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rhagen's blog
Posted by rhagen | Aug 01, 2010 @ 06:28 PM | 4,513 Views
Here is what I have:
Posted by rhagen | Mar 15, 2008 @ 05:52 PM | 7,212 Views
Quite a while since my last blog post. Been flying, but haven't had much time to work on new planes for a while. I picked up a Hanger 9 Spitfire a few weeks ago. Already had the gear for it, so put it together pretty quickly. Using an OS .91 surpass for power. Should be ready to maiden in a week or two - weather permitting.

I wanted to show the effect of dulling down the shiny ultracote with lustercote flat clear spray. I'm attaching a before and after picture. It was sunny and warm here today so I first put the plane out in the sun for a while - sure enough, it developed a bunch of wrinkles in the covering. Took them out with the iron and hopefully they won't come back easily. I then cleaned the whole plane with alcohol and sprayed on three light coats of the flat clear. I think it looks really good now without the shine!
Posted by rhagen | Feb 15, 2007 @ 05:28 PM | 14,095 Views
Haven't posted in a while, got a bunch of things going and not making much progress on any of them. Did finally manage to finish my jetset44 depron foam Fokker Dr1. The original thread by jetset44 is here:http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=425387

I'm happy with the way the plane turned out, but not happy with my paint job. I just wasn't able to do a good job on the streaky fokker finish with the craft store acrylics that I was able to get. Not happy with the colors, or my application job. Oh well, it should still look OK in the air. I went for Lothar von Richtofen's DR1 paint scheme. He actually only flew this plane for a few weeks in the Spring of 1918 and only got 3 of his 40 victories with it. He then got shot down and spent several months in the hospital before returning to fly DVIIs until the end of the war.

The painted airframe weight with everything but the battery is 18.3 oz. Using a 3-cell 2100mAh lipo for balance and 1 oz lead in nose, total weight RTF before painting of 25.5 oz. It's built pretty much as per the plans with the exception of using magnets to hold the cowling on. I'm working on a couple of machine guns for it (visible in one of the pics), and am still waiting for Lothar to get out of the hospital and come fly it for me

I'm using an Eflite/Hacker E3-37 brushless inrunner motor and a 5.33:1 gearbox with a 12x6 prop, which gives me 106 watts at 12 amps static.
Posted by rhagen | Jan 08, 2007 @ 07:38 AM | 10,347 Views
Nearly ready to start covering my SIG Something Extra, so I set everything together to see how it looks. The tail assembly and canopy are not attached yet, will do that after covering. This is my first balsa kit, and I've learned a lot building it. No major screw-ups so far, hopefully I can do a decent covering job and get it flying soon. I'm going to put an OS .46 AX on it. Once I get this done I can get back to the foam B-25 that I started.
Posted by rhagen | Dec 30, 2006 @ 05:23 PM | 11,706 Views
Not such a good day at the field today. Was flying my 120% jetsett44 T-38 with another guy and his 120% F-18. I was making a nice low pass down the runway and she suddenly decided to roll over and dive in from about 10 feet. First time I've ever been able to blame a crash on something besides me, but it must have been a radio hit. Flipped over and went in before I realized what was happening. Smashed the nose up and broke off the vertical stab, but should be repairable. This has been one of my favorites since I finished it in early August.
Posted by rhagen | Dec 14, 2006 @ 08:03 AM | 12,656 Views
Continuing...

A nice set of plastic for this plane is available from Keith Sparks. I've cut out and assembled the nose glass and am using it to shape and fit the nose block. This is where I stalled out deciding how to handle the landing gear. Will try the mechanical retracts in this one.

I've also started to rough out the engine nacelles. The halves are just tacked together at this point. Once I get them to shape they will be split and hollowed out, then I have to figure out how to fit the retracts. Power for this plane will probably be a pair of EFlite Park480s, 10x7 props, and 3S 2100 lipos.
Posted by rhagen | Dec 12, 2006 @ 08:11 PM | 12,456 Views
Continuing...

