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Old 08-11-2014, 02:44 AM   #1
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Default 7ft Gia-Norman aka "Sir William" build

OK folks I have been meaning to do this for a while and I can't believe how quickly time has gotten away from me but here goes...

a couple years ago my best Bud Laine Stahr showed up to SEFF with a scratch buil creation he came up with in his mind that he dubbed "Norman". Norman got his name from Laine's wife Kristy. She said it reminded her of the calf called Norman from the movie City Slickers. We had a blast flying that thing at SEFF that year and dropping cow eggs from the bomb bay. Sounds weird I know but it was cool.

So move forward to SEFF 2103 and he shows up with a couple more and one he made for me in a red and black scheme that of course got named Bill. He was a bit smaller but has wheel pants and is way cooler than the others.

So that year we were sitting around the campfire at night having a few adult beverages and he says you know what would be cool is to have 7ft wingspan versions of these made out of balsa! Well one of our friends named Joel does CAD design and he says he can draw it up, another friend owns RA Cores and he said he could cut them out for us. So it took a while.... a LONG while for it to come together and I really didn't think it was going to but Laine called me about 4 weeks before SEFF this year and says it's a go!

Wait what!!!!

Yeah, when we got the kits we, seven of us doing an alpha build with no plans, only the 3D drawings, had exactly three weeks to get thse things done. Oh and by the way... this was my first kit!

So the day arrived and this 20lb box of balsa and ply arrived at my door. Oh what had I gotten myself into. my garage smelled like a campfire when I started unpacking sheet after sheet of laser cut wood. I thought no way in heck could I finish working 2 jobs, getting ready for SEFF, prepping the camper and everything else I had going on... but I did, almost. I got the majority of it done and took what was left with me. To my pleasant surprise the others were in about the same boat. We had three days of torrential downpours prior to SEFF starting so we spent a lot of time in my camper building, sanding, and covering. And we got it done along with the rest of them.

There were 7 total and 5 of them flew at SEFF, mine and one other did not get airborne. Mine was due to having spent a couple days in my camper sick as a dog and radio issue on the last day. It was ready but I was intermittently have one of the elevator servos stop working even after swapping them out. So I used my better judgement, packed it up, and started drinking beer.

So a couple months go by and my buddy Glenn comes down from Canada for Mason's graduation and we swapped out radios altogether going from JR to Futaba and go fly it. It flew pretty much like the rest of them, slow, lumbering and less than graceful but it flew.

So in the next few post I will post some pics and video. Hope you enjoy.

Oh and by the way, we won the best new aircraft award at SEFF this year with this aircraft. A pilots choice award at an event with over 400 pilots. Pretty awesome I think!

AND we got to fly in the noon demos too.

2012 SEFF Night Bowling Champion!
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:48 AM   #2
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day one... the full monty. and the first few pieces going together

Oh that is a full scale VW Karmann Ghia in the background.


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Old 08-11-2014, 02:50 AM   #3
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The first few assembly pieces of the tail section. The fuse was designed in two pieces and the wing in three to facilitate transports for those who have smaller vehicles...

Lots of clamps were needed for this beast also!


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Old 08-11-2014, 02:55 AM   #4
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tail section of the fuse ext to what we now call "Little Bill"

and the forward section of the front fuselage. Notice Little Bill overseeing construction..


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Old 08-11-2014, 02:58 AM   #5
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forward and rear sections of the fuse going together.

I did find during this build that I tended to glue my fingers together quite often.

I went to Lowe's for some more tite bond and found a spare parts aisle for this thing too!


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:01 AM   #6
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OK with that done it was back to the back of the tail to finish that part up.

I took one of the closet doors out of my Son's room to use as a building board, nice an flat and... well he didn't need that door anyway... Now I had a little harder time trying to explain to my wife why she could not make us any veggies for dinner a night or two...


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:09 AM   #7
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On to the wing. Like I said it was in three pieces a center section and to outer panels that has the ailerons located on them.

