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Old Feb 19, 2013, 02:12 AM
NORTHLAND NEW ZEALAND
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Great Planes Super Decathlon 40 Rebuild

Hi guys, hopefully this is in the right place.

Recently got this air plane from a friend to do up. i have never flown a Rc plane before but have flown on a simulator quite a bit. this plane would definitely be a hard one to learn on so im a bit timid to fly it. I Have removed the old monokote and sanded most of it down. Was amazed how the curvature above and below the wing were very very similar. Needs new ailerons and wind shield. Not sure of the state of the motor as my friend still has it. Thinking of electric conversion. What can I use for control surface hinges?

cheers, Nathan
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 07:40 AM
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TomCrump's Avatar
Traverse City, Michigan
Joined Dec 2005
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You picked up a great model !

Your repairs look to be straight forward. Your local hobby shop should have hinges suitable for a .40 model.

Be aware that this Decathlon is not suitable for a beginning pilot. The model flies great, but requires experience to fly. It likes to get squirrely on take off, and lands "hot".

It is definately worth rebuilding. Once you gain some flying experience (not on the sim) you will find it to be a rewarding model to fly.

I'd call it a 3rd airplane.

I suggest that you learn on a high wing trainer, then advance to something like a Cub.

Have fun with your repairs. I think you will enjoy the experience.
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 06:10 PM
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United States, TX, Leander
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Tom hit the nail on the head. I have this plane, flys great, does beautiful spins, and is very aerobatic. But not for a beginner. Very squirrelly on the ground. I built this plane long ago thinking it would be a gentle high wing, boy was I wrong. But when you master it, its gonna be fun.
Edwin
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 01:26 AM
NORTHLAND NEW ZEALAND
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Can someone explain to me why the curvature above and below the wing are very similar if not the same? Is it to help the plane fly upside down ?

Also is it ok to apply monokote without a special iron or will it result in a disaster? :-!

My friend has flown this a few times without any other flying eperience that i know of. I got no idea why its still in one peice(its in peices now because im working on it duh!).

P.s. Should i buy my first plane or should i build it . I like to build stuff so i wouldent get discouraged easily when I crash.

I have learnt so much from the internet, i wonder what i would be doing without it...get a masters degree on how to fly an rc plane? .

Cheers guys and thanks for the replies.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 05:11 AM
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Traverse City, Michigan
Joined Dec 2005
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Without getting too scientific, the airfoil is for aerobatic airplanes. It does allow the model to fly inverted.

I wouldn't use a household iron to apply Monokote, but They say that it can be done. Covering irons are relatively inexpensive, and well worth the money.

Assembling an ARF, or building your trainer, is a personal choice. Being a builder, I suggest that you try a kit, such as a Goldberg Eagle II, or a Sig LT 40.

Both are excellent trainers. Both have good plans and step by step instructions.

Also, in my opinion, you should find and join a local club. Clubs usually provide free flight training services. These services provide you with a much better chance of success when learning how to fly.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 05:15 AM
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Thanks for your input, shame the nearest club is 250 miles away
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 06:20 PM
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Nice plane.. I have this one also. It is by no means a trainer though. Don't let the high wing fool you. Its very aerobatic.. to say the least.

The wing is what they call "symetrical", being same on top and bottom... and yes.. it not only helps inverted flight.. but it makes the whole plane less stable.. and there's no real lift to it... much less "self-righting" tendency.. matter of fact there's zero tendency for this plane to right itself... and its that wing and the short-coupled fuselage/tail configuration(meaning they're very close together) among other things that set this plane apart from a high-wing trainer style plane.

I'm only saying this, as I've heard others compare it to a trainer.. and its really for clarification.. anyone with no experience would do well to save this for a second plane.. or even a third .. depending on how one progresses..

I find it hard to believe anyone's flown this type of plane with no experience.. They're not of this earth.. or superhuman.. as it is a challenging plane to fly and keep in one peice.. and even with experience takes a bit of concentration.... no doubt in my mind.

