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wellsprop

Turn, Time, Talk, Task - Pa28 G-ELUE 1/32 - Balsa Scratchbuild

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Hi all,

 

How many times have I heard that phrase "Turn, Time, Talk, Task"? My (incredibly patient) flying instructor would repeat these words every time I passed over a turning point on a navigation exercise...

 

Following on from my 1/32 Schleicher K8b build, I've decided to stay with the balsa scratchbuilding and make the aircraft which probably means the most to me... The venerable Piper Pa28-161, specifically G-ELUE, affectionately known as "Gluey". Why the Pa28 and why G-ELUE? G-ELUE was the first plane I solo'd in and the first plane I landed at an airfield different to the one I learnt at. So despite the Pa28 being a fairly unremarkable aircraft, with limited performance and handling, it's got a place in my heart.

 

Now to the build, but first, I apologise for the awful out of focus photos - I didn't realise my phone camera wasn't focused. The build started with getting hold of an electronic copy of the Pa28-161 Pilots Operating Handbook (POH) to use the three view drawing as the plans. These were scaled to 1/32 and printed, fortunately the Pa28 is has a fairly simple/basic construction - both the side and top elevations of the fuselage are a very similar symmetric aerofoil shape and the corners are slightly rounded (in other words it's a reasonably aerodynamic rectangle).

 

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The airframe has been constructed using ribs and stringers, just as the real Pa28 is - I've added the cabin floor as I'm going to scratchbuild the cabin and create a plunge molded canopy.

 

More to follow!

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Work done this morning, I've split the wing into two sections, the inboard (straight) and outboard (tapered) section. Each section will be made from 5 ribs, which will have the upper and lower surfaces glued to them. I didn't bother using a spar during my previous glider build, I don't think I'll bother with one this time either.

 

IMG_20191221_085516

 

Seen above are the measured dimensions from the 1/32 plans, however, I've had to shrink the ribs by another 2mm to account for the thickness of the skin. The Pa28 uses a NACA 65(2)-415 aerofoil, I pulled one off airfoil tools and scaled it.

 

pa28naca

 

aerofoils-page0001

 

And a word of warning, for those expecting an excellent, well planned, detailed, accurate build.... sorry to disappoint, basically I'm just making it up as I go along an hopefully it will look ok-ish at the end!

 

Cheers!

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I'm in for the ride. I learned to fly on the Cherokee at Blackpool airport thanks to the RAF's flying scholarship. Not long after Top Gun came out, to me it was a Tomcat 😂

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24 minutes ago, wellsprop said:

, basically I'm just making it up as I go along an hopefully it will look ok-ish at the end!

A sound philosophy indeed. 

I've bashed many bits of Balsa over the years, with a view to making it all fly, but I've not tried making a scale model with it 

Often thought about it though, so this will prove interesting 👍

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So, I was unhappy with the cabin floor, it wasn't curved enough - so I built another. I also realised that the fuselage section width at the fore and aft of the cockpit was a bit too small (I build it all undersize anyway as it's skinned with 1/32" balsa, but due to being undersize I've skinned just the cabin fuselage sides with 1/16" balsa. I've also used milliput to make the engine cowl.

 

IMG_20191222_164522

 

IMG_20191222_164537

 

I had initially intended to make the forward cowl from laminated balsa, filed to size. I tried to drill out the air intakes, but the balsa split. Instead.... I've made a "male" "plug" to create a "female" mold from milliput. Once this is dry, I'll use the "female" mold to make the final part, molded from milliput. I used some cling film to stop it sticking.

 

IMG_20191222_164909

 

IMG_20191222_183825

 

I have no idea if it will work, but it looks like it's turned out alright. Just need to wait for it to dry overnight and I might be able to do a bit more once I'm home from work.

 

Cheers :)

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Making it up as you go along, redoing the stuff you aren’t happy with all combined with a non-perfectionist outlook. This project is destined for success!  👍

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Good start!

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Your experience of learning to fly brings back happy memories - it was G-OBFC for me - at Bournemouth flying club. Often referred to as "Fox Charles" or less flatteringly as "the thunder slug" it lacked some of the performance of the flying club's other PA-28s, but it had the most comfortable seats and best instruments. Sadly I think it was written off after overshooting the runway somewhere - it might have been  Henstridge...

I've often thought there is a market for a decent injection moulded PA28 with the tapered wing. I like the start you have made and will follow your progress - good luck with the rest of the build.

Cheers,

Nick.

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It's been a couple weeks! I didn't have any glue or balsa and no time for modelling over xmas, however I've now stocked up again.

 

I've filed out the air intakes and landing light hole on the front cowl, it still needs some work and the sides need to be built up a little again

IMG_20200107_081201

 

IMG_20200107_081242

 

I've skinned the rear of the fuselage, added milliput and filed back to get the rough shape, it looks ok

IMG_20200110_185839

 

IMG_20200110_185839

 

Above you can see the cowl needing another round of sanding.

 

And heres the wings work in progress... Both upper and lower skins have been cut out, now I need to cut out each rib and glue it all together - easy?

 

IMG_20200110_193319

 

I've also cut out the horizontal and vertical stabilisers, these will be made from 3 pieces of (approx) 1/32" balsa, glued together than sanded into an approximate aerofoil.

 

More to follow!

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Can I take a seat on this one please? 

You've done a superb job with this project so far and I'll be following this with great interest. 

I too have a vested interest in the faithful little Cherokee, having learned to fly in one at Newcastle. If my memory serves me right, I've got three Cherokees and three Warriors in my logbook. My favourite?, a lovely little lady called G-BAWK. Whisky-Kilo took me aloft on my first solo and delivered me back to earth safely. She was a real Lady. 

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So, a little more work...

 

Here, I have added the wing ribs to the lower skin, the upper skin then gets glued on top.

IMG_20200112_170532

 

And here are both wings together with the leading and trailing edges sanded smooth

IMG_20200116_205325

 

I'm going to milliput the joins (which should add a little more strength) before sanding the upper and lower surfaces smooth.

 

It's getting somewhere towards being a model plane :)

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