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Old Oct 08, 2012, 10:08 PM
Merkin77 is offline
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USA, CT, Wilton
Joined Nov 2010
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ME-109 Combat Project in Connecticut

At some point in the recent past, some folks in our club were talking about trying out air-to-air combat. I figured if we had 5 or more folks interested, it would be worth it. Turns out 11 of us were into the idea, and so we set about finding a good platform for us first-timers. This thread is for us to share what we've found so that other groups can do this, and to also learn from others as they tell us what we're clearly doing wrong.

The criteria was as follows: We wanted an electric plane that cost less than $100, was fairly easy to get in the air, and durable/easy enough to repair. It was a tall order, and one I don't think we could have filled 10 years ago.

After scouring around for a decent plane, we decided to run a trial: One member was to build a pair of scratch-build foam planes (Spitfire and another plane) from Montana Modelworks (http://montanamodelworks.com), and I was tasked with getting and putting together a foam ME-109 from HobbyKing.

While the Spitfire builder and crew mucked around with different types of foam, I waited twelve days to get my gear from China. Flash forward some weeks and we both had planes in the air. The Spitfire came in heavier, and I had ordered too hot a motor for my plane with no possible way to prop her down. There were a few inadvertant landings that tested the durability as well.

In the end, we didn't give up on the profile-type flyer cut from foam, but in the interest of durability, and just getting everyone up in the air as quickly as possibly, for the least hassle and cost, we decided to press on for the time being with the ME-109.

The plane isn't perfect, but for $101 including shipping for a complete plane with servos/motor/2.4GHZ RX/Battery, I think we can address any issues rather easily. We've got one member whose plane tends to drop a wing dramatically, and if you get these planes going too fast, the wings have a lot of flex, which translates to a partial loss of control, which I like - I don't expect a WWII plane to handle like an Extra 300, and it's hard enough chasing down those streamers. It flies pretty well, does basic acrobatic manouvers, and the streamers don't slow 'em down noticably.

At this point, we've got three planes that have engaged in combat, another couple that are probably ready in the next few days, and I'm sure a few that will finally get around to it. We still don't have a draft set of rules, but for the most part, we've run a few feet of string tied to the rudder, then 15-20'?ish of crepe paper cut to half-width. We've found that 1-on-1 combats seem to be the most fair and enjoyable, and that other than Roger who seems to get the depth thing spot-on, it's harder than we thought to line up that streamer when cutting across.

We're still coming up with the proper propeller - the slow-fly ones from China are a bit too flimsy, but we need to watch our airspeed. The single servo for the ailerons actually works, but long-term is a bit of a watch-out as it's highly-burdened, hardly uses any travel, and will be hard to replace as it's dropped into the wing that's then glued into place.

I'll put up seperate posts about building the plane and tips, as well as tips for how to actually get a half-dozen to a dozen of these planes in your club's hands without losing your sanity.

In the meantime, here are a few videos from Nodd RC following our project - these are great, and also serve to get people excited about building theirs:

RC Combat Part 1

RC Combat Part 2

RC Combat Part 3

RC Combat Part 4
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