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Old Jul 16, 2014, 06:25 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Build Log
TM Elite

This is a basic build log on the Top Model Elite. This plane is an all balsa D-Box wing, which is different from many of the other TM planes commonly available here in the US. I was interested in an all balsa wing specifically for several reasons. First, I owned an Avia, and a Prelude and loved how both planes have flown. They are sweet fliers. However, I have had wing failures on them both from flying them in more wind than prudence would dictate (apparently). I am hoping the D-Box construction is strong (er). I know the wing will be easily repairable. I also hope the 3 panel wing offers flight characteristics as good as or better than my other 3 panel sailplanes.

The Elite is a 3 panel wing with a large center section - I am going to call it polyhedrial for now but once together may edit.

So here are the part weights

Rudder: 13g
L Elevator: 19g
R Elevator: 20g
C. Panel: 330g
R Wing: 170g
L Wing: 171g
Fuse w/Canopy: 294g
Parts w/bag: 151g

Total 1167g

S.
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Last edited by zephirus; Jul 28, 2014 at 10:43 PM.
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Old Jul 16, 2014, 06:50 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
1st Construction Challenge

When I opened the box to examine the plane, I was a bit surprised to see that the ailerons on each wing were split into to sections to accommodate dihedrial. Hummn, how am I going to join that so it lasts more than 5 flights?? TM has cleverly provided a pin to attach the 2 ailerons, but into soft wood? I am not too OK with that. So after consulting with my builder Sensei, he suggested gluing the pin in the larger servo driven aileron, and putting the pin in a brass tube/sleeve on the smaller aileron. To get a reasonable fit however (my brass tube choices were limited), I got some wire that fit the tube. I am sure I could have used the supplied pin if better LHS selection was available ... But one is metric sized the new pieces are SAE ...

I also did not realize until I put the horns in that the ailerons are balsa over foam - not the best for yoking a pin into.
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Last edited by zephirus; Jul 28, 2014 at 10:45 PM.
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Old Jul 16, 2014, 08:22 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Brass tube insert

Brass tube inserted into the smaller "slave" aileron - Amazing, I know !
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Old Jul 18, 2014, 07:03 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Servo's

I went with the servos suggested by TM. They recommend HS82 for the flaps, and HS85 for everything else. I went with digital servos for the elevator and rudder controls. The servos are a bit big for the wing servo bays. So I have ordered servo frames instead of using the supplied blocks. I hope this make the install easier. There has been a fair amount of posting about TM's use of the wood washer for the bell crank to pivot in. If you look in the latest Albatross thread or toward the end of the Prelude thread you can follow comment and build alterations. This builder supplied method is not met with warm regards. TM needs to step this up ... I will just grease the bell crank before final install.
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Last edited by zephirus; Jul 26, 2014 at 04:14 PM.
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Old Jul 20, 2014, 09:50 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Tail Controls - other

TM provides hardware for doing a pull-pull install for the rudder. After spending a longer than expected time contemplating the pro's and con's of pull-pull vs a rod install I went with a rod install. One factor in this again was the size of the servos. One major recommendation is to use smaller servos for all surfaces (not less powerful however). The 30x30x10 or 13mm size make it spaces tight or their are height issues. The servo in the fuse to control the rudder was so close to the brace for the wing it made me nervous on dry fitting. Also the size of the servo in the tail its-self took up alot of clearance space. I did not want to cut in the guide tubes only to find out there were clearance issues along the fuse exterior aft of the exit or find out the angle from the servo to the horn caused binding. So I opted for a Golden - rod install ... if you are a hater don't post !!

Additionally the platform for the servo in the fuse was not wide enough so I had to mod it a bit ... and sand.
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Old Jul 21, 2014, 08:35 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Modified Servo Tray

Here is the modified servo tray for the push rod ... Once glued in place I can pull the rod and sleve at the tail exit to get it as taught as possible.
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 07:55 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Servo frames

Due to the size of the servos, I could not use the otherwise fine TM servo blocks. I had to go to frames - now installed.
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Last edited by zephirus; Jul 24, 2014 at 08:47 PM.
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Old Jul 25, 2014, 10:19 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Servos in -

Got the frames epoxied in, and the wires run, and servos secured. TM in an effort to help the builder ran "straws" down the servo wire channels. Problem was, they extended too far into the exit "bay". I had to take a blade and cut some of the straw off so I could get the wire out ... In one sense the tubes are nice, but pulling the wire with a piano wire is faster and easier. My preference (TM) just skip it ! Those big servos fit pretty close into the servo bay. I used a 6" extension wire from the outer wing panel to the wing exit, then a 36" extension to connect it and get it into the fuse. I do not plan on using the multiplex 6 pin connectors TM shows in the plan and has accomidated for in the wing(s). From the flap servo bay, I ran a 24" extension. As always Ill have a little more wire in the fuse than perfect.
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Old Jul 28, 2014, 08:07 PM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Elite AUW

Completed the plane today. Final AUW is 1809g with a 2200 mAh battery. This gives a wing load of 9.4 oz/sq ft. The plane is tail heavy - I am still working around the distribution but my CG is more like 105cm (40%) rather than 87cm recommended by TM - the TM CG is right at 33%. I have another motor that is more powerful (heavier too) but dont need I think the power. I may put that in, I'll see.

update - I put in the larger motor and longer prop blades - this plane wont need the thrust just the nose weight. now at 37%

Added a high discharge battery (shorter same wt.). Have to recheck CG.
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Last edited by zephirus; Jul 28, 2014 at 10:53 PM.
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Old Aug 01, 2014, 11:42 AM
Scott J.
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United States, NC, Wake Forest
Joined Jan 2013
171 Posts
Maiden Flight

Started the first maiden hand toss with a CG of about 37% ... After adjusting more down stab, a second hand toss followed. Flew pretty good this time.

Next came the power flight - Flight went OK but had too much rudder mixed in - dropped it from ~ 75% to about 15%. Also took some of the aileron/flap mix out. Did some fly around looking for thermal. The plane flies very neutral. Landed added some nose weight (CG now at 95mm). Swapped batteries - now some small low cumulus clouds were blowing through. I flew over to one and hooked some up draft and she was gone ... The plane went as high as I dare without a sacrifice to the cloud "gods" ... It took a long time to get the plane down. Circled at the end of the field and landed - this plane flies excellent. This is an advanced plane which wants full mixing - ailerons to flaps, full camber, all. I have to work abit more with reflex - it did not make a very noticeable difference. Added 21g weight to the nose - used Allen wrenches at the field !

Oh yea I added the larger Gliderdrive motor initially for balance - I am glad I swapped out the smaller motor - The plane seems to want the power and takes it well.

Big thanks to Dick (DESS) for all the expert trim/setup tweaking advise - and hand tossing !!
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Last edited by zephirus; Aug 01, 2014 at 11:48 AM.
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