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Bird of Time Balsa Kit Build Thread

TexMechsRobot

Posted a thousand or more times
#1
This will be a thread to document my build on the Dynaflight Bird of Time balsa build. They sell and ARF version as well but I love building balsa and wanted the experience of constructing this plane as it was originally designed. I have intended to convert the plans to electric power from the start. The ARF comes with BB's in the nose for ballast and has an AUW of about 60 oz and the balsa instructions tell you to replicate this to get the AUW of the build up kit to between 52-70 oz depending on requirements. Since ballast is still required for the kit, adding electric power seems like a no-brainer.

I spent a TON of time researching power requirements for the BoT. In every case I can remember, people are converting the ARF version while I couldn't find anyone specifically describing converting the balsa kit. In my research, I ran across some videos by Ben Jones who runs RCAirMods.com. He has researched the conversion of the BoT ARF extensively and even designed and sells parts to make that conversion seamless. I felt that the workmanship of his product would make my life easier and require less mistakes on my end to figure things out. So I placed an order for the motor, battery, spoiler kit, servo trays, ESC, nose adapter, and prop/spinner assembly. And this is where I have to give a compliment to Ben.

Through a brief email conversation, he realized that I was using his parts to build the balsa kit and not converting the ARF. This concerned him because the parts weren't designed for this and haven't been tested to his knowledge. So he created a 6 minute unlisted YouTube video to walk me through each part I ordered and how he thought their design might affect my build. Most of the time he wasn't sure since he hadn't yet tried it himself and he took the time to share his reasons behind the design of his parts so that I could make an informed decision about whether or not to continue with my order. Well, I knew that his parts weren't designed for the balsa kit but I also know that they are well made and that I have some skill when it comes to building. I believe that I can use what he has created to get a little further ahead than if I had to start with nothing except ideas.

So, I ordered those parts (minus one unnecessary jig) and those should be arriving soon. The real issue, I can't start building this just yet! I have two plastic model kits that I'm working on and need to finish first. I expect that I should wrap those up by the end of May or sooner and then I can begin building this bird. There won't be much activity on this thread until then so subscribe if you want to know when it becomes active again. I plan to post ton of pictures and detail the inclusion of Ben's parts into the balsa build.
 

Joker 53150

A thousand pints of lite.
Mentor
#2
I do love the BoT design! It's been on my "must-have" list for quite a while and I recently won an auction that included both the kit and ARF. Like you, I'm planning to do the upgrades from Ben to add electric power. His products look well designed and effective. I'm usually all about the balsa-build, but in this case the stock design and colors are simply perfect, and I'd hate to mess with perfection!

And a quick shout-out to Willsonman for letting me know about the auction, as well as picking up the winnings for me, as he was local to the auction and about 800 miles closer than me!
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#3
Nice Choice! From what I've read, Dave Thornberg was a somewhat recent convert to the "Lead sled" school of thought when he designed her -- heavy so she can be fast outside of lift, efficient so she can climb well once in it -- and really set the bar high with this classy bird.

Looking forward to the build log :)
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#4
I am really looking forward to this thread! Finishing current projects before starting another? I really should try that sometime. LOL
Sounds like the guy who made the power conversion is a top notch dude! If I ever acquire a BoT, I'll know where to go for power.
 

JimCR120

Site Moderator
#8
Gotta love them serene soarers. It's big, really big. Will the wings come apart? I'm a fan of big planes but when it comes to transporting them, not so much.
 

Joker 53150

A thousand pints of lite.
Mentor
#10
The wing breaks down into 3 sections, more if you land it vertically. In the pic I posted note the center section of the wing where leading and trailing edges are parallel - that's one section, and you can see where the outer panels attach to the center.
 

TexMechsRobot

Posted a thousand or more times
#12
Hah!

I did know the size before I bought it but seeing it in scale.....I didn't really put the 118" into perspective and I know my wife didn't. Any chance that Willsonman is shorter than average? Like 3' or so?
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#14
That thing is beautiful! Just tell your wife it's the new decoration for the ceiling...I think my wife would be concerned too...
 

jsknockoff

New member
Mentor
#16
Nice Choice! From what I've read, Dave Thornberg was a somewhat recent convert to the "Lead sled" school of thought when he designed her -- heavy so she can be fast outside of lift, efficient so she can climb well once in it -- and really set the bar high with this classy bird.

Looking forward to the build log :)

I've been reading through some Build logs on the BoT and it looks like almost everyone practically recuts the kit using much lighter stock. I don't have a lot of experience with sailplanes besides old school floaters but it makes me beg the question, wonder how big of a difference it would really make to the sport flier? Some builds have some pretty significant weight taken out.
 

TexMechsRobot

Posted a thousand or more times
#17
All of the build I saw that removed wood were several years ago. I have read somewhere that post 2012 or so, the kits have much better wood in them. I don't really know enough about wood selection to be able to confidently do better than what comes in the kit. I plan to just build it with the materials provided. I'm not looking to compete with it so the differences shouldn't matter to me too much.
 

jsknockoff

New member
Mentor
#18
I'm kinda on the same page as far as what I would like the finished product to do. In my case we have very few days that are wind free so a little extra weight for penetration may be a good thing. Are you planning to add any additional features to the plane (flaps, spoilers)?
 

TexMechsRobot

Posted a thousand or more times
#19
I bought the flaps/spoilers kit from RCAirMods.com and plan to install those but only use the spoilers. They are built for the ARF wing so I may have to make some modifications but we'll see.

I'm actually really close to finishing the projects that were holding me from starting this. There's a decent chance that I begin working on this within 2 weeks.
 
Last edited:

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#20
I would love to see the wings when your into the build. Maybe Dana and I could stop by for a visit in a month of so when your into the build? I am trying to soak up as much info before I start my balsa build. I'm just finishing building my magnetic build system/fixtures and will put somd pics up when done. But, I dont think I will start a balsa build for a while as we need to get busy on some remodeling projects first.