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Old Oct 05, 2012, 12:54 AM
AMA 937634
United States, AK, Anchorage
Joined Jan 2010
1,620 Posts
Thanks Jim!

Glad to be here and am looking forward to contributing to this thread.

Yep, I have to agree, Alaska is beautiful. Been here a little over 17 years now and it's always been and adventure. We're sliding into Fall now. The leaves are mostly down and there is snow in the hills, frost on the windshields some mornings, and ice on the puddles. Still, with all of that this is my favorite time of year here.

Winter isn't building season, it's flying season! The mosquitos are dead and the lakes freeze over which makes runways all over the place. In the summer the tundra is more like a wet sponge type of bog, lots of places are inaccessible but after everything freezes you can fly nearly anywhere! I throw a pair of snowshoes in the back of my truck all winter long just so I can go and fly or retrieve a plane from an "unexpected" landing event.

-Mike
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Old Oct 05, 2012, 09:48 PM
God is my pilot
JimTMich's Avatar
United States, MI, Kalamazoo Township
Joined Aug 2006
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I agree, frozen lake flying is wonderful!
I didn't realize that about the permafrost making the ground spongy....
I made a radio mitten out of rip stop nylon outside and flease on the inside. Makes flying in the cold fun for more than 3 minutes.
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Old Oct 06, 2012, 11:39 AM
AMA 937634
United States, AK, Anchorage
Joined Jan 2010
1,620 Posts
Well, permafrost is permanently frozen so that's not the problem.

The problem is the 2 or 3 feet above that that does freeze and thaw seasonally. The water cannot seep down into the earth because of the ice so it's either got to be evaporated or flow someplace down hill. Because the tundra is mostly flat the water stays in one place and forms puddles. The warm season isn't long enough to have plants grow, mature, die, and decompose so the water becomes filled with partially decomposed plants which turn into peet over the years which is really spongey!

... but to get this back on subject my plane has shipped and is currently in Reno, Nevada! It should arrive around the middle of next week. Good timing since I'm just wrapping up a Mountain Models EVA Biplane kit. I ordered my electronics last night as well so they should be here around the same time. I decided on a couple of 400 motors and some 8x6 props. I used your specs from a couple of years ago as a reference, Jim, so we'll see how it goes.

-Mike
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Old Oct 06, 2012, 09:17 PM
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United States, MI, Kalamazoo Township
Joined Aug 2006
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Mine is still flying
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Old Oct 07, 2012, 12:13 AM
AMA 937634
United States, AK, Anchorage
Joined Jan 2010
1,620 Posts
Good to know.

One question though, Jim. Way back you mentioned that you were using 400's at 1000kv and then later on you mentioned that you were using 400's at 950kv, any idea what you ended up running?

I bought the 400 950kv and some 8x6sf props but haven't run the numbers yet.

-Mike
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Old Oct 07, 2012, 08:46 AM
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United States, MI, Kalamazoo Township
Joined Aug 2006
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I am running 950kv. If I were to do it again I would go with a higher kv to get a little more speed. 1200-1400 range.
With the 950 and 8x6 you can go vertically until your neck hurts. Very helpful and enjoyable. With a higher kv you wouldn't have unlimited vertical... Your choice.
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 06:25 PM
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United States, TX
Joined Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xviper View Post
That's great! I hope you have fun building it. For me, I dislike the building process immensely - just too fiddly for me.
When you build it, try to re-enforce a few areas unless you plan to never crash it or have any mishaps with it. The wing tip attachment point can be weak if you land it a bit "off". Strengthen the motor mount areas. Re-enforce the beak and horns if possible. The times it noses over upon coming to a stop when landing can bend or break off the tip of the beak and the horns get snagged just moving it around from hobby room to flying site. The tail fins have a fairly narrow attachment point. I'd thicken that area up a bit with epoxy, hot glue or extra covering. Put extra covering or fiber tape or some other harder covering on the chest area. That's where it touches down on landing and get abrasions.
I love building. It is one of the more fun parts of a new airplane to me. In my humble opinion, foamies miss out on most of the fun, and that's the construction stage.

I was thinking that the head, neck and beak area needed to be strengthened. Since weight has to be added to the nose anyway, I thought I might as well epoxy some extra carbon-fiber rod in the neck and head area, to give it some strength should it ever take it a little hard on the chin. The tail might benefit from some extra carbon-fiber rods as well. I didn't think about the wingtips, but it wouldn't take much to reinforce that also. And I had already planned to add something to the belly to help avoid road rash.
In fact, a skid on the belly wouldn't be a bad idea at all. Sailplanes use that.

I used to build planes to crash, but lately I've been concentrating on building planes to fly. Sometimes I do a little bit of both. This plane appears to be somewhat speedy, and things can happen on landing unless you just grease it in every time. Thanks for the advice.
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 02:32 AM
AMA 937634
United States, AK, Anchorage
Joined Jan 2010
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Got my kit in today and I've already begun laying out the ribs.

