Veteran Hobie Hawk Get's New Pilot
We often hear about veteran pilots getting new planes, but in this case, it's the reverse...
Not one week after purchasing my brand new Hitec Eclipse TX, and thinking I was on top of the world for having a cool new toy, I stumbled upon one of those deals that are just too good to be true. It's really delightful that if you hang out with enough of these great RC flyers for long enough, you're bound to eventually hear of some great deals on used airplanes, electronics and other gear.
My buddy Wayne came up to Coyote Hills Wednesday evening, and was flying one of his beautiful scale ships while I was wringing out the Moth. We were chatting about cleaning out our garages, and he mentioned how many airplanes he had in his. THEN, he said the magic words - "I also have a Hobie Hawk I want to sell...". I couldn't resist inquiring further.
That evening I drove home with my backpack, my Moth, and a new (new to me) Bob Martin Models Hobie Hawk - what a find! I think I felt how those collectors must feel when they find that really rare treasure.
What's even better about this deal is that Wayne is one of those flyers that takes really good care of his planes. I'll have to develop better habits as this one won't be as rugged as my EPP planes.
Photos to come...
Veteran Hobie Hawk Get's New Pilot/Photo I
I spent about an hour last night, installing some used equipment: two standard-size Futaba servos, a Hitec 555 RX and a battery pack. Everything went in really easily and the quick control surface check went well.
The next morning I learned that I had to take my daughter to an all-day basketball tournament in San Pablo - GEEZ! My daughter was so cool about me wanting to go get airplane parts, that she allowed me to drop her off and come pick her up later in the afternoon.
So I drove back down to Livermore to visit Aerospace Composites to get a new wing joiner and the thin wing locator rod. George Sparr was so helpful and he set me up with exactly what I needed. Lenard popped in to take a look at my new floater, and he was really excited for me.
George was not able to cut the rods for me as he had some other business to attend to (he would have done it for me later in the day but I was in a hurry). Lenny had his Dremel tool in his car, so we went outside and became likely the first customers to cut and test wing rods on the picnic table in front of Aerospace Composites. GEEZ - I should have taken a picture of that one :)
Lenny and I decided to have an important pilots meeting at a nearby Carls Jr. After looking at the instruction manual (and polishing off a 5-pc chicken meal), we decided to adjourn to the Elementary School were Lenny spent his youth (I wonder if he flew RC models inthe yard on recess too - hmmmm).
Here's a photo of Lenny,smiling cuz I gave him a few tries at the sticks with the my new Hobie Hawk...
Veteran Hobie Hawk Get's New Pilot/Photo II
After putting all of the pieces together, we checked out the surface throws, turned on the system and decided to be brave and throw it.
I was nervous as I was the first one to check this plane out (between the two of us), but I felt better saying "make it a gentle toss this time, Lenny...". Lenny laid on the ground on his stomach and gave a gentle toss and to my amazement, the plane glided nice and straight out in front of us. In correcting for some of the mild currents the plane turned a bit, and I corrected, but it just kept going in that same direction, until it caught a tip and did a harmless flat spin. Luckily the plane was only about a foot off the ground. We looked at the throws, and learned that the rudder was reflexing backwards. I reversed that channel, and it solved that problem.
Lenny continued to give progressively stronger launches, and I was delighted to see that this plane grooved nice and straight. On a typical throw, I was able to get glides of at least 100 yards. Mind you, I wasn't planning to make turns or catch lift - I just wanted to see if it glided well. I certainly saw more than I wanted to see in that area.
So after a few flights, I felt sorry for Lenny (you know how dogs look, when you're at the table having a sumptuous meal, and the family dog is looking up at you with those eyes), so I handed him the TX. I think Lenny was surprised that I did this. He flew the plane maybe three times. The first time, he glided a good 50 yards, but then nosed up and stalled, and then the plane went in to a flat spin after catching a tip. Luckily no damage on that.
After all was said and done, I was delighted at how this plane performed. I have a few small things to do (anchor down the battery so it won't move, tape the wings better so they don't slip away from the fuse, and check why the linkages are rubbing against each other at the rear end of the fuse. But after these minor adjustments, I plan to take it to the slope to see if I can get some mild conditions in which to really see how it flies.
I'll post more pics as they become available.
Happy Flying ;-)
PS: If you've never flown one, and you happen upon a deal on a Hobie Hawk, I recommend that you take a closer look. I think you'll be delighted with what you find.
Might just want to check....
Congrats on a clean looking Hobie Hawk. I have several, but I've always wanted a white one... good score.
I would highly recommend that you check out my website on proper set-up for the Hobie Hawk: http://www.hobiehawk.com/setup.html
The two most critical things are: CG and wing tip washout. The above page goes through how to properly set that up.