I had one of my flying buddies, Carl, come over and help me cut the foam. I think it all turned out pretty well for my first attempts. A little rough in places, but can be fixed with some filler. I think I need to come up with a better power supply for my bow that can put out just a few more amps - cutting was pretty slow and we were getting a lot of hair from the foam. I may try and get some different foam and recut the wings - they twist pretty bad when removed from the beds. I've heard that this can happen with the blue foam because it gets a lot if internal stresses in manufacturing.

The fuse sections are assembled with epoxy, then a notch is cut for the canopy area. The cutoff piece is then cut down and glued on to form the dashboard area of the fuse.
Posted by rhagen | Dec 12, 2006 @ 09:02 AM | 12,590 Views
Keith Spark's posted free templates for this foam B-25 a few weeks ago. The official build thread is here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=571313

I bought the plastic for two, and started building a couple weeks ago, but kind of stalled out deciding how to handle the landing gear. I was going to go with fixed gear, but was at the hobby shop last week and picked up a set of small Robarts mechanical retracts that I'm going to try and use on one of them. The other will be fixed gear. I plan on making them both J versions, one a bomber and one a gunship.

Here's some photos of the foam cutting:
Posted by rhagen | Nov 01, 2006 @ 08:27 AM | 13,505 Views
Two weeks ago I won this EFlite Ultimate FX at the PGRC club meeting raffle.

It is real easy to assemble, and is a nice looking plane. There was one major gotcha that I discovered, and I should have looked for info here on RCGroups beforehand because others have run into it too. The saddle on the bottom of the fuse needs to be trimmed and sanded to get a good fit for the bottom wing. If you don't discover this before you get to that point in the instructions it is a real hassle.

I installed the EFlite Park400 920kv outrunner, EFlite 20A ESC, and ThunderPower 1320mAh 3S lipo, with an APC 10x4.7 slow-flyer prop. Servos are Hitec HS55's and I'm using a GWS 4-channel receiver.

Another issue with this power setup, is that the plane comes out nose-heavy. I had to put in a blucore battery tray on the bottom wing up inside the fuse to get it to balance. The recommended position was up against the firewall. I guess the outrunner is heavier and a little farther forward than the inrunner geared setup.

I've flown it a couple times now, and in some ways I'm happy, in some not. It flies nicely when I'm just cruising around, but aerobatics aren't very good. I probably have to fine-tune the balance, but at this point it pulls badly toward the gear in knife-edge and inverted flight. It also doesn't want to hold a level line very well without constant fiddling with the elevator. I may be just a little tail heavy - will experiment with battery placement some more. I know this plane is capable of performing better than I can fly it, just need to get it set up correctly!
Posted by rhagen | Oct 22, 2006 @ 01:38 PM | 13,404 Views
OK, here's the final installment in this build.

I finally got to the field this morning to maiden the plane. I had had some problems getting the engine tuned, which delayed things, and family commitments that prevented me from getting to the field for the past week.

The final ready-to-fly weight of the plane came out to 7lbs 15oz without fuel. A little more than I had hoped - but at the low-end of what it said on the box. I did add heavier wheels, a pilot, and a few other minor mods that probably added half a pound.

Got to the field at 8AM this morning, and was the only one there unitl I left at 10:30. Put the plane together and did some taxi tests while waiting for the fog to burn off. Got it set up to track nice and straight, then fooled around with a small electric foamie until about 9:00.

The fog finally burned off, so it was time for maiden. Lined her up on the runway and pushed the throttle forward. It tracked nice and straight, but didn't want to come off the runway until I gave it a little up elevator, at which point it jumped off! Looks like I need to adjust the nose gear to raise the nose a little.

