Southerner 60

Alan Stewart

Maybe it's my age, or a yearning for the simple days - the days of high-rise trousers, braces and felt hats - the days of my youth when I went through my awakening of all things curvy & elliptical wings and monocoque fuselages, etc. SAD!!

And so it happened. I was perusing the Ben Buckle Web Site one night, as one does, when my eyes fell upon Bill Deans' Southerner 60, circa 1948 - perfect I thought. I phoned Ben Buckle (yes he actually does exist!) to have a chat about an electric conversion. He explained that they originally used a Mills 2.4 and if I built it light enough, I should have no prob-lems. As the polyhedral wings might make steering tricky, he suggested I use a straight dihedral of about 10 degrees.

So the plans arrived. The wing and tailplane appeared to be com-mon with another Bill Deans classic, the "Super Slicker", and the draw-ings showed both the poly and straight dihedral versions of the wing, so the flying surfaces were built as standard. The most time consuming part was cutting out all the ribs, each one being different because of the elliptical planform on both surfaces.

The fuselage is of the crutch type, which can be built either vertically on a central keel, or in two halves (flat on the plan), brought together then stringered. This method saves ending up with a banana shaped fuselage! However, I should have taken more care when tracing out the formers and bulkheads from the plan, as the sizes varied considerably from the elevation drawing &&. which I later discovered to my cost. A very time consuming dismantling job resulted, followed by a rebuild! The standard engine bearers were kept to mount the motor and gear box combination, and so that access could be gained to the motor, the bottom nose was made removable - all too easily as I discovered on a subsequent flight when it went straight through the prop! Apart from this and the 'former' problems, all very straightforward with no changes to the plan so far and just as per the IC version. However, the mounting for the batteries was a different matter. As there was no room to lay the cell pack flat in the usual manner, a bit of head scratching was called for. I decided to build a vertical box over the C of G area which was fixed to the keel, with cooling holes in the front of box, and hot air exiting by way of the rear cabin windows. There was no way I could adjust the position of the battery box later so it had to work first time (it did, phew!!). This method gives easy access to the battery and leads.

The drive train consists of an old Kyosho Buggy Type 540 Race motor, turning an 11 x 6 ASP prop through a 3.1 gearbox, and she flew straight off the board as they say, with ROG's on half throttle and flight times on 2400 nicads of around 20 minutes.

The construction of a vintage model of this type is not difficult, but perhaps more suited to the traditional modeller - THE OLD BOYS! I found it difficult to keep light, so if you're tempted, take care& and yes, yes, I know they don't look like real aeroplanes but they are so SEXY!