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.



Launching Update

Update on MiG-15 Launching Technique

Here is a launch tip for anyone who’s struggled to get the Hobby Lobby MiG-15 airborne reliably:

First, recognize that at FULL throttle, there is a small tendency to want to pitch up (probably due to the large mid-T tail configuration more than thrust lines.

Second, recognize that this is not a prop plane so there is no prop wash flowing over the control surfaces. All control surface effectiveness is due purely to forward speed. During a hand launch, forward speed is at it’s slowest and control surface effectiveness is at it’s lowest.

The problem: At full throttle and very slow speeds, the tendency to nose up is stronger than the control surface effectiveness, so right after the aircraft is thrown, even with full down elevator you may not be able to overcome the nose up force of the motor. This leads to the aircraft floundering … the full thrust is pushing the nose up, keeping a high angle of attack, and forcing slow flight speeds. The control surfaces can’t compensate due to slow flight speeds and no prop wash to help out. You can’t push the nose down, you never begin to accelerate, and often the flight ends after a few seconds as the aircraft stalls/flops/cartwheels in.

The solution: Launch at 2/3 to 3/4 throttle. (Basically keep the throttle as slow as you dare on launch.) Throw the aircraft level or even on a slightly nose down trajectory. This reduces the tendency to nose up, allows gravity to help accelerate the aircraft a bit, and allows the aircraft to accelerate naturally, and fly off as expected.

The launch problems with the MiG-15 are EXTREMELY frustrating, but once you get your launches dialed in, this little bird is a blast and really performs well! One final tip: this MiG does have a nasty spin if you manage to stall it. I try to hold at least 1/3 to 1/2 throttle through my turns and I’m careful not to pull too hard on the elevator. Let the plane fly itself, keep your control inputs light and you should have no trouble staying above stall/snap speed.

Hobby Lobby P-47

Introduction

Hobby Lobby recently introduced a neat P-47 warbird model.  It has a 40″ wing span, 4-channel flight control, retractable landing gear, and comes receiver ready.  It includes servos, motor, speed control, and even a suitable battery.  All you have to do is some basic assembly, install your receiver, and you are pretty much ready to go.

Construction

Here are the tail surfaces as they come out of the box.  Everything is pre-hinged.

Here is the fuselage as it comes.  The motor and speed controller are already installed.  Servos and linkages are installed.  Even the cowl comes pre-installed:

Here is the wing.  As you can see, the two halves are already attached.  The landing gear and retract system is already installed.  The servos and linkages are also installed and the control surfaces are hinged and attached.  The wing flaps are not operable by default, but I noticed there are servo mounts molded into the wing and it would be a 30 second job to cut the wing flaps loose and hinge them.  So if anyone really wanted to add flaps for additional realism, it should be a straightforward mod.  The aircraft definitely doesn’t need them though … it slows way up if you want it to and flies very stably at slow speeds.

Here is a close up of the machine guns on one side.  There are tons of little details built into this aircraft!

The prop was a neat surprise.  It’s an operational, scale, 4 bladed prop.  The prop tips are painted yellow and it really looks neat when it is stopped and when it is spinning.  It includes a scale prop hub and the final result looks really sharp!  I’m sure the prop is not the most efficent choice, but it looks great, and works great so I’ll run with it.

After hardly any effort or time, I ran out of things to do and the aircraft was done.  It’s midnight though so I took it out in my driveway for a pre-maiden photo shoot.  She really looks sweet.

Here is a good view of the business end.  You can see the scale prop and the retract system.  Very nice!

… time passes …

The next day after I finished the airplane we got a giant snow storm here in Minnesota.  Blast!  I figured it was still late fall, wait a few days and this first snow fall of the season would melt.  But unfortunately, mother nature had other plans for us.  The temperatures dropped, more snow came, and more, and more.  The RC club field was buried for the winter. 🙁

Fast forward to April.  The snow has finally mostly melted and the road to the field has dried out enough to be passable with normal street vehicles.

