For a long time now the BF-109 has been one of my most favorite aircraft. Prolly stems back to childhood when my father and I put together a plastic E series non flying model that hung in my bedroom room until I moved out. Naturally this was one of the first aircraft I decided to build upon realizing it was possible for me to do so. This was done in the dark ages of RC scratch building, last year before I even knew of Sketchup, let alone the benefits it could provide in the accuracy department. Never the less I felt as though this plane once completed flew much better, in terms of grace and shear performance than either of the two Horizon Hobby Parkzone warbirds I own. The neatest part of flying this fighter was the speed it was able to achieve due to the low drag profile, upon cutting the motor in a dive it would could scream past my head losing almost no speed. Quite amazing, the power from the motor I was using allowed me to get this plane to almost jump out of the sky when it finally approached stall speed. Increasing the voltage to a 4S A123 configuration provided even more amazing results.
The Messerschmitt BF-109F represented the aerodynamic peak of the 109 family. It was the choice bird for many of Germany's aces. Lacking somewhat in firepower compared to the G series, it was much more maneuverable and more streamlined then the E series fighters. An ideal candidate for an RC scratch build.
Construction of this classic was a very difficult task back then. I remember cutting a small pattern out of paper so that I could roll it up and evaluate how much it actually looked like a 109. I've got the basic 3 view drawings that i measured up with precise angles, dimensions, all to be redrawn onto the foam in a larger scale. What a complete mess they are. There was no way I could have ever expected anyone to reproduce this, as it was such difficult task making the now simplest part. Looking back it truly was amazing.
I was still learning a lot back in those days, for instance the importance of good batteries. When I first starting flying it I was using the same NiMH cells that came with my Parkzones. Great cells, but only capable of putting out about 10 Amps peak. Not quite enough for the motor I was using. It wasn't until I bought some A123 cells that the performance really showed, not to mention flight time.
Perhaps the most interesting learned lesson was how well foam can be repaired. I brought this plane back from the dead on two occasions, the first was the maiden flight, where I had to crash it to keep it from hitting something I didn't want. The nose was destroyed, but taped together better then it was to start with. The second occasion was when I was trying my luck flying under a soccer goal that had the net removed. The frame was made from solid wood, and ripped the wing off right at the root sending the rest of the plane in a ferocious flat spin as the wing fluttered off like a falling leaf. By far the most impressive crash I've ever seen, I only wish I had it on tape. Still the wing glued right back on, and after I replaced the servo it flew as good as new.
Retirement only came as I wanted the parts to build another, larger, German designed plane, the FW190. Hanger rash took it's toll on the 109, as well as a few rough landings. Things were growing loser with each flight. The last time up some of the tape that had been holding the wing together started to flap off creating an interesting landing scenario but I did manage to bring it in fine. In the end I decided that I wanted a more scale looking fighter then the old 109, and I am sure with the aid of Sketchup I can design a much more scale looking replica, that will not have the hanger rash the old one maintains. This fighter will find a place hanging in my garage to remind me of all the good times we had together.
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