Maintenance Log

Lanier Mariner Maintenance Log


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January 9, 2007

I resecured the lead weight into the nose.

I put a real connector clip on the battery extender so it can’t even think about pulling free.

I packed the nose a bit better with bubble wrap to protect the battery and keep things from shifting around.

I repaired the torn covering off one of the hull lifters. I bit of it got torn off when flying off not quite deep enough snow. I must have snagged a chunk of ground or rock at some point.

 

December 30, 2006

I lock-tite’d the muffler bolts in an attempt to keep that from coming loose. (Jan 1, 07 update: muffler stayed on through three flights!)

I also lengthened the external fuel tank pickup line so that it can hopefully be not pinched as much as it winds it’s way to the engine. I’m struggling for answers, but I wonder if it was slightly pinched and that may have contributed to unreliable engine performance?

 

October 28, 2006

Today I got around to installing the new Tower 46 engine. I think it should be a keeper. Seems to run well.

In the process of running the first tank through, I noticed a tank problem. It turns out that the brass vent tube inside the engine broke off so I was only getting the tank half full and that could have been contributing to some of my engine consternation. I did some fiddling around and swapped the vent and feed tubing and the results seem to be *much* better. Maybe I’ll get this plane behaving someday!

 

August 25, 2006

I ripped off the old problematic Magnum 45 today. It screams when it runs but it unexplainably dead sticks just about every flight and I’ve had no end to trouble with it. I have a Tower 46 I purchased from ebay. I got that installed and realized this “like new” engine is shot. The rod linkage is crap and while the engine looks good on the outside, it’s crap on the inside. Screwed again by ebay! 🙁 Ok, so !#$@$#$ I’m never buying an engine off ebay again. I put in an order for a replacement engine at Tower, free shipping. Let’s hope this clears up my problems.

 

August 19, 2005

Finally … this problem child is ready to fly again. I completely rebuilt the elevator using real balsa wood and a real wire elevator joiner. I sealed the rudder and elevator surfaces with balsarite, and then recovered them in white ultracote. They are now reattached to the airplane and ready to fly.

 

July 9, 2005

I managed to cobble together a replacement idle set screw that was good enough to do the job. Less than ideal, but I was at my parents with no spare parts, no convenient hardware store (not that they’d have what I needed.) So I got myself back up in the air very briefly.

I noticed a lot of trouble getting off the water. In the air it really wanted to nose down. I had full up elevator trim and still needed to hold additional up elevator to maintain level. Even at idle I had to hold a lot of up elevator to keep from diving in. This is probably natural behavior for a stock Mariner built according to the instructions, but I’ve got mine trimmed out pretty well so something definitely was wrong. I landed (not pretty, but still in one piece) and taxied back to shore.

I noticed one side of the elevator severely drooping. The hardwood piece that connects the two elevator halves broke free on one side. It’s the classic “break right next to the glue joint failure.” I’m really happy that I managed to save the airplane given the nature of the failure … it was only partial and left me just enough elevator to keep the nose above the horizon.

So I had to do yet another emergency field repair to the aircraft if I had any hope of salvaging the flying day. I ended up gluing a wire stiffener across the two halfs. I cut away a strip of covering on each side. One elevator half is super soft lightweight balsa (that’s the side that broke free of the elevator joiner.) The other side of the elevator is made out of some super hard/dense/heavy balsa. This is (probably?) unrelated, but the crappy covering job from the factory lets water get all over into the wood elevator so it was soaking wet. I put the plane out in the sun for a few minutes to help the wood dry out and one side of the elevator has now developed a really nasty curl. I clamped it flat, glued the stiffener on and called it good enough, ugly, but flight worthy.

I’ve heard of other people having elevator joiner failure so I would recommend to anyone building one of these that you do something to strengthen the joiner. You might want to take a close look at the elevator and rudder covering job and possibly redo it before you glue the hinges in.

