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RC Plane Shock-Absorbing Landing Gear

I have always dignified early aircraft, generally those flown during WW I. The expansion of aircraft from 1914 to 1918 is simply amazing. we have built and flown several WW we airplanes built from Balsa USA kits.

Well designed, they fly good though infrequently my landings can be reduction than perfect. we wanted to pattern a approach to boost a shock-absorbing capability of a pack alighting gear. What we came adult with not usually reduces highlight on a airframe, though can also be built though carrying to solder any of a handle tools together. Here’s what we did for my ¼-scale Fokker Dr. we Triplane.


  • ⅜-inch aircraft-grade plywood
  • ⅛ light ply
  • ¼- ⅛- and 3/32-in. balsa sheets
  • ¼- and 1/16-in. song wire
  • CA glue and glue adhesive

Step 1: The initial 3 tools indispensable are a many formidable pieces to make in a whole project. These are a 3 plywood supports, or “knuckles,” that are 1 3/16-inch high by 1 ⅜-inch far-reaching and ¾-inch thick. Start with a square of ⅜-inch aircraft plywood and glue dual pieces together to make a ¾-inch thick block. Then regulating a rope saw, cut a 3 matching pieces out. Tack glue a 3 blocks on tip of any other and use a cavalcade press to cavalcade a ¼-inch hole as shown, about ⅛-inch from a reduce edge.

Step 2: Separate a tip retard and cavalcade out a remaining dual blocks to form a container that is only bashful of 1-inch long. You will need to use a somewhat incomparable cavalcade stretch for a slots so a ¼-inch spindle moves openly within a slot.

Step 3: Cut dual light-ply strips 1 3/16-inches by 15-inches prolonged to form a sides of a alighting gearbox. Mark a centerline and 1-inch inboard on any end. Glue a blocks onto a light manipulate as graphic and make certain a core knuckle is lined adult with a slots properly.

Step 4: Glue on a second light-ply side frame and afterwards magnitude opposite a tip of a public to establish a scold breadth for a box tip cover.

Step 5: Make certain we glue a cover on a tip side. The tip side is a farthest stretch from a spindle hole.

Step 6: Mark a locations of a outdoor support knuckles on a outward of a box. This is a finished alighting rigging support structure and all else only goes along for a ride!

Step 7: Using your skeleton as a guide, cut your ⅛-inch balsa ribs that will form a underling wing shape. You will need to make these somewhat aloft than a box structure.

Step 8: For my Triplane, we cut out 7 ribs around 6 inches in length and hearing propitious them to a gearbox. Do not glue a ribs onto a box structure during this time.

Step 9: Install a ¼-inch song handle spindle and leave it a tiny prolonged for now. Mark a core of a spindle and roughen it adult with some sandpaper. The spindle should be a parsimonious fit in a core block. Use a square of tough timber to daub a spindle into position, afterwards use your favorite glue to glue a core of a spindle in place.

Step 10: Install a balsa ribs and a dual outboard light-ply ribs. The light-ply ribs have a container for a spindle and are laminated to a outdoor balsa ribs.

Tech Tip The operation of this shock-absorbing alighting rigging depends on a coherence of a song wire. With a ¼-scale Fokker Triplane or identical biplane, ¼-inch song handle provides only about a right volume of open flex though wanting any bungee cord element for additional support. However, if we would like to use a smaller hole song handle axle, or we are building a incomparable model, afterwards a 1/16-inch anchor pins commissioned into both outdoor rigging knuckles are used to hang a bungee element around a axle

Step 11: Using a existent alighting rigging handle from a kit, cut off a reduce plane ends with a Moto-Tool and grub to a indicate on a ends of a strut wires. Rough adult a ends, as they will be epoxied into a gearbox in a after step.

Step 12: Here we see a positions where a alighting handle will be installed. You might have to adjust a existent hook angles on a handle rigging depending on how far-reaching we endorse to make a whole assembly.

Step 13: Install a bottom 3/32-inch balsa sheeting though do not cover a areas where a bungee and anchor pins are accessible.

STEP 14: This subsequent step is substantially a many important—the correct designation and fixing of a alighting gear. Attach a alighting rigging wires to a fuselage, and afterwards support a fuselage tail so it’s turn to your work surface. we use a tiny burble turn set on a dais and on a top fuselage longeron to confirm. Now use a cavalcade bit somewhat incomparable than a rigging handle hole and cavalcade a 4 holes during identical estimate angles where a rigging handle will enter a sub-wing structure. Since we are regulating a incomparable hole bit, we do not have to cavalcade a accurate angle where a handle enters a rigging structure.

Drill a holes about ⅜-inch deep, though stay divided from a core of a retard where a slots are. Like they say, “close adequate for supervision work” will be only excellent and a glue used to glue in a rigging handle will fill in any voids.

STEP 15: Now we can insert a alighting rigging handle into a 4 holes in a rigging structure. Use a straightedge to make certain a rigging is aligned properly. You might have to adjust a length of a rigging handle somewhat to accomplish this. Once you’re happy with a fit and alignment, glue a alighting rigging handle in place and let it heal overnight.

STEP 16: After a glue has cured, mislay a rigging public from a fuselage and square a top aspect of a underling wing, implement a heading edge, and silt all to shape. You can afterwards impute to your pack instructions to finish your alighting rigging by adding strut-fairing wood, covering, painting, and ascent your wheels.

That’s it! we have used this technique on several airplanes and a alighting rigging has valid to be really imperishable and roughly upkeep free. By adjusting a measure of a element used, a complement can be blending for any stretch indication that is versed with a underling wing. Happy landings!

About a Author: Sal Calvagna

A unchanging during many East Coast warbird events, Sal Calvagna grew adult on Long Island as a eldest of 5 boys. Sal schooled to fly RC aircraft with a Northern Virginia RC Club in Chantilly, VA, before to his troops deployment. In 1975 he enlisted in a U.S. Air Force and graduated from a School of Applied Cryptologic Sciences. He served active avocation for a tiny over 4 years and afterwards assimilated a State Department’s Diplomatic Telecommunications Service and worked during U.S. Embassies and Consulates in Africa and a Far East. Sal built and flew RC models during several abroad posts, and he built a initial giant-scale aeroplane to fly in a Philippines in a mid-1980s.

Sal has been building and drifting giant-scale planes for 30 years and is an active member of a Long Island Skyhawks, Giant Scale club. Sal is also a “RC Giants” columnist for Model Aviation.

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