Sonic 64

Hobbyking Sonic 64

This is 1230mm (48.4″) wing span flying wing.  It is powered by a 64mm electric ducted fan.  It is a simple build and flies great!

Here are a couple pictures before the maiden flight (temperature was about +18F, winds were calm, skies had a medium thin overcast.)

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My one gripe about the Sonic 64

Of course we buy airplanes like the Sonic 64 because they are inexpensive, quick to assemble, and fast to get out to the field and up in the air.  It doesn’t hurt that they look great and are a lot of fun to fly!  But in the case of the Sonic 64, perhaps it is a little too inexpensive.  The servos that came with the kit were utter garbage.  One of them was completely useless and unsafe to fly.  It couldn’t hold a position, and it had a lot of trouble with it’s potentiometer.  The other servo probably could have been able to fly safely, but not fly well.  I submitted an RMA to Hobbyking where I purchased this ARF, and to-date they have not responded with an “initial evaluation.”  Typically the stuff I get from Hobbyking works and meets expectations, but this is pretty poor customer service to not even acknowledge my RMA request after a week and a half of waiting.  So I gave up, dug out the original servos, and replaced them with Hitec HS-55 servos.  These are $10 servos and far better than the $0.50 servos that came installed with the kit.  Unfortunately the servo leads on the Hitec servos were shorter so add two $3 servo extensions.  And finally add the cost of some glue to install the servos properly … altogether that added about $31 to the cost of the airplane … and Hobbyking still has yet to respond to my RMA.

Servo Installation in foam wings

My new favorite glue for installing servos into foam wings is: E6000 (available at Michaels and probably lots of other places.)  It is not a quick dry cement (let it dry over night) but the result is solid, it seems to be foam safe, it dries clear, and according to the video it’s pretty easy to cut through with a knife to later separate the glue joint.
I ran up to Michaels last night and got a small tube to try on my Sonic 64 and I’m really pleased with the results this morning.  I’ve tried different techniques over the years, but I’ve had hot-glue and double sided tape be wiggly or just pop out.  Epoxy is a bit too permanent when you are talking about cheap servos … E6000 seems to be a really good balance between creating a solid glue joint between a servo and foam, but then being able to separate it later if needed.  Here is an in depth how-to video (not mine) with a bunch more explanation.

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Variants

This same design is sold under the name “Neptune” by Nitroplanes.com (but was out of stock when I was interested in ordering it.)  The manual still has at least one reference to Neptune that hadn’t been updated. 🙂

Launching

The Sonic 64 is hand launched.  This can be a little tricky if you are flying by yourself or need to get help from someone who doesn’t have a lot of airplane hand launching experience … so be cautious, things can go wrong quickly.

The manual suggests running the throttle up to about 50% (that feels about right) and then running 2-3 steps and giving it a good firm level throw (wings level, nose level, throw direction straight and level.)  I had one good launch, one bad/failed lauch (no damage, whew!), and a 2nd good launch on my 3rd try.  I noticed the left wing would really drop quickly.  I made every effort to make a straight level through, but maybe my technique is flawed?  Maybe there is some torque or spiral thrust issue going on?  Hopefully I can learn to do this more reliably on my own.  Often I’m out flying by myself, and then no offense to any of my fellow RC club members, but many of us don’t have much hand launch experience.

Next time out I think I may try to run the throttle up a little higher (maybe 2/3rds) and try to release it on an upwards trajectory … maybe 15-20 degrees up?

Flying

My maiden flight was on a dead calm afternoon and the Sonic 64 flies beautifully.  It is stable, tracks nicely, and responds well to control inputs.  It has no rudder, but it can do all the bank and yank type aerobatic maneuvers you can think of.  I attempted a high altitude stall to see what kind of craziness would happen and it was boring … it just dropped the nose and kept flying.  I’m sure I could get it to spin if I stalled it out in a steep turn, but I didn’t want to push it too hard on my first time out.  One thing I did manage to do was a sequence of really graceful wingovers.  I could fly a fast eye level pass, climb out steeply, and then as speed bleeds off, roll into a bank (maybe 10-20 degrees) and hold that as you run out of airspeed.  The airplane naturally does a wing over and comes back flying right past you the other direction.  It’s really graceful.  If you hold the throttle fixed through the maneuver, it tends to kick you over just a bit faster when you are at the apex and have minimal aerodynamic control and the thrust starts to dominate.  If you pull the throttle back at the apex, then it’s a bit more lazy and graceful.

