Gallery: Sal Cal­vagna’s Award-win­ning Siko­rsky Bomber

The world’s only RC 1913 Ilya Muromets

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Gerry Yar­rish

The world’s only RC 1913 Ilya Muromets

In the world of RC scale, there are scale projects, and then there are scale projects—those scale air­planes built be­cause they mean some­thing spe­cial to the builder. Just such as a project was first un­veiled at the 2016 Westch­ester Ra­dio Aero Model­ers (WRAM) Hobby Ex­po­si­tion, de­signed, built, and ul­ti­mately flown by our long­time con­trib­u­tor Sal Cal­vagna. Sal’s Siko­rsky Ilya Muromets is an im­pres­sive 1/6-scale model of one of Igor Siko­rsky’s early bi­plane de­signs. And it is hard to miss as it has a whop­ping 16-foot wing­span. Sal worked fever­ishly for about 16 months to fin­ish his mon­ster mul­ti­engine bi­plane, and his ef­forts im­pressed the judges, as the Ilya Muromets earned him the cov­eted Best in Show award. Sal said that he wanted to build the model to honor one of the great avi­a­tion minds of the 20th cen­tury, Igor Siko­rsky. Al­ways think­ing out­side the box, Siko­rsky de­signed the Ilya Muromets in 1913, and pow­ered by Sun­beam Cru­sader V-8 en­gines, it was the world’s first four-en­gine civil air­craft. Later con­verted to a heavy bomber for World War I, it first flew in that role in 1915.

CON­STRUC­TION DETAILS

Sal’s model has an im­pres­sive 194-inch wing­span, and it is pow­ered by four AXI 4130 brush­less mo­tors. It is com­pletely de­tailed in­side and out, and most—if not all—of the hard­ware and at­tach­ment brack­ets are hand­made. The model is cov­ered with So­lar­tex and painted with scale-matched la­tex paint. There are 200 wing ribs, and Sal had his friend Gunny Bum­burs at Avi­a­tion Con­cepts laser-cut them. The thicker ply­wood ribs were CNC ma­chined, and they are the same scale air­foil used on the full-size air­craft, all fit­ting per­fectly into place. For the main spars and for the lead­ing and trail­ing edges, he used car­bon­fiber tubes. This al­lowed the wings to be built with a scale thick­ness while still main­tain­ing stiff­ness and rigid­ity, mak­ing the RC model struc­ture prac­ti­cal. The fuse­lage is al­most 10 feet long and is ba­si­cally a box struc­ture. It has in­ter­nal de­tail­ing for the cabin in­te­rior, and the com­pleted model weighs 45 pounds.

When it comes to as­sem­bling the gi­gan­tic bi­plane, there are 32 wing struts and 170 turn­buck­les to at­tend to, but this is where all the Ilya’s char­ac­ter comes from. There are no plans for Sal’s model, so he en­larged scale 3-view draw­ings to get the ba­sic di­men­sions worked out. As far as any­one can tell, this is the only RC model of the air­craft

in the world. For guid­ance, Sal uses a 2.4GHZ Futaba 10C trans­mit­ter and stan­dard sport ser­vos, with all the con­trol sur­faces us­ing pull-pull ca­ble con­trol. The four AXI 4130/20 mo­tors are fed by four Jeti 77 OP speed con­trols with four 6S 5000mah Turnigy Lipo packs.

SCALE HIGH­LIGHTS

To pro­duce the four scale Sun­beam V-8 en­gines, Sal made wood masters for all the en­gine parts and then resin-casted the de­tailed pieces. The en­gine blocks are made out of light ply, and when as­sem­bled, the AXI out­run­ner mo­tors used for power fit pre­cisely into place. The mo­tors can­not be seen when the scale ra­di­a­tors are in­stalled. For thrust, Sal uses Fal­con pro­pel­lers. The land­ing gear is scale and com­pletely func­tional, with bungee sus­pen­sions. The wheels are made out of solid 5/4 pine, and Sal fin­ished them so that they look just like the leather-cov­ered dual wheels used on the orig­i­nal.

ON THE CIR­CUIT

For the past two years, Sal has been at­tend­ing sev­eral RC events, both fly­ing and in static com­pe­ti­tion. Here’s the list of awards that Sal has earned with his im­pres­sive and unique RC trib­ute to Siko­rsky’s vi­sion of avi­a­tion: WRAM 2016, Best in Show Toledo 2016, Sec­ond Place, De­signer Class Toledo 2016, Peo­ple’s Choice Toledo 2017, First Place, De­signer Class Toledo 2017, Best in Show Sal also com­mented that he is par­tic­u­larly proud of win­ning the “Spirit of Rhinebeck” award dur­ing the 50th An­nual WW I RC Jam­boree at the Old Rhinebeck Aero­drome in 2016. This is where the Ilya Muromets went from just a great scale project to a proven RC scale model, as it flew ef­fort­lessly from the aero­drome’s run­way.

Sal re­ceives the Spirit of Rhinebeck award at the 50th an­nual WW I RC gath­er­ing.

The Ilya Muromets bombers were pow­ered by a myr­iad of en­gine types. Sal chose the British Sun­beam Cru­sader V-8 ver­sion of 150hp each. The dummy en­gines house the elec­tric mo­tors that power the model.

The Ilya Muromets was pow­ered by four en­gines, all re­quir­ing a mag­neto switch. The leather pouch be­low stored maps.

True to the full-size ver­sion, the 1/6-scale land­ing gear in­cor­po­rates a cen­tral truck that is wrapped by four sets of bungee cords to pro­vide shock ab­sorp­tion.

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