Apr 30, 2013

Foam Airplane Construction Techniques

Profile planes are fun to build due to the simplicity of construction, however they lack a certain aesthetic appeal.  Quite a while ago, I started experimenting with several different construction techniques to make foam scratch-builds more appealing to the eye.

I created foam wings with true airfoils by using ribs on top of the bottom sheet of foam, and then folded the wing back over itself onto the airfoils.  For fuselages I created box air frames much like you'd do when creating a larger balsa wood model.  However, much of what I was experimenting with was fairly labor intensive, and while it looked better it was still blue foam.

I've been following Flite Test ever since they started up, and while I have not yet tried any of the plans from their swappable series, I have to say I have been impressed with the aesthetics of these airplanes.  The best part is, people smarter than myself have come up with some incredible construction techniques for foam air frames.

If you haven't checked them out, take a look.

http://flitetest.com/articles/FT_Old_Fogey

http://flitetest.com/articles/FT_Flyer_Scratch_build

http://flitetest.com/articles/Baby_Blender_Biplane

http://flitetest.com/articles/Swappable_Nutball_and_Hots_Dart

http://flitetest.com/articles/Fowl_Flyer_FPV_Swappable

As always the flitetest website is a huge wealth of knowledge, and it's more than worth the time for a look around.  Hopefully, during 2013 I'll get time to build one or two of these planes.




Apr 2, 2013

National Naval Aviation Museum

For Thanksgiving 2012, we decided to drive to Florida to be with my wife family for the holidays.  From our current home in Texas this is only a ten hour drive, and we thought it would be a nice chance to see some new country.  It was a good trip, but we didn't get much of a scenery change between south-eastern Texas and northern Florida.  Aside from the swamps of Louisiana, glancing out the window you would think you were still around Texas somewhere...

While visiting, we took a trip to Pensacola to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum.  I didn't realize it till we were there, but Pensacola is the home of the Blue Angles, so the locals must get a free airshow.  I was quite impressed with the fact that this museum is free of charge.  You can of course donate something to help keep the lights on.

On display are several WWI aircraft that I had not seen in other museums I've visited, as well as a whole host of WWII aircraft.  One of the more interesting things I learned, was of the naval training program during WWII that was ran out of Chicago.  Many planes crashed into Lake Michigan as pilots learned to takeoff and land on a training aircraft carrier.  Several of these planes have been brought out of the lake and have been restored.

The museum offers quite a few exhibits related to life in the navy during the world wars, and has many displays related to those times in general.  This is great for those more boring people among us who might enjoy that more than the airplanes.

Free is hard to beat, so if your in the area go have a look-see.

MUSEUM
http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/




Up close they smell just like an old Volkswagon bug that's been burning oil :)