no rubber limit (though in practice, nearly everyone flew a single loop of 1/16" gray or tan between 1.5x and 2x hook to hook length, which gave a motor run in excess of a minute).

You could create your own "local" event with similar rules, any way your group feels works for you -- say, Limited Penny rules with only wood structure (no carbon, graphite, etc.), solid wood motor stick (no rolled tubes), and a 5" or 6" plastic propeller, or a one-design event where wood selection, "building light", and flight techniques (trim and motor selection) are the keys. The Legal Eagle event started out as that kind of event -- effectively, it's an indoor "box" cabin event (similar to Bostonian without the "charisma" judging) where the entire plan has to fit on a single legal size (8.5 x 14 inch) sheet with margins and no overlapped parts (and full span wing and tail parts shown, so maximum span with angled positioning is about 16") -- and within that, anything goes.

How much rubber? Rubber has changed since the last time I used it enough to give a good guess on this; modern FAI Tan II, Super Sport, and Sport are generally considered inferior to the Pirelli Brown that was top of the heap back then (but better than the FAI Tan we used to get). As for torque, I've never used a torque meter; I just counted turns and adjusted the airplane or rubber until it flew well (and maybe I got lucky, because there wasn't much adjustment needed and I used straight 1/16" tan rubber from Peck Polymers). A good starting point for a Limited Penny is a single loop of 1/16 about 2x hook distance; a longer motor will have less torque but hold more turns, while a thicker motor will have more torque and hold less turns -- if the model is overpowered (twists in flight, torque rolls, climbs too steeply), use a longer motor, unless you're having problems that seem to be due to over-length or overweight rubber, then try a thinner strip. If underpowered (won't climb at all) then either shorten the motor (don't forget to reduce turns!) or use a thicker strip. You should have a propeller of roughly 9 to 10 inches turning approximately 100-150 rpm, in my limited experience with my own, very amateur made propellers -- really good propellers on longer-flying classes will often turn as little as half that speed. Remember, if you're getting 900 turns in a motor, and the propeller is turning 150 rpm, you should be flying close to six minutes and landing with the motor almost completely unwound.
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2011, 04:35:59 AM »

Hi, Bernard,

Pat yourself on the back for securing an indoor site. A 25' gym can be a wonderful place to fly. Be sure to close all the doors and keep the heating / cooling system off.

For mylar covered duration models, I would recommend the following three classes:

- Limited Penny Plane
- F1L
- ministick

You can find plans for many models at Jeff Hood's site here:

http://www.indoornews.com/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=section&id=1:plans-and-3-views&Itemid=58

These are all well behaved models that a beginner can tackle, starting with the Limited Penny Plane.

I don't build tissue-covered indoor models. If your group is interested, you can try

- A6
- No-Cal

You can find plans for A6 at the above link.

As to flight times that beginners can shoot for, I'll take an educated guess. The times I give here are for no-touch flying in a 30' gym:

- Limited Penny Plane    6 minutes
- F1L                          7 minutes
- ministick                   5 minutes

If you have a smooth ceiling, the times are considerably more.

Enjoy your new site and new indoor models. Keep us posted.

-Kang
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2011, 11:03:39 AM »

Bernard
There are 7 pages of stuff about basic indoor duration flying at this link:
http://www.hippocketaeronautics.com/hpa_forum/index.php?topic=3650.0
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2011, 11:59:25 AM »

modern FAI Tan II, Super Sport, and Sport are generally considered inferior to the Pirelli Brown that was top of the heap back then (but better than the FAI Tan we used to get).

This isn't true. Modern super sport is better than the best Pirelli and the best TanII is the best rubber ever made. the energy storage is better and it's less brittle.


Tony
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BG
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2011, 12:53:55 PM »

Thanks for the input guys, Bill I have gone through those pages now and am working through the F1D build page to glean more info/ideas... all very cool.... I will post photos of my models and weights etc. soon so that y'all can get a sense of what I am working with.

One immediate problem I have is how to figure the motor cross-section torque value for my flying site..... I used a loop of 1/8th on my LPP and she climbed quickly to the rafters and got stuck so obviously need to back off on the x-section and torque.... perhaps 2.5 mm strip? How many turns do folks typically get onto their LPP motors?

B
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2011, 01:26:49 PM »

Motor size for your LPP is pretty much impossible to specify exactly. Everything matters - prop, model weight, model design and trim, building configuration, etc., etc.

Here's a rough guide to what I use:
18" length
2g or slightly less weight
(approx. .090" width)
Wind to around 2400 turns and around .8 in-oz
Back off turns to around .25 in-oz launch torque
(prop pitch should be around 20 to 24 depending on whether the prop flares)

If you don't get to the ceiling use less backoff.
If you hit the ceiling use more backoff.
If everything looks good but you're landing with a lot of turns remaining use thicker rubber.
If you're running out of turns in the air use thinner rubber.

