F6F Grumman Hellcat
Tim Knowles

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I believe I first heard about Jim Ryan's Hellcat models on the E-Flight list. Then the construction article was published in the July 97 issue of Model Airplane News.  I have been a fan of 30's and 40's era planes since I was in high school so building a flying scale models (I built hundreds of static models) of planes from that era was something I wanted to do some day.  I saved the magazine but I had not decided which plane to model until I saw one of the kits for auction on E-Bay.  I won the auction for a good price and the kit was now mine.

I had been flying Electric RC for a number of years and had built a number of kits and had built balsa RC models from plans and from scratch.  When I reread the construction article, looked at the plans and the kit; I could tell this was going to be a snap.  Nice foam wing cores, laser cut balsa, vacuum formed canopy.  You build the fuselage on a crutch, just slide the formers on the crutch and it holds them in place while you add the stringers and then the skin then you pull out the crutch.  We are not talking planking here just 4 big 1/16th inch laser cut skins that wrap around the fuselage nicely.  There is a nose block to carve and tail fairings.  My only deviations from stock instructions were that I used epoxy on the wing skins not 3M Super 77 (tm) and I used an 8 cell motor pack instead of 7 cells.

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I covered my Hellcat with blue Monokote (tm) and white Monokote (tm) trim much like one Jim built for the construction article.  I used a 6v Speed 400 (tm) with the timing advance 5mm, a Castle Creations Pegasus 35 Electronic Speed  Control (overkill), 8 Sanyo 600AE cells and a Master Airscrew 6 x 4 prop. Two micro servo's and a full size receiver.  With the extra cell and epoxy I was one ounce over the target weight of 18 ounces.

For the first flight of a hand launched plane I always like to get a test pilot.  My buddy, Joe Colletti, can certainly be trusted with the sticks for about any model. I don't trust anyone more than myself for the throw.
Ready to go, Joe gave it full throttle and I did a running toss style hand launch that gives you some feel for how it will fly before you commit to letting it go.  It feels good so I let it go, and it is away cleanly and climbing nicely.  Joe gets it trimmed out and does a roll and a loop and a few circuits and after 3 minutes I tell Joe to bring her in.

He brings her around and lines up on the runway and it seems to be slowing down nicely but when he tries to flare he said he just did not have anymore elevator...no harm done. We decided to move the CG back a little. I charged up another pack and again with Joe on the sticks...he guns the throttle and this time I just chuck it.  Off it goes into another nice climb, Joe hands me the transmitter and I fly out the pack.  It sure does look nice, moves out pretty good to.  I throttled back and flew around some at reduced throttle and do some low passes for the video camera.

I have since swapped the receiver for a smaller unit, added a pilot to the cockpit and a flux ring to the motor.  I tried other props but have gone back to the Master Airscrew 6 x 4.  I have also learned that it needs a firm hand launch and a little time to build up speed before you try to climb.  It was a little tricky to get a good hand launch while holding the transmitter but I have the technique down now.  The abuse of the poor launch with unplanned arrivals did not hurt the plane much.  I get lots of favorable comments from fellow fliers.  I am real happy with the plane.


Kit manufacturer                  
Wing area                            
Wing loading                       
Aileron and elevator

Ryan Aircraft (http://home.fuse.net/ryan/)
1/17th scale Grumman Hellcat F6F
  30 inches
  23 inches
165 Sq. inches
  18 to 20 ounces
  16 ounces per square foot
    6v speed 400 motor
    7 or 8 ea. 600AE or similar size and weight cells
Throttle ( Mini ESC with BEC),
Micro servos

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