The Defender, an unlikely moniker for an air vehicle that seems like it could trace it’s lineage to an overland cargo trailer with wings. Clearly designed for utility rather than esthetics, it has square edges rather than curvy lines, a rectangular rather than sleekly tapered wing planform and a funny looking landing gear system. “It’s got a great personality” comes to mind! So, with all these qualities, what makes the aircraft so successful? In reality, the Defender is a stretched version of the Britten-Norman Islander, the airplane you see in use everywhere in the Islands and small countries in commuter airline and short-haul utility roles. The formula seems to work, it routinely operates from fields that would make rotary-winged machines think twice.
From a modeling standpoint, it couldn’t be easier to build or fly. If you’re considering a sport scale twin, stick around. You’ve even got the option of converting it to that Islander I mentioned, a couple of extra cuts with your hobby knife to reduce the length of the fuselage and you’re there. The model has been built and flown in both Defender and Islander configurations, the latter by my flying buddy Gene Davis. They both perform well, with no appreciable performance differences between them. It really boils down to a matter of personal preference. The availability of some really great electric motors and power sources makes electric models of this type very practical as well as reliable. Although I see no reason why glow power couldn’t be used as well. A pair of .25 engines are the likely optimum displacement.
MODEL: BN2T-4S Defender
TYPE: Sport scale electric twin
WINGSPAN: 70 in.
LENGTH: 52.69 in.
WING AREA: 600 sq. in.
WEIGHT: 7.5-8.25 lb.
WING LOADING: 30 oz/sq.ft.
POWER: Two E-flite Power 32 or equiv., two 3S 5000mAh LiPos
RADIO REQ’D: 4 channel, 5 with flaps
The first step is to fabricate your own kit by cutting out all the parts presented on the Parts Template sheet included with the plan set. For those who would rather be building than cutting, I offer a complete laser cut parts package for all the necessary parts (richuravitch.com). Formed plastic parts are also available. All you’ll need to add is a small amount of strip and sheet wood to complete the package.
The rudder and elevator are solid 3/16-inch balsa sheet sanded to an airfoil shape while the vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer are built over the plan from 1/8 in. balsa sticks of varying widths and sheeted with 1/16 in. balsa. After assembly, sand to shape, and temporarily hinge the moving surfaces. All of the control linkage on my prototypes are housed within the fuselage and accessed through the opening at the extreme rear. The rudder linkage can be simplified by running the pushrod externally after exiting the fuselage adjacent to the vertical fin. Either way, make sure there is no binding or restriction.
This is probably the easiest fuselage you will ever build for a scale model. It is flat sided with barely a radius on the edges. Simply prepare the fuselage sides by adding the wing saddle doublers WS1, the 3/8 in. tri-stock corners, glue the formers in place between the sides and you’re almost done! Sheet all the flat areas with 1/8 in. balsa cross-grain, and add the laminated WP wing hold down plate. Do not sheet the upper fuselage between F2 and F4 at this time.
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