I was flying a cold day (+18F) so the air was relatively dense.  As a result, top speed didn’t seem too fast, even though the motor was really wound up.  I expect on a warm summer evening it will zip by much faster in hotter, less dense air.

Landing

The Sonic 64 is a flying wing and behaves exactly how you would expect.  It has a relatively long, flat glide, and if you carry any speed over the threshold, it will glide forever in ground effect.  So there really isn’t anything difficult or unexpected, just be ready for a fairly long, flat approach and be ready for it to carry during the flare as it wants to just keep flying forever in ground effect.

Conclusions

This is a great flying, inexpensive airplane that goes together quickly (probably an hour or two maximum.)  It is appropriate for a moderately experienced sport flyer.  It’s also a big bundle of fun and looks really cool in the air.  However, I am now aware that if I do have any problem with something ordered from Hobbyking, I shouldn’t have high hopes for their customer service and for their response times.  That’s unfortunate because I actually like Hobbyking otherwise and everything else I’ve bought from them has met expectations.  In this case the problem was easy to fix (yeah model making skills) but that was an extra chunk of money out of my own pocket.

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Polaris Ultra

Manufacturer: Model Aero

Design: Polaris Ultra

Web sitehttp://modelaero.com/product/POL-ULT.html

Summary: Pretty awesome airplane

Model Aviation also has a nice review of the Polaris: http://modelaviation.com/modelaeropolarisultra

My story is that I missed one of the model aero sales by a day or two so I emailed the owner to see if I could sneak in my order late.  He replied that he had a couple unpainted polaris arf’s and he’d be willing to give me a package deal on one of those.  So I figured it couldn’t be that hard to paint a foam model and off I went.

The aircraft arrived completely unpainted. The foam was white, and even the plastic parts were just clear.  I test fit a few of the pieces and it sure was looking pretty cool even without paint:

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The assembly process is pretty straight forward and the instructions are good.  It’s perhaps a bit more work than some of the newer foam arfs.  It took me a couple evenings (including the extra work of painting.)  But, there was nothing too difficult.  I chose to mount my elevator servo externally to simplify the install.

Because I was painting the model from scratch, I got to make all the choices.  That is good and bad.  I decided to try to keep things simple and roughly follow the original scheme.  I happened to have flat gray primer in a can, and then I ran to the local hardware store and picked up a can of bright red.  So those were my two colors.  The cockpit and dorsal vent got painted flat gray.  The cockpit piece is removable for swapping flight batteries so it was easy to get a nice clean edge there.

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Painting the color was a bit more work.  I’d never done this before, not exactly, so I had to make things up a bit as I went along.  It turns out that if I hit the foam surface hard with the spray paint, the propellant would melt the foam. That wouldn’t be a good thing.  Same problem with the primer.  I did some googling and water based spray paint exists, but I didn’t have it in hand.  I found some test foam and it turns out that if you start by lightly dusting the surface from a good distance (maybe 18+ inches) from the surface.  This lets most of the propellant evaporate off before it hits the foam, and as the dust accumulates the surfaces is more and more protected.  So I did this trick with the primer and then later could paint normally over that with the color layer.

I decided to use electrical tape to mask the paint areas.  This was good in the sense that it didn’t seem to bleed too much, but bad in the sense that it was too sticky and pulled some of the shiny foam finish off when I removed it.  That’s hard to notice though so I guess it wasn’t a complete disaster.  I layed down my exact lines and then masked off with newspaper after that.  One thing I discovered though is that the spray goes everywhere.  It managed to sneak through some cracks I thought were sealed.  Again, not perfect, but not too noticeable on the final result so I guess it’s not the end of the world.

