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Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 23, 2015 @ 11:51 AM | 1,308 Views
My last few blog entries have been about my recently built Cloud Dancer 60. The airplane is a Fred Reese design that was featured in RCModeler magazine I believe in 1993. I purchased the plans for this model back in 1995. In 1999 I reduced them and scratch built a 40 sized Cloud Dancer. This was before ACE R/C kitted the 40 size version.

I call this a short kit because I did not cut the parts for this kit. A great RCG member here, Balsaworkbench, provided me with a beautiful set of laser cut parts. I simply had to look over the plans and decide what additional balsa sheets and sticks I would need to build it.

The parts from Rob were fantastic! The cut quality was what you would come to expect from any large kit manufacturer. The wood grade and quality was top notch also. I laid many of them right on top of my plan and they were exact. This made the build an easy one. It features a 50% stick built fuselage and many 1/16" parts to keep this airplane light. The final weight of my airplane with a weighty 26oz Saito twin was 6.25lb. With a lighter single cylinder engine it could be built around the 6lb range.

The airplane could very easily be used as low wing trainer; it is that easy and gentle to fly. I just logged another 3 flights on it today and I could not be happier with its flight performance and gentle flight characteristics. The the long tail moment and sleek lines it will do any pattern maneuver in the book too making it a great platform to practice pattern flying.

A copy of the build article and this and the plans are available from Outerzone at this link:

Just for kicks I have added a few pictures of my 40 sized Cloud Dancer. These are scanned from 35mm photos; yes that is how old they are.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 22, 2015 @ 12:48 PM | 1,164 Views
I just returned from the airfield after 3 successful flights of my new Cloud Dancer 60. The first flight was somewhat uneventful, just your basic trimming out flight. After about 2 minutes of trimming I began to test the flight envelope. It flies quite nicely and the Saito FA-90T is plenty of power for it. The airplanes dry weight, no fuel, is 6.25 lb. The 90T is turning a Master Aircrew 14x6 propeller at 8150RPM WOT throttle.

There is really nothing too exciting to say about it. It is a great flier, quite gentle and easy to land. although you will see in my last landing that it was a bit less than perfect.

I also had my SIG Astro Hog out too. It was sporting a new Tactic TR625 receiver. I replaced the TR624 with the TR625 dual antenna. Again, no issues. A good range test was performed and there were no issues.

My Cloud Dancer is on a JR 72Mhz system while the Astro Hog is on my Tactic 6 channel system. There is a BIG difference between the two transmitters in weight. The JR system weighs at least twice as much as the lightweight Tactic. Quite honestly I like the weight and feel of the JR system better.

Cloud Dancer 60 first flights (2 min 41 sec)

Astro Hog flights (0 min 55 sec)
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Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 17, 2015 @ 05:50 PM | 1,440 Views
I shot a few videos of the Cloud Dancer engine, fuel tank, plumbing tests. The Saito FA-90T is turning a MA 14x6 at 8200RPM WOT and idles at 2500RPM.

Cloud Dancer engine idling and run up (0 min 29 sec)

Cloud Dancer engine runup (0 min 42 sec)
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Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 16, 2015 @ 03:52 PM | 1,270 Views
I completed the rebuild of this Saito 50 I picked up. I completed it yesterday and took it out for a few runs. It is a nice running engine. I had to replace the following components:
2.Connecting rod
3.Piston ring
4.Gasket set
I took a few pictures after I had cleaned it up, but I did not document it as much as I could have.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 15, 2015 @ 06:36 AM | 1,375 Views
The Cloud Dancer is 95% done now. I have finished covering it, although it is not my favorite color scheme. Since I was trying to minimize some costs I used the covering I had on hand and that was material that was going to be used for a Hazel SIG Clipped Wing Cub.

I still have to do the final mounting of the receiver, install control rods for all servos, place the battery, and install the switch harness. I did just weigh the airplane and it it showed 6lb.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 11, 2015 @ 04:50 PM | 1,469 Views
I just received my latest re-build project from a seller on RCU. I know nothing about this engine aside from what the seller told me: it needs bearings. How right he is! It is pretty dirty on the outside and has a strange sounding and feeling CLUNK as the prop washer is rotated. I already purchased a new ring, bearings, gasket set, and prop washer and nut. knowing those items would need to be replaced at a minimum. Now that I look at it I think the prop nut is the wrong size as I didn't find one for the 'E' engine code and i guessed it would fit a 45. I think I guessed wrong. It seemed to have decent compression but since I bought the Bowman ring I'll be installing it anyway.

