I first started building the Javahawk around 1984 – that’s right 1984! This was a Free Flight semi-scale ducted fan model designed by the legendary P.E. Norman. The model is loosely based on 1960’s jet fighter design. When I look back, I was not only I fascinated with model aircraft, but I now realise that I probably enjoyed building them a little more than flying them. I reckon this is why my brother always laughed at me whenever I said I was going to start a new project. The Javahawk was just another one of those projects! I did get quite far with it though. Far enough as finishing the air frame with the wings slid onto the special wing tongues the designer seem to feature on his models.
What I did’nt get built though was the special clock spring fasteners that was to be fitted to the wings, as a way to make them knock-off-able, aiding crash-resistance.
I also never got around to making the 8-bladed fan either. Nor did I finish hinging the curved engine access hatch!
And that’s how the model stayed for years and years…
Well fast forward to 2017, and, still having the model, a determined new me has managed to fit the springs – after completely building new wings and tail surfaces (which got badly damaged over time), make the 8 bladed fan (actually, 7 bladed…don’t ask me how!) and hinge the hatch, a new one of which I had to make because I lost the original . I will say that with work, busy family life and everything else, it has taken me months to get this far.
Save for a few small jobs, like adding a moulded canopy, the model is now finished and needs a few details added. I’ve built a test rig for the engine and fan to have a go of starting it outside of the model – its that bright yellow thing in the pics.
Have a look at them to get an idea of this fascinating model design. I have a feeling that It’s going to be challenging but awesome to fly it!!
This is the test rig. it’s made from a scrap piece of 1/8″ plywood for the mount plate and the ring from
a narrow piece of 1/32″ ply wrapped around a circular former. The ring is first soaked in boiling water
to soften it, then bent, glued and taped around the circular former. When set it was removed and then glued to the plate.
A notch was cut out for the engine and mount holes drilled. The engine was then bolted on and fan fitted complete with drilled metal bottle cap (from an old model engine fuel tin).