F6F Hellcat???

Discussion in 'Warbirds / Warbird Replicas' started by tayenate, Apr 21, 2006.

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  1. Aug 15, 2006 #21

    CAG

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    3/4 F6F

    The photos of the F6F belong to a gentlemanin NJ I beleive. I would have to pull out all my letters to him. He was a F6F pilot during WWII, and you may have seen him in a photo with him on ready 5 on the deck with a fire on the port quarter during an attack. He's in his 80s the plane was at the point of flight testing about 18 months ago, but he doesn't fly anymore. His kids weren't interested in the project, but I beleive the gentleman building the big F4U had some sort of agreement with him and the project. If you are really interested I will dig up my coorespondence with him. Those photos I beleive come from the EAA.

    Cheers!
    Chuck
     
  2. Aug 16, 2006 #22

    org

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    Mr. Al Sparling built his 3/4 Hellcat in CT. I don't know if it has flown, but I understand it was ready for engine runs. Mr. Sparling died about a year ago and I haven't heard what's happening to the airplane.

    I believe he flew the Hellcat in WWII, but can't confirm that.

    Does this ring a bell Chuck? I got this info from Jim Delaney who's in Iowa and knew Sparling. I didn't see your post until I started this one and am editing it now.

    Olen Goodwin
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2006
  3. Aug 16, 2006 #23

    CAG

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    Spoke with Al

    I spoke with Mr. Sparling about 18 months ago so it must have been just before his death. So we are speaking about the same aircraft and person. Jim gave me a lot of information about it and was the reason I was able to contact Al directly. I would have loved to just sit and talk with him abouth is life experiences. He told me about the photo off Iwo and I was able to locate it through the National Archives.

    I'm not sure what is to become or has become of his project but hope someone continues on with it. From my conversations with him, it should be awesome to see fly.

    Cheers!
    Chuck
     
  4. Aug 17, 2006 #24

    AVI

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    No Easy Project

    Hope this does not come across as if I were taking offense at an earlier posting since I do understand what Topaz meant. I'd simply like to set the record straight without ruffling any feathers. My apologies if I do come across a bit harsh.

    The man who was originally responsible for starting the Me262 replica project was the late Steve Snyder who was tragically killed in the crash of his F-86 a number of years ago. It isn't often that he is credited with being the man responsible for getting the project started, first in Texas and later having the construction transferred to the West Coast.

    I had a conversation with Steve shortly after he had contracted with the Texas Aircraft Factory for the manufacture of the 262s so I have some personal knowledge, albeit it minor, of the project. In the very early '70s I wrote and illustrated a couple of manuals for his new square parachutes, back when he was developing the Parafoil into the Para-Plane, so I'd known him since the late 1960s when I started jumping his Rogallo Wing.

    Believe me, Steve had no illusions whatsoever that the Me-262 project was an "easy" project. Not only was he an inventor, and skydiver, he was an avid pilot and most importantly, an experienced aeronautical engineer. He, of all people, knew that it was no easy project.

    There was absolutely nothing casual about his approach to building the replicas. For example, he had tracked down pilots such as Watson of the Whizzers fame in order to learn first hand about the flight characteristics of the 262. He wanted to be absolutely prepared for the initial flight.

    BTW, Steve wanted a two-seater, saying that the only thing he disliked about his F-86 was that it was a single seater. He regretted not being able to share the flight experience in the Sabre with another enthusiast.

    It's a shame he did not live to experience flight in the Me-262. To Steve, the Me-262 was the most beautiful airplane ever built.
     
  5. Sep 2, 2006 #25

    JJL5

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    Question for Orion

    You seem pretty knowledgeable about aircraft design. I was just wondering what projects that you've actually built or designed.


    ...just wondering.
     
  6. Sep 4, 2006 #26

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  7. Sep 4, 2006 #27

    Spodman

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    I missed this topic the first time around, and am wondering why a full-size replica of the F6F needs designing? I thort Grumman had already done that.