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After painting the color areas, I went back with 1/2″ electrical tape and used that as edge trim to hide paint edge and tidy things up.  Again, not perfect and kind of crude, but I think it turned out pretty sharp in the end.

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I painted the bottom of the wings flat gray to differentiate them from the top, and with the 1/2″ black tape on the edges I think it set it off and made it look pretty sharp.  I’m happy with the result.

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Here is the end result.  The canopy is glued on, the cowl is painted red and attached.  3-bladed prop looks great.  The decals are applied in the final shot.

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I don’t have any flight videos or pictures yet, but I did do the maiden flight. I waited and waited (almost a month) for decent weather and finally got a day with almost dead calm winds here in MN.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving was the day.  There is a small lake across the street from my house and this time of year it is frozen.  Fortunately due to early extra cold weather, the ice on the lake was thick enough to walk on safely.  So I put on my boots and headed out to find sunshine, upper 30’s, and dead calm winds.  It was later in the afternoon, but the sun was still bright.  The first flight went perfect.  It needed a bunch of clicks of right trim and a couple clicks of up, but once I got her dialed in, then WOW!  She really flies spectacularly.  I love how you can pull high alpha in the turns to make them extra tight.  She tracks and handles so nicely, like she is on rails.  She looks so sweet in the air!  Take offs from the snow were amazingly smooth.  I was flying on some tired old 3S batteries, but honestly that was plenty of power and plenty fast for the area I was flying.  It is a relatively long model so it is extremely stable in pitch.  It is all around really wonderful … looks and flies spectacularly!

 

 

Smart Trainer Photo Shoot

Design Observations

I really like the looks of this aircraft.  It is a unique combination of design choices that I think should provide a nice balance of good flying qualities and lots of aerobatic capability.

It calls itself a trainer, but it is not a “learn to fly” trainer.  Instead it positions itself as an entry level pattern ship.  It is light weight which means it should maneuver effortlessly and not have bad habits.  It has long lines so it should fly like it is on rails.  It has thickened wing tips so it should have excellent slow speed characteristics and be adverse to tip stalling.  Oh, and it also has all the design elements you’d want for effortless knife edge and inverted flight.  The aircraft has a semi-symmetrical airfoil.  Most aerobatic planes pick a fully symmetrical airfoil, but in my opinion, across the flight regime that this aircraft covers, the choice of airfoil shouldn’t make much difference.

While I am grounded and waiting for the snow to melt around here I took a couple pictures:

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I am hoping this will be a fun airplane to go out and cut up the sky with classic pattern style aerobatics.

 

Aerosky 185 Photo Shoot

 

Photo Shoot

Don’t look too closely, but take a few steps back and I think she looks pretty nice.  I love the older style 185 tail and the tail dragger configuration.  The relatively large wheels help me imaging this is a bush plane intended to get in an out of rough strips.

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It is still winter here in MN and our ground is still covered in a foot of snow at least.  I’m hoping the snow melts quickly so I can get out and maiden this airplane soon!

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Yup, she looks pretty sweet I’d say!

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Aerosky 185 Build Notes

I was interested in the Aerosky Sky Trainer 185 because it looks a lot like a Cessna 185.  It has the 185 tail and is setup as a taildragger.  Technically the rear window is not correct for a 185, but there are a lot of things you could nitpick if you really wanted to go there.   The other interesting aspect of this kit is that it includes a full set of float for water operations.  I live near a little lake so I am hoping this will fly well off water on a nice calm summer evening.

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In this post I simply want to hit the questions/issues I ran into with this aircraft.

Rear Fuselage Extension and Tail Surfaces

First off, the instructions say “glue” on the rear fuselage extension piece.  I don’t hae a tip for getting this exactly lined up.  I lined up the stickers exactly, but that put the horizontal stab out of alignment with the wing.  Use a bit of caution and planning and measurement here.  Maybe consider installing the wing first so you can align the tail with it.

