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Thread: Starting a Ragwing Special

  1. #1
    Registered User Will Aldridge's Avatar
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    Starting a Ragwing Special

    2 years ago I bought a set of plans with the intent to build. Then I found a mostly completed project for real cheap but far enough away that I couldn't afford to go get it (took several months before i gave up on it). Then I fell in love with the Thatcher CX4 and bought plans for it. Economic reality set in when looking at aluminum prices. Then I decided to build my own design. Economic reality has again set in, which brings me back to the ragwing.

    I think one of my biggest problems was a mental block about building, thinking i needed someones help. I have got over that and I want to build. So this is basically the kind of announcement people make when they want others to egg them on. Haven't started yet other than dusting off the plans and figuring out what I need to buy to get started.

    One of the huge advantages of the Ragwing in my mind is that the designer specs Northern White Pine instead of Sitka Spruce. I may have to do a lot of sorting but I'm not going to have to spend an arm and a leg on real expensive lumber as well as shipping.

    Low build time is also a real strong point in the decision(500 hrs+). I haven't flown hardly at all lately and I miss it terribly. Hearing the merlins and R-3350's from the mustangs and Skyraiders that live 20 miles to the north makes that yearning even more severe.

    So wish me luck and feel free to give me a kick in the behind if you think i need it.

  2. #2
    TFF
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    Try to forget you are making an airplane; you are making the small part you are focused on at the time. Once you have enough of those to make something that looks like a big part then there is no stopping you.
    My airport had some flooding issues this spring; the planes got out but I miss the Seafury based there. Where I stand to watch, they use me as a strafing pick. 300 mph a wingspan away with a Seafury or P51 is the best seat next to being in one. If someone is with me they wont get so close. I miss that.

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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    I always liked that one -- I hear they are a little butt heavy though? Since I'm about 190+ That kind of concerned me a bit...

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    Registered User bmcj's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    Start building even if it is not your favorite choice of planes. A simple plane like the Ragwing will give you the confidence, a collection of tools, and shop space to build your next project. It will also give you something to fly while you build a more complicated project and something to sell later if you need the funds to finish your second project (or buy an engine for it).

  5. #5
    Registered User Will Aldridge's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    In regards to being tail heavy I have read Rogers comments on the subject (his was okay with 220lb guys) and after seeing some of the builder websites and seeing all the mods others have done I'm well inclined to build according to his plans. He shows a larger elevator to be used if building to ultralight specs and I think I'm going to go that route to give me a little more control authority if it ends up being a little tail heavy. My plane will be experimental(or light sport) not ultralight though.

    bcmj, I had a lot of those thoughts. I doubt I'll ever want to sell it but it may well prove the difference in having enough money build my own design.

  6. #6
    Registered User Will Aldridge's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    First question for all you who know more than me about building with wood. The plans are vague about what kind of glue to use. As far as I can tell the only reference to the glue is on page 5 and talks about a 2 part resin, but fails to mention a brand or product name. Any help is appreciated. I intend to start ordering materials tomorrow.

  7. #7
    Registered User Autodidact's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    The decision about what to build first is a difficult one. BMCJ's post (#4) is great advice, I think.
    "ARE FLYING WINGS THE ANSWER?"

    Story line on the September '48 Air Trails cover.

  8. #8
    Registered User bmcj's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Aldridge View Post
    First question for all you who know more than me about building with wood. The plans are vague about what kind of glue to use. As far as I can tell the only reference to the glue is on page 5 and talks about a 2 part resin, but fails to mention a brand or product name. Any help is appreciated. I intend to start ordering materials tomorrow.
    You will probably find as many opinions on the best glue as there are forum members. One of the more popular two part epoxy glues is T-88, but epoxies can lose some strength if the temperature is raised too high (generally not an issue with wood structures, but if you are keeping a plane parked outside in the hot Arizona summers, it may become an issue). Another option is aliphatic glues (typically known as "white glues"), which also work quite well with wood. If you built models, you would likely be familiar with Titebond (an aliphatic), a very popular modelers glue.

    I used T-88 with great success for wood-to-wood bonds when I rebuilt my Howard DGA-15. More recently, I used Hysol (spelling?) for wood-to-metal bonds in my Avid Flyer. I hope others chime in here with their favorites because there are many good glues out there, plus a few bad ones. Some (not many) advocate "Gorilla Glue", but if you do a search for that on this forum, you will find a lot of good arguments from knowledgeable people against the use of Gorilla Glue on airplanes.

    Bruce
    Last edited by bmcj; June 29th, 2011 at 09:23 AM.

