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Old Apr 04, 2011, 01:47 PM
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Old Apr 11, 2011, 09:47 PM
Falling with style!
Rick Ludtke's Avatar
USA, WA, Freeland
Joined Nov 2010
226 Posts
Status Update 4/11/2011

Nothing left to do but to fly her now!

Waiting for a break in the weather, and saving up some coin for a digital video camera to capture her first flight with.

Cheers,

Rick
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Old Apr 11, 2011, 11:55 PM
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Lincoln, UK
Joined Jun 2005
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Very pretty, Rick, if she flies as well as she looks you'll have a winner on your hands there.

Best of luck for the maiden, I'm glad you'll not forget to take a camera!

Pete
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Old Apr 16, 2011, 06:55 PM
Falling with style!
Rick Ludtke's Avatar
USA, WA, Freeland
Joined Nov 2010
226 Posts
Status Update 4/16/2011

I finally had opportunity to see the Pitts in person today after about two weeks since my last check in with my father the builder. The model looks terrific. It is essentially ready to fly, although we decided it was balancing a little tail heavy and are moving the motor forward slightly to compensate. This will also increase the gap between the prop and nose bowl which may improve airflow and thrust.

The flying weight turned out to be 67 oz, which results in a wing loading of 11.66:1 oz / sq ft. The power loading is 1.04:1 ounces thrust to weight.

For my experience, this airplane seems both big and heavy, and has been making me a little nervous... My only good comparison is my 42" Bucker Youngmeister, which proved to be a very easy to fly aerobatic machine. The Bucker's wing loading is 11.23:1 oz / sq ft., dangerously close to the Pitts, so I am now much less concerned about being able to fly this machine. I now suspect its behaviour will be very simular to the Bucker.

Three of our airplanes are on up status, or will be before tomorrow (the Taylorcraft, the Bucker, and the Pitts) so if it doesn't rain, we'll get out and fly for the first time this year.

I promise to get pictures of the Pitts in flight.

Cheers,
Rick
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Old Apr 17, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Methuen, MA
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Best of luck on the maiden Rick! 11.66 oz/sq ft on a big plane like that is very light. Should be a sweetheart to take off and land, but more demanding in use of rudder than the longer Bucker. Be prepared to use lots of right rudder on the take off. Looking forward to the flight report.
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Old Apr 19, 2011, 09:55 PM
Falling with style!
Rick Ludtke's Avatar
USA, WA, Freeland
Joined Nov 2010
226 Posts
Status Update 4/19/2011

Well, I chose to not fly the Pitts this last Sunday, but I did get the other models out and brushed the cobwebs off of my thumbs.

The Pitts was still not balancing after making the easy changes of moving the motor forward 1/4 of in inch, and sliding the battery on its tray forward as much as the structure would easily permit. So it became evident that the battery would need to move a large amount to get the c/g right. The battery now mounts across the fuselage againts the nose bowl attach bulkhead (also the motor mounting bulkhead), which is as far forward as the model's structure and shape could possibly allow this 3300 mah battery to fit.

We had originally located the battery lengthwise in the fuselage centered over the leading edge of the lower wing (the recomended location for the c/g for safe flight) with room to move to move it fore and aft to allow small adjustment of the c/g. In the end it took a surprisingly large move (several inches) to make a small change to the c/g location. Not what we were expecting when we decided upon the original battery placement.

Our original plans were to try and use a smaller battery and motor than we are now, it is a good thing we did not, as that configuration would not have come close to balancing this airframe where it is supposed to. Lesson learned.

This change meant that extension cables for the battery power and balance wires would be necisary to allow the same access for the charger connection through the cowling outlet. These new wiring extensions are on order, scheduled to arrive this Friday.

The Pacific Northwest is finally entering Spring-ish weather (sort of- it snowed this morning on my way to work, but was sunny in the afternoon, go figure), and sun is in the forecast for this weekend (hopefully it will start warming up). We should have the airplane all back togather before the weekend, I expect we'll get her in the air then. More to come...

Cheers,
Rick
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 05:47 PM
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Rick Ludtke's Avatar
USA, WA, Freeland
Joined Nov 2010
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46" Pitts Special S-1S Flight Report 4/22/11

She Flies!