This is opinion #1. I'm sure you'll get more!
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2011, 06:25:51 PM »

Glad u started this thread, Bernard. I'm in the same boat, now that an indoor site is available (even tho it's a shared meeting with RC guys). Your site sounds nice, a bit higher than mine and you've got a few other nuts to fly with - I'm the only one flying FF, but the others don't mind and even come out of the "ready room" to watch.
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2011, 09:57:17 PM »

I envy you your new room, BG. Rolf and I have a nearby Parks Dept gym, no charge, but it's a fairly new building with a really, REALLY good a/c system which we are not allowed to turn off. Sixteen ducts blowing down at 45°, all the time. Sometimes the Hangar Rat can't climb past shoulder high, and if we overpower it so it can fight its way through the downdrafts, it's in the truss-work.

That and we can't really schedule an exact flying time because ball sports come first. If we get started at 0900 when they open and a few folks traipse in to shoot some baskets they generally end up more interested in our planes than their exercise. But if a normal game starts up between two informal teams, we have to pack up and leave. The local clubhouse has a Pilates room that nobody ever uses, 23' square, 12' high, with 4 fans that hang down to 9'. It's got a nice wood floor and we're allowed to turn EVERYTHING off, but it's still a little cramped.

I appreciate Ol Bill's entry, that pretty much says it all. You can do a lot with just that before you advance enough to try to improve on it.

Art.
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2011, 11:04:09 AM »

Hi All,
Thanks for the comments and advice; much appreciated.

So here is what I am presently working with: Bulldog limited penny plane. 17 inch span. 4.32 grams AUW.
Weights:
wing - 1.02g
Stab - 0.60g
Fuse - 0.97
balsa/carbon prop - 1.72g
plastic kit prop small - 2.14g
Plastic kit prop large - 2.76g

The balsa prop design comes from a Banks LPP design but I botched the forming process (backwards Roll Eyes) and so eliminated the flaring aspect of the design (mostly I think Huh ). One question that I have related to props is whether I should avoid flaring designs in my Cat facility. Also, should i go for a larger diameter to improve time?

Eventually I will do a build of my own but for now I am curious to see how much time I can squeeze out of this very robust model. It seems to fly very well so I figure this is a decent starting point with the understanding the I am limited by excess grams.

your comments and suggestions are welcome.

B
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2011, 12:07:48 PM »

Bernard
Flaring props are desirable for low ceiling flying. You can make blades that flare or spars that flare. I prefer spars so that the blade retains an efficient shape.

For events with prop diameter limitations you should almost always use the largest allowed, so a 12" prop would be desirable.

Your lightest prop is about a gram overweight. If you got the prop down to a better weight then your model would be a lot closer to the minimum weight. As of now your model is about 1.2 grams overweight which means that with a 2 gram motor your flying weight will be almost 25% too heavy. This will have a dramatic effect on your possible flight times and will require motors thicker than what I suggested above.
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2011, 04:20:54 PM »

Bernard,

Your LPP looks like it is very well built. Reversing the prop blade is likely not a big deal. Your prop will still flare because more of the blade area is in front of the spar. I can see that the blade are thick (and probably heavy), so they will not likely deform. How much your prop flares will depend on the strength of your carbon spar. In any case, a non-flaring prop will work just fine as a first model.

As Bill pointed out, your prop is heavy. But you can lighten it at a later time when you are ready. For now, enjoy your new model and by doing lots of practice flying, you will ramp up very quickly and develop the right feel and intuition. You will quickly figure out the amount of rubber needed, how thick, and how hard to wind it. From practice, you will also develop a feel about the required structural strength that will help you with your next model.

I think you can still fly 5:00 in your site with your model. Keep us posted.

-Kang

p.s. FYI

The Banks plan specifies the weight at .65g and should be achievable using hobby shop wood. Looking at the Banks design, here is a rough breakdown of that weight

- spar                    60 mg
- prop hook             50 mg    (use .015" music wire)
- prop blades           550 mg

Making the prop is my favorite part of the build. It's the engine/transmission of your machine.
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2011, 05:12:12 PM »

Thanks for the tips guys.... I can definitely make lighter blades... the wood I used is a bit on the heavy side (7lb) and I could go thinner. I will try that first as I have the jigs ready to go.

Now, could you please tell me how to do a flaring spar??? That sounds pretty interesting.

B
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2011, 06:31:57 PM »

Bernard,

Here is a thread from an earlier HPA discussion about flaring props.

http://www.hippocketaeronautics.com/hpa_forum/index.php?topic=5357.0

-Kang
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2011, 08:27:07 PM »

the wood I used is a bit on the heavy side (7lb) and I could go thinner.

