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Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde /ˈkɒŋkɔrd/ is a retired turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner or supersonic transport (SST). It is one of only two SSTs to have entered commercial service; the other was the Tupolev Tu-144. Concorde was jointly developed and produced by Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) under an Anglo-French treaty. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.
Among other destinations, Concorde flew regular transatlantic flights from London Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York JFK, Washington Dulles and Barbados; it flew these routes in less than half the time of other airliners. With only 20 aircraft built, the development of Concorde was a substantial economic loss; Air France and British Airways also received considerable government subsidies to purchase them. Concorde was retired in 2003 due to a general downturn in the aviation industry after the type’s only crash in 2000, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and a decision by Airbus, the successor firm of Aérospatiale and BAC, to discontinue maintenance support.
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This is the 6th rudder I have built for my Binary 900 DLG
All of the previous versions were ultra light and razor thin, but they just keep breaking and or twisting. The last one was very nice, but it snapped at the edge of the glass reinforcing after a missed a catch that landed tail first.
For v6.0 I used the same shape as the last one, but I sanded a nice aerofoil from a thick (3mm) sheet of light balsa. I made the aerofoil with a right handed camber similar to the my big TopSky.
I laid a strip of unidirectional carbon fibre along the centre to give it vertical strength.
I covered the whole thing with the lightest glass cloth I have (21g/m2). This stuff is so light it is really more of a mesh than a cloth so the cover is not as solid as conventional fibreglass, but I figured it should provide the necessary shell strength if it adheres to the balsa properly. I saturated the cloth with finishing epoxy and then mopped up all the excess with paper towel before applying the cloth to the balsa to keep the weight down. I have found extra epoxy will rapidly soak into the balsa which adds some strength, but lots of weight.
Then I had to find a way to press it smoothly to the balsa while the epoxy cured. My favourite Sellotape wont follow compound curves, and I don’t have a vacuum bagging system so I improvised. I cut a stand the same shape as the rudder from polystyrene foam to lift the rudder up a bit. Then placed the rudder on the foam, laid the wet glass cloth on the rudder and stretched an industrial sized roll of cling wrap over the whole thing. Then a covered it with folded wad of soft fibreglass cloth, some newspaper and a heavy toolbox. Left it to cure for 3 hours.
The cling wrap came away cleanly and left a remarkably smooth finish with the glass adhering evenly over the compound curves. Only a slight wrinkle along the edge of the carbon strip.
Note to self, when wetting out UD carbon, make sure it is held down or under tension. Otherwise, the surface tension of the epoxy pulls all the fibres together and you end up with carbon rod after a few minutes!
I trimmed off the excess cloth with a scalpel then repeated the covering process for the other side. This side was smoother because I wetted out the carbon on the balsa with a brush so it would have less chance to shrink up before laying over the glass.
After trimming the second side, I painted a light coat of epoxy around the rim of the rudder to seal the edges of the cloth and give it a bit more ding resistance.
Then cut out the slot for the fuse and cut off the moving section and shaped the hinge area with a sanding block. Used 3 tiny pieces of plastic hinge material for the flexible rudder join.
Fitted it to the fuse with a patch of 57g glass cloth on either side and similar for the control horn. All held down with Sellotape. Nice smooth finish and feels very strong.
All up weight was 3.5g before fitting. That is about 0.7g heavier than the ultra thin v5.0, but it feels much stronger and much less twisted. The fatter aerofoil shape should also reduce the stall of the rudder on the first slew after launch and reduce energy loss.
Test launches were smooth and straight. Rudder authority is good.
An unintentional crash test smacked the rudder onto concrete and proved just how strong the new version is. Just pulled out the hinges and lifted a little of the skin. Easy fixed