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Author Topic: Piper PA-38 Tomahawk short kit build  (Read 83 times)

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Offline Wingnutz

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Piper PA-38 Tomahawk short kit build
« on: February 14, 2019, 04:42:15 pm »
Although I left the GTA a couple of years ago, I didn’t leave TEMAC completely and like a bad penny, still show up for a few events. I didn’t stop building or flying models either and thought this build might interest a few TEMACers.
The Real Thing
In the 1970’s and 80’s Cessna was slowly developing a stranglehold on the two seat GA trainer market with its 150/152 model. In an effort to develop a competitor, Piper surveyed thousands of flight school CFIs. “Give us an aircraft that spins and handles like a heavier aircraft” was the reply. Armed with this advice, Piper engineers designed the Tomahawk...be careful what you ask for, because, spin it did and recovery demanded a technique more like a larger airplane, and unlike the gentler Cessnas. The aircraft earned a reputation and a nickname...”Traumahawk” for its stall/spin characteristics. The debate over whether poor design or poor pilot training is to blame is posted on many websites. Only 2400 ish we’re produced but there are some fiercely loyal supporters who claim it’s a better trainer than a 152. Certainly it has more room in the cockpit!
The Model
No Tomahawk BNFs, PNPs, ARFS or full kits out there, airplane with a reputation...so,...why did I choose to build the model? For better or worse, I recently became half owner of a full size 1982 Tomahawk II. I can’t fly it until the weather improves and the other part owner and I pick it up from Miramichi NB.
In the meantime, I found a thread on RCGroups, ordered a laser cut short kit and started building while I’m on vacation here in Florida.
It’s fairly small at 41” ws, but that’s a good thing, as I’ll have to get the partially completed model in the car for the trip home at the end of the month.
The build
No workshop and only my field box tools (I’ve done a bit of RC flying with the local club) have made it a challenge, but I’ve found a great LHS (Phil’s) and scrounged andcut up a bit of drywall from the renovation in the unit above ours, to build on. The Mansell short kit from Laser Design Services in Texas is pretty complete and has gone together like a dream. In two days, I’ve built the work surfaces and framed up the fuse, the stabs, the elevators and the rudder.
Couple of interesting departures from the norm for a build this size.
Steerable Nose Gear
I was dreading this, having struggled with the nosegear on my Durafly Vampire while flying here, but the model and the LHS introduced me to DuBro’s Steerable Nose Gear 1/2A size. Slick, simple solution..gets really easy when retracts are out of the picture!
Elevator Drive for T-tail
Mounting a servo on the fin or using pushrods are pretty much out of the question for this model, so the elevators are driven with a Sullivan cable  which runs through a channel in the fin. Having built three t-tailed Tutors, this wasn’t new to me, but has anyone come up with a good method to attach a control arm to the torque rod that connects the elevators? LMK!
I’ll post as I build, hopefully finishing up with a photo of the model together with the full size.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 10:47:14 am by Wingnutz »


Offline piker

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Re: Piper PA-38 Tomahawk short kit build
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2019, 01:14:36 pm »
Hey Bill!  I like that plane.  It's cute.   ;D