Later …

Ok, so I’m back up and flying, first flight after the repair. Everything is going well … so well that I ran out of fuel in the air and had to dead stick it in. I was a little ways out and couldn’t get it back to me airborn so I had to flair and touch down at a distance with a pretty decent cross wind. I must have hit the water with a significant amount of side force. This snapped the bottom fin right off about 1/8 inch beyond the glue joint and the rudder got ripped out of the vertical stab, hinges and all. To make matters worse, more covering now was peeling off the other side of the elevator.

My current plan is to build two new elevator halves with a proper joiner, cover it properly with a decent covering, and reinstall. I will also recover the rudder since that is now detached. It looks like the covering maybe failing though in parts of the fuselage so I’ll need to take a really close look at that. 🙁

 

July 8, 2005

I had 3 flights today with increasingly weird engine behavior. I think I broke something in the carb by improperly installing the needle valve assembly? Either that or I’m just really unlucky. There’s an idle set screw that extends into a slighly angled slot on the moving part of the carb assembly that causes it to slide in and out a bit as the throttle moves. The end of that screw broke off so the whole assembly slides in and out somewhat randomly. The surprising thing is that the engine still ran, albeit a bit chaotically sometimes dumping out raw fuel, sometimes spewing more normal exhaust residue, sometimes coughing up big blobs of oil that got splattered all over everything. End of flying for the evening.

 

July 5, 2005

Today I replaced the lost needle valve assembly with a part yanked from a “parts” engine I bought a month or two ago. I hope to be able to test out the fix this weekend.

 

April 9, 2005

After a flight last fall, I noticed that the covering was pulling off the right side of the elevator near the center. This exposed the bare wood and the elevator joiner glue joint. Last flight of the day; and as it turned out, last flight of the season before the lakes froze over.

I didn’t get a chance to get back out to a lake last fall, but the ice is now out here in MN, so I took some time to strip off the old covering and recover the surface with a decent covering that doesn’t just get wrinklier when heat is applied. Much better … at some point I should probably redo the entire plane.

We are now all ready to go for the new flying season!

 

July 9 – 10, 2004

WARNING: When I went to attach the wing for the maiden flight, one of the wing-hold-down bolts stripped out. The factory predrills and taps the holes you screw into. The wood is strong, but not very thick. Ouch, I actually considered flying on one bolt, before I slapped myself silly. Fortunately I had some larger nylon bolts with matching blind nuts so I drilled out the hole for the larger size bolt and installed that. Your mileage may vary, but consider just doing this from the get go. The default wing hold down scheme is severely lacking in my opinion.

 

Mariner Snow Flying

Lanier Mariner Snow Flying


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January 1, 2007

Temps in the high 20’s, winds 5-10mph out of the NW, not a cloud in the sky. A perfect day for flying!

I had one early dead stick on climb out, but managed to turn back home, miss the trees on the far side of the field and land gently in a field and skid to a stop.

The engine was way too lean. On my second flight it was still too lean and had another dead stick landing, but later in the flight. Again, no damage except for some missing covering on the bottom of the hull which could have happened anywhere.

3rd flight: I finally got to the rich side of the envelope … too rich but flyable. So I was doing some really goofy crazy tumbling stuff (which you can do with the off axis thrust of the seaplane pylon mounted engine.) I have a 1/2 pound of lead up front to balance the airplane (total aircraft weight is maybe 6 lbs) and that somehow broke free in flight and scooted all the way to the tip of the tail and wedged itself in there behind the last former. The airplane became ***severely*** tail heavy … minus 1/2 pound up front, plus 1/2 pound way in the tip of the tail. Somehow I managed to get it on the ground in one piece. I picked it up at the balance point and the tail went straight down it was so far out of whack!

So, I need to resecure the lead up front and epoxy the crap out of it. Originally I used double sided tape and actually it was the balsa wood the lead was taped to that failed, not the tape itself. I also need to repair a very small amount of damage to one hull lifter on the bottom of the fuselage. Apparently I skinned it along something on one of my flights and took off some covering and a small amount of wood.