The most inmportant thing about flying it is to keep in mind that the Hobie Hawk flys with a NOSE DOWN attitude, so it is hard to judge this planes airspeed by using the fuse and horizon as a reference... you have to FLY an hobie hawk, don't mush it along! You can tell this because if you are getting close to stall speed your rudder inputs will cause it to "waggle" more than turn.
As for why your push rods are binding, check that they are not crossed and also the Z bend in the rudder pushrod where it exits the fuse can be angled down at a 45 degree and that helps.
IMPORTANT NOTICE ON ORIGINAL PUSHRODS: Be aware that depending on what year your hawk was built it could be near 30 years old and the material on the original Hobie Hawks' used to secure the f'glass pushrods to the threaded metal portion can get dried out and FAIL. Make sure your bond between these is SECURE!
SO: Check CG, Washout, keep it FLYING... good luck and HAVE FUN with your beautiful plane! You'll turn heads with a Hobie Hawk anywhere you fly it!
Keep us posted!
Oh, here is my SLOPE Hobie Hawk that I have yet to fly (no slopes around here!) It has a 6 foot wing span with an RG-15 airfoil - I can't wait!
Thanks Cactus Jack
Well, I read your post and then went over to Wayne's house to pay him for the plane. I was surprised to hear him saying some of the very same things you mentioned in your post. Sage advice.
I did the CG check per the instruction manual diagram and after adding a few ounces of noseweight, got it to balance where the wingrod point was about 19.5" below the reference point on the empennage (per the diagram). Wayne also helped me to reduce that pushrod interference by re-hanging the servo horns.
Yesterday afternoon I went with my family to visit my brother and sister at our family property in the hills, and I brought the Hobie Hawk along to try out some gentle flying in the south pasture. The winds were coming up the gentle slope at about 12 mph, and I thought I'd risk it. I launched and the plane went straight out, but as I neared the road, there is a line of 50' tall poplar trees down there, and I think the west winds hitting those trees made a bit of a rotor, so there was some mild turbulence. I flew like that, heading down to those trees, turning back and coming up the hill, landing smoothly three times. This was sort of white knuckled technical flying (for a crunchie) so I decided to pack up while there was no damage. I felt good that the plane seems pretty airworthy.
This afternoon I took the Hobie Hawk up to Del Valle Regional Park and really got a chance to wring it out. The lift was almost too light for the slopers, so I launched and the plane ventured several hundred yards out, looking really sweet. I was mentally trying to picture keeping a nose-down attitude, but was never sure I achieved this. The plane seemed to fly fast.
After flying and then coming home to read Jack's post, I realized that I must not have been flying nose-down enough. As long as I was heading into the wind, stright and level, the plane flew as smooth as silk. Often on turns, and definintely on cross-wind flights, I would experience the waggling that Jack was referring to. It was a bit annoying.
Earl was up there, and he mentioned that he had flown Hobie Hawks before and when he saw me fly, he could relate. He said his experiences were the same. Jerry Hall asked me to let him fly, and I respect his skill and experience. I figured it would be good to know if Jerry had the same experience, or if it flew perfectly for him. He also had the waggling problem.
I'm guessing that I just need to learn how to fly a Hobie Hawk (nose-down). After a smooth pop-and-drop landing on the east LZ, I set the Hobie Hawk down and relaxed a bit with my Moth. I was glad to have yet another day with no damage.
I'm looking forward to getting more experience with this plane, and I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing what it can do in thermals.
Thanks go out to Jack for his expert advice AND for his excellent Web site dedicated to this amazing plane. Jack - it is hilarious to me that you're the builder of that site, cuz I read many of the pages of your site, on the evening that I brought the Hobie Hawk home for the first time -- several days before your post in this thread. Your site is highly visible at Google, and I think it's the best Hobie Hawk reference on the Internet at this time. Great work :)
Happy Flying ;-)
Yes it all reality the Hobie Hawk is a definite intermediate+ plane. When you really start to get the hang of it the waggle will decrease a bit. Most of the waggle is from inputing too much control too quickly. You might try adding some exponential to your radio (if you can) and this might help smooth things out.
The real issue with the waggle is however inherent in all Hobie Hawks. The massive 99 inch wing span coupled with a short fuselage and small rudder area have a lot to do with it as well.
That is why we built SuperHawk: http://www.hobiehawk.com/SuprHwkFlghtRprt.html
Although the wingspan of the SuperHawk is 120 inches the fuse is 11" longer and the rudder almost 40% larger! This makes the ship hande much better!
I might recommend building up a larger rudder for your stock Hobie. About 1.5" taller and 1" longer. This will help. The best thing to do however is to really get into some sustained lift conditions to be able to really put in some flight time and learn the speed envelope that the Hobie likes and then things will start to smooth out for you I think!
As per the nose down attitude I'm not talking WAY nose down, but maybe 5 degrees down.
