Here I’ll attempt to document the build process of my Wowings Duck. It’s been quite some time now since I built it, but I have some nice photo’s of the process and it would be a shame not to show them.

The first step is to cut out the trailing edges from the balsa stock supplied. The two longer sections are the inboard trailing edge, while the little pieces go right out on the tips. This provides a stationary mounting point for the winglets (along with the rest of the wingtip).

From here on in, I had no previous experience and relied completely on the manual. Balsa not a problem, foam – what’s that?  Joining the wing panels came next. I used spray adhesive here but wouldn’t use it again. Hot melt glue and Cyano both worked so much better.

To cut the spar slots I came up with a method that i’m rather proud of. A slot 10mm deep was called for. Too shallow and the spar would not fit in, too deep and I’m sure the integrity of the structure would have been compromised somewhat. Using two scraps of triangle stock, I slid them together untill they would leave exactly 10mm of scalpel blade protruding. Then simply stabbed right through them with the scalpel and viola – depth gauge!

Glueing the spar was a piece of cake with thin CA. It wicked down into the slot nicely.

Here’s the first spar completed. Two more to go.

The next step was laying out the radio gear and tracing around it. This was not too difficult, but cutting out the bays was a pain in the a#%e. Perhaps building with balsa has made me too much of a perfectionist. Perhaps I didn’t change the scalpel blade often enough (most likely). I got there in the end though.

Reinforcing the structure with fibre reinforced packing tape came next. The spars certainly did add strength to the wing but the tape really made it rigid. This is one step where the spray adhesive reared it’s ugly head again. Maybe the stuff I had is not as good as the 3M gear everyone talks about but I just couldn’t buy 3M. My stuff took forever to get tacky, it’s a shame the tape won’t stick to the EPP foam without it.

Hinging the elevons was fairly uneventful. I’ve done covering film hinges on gliders and packing tape hinges on my small park flyers so this method was just a variation on a theme.

Kristy came up with the design for the covering which I ended up using on the top. So full credit to her. I used my design for the underside and it sucks. I don’t have any photos to show you here, not deliberately – I probably just didn’t deem it photo worthy at the time.

Straight lines, straight tape – easy right? Wrong. To create a nice straight line where the ends of the tape met a different colour I devised this method. Lay a piece of (sacrificial) paper along the line to be cut. Now lay down your strips making sure they extend onto the paper. Once the whole block has been ‘coloured in’ gently lift the paper and run a sharp scalpel blade along the edge. 60 very careful seconds later you’ve got a nice straight edge. Before you ask “why didn’t you just use the side of the tape instead of the ends”, with a zig zag pattern like this you’re going to have ends meeting sides at some point regardless.

Finished and ready for flight.

Probably the biggest shame of all is that I’ve only taken this out to fly a couple of times. The first was at the oval on a calm day. Primarily to fine tune the CofG and my launching method. I set the CofG exactly where the manual said, then taped a 50c coin to the nose for insurance. It took a little bit of practice to launch her well – it turns out technique is far more important than oomph. The coin was slowly moved back to the CofG point then removed altogether. Kristy and Tom were at the oval and we had a blast. We stood in a biiiiiig triange and took turns throwing it at each other (with me holding the Tx). The glide on this thing is so flat, it’s a very slippery model. Given enough speed, once she’s in ground effect she just floats and floats and floats and floats and floats….

The next outing was to the Corrigin Rock once I deemed the wind to be ‘just right’. Bear in mind I’ve never slope soared before except on the simulator. Well the EPP foam came into it’s own. Usually a crash results in tears or swear words or both. The first crash made me cringe, the first retrieval made me marvel at how resillient this foam is. Subsequent crashes and cartwheels just made Kristy and I laugh. Of course always check out the model thoroughly after every crash, just because the airframe survives doesn’t mean the radio gear did.

Well eventually I stopped dumb thumbing it and found good lift. At one stage it went up like a homesick angel which provided a fast and aerobatic ride back to the slope. I did find it loves to stall if you’re not careful. I think I’ll move the CofG forward or reduce the elevon throws or both.

Then the wind did something. I have no idea what. It shifted 5 degrees, or lost 1/2 a knot, I’m not sure what because it felt exactly the same. Anyway I just couldn’t get the good lift back, so the next 15 min was spent right on stall speed just exploring up and down the face of the granite outcrop. Sometimes I’d pile it in, sometimes I’d make it back to me. At any rate it gave me good exercise running up and down that slope retrieving the duck.

Now we’ve moved to Perth I don’t really have anywhere good to fly it. I’ve always got my eyes peeled but if somebody reading this knows of a good site in Perth please please please let me know. aidan82 at gmail.com

*edit” I found somewhere! Though I’m always on the lookout for better areas. Check out this post.

Here’s a video Kristy took on the day of the maiden flight.

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