Hawker Typhoon MK IB
After the success of my Hawker Tempest, I decided that I would build a Hawker Typhoon.
I called up Roy at Vailly Aviation and ordered the plans, cowl, canopy, and other extras he provides. I then called Larry at Precision Cut Kits and ordered a deluxe laser kit. Darrel at Sierra Precision was on tap for the landing gear and air stuff.
Once all of the parts and accessories were received I started the project. Originally this build was to be a personal plane. Soon after the start of my build I received an invitation to Top Gun 2009 and had to switch gears. I now had 3 months to create a show plane.
I started with the wing. This is a typical build but I added extra aircraft ply ribs to the gear bays and added tri-stock for strength. The Sierra Precision gear from Darrel went in as per the plans. This is very nice gear I may add.
The wing rigging came next. I used Hitec 645 metal gear servos to the ailerons and Hitec digital for the flaps. I decided that on this plane I would go with a light kit for realism as it has two big landing lights, one on each wing, and they would look good for scale detail as well as help on landings to line up the plane and look incredibly good. The light kit was supplied to me by Dino DiGeorgio at Meister Scale. This very nice light kit came with landing lights, wing tip lights, rear tail navigation lights and beacon lights for the top and bottom of the fuselage; all can be controlled from the radio.
After completing the wing I started the fuselage. This is crutch built on centerline of table. I like this method because it proves to be flawless every time. Due to the short nose moment space is an issue on this particular plane. Everything needs to be as far forward as possible to gain the correct CG, but if done right this can be achieved. I added 5 lbs of nose weight for balance and as you will see by the plumbing pictures it was a little tight.
Because this plane was now going to Top gun I now had to add all the scale detail including but not limited to hatches, rivets and a functioning side door. When I got to this stage I only had three weeks left to complete build and then it was show time. What a three week period that was! I slept at the shop most nights because of the hours I was putting in. As with all competition planes I do I draw the panel lines on the plane first. I then use a technique where I lay tape to the back edge of the panel line and spray a 1 ½ inch wide bead of primer to build up the panel. This may take several spray passes to reach the depth you require but it gives the best effect far. After the panel lines are done comes the rivets. I like to call it the rubber room job because by the time you’re done you could be certified for your own rubber room! Thanks Alex!!! I first draw the rivets on with a pencil and a tool from Great Planes, then come back with a bottle filled with aliphatic glue and place a dot on each mark I have made. This plane took me 38 hours to rivet. After being released from my rubber room I gave the plane a light sanding which unifies the height of the rivets and spayed the plane with base silver for a metallic like underlayment. The final colors are then added over the base coat.
On all my projects I use water based paint. Latex or such is cheaper, lighter and easier to work with than most paints and I like what happens when you weather it . Well we arrived at Top Gun on Tuesday mid-day. I spent the Tuesday finalizing markings and weathering. I was still not done so I spent the best part of Wednesday finishing up by this point I was physically burnt out, seeing double and in need of therapy. Thursday rolled around and I decided I would do a test flight prior to the start of the event to get used to the conditions. I had completed 8 flights in primer before finishing and getting to the event so I was proficient with the flying skills needed and the way she handled. We rolled out on to the runway and from the very beginning she did not sound right. The engine rpm’s seemed low so I made a common fatal mistake and leaned out the high end. She managed to get airborne but by the third pass I knew I was loosing power and the engine was over-heating.
There was quite a bit of cross-wind that day. I set up for an approach and as she settled in and went past me the engine quit. Being true to her war bird roots she fell like a rock. I kicked in rudder to stop a stall, which worked, but she came down hard and to my surprise the wing folded in two (see picture). The big question for me was what was I going to do now? I had already gone through static judging and received a respectable score of 96.8. My first round was the following day. I was heartbroken and was going to back out of the competition, but after talking with the great guys who had helped to get me to the event, we decided to re-build the wing. Once we had the wing on the operating table we realized the wing was broken into three pieces. The outer wing panel was broken just before the center and center section had also broken. After consulting with the other surgeons, I decided death by landing was not an option and went for major reconstructive surgery.
Great friends helped me work from 4 pm till 4 am and get the plane back to flying condition. The next morning was my first round I had no time for a trim flight or to see if my repairs would hold together. I was nervous and had no idea what to expect. Not the greatest flight but she got through it. It came to the last round on Sunday, “One more flight and it’s all over”, I said to myself. I set up and flew my best round of the competition. If I didn’t screw this up I may be up near the top.
The wind was howling as usual, with a bad cross wind. My fourth maneuver was an Imellmann. Yes, an Imellmann, with a very broken wing. I’m nuts. As I pulled out at the bottom there was a snap. I asked my caller, “Did you hear that too?” He replied, “Yes, do you want to continue?” As the plane was still flying I answered, “Yes, we’re going for it.” My next maneuver was an overshoot, followed by a landing.
She went by on the over shoot with the wing wobbling in the wind. As I came around for the last time the wing started to fold quite badly but held together. Kicking in some rudder I managed to hold the line for landing as she came by on what was left of the wing and a prayer. The wheels touched and she rolled about three feet before I called maneuver complete. “Yes”, I thought, “I’ve made it, completed Top Gun”. Right at that moment the wing snapped in two again and she came to a stop at the end of the runway. At this point I was definitely ready for the rubber room and I took a year off from competition for a break.
I would like to thank all my friends Doug, Rich, Larry, Tom, Dino, Billy, Tom and anyone else that helped me get the plane to Top Gun and helped with the rebuild. Thank you all so very much.
The plane was sold to George Hunter with a brand new wing and may still compete again at Top Gun. Good Luck George.