DO THIS: Put ypour Hawk together and place the plane on it's wings between two chairs that have flat tops. OK this attitude would give you close to a zero angle of attack. Now add just a bit of something under each leading edge to give the wing about a 2 degree angle of attach. Now what you see is the approximate flying orientaion under normal flight.
Attached is the closest photo I could find of the nose down attitude... just after a hand launch...
**Note that the horizon in the background is sloping downward**
Hope this helps!
Wringing Out The Hobie Hawk/Commentary
Well, after a few white-knuckled flights, I was able to get up to Del Valle Regional Park on an afternoon (after work) where the winds were lesser but there was still ample lift. I managed to make it to the flying site at about 6:00 PM, and I was a bit nervous about bringing out the Hobie Hawk. Instead I spent about 45 minutes flying the Moth in the moderate slope lift. I was just having fun when Lenard started getting cranky, wanting me to launch the Hobie Hawk.
Since Lenard had landed his TG-3, I could tell that he would not again fly until he had gotten his money's worth watching the Hobie fly (or crash) :)
After setting up, I launched and the plane went out nice and smooth. I flew the Hobie three times for about ten minutes each. On one flight, the lift almost completely disappeared, and I continued to make passes going down all the way, and eventually ditching down near the bottom of the valley. The plane hit kind of hard (we could actually hear it), but I was delighted to see no visible damage when I retrieved it.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, this plane is prone to a bit of successive yawing (waggling) sometimes. Luckily, with these flights, I saw none of this behavior. The plane is a sheer delight to fly and watch. I mentioned to Lenard that even though the Hobie has such a distinctive looking wing (no such full-scale plane likely ever existed), the fuse has sort of a scale look to it. On flyby, it almost looks like a real glider. I always like this characteristic in RC planes.
I was also happy to see that my landings were relatively uneventful, up on the flat area on top. We flew in the site that faces the hills to the West of Del Valle Reservoir, and that site has (IMO) the bast LZ of the four flying sites I've used here. The LS is a fairly flat area about 70 - 100 yards long and about 30 yards wide. It runs parallel to Mines Road. Landing here was a bit dicey in that the plane was moving pretty fast.
I would make a few passes, trying to slow down, and then come in. On one occasion, I made a hard banked turn town at the base leg, to bleed off speed. This helped, btu the plane was still moving so fast, that when I set it down, and one wing panel hit some weeds, the plane did a spectacular flat spin (almost looking like it was caught in a tornado), but luckily settled down harmlessly.
I think I'd feel more comfortable with a bigger LZ, but I might just continue to try making a habit of the pop-and-drop. That worked for me on the previous weekend here at Del Valle.
Photos to follow...
Happy Flying ;-)
Wringing Out The Hobie Hawk/Photos Part I
After launching, I hastily threw my car keyts to Lenny and begged himto get some flying shots of the Hobie Hawk. Up to this point I had none.
I could here him cursing that he couldn't keep the plane in the viewfinder, but he did manage to get this one...
Wringing Out The Hobie Hawk/Photos Part II
...And he managed to get this one too. This is a better "evidence" photo as you can see me here, wrestling with the controls ;-)
Wringing Out The Hobie Hawk/Photos Part III
...And in homage to Lenny for his patience in watching me fly the Hobie Hawk (I was too nervous to let him fly it), I decided to let him fly my Moth just before we headed home.
Lenny had just dorked his DAW TG-3, and he managed to break one of the plastic pushrods. Since he was out of commission, I handed him my Moth. "Try and break this one, Lenny..." :)
Well, there it is.... nothing like a Hobie Hawk in flight! I never get tired of seeing that!
Thermals and lift!
Getting More Practice...
Well - true to the old adage "One good turn deserves another", I went back to Del Valle on Saturday afternoon. Lenny couldn't make it on that day.
The whole gang was there and I had a lot of fun flying with them.
I launched the Hobie Hawk while there was maybe only one guy flying, and I was able to venture out far to the West, catching some big lift, and at one point, seeming to be 3 or 400 feet in the air. That flight lasted me about 35 minutes. I decided to walk up to the big LZ and land when it got to the point where there were about 5 foamies in the air.
I'm a foamie pilot myslf, but I just felt nervous about my ability to avoid potential midairs. I landed the Hobie Hawk, and flew the Moth for at least an hour.
After most everyone had gone home, and the lift had dramatically reduced, I again launched the Hobie Hawk and flew for a good 20 minutes. One guy I flew with was flying an Olympic 650. He told me that he was one of the first Hobie Hawk distributors back in the 70s - amazing coincidence.
The nice thing was (as Jack had stated earlier) getting used to the "the feel" of this airplane. I got it to the point where the waggling almost never happened.
This plane is a real delight. Thanks Jack, for all of the great info.
Happy Flying ;-)
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