The instructions do not say glue on the horizontal & vertical stabs, but they provide no bolts/washer so I assumed the only way to install them was with glue.   That is fine, but the instructions seemed to imply something else.  Again, I recommend bolting the wing on before gluing the tail surfaces so you can try as much as possible to align the horizontal stabilizer with the wing.

Now my biggest frustration so far is with the wing hold down bolts. Only one actually lines up well enough to get it threaded easily. I messed around quite a bit and I think I can get 2 more lined up, but the fourth is just really off kilter or something.  The bolt tries to cross thread on the blind nut whenever I start it … frustrating!!!
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 Wing Mounting

I did manage to get the wing bolted on ok. The factory installed blind nuts did not line up well which made this a huge pain.  I just had to fiddle with it long enough I guess. I managed to push out one blind nut in the process of try to get the bolt started which was a setback to the process.  It took quite a while to get the bolt reseated, but I managed to get it all together in the end.

Power System

I’m not impressed with the quality of the 3-bladed prop … looks like cheap molded plastic. Anyone know the pitch on this so I can replace it with something decent?

I’m also not impressed with the glue on foam spinner.  The instructions have you glue it on, and it takes quite a bit of fiddling to get it centered so it doesn’t wobble terribly when it spins. That’s another thing I’d love to replace eventually if I keep and fly this airplane regularly.

Pro-tip: Don’t glue on the spinner until after you’ve hooked up the ESC to the motor and have all your wiring tested and tucked away.

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Landing Gear

The landing gear and control linkage installation has been straightforward … no major gripes there.   In the online videos I didn’t like how nose down the aircraft sits on it’s floats.  I noticed the extra gear provided with the floats is a bit taller than the main gear to account for the fuselage being a bit more slender as you go rearward.  I swapped these and used the bigger part for the front in hopes that this will help the aircraft sit a bit more nose up (scale-like) on the floats when I finally attach them.

I think this airplane will be ok. It’s not high on the quality or fit & finish scale, but it was relatively cheap and on clearance.  I think it will look good in the air and from a few feet away. Just don’t get out the microscope or start nitpicking too much.

The Coolest Thing *EVER*

Formation RC Flying

This is a video of my seawind flying in formation with a small fishing boat.  The boat was running flat out while I was holding the aircraft on the edge of stall.  There was barely any wind that day so we were able to do several out and backs.  If you’ve never flown from a moving platform, let me just say it is really weird and really easy to let the aircraft get way far away from you.  Videography credits (if there are any) 🙂 go to my Mom.



Great Planes Seawind EP

Great Planes Seawind EP (Rx-R)

Motor: RimFire 400 brushless out-runner.
Speed Controller: ElectriFly SS-25 25A Silver Series ESC.
Prop: 8×6.
Battery: TrueRC.com 11.1V 3 Cell 2100 mAh 10C.


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2.4Ghz

January 26, 2010: After taking a radio hit this summer and not doing anything with the airplane since then, I finally made my way to the hobby shop and purchased a 2.4Ghz receiver. The plan was to finally get around to checking the motor and speed controller and servos to make sure they survived the hard dunking. Then if everything else checked out, I would install this receiver and convert the airplane to 2.4Ghz. HoHopefully no more radio hits from that point on.

So now the plane has a 2.4Ghz receiver, everything checks out, should be already to fly again. Now I just need to wait for a day with lighter winds and I can walk down to the nearby lake and fly off the ice.

Radio Hit

Summer, 2009: On a windy day this summer, after several take offs and landings, I took a hard radio hit on final approach at about 30′ above the water. This pushed full down elevator and nose dived straight into the water. I was expecting to go out and clean up foam bits from the water, but as I got closer, I realized the aircraft was entirely intact, just floating upside down. I pulled it out, yanked the battery, and set it aside for a thorough going over at some future date.

