Archive for April, 2012

Oh my… *as my jaw drops* It’s huge!  The box for the P-38 model came today (see pic below)!  It is huge, but at the same time it is pretty much what I expected.  This thing is 7 ft 5 in long, 2 ft 4 in wide, and 2 ft 2 in tall!  The good thing is that it is only 55 lbs.  So it’s not heavy, just bulky.  I had to leave work a few hours early to meet the delivery company, and the plan was to go right back to work after it came.  Well, I couldn’t NOT open this curiously huge box, so the new plan was to just open it and take a look, and then go back to work.  That was a mistake.  Once I opened it, I couldn’t stop digging through the endless sheets of 2 inch thick foam, large bubble wrap, thin foam sheeting, and plastic bags to see how well all the parts survived the trip.  I finally dug out all the parts, and everything seems to be in as good of shape as I remember seeing it at my Dad’s house.  So all is well.  (see pics below)  The volume of the aircraft is actually very small, so I now have over 32 cubic feet of packing material and a giant box to get rid of.  That’s going to be a project in itself.  But at least, the aircraft has arrived!  And that’s enough for today.  Project 1, get rid of packing materials!  I feel like I could open a shipping business with all this!  Now it is time for bed.


It nearly blocks my entry!


That giant box for only these parts!  Notice the 2 ft long metal ruler in the middle for reference.  And notice the two ASP .61 cu in engines in the back (not .60 like I thought).  I think I’m going to convert this model to electric with outrunner motors and LiPo batteries, so these engines won’t be used.


You can see the oxidation.  It doesn’t turn too smoothly either.  Maybe I could sell them, who knows yet.


I know the pic doesn’t do justice to the magnitude of Mt. Polymer, but it’s a lot of materials!

I can’t wait to get started!  Too bad there is that “job thing” that I have to go to everyday! 🙂

Day 1 of ?…

The anticipation and trepidation is growing!  This morning my Dad sent me an email that said “the box” is on its way.  I am picturing this box to be more like a shipping container you might see on one of those giant ocean-faring cargo ships.  Inside this box is a “60 size” P-38 Lightning radio control airplane.  (“60” refers to a .60 cubic inch internal combustion engine.)  It was built by someone else who apparently had a hard landing the last time it flew.  I’ll write about its history in another post.  If you know what a P-38 looks like, you’ll know it has TWO engines!  So this airplane has TWO 60 size engines!  Okay, if you still can’t relate, that means it’s a BIG model!

The problem is I now live in a little 1,000 sq ft apartment, and I no longer have a big spacious garage to tinker in.  I have NO garage.  So my apartment is becoming the hanger for this monstrous aircraft.  And to make it flight worthy again (just the thought of flying this beast is so scary I can’t think about that right now) is going to take a major overhaul.  And to perform a proper overhaul will require space.  Fortunately, I do have a second bedroom.  It’s not huge, but that’s where it has to happen.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to find out the date and time for the delivery of “the box”.  I feel like I should get a uniform for a crew member of the flight deck with the flashlights waving in the taxiing arriving aircraft.  I’ll let you know when I can cross my flashlights to make the “X” to signal the aircraft has parked and shutdown (in my second bedroom).

The cool thing about this aircraft is I was a structural design engineer on the F-35, named the Lightning II.  The P-38 is a legendary aircraft in its own right, but now it is the predecessor to another awesome soon-to-be legendary aircraft.  “So I got that goin’ for me!” 😉

Back to the scariness of flying this airplane… The P-38 was known to be a VERY fast airplane.  So combine knowing that with the size of this model, adding in the fact that I haven’t flown a radio controlled airplane in years (not that I was ever skilled to begin with as my buddy Mark Pollmann can attest), fold in the cost and time that it is going to take to make it flight worthy (engines, radio, equipment, tools, etc), and then mix in the fact that radio controlled airfields have become more scarce so more crowded, and you get a nerve-wracking proposition (ooh I just remembered the desert on the other side of the local mountains – good place for its maiden flight).

BUT… I don’t even know if it is capable of flight yet.  I have to do a structural assessment.  Besides the obvious damage, the wood is old so could be brittle, and depending on the skills of the original builder, it might have been built too heavy.  Maybe that’s why it crashed?  No telling.  And I have to do some weight measurements and calculations.  If the airframe is too heavy, it may not be worth the effort to tear it down to the point where I can remedy a heavy airframe.  Again, that will depend on the skills of the original builder.  If nothing else, it could still make a great static display!  But we’ll know more when “the box” pulls into the gate.

Please stow and lock your tray tables, raise your seat backs, turn off all electronics, and prepare for landing…  it’s gonna be bumpy!