C 130 Hercules

Project

October 26

     

    This summer of 2002 Kenny Howerton, our Multi-Engine man,  who has built a C-47 and his version of a twin and a four engine Combat Ace, thought we should do a C-130.  Jerry Mahl said he had a set of Skip Mast C 130 plans and the more we talked about it seemed like a good winter project.  We began this project in the late fall of 2002.  Charlie Howard, Jerry Mahl, Rich Richardson and Kenny Howerton committed to the C-130 project.  Doug McClain and Phil Hempfling helped with the cutting as well.  Dave Carris became a regular as well.  Working copies of the plans were made, sheets of 4"x4'x8' foam stacked in the garage, the cooler stocked with beer and we set a weekly Wednesday night foam cutting party.    When Mr. Mast said this was a college-level course in foam cutting techniques, he was not just blowing smoke. Several templates had to cut for each section of the airplane.   Numerous bottles of beer over sometimes heated discussions on how to cut each of the nine sections of the airplane.  The first series of cutting sessions I didn't get any good pictures.  We do have the first airplane cut out and we are beginning the construction phase.  This is a big project with many steps in the construction process and we have no written instructions to follow.  So there will be plenty of pictures taken as we progress.  A project like this is a lot of fun, several club members have come over, enjoyed the beer and help where they could. I suggest clubs do a project to bring the member together other than the flying field.

The blocks for each section was cut to the correct size before cutting out the part.  We decided that the center section of the fuselage would be the easiest section to start.  Because of the size of our foam blocks, we had to cut  top& bottom halves.  The top half we had to cut out the wing saddle before we cut the rounded part of the fuselage.  These two section will be glued together.   Of course the center of the fuselage was cut out for the cargo bay and to gain access to the servos and cargo drops.

The ramp section was next.  This proved to be a little difficult because of the different size templates on each end.  There again two block were glued together, with the bottom center cut out.  This part will require a little filling and shaping to make it look right. This section let us know what we were in for with the compound curved sections to come.

As with all the sections to be cut, we cut out the blocks for four airplanes before we cut out each section.   The nose section required three separate cuts, each time we had to tape the block back together for the next cut.  The final product will be sanded to shape using the template guide on the plans.

The Wing is cut in three sections, center and left & right outboard section.  The center was straight forward as with any constant cord wing.  The outboard sections were more complicated, with a leading edge and trailing edge taper and the bottom tapered to form the dihedule.  Careful measuring and placement of the templates is required.  As you can see, we cut a right and left outboard section from one block of foam.  Of course four times.     The Tail feather are next and the tail section that holds them to the fuselage.  I will post these picture when we cut them.

This is out first proto type we cut out and taped together, to see if we wanted to continue the project and to see the size of the airplane.   We are excited to begin the building phase.  We do not have any instructions on the building sequence so we have discussed this over a few beers to pick everyone's brain on the best way to accomplish the task.   More to follow as we work through the project.   

The hoz. stab & vertical stab & rudder are straight forward

The control horns are as determined from the plans

The leading & trailing edges are 1/8 door skin 3/8 balsa

1/4 sq. hardwood ties in the trailing edge 

1/4 sq. hardwood T &B with 1/8 ply in the center both sides tie  the spars  together 

The engine mount are cut out and constructed.  We used 1/8 lite-ply, we had to cut out parts for 16 mounts. 

We had the band saw jigged to cut out the parts

Checking the fit and alignment 

The MESS

Jerry's  plug for the mold.  Mixing the plaster.

Hope to make fiberglass nose sections

The plaster set up before we could get enough to fill the box.

More to come.  Will have to re-think the nose section idea!  The pizza and beer makes the Wednesday night get together more enjoyable and we do get some work accomplished.  The dogs, Max, Maggie and Sammy enjoy the attention and the pizza 

Jerry is very determined, another try at making a mold  

Laying up the glass on the male plug 

Looking good

Both halves glassed

Week later, waxing the inside of the mold

A little beer & pizza and Charlie lays in the glass

Kenny needs more glass as he lays up the engine cowl

A plaster female mold is used for the cowls

In the final product, I decided to use 6 & 2oz. glass cloth to cover the foam nose section and Kenny cut out the engine cowls from foam and I glass them with layers of 2 oz. cloth.  This proved to be the easiest way to do them.  I did the same with the wheel well parts. 
I am working on the main landing gear and nose gear mounting.  The photos will be posted soon.  This airplane has many sections to build before it all comes together, but we are getting there.  You have to understand we all are building other projects and keeping our stable of airplanes flyable.

