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Saving a Giant Scale Top Flite P47

A look at the repair process

Text and Photos by Bill Rutledge

Posted - 9-2016

I got away with a 180-degree turn when my engine quit on takeoff at about 50-feet high. Unfortunately I couldn't clear the final tree and you see the resulting damage here.

All of the wing damage was confined to the area ahead of the spar. Had spar damage occurred I would have trimmed the ribs back about 3/32" on either side of the spar. I would then add a spar doubler on both sides of the spar ad would have glued a second rib to the existing rib that mated with the spar doubler strengthened with triangular stock.

Click the images below for a larger version.


Assessing the damage.


I could see the damage was ahead of the spar on both wings.


I know it looks bad and it is but it is very fixable as you will see below.


This is a pattern maker from the local hardware store. It makes duplicating curved ribs and other parts far easier.

Cutting replacement ribs is fast and requires surprisingly little fitting.

Bottom of the left wing replacing the leading edge with a doubler behind it. Much better repair than cutting and fitting a butt joint.


Removing the covering so I can trim the balsa with straight edges for easier replacement.


Replacement ribs installed, scrap balsa used at rear of cutout to support the sheeting. Also added a piece of triangular stock to be shaped later for the leading edge.


Some of the replacement sheeting installed flush with the retract mounting plate.


Remaining sheeting pieces fit and installed.


Top of the left wing, easier fix because the leading edge repair was already complete.


Top of left wing, laying out straight cuts. Small rib segments were made to support the leading edge ahead of the wheel wells.


Top of the right wing with sheeting installed and putty applied.


Attempting to save the stars and bars decal. Used medium heat to help peel them back.


Most of the sheeting installed.


Bottom of the wing filled, sanded and ready for covering.


Seam lines for the covering drawn out.


Bottom of the left wing finished.

Top of the right wing ready for covering.


Top of right wing done.


Top of the left wing with putty applied and ready to sand.


Top left wing done. The only evidence of the repair is a slight difference in the shade of the Aluminum Monokote.


The cowl had about a 1" hole in it. The hole is directly over the dummy engine mount so glassing it from the inside was not possible. Model Matrix epoxy from Epo-Grip was used to make the repair.


The repair taped and ready for paint.


After painting the cowl is ready to go back on the P47!

Of course this repair was a lot of work but the actual cost was minimal and far below ordering new parts, if they were even in stock. Even better is that the top FliteP47 flies great again!

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