Not all Decathlons are this challenging.. The GreatPlanes version;s airfoil is all out fully symetrical so she can be squirlly.... Once mastered though..its not bad at all...and taking advantage of the instability is the biggest thrill in flying... but it takes some very conservative steps to learn a few of her quircks.. gentle and slow at first is the best bet with this plane.. even with 30+yrs experience... I should say especially with 30+yrs..

Its a very cool plane.. and will snap roll, and do some crazy spins.. knife edge all day(yes, theres a bit of coupling..haha).. and it likes to be "flown" in for landings.. just like any modern aerobat... no floaty here.... Mine has an ASP .61 2-stroke.. I've often thought about putting about a .91 4-stroke in it.. but the .61 definately makes it a showstopper..

Keep plugging away on it though.. its an excellent plane to learn to build and tweek and stuff like that.. Some type of CA hinges should work fine. I don't even think CA hinges were around when I built mine.. that was in 1991.. but I've still got it.. its got many flights on it.. and still going strong... I've been very fortunate, and very careful with it.. and quite a bit lucky too.. haha.. Take some more pics when you get a chance.. I'd love to see them.. I'm still going to get a few pics of mine.. I told someone I'd get a few of it.. that was a few years ago.. haha.. good thing I'm not known for fast.. Have a nice evening...
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 06:46 PM
NORTHLAND NEW ZEALAND
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Will do, theres a video of on on youtube with flaps for slower landings and easier takeoffs and he also has a gyro in the tail to keep her strait.

I've been warned that gyros work fine but is bad for your skills. Is this true? I guess as you get more confident you could reduce the amount of gyro input till you get to zero and you dont need it?

My friend said to me the other day that he tried flying it but kept sending it into the reeds haha

thank god for the reeds.

Cheers
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 07:18 PM
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Honestly I don't think theres anything outside of experience that would make this plane more user friendly. Thing is... even with flaps(of which most full-scale Decathlons didn't have).. but with flaps... one still has to know how to take off and land... well before initiating use of flaps.. As I stated.. and its ok if you don't believe me.. this is in no way any sort of trainer... I've never sent mine into the reeds.. not even the weeds.. haha.. but theres alot of experience I have to draw on.. which is what I'm sharing with you..

As for gyros.. again... there is no magic "part that will make it easy to fly" thing.. you can spend all the time and money adding this and that.. but it won't take place of taking time and experience to learn how these things work.....

Many people are well ahead of the game when they have a plane of this caliper by just plunking down a few hundred bucks more for a trainer set-up and taking the time to get some basics down... and leaving the pride and joy for a future time after the basics are learned.... not kidding..haha.. I think if the basics were learned.. it would also be learned how far the Decathlon is from basic.. and when that occurs... its far easier to maybe understand what I'm sharing.

When its learned(however long it takes if it lasts that long).. its a kickin plane.. seriously stops the field.. its cool.. but it takes time to get there... and no magic flaps or gyro anything will get you there... I'm definately not saying this to discourage you, and no disrespect is ever intended.. I just pretty much know what I'm talking about after 20yrs of owning this plane.. as well as a few dozen more..

Theres so much experience to draw from on this board... and you'll probably get alot of different feedback.. in any case, I wish you well..

If I may ask.. do you have any fixed wing RC experience at all?.. just kind of guaging here.. so we might know how to best help is all. We all want everyone to have fun with these things.. and hopefully with the least problems.. thats all. Cheers to you.
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Last edited by DGrant; Feb 20, 2013 at 07:23 PM.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGrant View Post
Honestly I don't think theres anything outside of experience that would make this plane more user friendly. Thing is... even with flaps(of which most full-scale Decathlons didn't have).. but with flaps... one still has to know how to take off and land... well before initiating use of flaps.. As I stated.. and its ok if you don't believe me.. this is in no way any sort of trainer... I've never sent mine into the reeds.. not even the weeds.. haha.. but theres alot of experience I have to draw on.. which is what I'm sharing with you..

As for gyros.. again... there is no magic "part that will make it easy to fly" thing.. you can spend all the time and money adding this and that.. but it won't take place of taking time and experience to learn how these things work.....

