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Old Apr 08, 2012, 03:25 AM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Finally! The Sapphire is ready to maiden. I finished the fuse pushrods yesterday, as well as added my trim colors. Then, today I installed the wing servos, balanced, and setup a basic full-house setup. I'll wait till after the maiden to fine tune and add camber and launch settings. I do have some crow dialed in, and ail diff, etc. I set the balance per plans at 4 5/8" aft of the leading edge, and the final all-up weight is 63.18 oz -- 3 ounces lighter than my previous Sapphire. Can't wait till the first throws tomorrow. This must have been the slowest build ever @ 473 days.

Will report back. (Hopefully I can get some sleep.) I'll take pictures tomorrow at the field and post after I return.

Good Sunday flying everyone!
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Old Apr 09, 2012, 08:43 PM
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Well....WELL!!!
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 11:29 AM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
Joined Nov 2009
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The Maiden

Sorry for the delay ...

The Sapphire had its first flights on Sunday. I threw a couple of hand launches and added a couple clicks of down. Then, I got the club president Chuck to do the honors of flying the maiden flight with Fred working the winch pedal. It launched nice and straight and came off the line with a mild zoom. Chuck added even more down trim, and then started working some lift. The yellow color of the obeechi and the dark blue bottoms were very visible against the clear sky. Apparently, Chuck was trying hard to make the Sapphire tip stall, and it never knifed into a dive. I asked Chuck to do a dive test, which showed a slow, gentle pull-out with some need for aileron trim. We also found that my initial max flap setting and elevator compensation needed to be increased. Continuing with normal flight, the Sapphire stayed up until Chuck decided to make some broad spirals down for a landing three minutes into the flight. The wind switched on us, and he ended up doing a downwind, but otherwise perfect landing with a very long slide on the sparse grass into a pliant tuft of weeds.

On the ground, I adjusted the elevator trim to re-center the stab at the new neutral point. Then, I took a turn to fly. Chuck worked the pedal, and I worked the sticks, the Sapphire flying off the line at the top. I started cruising around the sky working some small areas of lift, and couldn’t help notice how smooth the turns are with this bird. After almost two years of flying nothing but 2-meter rudder/elevator ships, it felt awesome to have the level of control the ailerons give and to have the greater LD in thermal turns. And as far as showing lift, that extra meter of wing and extra 300 squares of inch make a huge difference. I would run into some lift, and the plane would just smoothly rise up in the low-level, lazy, noon-day thermals. And did I already mention…the LD. The Sapphire’s LD is amazing to me. So, after a few lazy circles here and there I came around for a double-wide turn to final, leveled the wings, put down the flaps, manually adding some extra elevator comp, and let the elevator back up at the last couple of feet to slightly flare, touching down, doing another slide for a couple feet before stopping.

Even though I tried, Fred wouldn’t let me take any pics before the maiden, “It’s bad luck,” he said, and as Hostage-46 mentioned, always AFTER the maiden. So, not ‘til after my flight did we snap a couple of pics. It was a truly successful first day, and it feels great to enjoy the end result of 473 days of building and imagining what it would be like to finally fly this sailplane. Looking forward to much more good flying.
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 07:47 PM
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Bravo!
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 07:46 PM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Thanks, Jim! Don't wait too long to build yours.
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 07:50 PM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Thanks to Jeff for giving me this kit, and thanks to the RCGroups gang for all the help, suggestions, and keeping me motivated to make progress.

...More flight reports to come as I get it dialed in.
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 04:31 PM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Report and Question about servos in foam wings.

The Sapphire caught its first full-on thermal today. I got a new TX, so after about three flights of just launching and getting the trims back to where they should be, I finally had a chance to cruise and hunt. After the launch, I was down to about 80 feet and found some lift right in front of me. Turns are nice and flat. When I really got it cored and on step, boy did this bird just want to keep grooving in the turn without much input needed at all except for a little rudder and elevator. Almost a speckout, but not quite. I came in for a landing, and still need a bit of down elevator comp.

The bad news is I pulled one of the flap servos out at touchdown. The foam pulled away with the servo, still stuck to the tape wrap. I was grounded for the rest of the session. My question is does anyone have a solid method for reinforcing the wing servo pockets? They are just a bed in the foam. I was thinking I would laminate them with a couple layers of .75 oz glass and epoxy.
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 04:45 PM
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United States, CA, Torrance
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Hey! Your Sapphire looks great! I'm glad you left to wing skins natural!

For the servos- Wax the hell out of the servo all over it, gouge out the foam under the servo until you get to the sheeting, make up a piece of 1/16th- 1/8 balsa tray that fits in the cavity really tight. Mix up some epoxy and micro balloons, lots of micro balloons, goop this in then put down the balsa. Put a few drops on top of the balsa and push the servo in. Then make up some balsa shims to fit very tightly all around the servo, glue those in as well to the servo and the wing. Make sure the epoxy does not squeeze out over the top of the servo. If it does wipe it off. Take care to make sure you got room for servo arm travel and your wires, don't glue the wires.