The Maiden Flight

I snuck out to the flying field for an early lunch break.  The winds were relatively light @ 5-10 mph.  But they were at a 45 degree cross wind though which was the only minor complication.

Here are some pictures before the first flight.  I also have a battle tested Hobby Lobby MiG-15 that uses pretty much the same battery so I brought it out as my “backup” airplane in case I found a problem with the P-47 and couldn’t fly it.  I hate wasted trips to the flying field!

She’s just as pretty in the grass in the morning as in my driveway at midnight. 🙂

Maidening a new airplane can get the butterflies going, so I always try to tell myself that these things are designed to fly.  They want to fly!  It will fly great!  And that’s the truth.  I had to dial in several clicks of right aileron and a couple clicks of up elevator and I was grooving around the sky.  The scale prop doesn’t offer blazing top end speed, but it’s solid and gives good power.  There is plenty of HP to climb very agressively.

Retracts!

I’m especially excited about this P-47 because it is my very first RC model airplane with retractable landing gear.  A WW-II warbird really needs retractable gear.  It just doesn’t look right flying around with the gear down, and if you build it with no gear at all, then you have to hand launch and belly it it.  The retracts worked great with two lessons learned:

  • I mentioned earlier I had quite a significant cross wind.  On my very first landing I mismanaged my rudder and my slip and touched down with quite a bit of side load.  This collapse the upwind gear leg and I skidded to a stop.  Dohhh!!!  That left a couple scratches on the bottom of the aircraft, but didn’t seem to damage the gear (it just popped right back out when I picked up the airplane) and the big scale prop was safe too.
  • On the second hop, the retracts suddenly stopped working.  Fortunately they were stuck down.  I landed, this time being much more careful with my cross wind technique and inspected the gear.  In my lap, the retracts worked perfectly.  I took off and still couldn’t get them to retract in the air.  Then I took a quick cheat peek at my hands and realized I was trying to toggle the wrong switch.  Dohh!!!  That’s what I get for buying a 7 channel transmitter with about 20 levers and knobs and switches on it.  Once I found the right switch the gear worked perfectly again. 🙂

Nose Overs

I read online that this design has a tendency to nose over and guys were busting up their scale props (and then complaining because they were out of stock.)  So in my test flights I was very careful to hold up elevator at the start of the take off run and touch down with a heavy dose of elevator dialed in.  By the way, this P-47 has awesome slow flight characteristics.  If you are careful to bleed off your speed and flair at the right time, this thing totally slows down to a walk and drops in for a nice 3-point landing.  I need more practice, but on a nice light wind day, I think there’s potential for some really really sweet landings.

Wing Crack

After my first battery was expired, I picked up the aircraft to walk back to the pits.  I noticed a crack developing in the wing foam on the bottom side of the wing, close to the wing root between the leading edge and the wheel well on the right side.  The spar was solid, but there was more flex there than I liked to see.  Bummer, done after one battery, but still happy with how things went.  I’ll file this under “shaking out the bugs”.  Hopefully a little glue will secure the foam and I won’t have any more problems.  It’s something to watch though. Update: the crack was a little more extensive than I first thought … it appears to be from landing, but I don’t recall banging it in real hard. Oh well, I glued it together and hopefully it will hold.

Hobby-Lobby MiG-15 Electric Ducted Fan Jet

Assembly

My birthday present to myself this year was a MiG-15 electric ducted fan model from hobby-lobby.com.  I bought this at Toledo in April (well paid for it in April … it’s a new item so wasn’t yet in stock.)  It shipped in May and arrived on Tuesday.

http://www.hobby-lobby.com/mig_15_epo_jet_arf_rc_airplanes_528669_prd1.htm

Here is a picture as it looks when you first open the box.  I don’t see too many pieces to glue together.

First thing to put together is the tail.  Here are the pieces dry fitted.  The only challenge to assembling the tail is that you are required to free hand drill a hole to slide in a carbon fiber tube that extends into the right elevator, and then drill the matching hole (again free hand) into the left elevator, and do it in such a way that everything lines up.  2 things in my favor: it’s foam so there is some give, and you don’t have to drill very deep (about in inch and a half in each direction.)

