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Old Jul 10, 2013, 03:16 PM
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Build Log
Great Planes F1 Rocket Build & Maiden & Flying Thread

Just picked up the first GP F1 Rocket in Canada. A Toronto R/C shop prides itself on being first north of the border and they came through for me again.

The garage built scale F1 Rocket raced by Team Rocket is a tandem seater. GP decided to market it as a single seat semi-scale sport model. So I created this thread in the Electric Sport section because I am going to use a .46 motor. The Rocket can also be built with a nitro engine.

The box top is covered in colourful graphics and useful technical details. Checking the outside of the box showed no scrapes or dents. Considering the trip across the Pacific and the number of times the box is moved in and out of shipping containers, it has been handled with care.

Digitals below are described left to right.

1) Take the top off and neat, sturdy packing is revealed. All components are protected in plastic bags and tied down with packing tape

2) First out of the box are the tail feathers and the decal sheet/instruction manual.

3) Next out are the wing halves. Top pattern is at the top. They sit on a sturdy full length cardboard bridge protecting the fuse underneath.

4) One end box contains the fibreglass cowl and wheelpants, wheels, spinner and wing fairing. The pushrods and wing joiner spar are taped either side of the fuse.

5) The other end box contains glo fuel tank and engine mount, electric motor mount (which must be assembled), main landing gear struts and two hardware bags. The tailwheel components, cowl blocks, wing servo blocks and velcro straps are in the electric motor mount bag.

6)The fuse, detachable canopy and pilot figure (installed) are the last out of the box. The fuse was secured by close fitting holes in the end boxes.

Next post will be the start of the build.
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 12:45 PM
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When GP announced the Rocket two main questions were on my mind.

1) Is the landing gear fibreglass or metal? Reading posts about other GP semi-scale performance planes such as the Revolver and Chapman Eagle, their fibreglass mains do not stand up and guys are replacing them with carbon fibre gear. The pre-release literature indicated metal gear and I can confirm same.

2) Does the wing have a styrofoam core? The Revolver and Chapman Eagle have foam core wings. Nowhere in the pre-release literature could I find a reference to Rocket wing construction. This is important to know if wing covering has to be shrunk or hinges have to be re-glued. Methods have to be adjusted accordingly for a foam core.

But now with the wing in my hands I can firmly state It is a foam core wing. If you look at the bottom of the aileron servo pocket top left on page 7 in the construction manual (now online) you can see the beaded structure typical of styrofoam.

Before starting a build I place the contents of the hardware bags into the compartments of a small fishing tackle box, organized by type, size, etc.

Checked and flexed ailerons hinges - all properly pre-glued. Checked wing covering. No wrinkles - very nice.

So on to installing the aileron servos in the hatch covers. For now I am using a new set of JR 537 servos that came with a 72MHz radio 10 years ago and were never installed in a plane. Followed manual instructions as well as a few steps of my own. Placed a business card under the servo for separation from the hatch, peckered the hatch glue area with a sharp awl for a better bond and cleaned everything with alcohol before gluing all with 15 minute epoxy.

After curing, positioned servo to determine screw locations. Relieved the edge of a block that was bearing on the servo wire. Drilled servo screw holes and applied thin CA to the screw holes and, very important, to the grain at the end of the blocks to prevent splitting when screws are tightened.

Now for a new operation that I have never done before but GP recommends it for the Rocket. Screw holes were drilled from the outside surface of the hatch into the centre of the wood servo blocks. I suppose to re-inforce the strength of the epoxy bond. Hatch placed in position and four corner holes drilled to secure the hatch. All holes hardened with thin CA.

Have to think about the aileron control horns. They have the traditional back plate on the upper surface of the aileron that I dislike. Have to make up my mind if I want to inlet a ply plate into the bottom of the aileron to eliminate the back plate.

Below is a digital of the left wing hatch in position. The servo arm is in the forward aileron differential position I use whenever possible. Note the two extra screw heads going into the servo blocks. Also note the 6 legged foreman inspecting my work.
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 02:31 PM
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nice , this plane is on my wish list.
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 10:20 AM
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Put a six inch extension on the aileron servos. The join will be in the wing out of sight so secured the joins with heat shrink tubing.