A word of advice for anybody who is going to build this kit: cut the carbon spars exactly to length! The plans call for exact measurements so that when everything locks together it all fits correctly. I was wondering how I was about 1/8" off but found that the main spar didn't quite seat into rib 11 and was resting on the surface. Ugh.

This is a nice kit and the laser cutting is great! Thanks!

-Mike
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Old Oct 14, 2012, 09:41 PM
AMA 937634
United States, AK, Anchorage
Joined Jan 2010
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I haven't posted any pictures or updates since I haven't done anything differently than the folks before me but here's a change I made:

I put a couple LEDs in the head and then lined the head with foil tape to reflect their light. I like the effect and it should be bright enough to see at a distance.

The power can be supplied in a couple of different ways but I opted to simply solder on a battery tap that plugs into the battery balance port. Not as tricky as having a Tx switch power up the lights but still effective.

-Mike
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 01:05 PM
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United States, TX
Joined Jun 2011
2,900 Posts
Couldn't you also have run your LED power in parallel with your main battery wires? Voltage in parallel is equal, and it will draw such a minimum of current that you wouldn't notice it. Plus it adds the advantage of doubling as an indicator that your battery is plugged in. You know if the eyes are still glowing red, that you forgot to unplug the battery.

I have also been thinking of incorporating a main power switch on my Pterodactyl when I build mine this winter. This is because it's a bit of a hassle to unbolt the wing to get to the battery (as I think I've read somewhere that you have to do). Would be a lot easier to set it all up at home with the freshly charged battery and flip a power switch to shut it off for transport. It would also be nice to have a charging port, so you can recharge without having to remove the wings.

Just a few thoughts.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 09:28 PM
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United States, WA, Oak Harbor
Joined Dec 2012
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Another 52" Pterodactyl

Well, I bought my kit directly from Ron Marston a little over a month ago. I didn't start building it till I arrived at our winter home in southern Baja. This got delayed a bit as it took longer than normal to get all systems up and running. I then started in on the project and have had mixed success.

I was surprised at the small amount of wood in the kit. I was pleased at the quality of the wood and the laser cutting. I eagerly started in but quickly go slowed down. I think I made it to step #6 before I had a question. I ended up e-mailing Ron and he quickly replyed. I am a fairly long time r/c modeler and builder but I hate to read the manual ahead of time, I usually just start at #1 and go from there. After a few more e-mails to Ron I was feeling badly and started looking at his online instruction manual, this helped a lot with the ability to enlarge the pictures and the clarity was better.

I still had some difficulty with the names of different pieces, some just didn't click with me and I was getting frustrated. I then went to Ron's website and found a link to this forum and site. As I started reading I found a huge amount of knowledge and this has been the main source of any question I have encountered.

I am now pretty much finished with the wing and the head/neck. Starting on the body and tail feathers as time and other projects allow. I can't wait to get this into the air as it is a very unique looking plane. I am relatively new to e-flight and struggle with the differences from glow power, BUT, I love the simplicity and cleanliness of e-power.

Thanks to all before me that have posted hints and especially the pictures. TBC, FF
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:12 AM
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United States, TX
Joined Jun 2011
2,900 Posts
Good point. I will make sure to check out his online advice and study it before starting my build.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 08:16 PM
AMA 937634
United States, AK, Anchorage
Joined Jan 2010
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I'm still plugging away on mine. I put it down for a bit to knock out some other projects but I'm back to it again.

I skipped all over the place on this build and knocked out the head and the tail and I'm now back to installing the aileron servos and running the wires.

The motors are in and my ESC's are synched up and configured so really all I need to do is put together the aileron servos, finish the wood trim pieces and then the covering.

The thing I most found helpful in my build was simply thinking about what the instructions were telling me to do. I know that sounds basic but the instructions, while good, leave out a bunch of the "why are we doing this now?" and "when I do this it will impact this other part" type of questions and answers.

-Mike
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 08:28 PM
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Canada
Joined Jul 2009
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A long time passed after I got the kit before I started building it. During that time, I read over the instructions several times and marked out the progression of steps I was going to attack the project. I, too, skipped and jumped around the steps, not necessarily following them in the sequence they were presented. I did it more for convenience than anything. In the end, it worked out just fine.
In retrospect, after having flown it several times, I would have re-inforced the motor mounts as I found them to be a bit weak if the landing wasn't just so. Same for the neck. Snapped the head off last time when it hit a snow bank on landing. The tail feathers, I should have epoxied more firmly as well as they came loose when the head came off. Got it all back together now and hope it'll fly as before. It's a terrific looking craft when it's zinging through the air.
Next spring, another flyer will hopefully have his 80" Ptero done and the two in the sky will look like mom with it's pup.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 10:52 PM
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United States, TX
Joined Jun 2011
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I was thinking that the neck should have a carbon fiber tube glued inside of it.
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