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Old Apr 28, 2009, 08:30 AM
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Tama, Iowa USA
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Top Flight Beech Staggerwing G17 conversion

Can't decide which forum to put this one in, as it could be covered in at least three different ones.

Anyway, what I'm doing is converting the fantastic Top Flight Beech Staggerwing G17 from glow powered, which is how it was originally built, and flown, for 7 flights.
See pics of it at end of this thread with FS OS 1.60 twin mounted on it.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=458585

I'm well along with the conversion now.

quick specs list:
Wingspan: 72.5 in
Wing Area: 1525 sq in
Weight: (as advertised) 17-19 lbs. (I don't believe it can be built this light, as the bare aircraft, with retracts and servos, is 12 lbs 12 oz! This is BEFORE engine, Rx battery, and any other engine requirements, are installed!) My glow version weighed 25lbs!!! (Fiberglass fuse and cowling.)
Length: 62.5 in
Radio: 6-Channel with 7 servos minimum
or 8/9-channel w/9 servos w/retracts. (I don't know why so many channels requiered. I fly mine with 7 channels, and my glow version had switchable onboard glow lighter.)
Engines: 1.60 ci [25 cc] two or four stroke.(Box and instructions include OS MAX 1.60 FS Gemini II Twin cylinder engine, which I used. (My engine is serial number 582! I wanted this plane!

Some info on original power build; 25 lbs, WITHOUT 20oz fuel!!!
1.60 Four stroke equivilent to .80 TWO STROKE! But it swings a BIG prop!
17x8 in this plane. Flew well once airspeed gained. But stalled easily if bounced off ground before flying speed fully reached, which was easy at our kinda rough grass field. New wings required.

Electric conversion: E-Flite 160 motor, Castle Phoenix 110 HV ESC, Common Sense RC 5s 6000mah 8C x2 as 10s batteries. Will fly first flight with Windsor 18x10 prop. (20 in will be really pushing ground clearance!!) present weight, properly balanced, is 20lbs, 10 oz. That is a great improvement over the glow build! Plus, more power! So I expect it to fly great! This is much closer to design weight!

Will post more, and some pics, when I get home this evening.
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Last edited by Staggerflyer; Jun 07, 2009 at 07:39 PM. Reason: add remark in radio requirements.
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Old May 01, 2009, 03:06 PM
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Staggerflyer

This looks great!
Is there anything to look out for when cutting into the firewall?
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Old May 01, 2009, 11:29 PM
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Tama, Iowa USA
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Thank you. I hope to have it done this weekend, in time for our club meeting Sunday. Hopefully our field will be dried out enough to use, it flooded last Monday, after we got over 4.5" of rain last weekend!


Just that you don't take to much. The plywood firewall is inside the fiberglass fuse, and is 1/4" thick. Also don't want to cut into where the inner framework attaches.
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Old May 04, 2009, 07:28 PM
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Staggerflyer

How did Sunday work out for you, not too wet I hope.
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Old May 05, 2009, 08:21 AM
In NY's beautifull hills
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Binghamton Broome Cty, New York, United States
Joined Jun 2004
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Here is a similar batt install I did awhile back on a 85" H9 Taylor Craft.
The cowl is held w/ magnets & captured by (2) orig side extensions on fuse --access to batt's (2 6600ma 4s wired for 8s) is an easy minute , plus CG is easily adjusted moving batts fore & aft in alum trays--has worked very well.
Mount is cedar--lighter & more ridged than any metal or box mount.
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Old Jun 02, 2009, 09:02 PM
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Tama, Iowa USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZOBY
Staggerflyer

How did Sunday work out for you, not too wet I hope.

Sorry I haven't gotten back to answer this.

Did manage to get airborne May 2nd, but result was not good.

Wind was 90deg to runway, about 15 mph, and only a small section was mowed. Really shouldn't have tried it, but...

Take off was good, but climb out seemed weak. Then, for some reason, pitch became extremely sensitive, like it was tail heavy. Air speed much slower than required for smooth control, seemed right on the edge of stall all the time. Made four or five passes/attempts at landing, but wind was causing havoc. On final try, it stalled just before touchdown, and was also blown off the edge of runway, into the only mud hole along edge of runway. Unfortunately, it bent left landing gear enough that it wouldn't roll or close.

I checked CG immediately, and it checked good. All controls worked properly, so don't know what caused pitching, yet. Also going to try another prop, next time. I think I will also block batteries slightly more forward for a more forward CG.

I'm still waiting for gear repair parts from Robart. The upper "tube" that the strut mounts/moves in is backordered. The main strut/fork and that upper tube were both bent.

staggerwing, that battery mounting is what I had hoped to do on this one, but there wasn't enough room outside the framework. Would have prefered it that way, for better lateral balance. I should try the magnet idea, also.
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Old Jun 06, 2009, 08:46 AM
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Ocala,Florida
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I'll be interested to know how it flies.One of my dream projects is the 27% WM ultimate 'm gonna put a Eflite 160 in soon. Good luck!
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Old Jun 07, 2009, 02:35 PM
In NY's beautifull hills
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Binghamton Broome Cty, New York, United States
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Sorry to hear of your problems. There was one of these kits w/ retracts for sale in RCU recently for a very good price & I was ready to purchase until I read a very lengthy thread on same in RCU which put the damper on the purchase. Seems there are several mods needed (including maybe new wings if the dowels do not line up) which would have been impossible for a second owner to obtain as well as CG & several other issues . I did however run across a positive review (well sort of) which in conjunction w/ the RCU thread told me I didn't want to spend the time that might be required to safely get this (ARF??) plane in the air.
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Old Jun 07, 2009, 07:32 PM
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Tama, Iowa USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staggerwing
Sorry to hear of your problems. There was one of these kits w/ retracts for sale in RCU recently for a very good price & I was ready to purchase until I read a very lengthy thread on same in RCU which put the damper on the purchase. Seems there are several mods needed (including maybe new wings if the dowels do not line up) which would have been impossible for a second owner to obtain as well as CG & several other issues . I did however run across a positive review (well sort of) which in conjunction w/ the RCU thread told me I didn't want to spend the time that might be required to safely get this (ARF??) plane in the air.