 

December 4, 2005

Temp: about +13F. Winds 5-10mph out of the WNW (mostly a cross wind.)

We got a nice couple inches of snow yesterday and the sun was out today with reasonable winds so I decided to see how the Mariner does in snow.

First off, it handles great in the snow. Touch downs on the soft powdery stuff is really sweet! And it’s kind of fun to zip around on the ground and blast snow spray behind me. The Mariner has a low tail fin that is awsome for water steering, but lousy for snow steering. I picked a day with some accumulation to minimize the chances of it catching on something and ripping off the rudder.

 


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After the 3rd flight, the engine refused to start. I fiddled and fiddled with it, and finally got it running again. However about 5 minutes into the flight it killed on me. Fortunately I was in a area where setting up a dead stick approach was a no brainer. I didn’t even have to walk very far to go fetch it. But I decided to be done for the day.

The Mariner really does a nice job of handling cross winds.

Mariner 40 Water Flying

Lanier Mariner Water Flying


takeoff

 

November 25, 2006

Probably the last water based flight of the season. First flight with the new Tower .46, but I’m still struggling with engine outs and mixture problems. I may want to replace the fuel tank to see if that makes a difference. This aircraft is still bad luck, but still in one piece and a lot of fun when it’s all working!

Photos from the day:

 


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This is what happens when your engine dies on you in flight …

 


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The following 3 images are all from the same picture.

 


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April 15, 2005

First flight of the season: I took off, but the engine started to lean out too much. It was surging and almost quiting. I landed immediately, richened the mixture a bit, took off, and it was roaring perfectly. I did a couple passes, a couple aerobatic tricks, and then the engine quit abrubtly. I dead sticked it in towards the shore, it carried long when it got into the sheltered area out of the wind, it touched down and skimmed on step much longer than I expected, and then settled in and decelerated to a slow drift about 2 feet short of the shore. (whew!)

Upon inspection on shore, I discovered the entire needle valve assembly was shed in flight and is now at the bottom of the lake. (grrrr.) This grounded me the rest of the beautiful weekend. (double grrrr.)

I am now working on getting a replacement part or replacement engine, which ever comes first.

September 17, 2004

I took Friday off work, loaded up the car with my Mariner and with Hannah, and went up to my parent’s place to fly.

Here we are taxiing out for the first flight. It was a bit of a breezy day. Winds were probably about 15mph with a bit higher gusts. But the Mariner seemed to handle the winds just fine. My parents live on the south end of the lake and the wind was from the south, so thankfully we were a bit sheltered and I didn’t have to deal with white caps breaking over the top of the airplane.

 


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This is the take off run. The Mariner 40 gets out of the water quickly powered by a Magnum Pro 45.

 


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Here is a variety of in-flight shots. They are not particularly compelling, but hey, it flies. 🙂 One thing I discovered that is fun to do is spins. The Mariner has enough elevator authority that you can pull it into a stall/spin at just about any speed or orientation. In full speed level flight, full up elevator will put you into a “horizontal” spin. You continue to travel horizontally and forward, but you are in a spin. It almost looks like a standard roll, but is caused by one wing generating a lot less lift than the other.

Even more fun is to pull the aircraft into a vertical climb at full throttle, then hit full up elevator and full aileron and full rudder simultaneously. This also puts the plane into an aggravated spin, except you are still going straight up as you are spinning! As you decellerate, the spin get’s flater, but that big engine is still pulling and you can almost (but not quite) hang on the prop. It’s quite impressive at the apex of the manuever when you are basically tumbling/spinning/hanging on the prop all at the same time.

 


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Here I am bringing her in for a landing:

 


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Landed. Touch down and transition from on-step to slow taxi is really cool with a seaplane, as is transition to step and take off.

 


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Taxiing out for the next flight:

 


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Turning into the wind:

 


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Lining her up:

 


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And here we go. Notice we are up on step and about ready to lift off:

 


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One last water taxi shot:

 


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July 9 – 10, 2004

WARNING: See my maintenance log note on this date about the wing hold down bolts stripping out! Important story!

