I received the below email earlier from Alastair Rivers in New Zealand, describing and showing his fantastic Singapore build. He say's.....
Firstly, you are receiving this email as one of the big group of people and businesses who have provided support and encouragement to me and the project during the course (to date!) of this project. If, for any reason, you do not wish to receive these (very infrequent) updates, please just reply with the line – please remove my name and delete this email. I will remove your name from the list immediately.
Briefly, a short summary of the project, beginning back in 1999 when I built an enclosed trailer, dedicated to being able to carry the model – sure has been a “long term” project”.
• 1/8 scale, flying model of the aeroplane used by the RNZAF for patrol duties out of Fiji. Modeled on K6912, (December 1941 to last flight 16 April 1943)
• Only reasonably accurate plan drawings were from 1/96 scale drawings by Harry Woodman and featured in the September/October 1977 issues of “Scale Models”.
• Clive Henderson (Christchurch) offered to redraw and create building plans in CAD form in 2006/7.
• Rob West (Paraparaumu) offered to cut the 1.5 mm sheets of plywood for the model, using the CAD drawings from Clive, with his then new laser cutter (7 1200x2400 sheets)
• I then began the (slow) process of creating “the bird”.
• Being a prototype from the CAD drawings, it was a slow process, often involving a complete review of what and how the build could progress. Suffice to say that I have needed (or learned) a wide range of skills and processes during the project!
• The build sequence was:-
o Empanage (elevator and rudders)
o Main wings
o Central power & wing section
o Outer floats
o Beaching Dolly
• In conjunction with the above, I built a test rig for the 4 engines to enable the incorporation of electronic syncronisation of the engines, onboard glow drivers to heat the engines glow plugs and to prove a pressure fuel system feed to the engines from the fuel tank that would be installed below in the hull.
• The first assembly of the various parts was in November 2011, but little did I know how much was still to be done. (The old saying “When you’re 80% done, you’ve only 80% left to do” has been proven yet again).
The Short Singapore III was the aircraft that first formed the RNZAF’s No 5 squadron, but as it never came to New Zealand, it is virtually unknown as the aircraft used by our forces before we obtained the Catalina PBY’s.
When the Airforce was planning the 75th celebrations and airshow at Ohakea (March 31st 2012), I offered to stage a display about the Singapore and use my (uncompleted) model to give an impression of what the gracious old boat looked like. The offer was quickly accepted and in due course both the display and the model were prepared as much as time allowed for the show. It was very well received and I hope helped set the record straight about the origins of “our” Number 5 squadron.
Since then there has been slow, but steady progress to the stage shown in the photos below where I am now ready to remove the central engine unit from the fuselage, mount it on a test bed, finish and paint the section, then test the engines. The testing at this stage is to prove the ‘in situ’ fuel system, establish the thrust achieved from the four engines before reinstalling the unit into the fuselage and finishing the model to a flying state.
At this point I should add that there is no “test flight date” set or envisaged! Once everything is “ready” there will be a protracted series of taxing tests on both land and in the water, (and needless to say, photographic recording) before eventually, taking to the air from a big, flat, obstacle free airfield !!
To answer the question about a flying boat taking off from the land. I agree that that was never possible, but in order to take the plane up onto the ‘hard’ for servicing, there was a Beaching Dolly that was submerged, pushed out under the floating plane and then the ballast tanks on the dolly were ‘blown’ and as the gear rose up, was bolted onto the plane under the engine interplane posts. The plane could then be towed up the hard and then later returned to the water in the reverse sequence. I have therefore attempted to make such a dolly, as much to scale as I can, but instead of bolting it to the model, it has been made as a “drop off” dolly that will allow the plane to taxi and take off from land, leaving the dolly behind and then landing on its hull.
Enough of the blather (I could go on for several years ….. as the project has, but I won’t !! )
This project could not have developed to this stage without the untold numbers of people’s help, interest and support throughout the whole time.
This is in part, to show you what “we” have achieved together and to express my thanks to you all .
THANK YOU, I HOPE YOU CAN ALL ENJOY, WITH ME, THE FRUITS OF OUR COLLECTIVE WORKS
Once again, thank you all for your invaluable assistance. As I said earlier, if you do not want any more contact, simply let me know by email, but for the rest of you, I will endeavour to send you another ‘update’ - when the next milestone is reached".
Personally, I can't wait to see film of it flying!