Actually, the problems were not as bad as indicated in that thread. The fixes were listed in an addendum to the instructions in my kit. There was one front dowel on a lower wing, the right one, if I recall correctly, that was miss positioned by 1/8 inch to the opening in the fuse. The fix was as simple as filing the hole in the fiberglass fuse, where the actual mispositioning took place. As the spar is heavy metal aluminum, there is no movement. As for being able to buy new wings, in case of an accident, Tower Hobbies still sells them. They were not replaced under the warranty to fix the mis located hole.

The IMPORTANT thing to do when balancing the model, is READ the instructions ALL THE WAY THRU! (Ask me how I know!! ) The model is balanced UPSIDE DOWN, on the TOP of the BOTTOM wing! When properly balanced, it really does fly well, when properly powered. It requiers plenty of power, that's the important part. DO NOT SKIMP here. I'm wondering if I am going to need 12S batteries, to get full output from the E-Flite 160 motor, as this plane needs a true 160 output. It needs airspeed, plain and simple. It slows well for landing using flaps, but it needs speed for good flight. When speed is available, it is a beautiful, smoooth flyer, much like a warbird.
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Old Jul 31, 2009, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Staggerflyer
It requires plenty of power, that's the important part. DO NOT SKIMP here.
I wonder if an OS FR300 would fill the bill with this one. I think it'd have enough power, but weight and diameter might be issues. Anybody have opinions about this? I also have an Enya VT-240 which I read elsewhere is an excellent power plant match for the TFSW.
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Old Jul 31, 2009, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squeekeron
I wonder if an OS FR300 would fill the bill with this one. I think it'd have enough power, but weight and diameter might be issues. Anybody have opinions about this? I also have an Enya VT-240 which I read elsewhere is an excellent power plant match for the TFSW.
This discussion belongs over on the giant scale gas/nitro powered section, but I'll answer it here, since this particular model is covered in both.

Not sure if the FR300 would fit. The FT160 just fits inside the cowl. I would think the VT-240 might be to long.

The thing to remember about 4 strokes multi cylinder engines, is their equivalent size v single cylinder engines. The FT160 equals .80 per cylinder, or the equivalence of an .80 2stroke. The VT-240 becomes a 1.20 2 stroke. The model calls for a 1.60 single.

More than 2 cyls adds torque, not HP. Means the ability to swing bigger prop, but you run into efficiency problems within certain size parameters. Also ground clearance. To small a prop on a large engine, and you risk over revving, as well as cavitating. With the larger models, the prop must be matched to the engine and airframe, thru experimentation. Each engine brand and size will swing a different prop, as will each different airframe, even with the same wingspan and weight. Design, covering material, building, assembly cleanlyness all affect drag, which affect prop size/pitch.

My OS FT160 swung an 18x6 Dynathrust on my Sig 1/4 scale clipped wing cub, 14lbs. On a Modeltech Extra it swung a 16x10 Zinger, 13lbs. On This Staggerwing, the best prop was a 17x8 APC.
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Old Jul 31, 2009, 11:27 PM
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I'm still waiting on Robart to manufacture one of the parts for my bent left main gear before flying again. They make all parts in house, and prior commitments have set back the time frame for making replacement parts.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 04:09 PM
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Tama, Iowa USA
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Finally recieved my repair parts from Robart! 5 months! Just installed them, so my Staggerwing is back up on it's wheels.

During the interim, I found out the 8C Common Sense batteries are not putting out the amps required for these big motors. I use the same batteries in my Great Planes P-6E Hawk, with the E-Flite Power 110 motor, and I can't run it over half throttle for more than a few seconds. The motor cuts off. I have to quickly pull back to brake to re-energize the motor. Luckily, half throttle is more than enough to fly it on, including big loops. So, I just ordered 6 Impulse 4800mAH 5 cell 18.5V 20C batteries with 96A Continuous rating, from Hobby People on an $80 off sale they had two weeks ago.

Going to get some larger props, maybe a 20x10E and an 18x10E and maybe even an 18X12E. Should give more thrust, thus better speed. Will post again when the next flight occurs. Hopefully some pics/video.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 09:49 AM
LBJ
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Fort Worth, Texas
Joined Nov 2007
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We gave up on Common Sense batts over a year ago! Now run Rhino batts from Hobby City. I just checked yesterday on prices. A 6S 4900 20C is $82 plus shipping. 5S prolly is a bit less.

I just aquired an unfinished TF Stagger at the LHS. Thought about the E-Power mode but am going with a G-38.

This is prolly the best looking ARF I have seen. Very nice quality on all the parts. A few of the parts were missing, but have overcome that with a bit of fabrication.

Based on what I read over in the RCU Stagger thread, I may remove the (small) lower gear doors since I am flying from a grass field. One guy said he cartwheeled on takeoff when one side caught on the grass. They look great once installed and wired, but not really worth the chance of tearing the model up. I may install them after a few flights and once I get the feel of the model. I looking forward to flying this one!
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Last edited by LBJ; Oct 24, 2009 at 09:59 AM.
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