With the rogallo fighter being tweaked and prepped for its first flight, I thought I’d also add some of the details of the progress with the Roland CII for a change, as it too is a bit further along in progress than the Rogallo fighter, and has undergone 4 flight attempts. Unfortunately, as is the case with small (under 30″ wingspan) scratchbuilt machines, weight and balance can be very tough to determine. So, many times you hit snags before they get into the air. If you don’t figure out these snags quickly enough, they may not see the sky at all. The Roland, on all 4 attempts, tried to tell me the same thing….planes do this you know, that is if you understand what they are trying say to you, via their behaviour. I won’t let the cat out of the bag yet though, and will detail in a later post just what alterations I performed, and how they worked out…or didn’t. She is undergoing balance and weight changes now though, that should see her trying to leap skyward again, very possibly this weekend….so more to come.
The Roland CII was a very sleek and modern design, and years ahead of it’s time. For a two seater, it was quite agile and posed a considerable threat, as it fused very eloquently the roles of scout/fighter, and two man observation/bomber types.
With a streamlined monocoque fuselage, the precursor of our modern solid skinned (not canvas) fusleage types, and sleek aerodynamicly faired shape, the Roland looked and performed all the more like an aircraft we would recognize today, as opposed to its peers at the time, the planes that initially were flying alongside it when it was first seeing combat. An example of one of these (the Fokker Eindecker) is immediately below, and as you can see, with a skin of cloth stretched over a wooden (or metallic in the Fokkers case), skeleton, this machine was more motor-driven kite, than aeroplane. More along the lines of what today we would consider an ultra-light.
The Roland however was not without it’s issues. The main one being a nasty habit to nose over on landing, due to poor pilot visibility of the ground, sitting atop the fuselage as he was with both of the biplane wings offering very little view of the approaching field. Also, many Rolands simply ran into things on the field that were unseen by the pilot due to this same field of vision issue.
This shot kinda reminds me of the first few flight attempts I made with the Roland….although my damage wasn’t as severe…in fact it was mininal. Once I get her properly balanced, I think she will be fine. The other good thing about piloting a Roland CII from the ground, instead of the cockpit, is that I won’t ever have the same landing “field of view” problems that the poor fellow above did.
Here is a link to a discussion on my build of the Roland CII, at RCUniverse.