First Real Mishap

April 10, 2009: I took the girls down to the lake so that I could do a quick flight. The winds were 5-10mph, but more of a cross wind than I would have liked. It wasn’t a big deal except moments before touch down on my first landing attempt I caught a cross wind gust. I as *really* slow and almost ready to plop her in, but the left wing dipped, caught in the water and the airplane did a 1/8th cartwheel, nose into the water and the popped right back out. However, this popped off the mag-mount canopy and the entire fuselage filled with water. Dohhh! I’m going to start putting a bit of tape on the leading edge of the canopy from now on.

The end result thought was that I melted my speed controller, shorted out an expensive battery, and killed the elevator servo. I had an exact duplicate speed controller in my Rascal EP so I stoll that. I bought a replacement servo at the hobby shop. So now I just lack a flight battery. I’m going to order one soon, but need to spread out these costs a bit so the kids can eat. 🙂

April 25, 2009 Update: I got a new battery, borrowed a speed controller from another model, and replaced one servo. I just took her out for a test flight and we are back in business. She flies flawlessly, no worse for wear.

Flying

April 4, 2009: There was hardly a breath of wind this afternoon so I walked down to the lake again and flew out the battery. Here are a couple still shots in her natural habitat:


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April 3, 2009: The ice is just about gone on the lake I live near (just one end still has coverage.) I walked down to the dock on my lunch break and did a couple short flights off real water. Everything worked well. Winds were probably close to 10 mph, but due to the size of the lake and the direction of the winds, the waves were relatively small. Everything worked great and take offs and landings were a non-event. The only thing I had a small amount of trouble with was controlling the direction of the water taxi when moving slow. The water rudder doesn’t extend down very much in the bobbing configuration, so you have to gun the throttle and get up some speed to have effective rudder control. That could be a problem in tight areas (around boats or a dock) especially if there is any wind to push you around. But not a big deal if you are planning ahead and allow plenty of room.

March 7, 2009: A couple short flights off the frozen grass at my club flying field.


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February 5, 2009: I took a quick lunch break, walked out onto a nearby frozen lake and maidened the Seawind. She flies very nice and seems to be a good all around sport flyer. She slows up nicely for landing, and will drop in with a nice steep decent. If you carefully flair, you can drop her into the water or snow at very little forward velocity.

Construction

The Seawind is a unique scale model with very nice lines. The model version is equally at home flying off snow, wet grass, or water. This is the Rx-R version which comes with motor, servos, and speed controller all preinstalled. There are still a few things left to do, but quite a bit is already done. The only major things I needed to add were my receiver and a flight battery. Here is how it looked coming out of the box.


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After a couple hours of tinkering around, it was ready to go. I had two issues with this kit so far. 1. The aileron pushrods as installed were too far away from the wing (in the vertical direction) and bound against the fuselage inside. The solution (I hope) was rather easy. I put a Z-bend in the pushrod to gain the required clearance. I cringe at doing this, but hopefully since it’s a light and relatively slow park flyer, the extra play in the linkage won’t bite me. 2. I was missing one set screw for the elevator linkage. I was able to get a reasonable replacement at my local hobby shop. As of right now, I haven’t flown here yet so I don’t have any flight comments, but she sure looks purty.

Here she is just waiting for a decent day:


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The Real World

Here is a full scale Seawind on the flight line at EAA, 2008:


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Shrike 40 ARF

Lanier Shrike 40 ARF

Todo:

  • Install 2.4Ghz receiver (?)
  • Switch from 10×5 to 10×6 prop for more top end speed.
  • I will probably leave the canopy off because it seems out of place, like they threw in a canopy because airplanes should have canopies, not because it looked cool or worked with the overall aircraft lines.
  • I will not cut and install the cowl until I’m happy with my engine choice.

May 23, 2009 – Landing gear repaired

Today I did surgery around the landing gear mount. The left wing was the guinea pig. Not knowing the structure underneath I just had to start cutting away the balsa sheeting. My first attempt was unhelpful… I went in on the wrong side of a wing rib. But that told me what I needed to do to get in the right place.