Bernard!
This is an indoor model. I'm sure there are uses for 7# balsa but an LPP prop isn't one of them. Use low 4# wood no more than 1/32" thick.

Go here for a picture of my flaring LPP prop hub:
http://www.hippocketaeronautics.com/hpa_forum/index.php?topic=5357.0
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2011, 09:39:36 PM »

Quote
Bernard!
This is an indoor model. I'm sure there are uses for 7# balsa but an LPP prop isn't one of them. Use low 4# wood no more than 1/32" thick.

Ha ha ha Grin I thought that would draw cries of horror Lips sealed ... The wood is probably quite a bit better than 7# but still heavier than 4# for sure. Definitely under .8 mm too. I am gonna try for another Banks prop with lighter wood this time.

BTW do I have to use C grain? I don't have any C grain that light.

Is there a build link for the carbon twist shaft ?

B
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2011, 04:55:26 PM »

BTW do I have to use C grain? I don't have any C grain that light.

I think A or B grain would be okay. But I have never tried myself.

Please let us know how it turns out Smiley

-Kang
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2011, 01:29:32 PM »

Hey Bernard;

I think I have some 4# 1/32 that I'd be willing to share. Remind me on Sunday when you are over and we can pick something out.

I've also had a thought (the third this week!). While I was last at Action Hobby I bought a pile of balsa blocks that were all very light and in the 3.9 - 4.5# range. I picked ones out that I could cut some vertical grain (i.e. "C") grain sheets from them that were large enough for props. Whatever's left over gets turned into the usual noseblocks and such.

Craig
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« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2011, 01:40:42 AM »

Hey there;

Where can I get the Bank LPP prop design? Is that the Cezar Banks LPP that can be found on Indoor New and Views here:

http://www.indoornewsandviews.com/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=4&MMN_position=7:7

I am building my first Penny Plane, the Bent Penny by Steve Gardner. The plan that I downloaded only had the prop blank outline with nothing about any kind of curve or pitch twist so I built my prop assembly with flat blades. It came out to 1.05 grams.
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« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2011, 03:52:17 AM »

climber,

Yes, that's the Cezar Banks LPP. You can use its prop specifications for the Bent Penny. Certainly you can try flying with flat blades first and later convert it with the right pitch and camber. 1.05g is a little bit heavy, but well within reason. Hopefully the rest of your model is light so that your overall weight is around 3.1g. It is possible to build an LPP prop at .6g without too much trouble, even one with a lot of blade area, but you will have to use 4-5# prop wood and thin the blade down to .025 or less. But you build this light only if you need to.

The Bent Penny is a great plane. It holds the USIC LPP record at Johnson City with an out of this world time. I saw one flown by Don DeLoach at Tustin. It's also a beautiful model.

Enjoy.
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« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2011, 08:18:54 AM »

Part of the solution should include a means of dislodging snagged planes. Back in the 1980's at Columbia/CIMAS, Don Ross used a large helium balloon on a tether that had a long stick arranged at a right angle just below the balloon. Working and bumping around at the plane usually and eventually brought it down. Also, the sites usually have a periodic schedule for replacing electric lamps that involve getting someone up into the area. Make arrangements.
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« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2011, 11:33:05 AM »

Thanks!

I think mine will have to go on a diet. Right now it comes to 2.8 grams with motor stick, prop, prop hangar, tail boom, covered fin and the uncovered middle wing section. I think I can trim some balsa off the motor stick. That and the tail boom and covered fin currently come to 1.4 grams.

How does one reliably add wash-in to a Penny Plane without wrecking it?

Also, what's a good motor to use in this airplane? Our venue is a fairly typical gymnasium without a terribly high roof. I am not sure what to use as a starting point.
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« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2011, 11:51:37 AM »

Climber, you aren't hugely overweight; adding the rest of the wing and covering for the wing, you'll probably be around 3.5 grams; unless everything else is near perfect, that much weight difference won't make much difference at all (in any case, you can compensate some excess weight with larger or shorter rubber if need be). As you say, you may be able to trim the motor stick a little to compensate, but I'd wait to see whether it flexes under rubber tension before doing that.

When I last flew Penny Plane, I used about 2x hook length in 1/16" Peck Polymers rubber (which was most likely relabeled FAI Tan, mid 1980s vintage). Most likely a similar length of Tan II in the .050" to .064" range would be a good starting point; you'll need to adjust the motor anyway for your model and winding technique.

Oh, yeah -- I put twist into my Penny Plane wing (to keep the inside wing up in the turn, right?) by offsetting the front and rear posts -- I built them straight to the frame, but then put the sockets on opposite sides of the motor stick to twist the center section in the correct direction. The resulting model flew with the wing almost perfectly level in about a twenty foot turning diameter.
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