Ok, with that issue resolved, I was finally ready to take my Mariner 40 skyward! There wasn’t a breath of wind … perfect maiden test flight conditions.

 


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Well … almost, I started the engine, ran it up, was satisfied it would go, placed the aircraft in the water, taxied for a minute so that I could at least say I played for a while if the take off went badly.

 


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So, ready to try my first water take off … I gunned the throttle and the engine immediately quit. !$#@$!


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After some fiddling around on shore, I determined I had a bad glow plug. Luckily I had a spare, so I installed that and was able to proceed.

So, now a bit more cautious, I started to slowly add throttle…

 


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… but I noticed that just above idle taxi speeds the engine started to eat spray so I switched to the gun and go approach. That worked well and I was airborn very quickly.

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Just so you know, this plane is slightly weird because the engine is mounted on a pod/pylon above the wing. Thus, full throttle causes the aircraft to want to pitch down … which isn’t usually the direction you want to go when you cram full throttle. So, until I got used to this and got the aircraft trimmed out in the pitch direction, I was kind of up and down a lot and a bit shakey in the pitch dimension.

Fortunately it flew off the building board close to perfectly in trim for ailerons/rudder so I only had a squirrelly pitch problem to worry about.

Other than that (and once I got a handle on the pitch behavior) it was incredibly smooth and stable in the still late evening air … beautiful to watch and a joy to fly. Take offs were easy and fairly short with a Magnum .45. Touching down on the water was gorgeous, and watching it come down off step and sink into the water and resume a slow/idle taxi was *really* cool. Seaplane flying is the greatest thing ever!

I flew a couple flights again this morning in slightly windier conditions. I observed that once I had the aircraft trimmed up reasonably well in pitch, the pitch changes due to throttle changes became much less noticable. The pylon thrustline is designed with just about the right amount of down thrust (aka up pull) to compensate for the asymetric thrust. I found that at a single trim point, the plane flew great at full throttle and then when I cut the throttle to idle for approach, slowed right down and had almost the perfect approach pitch/speed … they must have worked on the thrust lines a bit before they kitted the plane. 🙂

The ARF is on the pricey side, but I’m really happy with it, and *really* happy with how it flies.

Oh, one other story to relate … I wouldn’t try this near the city where I live, but since I was flying way out in the boonies and have never seen an aircraft near this lake, and the weather conditions were crap for full scale flying anyway (low clouds due to a dense fog layer starting to break up with the mid-morning sun.) Anyway, I noticed I seemed kind of close to one of the low broken fog/cloud chunks a couple hundred feet AGL (or should I say ALL, above lake level) so I decided to keep climbing and aim for it. After a bit of climbing my plane started to get a bit “fuzzy” and suddenly disappeared entirely … right into the cloud. I cut the throttle expecting to pop right out again, but I didn’t. It turns out I flew in from the side, not the bottom, hard to tell from the ground perspective, and I only say that because my plane didn’t just pop right back out. So with the throttle idled I put it in a tight spiral … and waited … and waited … still no plane … finally, after about an eternity and a half, it popped out, happy as could be … I recovered from the spiral and resumed normal flying …

So let me just say that sea plane flying is a blast. The Mariner 40 is a great option … looks awsome, flies awsome, pretty good quality arf. I ran into a couple issues with it as noted above, but nothing insurmountable.

If I thought there was a small chance my wife wouldn’t shoot me, I’d quit my day job and go into flying seaplanes full time!

And finally one in flight movie (low quality):

May 19, 2004

Happy Birthday to me! Don’t ask how old. I feel the same as I did yesterday. 🙂 It’s time to start looking for a nice day (which can sometimes be hard to find in Minnesota.) I have to factor in a drive to a lake someplace so I don’t know when this will happen … I will update this page after I fly.

 

Mariner Construction

Lanier Mariner 40 ARF (Orange)

Construction log.


