ScaleBirds, Home of the 63% Scale Hellcat replica kitplane project.

The Frontal Assault

Working on parts again, we have been working on the canopy frame and the controls for the last couple of weeks. The tracks for the rudder pedals are installed directly to the frame, and the pedals hang on a bar that slides along the tracks. The acetal slider blocks and T-nuts that connect the ends have been fitted, and Scott did a great job machining them to an ideal fit. Once we get the pins and hardware we can have the rudder pedals fully installed and start planning the lock-pin mechanism.  The forward skins need to have the canopy frame in place for proper fitment. So we cut, bent and welded it all up.  I am pretty happy with how it turned-out.  Its starting to look like a fighter now!  Now we can get the forward skins and firewall cleco clamped in place and all fitted. Our buddy Chris Collins has access to an auto paint booth and we intend to paint the frame shortly.  Then we can permanently install the aft skins and controls.  We are getting there!  Making forward progress!

On the CAD design front, the modelling of the wing root fillets has been redone to conform to the latest fuselage, while the track slides and windscreen frame is now part of the model as well. It really adds something when you have the full frame.

On another front, we ordered a Verner Motor Scarlett 5Si engine to put on one of these planes, and it is shipping soon!  Verner sent us some images of the build on our specific motor, so we'll share some here for you:

The original intent of this motor was for the LiteFighters F6F Hellcat, but it would be just as home on any radial-powered replica. Now, the P-40 is designed for a Rotax 912, and we don't yet have one. And so, the idea of testing a radial on the P-40 is, well, compelling.  We would basically be making the P-36 Hawk. And so we could fly it with a radial and then, just like Curtiss did, convert the airframe to a P-40 with a Rotax once we source it. By then, the Scarlett will be already well proven and ready to go on the Hellcat as the interfaces will be identical between the two planes.  Plus, if we were to do this, it would be a very interesting way to get comparison data for our engineers to crunch. Scott did a quick mockup in CAD, so check this out and let us know if it seems like a good idea:

Furthermore, we have been invited to become a Verner dealer for the U.S. market. We are thrilled to be involved!  We have needed a small economical radial for our models, in order to make a good number of them really shine, and the Verner seems to be the ideal fit for our size of plane. This deal ensures a consistent supply and support for our future kit customers - as well as those with other projects looking for a radial.  Now, I still appreciate the Rotec radials and we will support our kit builders who want them for the Sport Fighters. In fact, we've been inspired by the success of the Radial Conversions RV-8R, I invite you all to go check that out if you have not yet. We've talked with the builder of that Hellcat-inspired RV, and I think there is a lot to learn from his experience. 

We are planning to make changes to our web site to feature all that ScaleBirds will offer: LiteFighters, Verner Motors and the continuing adventures of our Two-Seat Design and Build.  Stay tuned for the changes and updates!   

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