Anyway, I'll start working on this engine sometime soon. I'll post before and after pictures and if I get industrious enough maybe I'll make a dis-assembly video.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 09, 2015 @ 08:13 AM | 1,206 Views
It is getting down to crunch time! Covering should begin today sometime. Since my last post I have done the following:

1. Created a lower half cowling for the engine. I decided on a one piece section that acts as the lower cover under the fuel tank attached with screws. This gives me the flexibility to be able to access the tank from the bottom and the half cowling allows easy access to the engine. Access to the top of the engine is important for choking/priming the carbs, adjusting the needle valves, etc. Besides the single engine upright installation in the original design also was a half cowl open nose. I have coated the inside of this piece with epoxy for fuel proofing and strength.

2. This morning I have drilled and installed the Robart Hinge point hinges(dry fit only) on all control surfaces.

3. Added triangle stock to the bottom of the stabilizer and fin for better gluing surface and to help ensure a square installation. I will be covering all parts first, as I usually do, before final gluing of the assemblies together.

4. Final dry fit of all sub-assemblies and weight/balance check. The CD looks like it will balance just fine with minimal adjustment of some of the radio components. You can see I laid the battery pack inside the cockpit area and this allowed me to slide it fore and aft to achieve good initial balance. The airframe at this point weigh in at 5.5lb. I figure with covering and more epoxy to attach the surfaces, all up weight might...Continue Reading
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 07, 2015 @ 07:26 PM | 1,732 Views
Last night I drilled the wing dowel holes and glued the dowels in place. I also began the fitment of the fuel tank. Additionally, I bent the landing gear using my trusty old K&S wire bender. Tonight I have mounted the wing onto the fuselage and drilled/tapped for the wing hold down bolts. I also installed the elevator and rudder servos. That is about all I'll be doing tonight as I got a later start than normal. I had to reassemble the Saito 30 I was rebuilding and the last part I had ordered arrived today.

Anyway I also did the first full mock up of all parts for some naked wood pictures.

The stringers running from the cockpit to the nose are not glued in place yet. I am holding off until I complete the tank installation and plumbing. I am not making a magnetic or removable hatch to access the tank. I will be able to pull it out if necessary from inside the fuse, but I am sticking to the original design as much as possible.

There are plenty of odds and ends now to do. Sanding, installing the fiberglass cloth, control horn installation, hinging, and of course COVERING....Continue Reading
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 05, 2015 @ 04:46 PM | 1,653 Views
I have made some progress since my last post, but at a substantially slowed rate. I could blast through the framing section on the weekend, but now comes more of the tedious, planning sections.

I have the wings panels nearly ready to join. The new servos arrived and I have them installed. I faced the root wing ribs with additional 3/32" material. I have those sanded to create the dihedral. I still have to install the cap strips on each rib on four panels. Cutting and gluing cap strips are a pretty critical part for wing strength and the absolute LEAST favorite part of any wing build for me. Any wing that specifies for 1/16" thickness ribs requires EXTREME care when handling. Now this was done to keep things light but I have damaged about 6 ribs in just handling, so getting these darn cap strips on is quite important now.

I also bolted up the engine for the first fitment. It looks like I might be able to still have 1/2 lower cowling around the engine. The position of the carbs and needle valves might make it impossible for any top balsa. I could get industrious and try to form a soda can over the top but it if looks ok without, I won't be doing that. Plus I like things simple now and easy access to the engine is of paramount importance to me.

EDIT: Capstrips installed and wing panels joined now.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Aug 02, 2015 @ 04:02 PM | 1,677 Views
Since getting my Saito twin cylinder engines I have been flying them on the Value Hobby Easy Stik. That was always intended to be my test bed verification airplane for these engines. However one might always stay on the Stik as it is a sweet combination. My intention all along was to build an airplane for one of these engines. I had to access the power, reliability, and flight times for these engines and that was the role of the Easy Stik. Once I felt comfortable with the engines I set out to find a suitable airframe. I did not want to do the typical Cub that you would find one of these engines in.

