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.

2 thoughts on “SSE – Getting Close!”

  1. Hi Al

    If you have not used it before, give Formula 560 canopy glue a try. I used to dread mounting canopies with epoxy, CA etc until I tried this stuff and it made it a breeze. Dries clear, cleans up well, and gives sufficient time to position. Its also quite easy to remove without breaking the plastic (I have done this first hand several times) as opposed to other methods.

    Looking good with the Hog bipe. I had a mono-wing that I flew the pants off of in the 90’s, and have another sitting in the box waiting to put itself together (I figure if I leave it in the cupboard long enough, one day it will sprout and I will have an airplane :-)

    With the lesson being learned with your RV4, keep it up high for your first couple of dozen flights with the SSE until you learn its habits.
    Its one of the nicest landing RC’ers I have flown, second only to my Funtana 40 which floats on approach like its in slow motion.


    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks for the comments (sorry I did not respond earlier but have not checked in with my blog in a while). I actually do use Formula 560 canopy glue … good stuff!


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