The soccer fields were full of soccer players today, so we went out to our local airport, hoping it would not be very busy on this first sunny Saturday of spring. Fortunately, this turned out to be the case. We were able to get 2 flights out of the battery.

The Pitts is not yet balanced correct. We made changes to the battery location to improve the tail heavy c/g, and while it looked level when balanced at the recommended position (leading edge of lower wing), we must have overshot, as the airplane required nearly all the nose up trim available in flight.

The first take off was a little ugly, as the controls are very sensitive, and I over controlled too much, and I failed to get enough right rudder in. At altitude I had to work for a while to get the pitch trim right, but eventually it would fly level thumbs off.

It is very sensitive in the air on all axis, much more so then my 42" Bucker. It is obviously very light, as it has little inertia, and can change directions very, very quickly. Smooth scale flight requires the smallest of inputs on the controls- just like the full-scale version (The full scale S-1 is also very sensitive, and light on the controls). It needs a little coordinated rudder with the ailerons in turns against the prop.

I didn't really try any aerobatics as I was quite challenged just getting my thumbs quieted down enough to match the airplanes needs. This airplane really had my brain going for a while, and I was a little behind it most of the time. Eventually I calmed down enough to manage some rectangle patterns, and make a few photo passes.

I have not yet used full power, never used more than 3/4 power, even for some of the vertical climbs I tried. It wants to fly pretty fast in level flight, faster than my thumbs could keep up with (the controls get more sensitive with speed), so I often flew at 1/4 and 1/2 power, just so that I could feel a little more comfortable with it.

So in a nut shell, flying this airplane is hard! Much harder than my previous airplanes, BUT I LIKE IT!!!

My second flight was much, much better. After several minutes of processing, and switching to the 15x4 prop from the 13x6.5 (we wanted to compare the performance of both), I launched again. With the airplane still trimmed from the previous flight, my application of power slower and smoother, and my thumbs were much smarter. The take off rol was longer, and climb out was much smoother and more scale-like. Much better! I'm improving.

I prefer the 15x4 prop. Its larger diameter allows more blade to stick out past the large fuselage, which I think helps. I suspect that the lower pitch is more appropriate for this airplanes speed, and I think it climbs better on lower power settings than the smaller prop. It also makes more noise, and at higher power it starts to snarl a bit, reminiscent of its full scale brethren. Pretty cool!

Approach and landings in this airplane are incredibly easy. Both of my landings were simply greasers! The airplane wing loading is so light, that power off approaches to the runway are easy and smooth (and with the power-off it makes a ton of aerodynamic noise, just like the full size version!), then pitch up to the landing attitude when close to the runway and just wait while keeping it straight. The airplane will slowly settle downward at three point attitude until it lightly touches and settles on the runway.

This airplane is so much bigger than my others, that it is much easier to see the airplanes attitude. At approach and landing speeds the controls are not as sensitive, and it is easy to be accurite with them. The airplane settles onto the runway at almost no flying speed (incredibly slow), and rolls to a stop in about 3 feet or so on pavement! AMAZING!

Hard to fly, easy to land, whodathunkit? This airplane will require a lot of practice to perfect, but hey, it is a Pitts Special after all, and I am up to the challenge.

All in all, a successful 1st flight, with no repairs required. We'll play with the balance some more, but it may take several flights to perfect. I plan to expand my knowledge of its flight envelope and performance slowly, because I obviously lack the flight experience this airplane really requires. The only shortfall of this airplane is that the 3300 mah battery doesn't have more than about 8-10 minutes of flight time. I want to fly it more! I guess I'll have to order a spare.

Pictures will follow soon. Unfortunately video was unavailable for these flights, but I am working on that. If the weather holds, I'll get out tomorrow, possibly with video.

Cheers,

Rick
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 05:54 PM
The Hun in the Sun
vonJaerschky's Avatar
Canada, BC, Comox
Joined Nov 2003
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Right on Rick, that's great news! Looks like it was a good weekend to maiden some aerobatic thoroughbred bipes!
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 06:04 PM
Falling with style!
Rick Ludtke's Avatar
USA, WA, Freeland
Joined Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vonJaerschky View Post
Right on Rick, that's great news! Looks like it was a good weekend to maiden some aerobatic thoroughbred bipes!
It sure is a good weekend Frank, and about time too! I suspect our weather is pretty simular, as we are both tucked in between two mountain ranges, and fed our weather by the jet stream. I was begining to think about building an Ark!