If everything is really tight use tape or weights to hold it all down.

I should mention the servo arm should be on and ready to go, you don't want to pull the servo back out.

I've used this a load of times and no servos have ever popped out. If you need to work on or replace the servo just tug on the arm with some pliers and it pops out. When replacing the servo just wax it again, smear a light coat of epoxy on it and push it back in.
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 11:23 PM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Oh yeah--I couldn't cover up all that gorgeous wood! AK, your install method sounds totally solid. Bonding the tray to the wing skin (fiberglass over wood) should be much more stable than gluing to the foam. That's what I'm going to do. Will definitely shim it all tight, as well. Thanks!
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 06:24 PM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Update

The Sapphire has turned out to be a wonderful sailplane. A few weeks ago, it had a 6-minute and a 17-minute flight (the first 6-min counted for my LSF Level I TD#1), and yesterday it logged a 13-minute flight for my LSF Level I TD#2. With all the flight modes now set up, it does everything I could ask for very well.

Launches are high and straight down the line with almost no input. Full span launch camber of about 3/8" for both flaps and ailerons makes it rotate immediately after release. Just before the dip/zoom, I switch to normal mode. I know I cannot launch it full-pedal with a hard ping like a moldie, as I found out with my first Sapphire, so I keep it mellow with a quick dip to gentle zoom off the top.

It seems to float as slow as a gasbag, but is capable of speeding across the field. What really helped in flight was the use of dual rates on ailerons. I have 3 rates that I use: 100%, 75%, and when I really want to fly gingerly -- 50%. I have to thank my club mates for teaching me about the value in taming down the responsiveness. In "float/thermal" flight mode (camber), I also decrease the aileron rate to 40%, but leave rudder at a rate that is closer to normal. Float camber is about 3/16" down across the whole TE. It slows way, way down and just hangs like it's a Gentle Lady. Reflex is about 1/8". Hit reflex or a slight down elevator, and the plane accelerates and penetrates fast.

Landings are a piece of cake with its large flaps. The elevator comp is right on the money now. I can vary the glide slope across a range from cruise l/d max to a steep-looking 45°+ (maybe even 50-60°) while maintaining a crawling speed. (this also works great for safely getting out of strong lift, which I had to use yesterday from about 3-4x launch height).

The last couple of sessions have been two of those perfect high-lift days with lots of thermal activity and light wind. I am excited to learn how this ship handles in less than perfect conditions in the months ahead: windy days and dead-calm low thermal activity. So far, I am very happy with it. Especially in regard to launch height, I am sure the Sapphire doesn't compare to the latest and greatest models, but it seems to be all I need at my current skill level, and I am more than satisfied. Our club regularly has a Supra Pro, Shadow, and Explorer being flown by very experienced and talented pilots, so it's always a fun challenge for me to try to match their performance with my "vintage" plane and novice skill.
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 07:21 PM
Kurt Zimmerman ≡LSF 4461≡
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Montrose, NY
Joined May 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2R View Post
The Sapphire has turned out to be a wonderful sailplane. A few weeks ago, it had a 6-minute and a 17-minute flight (the first 6-min counted for my LSF Level I TD#1), and yesterday it logged a 13-minute flight for my LSF Level I TD#2. With all the flight modes now set up, it does everything I could ask for very well.

Launches are high and straight down the line with almost no input. Full span launch camber of about 3/8" for both flaps and ailerons makes it rotate immediately after release. Just before the dip/zoom, I switch to normal mode. I know I cannot launch it full-pedal with a hard ping like a moldie, as I found out with my first Sapphire, so I keep it mellow with a quick dip to gentle zoom off the top.

It seems to float as slow as a gasbag, but is capable of speeding across the field. What really helped in flight was the use of dual rates on ailerons. I have 3 rates that I use: 100%, 75%, and when I really want to fly gingerly -- 50%. I have to thank my club mates for teaching me about the value in taming down the responsiveness. In "float/thermal" flight mode (camber), I also decrease the aileron rate to 40%, but leave rudder at a rate that is closer to normal. Float camber is about 3/16" down across the whole TE. It slows way, way down and just hangs like it's a Gentle Lady. Reflex is about 1/8". Hit reflex or a slight down elevator, and the plane accelerates and penetrates fast.

Landings are a piece of cake with its large flaps. The elevator comp is right on the money now. I can vary the glide slope across a range from cruise l/d max to a steep-looking 45°+ (maybe even 50-60°) while maintaining a crawling speed. (this also works great for safely getting out of strong lift, which I had to use yesterday from about 3-4x launch height).