In my Escapade the aileron control horns are screwed into a plywood pad on the bottom of the ailerons so there is no backing pad on the top surface. Think it is a little odd that this was not done for the Rocket but I guess GP has their reasons - strength? labour costs?

Anyway decided to stay with GP`s instructions and used the backing pad for the aileron control horns. Will paint the pad white to match the MonoKote.

The aileron push rod material is good grade steel and fabricated nicely. As with all my planes, replaced the supplied nylon clevis with Sullivan brass clevis. They are strong and easy to adjust. I have seen the pin in nylon clevis wear right through.

Digital on left below shows an aileron servo mounted in its blocks on a hatch cover. Note the dark colouration of the wood block ends. They were saturated with thin CA to prevent splitting when servo screws are tightened.

Digital on right shows finished aileron pushrod. The servo arm is raked forward at rest for aileron differential.
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Old Jul 13, 2013, 08:50 AM
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One last check before gluing wing halves together and saw that the left aileron was warped. This is common in long narrow shaped balsa and I was looking for it. Clamped both ends of the aileron to the main wing with padded clothspins to put in the correcting twist. Went back and forth on the aileron top and bottom with a hot air gun keeping heat off the main wing because of its foam core. Twisted the aileron in my fingers while the MonoKote cooled between applications. After 6 heat treatments the warp is gone.

Checked the fit of the main spar and anti-rotation pin. The spar is an interesting factory glued laminate of 1/8 inch ply/aluminum/ply to give a 3/8 thick spar that is super strong. The spar fit the wing halves better one way than the other so I marked the left end. I have found over the years that it is better to mix a small batch of 30 minute epoxy for each wing root. If one large batch is mixed it can generate its own heat and start to kick off before both roots have been buttered. Applied the epoxy to all required surfaces, assembled wing, cleaned up with alcohol and clamped front and back to cure overnight.

Next morning attached wing to fuse to glue in wing fairing. I didn`t remove any covering for gluing like GP recommends. Scuffed all glue surfaces with fine steel wool, cleaned with alcohol and attached the fairing with canopy glue. Cleaned excess and taped down to cure.

Digital on left below shows root end of left aileron clamped even with main wing. Same clamp at the other end to take out the warp. Note the laminate structure of the main spar and the anti-rotation pin at the trailing edge. Nothing glued yet.

Middle digital shows wing halves clamped together while 30 minute epoxy cures.

Right digital has the wing fairing taped in place while canopy glue sets.
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Old Jul 14, 2013, 08:21 AM
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Now for the tail feathers. They are NOT airfoiled. Tugged and flexed rudder and elevator - hinges all tight. Found the first covering sags on the bottom of the stab. Also a lot of hinge glue smears on the bottom of the stab. Removed the smears with acetone and ironed out the sags.

The covering has been removed for you from the glueing areas of the stab and fin. I ironed the edges of the covering to make sure all was tight. The manual does not instruct you to do a trial fit of the tail parts before gluing. I do that as a matter of course. Too late to modify parts once you have them smeared with glue. Checked the triangulation of the stab and vertical angle of the fin. Both right on with no mods needed.

During the trial fit I came to think instructions 3 and 4 are out of sequence on page 10 and 11 for gluing the fin. You are told to glue the fin and then told how to prepare the tailwheel for inclusion with the fin.

WARNING! If you are not looking a few steps ahead before each procedure it is could be possible to glue the fin without including the tailwheel. Then you would have to cut the rudder hinges, insert the tailwheel and re-hinge.

Some wood has to be removed from the groove at the bottom of the rudder to accept the base of the nylon hinge that is integral with the tailwheel wire. The tab of the hinge goes into a slot at the bottom rear of the fuse. I oiled the wire under the hinge base so epoxy wouldn`t stick to it.

Mounted the wing first. Used 15 minute epoxy to glue the parts. Below left is the stab after gluing. Eyeballing the stab from the rear looked like the right side a touch high and the left side a touch low relative to the wing. Placed the tape used for triangulation on the stab to level it while the glue cured. Right digital shows the completed empenage.
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Old Jul 15, 2013, 08:02 AM
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Next set up the main landing gear..............BIG PROBLEM...............the 1/4 inch diameter shank on the axle that locknuts to the lg struts is too short to properly engage with the plastic locking part of the locknut.

