SSE – Getting Close!

I made some good progress on the SSE. The last bit of covering has been finished, and the blue trim has been added. I am real happy with the color scheme, but the covering job itself I only give a barely passing grade to. Several dust specks are trapped under the covering, some minor wrinkles here and there, some scratches and rash, some dents in the balsa, and lots of places where (despite my best efforts) more wood grain is showing than I had hoped for. Oh well, I continue to learn and I am confident my next covering job will be better!


I finished off the cockpit with some black electrical tape for combing. I opted to forgo adding a pilot, mainly because I did not have one handy. The canopy was trimmed and installed. It’s not perfect, it was a little scratched to begin with, and I glued it on slightly off center. I intentionally left the back of the canopy a little long so I could trim to a clean fit. I trimmed close with a cutoff wheel on my Dremel and hand sanded the rest. While I got a nice clean fit, some of the sanding dust sneaked its way under the canopy, so short of cutting the whole thing apart, there is no way to get it out!

The motor has been installed. All servos have been installed, all control surfaces are hinged and installed, and the control horns installed. The kit supplied control horns install with #2 pan head screws. The sharp points of the screws stick up past the control horn backing plate, so I carefully ground them down with the Dremel.

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The stab braces, which I assembled and polished some time back, were painted with clear and installed.


I am replacing the kit provided tail wheel assembly with a Sullivan Products one as it’s a bit more rugged. I installed the required t-nuts to attach the mounting bracket during fuselage construction, but I need to file a small notch in the bracket to clear the stab braces. Instead of a wheel collet, I decided to try silver soldering a pair of #2 washers to retain the tail wheel to the axle (the kit instructions recommend this as an option). This was the first time I tried this, but it turned out to be quite easy (no pictures of the intermediate steps though).


So, what’s left:

  • Paint the wheel pants
  • Final polish and clear cote the aluminum landing gear
  • Landing gear installation
  • Pushrod installation
  • ESC and BEC Installation
  • Receiver installation
  • Set control throws
  • Balance
  • Fly!

Back at the start of this adventure, I really agonized over the motor selection. After going back and forth on RCGroups (, I ended up going with a 6S configuration and motor that will let me pull about 900 watts with an 11×7 prop, or around 1000 watts with a 12×6. Overall, this might be a bit more than I need, but how often do you hear complaints about having too much power?

The down side, though, is that I am coming in a bit heavy. Without the battery, I am pushing 4 lbs. A 6S battery will likely add another 20 oz or so, so all up flying weight is likely to be around 5.25+ lbs. About 1/2 a pound over Sig’s target weight. I’ll have at least 160 watts per pound (good), and a wing loading of 19.7 oz/sq. ft. and a wing cube loading of 9.5. On the high side of acceptable for a sport plane, and I don’t plan to fly3D, so I am guessing I will be OK.

I haven’t bought my batteries yet, but mockups with some weights are showing me a bit nose heavy – which would be a first for me! I am fairly certain that I will be able to get the balance right by adjusting the battery pack location, but worse case, I’m sure that any weight I might need to add to the tail would be trivial.

SSE Covering ALMOST Done

Not too much new progress. I got the right wing panel and the right aileron covered. One more aileron to go and I will be done with covering. Why leave just one aileron? Well, I found myself rushing with the right one, and predictably I am less than satisfies with the results. I have just enough red covering material for the remaining aileron, so I can’t recover the right one (and I have nothing left for mistakes on the left one), so I decided to call it quits for today.


SSE Covering Continues

I haven’t had much build time lately, but was able to get back into the workshop this weekend. I am close to being done with covering the SSE. I have to say that covering continues to be my least favorite part of building.

I covered the rear half of the fuselage bottom and sides with white Monokote and all went well, but the turtle deck turned out to be a bit of a problem. It took me three tries to get it right, and in the process of ripping off the covering on the first two tries, I ended up denting and dinging up the balsa at the top of the fuselage sides. It’s hard to see in the picture, but unfortunately is quite noticeable in person. I’ll add some blue accent trim later, hopeful that will hide the dents some.

What looks like wrinkles in the picture below are actually reflections.

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The rest of the fuselage and empennage covering went fairly smoothly. Despite my best efforts to vacuum and clean every surface (including the use of a tack cloth), I did end up getting a few dust specks under the covering. Ugh!!

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I got one wing done before deciding to call it quits for the day. So I’m down to one wing and the ailerons left to go.