As I sit here contemplating the past 3 years of working on this project from buying the plans to getting in the 10th flight, I am very glad that the seed was planted by my Uncle Paul to start this project and very glad that I stuck with it even when I thought about abandoning the project a few times. When I look back I think "that wasn't so bad" but only because of experienced hindsight can I say that. For a person who didn't really know what he was getting into, building a complicated aircraft from scratch, it was a struggle to keep it going. At first it was a lot of fun building, solving problems and seeing it come together. Then it became like a job, having to keep going while fighting burnout. Finally I saw light at the end of the tunnel and when it was painted up in all her glory I got renewed energy to finish it and go flying. Then came the nervousness of the first flight. It's always hard to send off the aircraft you spent a good 50-100 hours building but for this one, where I have maybe 1000 hours into it, it's crazy to risk it in flight but it would be crazier to do all that work and not see it flying.
The Palmer design for the B-24 creates a very good flying aircraft. He apparently used the scale drawings and did not change to scale airfoils which I believe is why this aircraft flies so well.
- Looks great on the ground or in the air
- The scale wing and stab incidences are right on.
- Although the aircraft flies fine at 20lbs., the aircraft could be built lighter.
- The outer nacelles could have simply been glued on to the sheeting.
- Since I fiberglassed I could have removed much more of the inside structure and used lighter wood.
- The tail end could have been built lighter which would reduce the dead weight in the nose.
- I made the empennage removable but don't really need to remove it, so that structure could be eliminated.
- The Stab and fin could have been made much simpler by using sheeted foam.
- Using foam cores for the wings worked very well and I would do that again.
- I would spray a clear coat over the silver to make it tougher although it may not age as nicely that way.
- Electric for multi-engines is the only way to go. Worth every dollar I spent.
- Power must be kept on until touchdown. Four 10" props barely rotating are a very effective speed brake!
- Everyone loves to see it fly!
6/30/2007 - Today was a day I feared, that human error would be the the factor in a crash. I did not crash because I did not take off but human error could have caused a crash. At a show for girl scouts I was not prepared. I checked everything so I thought. Five weeks ago a battery failure could have brought down Old Iron sides. Not just one but all four batteries somehow went bad at the same time. I lost power on a flight when one cell on each pack dropped to 2.5v making around 8v total, but was able to get back to the runway mostly because the ESC was set to soft cutoff. (Hobby Lobby very graciously sent me four new packs) After that I pulled motor #4 and ESC #4 out for battery testing and had updated the firmware in #4 but not the others so one ESC was set to "auto Calibration" and the other three where set to "end point adjust" . That was giving me full thrust on #4 only which sent the aircraft to the left pretty hard and I was not able to get it to taxy straight so I did not take off. A take off would have resulted in a roll to left and destuction. That's where my error could have caused a crash. I did not update the other ESC's at the same time as #4 and did not remember that I had updated #4.
9/27/07 - I flew for the 90th BG national reunion at Vandenberg AFB just outside of Santa Maria, California. I haven't flown since May 29th because of a couple technical glitches. I tried to fly but something went wrong each time so as the reunion got closer I decided to preserve the aircraft for the reunion since I was running out of repair time if something happened. I made the decision to just make sure that all would go well for the reunion and if something happened there then oh well, at least they got to see it.
I got in one good flight and they loved seeing the B-24 fly, especially the high speed low passes. I flew at the AFB's model airfield and they have only a 300' runway that is on a hill. On landing, the aircraft dipped below the hill at the end of the runway. I pulled back on the stick to soften the crash and then it popped up over the hill in a right bank. I leveled off and throttled up to go around for another landing attempt. The second landing was better but the nose wheel failed to come down so the nose got ground down a bit but not bad really. The good thing is that I found out that the aircraft flies very well at low speeds. Even though it was flying pretty slow when it popped up over the hill I still had enough control to level out and go around again.
See the photo's from the reunion at the 90th BG reunion photo page