Fieseler 156 Storch
                                 build log
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Skorzeny appeared before Adolf Hitler on July 26, 1943. The Fuhrer had a special mission for the scar-faced commando: a day earlier, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had been forced to resign and was arrested by his own people. Mussolini was being held prisoner in a resort hotel sitting some 9000 feet atop the Gran Sasso, the highest peak of the Appenine mountain range some eighty miles northeast of Rome. Skorzeny's new mission would be to find Mussolini and rescue him before the new Italian government surrendered and offered up Mussolini to the Allies. Skorzeny was warned that an airplane rescue was "technically impossible",  due to the high altitude and bad landing conditions, but Skorzeny ignored their advice. Twelve DFS 230 assault gliders were landed on the peak to clear the way and Skorzeny followed in his personal Fieseler Storch aircraft.....landing on a spot that even helicopters could not reach. “Duce, the Fuhrer has sent me to set you free”, he said. "I knew my friend Adolf Hitler would not abandon me," replied Mussolini, embracing Skorzeny. The two climbed into the Storch and it leaped over the cliff edge and dived airborne down the slope. Skorzeny had pulled off the impossible-without firing a shot. For his rescue of Mussolini, Skorzeny was awarded the prestigious Knight's Cross. Winston Churchill himself described the mission as "one of great daring."


What makes this project different is that the Storch is an excellent example of a truly single purpose aircraft. Everything was compromised to gain the maximum short landing and take-off performance. As a result this airplane looks and performs like none other....Its character and looks are such that you can't help but love it. Many aircraft historians would agree that the only pre-war German aircraft type not matched by the Allies throughout the entire conflict was the lightweight Fieseler
Fi 156 Storch

This 1/5 scale model will be built from Ed Newman's plans.....After considerable research I find that this model needs to be built very light in order to perform the maneuvers that made the full size Storch so famous. it is my plan to save as much weight as possible while maintaining as much strength where it is critical. In this build log I don't plan to describe every step of the building.....Instead I will show where I deviated from normal building techniques and try to explain why I did it. It wont be a "museum scale" project but I will try to put together the documentation and the model that could win at a major scale contest

......follow along with me.....


July 2008.....
I received the plans from Ed Newman and I can say that they are the best that I have seen.....six sheets of CAD drawings, very well presented. I was also able to purchase the welded steel "birdcage". This is the center section that supports the landing gear, the wings and the main fuselage framework.


At this time the basic fuselage is completed in rough form. The center metal welded "birdcage" is installed, the engine mounting framework is in and the tailfeathers are installed. I have skeletoned out certain areas to save weight (1.) All of the rearward bulkheads have been thinned, I eliminated a lot of needless cross-bracing and used bamboo shish-ka-bob skewers for some cross bracing where I thought it was needed. Longerons are hand ripped from edge grain western red cedar.
 A lot of lightening has taken place on the tail too.....I drilled like crazy with a forstner bit and used a lot of contest balsa.  I used 1/16 sheet balsa wherever it called for solid blocks. The horizontal stab will be ground adjustable and the two halves will be removable as well......
The tubes joining and aligning the two stab halves (2.) are carbon.....a lot lighter than brass. The adjustable stab components can be seen here.....(3.) are slotted nylon blocks which can be tighteded at a variety of locations by the screw (4.) The second photo shows the two stab halves together.
  The external adjustment nscrew (4.) as seen from the outside. The two nylon blocks can be seen at (5.) The fuselage is still in the building jig so that perfect alignment is preserved.

It appears that the supplier of this plan is no longer in business....I cannot purchase the fiberglass cowl and other pre-formed components....I am therefore forced to make my own.....Here are the plaster castings into which I will lay up the fiberglass cloth and resin. The other parts will be used to vacum-form the ABS parts and "glaasswork".
  The little louvers that go on the cowl were press-formed from sheet plastic
The cowl is basically completed with the addition of flush rivets, panel lines, opening hatches and the little air scoops. The cowl was laid up into the plaster mould with a high-solids primer already sprayed into the mould before the polyester resin and cloth. Two layers of  thin, high-density glasscloth was used for strength and the finished weight is therefore considerably less than the Newman cowl.

September 2008.....


(1.) Glasscloth was used around the engine mounting joints for extra strength. Special attention to lightweight building is visible at (2.) and (3.).....the plan called for much heavier materials at these points. I used the edgegrain cedar for stringers and will not have any soldered brass at these points. Lightweight steel supporting pins are silver soldered to the metal frame to support the stringers (4.).


Here are the aileron mass balance weights.....I turned the master from aluminum on my lathe and used the latex mould process to pour the weights of resin. The support arms are carbon laminate.


The wing saddles are completed here.....laminated of plywood and balsa blocks.....a lot of careful cutting and aligning here. They have to fit the welded steel framework perfectly. Plywood pockets in the wing root accept the plywood toungs that stick out from the wing saddle. I would like to take a mould off these and lay them up in carbon fibre and epoxy.....they would be hollow, much lighter and I could use carbon tubes instead of the plywood toungs. They are removable so I can still do that later if I like.


I was not able to buy the factory landing gear kit so had to build my own.....After wheel alignment the oleo framework was soldered in place to assure that nothing will move out of place once finally assembled. The landing gear is very rigid and cannot fall out of adjustment. All of the metalwork is primed with Duplicolor self-etching primer.










Here is the tailwheel complete with the leather boot.....A 163 oz. in. servo drives both rudder and tailwheel by a combination of pull-pull and pushrod. The same size servo drives a carbon pushrod for both elevators.....very simple.

Some of the Storch surfaces are metal covered while others are fabric.....I like to finish the balsa sheeted surfaces such as the horizontal stab with a smooth, hard finish to replicate the riveted metal sheeting on the fullsize airplane. I do this by laying on a single layer of 3/4 oz. glasscloth over the balsa with water-based urethane, sand the finish and apply a thick coat of  heavy-solids primer. The primer is then sanded off until the weave of the cloth is filled leaving a very hard and smooth finish. The best part of this system is that it is very light!! The lightest way that I know to paint over raw balsa. The rivets are glue-drops. The panel lines are made by first laying on a strip of 1/64" tape. Spray over the tape a couple of coats of the high-solids primer and sand off when dry until the tape becomes visible. Peel off the tape and you have a recessed line 1/64"wide and the depth of the tape.


            Yep !! definitely beginning to look like one!!

"For me, the Storch has appeal because it doesn't try to be pretty. It's a good honest ugly bird and doesn't seem to care." B.D.


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