Happened to have the rear pontoon strut from an EFlite .25 Pulse XT sitting idle and took the axles off it. Same axle and shank diameter and the shank is long enough to properly engage the locknuts. E-mailed tech support at Great Planes last Thursday about the problem and am waiting for a reply.

Attaching control horns to flight surfaces is not my favourite part of modelling and the rudder horn did nothing to change my attitude. The tail post on the fuse is twice as wide as the rudder. The supplied control horn`s leading edge bears against the tail post so much that it is not possible to line up the clevis holes with the hinge line. Looking at photo #3 on page 13 of the manual, it appears that whoever installed the rudder horn placed the clevis holes behind the hinge line to stay off the tail post. A left rudder deflection would be impossible. Can`t believe that an R/C flyer installed the rudder horn shown in the manual.

My solution was to nip the bottom of the clevis hole line at an angle to creat the clearance. This allowed me to install properly over the hinge line and have full rudder deflection without hitting the tail post.

Left digital shows the supplied axle front and the EFlite axle rear. Note the difference in the 1/4 inch shank length. Right digital shows the angle cut into the bottom of the rudder control horn to clear the tail post.
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Old Jul 15, 2013, 07:32 PM
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I have seen in some manuals were they show to nip the bottom of the clevis hole line at an angle to creat the clearance, cant recall the model I was looking at tho.
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Old Jul 15, 2013, 08:30 PM
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Years ago horns were all produced with the angle at the bottom as a matter of course. Seems to have disappeared.

But there is no instruction in the Rocket manual to cut the angle. The installed rudder horn in the manual does not have the cut.

The Rocket would probably not be the first, second or maybe even third model built by an R/C flyer. From what I have seen so far as I go through the build I think it requires some modelling experience to avoid or detect problems.

Bill
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Old Jul 16, 2013, 08:00 AM
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The Rocket has a split elevator requiring two pushrods. I was thinking of binding the two elevator halves together with a wire joiner to have one pushrod but that would have meant cutting through the pre-hinges and re-hinging so I went with the factory design.

The elevator servo is positioned on the rails so that the pushrod from the right half goes straight to the desired hole in the servo arm. The servo screw holes are drilled for this position and screws inserted. The same procedure is used for the rudder servo.

The left elevator pushrod must be shaped with two bends to be a close fit to the right pushrod just behind the servo. Two wheel collars are provided to secure the two pushrods to each other. This method might be OK in a Park flyer but I don`t trust it in a large plane with a high wing loading. I have visions of the left pushrod slipping loose inside the wheel collars. So I silver soldered the two pushrods together. Still used the two wheel collars to have as much joining strength as possible.

Digital left shows the silver solder join in the elevator pushrods. Right pix has rudder and elevator servos in place with their pushrods. Note the crossbrace between the two servos. Glued scrap wood from the motor box sheet top and bottom to join the middle of the two servo rails together. The front rail is glued for its length against a bulkhead but I thought the rear rail looked springy being long and narrow and only anchored at its ends so I glued in the crossbraces.
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Old Jul 17, 2013, 08:02 AM
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The glo engine mount box is pre-installed and the electric motor mount box is attached to the front of the glo box. The electric motor box parts are laser cut on a 1/8 ply sheet. The front plate holding the X-mount T-nuts is a 1/4 inch laminate. The EFlite P46 X-mount is wider than the RimFire .55 X-mount suggested by GP. So I put the P46 X-Mount on the front plate and determined the new holes for the T-nuts. Oriented the motor box back plate on the glo box front plate for up-down-left-right.. Tack glued the motor box together which gave a very tight fit between all the parts. Ran thin CA into all the joints then a bead of medium CA around the inside seams. GP has reinforced the inside seams of the glo box with tri stock and I did the same with the motor box.

The .55 RimFire is 5mm longer than the .46 EFlite so looked like I needed 5mm standoffs for the .46. Looked for measurements in the manual to verify. Page 15 shows a distance of 115 mm from the prop thrust plate of a glo engine to the firewall. WRONG! That distance is actually 180 mm. The 115 mm is from the thrust plate to the front face of the glo box. The problem might be the manual calls three different vertical surfaces "the firewall". The firewall is the large bulkhead with the 8 punch-out cooling holes that the cowl blocks are glued to. Decided to go with the 5mm standoffs.

