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Spirit of SAM "Jabberwock" Construction Project Session #1

By Tommy Gray
AMA 17063


After just finishing up a new Gollywock for Spirit of SAM, I decided that though it looks great,  it is just too heavy.  It flew like a rock, hence the name we gave it, "GollyRock"!!  Well, last year I placed 5th in the champs with my Chuck Hollinger "Cruiser" and it flew, getting a few decent numbers, but it too was a little heavy and would never be truly competitive. 

My first thought was that since I damaged it a little on the last flight at the 2009 Champs I would just tear off the Polyspan from the fuselage, and try to lighten it up as much as possible, and reuse it.  After stripping it and repairing it, it became painfully obvious that I have built it well and there was nothing I could do to trim a couple of ounces off it.  I then decided that it was a lost cause, and since the SOS event is limited to very heavy NiCd batteries and the weight is killer for the available gear (readily available gear), at least for now, it was not worth the effort, as only a few guys have the hardware to build one, and have it perform well enough to win...and that hardware was pretty much obsolete and no longer available (Whew! What a long sentence!!  My High School English teacher would not be happy!!).  I have spent the last 7-8 months trying to find an ESC that would work with my brushless motor, and still work on the 4.8V NiCd to no avail.  The NiCds too, are getting as scarce as hen's teeth to find, as there is only about one vendor left that will still supply decent cells!

I had given up on SOS and was planning to build a plane for Electric Wakefield, which has much better rules, allowing LiPo batteries of your choice, and a couple of choices for motors, etc.  Hardware for it is everywhere, so that was what I was going to do.

About that time I was commenting to Jack Hiner, a consistent SAM winner, that I was giving up on Spirit of SAM out of frustration trying to find gear and not being able to build one that would be competitive as a result.  He immediately said "Don't Do It".  He graciously sent me some leftover gear, to try to help out my Gollywock, etc., and I decided that I might stay with it.  I put Jack's motor on the Gollywock but it was still just too heavy.  I set out to find gear once again that would work.  After a few days I again decided that it was still not worth the effort until we get a rules change to allow LiPo batteries, as that is the major hangup right now.

When Jack had emailed me about staying with it he added several other great SAM modelers into the thread, and we set about discussing the project at great length over the span of a couple of weeks.  Mike McIntyre, who has built a lot of great winning SAM models got into the discussion, and went to work on trying to find hardware for me at a reasonable price.  After a few days Mike sent me an email that obviously had taken a lot of time to put together.  In it he had a list of hardware, and vendors for everything I would need if I could build a model and keep it under 5 oz.  I decided that none of my existing planes were going to work, as they were all over 6 ounces.  Right then I decided to build the Gollywock's brother the "Jabberwock" because I hated building the Gollywock's fuselage, and that I would keep the J'Wock light enough to compete if it killed me!

I ordered a set of plans and laser cut short kit from Bob Holman, and set about to build the "Ultimate SOS Model" using the gear and methods that all the guys had thrown into the project in our weeks of discussions.  What you will see in this build is the result.  Who knows where it will go, but right now the Champs are about a month away, and hopefully I can finish up in time to take it to Muncie in mid September.

Here Goes!!  The build starts on the next page.  Enjoy!


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