She climbed out nicely and I turned to the left and made a pass back down the field. I must be getting pretty good at assembling and setting up these planes, because I didn't have to add any trim adjustments! She flew straight as an arrow and went wherever I pointed her. After a few circuits of the field I tried some rolls and a stall turn. She behaved...Continue Reading
Posted by rhagen | Oct 14, 2006 @ 08:10 AM | 13,771 Views
Continuing:

I didn't get the plane setup well enough to take to the field last weekend, hope to get a chance this weekend as it is now ready.

Installed the receiver and battery. Using a Futaba 8-channel receiver and a 1250mAh NiMH battery. I glued some triangle stock to the sides and am using some ply bars to hold the battery and receiver in place using the pressure of the compressed foam padding.

Installed the canopy and a pilot. I found the pilot at the hobby shop, he's from World Models and came pre-painted for $14. I had to trim his shoulders a bit, otherwise he fits fine. For the canopy I made a 1/16 inch ply template that fit into the base of the canopy and painted it black. I cut out the monocote on the fuse and epoxied the plywood on to help the canopy hold it's shape and to give something for the canopy glue to hold onto. I made a little dashboard out of balsa and mounted a Hobbico Volt Watch sensor there for the pilot and me to monitor. Added blue monocote trim to the canopy and then attached it with canopy glue.

My radio is all set up, servo throws are set, plane is balanced. I've got a busy schedule this weekend, but hope to at least get to fire up the engine and taxi around the driveway if I can't make it to the field.
Posted by rhagen | Oct 08, 2006 @ 09:14 PM | 14,542 Views
Continuing:

Put in a lot of time today, am getting close to a flyable plane. I probably won't get the canopy on by tomorrow afternoon, but will probably take it to the field and run the engine and taxi test it.

Anyways, here's what I did today.

Got the cowling cut and fitted, what a pain! Had to cut more than I wanted just to be able to get it to fit over the cylinder. Looks pretty good though.

Put it all together and checked the CG. Had to add 3 ounces of lead to the nose to balance it.

Put in the fuel tank and hooked up the lines. Set up the throttle linkage in the plane and on my radio.

Used silicone to seal the gap between the wing and fuse.

Put the decals on the wings.

Did a lot of other little piddling around things - man the last 10% sure takes 90% of the time! I should keep track sometime how many times the engine has to come on and off the mounts in the process of getting everything riggged up - must be at least half a dozen times.
Posted by rhagen | Oct 08, 2006 @ 11:34 AM | 14,204 Views
Continuing:

Another trip to the hobby shop and I got a larger-sized Great Planes engine mount to replace the one that came with the plane. Fits nicely on the firewall and is plenty beefy enough for the engine.

Also finished off the aileron and flap installations and applied silicone where the wing and fuse meet to seal up the gaps.

Next up - cut out and install the cowling.
Posted by rhagen | Oct 06, 2006 @ 07:14 AM | 15,316 Views
Continuing:

Installed the aileron and flap servos. The aileron servo leads go inside the wing and out through the flap servo opening on the top of the wing, inside the fuse. I'm not happy with the big opening around the servos, is that usual? I'll have to look at some other guys planes at the field this weekend. In any case, I'm wondering if I could cover with a piece of plastic or iron on some monocote or something.

Next I went back to the engine installation. The engine mounts that came with the kit just aren't going to work with my Saito 72. They aren't long enough - the engine would be mounted right at the tips to put it in the right position for the cowling. They just don't look heavy-duty enough for that to work. Looks like another trip to the hobby store to find a better mount!
Posted by rhagen | Oct 05, 2006 @ 07:37 AM | 14,343 Views
Continuing:

Went to the hobby shop yesterday and picked up some 3" dubro light wheels. They were the lightest I could find there, but are much heavier than the kit foam wheels (1.5 oz each vs. 0.6 oz each, ouch!). Should last much better though.

