In the 1970s the staff of RCM magazine came up with a set of rules for club pylon racing. The Gee Tee I was a simple design that anybody could build to get into racing. It’s basically a square box with a foam wing.
If you’re not into racing, the Gee Tee I is a good way to learn how to build. It can be thought of as a model airplane archetype. Learn to build the Gee Tee I and you have learned to build model airplanes. It’s also a good sport flier. I built one myself in 1996.
In my short kit there are a few deviations from the plan.
First and foremost, the wing is made with balsa ribs rather than foam. Spars are 1/4 x 1/4 spruce or bass, and you should add 1/16 balsa shear webs. The wing is sheeted with 1/16 inch balsa from the leading edge to the spars and in the center section. I would suggest trailing edge sheeting an inch wide on the top and bottom, and cap strips in the open sections of the wing. Or you could do it the easy way and sheet the whole thing. The center joint can be made with the included dihedral braces, or you can reinforce the joint with glass cloth, or both. It’s your choice. Landing gear blocks are 3/8 x 3/4. Make whatever kind of tips you like. You can use triangle stock, sheet balsa to make a rounded tip, or just a plate stuck flat against the tip. The kit includes enough ribs for 2.75″ rib spacing, plus an extra one to split the space next to the root rib. Here’s a quick rib diagram if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s look at the fuselage. I’m including lite ply doublers for the fuselage sides to take the place of the plywood doublers shown on the plan. Line it up with the wing saddle and it will set the correct location for the inset chin plate and the firewall. F3 and F4 are keyed to the doubler. This seems like an easy little upgrade that I might as well do as long as I have the laser cutter running anyway.
When a kit includes 1/8″ plywood parts to be laminated together to make 1/4″ plywood parts I normally advise laminating first, before assembling the airplane. In this case, I would suggest assembling the airplane with F2, then adding F1 afterwards. Make sure to sand the front of the plane smooth first.
The top block can be cut to make a hatch, or you can leave it intact and insert the fuel tank and battery into the nose compartment through the hole in F3. It’s your choice.
This is a really nice project for a guy who knows how to fly and wants to learn how to build. It would fly with a good .25 if you keep it light enough. Or you can go all out with a .50, or anything in between. If you have any questions about the construction details, send me an email.