Great Planes PT-40 Trainer
My first serious build was a Great Planes PT-40 trainer that I built when I first got into the hobby. I chose to build it with the "A" style trainer wing dihedral which I am sure helped me survive more than once. Unfortunately it didn't help me survive EVERYYHING as I was beginning my flight learning. I still love the plane. It has an old OS FS-48 4 stroke engine I got off eBay so it sounds good, looks good and is easy to fly. I've been thinking for a while I should build another wing using their "B" style or what they call the sport wing. So a number of months ago I ordered one and it has been sitting in the box under my bench since. I don't know if it is the "perfect trainer" as they claim, but it is a good plane that I would recommend to anyone wanting to fly a glow powered plane for reasonable cost AND want to build it yourself. I don't think you could mess up this one!
2015-08-28 I flew the PT-40 today and it ran perfectly, as it has for several years before. Amazing what a little split in a fuel line can do!
2015-08-27 In my flying season report of 2015-08-05 I told about the engine quitting shortly after takeoff on the second flight of the PT-40 on that day. Damage was minimal but it wasn't until today that I got around to trying to find the problem. It was puzzling as this plane and engine have been completely dependable for a couple of years. Well when I fired it up on the test stand today I noticed two things. 1) it would be running perfectly and then just quit! It always started easily and might run for quite a bit then quit. 2) Playing with it I became aware the raw fuel was blowing back over the plane, not a lot but some which is unusual. Upon inspection I found that the fuel tube to the carburetor had a crack in it just above the nipple on the carburetor. I cut that off and all is well! So, need to pay attention to little details like that I guess! I patched up the few wing punctures and am all ready for flying on Saturday if the weather holds out.
1/1/15 Today, with the House of Balsa T-6 Texan hanging on the wall waiting for flying season, the Laser Design Services (LDS) short kit Fokker V.23 also ready to fly and the LDS Cessna 170 just about wrapped up I decided to open the PT-40 wing box. The result? The basic wing halves are built waiting to be joined. I have to say, after building the House of Balsa kit (an older one I got off eBay), the short kit Fokker and fussing with the Cessna, all of which I very much enjoyed, I am very impressed again with this Great Planes kit. The material is die rather than laser cut but even so everything was "perfect" and went together very easily. The instruction book is to die for. I remember being impressed with the manual on the first build when I had almost no experience. Now, having gained a bit of experience I have great respect for the work that went into the design and assembly of this kit. Its fun to let "them" do all the thinking and just build! Kudos to Great Planes!
1/30/15 Well completed the wing except for covering. Undecided about colors and pattern. Want to keep it simple but also want it to look nice. I've enjoyed building this Great Planes kit wing. Still impressed with the design and construction. Since my airplane factory and ham radio shack and work computer are all in the same room I can go from one to the other. Today I had my ham radio turned on and whenever a call came I would drop everything and go answer. Just finished answering a CQ in CW from a station in Norway. That was fun. Good strong signals on both ends on the 12 meter band.
3/13/15 The wing is finished. All that remains is to fly it and with the weather remarkably warmer (in the 50's plus) that shouldn't be too long.
5/16/15 Took the PT-40 to the flying field today for its first flight with the new wing. After an embarrassing mishap trying to take off (the elevator was trimmed down so it wouldn't lift off!) got it into the air. It initially wanted to turn left and climb sharply but managed to get that trimmed out. After that it flew very nicely. The lower dihedral wing really makes a difference. The trainer wing gives it a strong self leveling tendency so that in turns you have to keep giving it aileron input to keep it in the turn. This "sport" wing almost entire eliminates that tendency. That characteristic is so different that it took me a few minutes to "settle in" but once i did I really like the way it flies.