Supposed to do the engine mounting next, but skipping ahead to rig up the tail. The plane uses nylon control rods with threaded metal inserts at each end. I'm not happy with the angle the rods come out of the fuse, creates a little friction, but the servos aren't complaining. There are twin rods to the elevator halves.

At the servo end there is a plastic T connector to the two elevator rods. There's not a lot of clearance between the T and the rudder rod, and I'm afraid that the T could catch on the rudder rod if there is any flex. I might try and change the angle of the rudder guide tube so I can use and inner hole on the rudder horn and get it farther away from the elevator T.

I'm using Futaba 3151 digital servos on the elevator, rudder, and two ailerons, Futaba 3003s on the throttle and flaps.

I also spent some time coating the inside of the forward fuse with thinned epoxy to fuel-proof it.
Posted by rhagen | Oct 03, 2006 @ 12:27 PM | 12,020 Views
Continuing:

The wheels included in the kit are cheapo foam things that I'm replacing. It will probably add a little weight, but I want something that will last.

Next up was setting up the front wheel steering. The steering pushrod exits through a slot in the bottom of the fuse. The supplied steering arm was too short, so I had to replace it with a longer one I had laying around.

The firewall is a double layer of plywood. Looks strong enough, I added epoxy around the edges to make sure. I don't know why there is the big hole in the middle, but I guess I'll have to make sure I do a good job of fuel-proofing the compartment behind the firewall since it provides a good way for fuel to blow back there!
Posted by rhagen | Oct 03, 2006 @ 08:05 AM | 11,254 Views
OK, here's a few closeups of some of the build steps:

First off, I went through and checked everything over. The covering needed very little attention, there were no wrinkles, and only a few edges that needed to be ironed down. The manual (which is very good) says that it is real shrink covering - not the shelf paper that sometimes comes with arfs.

The first step was to attach the tail feathers, which was completed with no problems. Everything came out nice and square.

Next I attached all the control surfaces using the supplied CA hinges. Everything going smoothly so far!

Landing gear next, and here I hit a minor machining error. You probably can't see in the photos, but on one wing the gear wire slot went inboard of the wire hole about 3/4 of an inch, and was too short on the other end. I had to get out my dremel and lengthen the outboard end of the slot so the wire would fit. No big problem, but I still have the 3/4 inch opening in the covering on the other end. I coated the bare wood with epoxy to fuel-proof it, but I don't like it sitting open like that.
Posted by rhagen | Oct 03, 2006 @ 07:49 AM | 10,287 Views
They don't make this plane anymore, but I thought I'd post my build since there isn't much info about it online.

I found this for $149 at a local hobby shop. I'm interested in SPA, and plan to build a Kaos this winter, but thought I could put this together quickly for flying this fall. I thought the quality looked pretty good, so went for it. I know it doesn't have the same lines, and probably won't fly as good as the original, but it should get me started.

As I noted in an earlier post, the box says a RTF weight of 8 to 9 lbs and an 80 to 90 4-stroke, but I weighed everything and get an airframe weight of 4.95 lbs. I also weighed the servos, receiver, battery, and Saito 72 that I'd like to put in it, and they weigh 1.95 lbs. I get a RTF weight of 6.9 lbs (without fuel), so I don't know where they get the 8 to 9 lbs. I think the 72 will do fine if the weight comes out as I estimate, we'll see...

This will be my first ARF assembly, I've been flying for a couple years, but have previously scratch-built foamies and finished off kits that were abandoned by others. I can see right now that I'm not going to like ARFs, there are several things on this one that I don't like, but can't be fixed without major surgery!

I didn't decide to do this until midway through the build, so don't have details of some steps.
Posted by rhagen | Oct 02, 2006 @ 07:30 PM | 9,256 Views
Well, I gave up on getting the falcon to fly. I guess there was a good reason nobody posted a good video of one flying! Tried all kinds of things to get it to behave, but decided to quit and strip out my gear before it got wrecked. Will let it hang on the wall and maybe try again someday.