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June 13, 2003

I bought this aircraft NIB off of Ebay. It arrived today, Friday the 13th. I haven’t had a chance to begin assembly. I think I’ll need to get a flight pack + 1 servo first.

 

October 17, 2003

I was pretty fed up with all the stuff I was supposed to be doing so I pulled this out of the box to see if I could make any headway on it. Here are some pictures as it comes from the box.

 


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I am really impressed with this ARF. Generally it seems like pretty good quality wood, pretty good quality craftsmanship, solid, nice looking, and everything seems to fit together quite nicely so far.

October 18, 2003

This aircraft uses one servo per aileron. That simplifies the linkage tremendously at the expense of an extra servo.

 


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My only complaint so far has been with figuring out which hardware (screws, etc.) to use in certain places. Occasionally the manual is very brief, or omits specific details about which bit to use where. The parts bags aren’t packed the way the instructions say they are supposed to be laid out which makes the situation even worse. I’ve been left scratching my head in a couple places and making my best guess. I may have to go back and switch things around possibly later on. I hope not, but I’m not entirely confident in all my hardware choices.

Here is the detail of the wing floats and the completed wing halves. The floats go on really nicely, they are very sturdy, and look very nice (especially compared to some of the goofy wing tip floats on other seaplanes I’ve seen.)

 


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Here is a picture of the wing halves joined together.

 


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Here are a couple pictures of things setting in their relative places. I like to get an idea of how things are shaping up once in a while so I pose all the parts as best I can. 🙂

 


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May 8, 2004

I’ve been chipping away at this little by little and haven’t taken any pictures of my progress, so here I am nearly finished. The engine pod assembly has been completed, the engine mounted, tank installed, throttle servo installed, and cowl fitted and installed.

I bought a Magnum Pro 45 off Ebay for about $35 to power this project. My goal was to get something that ran well, but was a bit on the inexpensive side in case it ends up sucking in water. The engine looks like it is in great shape with no stains or rust. It has seen fuel, but has been well taken care of.

 


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May 18, 2004

There are always a million little details to finish and I’ve been slowly knocking them off, one by one. Here are a few comments looking back on the assembly process.

 

  • I’m still not happy that the hardware was not bagged like the instructions said. This made identifying screws and other bits quite difficult. I understand that things change in the kitting process and it’s hard to fix all the references in the manual, but this made the assembly process slower and more frustrating than it needed to be – at least for someone who puts one of these together at best once a year.
  • The instructions showed trimming the canopy with an xacto knife. I could have saved myself an hour of frustration if I would have gone after it with a decent pair of scissors.
  • The parts bags include 4 small mysterious wood blocks and 2 other pieces that look like push-rod supports. These came from an earlier version of the kit, but were never removed from production so they can be ignored.
  • The wing hold down bolts screw into raw balsa. I’m told that works ok, but I made some reinforcements out of scrap plywood from another kit, painted them white, epoxied them in place, and now I feel much better.
  • The covering came out of the box a little “loose” in places, especially the tail surfaces and wing. I figured no biggy, I’d just shrink it down myself at the end. But I found that some of the wrinkles are too big to get out … not a huge deal, just one of the very few things I can find to complain about.
  • Overall though, despite a few minor nits, this is a really spectacular model. It has wonderful lines, has a sharp color scheme, and looks like it will fly great. The kit quality is very good, and in most cases the instructions are good or at least sufficient.

This evening I decided to take the airplane out to test the engine and see how my Ebay special runs. I also wanted to take a few pictures before I attempt to fly it. 🙂

I have no instructions for the engine so I had to guess at an initial carburetor adjustment. It took me a few tries to get in the right ball park, but once the engine fired up it ran beautifully. Very smooth, very solid, very strong. This engine should pull this aircraft right out of the water with no trouble at all.

My daughter is all set to go to the lake and fly … it’s a perfect day, but it’s getting too late to drive anywhere.

 


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Here are some pictures of just the airplane.

 


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