Many people are well ahead of the game when they have a plane of this caliper by just plunking down a few hundred bucks more for a trainer set-up and taking the time to get some basics down... and leaving the pride and joy for a future time after the basics are learned.... not kidding..haha.. I think if the basics were learned.. it would also be learned how far the Decathlon is from basic.. and when that occurs... its far easier to maybe understand what I'm sharing.

When its learned(however long it takes if it lasts that long).. its a kickin plane.. seriously stops the field.. its cool.. but it takes time to get there... and no magic flaps or gyro anything will get you there... I'm definately not saying this to discourage you, and no disrespect is ever intended.. I just pretty much know what I'm talking about after 20yrs of owning this plane.. as well as a few dozen more..

Theres so much experience to draw from on this board... and you'll probably get alot of different feedback.. in any case, I wish you well..

If I may ask.. do you have any fixed wing RC experience at all?.. just kind of guaging here.. so we might know how to best help is all. We all want everyone to have fun with these things.. and hopefully with the least problems.. thats all. Cheers to you.
Apart from paper planes, balsa gliders, and being addicted to my rc flight sim and spending hours flying, I have no experience with rc planes.

Im planing to get a high wing trainer before flying this beast!

Cheers
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 07:35 PM
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Just out of curiosity, why would you have a high wing on a acro plane?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 07:41 PM
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... and... if you give me a little time.. I know theres a thread I'm subscribed to that someone made a pattern of the windshield and posted it in PDF form.. so you can download it, or copy/print.. or whatever.. but he did it using a flat pattern and a lexan type(or thin plexi..cant remember now).. but its different from the original that was a molded plastic.. but the one he put up there does work.. in place of the original.. which hasn't been available for 10yrs or more.... I should download it myself.. as I now have a few cracks in my windshield.. minor.. but hey.. its a free pattern. and I've got some gigibites I can store it in.

FiberglassSpecialties.com has the cowling and wheel-pants as well.. I'm pretty sure they do.. they've got alot of stuff for these old classic aerobats.. you might even look and see if they have a windshield.. I'm pretty sure they have other molded stuff too.. but they have some very nice products.. thats if you need a cowling.. My original lasted about 30ft.. and started cracking.. I replaced it after about 5 flights.. and the fiberglass cowl has held up wonderfully.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 08:43 PM
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Very cool on getting a trainer.. you'll love it. You think you're addicted to the sim.. just hang on for the ride!

The high wing aerobat has probably been around the longest.. I would venture a guess these were the first of the aerobats.. In early days of flying though, if my history is correct..the first aerobats were bi-planes or sorts.. although I'm sure every configuration was tried at some point.

Do a Wikipedia search on the Decathlon and its origin... as well as "high-wing aerobatic plane".. that will give alot of insight..

There were a few famous(at least in aerobatic circles) Decathlons.. and might be still today.. it is a tried and tested design..

As to the "why?".. hmm .. good question there.. as many planes were designed for different uses, applications, and just generally what people needed at the time for flight... some had mulitple uses and specialties.. but there is quite a history behind the uses and development of the Decathlon.. and its roots are in the Citabria, as well as before that.. and if you spell Citabria backwards.. well.. try it.

I have to mention.. Theres a great build-thread that EJWash1 started a while back on the Sig Citabria... now.. its not the GreatPlanes version.. its probably alot nicer.. as in its a bit bigger.. and very decently scaled to the Citabria.. That particular plane has a "modified flat-bottom" airfoil.... and that guy knocked it out the park on his build.. clean clean clean.. but it might give you a bit more insight on a similar airframe..
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 02:29 AM
NORTHLAND NEW ZEALAND
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After reading EJs thread, im inspired to do a nice job on her

I build rc yachts simi profesionaly as i call it so i wont be getting this finished in a hurry.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 04:44 PM
NORTHLAND NEW ZEALAND
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Just a quick question, Is the dihedral in the wing stock design for great planes or is this modified? Does the real plane have dihedral?

cheers
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