I was amazed at how well Joel designed this thing because it was going together like a giant erector set. Just about every piece was a perfect fit. There were a few things that weren't quite right and we were calling each other working out the bugs along the way. That was minimal though and it was really just a trimming of a piece or two here and there to make it fit.

With only having PDF files of the CAD drawings to build off of it really did go quite well.


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:16 AM   #8
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OK so this is an alpha build and basically a short kit. No hardware of any kind and we left to guess at what size wheels, landing gear configuration, hardware, control horns and all that type of stuff. The the other 6 guys building these beasts were getting these really big power wheels wheel for theirs. I planned on using wheel pants like Junior has so I had to find something smaller, much larger than any model wheels and weight was a factor as well.

So off to the thrift store I go in search of the right size wheel. found a kids push toy with the perfect wheels for 3 bucks. They are hard plastic so won't give at all and won't be good on pavement. That's ok though since I can always take off and land in the grass.

The give part I was worried about and later on you will see why.

Did the first mock up of the wheel pants too and Mason cut those of of coroplast for me. they worked out quite well in the end.

I ended up using a fiberglass signpost rod bought from Lowe's for the axle thanks to Joel's advice.


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:24 AM   #9
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So at this point construction of the air frame is mostly done and it's time to start covering.

Let me tell you this... a 10 meter roll of ultracote was not enough!


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:26 AM   #10
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I also had to finish up a couple more planes and pack for SEFF while all this was happening too.

I managed to get my new Shoestring ready one night in a daze...

and then we were off to SEFF, with a little note left behind for my co workers...


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:30 AM   #11
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So now we are on sight at SEFF and putting the finishing touches on it.


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:35 AM   #12
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All the Gia-Normans, Darth-Norman and Sir William in a LARGE group photo with some of the predecessors int here too, the original Norman, Bill and a new Bee Bee Norman.


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:43 AM   #13
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So 5 of these flew at SEFF, I flew mine early June, and the 7th and final alpha build was flow this past week in Texas.

All in all it was a crazy fast learning experience in building. I can say I learned a lot and I will build again now that I have the taste in my mouth of doings so. Nothing like the pride of seeing my plane that I built from a box of wood take the sky.

I will say that I will take a lot more time the next time around though... 3 weeks to build htis thing was nuts but the reward was worth it..

So here is the video of my flight. Like I said, slow, cumbersome and deliberate. But it is cool none the less. I powered mine with a 1.20 size Cox outrunner on 8s and a 20x10 prop. has ample power and flies pretty good. Ailerons are great for making it wiggle while flying in a straight line. A lot of rudder is needed to make her turn. He doesn't float in on landing very well either. Power must be kept on to grease it in

So back to the landing gear thing. On lading I popped off a wheel collar due to the impact. There isn't much give int he way the axle was mounted. a design retrofit, along with a few other things inthe kits that are available to the public now.


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Old 08-11-2014, 01:53 PM   #14
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Bill

NEAT!
Thanks for sharing!

Regards
Jimmy
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:22 PM   #15
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Nice job, Bill.


Paul
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:09 PM   #16
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I like it Bill ,kinda looks like a German foam desighn called a slowly . This one is Jurgen Bs slowly . joe


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Old 08-11-2014, 11:00 PM   #17
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Thanks guys

These truly were a blast to build even in the short amount of time we had to do it.

They do look kind of similar Joe, that is cool too.

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Old 08-11-2014, 11:52 PM   #18
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Bill I was talking to Jim about these when he got back from SEFF. He said the same thing it's a lumber yard in a box. I like the cow bells you can buy for the Gia Norman and the Be Be Norman. Been flying a few times with Jim and he likes to bring along the BE BE norman for some flights a it's little cutey that flys nice. I need to buy one of these soon.
Might as well post a link to were to buy them.
http://www.racores.com/LainesPlanes.html#GiaNorman

Here is a pic of the Be Be Norman flying at my club site.


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