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53" SB2C Helldiver

bpw823

Junior Mastermind
#1
Howdy everyone!

A few of y'all may remember an earlier build of mine as a 5' Helldiver with airbrakes, etc... College hit and most of my projects are in storage now. However, being a part of my university's chapter of SFTE (Society of Flite Flight Test Engineers) has helped me establish connections with new friends and a workspace for these sorts of projects. As others in our group built Tiny Trainers, I redesigned my Helldiver with some of the "Master Series" techniques to create a clean, simple airframe with a small ping-pong bomb drop to be added in the Fall.

It is around 53 3/8" in wingspan and will run on a setup equivalent to the oldest C pack. I don't expect this to be a faster airplane and thus don't want to push it on power. I haven't had the privilege of flying off of smooth pavement so she is to be the finest belly lander the Lone Star State has ever seen. The smaller size of the airframe led me to the decision of permanently mating the wing to the fuselage, assuming I can fit the airplane in the backseat of a car and simplify the structure. So after some nights spent in CAD and a day or two sewing together and cutting out plans, the Helldiver began to take shape.

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Beginning with balsa building techniques around a foam spine and a two-piece (top and bottom) wing, the build went clean and tolerances were quite pleasing. This is one of my first builds in a long time without the assistance of a laser cutter.

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After covering part of the fuselage with sections of peeled and curled foam, I did a test-mate of the airframe and decided to cut some clearance slots for the former-wing joints and the spars for attachment to the fuselage. These areas couldn't be adequately modeled in 2D CAD.

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After some more painful wrapping, wiring, and pushrod-threading, the airframe is looking more complete.

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I had a custom nose printed in PLA by a friend of mine, which, along with some fairings at the root of the wings, really complete the clean, sleek look I was aiming for. All electronics are in at this point and I am still waiting on a new prop mount for the Fall.

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After some quick cockpit and cowl-flap additions, the airplane is pretty much complete. This is the state it remains in on campus this summer, and I will be attaching the prop mount and maybe the bomb drop before the first flight in September. I am really pleased with the outcome and quality of this build and I am excited to see its presence in the air. Let me know what you think!

T's and G's!
 
Last edited:

willsonman

Builder Extraordinare
Mentor
#3
Liking it a lot but there are a couple of things I would change up. The very front of the canopy is too far aft. It should extend to the leading edge of the wing. I like the look of yours... it's very racer-esque but not right for the Helldiver. The cowl is also much shorter to the point where the cowl flaps extend. Again, this makes it look faster and sportier etc. but not right for the Helldiver.

LOVE what you are doing but the Helldiver is my FAVORITE aircraft and I know it very well.
 

bpw823

Junior Mastermind
#4
Liking it a lot but there are a couple of things I would change up. The very front of the canopy is too far aft. It should extend to the leading edge of the wing. I like the look of yours... it's very racer-esque but not right for the Helldiver. The cowl is also much shorter to the point where the cowl flaps extend. Again, this makes it look faster and sportier etc. but not right for the Helldiver.

LOVE what you are doing but the Helldiver is my FAVORITE aircraft and I know it very well.
Thanks! I did take a little less time to do finishing additions like the canopy and cowl flaps so I will be fixing those when we return to campus in a couple months. I know how much you love this plane so I'm hoping it will do it some justice when it flies ;)