It turns out the block of wood that the landing gear arm goes into broke free (it was very poorly glued by the manufacturer.) This allowed the main gear to rotate fore and aft. I fashioned a new block and glued it in more securely than the previous block.

I suspected the other side was starting to break free, so I made a smaller, more targeted cut into the right wing. It turns out that block was ok, but I gobbed some epoxy in there to make sure it won’t break.

It turns out I have the exact match checkerboard ultracote for the bottom of the wing so I was able to apply a covering patch that was almost entirely seamless. My hack job is now just about invisible and since it’s on the bottom of the wing, I think I will be the only one that will ever know. (Well besides you, although I don’t imagine anyone actually reads this stuff.) 🙂

She’s all ready to fly on the next nice day!

May 3, 2009 – Maiden Flight!


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1241387672479 The girls sang in church this morning as part of their daycare, and then had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon. When we returned from all of that I did a few final checks on the airframe and decide it was ready to fly. I took a couple pictures at the house before I left (in case there was nothing to look at after the first flight.) Then I loaded up and headed out to the field.

The winds were gusting out of the west … almost a 90 degree cross wind, but I had come too far to let that get in my way. I fired up the engine for the first time, tweaked the mixture until I was happy, taxied out to the end of the runway, did a test taxi, turned around, did a full throttle run up again, hit the throttle, and blasted down the runway.

Wow! She flies great!!! A few tweaks on the trim and I was zipping around the sky. This is a scary looking airframe, but it’s not a big deal. It flies just about like any other sport/pattern aircraft I’ve flown, and it slows up nicely on landing without any noticable tendency to tip stall or do anything strange. It’s very stable and quick in the air. I love it!

Here’s a picture after the successful maiden flight:

 


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One problem I did encounter: The main gear hold down blocks in the wings both broke free … that’s annoying because all my landings were decent and on the runway. These are *really* weak. So now I’m going to have to cut into the bottom wing sheeting and secure these blocks … but at least it’s on the bottom of the wing where it will be less noticable.

 

April 28, 2009

Tonight I fiddled with the aileron linkages to make sure they work smoothly. I then adjusted the control throws and ranges and setup dual rates for aileron and elevator. I mixed in a little expo for ailerons … I’ve never tried that before … I hope I don’t regret it. I get a little buzz from my throttle servo … I’m hoping that goes away once the carb gets some fuel through it and unbinds a little bit. So what’s left? Secure the throttle pushrod housing, route the antenna, double check the balance, and then I think I’m cleared to visit the club field and run the motor. And if the motor runs well, there would be no reason not to taxi around the runway a bit, and if I get it taxiing straight, there’d be no reason not to taxi to one end of the runway, point it into the wind, shove the throttle full forward and see what happens … sort out the rest of it in the air.

April 27, 2009

Tonight I jumped in and did a bunch of little things. I installed all the remaining servos. I installed all the linkages. I installed the fuel tank. I installed the receiver and battery. I installed the top hatch. I did some initial testing of servo travel and direction.

April 18, 2009

Tonight I did the basic motor mounting. This involves aligning the motor with the motor mount and drilling the corresponding bolt holes. Step 2 involves aligning the motor mount with the firewall and drilling those holes. Finally, bolting everything together. The next step is to install the throttle, elevator and nose wheel servos and get the linkages mounted up. There won’t be much to do after that I don’t think. I’m installing a practically new OS 40 FP. This is an older engine model, but I can’t see any evidence that it’s ever been run? It should run real nice I hope! I can’t remember where it came from but it’s sitting in my parts drawer so I might as well try it. Worst case scenario, I guess I go out and buy a new engine when I have enough funds.

January 29, 2009

This is an ARF I picked up on the last day of the Toledo show, 2007. The sales person made me an offer I could not refuse. 🙂

This has been sitting in my basement for a while and I wanted to get it put together in the hopes that it would free up room to start thinking about building a kit. (By the way, the Shrike 40 ARF differs from the 40 kit in that it comes with landing gear standard.)