I substituted 1/2 inch 6-32 allen head bolts for the phillip head bolts in the kit to anchor the motor box to the glo box. This gives one thread sticking out of the T-nuts back into the LiPo area. Fit a sheet of 1/2 inch styrofoam against the T-nuts to protect the LiPo in the event of a crash.

Substituted 3/4 inch 6-32 allen head bolts for the kit`s phillip heads to secure the motor mount. Inserted 5mm standoffs behind the X-mount.

The MonoKote must be removed from the 5 cooling air exit slots on the fuse bottom behind the wing bolts. I also noticed that there are 2 additional longitudinal slots beside the first 5 which are not mentioned in the manual. The rule of thumb is that the exit area for cooling air must be larger than the entry area. By opening up these 2 additional slots the exit area is definitely larger than the 3 entry openings in the front of the cowl.

Left digital below shows the .46 motor installed with the 60 amp ESC secured on the bottom of the motor box with cable ties. Note the 8 punch-out holes around the edge of the firewall for cooling air flow. Cowl blocks not yet glued in place. Right pix has 2 additional cooling air exit slots down each side of the 5 slots shown in the manual.
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 07:35 AM
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The firewall is fuel proofed for glo engines. Marked the area under each wood cowl block and peckered with a sharp awl to allow glue to get a grip. Used the strips of masking tape method to transfer the center of each block onto the cowl. Mounted the spinner back plate and prop to center the cowl on the spinner. Marked and drilled holes and screwed the cowl to the blocks. I had guessed 5mm standoffs for the .46 motor which gave a hairline clearance between the cowl and spinner so took everything apart, inserted a washer under the standoffs, reassembled and have a nice 1/16 clearance. I mounted an old red DuBro spinner because its back plate hole is a perfect fit over the 8mm prop shaft (EFLM1934). Does not have to be reamed. The spinner supplied in the kit would have to be reamed. Next time into Toronto will buy a new 2 1/2 inch white DubRo spinner.

The manual warns that installing the Rx, 6 volt Rx battery and 4000 LiPo forward of the servos could give a nose heavy model. Mounted it on the Great Planes balancer and it was way nose heavy. A ply plate is supplied to mount the Rx battery behind the servos which allows the LiPo to be moved back. Did this new arrangement and the plane balanced at the recommended 3 1/4 inch CG. This is without wheelpants. I fly off a sod farm with short but thick grass which is not kind to wheelpants.

The Rocket came in at 5 3/4 lb all up, no wheel pants. GP specs say 6 to 7 lbs. The .46 EFlite and .55 RimFire are about the same weight so maybe my model has a lighter selection of balsa than the design prototype.

Left digital below shows the old DuBro spinner used for fitting to the cowl. A new white spinner will be replace the old one. Middle pix has the 4000 LiPo and Rx secured in place. The Rx battery switch is velcroed on the far wall above the Rx. The alternate Rx battery location is shown in the right digital that allows proper CG balancing.
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 01:50 PM
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anxious to find out it flys and lands
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 02:16 PM
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Did some taxi tests this morning. Light breeze from the SW. OK for takeoff but not for landings. Have to come in over some high trees and swoop down to the field. Will do that with a plane I have flown many times but not a brand new one when you have no idea how it is going to land. So will wait for straight east or west breeze to maiden.

Got a reply from GP about the axles. They said e-mail a copy of the sales receipt and they will mail me new axles. But..........axles meant for a different airplane than the Rocket??? Why not mail the correct axles for the Rocket??? Does this mean that GP does not have correct axles for the Rocket and that all the Rocket kits have the wrong axles? Time will tell.

Bill
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 07:25 AM
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Windy today so no maiden.

To avoid nose-overs on a grass field the main axles of a taildragger should be ahead of the wing`s leading edge. The Rocket has swept back landing gear. Looking at the wheels from the side and overhead the axles are ahead of the leading edge. Taxi tests yesterday showed no tendency for the Rocket to tilt forward going through the grass.

If nose-overs do become a problem the landing gear can be reversed and swept forward. Will have to wait for an actual landing to suss out the situation.

Digitals below show side and top views of the main wheels. Axles are ahead of the wing leading edge.
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