Diana 4 and Monerai: canopy frame and seat insert

While waiting for the Ventus 2c to come back from the paint shop I’ve been working on the Diana 4 and the Monerai. For the Diana 4 I started work on the canopy frame. First I applied good quality painters tape to protect the fuselage from resin spillage. Then I applied two coats of liquid wax on the area where the canopy frame is built. Then came a coat of thickened epoxy with grey colourant. Allow some time for this to cure until it’s less liquid but still sticky. Then came a layer of 49gr glass, followed by a five carbon rovings going around the entire canopy (staggered so that they end/start in different spots). Then I built up the rest of the frame using epoxy with grey colourant and very much thickened using micro-balloons. It’s not sitting in the workshop to fully cure (needs a few days) before I can sand it into shape.

While waiting for the canopy frame to fully cure I also built the seat insert for the Monerai, using an old mould for the SB-14. The procedure here is very similar to making the canopy frame. The mould is waxed. Then apply slighly thickened epoxy with grey colourant. Allow to cure a while, but it still must be sticky. Then apply two layers of 160gr glass, also with epoxy with grey colourant.

As you can see in the pictures below I didn’t wait long enough to apply the glass and had a few nasty air pockets in the folds of the seat pan. These can be easily corrected with surplus epoxy thickened with micro-balloons. Allow it to cure, sand to shape and it’s good to go.

Monett Monerai: building the fuselage pod

I’m only planning to finish the Monerai next winter and hope to maiden it in Spring 2024. Richi, our shaper, however already finished the mould for the Monerai’s fuselage pod and built the first pod. He also kindly waxed and spray painted the mould for me, and pre-cut the glass, so that I could easily build the fuselage pod in the mould myself.

I’ve built fourteen fuselages together with our “master builder” Georg, but never did one all by myself. A small fuselage pod for the Monerai was thus a great opportunity to try it out. Even with such a small fuselage it took me over three hours (even with three instead of the usual four layers of glass), not including preparations and cleaning up. I also made a few mistakes along the way, but fortunately realised and corrected them on time.

After leaving the pod to cure for three days I released it from the form. The result was much better than expected – just a small airpocket in the nose (where FES spinner will be anyway), the rest looks very good. I’m pretty pleased.


New Projects for Winter 2022-2023

I’ve been doing some preparatory work for new projects over the last few months already – in between other tasks – but I now finally have time to start getting into building mode. An I have a luxury problem: too many exciting project opportunities! Work has started on the following new scratch builds:

  • A scale 1:4 Ventus 2C (4.5m): A few years ago I went to pick up a DG1000 fuselage that I purchased from a retiring pilot. In his workshop there was this really pretty fuselage, which he agreed to sell to me for a few Francs. When I showed the fuselage to colleagues on the club they got all excited: it’s a fuselage that was built by a colleague in our club almost 20 years ago, from moulds and plans that are still around. In fact there are also still a few built planes around. This summer my mate Georg did a full revision on his and stripped out the landing gear, with the result that he got a really wonderful and surprisingly performant 4.5m glider weighing less than 5kg. The plane fills a “gap” in my collection of gliders, in the sense that it’s easy to hand-start on days with little wind. I’ve decided to give this build priority for this winter. I’ve built the wing joiner, have the rudder and elevator parts ready to build. Together with Georg we also cut the foam for the wings.
  • A scale 1:3.5 Diana 4 (5.14m): this one will be 2nd in my priority list, and I’ll be building part of it alongside the Ventus. More on that in a next post.
  • A scale 1:3 Diana 2 (5m): The 5m Diana2 was the first Diana2 model built in our club and as far as I’m aware anywhere. It was a huge success within our club, but was quickly overshadowed by the smaller 4.28m, of which the Chocofly version has become famous as one of the best slope gliders around. I’ve been wanting to build the 5m version for ever. We still need to build a fuselage for myself and for Andi. I’ve yet to decide if I will fit it with my Baudis 5m Diana2 wings, or whether I’ll build my own set of wings. I built a wing joiner last week, but the rest of the plane will be for next winter.
  • A scale 1:3.5 Monett Monerai (3.43m): My mate Richi has been planning to do a model of this US 12m kit glider for a while. It’s something very special. It’s also an easy build. Richi has done the plug for the fuselage pod (it’s a pod and boom glider) and is having the boom produced by colleagues in a professional glider manufacturer. I’ve produced the wing joiners for Richi and myself. I’ll work on this one on and off, depending on how other projects progress.

There may be one or two further surprises that I’ll report on as they appear :-)(I’m expecting something from the Ukraine, but the delivery of that is uncertain for understandable reasons) .