By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by CML

Rob's F-86F NASA 228 research aircraft build

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
robk06/12/2019 11:03:28
120 forum posts
167 photos

screenshot 2019-12-06 at 10.42.18.jpegnasa 228.jpeg

This is the version I have chosen to model my build on. An F-86F that was used by NASA at their Ames research facility to investigate boundary layer control. This was the first flying aircraft they used (they did some wind tunnel testing before) and was in service with NASA from 1953-65. I have searched the internet and can find just one picture of this plane in a NASA history book from 1999 and its black and white! But the colours used by NASA are well documented elsewhere and some computer flight sim artists have made up digital versions, one of which looks pretty accurate to me.

This is my first PSSA mass-build so here we go.

Edited By robk on 06/12/2019 11:24:25

robk06/12/2019 11:11:29
120 forum posts
167 photos

I started a few days ago so here is the progress so far. I made the wing in one piece and the jig made it true (so far anyway!)


robk06/12/2019 11:15:09
120 forum posts
167 photos

Here is progress until last night. Waiting for some MG servos to arrive from HK today and will try and get them in over the weekend. Hinge blocks and spar webs in place added. I have a lot of clips!


Edited By robk on 06/12/2019 11:18:40

robk06/12/2019 11:16:52
120 forum posts
167 photos

screenshot 2019-12-05 at 18.48.04.jpegHere are a couple of digital renderings (paintings!) of what it might have looked like. The artist has decided two is better than one but there was actually only ever one aircraft with this scheme: NASA 228. He/she also left the gun ports in which NASA obviously removed - this was a civil aircraft! The big long spike at the front (presumably for airflow sensors) is also missing. Not sure whether to incorporate that on my model. It would have to be a knock element held on with magnets, and then it might not stay put in the airflow. Even so might be a bit dangerous in case of an accident...

nasa 905.jpeg

Edited By robk on 06/12/2019 11:20:10

Edited By robk on 06/12/2019 11:23:02

McG 696906/12/2019 11:29:27
3305 forum posts
1257 photos

Welcome to the Sabre MB, Rob.

Quite an 'exclusive' deco scheme... and indeed a truckload of clamps there... cool



robk09/12/2019 20:25:41
120 forum posts
167 photos

Took a bit longer than I thought but I finally decided on a servo installation. I like to be able to remove them easily so these will slide in from the underneath into balsa and ply housing. Plastic mouldings from SLEC screwed into the wing into ply through the balsa surface will protect the servo arms and hold the servos in place. The pictures tell the story really..


Marking out the servos.


Thin ply glued to the inside of the balsa skin. Hard balsa bearers (strengthened with cyano where the servo fits)


Outside of the wing. These are the plastic mouldings I am using.


Inside the wing.

Edited By robk on 09/12/2019 20:26:37

Edited By robk on 09/12/2019 20:29:27

Martin Gay09/12/2019 21:24:31
397 forum posts
255 photos

Hi Rob,

Those are the same covers as used on the prototype model.

They protect the servo horns just fine!


Martyn K10/12/2019 08:58:30
5087 forum posts
3681 photos

Where did the plastic mouldings come from Rob?


I like the colour scheme. Are you going to do the pointy bit on the nose?




Edited By Martyn K on 10/12/2019 08:59:19

Andy Meade10/12/2019 09:35:31
2775 forum posts
717 photos

Great scheme that, very high vis! Don't forget that you can use a probe like that for static shots, but don't fly with it on yes

Peter Garsden10/12/2019 10:15:53
1734 forum posts
1302 photos

Quite agree with Andy Rob. We have tried various pointy bits, guns etc for scale but they all get ripped off either in flight or more likely in heather landings.This was true of the A4 Skyhawk fuel probe, and the long Hurricane wing guns. Static display only agreed.

Good to have you along. Where are you building and where will you fly - any chance of you joining us in June at the Orme?

robk10/12/2019 20:47:28
120 forum posts
167 photos

Martyn - the mouldings come from SLEC - they come in small and large and these are small.

