Originally Posted by concreteman
Hey all! Merrill did fly my Oculus today. He flew it and flew it and flew it....I will say it went just as I expected, Merrill and Target hmmmning and hawwwing over my work. I know it is not to their standards, they build really well, I build really average-with an emphasis on durability. My plane is straight, flew straight out of my hands, and took hard pulls from our Black Widow winch. Once the Oculus was launched it was real apparent this plane totally wants to fly. We had decent air at our field and I landed because I wanted to launch again, not because I couldnt locate or work the good air. I handed my transmitter to Merrill on the second flight, he was totally stoked, and the big grin on his face says he was satisfied by my Oculus' flight qualities. Same thing for Target, he had the Oculus way up there, and next thing I see is barrel rolls, loop festivals, and then he decides to do thermal duty inverted- he is such a ham... Its funny when a plane performs as well as my Oculus, they kind of forget that it wasnt as pretty as some "top caliber" builders models...It is performance that really matters, and durability, you do have to finish the day to reach the podium...the Oculus performs, and the construction is up to the task.
So, let me fire off some thoughts about building the Oculus, while it is fresh on my mind. Like I said earlier, I am not a premier builder, I'll call my skills average, but I can read plans, and follow instructions (well sort of, you can read about that elsewhere). I'll start with the Oculus kit in overall fashion, but in pieces. The fuselage is very nice (Target says it is really well designed, but I dont know why-whatever), and feels stiff enough, but isnt very heavy (my Oculus is #18). The pushrods come preinstalled, and there is a fuse tray included. The wing parts: the rib sheets are way nice, and I totally dig the idea of having tabs on the ribs to keep everything flat (worked for me- and I am the king of crooked!), the spars (center panel and tip panel) are beastly units (when the world ends, those joiners will still be intact) and the wing joiners fit perfectly (thanks for that, Merrill). Merrill uses solid carbon fiber trailing edges and tubular carbon leading edges, nice and strong. In the parts kit are couplers with clevis's, wire connection parts for joining the wing to the center panel, magnets for holding down the spoilers, a towhook, etc. Totally cool.
Building the plane. I got totally lucky, and my schedule cleared (cursed rain, ruined my concrete pours-really, I am a concrete man), so I was able to dedicate some serious time to building. I totally followed the instructions ( well, I tried to anyway ) and started on the wings. The ribs came off the sheet perfectly, and onto the spar, beautiful. Leading edge,trailing edge... all parts centered, glue... I totally blazed thru these parts in record time. Outer panels, same thing, ribs off the sheet, onto the spar, centered, trailing edge-leading edge, squared glued.. damn Im fast. Its even straight! And flat! Tip panels, same thing... Concretemans tip#1, I shaped and sanded down my tip before I glued the tip panel to the mid panel, as I thought I would do harm to something else while working on shaping the tip-worked for me, your mileage may vary. Allrighty then, the wing is built, lets see how it looks put together. Clunk! Hmmm, nowhere in the instructions is when to put angle into the outer rib, so when the panels slide together with the joiner, they mate. Did that make sense? PM Merrill. What the....is going on here. He told me I have to sand the angle into the outside rib, then cap with ply, its on the plans... so I did, situation handled. I may have known this if I built more often, but... Capping the ribs: I got a first hand view of Merrill capping a rib. I tried it like that, and glued my fingers together, and to the rib cap, and it was glued to the rib, awesome, and I could hear the "Benny Hill" song playing while I tore the cap from the rib, then the cap from my fingers and then I got fingers separated. Yeah it was funny... you've done it too... I actually got a nice system going, and it went real well- once I got the rhythm... Lets move to the stabs. The very first sentence says to make sure you have the tapered ends of the spar facing each other, well at least I got one of them. I must say I got distracted by a good song and used them for drumsticks, then threw them down and built the stabs. the building went great, ribs from the rib sheet, trailing edge, leading edge, centered my parts... boom, done. Cool. Let me put them together. Hmm, the rod wont go in one side... uh....doh! I am so lame....I can fix it....I am not going to tell you how I fixed it, unless you do the same thing...please dont. Rudder duty: follow instructions, thought I'd be smart and tape the rudder post to the fuse and shape it real nice- worked great. Put rudder post on plans, followed instructions, built rudder, shaped sanded ready for rib capping. Let me see how it looks on the plane, I built the rudder with the post upside down, are you kidding me???? I am king of dorks....I can fix it. I did a slick job of remove/repair, and it turned out really nice. I am satisfied. Hooking up the bellcrank for the elevator is well thought out and my elevator feels very "connected", and the centering is perfect. I am using MKS DS6100 for the spoilers and rudder, with a Hitec 5085 for the elevator. The servo tray is typical, and works perfect. Covering: hmmmm, I kind of remember me being pretty good with an iron, well I have 2 irons anyway... I totally didnt read the instructions, and used very lightweight covering on the entire wing, rudder, and stabs. Time will tell how much abuse this covering can take. Merrill recommended Ultracote, and I totally blew it on this one...oh well. I also painted the fuse, simply because I dont see white well in the sky....yes, its yellow.
Follow the instructions regarding the CG, Merrill flew mine and said he wouldnt change a thing, cool.
Things that deserve pointing out. Merrill answers PM's and cares about his work, and the customers satisfaction. Make sure you read the instructions first, and highlight the stuff that is printed in bold, it is that way for a reason! This kit is a great value for the cost.
Did I mention how good it flies?It fiies great! Nice job, Merrill!