The next picture shows the elevator pushrod access panel.

There is a lot of nice detail molded into the undersides of the tail.  One thing I noticed is that the trailing edges of the control surfaces are squared off with hard edges.  This might seem a little unintuitive at first (often control surface edges are rounded in model airplanes) but according to RC University, square edges help minimize flutter problems.

Here is a picture of the fuselage.  It comes with the electric ducted fan and motor already installed as well as the speed controller and the elevator servo.

Access to the electronics is through a hatch where the entire canopy pops off.  There is a tab in the rear and two magnets at the front.  The two magnets keep pulling out of the foam on the fuselage side and I keep regluing them.  I assume at some point I will build up enough glue area so they will just stay put.

Looking down the pipe, you might be able to see the ducted fan blades.  This thing puts out a lot of thrust, enough for nearly unlimited vertical performance.  It really flies like a high performance jet in the air!

The next step is to install the wings.  These plug in and are glued with epoxy.  Notice the dual wing fences on the top of each wing?  A very nice detail!

Each wing/aileron has it’s own servo so as you glue the wing, you need to thread the servo wire into the fuselage center section.  Not hard, but a little care must be taken so you don’t slop epoxy on the wire or connector and create a problem for yourself later.  Again the bottom of the wings has a lot of neat molded in details like the bottom of the elevators.  The elevator and ailerons use real hinges that look very cool.

The next step is to glue the tail assembly onto the fuselage and route the pushrod housings.  The high tail mount means a little engineering needed to go into the kit so that servo inside the electronics bay of the fuselage is able to drive those dual elevator surfaces.  The kit is engineered so this works out really well.

Finally, the last step is to glue on the drop tanks.  For this kit they do not drop.  The tanks are foam and the bottom half is protected with a plastic shield.  If you look closly the bottom of the fuselage nose also has a plastic shield, and there is a raised shield/bump at the tail.  This aircraft has no landing gear so you need to belly it into the grass for landings … thus the plastic protection of the foam is a critical feature.  Also you can see the cockpit hatch piece detached in this photo.

So it’s all done!  The control horns are installed, the linkages are connected, the battery is velcro’d in, the balance point is checked.  She’s all ready to go!

And a slightly lower angle shot … she looks good!

Launching

Here is a video that shows the proper way to launch the MiG-15 (important because a bad launch can result in a mishap.)

MiG-15 Launch Technique

Flying

This MiG-15 is definitely not a beginner’s airplane.  Fortunately I am not a total beginner.  Unfortunately I’m not an expert in hand launched foam ducted fan electric jets either!  Be careful on the hand launch and release it straight and hard (or wait until there is a day with a little wind.)  The ducted fan doesn’t blow air over the flying surfaces so until you accelerate to flying speed you are vulnerable.  I flopped it in once and broke off a wing (now fixed.)  Other than that, It’s not hard to fly once you are up and flying, and anyone with reasonably competent RC flying skills should be able to get the hang of it very quickly.

As I mentioned, because the MiG-15 has no landing gear so it must be hand launched.  For my first two flights I asked a buddy at my RC club field to throw it for me.  I ran up to full throttle, he threw it into the air, and off she went!  For my 3rd flight I attempted to hand launch for myself and that didn’t go so well.  It might be worth using an assistant for all launches or just make sure you throw it a bit harder than you think you should and make sure you release it very straight.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera out for the first flights, so I don’t have any flying pictures yet … hopefully next time I head out I can get some action shots.

Wow!  It’s a a total blast to fly!  It has nearly unlimited vertical performance and can do some really sweet low/fast passes at full throttle.  It really looks and feels like a high performance jet in the air.  For its size it feels like it flies at very scale speeds … in other words it’s fast and impressive and goes from a tiny dot at one end of the field to a tiny dot at the other end of the field really quickly.  And if you pull up vertically you can get as high as you need to go also very fast.  But it’s all foam and pretty light, so you can also cut the throttle and cruise by for a slow pass at just a couple notches of power.

