This is a really fun little airplane. I powered mine with an OS .15. Flying weight is 27 ounces.
Construction: Nothing too dramatic here. The fuse is lots of laminated balsa sticks, with no curves (accept for the very front). If you don't like to sand balsa blocks, this is the plane for you! Clancy's manual is extremely thorough and straight forward. The only unusual parts are the laminated wing tips, rudder, and elevators. Cutting out and putting together the forms for these was a bit of a pain, but once done, the act of actually laminating the parts was very easy (although a bit messy).
The only modification I made to the kit was to extend the four cap strips forward of the spar to make covering the wings a bit easier. Oh yeah, I also elimated the "v" shape at the front of the windshield and replaced it with a single, central balsa stick.
Covering: Clancy recomends using the light weight Lite Span for covering. The problem is that the stuff doesn't shrink very much. This is good because it prevents the Bee's structure from warping, but it is bad if you can't get the covering really tight to begin with. I tried a covering with this stuff, and I just didn't feel confident in my abilities to get it fully wrinkle free over the large open areas of the Bee's wing. In the end, I used Hobby Shack Flite Kote, a cheap, low temp, light weight covering. I used transparent red for the wings and yellow for the fuse (I was trying to make the Bee look like a CL-215 Super Scooper).
In the end, the covering was very easy to apply, and I think the results look good. I should note that I did not use a heat gun, only my iron, to shrink the covering. A gun would possibly over-shink the low temp covering, causing it to either tear, or severly warp the wing! After shrinking the covering on the wing, I did end up with a slight warp, but this was easy to remove by twisting it and applying some more heat with the iron at high temp.
Power: I chose the max recommended engine, an OS .15, since I already had one. I soft mounted it using small bits fuel tubing as recomended in the manual. I also mounted it at a 45 degree angle, which I don't recommend doing. The problem is that it puts the weight of both the muffler and the cylinder hanging out over the right side of the plane. The plane is so light that this enough to affect the axial balance noticeably, and you'll need to balance this out by adding a bit of weight to the left wing tip. If I built this plane again, I'd simply mount the engine upright.
I started out with the 2 oz slant-type tank that the plans show, but I found it impossible to get the clunk to work properly. The tank is too short and the clunk line has to be cut to too short a length to be flexible enough for the clunk to move freely. I ended up getting a Sullivan 2 oz cylindrical tank, which worked much better.
Radio: I used a small Futaba AM 4ch Rx, a 250 mAHr battery pack, two micro servos for the elevator and rudder, and a Hitec sub micro for the throttle. I had a bit of problem with the control surfaces. Despite using the smallest possible servo arms, I could not get the control throws within the maximum that the manual recommended (this was with a non-computer radio).
Wheels: You can't build a Bee without getting the Trexler balloon tires. They are essential in providing the character that makes plane fun! They also weight in at only .75 oz each. For the tailwheel I took a standard light foam mainwheel and shaved it down. It looks a bit weird, since the tire diameter isn't much bigger then the hub, but it's very light, and you don't really ever see it anyway.
I the end, the flying weight came out to about 27 ounces, with 22oz in the fuse and 5oz in the wing. I think this is pretty good for this plane, considering the .15 engine weighs so much in comparison to the airframe.
1st flight: The plane seemed small enough not to need not a big runway, so we opted to test it out on an access road in a big field at Cal State Lutheran. After an intentionally lenghty take off roll, I got the Bee into the air under full power. It climbed alarmingly fast, so I throttled back and leveled off at medium altitude. It was pretty apparent that I had way more then enough rudder, as it was very sensitive. After flying a few ciruits, trying to get the trim right, I slowed down a bit. The engine (which hadn't been run in about 5 years) sagged, and then died when I tried to throttle up. I lined it up for what I thought was going to be a decent landing in the dirt, but the plane was further away then I thought. I touched down, rolled of a berm and into a fence post. Ouch! The leading edge was busted, as well as one of the balsa stringers.
Repair was fairly easy, and I ran the engine a few times on the ground to "re-break" it in. After leaning out the low end a bit, I had it running reasonably well.
2nd flight: One week later, same place. This time, it was a bit windy. I started the plane and positioned it on the road. It had taxied about a foot when the breeze picked up and flipped the plane upside down! Okay, restart the engine and try again, this time with a buddy holding the plane until it was ready to go. This time, the I jammed on the throttle, and the Bee rolled only 5-10 feet before floating off the ground. I quickly gained altitude and leveled out for some trimming. It seemed to fly in a tail down position. I'm not sure if it was tail heavy, since it didn't seem overly pitch sensative. Maybe it needed more downthrust. Clancy says that the plane should climb with full throttle, so maybe that's just how it flies.
It's been a long time since I've flown a rudder-elevator airplane, so it took a while to get used to how it turned. The wind was somewhat gusty, and the Bee was getting tossed around a bit. My friends commented that it looked like a kite. I flew around a bit more at low throttle, trying to see how slow it could go. It seemed to be able to maintain level flight until I got down around 1/3 throttle, where the .15 isn't producing much power at all. Next I tried to do some steep climbs and a wingover. I was somewhat worried when I pushed in full left rudder, and nothing happened while I was pointing straight up. The plane stalled and flopped back over gently. I flew around a bit more and landed into the wind, which only required about 5 feet of roll out.
3rd flight: Another very short ground roll and the Bee was airborne. This flight, I decided to try some loops. The Bee performed these easily, though I had to be carefull not to overspeed it on the way down. I got the Bee going suprisingly fast without fluttering, though I wouldn't advise doing that very often (or at all). I next tried to do some very tight, low speed turns. I got a pretty tight circle going, but couldn't keep it up for long, as the plane was drifting downwind. BTW, there was no tendancy to balloon as it went upwind or dive as it went downwind. But you already knew that :-). It was at this point that I realized why I the Bee failed to react when I wanted to do a wingover. I was so used to doing aerobatics on a 4 channel airplane that I tried to do the wing over by slamming the left stick. Of course, that did absolutely nothing. I tied doing another one, this time using the right stick so that the rudder actually moved. The results looked a bit comical, but the rudder was certainly effective. I was running low on fuel, so I decided to try one more manuver...a roll. As Clancy recommends, I gave full rudder and full down elevator. WOW! The Bee did a very credible outside snap. Even though this is just a rudder/elevator plane, don't underestimate the power of that huge full flying vertical fin. The fact that I had more control throw then needed didn't hurt either. Shortly after completing the roll, I set up to land, and brought the Bee in for a short, albeit bumpy landing.
The Bee looks like it will be a fun airplane. I'd really like to fly it in calmer wind so I can try some low altitude tricks and touch-and-goes. Clancy says it's a good trainer, but I think it's kind of questionable. The light stick constrution isn't going to tollerate crashes very well, even small ones. I can't say how easy it would be to control, since mine was set up with too much control throw. It does seem fairly stable, and probably has good self-righting capability. This is definitely a cool plane to have if you only have a small area to fly in. Powered with one of those little Norvell 1/2A engines with a throttle, this plane could fly in a really tight area. OTOH, the OS .10 and .15 are extremely quiet, so they are good choice if noise is a concern (and you don't like electric).