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 Winter Project '04 - Building the first VeeBee 
Barebones VeeBee 52





I started this project because I like to design my own aircraft and I really wanted an RC model of the VeeBee sim plane that I had made for flying on FMS. I also thought that this design had alot of potential to make a good flying RC model besides the fact that i just plain like the looks of it as well as giving me the challenge of trying to find a way to convert a Metasequioa 3D model to 2D plans using TurboCad. It looks like it could have actually been one of the full size golden age racers of the past, kind of like a mix of GeeBee and Zlin XIII. A lot of people that see it study it for a bit and then ask if it is one of the GeeBee models. The GeeBees were definitely a source of inspiration for this one, but other than that it is not a model of any plane that existed before.
The VeeBee model (pic 1) was made by slimming and stretching a very GeeBee ish looking model (the Gee-Bi) i had made earlier as an FMS sim plane(check the FMS page). Then slices were taken from the Metasequoia MQO file (pic 2) and saved as a dxf and imported into Turbocad V7. pic 3 shows what the Metasequoia dxf looks like. This file was only used to trace out the former shapes as well as the top and side views, and then discarded. pic 4 shows what i had after a little tracing. The red lines are part of the Metasequoia dxf file. After alot more drawing and 1 1/2 months i finally had a finished plan to build from (pic 5). Seeing as i don't have access to a plotter, i printed tiled plan pages out on my printer using 8 1/2x11 paper then taped them all together.
The building of the fuse was a little different than what i'm used to in that it is built on a central box crutch, the formers (of which there are ten) then slide on to it and are glued. This was the first time using this method and i really liked it for building a fuse that has very few flat surfaces. The forward half was sheeted, the rear half mostly open stringers. I ended up with a nice straight fuse any ways with this method. Surprisingly about 80% of the fuse structure was built in 2 days (including cutting out all formers and parts on my bandsaw). I added scalloped pieces of sheet between the stringers where the stringers meet the sheeted sections. This really makes it look neat when uncovered, almost hate to cover it up. As usual for me I changed a few things while building, like the position of the horizontal stab (which was moved up a little) and how much of the fuselage is sheeted, along with a different shape and structure for the horizontal stab, which is much easier to build than the laminated outline of the one shown on the plans.
The wings and tail feathers of the plane are constructed of usual methods. The front section of the wing forms a D tube from the leading edge, sheeting and front spars which gives the wing alot of bending and torsional rigidity. Shear webs are also glued to the spars between the ribs for the first 2/3 of each wing panel. The ribs are cut from sheet balsa that have tabs on them for building flat on a board, these are later cut off. The ribs get capped, where the bays are open, with balsa sheet strips. Dihedral is set at 2 degrees for each wing panel by the ply wing joiners, then the center is sheeted except for a small square hole right in the center, as well as the first two rib bays of each panel. A servo plate was glued in so each wing panewill have it's own aileron servo. The square hole is needed so that you can hook up the connectors of aileron extension wires to the y-harness connectors when mounting the wing. The tail feathers are built flat on the plan with balsa sheet parts and sticks. The elevator halves are joined by a music wire joiner. One good thing about the fuse is that the vertical fin is an integral part of the fuse so there is no separate fin to build and glue on along with those usual little fairing pieces that have to be made.
The floats are mostly built of balsa sheet and were covered in .75 oz glass cloth using water based polyurethane. These do add quite a bit of extra time to constructing this bird. Some day I might try putting it on wheels. The cowl was made by sanding a plug of foam to make a male mold to lay 2 layers of heavy glass cloth over. Next time Iím going to try the panty hose method instead of using glass cloth.

A few other details are:
Engine used is a Magnum FS-52
wing span = 52", wing area= 540 sq. in. , length= 39", float length = 30" weight approx 5 1/2 lbs.
2 Hitec hs-81 servos used, one for each aileron. These are rated at 26 oz torque.
2 GWS servos for elevator and rudder 47 oz torque each mounted underneath stab.
The plane was covered in Hanger 9 Deep Red and White Ultra Cote.


Flight tests were a success, this aircraft exceeded my expectations by flying like i was hoping it would, it is fairly fast with the Magnum FS-52 swinging an 11x7 or 8 APC. I think the bigger Magnum 61 or a Saito 72 or even one of the smaller YS four stroke engines may be good choices for more performance. A hot 40 two stroke would do well too. Landings are easy, not that fast. Actually it's alot easier handling than i had thought it would be. Flying inverted requires very little down elevator. The floats were my own design and have worked really well, although water rudders are needed for sharper turning on the water, they seem to be a good match for the plane. All in all this has been a very rewarding project plane. I think i just might have to build a bigger version.




Some more build photo links:
Pic 6, Pic 7, Pic 8, Pic 9, Pic 10, Pic 11, Pic 12, Pic 13, Pic 14


VeeBee 52, on the bench


Link to the RCUniverse build thread

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