One thing I found I needed to be careful of is that she really bleeds off speed in the turns, so even though you can do a nice slow level pass at just above idle, you better be careful to power up to 1/2 throttle through the turns or they will get really exciting on you.  (Imagine a lead leaf if you get too slow in the turns.) 🙂

It’s pretty hot on landings too, but once you get down into ground effect you can start bleeding off a lot of speed and touch down pretty gently.  The drop tanks act as landing skids, but I worry about one of them ripping off if I would come in too hot or drag a wing in a cross wind and catch one of them on something.  So I was very careful to keep the wings level and bleed off as much speed as possible before finally touching down, and everything worked out really well.

My only gripe is that the battery runs out too quickly … I’m not done having fun before it’s time to bring her in for a landing.

Retired

Sold on November 30, 2012 — hopefully with many great flights yet to come for the new owner.

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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Great Planes Big Stick 40

 

Great Planes Big Stick 40


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This is an original release (not the updated version, nor the up-updated version.) I got a great deal on it and I missed my old Sweet Stik so much I had to build another Stik.

December 4, 2012

I have sold this aircraft.  I hadn’t flown it for a couple seasons and my focus has been more on electrics lately anyway.  Hopefully the new owner has many good flights!

June 2, 2008

Successful maiden flight!

 


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IMG_1120 There’s not too much to say … she flies a lot like a stik. 🙂 Today was pretty windy and lots of swirling eddies at our field. I played with control throws and dual rates on the ailerons. The initial rates were pretty lively for a landing approach, especially in the crazy winds we were having. I had one dead stick … pulled the idle too low on approach, but was able to land and roll out entirely within our runway. The GP 42 offers plenty of power for near vertical performance. The tail dragger configuration is kind of tricky on the ground though … I might substitute larger wheels?

 

June 1, 2008

I got fed up with this thing sitting around unfinished, and I was really itching to fly it, so I spent the last day and a half this weekend knocking it out. There are a few things that maybe aren’t perfect, but this is a old school ARF so things don’t line up as well as newer ARFs. So I think it will be good enough, and fly well enough. It’s pretty much ready to go.

I’m excited about this airplane because my first post-trainer aircraft was a Midwest Sweet Stik and it flew great and I loved it. But my original (built in 1984) was getting rattier and rattier so I eventually sold it to some guy for cheap … probably ended up as target practice are trash can filler somewhere. So this project lets me revisit one of my all time favorite models, but with a snappier engine, hopefully lighter airframe, and this time as a tail dragger configuration.

 

November 19, 2005

Today I reinforced the floor at the rear of the cabin in case I want to install floats later on. I then installed the main servo mounting tray. Finally I cut and began installing the pushrod housings.

November 14, 2005

This evening I went to the hardware store and purchased 4 sheet metal screws small enough to fit through my engine’s mounting holes. I positioned the engine and using my new “dead center” tool, marked 4 engine mounting holes “dead center”. I drilled them out and sure enough they were dead center. Finally I used my replacement screws to fasten the engine to the mount. Simple basic stuff. 🙂 I really need to get a flight pack because servo/linkage installation is the next step.

 


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November 10, 2005

Two days ago I dug out my epoxy and glued the 3 plywood wing joiner pieces together to form one hopefully strong enough wing joiner/spar piece. I’m always nervous about wings folding up in flight, but I’ve never had one fail in flight [yet]. 🙂

 


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Yesterday and today I diddled away at a few more things and pretty much finished up the wing minus the servo and linkage. I’m still negotiating with the wife over how we are going to fit a new flight pack into the family budget. 🙂

I started looking into the engine mounting today. The supplied engine mounting screws are too big for the holes in my engine. I have a really nice running Thunder Tiger GP42 I am putting on this airplane. I guess I’ll take a trip to the hardware store tomorrow.