So far the assembly has been going really quick. I bought 2 JR standard BB servos for the ailerons. After having used Futaba gear all my life, I’m really impressed with how the JR servos sound. I don’t know if that means anything, but they should a lot more solid and high quality for some reason.

This is how it looks coming out of the box:

 


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Here the ailerons have been attached and the aileron servo installed:

 


IMG_2944 Here the main landing gear has been installed:

 


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After epoxying the wings on:

 


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Rascal C

Sig Rascal C, 49″ Wing Span, HiMax Outrunner Upgrade


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Motor: HiMax HC2816-0890 brushless outrunner
Speed Controller: ElectriFly SS-25 25A Silver Series ESC
Prop: APC 11×5.5
Battery: 3 Cell 11.1v 1800mAh lipoly: 45(?) minute flight times when throttled back for a leisurely cruise.
Color: Purple (nicknamed Tinky Winky) 🙂

 

August 3, 2007

Here are a couple pictures from today’s flight out near Baldwin, WI. The winds were light, the atmosphere was really stable, perfect day for flying a light floater aircraft.

 


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May 25, 2007

I upgraded the tired old 7.4v battery to a fresh 11.1v (1800mAh) battery. With this new battery, the motor rocks! I can be airborne and go just about unlimited vertical until it’s a speck. Then I can cut the motor (braking the prop) and coast down to earth again. I haven’t tried to do any crazy aerobatics with my new found power … but it definitely gets up and goes!

 

January 8, 2007

I bought an Astroflight 109 lipoly charger and 12v power supply off rcuniverse and it arrived today. Now I can charge my own battery (battery singular at the moment.) Hooray!

 

December 20, 2006

Today we had calm winds and I was locked out of our driving sim so I headed home a bit early and spent the last 1/2 hour of daylight at the club flying field. I flew the Rascal C with a fully charged 7.4v (2S1P) 1500 mAh lipoly battery. Top RPM and climb rate was not spectacular with the big prop up front and the battery on the smallish side, but I got at least 15 minutes of flight time which thrilled me!

It took a while to climb to nose bleed altitudes, but it tooled around pretty reasonably. I was able to do loops, and some sort of very, very slow barrel role which I lost about 200′ of altitude by the time I got all the way around.

Slow fly by’s are great, easy to setup the approach and spot the landing. Overall flying qualities are very smooth for such a small airplane. Control (even with just the rudder/elevator) is very precise and predictable. I think this one is winner for the ultimate in smooth, relaxing, slow flying (intermixed with some simple aerobatics.)

 

December 9, 2006

Last night I visited the local hobby shop and was talked into purchasing a HiMax HC2816-0890 brushless outrunner motor for my rascal along with an ElectriFly SS-25 brushless speed controller and an APC 11×5.5 prop.

I had to modify the motor mount for the new motor, but that wasn’t too big of a deal. I guessed on down&right thrust and I think it came out ok.

I test flew the new setup off a partially charged 7.4v lipo battery and it had plenty of power to take off on it’s own and climb and flew *very* nicely. The battery was short lived though so my fun didn’t last too long, but I saw enough to know that this will be a very nice combination of power system + airplane.

I imagine that with a 3 cell lipo battery, the performance will be “stunning”.

 

December 3, 2006


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IMG_4105

I purchased this aircraft through R/C universe. It came with the airframe assembled, but new and never flown. None of the electronics were installed and none of them were new or even original.

I installed the servos (good) and the FS5 receiver (good). The included (used) speed 400 brushed motor and planetary gear box was pretty much shot. With the help of some machining skills of a coworker I got it running, but it generated a lot more noise than thrust.

My attempt at test flying it resulted in two very short flights. The second flight caught a side gust at low altitude, dug a wing tip and popped the wing off (breaking the nylon bolt.) No other damage could be found.

Need to upgrade the power system!