Preparing the main gear

1/8 plywood stiffens  to the cargo floor

Stiffeners epoxyed and floor decked 

1/4 plywood plate for landing gear wire

Tail section strengthened with plywood

Cargo ramp & Door  & Push rod tubes

4-40 rods operate the control surfaces

Nose gear box, servo y'ed to rudder control

The box is epoxied in place

A nose gear door to be added later

The wing is ready for sheeting, that's the next step, wheel pants, fin & rudder

You can see we are trying to vacuum form the engine cowls.  We are trying to work out the best options

Engine cowling plug shaped from foam

First layer of glass, 

Engine wing mount, may try to use vacuum forming on final 

In the end I made 4 cowls and removed the foam inside the fiberglass

Ramp & Door ready to sheet

Trial fit of the engine cowling

Beginning the sheeting of the fuselage

The nose is glassed with layers of 2 oz. cloth & sanded

The hoz stab glued in place, voids filled

Wing saddle is formed & shaped

4 dowels from the bottom add strength

Wing fairing ready to sand to shape

Wheel well pant glued, shaped & glassed

Fixed gear is bent to correct height & mounted

Fitting the cowl to the engine, the red are cut lines

The up part of cowl will be epoxied to the wing

The cowl can be removed for access to tank & servo

This should be easy adjustments to the engine

Now the final stages

This the top half of the fuselage 

The glass is worked almost around to the bottom

This is the first night glassing

Night 2, glass on fuse trimmed & sanded

Then tail surfaces, elevators & rudder are glassed

All engine cowl cut out made, engines mounted

All glassed ready for the paint, servos mounted in place

Servo linkage set up on 4 servos, 1 for each engine

Wiring harness made,  2 Aileron, 2 Flaps & 4 engine servos 

First coat of primer

Will continue the painting should fly end of Sept

Base coat of paint on windows & doors installed

Again more work with 800 sandpaper

Now ready for the clear coat

Engine installed, fuel tanks & plumbing installed

All servos installed, think about it where to put the switch

All systems in place total dry weight 22 1/4 lbs.

It's 21 Sept. 04, it will fly before the month is out.  I'll post the picture of the maiden flight.  Kenny's 130 should be ready soon.

Sept. 29th.  The no. 1 engine was restarted and another high speed taxi test.  Once it reach speed I pull back gently on the elevator, much to my surprise she lifted off.  I had to quickly decide, climb out or pull back power.  I chopped the power and it stopped about 3' from the south fence.  The airplane wanted to fly but I had not done the final balancing or centered the control surfaces.  The usual Wednesday night crew was on hand with the pizza & beer.  Jerry pushing for to me to fly it, I am confident she will fly now.   I said the C-130 would fly before the end of September and it did.  Granted it was only 25' & 4' high but it did fly and no damages done.   It will take off from our field but landings may be a problem until I can practice using the flaps to slow it down.  Farther test flights will done at Medford airport.

The first flight was made at Medford Airport Oct. 10th.  I had Joe video tape the flight but forgot to have still shots taken.  Engine cowlings removed for ease of adjustments.  First takeoff was off the runway and landed in the grass, only needed elevator trim for stable flight.  Lost #1 engine, no flight control problems, touch down was easy, trainer like.  Second flight takeoff on the grass, plenty power, flight pattern just above 1/4 power, landed all 4 turning.  I realized further flights will be at our home field.  These flying shots are at our home field, Oct 16.  Kenny did a great job capturing these flying shots on the third flight.  I have made seven flights so far without any major problems, lost an engine on climb out on one flight, landed no problem.  I am still adding detail markings to the airplane, then this project is complete.  It is fun to fly and looks great in the air, maybe I will make it airdrop qualified.  We have had almost 2 years of work on this project and it has been fun.  My 3 dogs love Wednesday night pizza, they wait at the door for the guys to show up!  I hope to have pictures of the other guys planes in the air soon, Kenny's 130 is the closest to being ready for flight..  I am so happy that I'm now finished with this airplane!
A SAD Day 

The pictures speak for themselves.  The last air show of the season, Fairview, a bitter cold overcast day.  This airplane had more than a dozen good flights before this show.  There is always a reason why a proven airplane crashes, you just have to determine the cause.  In this case, I think it was the connector pins on the battery.  When I connected the quick charger to top off the battery, no light.  I removed the wing, battery and connected it directly to the battery, still no light.  I discovered the banana plug on the charger was not making good contact.  Fixed that and charged the battery.  In plugging in the battery to the charger, I saw that one of the pins had slipped out of the connectors a little.  I reset the pin and installed the battery back in the airplane.  Maybe when I connected the battery to the switch harness it worked free again.  I'll never know for sure this was the cause.  After flying the pattern three or four laps as I turned down wind I lost radio control.  Kenny, my spotter, said the airplane flew another 100 yards straight & level after losing signal before spinning nose down into the ground.  So where does the 130 go from here.  The fuselage is repairable but the wing is another matter.  The center section of the wing will need to be replaced.  Hopefully I can save from engine cowlings out.   It is not ready for the trash bin yet!      

     Second C-130, Kenny Howerton is almost finished with his Coast Guard 130.  Here are the latest pictures, the windows and door outlines are in progress.  First flight should be mid or late April.  Kenny did a fine job on this airplane, in fact I am looking at rebuilding the crashed 130. 

 

 

 

 

Kenny successfully flew his C-130 April 2, 05.  The flight was uneventful, all engines remained running, just a little trim changes.  Kenny's comment was it flys like a trainer or my 4 engine combater.   At a distance the white airplane is a little hard to see, but it is a beautiful sight passing low level full bore down the runway.  First landing was made without flaps,  he has been experimenting  with adding flaps on landing and take off.   Repairs/reconstruction has begun on my 130, hope to have it flying by the end of June.