The last couple of sessions have been two of those perfect high-lift days with lots of thermal activity and light wind. I am excited to learn how this ship handles in less than perfect conditions in the months ahead: windy days and dead-calm low thermal activity. So far, I am very happy with it. Especially in regard to launch height, I am sure the Sapphire doesn't compare to the latest and greatest models, but it seems to be all I need at my current skill level, and I am more than satisfied. Our club regularly has a Supra Pro, Shadow, and Explorer being flown by very experienced and talented pilots, so it's always a fun challenge for me to try to match their performance with my "vintage" plane and novice skill.
Sounds like someone is having WAY TOO MUCH FUN!!!!

Congrats on the newest member of your fleet. Sounds like a winner!

Kurt
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 08:00 PM
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Great plane!

I found that a bit less camber(1/8 )was better for me, slowing a bit and yet keeping up the airspeed.

I see a need to alter throws as well, but haven't gotten that done yet. The thought of Expo crosses my mind in lieu of multiple rates. I would just switch Expo on/off. I don't want any reduction in surface throws when landing to be able to react to all the surprises.

It is fun to challenge my skills against my buddies Shadow and our club's growing Explorer count, however, I wish I had your landing skills...
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 09:38 PM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Thanks Kurt! You know it!

Thanks, JrcSeller! The club president who flies the Shadow prefers expo over dual rates. Like you I want to have full throw on final. What I do is switch the d/r off as part of my pre-landing checklist, during the downwind leg and make sure I am in normal flight mode, as well.
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Old Jul 23, 2012, 05:54 PM
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Bountiful, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2R View Post
The Sapphire has turned out to be a wonderful sailplane. A few weeks ago, it had a 6-minute and a 17-minute flight (the first 6-min counted for my LSF Level I TD#1), and yesterday it logged a 13-minute flight for my LSF Level I TD#2. With all the flight modes now set up, it does everything I could ask for very well.

Launches are high and straight down the line with almost no input. Full span launch camber of about 3/8" for both flaps and ailerons makes it rotate immediately after release. Just before the dip/zoom, I switch to normal mode. I know I cannot launch it full-pedal with a hard ping like a moldie, as I found out with my first Sapphire, so I keep it mellow with a quick dip to gentle zoom off the top.

It seems to float as slow as a gasbag, but is capable of speeding across the field. What really helped in flight was the use of dual rates on ailerons. I have 3 rates that I use: 100%, 75%, and when I really want to fly gingerly -- 50%. I have to thank my club mates for teaching me about the value in taming down the responsiveness. In "float/thermal" flight mode (camber), I also decrease the aileron rate to 40%, but leave rudder at a rate that is closer to normal. Float camber is about 3/16" down across the whole TE. It slows way, way down and just hangs like it's a Gentle Lady. Reflex is about 1/8". Hit reflex or a slight down elevator, and the plane accelerates and penetrates fast.

Landings are a piece of cake with its large flaps. The elevator comp is right on the money now. I can vary the glide slope across a range from cruise l/d max to a steep-looking 45°+ (maybe even 50-60°) while maintaining a crawling speed. (this also works great for safely getting out of strong lift, which I had to use yesterday from about 3-4x launch height).

The last couple of sessions have been two of those perfect high-lift days with lots of thermal activity and light wind. I am excited to learn how this ship handles in less than perfect conditions in the months ahead: windy days and dead-calm low thermal activity. So far, I am very happy with it. Especially in regard to launch height, I am sure the Sapphire doesn't compare to the latest and greatest models, but it seems to be all I need at my current skill level, and I am more than satisfied. Our club regularly has a Supra Pro, Shadow, and Explorer being flown by very experienced and talented pilots, so it's always a fun challenge for me to try to match their performance with my "vintage" plane and novice skill.
Great post R2R. You have inspired me. I happen to have a NIB Sapphire that I acquired about 4 years ago, but have been involved in RES, thinking that full house was just to advanced for me to fly. I just finished a 110 inch Ray Hayes design BIG BIRD XL, electric version. Looks a lot like the BOT. It has not flown yet, but probably will within the next 2 weeks. But I am now really thinking about that Sapphire I have. It is just sitting there begging me to build her. There were a lot of very good tips in building the Sapphire in this thread, so thanks.
Dave
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Old Jul 23, 2012, 11:14 PM
Kurt Zimmerman ≡LSF 4461≡
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Montrose, NY
Joined May 2003
1,394 Posts
Although I know you don't really want to stress your Sapphire on launch, consider putting reflex in at the top of your launch instead of returning back to natural. Gives you a bit more speed, better launch. Also as you approach the top of the ping start pushing over the nose so you maintain airspeed. I've seen lots of guys get great launches but loose a bunch of altitude coming to a stall at the top of the ping. By the time you are back and flying again you could have lost 1/2 the amount of height.

Kurt
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