After some research I decided on the Fred Reese Cloud Dancer 60. I already had the plans for it. I bought them back in the late nineties and reduced them for my first scratch build; a 40 size Cloud Dancer. That was one of the best flying airplanes I have ever owned. A fellow modeler and RCG member, Balsaworkbench, provided me with some very nice laser cut parts and all I had to do was buy the remainder of the wood.

I started this build on Saturday August 1st, yesterday. I began with the tail feathers. They are a simple frame structure and took no time at all to complete. I moved on to the fuselage after that and got 90% of it completed yesterday as well.

Today I began on the wing and as of now have about 90% of the wing panels completed also.

This is a very standard and easy model to build and there are no special instructions, techniques, or materials...Continue Reading
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jul 29, 2015 @ 06:52 AM | 1,825 Views
I have flown several times now with my older JR XP6102 system and it has worked flawlessly. The really nice thing is that I never have to contend with other flyers for a channel as 98% of the folks are on 2.4GHz.

I dusted off my even older JR XF622 system last night, charged the old NiCD pack and brought it in to work to check out the output signal. I figured the battery pack in there would be good enough to test the signal but if I do use it I will most certainly be replacing it with a 2000mAh NiMH pack.

I used the HP 8562E Spectrum Analyzer and saw the following signal. This is a ch 19 which is 72.170MHz. It looks pretty good. Good enough to take out to the field and do a really thorough range test anyway.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jul 25, 2015 @ 06:50 PM | 1,877 Views
I pulled this out for a test run today. It needs a home and I have an GP Ultra Sport 40 kit waiting to be built for this engine.

Tower Pro 46: a real screamer (0 min 44 sec)

Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jul 14, 2015 @ 05:36 PM | 1,772 Views
She is alive and running beautifully!

Saito FA-90T First run after rebuild (1 min 30 sec)

FA-90T Second run of the day (1 min 53 sec)
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Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jul 14, 2015 @ 06:29 AM | 2,195 Views
I happened upon a nice Saito FA-90T from a fellow member and local flier. It looked pretty rough and had no compression at all. He and I both figured it just needed a little TLC, so I figured I was the one to give it.

Once I got it home I cleaned the exterior up first using some spray cleaner and an old toothbrush. It turned out pretty nice, but the real question was how was it on the inside? It turns out that it wasn't too bad really. I disassembled it and carefully cleaned and oiled all of the parts. The lack of compression was due to stuck valves; an easy fix.

It turns out that it could use a new set of bearings so I ordered some and it patiently waited until they came in. While waiting on the bearings I installed the carburetor onto my other 90T just to verify that it operates properly; and it does. Once the bearings and new gaskets were installed reassembly was a breeze. The older Saito single throw crankshaft engines are quite easy to disassemble/reassemble and setting the timing is just as easy.

Now the the compression is back, it is looking nice again, and it awaits its first run in probably 10-15 years. I will be taking video of it tonight as I run it for the first time in years. Once that is done, it heads to the classifieds to find a new proud owner.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jul 06, 2015 @ 05:43 PM | 2,190 Views
I have met a terrific fellow modeler on this site and he was kind enough to send me a Saito FA-30S engine to get my Sportsman Aviation Waco 30 back in the air. Rob is a great guy and a pleasure to call a friend even though we have never met face to face. Thank you Rob!

This little engine arrived and I was prepared to replace the bearings in it, but upon initial inspection, they felt fine. I may still install them at some point but I just opened her up and did a quick inspection. Once satisfied that the bearings were not in imminent danger of letting loose I put the engine on the stand to see how it runs. It runs GREAT!

Saito FA-30S (0 min 8 sec)

Saito FA-30S (0 min 30 sec)
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Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jul 03, 2015 @ 10:59 AM | 2,306 Views
Yesterday the replacement Easy Stick arrived. I did investigate only buying replacement parts as Value Hobby does offer the wing, fuselage, and tail feathers as separate spares. After looking at the cost of what I would need, fuselage ($50) and tail feathers($25) plus shipping I figured I might as well buy the entire airplane again.

Once again it was packed in 2 blank double boxes and it arrived undamaged. Seeing as I have assembled one before, I did not even bother to open the instruction manual, I knew exactly what I needed to do. The first step was to apply plenty of wood glue to the entire joint areas inside. I smeared this around each joint with my finger and did not worry about applying too much. These joints can use all the extra glue they can take.

The next step for me again was to punch out the blind nuts in the original firewall to make way for the new firewall I epoxied onto the original. Once drilled for the engine mount, throttle, and fuel lines I moved onto the aft fuselage section.