 

Midwest Citabria

Midwest Citabria

Built by: Frank Monsoor, Onalaska WI.
Purchased: October 3, 2004.
Wing Span: 84 inches.
Power: OS 91 4-stroke.

Here is a picture of a real Citabria which I grabbed from the net. Both the model and the real thing look pretty nice.

 


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Frank built this aircraft several years ago from a Midwest kit and did a wonderful job. He covered it in 21st Century Film which has a fabric weave texture. It is powered by an OS 90 4-stroke engine with an on-board glow assist system. He included a scale instrument panel, nice color scheme, and quite a few other little details that I am just discovering.

 

May 28, 2008

This was a beautiful late May day. The high temps were only around 60, but the winds were light, the sun was shining, and flying was very nice and smooth.

The old OS 90 four stroke isn’t quite what she used to be but keeps banging away reliably and is more than enough power to fly the Citabria through a variety of scale like manuevers. I didn’t push the airframe or engine, but did a few nice rolls, loops, and wing overs. This Citabria has nice neutral aerobatic tendencies, doesn’t have an extreme tendency to balloon at higher speeds, and is overall very smooth, stable and flies bigger than it is (even though it is pretty big by most sport flying standards.)

Every time I put this airplane in the air, I end up with a BIG smile on my face when the flight is over. I know I say this after every plane I fly, but this really is my favorite airplane!

 


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December 9, 2006

No snow yet in Minnesota this year. Today the temps pushed 45F (above zero) 🙂 with about 10 mph winds. I took out the Citabria and still struggled with the engine a bit, but got it running well enough to fly. I can’t seem to do a lot of fancy stuff with this airplane, but boy is she solid and smooth in the air … very nice to just watch doing a scale flyby.

Take offs and landings are maybe my favorite thing in this airplane because they seem very scale. You have to hold a fair bit of throttle on approach, then chop it as you cross the threshold, then flair for a nice gentle touch down. If you don’t carry some speed on approach, you run out of elevator you don’t get to see that nice gentle touch down. 🙂

What a beautiful, solid, nice flying airplane!

 

June 9, 2005

First flight for me! Posing before hand. Notice the cool aluminum spinner and that I forgot to bring the wing struts to the field …

 


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img_2565 First takeoff run, the tail is just coming up … I noticed that the plane tracks straight and was very well behaved on the ground and in the air.

 


img_2567 Landing …

 


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img_2570 I think I still need to shake some of the cobwebs out of the engine since it has sat for a while, but it’s a sweet flying plane … solid, aerobatic, predictable, and reasonably gentle on landing (or should be once I get the idle throttled down a bit.) 🙂

October 9, 2004

I discovered the carb/throttle was frozen after sitting idle for a couple years. I pulled the engine off and soaked the carb in model engine fuel for about 30 minutes and it came free with a little coaxing. (Whew!)

I reinstalled the engine, put a bit of fuel in the tank, and after some fiddling around and scratching my head, I managed to get it running. I also managed to crack the spinner on a backfire so I need to get a new one here before I actually try to fly. Everything is starting to look real good. 🙂

October 7, 2004

Here are some initial pictures I took of the Citabria in my driveway.

 


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IMG_2050 How is it ever going to fit in my car?

 


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October 4, 2004

This aircraft hasn’t flown in several years, so I plan to go over it thoroughly to make sure everything is in tip top condition. I will plan to replace the TX/RX batteries even though the current ones seem fine. No point in risking such a nice plane to save a couple bucks in replacement batteries. In my R/C flying career I’ve totalled only one airplane beyond repair and that was due to a failing RX battery.

I think I will throw an aluminum spinner on the front. It will look nice and certainly is plausibly scale.

There is a small crack running the length of the top of the cowl. It doesn’t look like it should be a problem structurally, but I think I repair it first before my maiden flight with it.

So far those are the only potential areas of concern I can see with the aircraft. It should be a really great flyer! I will get pictures up as soon as possible.

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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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!