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    Registered User skeeter_ca's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    T-88 gets my vote!
    Skeeter_ca
    aka. Darrell W.
    President - Volmer Club of America

    A goal without a plan is just a dream (Bill Husa, Orion)

    I strive to have my plane i'm building look as good as my avatar, which is Dan Dubois's fine example.

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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    Also, I think the tite-bond II and III are water proof (they are also part of the wht/yellow glue family), but one more than the other -- check their website. I've had hardwood joints literally rip the grains right out of the wood rather than fail.

    I don't think the epoxy should be too big of a problem though as we use it all of the place on both commercial and military aircraft. Also a lot of planeds are made out of fiberglass and epoxy or graphite and epoxy... FWIW

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    Registered User Will Aldridge's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    Thanks for all the input guys. In my research thus far West Systems and T-88 are the 2 front runners. A few more days might be needed to make a decision. I like the fact that West System can be used as a varnish. It would seem to mitigate some work in making off areas when varnishing before assembly. Of course I haven't checked prices yet(varnish vs West System) and I don't know what kind of weight penalty that will entail.

  12. #12
    TFF
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    T88 or West is the standard now; Hughes epoxy is good too. Stay away from Weldwood plastic glue which has problems although it was the thing in the 70s. Resorcinol Formaldehyde Adhesive is about all you can use on a certified airplane without asking, but it is very hard to use. bmcj were the local FAA accepting the T88 on the DGA easily?
    Speaking of DGAs there are two at one of the local airports; one nice flying one which was an ex air ambulance, and another just about to fly which was an instrument trainer.

  13. #13
    Registered User bmcj's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    Quote Originally Posted by TFF View Post
    T88 or West is the standard now; Hughes epoxy is good too. Stay away from Weldwood plastic glue which has problems although it was the thing in the 70s. Resorcinol Formaldehyde Adhesive is about all you can use on a certified airplane without asking, but it is very hard to use. bmcj were the local FAA accepting the T88 on the DGA easily?
    Speaking of DGAs there are two at one of the local airports; one nice flying one which was an ex air ambulance, and another just about to fly which was an instrument trainer.
    They didn't seem to have any problems with the T-88. I don't know if all offices would be as agreeable, or perhaps it had to do with the age of the plane. Often times, the FAA is more forgiving of change on vintage aircraft. Mine, too, was an ex-air ambulance with the extra door on the side for stretchers (the extra door hinged rearward and the center post swung upward so that the combined doors provide a generous opening).

    Bruce

  14. #14
    Registered User Will Aldridge's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    Now I remember one of the reasons this little plane intimidated me so much when I first bought the plans. Wood Selection seems to be the bogey man of building a wood plane, at least for the financially challenged. There is a supplier nearby called Intermountain Wood Products, and they have Furniture grade white pine and very convienently they can supply the correct birch plywood, at least the 1/8" and 1/4" sheets. I'm going to have to go elsewhere to get 1/16" but I can live without that for awhile.

    The really intimidating factor is the white pine. I have been reviewing all the literature on wood selection and I don't know if furniture grade (what they stock) will cut it? I realize even aircraft grade has to be carefully examined and it's probably a lot better than anything I could find at lowes, but I'm not even sure if I would be allowed to sort through their pile of lumber. i have been to the store but it's more of a warehouse that simply ships orders, and I get the impression that customers don't stop by very often. I need to find some reasonably priced lumber that I don't have to have shipped or the build gets halted again. I have left a message for my tech counselor in my EAA chapter. Hopefully he can help steer me in the right direction.

    I guess the question is really this; Is it really possible to find acceptable wood without going through a way expensive aircraft supply house? I've found the next best thing which is a supply house catering to fancy cabinet makers but I'm still wondering if that will be good enough? The way I understand it Roger Mann wanted his planes to be a little more within reach for the cash strapped builder which is why he spec's the white pine which can be bought from local lumber yards but still it makes me real nervous, and was one of the main reasons I didn't start building when I first bought the plans. I got scared off and it seems to be happening again.

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    Registered User pwood66889's Avatar
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    Re: Starting a Ragwing Special

    What you are looking for, Will, is the growth rings being about 1/16th of an inch apart. And straight. That and no flaws, such as knots, splits and such like. Try to look at wooden airplanes in your area. It doesn't have to be all wood; just the spars of an Aeronca Champ will give you the idea. And Mr. Kimbrel in Washington State sells his Banty plans - all wood ultralight - with a good "what to look for" in it.
    Or just go to the "bible," AC 43-13 on acceptable repair methods. You can down load it from FAA: Home and it will tell you all you need to know about aircraft wood.
    Finally = Assure it is drained well. Rain rots it out! That means holes in the bottom, made with a pencil souldering iron.
    Percy in SE Bama (used to be Portland, Oregon)

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