I shared your videos of the Bucker with my Dad today, he sounds rather keen about building a big one. We have a 56" Waco Cabin Biplane currently in work, and are also contemplating a 1/5 scale Monocoupe 110 Special for this winter. A large Stinson Gullwing has capture our attention, but so has your Bucker. Too many models, not enough time...
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 06:13 PM
The Hun in the Sun
vonJaerschky's Avatar
Canada, BC, Comox
Joined Nov 2003
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Originally Posted by Rick Ludtke View Post
Too many models, not enough time...
Ain't that the truth!

I just did a quick Google Earth measurement, and I'm not surprised our weather patterns are similar. We're only 160 miles apart. I'm glad your dad liked the Bucker. Man, it is a sweet plane. Enjoy that Pitts!
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 07:13 PM
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Lincoln, UK
Joined Jun 2005
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Congratulations Rick! Great flight report too, she certainly sounds like she handles like a Pitts should; light, sensitive and direct about all axis. With your battery being moved so far forward and the model feeling like it required a lot of up trim, could you not fit a larger battery to improve flight times and move it slightly back to alter the cg? It sounds like your Pitts has the capacity to be a little heavier without it adversely affecting the flight performance. With the cg in a more aft position though, you'd probably want to dial in a fair dose of expo in order to tame the controls. Anyway, sorry, I don't want to sound like I'm trying to teach my grandmother how to suck eggs! Great project, I look forward to seeing your next!

Pete
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 08:13 PM
Falling with style!
Rick Ludtke's Avatar
USA, WA, Freeland
Joined Nov 2010
226 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete1978 View Post
Congratulations Rick! Great flight report too, she certainly sounds like she handles like a Pitts should; light, sensitive and direct about all axis. With your battery being moved so far forward and the model feeling like it required a lot of up trim, could you not fit a larger battery to improve flight times and move it slightly back to alter the cg? It sounds like your Pitts has the capacity to be a little heavier without it adversely affecting the flight performance. With the cg in a more aft position though, you'd probably want to dial in a fair dose of expo in order to tame the controls. Anyway, sorry, I don't want to sound like I'm trying to teach my grandmother how to suck eggs! Great project, I look forward to seeing your next!

Pete
Hi Pete,

Good idea, I didn't think about the exponential stuff. My older Futaba 6 channel transmitters have servo reversing switches and some little dials under a cover at the bottom. Do these dials control the expo? I'll have to play with them. This might give me a little relief from the extreme sensitivity. That would speed up my learning curve I think. Does the expo adjustment affect rates on both rate settings (high and low)?

I think you are right about the battery. I'll have to look around to see if something bigger will fit.

Thanks!

Rick
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 08:22 PM
The Hun in the Sun
vonJaerschky's Avatar
Canada, BC, Comox
Joined Nov 2003
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Wow, dials! I remember those! What model of transmitter is it? A 7FGK? I used to have one of those. From what I remember (and I could be wrong), the dials controlled the end point adjustments. I don't think it had any exponential capability.
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 08:55 PM
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Rick Ludtke's Avatar
USA, WA, Freeland
Joined Nov 2010
226 Posts
I have the T6VH. I just found the manual, so I'll have to read up on it...http://manuals.hobbico.com/fut/7nfk-manual.pdf
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Old Apr 24, 2011, 03:16 AM
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Lincoln, UK
Joined Jun 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Ludtke View Post
Hi Pete,

Good idea, I didn't think about the exponential stuff. My older Futaba 7 channel transmitters have servo reversing switches and some little dials under a cover at the bottom. Do these dials control the expo? I'll have to play with them. This might give me a little relief from the extreme sensitivity. That would speed up my learning curve I think. Does the expo adjustment affect rates on both rate settings (high and low)?

I think you are right about the battery. I'll have to look around to see if something bigger will fit.

Thanks!

Rick
We used to get by without exponential, I suppose, Rick! I noticed that you do have dual rates though, it may be worth setting up some 'tamed' rates if you intend to move the cg back, particularly on the elevator channel. The Pitts has large control surfaces and is quite short coupled after all. Good luck on the battery hunt, I'm enjoying watching your progress with this model!

Pete
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