    I was speaking to somebody rebuilding a P-40N recently. The aircraft was fished out of a PNG swamp and will be entirely original except for all metal parts, fabric & fittings... He says he paid a certain sum to the Smithsonian and recieved electronic versions of the original Curtiss drawings, using these to replicate parts, assisted by using the originals as patterns when they exist or are in good enuf nick.

    It seems likely the same would be available for the F6F. It would then be much simpler to modify the existing drawings for practicality purposes (smaller/simpler engine, extra seat).
     
  8. Sep 8, 2006 #28

    Topaz

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    Ummmm... No sarcasm intended, but what's left?!?! :confused:
     
  9. Sep 8, 2006 #29
    Something called a "dataplate rebuild" I would guess. Nothing original except the maker's plates....
     
  10. May 24, 2009 #30

    flywulf

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    Hello all,

    After reading this thread, I am curious. Why doesn't an agency like orion design scale warbirds and sell the plans? With the power of the internet why can't groups of enthusiasts for a certain warbird, lets say a corsair, have the design work done for a 75% scale replica, in aluminun, stressed to +/_ 6G's and handle up to 800 HP. Same conceptual idea as the stewart s-51 as far as the replica is concerned.

    Hire out the tasks that are better accomplished by the pro's, for instance with the corsair. Have the wing center section skins, ribs and spars manufactured, without folding feature of course, and the builder finishes the easier fabrication tasks. It seems to me that the jobs that need to be completed by a professional fabrication agency would be the wing spars and landing gear. For the corsair example the complexity of the inverted gull wing would best be done by the pro's.The rest the homebuilder should be able to accomplish.

    Another thought the purchasing power of a group of builders could have additional tasks done, example, have production run of canopies produced. Contractor makes money and the builder gets it done for a reasonable amount of money and time compared to completing the entire process of design and fabrication by yourself.

    I like the idea....any thoughts?

    EddieE
     
  11. May 27, 2009 #31

    orion

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    We've actually covered this not too long ago but in brief, quite simply there is no market to speak of, especially considering the substantial amount of design and engineering involved in developing a complete plan set and instruction manual. There is a big difference between a couple of hundred of air-show attendees oohing over a prototype, and the small small handful who would actually consider such an endeavor. A company would have to charge tens of thousands of dollars for just the plans for the business model to make sense.

    A group of investors could possibly get together to fund said development but to do it properly the investment would have to be substantial in both, time and funds. Then, to complicate things a bit further, there is a huge difference between building a one-off prototype and getting to a point of being able to produce anything in support of the product.

    As far as the group of builders is concerned, you also have to consider whether the group is actually qualified to even try such a project. Are they all machinists or sheet-metal workers? Possibly something simple like a WAR replica but for 800 hp? You'd probably need a lot more outside support, and of course, that's more cash going out the door.

    Keep in mind that every fighter replica program to date has failed. Some have been supported by the remaining builders but virtually all other attempts are now gone. About four years ago or so there were over a dozen methodologies for manufacturing a P-51 lookalike, ranging from the near-ultralight to a turbine powered composite. Today I don't know of any active ones.

    The only ongoing programs are those that have backers with deep pockets or producers who depend on the same. But do you really want to pay half a mil for a kit?
     
  12. Apr 15, 2012 #32

    flywulf

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    Hello All,

    I just wanted to post a few more pictures of the Sparling F6F. A crying shame that it never flew.

    cheers,

    Ed 12LycomingR680DataPlate.jpg 08HellcatTailWheel.jpg 07HellcatMainGear.jpg 06HellcatFlaps.jpg 05F6FHellcatCanopy.jpg 04F6FHellcatCanopy.jpg 03GrummanF6FHellcat.jpg 03F6FHellcatTail.jpg 02GrummanF6FHellcat.jpg 01GrummanF6FHellcat.jpg 13HellcatAileron.jpg 09HellcatLandingLight.jpg
     
  13. Apr 28, 2012 #33

    Reldew76

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    Hi, here's my 2 cents worth. Fascinating thread first off. Why not up size a set of scale R/C aircraft plans? Here's my reasoning ( im a trucker so i just spent the last 16 hours and 1256 km contemplating this). Personally i would go with wood. Quality aircraft grade plywood for the formers and wing ribs. Stitka spruce for the stringers. You could save some money by purchasing a large clear spruce blank and ripping the stringers your self. For the fuselage I think a 4-6" spacing would be good and strong, with a 1/16th or 1/8th wooden skin, and maybe .3 ounce carbonfiber cloth Finnish. I'm curious to find out what others think of this idea?
     