Yep - Andy and Pete, the giant spike at the front would be a real health hazard. As you say a detachable one is a possibility... I fly from the Orme but have only been to one PSSA meeting so far - the most recent one when I picked up my kit from Martin. Great fun. The June date is in my diary for sure.

robk27/12/2019 19:43:06
120 forum posts
167 photos

img_1602.jpegBit of a hiatus over the last few weeks due to a brief trip abroad and the Christmas festivities, however, its moving again now... covering the top of the wing after connecting my servos up and making sure they work (though I can change them if one goes belly-up). I have since done the shaping of the leading edge, made up the tip blanks and the ailerons and flaps. By the way - the different colour of the balsa on the top is my fault. I under ordered by one sheet what I needed for this job from SLEC. The last piece they sent me was considerably lighter than the others (all were supposed to be medium) so I had to go with what I had in stock which turned out to be a bit harder but at least both sides will balance a bit better.



Edited By robk on 27/12/2019 19:44:12

robk28/12/2019 16:02:20
120 forum posts
167 photos

Just finished off the wing including a first sand to shape. I have noticed that the ailerons on the full-size go to the wingtips although the plan (and my build as is) shows they do not. Easy to fix but I will put a question on the Gamma build site for Martin.


Graham Green28/12/2019 18:18:55
10 forum posts
4 photos


Check your WatsApp I Have put several pictures on it that show both configurations of aileron depending on which version of the Sabre or wing type

robk28/12/2019 19:58:38
120 forum posts
167 photos

Thanks Graham - so my chosen aircraft was an 86F and that aircraft was configured with both ailerons that reached to the tips and ones that didn't. I will go with what i have built.

robk03/01/2020 19:24:41
120 forum posts
167 photos

Here is the wing pretty much finished except for control surface connections.


... and so I have moved onto the fuselage. The frame/stringers took a bit of fettling to fit right. I had to pin it all down firmly to stop warping. Then onto the cladding of the frame. It took me a few tries before I got a system that worked. Some people seem to say wider planks can be used but that didn't work for me so back to 6mm wide ones. I tack these in place along their length with cyano then when I have a bunch done dribble superphatic in the long joints - seems ok so far. Took quite a time and a lot of glue mind. Anyway I will take it off the board now leaving the gaps on top and bottom, and do the other side. The gaps will be useful for fixing the two halves together (not forgetting inserting the various bits such as the battery box and wing bolt mount). I will fill in the gaps after assembly.



Edited By robk on 03/01/2020 19:26:10

Martin Gay03/01/2020 19:43:00
397 forum posts
255 photos

You are progressing well with the build Rob!

John H. Rood04/01/2020 16:32:40
271 forum posts
391 photos

Amen! She's already looking to be one GORGEOUS model. Hi-Viz heaven, evokes the high desert, Flight Test out there at Muroc Dry Lake, halcyon days!

robk12/01/2020 18:36:43
120 forum posts
167 photos

The second side of the fuselage build went much quicker and the planking job looks better too. Here are the two sides which fit together pretty good - only a little bit of fettling required.


Edited By robk on 12/01/2020 18:45:26

robk12/01/2020 18:43:49
120 forum posts
167 photos

Now to the insides. First up is the battery box and on-off switch. I know the gamma model has used a magnetic switch but to save twenty-odd quid and because I like to feel a click, Im going for a traditional switch concealed in the nose. Its a black switch and the air intake will be painted black inside so it should be invisible. I had thought of making the entire nose removable allowing the battery to be inserted and removed from the front but decided in the end to leave the main parts of the design intact. So my switch fits into the battery box with some tough semi compressible foam infills to protect it from the four-cell NiMH battery which will slide down into the battery box from the middle of the fuselage before I put the wings on. The switch will turn the battery on and off and I will also have an LED battery condition meter under the canopy.




Edited By robk on 12/01/2020 18:44:55

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Sussex Model Centre
electricwingman 2017
Advertise With Us
Latest "For Sale" Ads
Has home isolation prompted you to start trad' building?
Q: The effects of Coronavirus

 Yes - for the first time
 Yes - but Ive bashed balsa before
 No - Ive existing projects on the bench
 No - Im strictly an ARTF person

Latest Reviews
Digital Back Issues

RCM&E Digital Back Issues

Contact us

Contact us

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of RCM&E? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!

Find RCM&E!