This time I am putting both elevator and rudder servos in this section of the fuselage. I don't think the extra weight is going to be an issue and if it is I have plenty of room in the forward end to move things around.

Once the servos with extensions are in place, it is time to glue in the 4 wood joiners. These align the front and rear halves and provide more area for gluing. I installed the four joiners in the front section and used CA to hold them in place for the...Continue Reading
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jun 30, 2015 @ 07:35 AM | 2,574 Views
Well in light of my recent loss of the Easy Stik, I have considered going back and using my lightly used JR XP6102 radio system. It is a 72 MHz system that I bought probably back in 2001-02. I have 2 receivers for it and plenty of servos; the transmitter has a new 2000 Mah battery pack.

After the failure analysis to include queries on this forum, it seems that the root cause for my crash was ..... me! It appears that I did not heed the instructions for proper RX/antenna placement and that the signal was shadowed for a time long enough to send the RX into fail safe mode.

A very valuable lesson was learned for sure. I know in the past with the older systems 'shadowing' was never an issue. There was a 39 inch long antenna sticking out of the airplane grabbing all of the signal. The receiver could be right next to the servos and it did not matter.

So I pulled my trusty JR system out last night, cycled the transmitter battery and brought it into work to check out the signal. Using an HP 8562E spectrum analyzer I checked the signal. The transmitter is channel 25 which is 72.290 MHz. The transmitter checks out perfectly. The signal is clean and strong. I think once the new Easy Stik arrives I might just put this system in it and go 'old school' along with the 30+ year old engine in the nose.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jun 26, 2015 @ 07:22 PM | 2,082 Views
Yes, thanks to lots of rain and very soft sandy soil in FL, the 80T easily survived a nose dive into the ground. The only casualty were the headers. One smashed closed the other tweaked. I soaked it with alcohol and sprayed it off with the air compressor and that's it. I turns over freely and feels perfect. Coming from someone too willing to open up an engine.... Great engineering, Saito.
Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jun 25, 2015 @ 06:49 PM | 2,409 Views
It was a bittersweet trip to the flying field today. It was going to be the first aerial videos using my new Mobius camera and I was excited. The first, and only flight, started out well. I started recording and took to the air. I made several circuits around the field and then the unthinkable happened.

I lost radio contact while flying straight and level. The Stik went from a straight and level flight into a dive straight into the ground. I was helpless as I watched my airplane plummet into the ground. 1 second after impact the sound wave hit me. it was a sickening CRACK!!

As I began the long walk to the impact site I contemplated what had just happened. I took the radio with me to see if all controls still functioned. When I got there the radio was unresponsive. The impact must have turned the switch off as it was in the off position. When I turned it on all control surfaces worked perfectly. I gathered up the Mobius and all I could carry in one load and walked back. The second trip I gathered all of the pieces I felt like bringing back.

There is good news and bad news in this story. The good news is that the Mobius and video survived the impact as you will see below. The bad news is that the Easy Stik is a total loss. The condition of the Saito FA-80T is unknown at this time, but I will be evaluating that very soon.

Amazingly the wing seems relatively unscathed. I will not be using it on the next Stik. Oh yes, I plan on replacing this airplane. It is a great platform for my twin cylinder engines.

Oh well, such is life. Now to check out my engine.

Last flight of the Easy Stik 60 (2 min 56 sec)

Posted by dmrcflyr2 | Jun 13, 2015 @ 04:39 PM | 2,621 Views
I flew a few airplanes today and had a great time! My wonderful 10 year old grandson took the videos and he gets a bit better each outing. I flew my Value Hobby Easy Stik 60 with the Saito FA-90T and my SIG Astro Hog with the Enya 60-4C shown in my blog entry below this one.

This particular Enya 60 seems a bit more powerful than the other one I had on it before. They both have very good compression so I am unsure why there would be a difference, but there is.

The Saito 90T is getting broken in and ran flawlessly today. I did not touch the needle valve settings at all after the last run in my yard a few days ago. I had reset them and tached the engine for a bit of unloading in the air. This engine is very sensitive to the needle valve settings; one click of either carb in either direction can make a big difference on overall high speed RPM.

Easy Stik takeoff 1 (0 min 30 sec)

Easy Stik touch n go (0 min 27 sec)
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