  14. Apr 29, 2012 #34

    Topaz

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    A very expensive and time-consuming form of suicide. The scaling differences between R/C and full-scale are such that the structure would be unflyably heavy, and would very likely break up in-flight if you did succeed in getting it airborne.

    To do the job right (as in, it'll fly, safely), you'd have to either restore an actual Hellcat, duplicate one exactly (right down the materials used), or do a full redesign from scratch, including all the aero and structural analysis. There are no shortcuts in this regard. Anything less and you might as well get really good life insurance for your spouse, making sure it covers aircraft accidents.
     
  15. Apr 29, 2012 #35

    Reldew76

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    Just playing devils advocate...... I'm not saying copy the plans directly, but they would be a good starting place for an 80-90% scale wooden craft with a wooden semi-monocoque fuselage. You would have to remove some weight on the formers, and redesign the firewall area as well as the main spar and sub spar. But your basic design would be pretty close to scale.
     
  16. Apr 29, 2012 #36

    Autodidact

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    I've had similar thoughts, but it always comes down to just going ahead and starting from scratch. If, however, you just want to use the RC plan as a template for the outer dimensions, it might work for the fuselage, but you'll probably end up changing the wing and tail areas, the airfoils, etc. May as well get a good three view of the real thing and start from there; even then, you'll do a lot of re-proportioning. As far as the areas of the flying surfaces, they will be set by weight and performace wanted, which in turn depends on the engine, etc....

    It may be possible to expedite the design process in some respect, but you won't know how to do so without prior knowlege of the detailed design process. A metaphor might be that you can't play Jazz without a lot of experience and knowlege. Read all of the books you can.
     
  17. Apr 29, 2012 #37

    Topaz

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    That'd be useful for only one thing: Drawing the basic outline of the airplane. Which you can do much more accurately from drawings of the real aircraft. The problem with using R/C plans for even the outer shape is that you don't know the aerodynamics. You're going to have to calculate the loads the flying surfaces will create on the structure in order to design a safe structure - and if you can do that, you have to have a full set of aero data already. Might as well do the job right, from scratch.

    R/C airplanes are not full-size airplanes and full-size airplanes are not R/C airplanes. The two do not mix well.
     
  18. Mar 13, 2015 #38

    GESchwarz

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  19. Mar 13, 2015 #39

    TFF

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    I know the guy passed away, but I am sure it was more about the labor of love than flying it. And when it was in flying shape, he was probably too old to be safe and relive his youth as a fighter pilot. Why let someone else crash your airplane? Something that takes 30 years to build is hard to give away. There was a Fokker D7 replica built in the 60's. The guy who built it was a pilot but was not up to the task. A X-15 pilot and Astronaut who just happened to live in the same neighborhood saw him build it. After a couple of years of chatting, the owner lets the astronaut fly it 2 times or so, and parked it in his garage until he died. Its what happens to most collectable cars.
     
  20. Mar 13, 2015 #40

    Riggerrob

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    May I suggest a more detailed aerodynamic analysis before you exactly copy a warbird? Start by reading pilot reports of the original. Also consider that the square law and the cube law mean that sub-scale replicas quickly lose the balance of the original design. For example, the original Hellcat had a vicious stall. The wing just quit flying all of a sudden! According to (British) Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm test pilot Eric "Winkle" Brown.
    Simply applying modern knowledge of leading edge curvature could easily tame the stall whole retaining most of the original look. At best you will end up with a replica that looks like the original from a distance, but different airfoil sections and tail volume will tame it for modern, low-time private pilots.
     

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