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Old Aug 11, 2011, 03:39 PM
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Starmax A-1 Skyraider (63" span full-house Foamie)

I've finished the extremely simple task of assembling my Starmax A-1 Skyraider, purchased from EasyTiger Models. This is not a build. It's just an assembly really. An easy one, at that. I'll try to bring a few thoughts to the table and let the ball roll as it will with anyone else's observations. My feeling is that it's a good basic airplane that can be flown as-is or made better (my choice).

Out of the box I give it a B-/C+ grade. With a few small fixes/mods as mentioned below, it can easily be an B+ model for very little effort. For a little more work, like fixing the canopy paint, adding a good pilot, a little weathering and a few extras; it could be more of a scale model than it is out of the box. (pictures below show my own custom cockpit and added pilot, more on that in this thread)

At the flying field, this Starmax A-1 Skyraider is a treat to fly. It backs up the often said, "Bigger Flies Better" motto. Where this warbird gets left behind a bit is in raw performance. It is very light, and reasonably modestly powered. So it doesn't tear up the sky. But it flies beautifully scale like for fly-by, and rolling maneuvers. Limited vertical is OK but there is a performance gap where some good planning is in order. In the pattern and down low when flown scale and smooth, it is just stunning to watch. She is very convincing in relative speed and movement, unlike many models with heavier wing loadings. Quite simply stated, it has very good manners for a Warbird, but still flies like a Warbird. That's good news for most folks, and proficient "Sunday Sport Flyers" will be very happy.

It's important to note that for my first six or eight flights, I did not extensively modify the model and the small mods I did make, were very minor, and just done to improve functionality and reliability. See the next post for the small items I did to ensure reliability before flight. So far so good, let's see how she hold up through the season now. (Edit: first red flag item is the landing gear as of August. I have successfully changed mine out to a much better set, more in the thread).

After the first several shake down flights I've begun to make larger changes like adding a cockpit, making the engine facade more scale like... other unnecessary items that I'm just doing for my own reasons. None are required at all.

Starmax A-1 Skyraider Functions.mov (2 min 25 sec)


Starmax A-1 Skyraider Assembly Notes, Mods and or Fixes

See more posts in this thread dealing with assembly notes, further mods, etc: link below photos, under "comments"...
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 03:42 PM
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Starmax A-1 Skyraider Assembly Notes, Mods and or Fixes

Starmax A-1 Skyraider Notes, Mods and or Fixes

1) Ensure the Elevator halves are strong enough for one pushrod.
Mine seems under built, unless the following mod is made for security: Option A) Install a 8" torque tube of any make (wood or carbon) that runs between the inner hinges and through the foam attachment between the left and right elevator panels. Option B) Use two separate control horns and pushrods for elevator control

My solution was "low tech, light and cheap". I used a small wooden dowel with light ply sticks glued to the ends to act as an anti rotation/torque tube structure and spar. This was glued into the elevator halves at the center I epoxied the system in place while weighting the unit from the center to take out the warp and allow the system to dry in the correct way. I then followed up the epoxy with thin CA that I wicked into the dowel/wood parts. I wicked a lot in, and the end result is a very torsionaly stiff pair of elevator panels.

2) Ensure the control horns are secure.
During assembly there were at lease one location (rudder) where a secure horn assembly had bolt through attachment screws strip due to being slightly under sized or the plastic in the horn being soft. *Use the other two extra screw slots to locate extra long screws or change out the screw hardware of the problem seems possible. Some report no issues, some do - most likely a variance in hardware supplied or variance in hardware quality from kit to kit.

3) Motor Firewall reported as loose in mount, getting worse after flights.
This may or may not be an issue for you. If it is: Re-glue firewall and/or shim some 1/32" ply or balsa scrap wood in any openings between the plastic firewall and the surrounding foam. This will strengthen the bond and also reduce play in the firewall. The firewall is the plastic part that the motor mount is attached to. Also see this post: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...83&postcount=6

4) Servo tray loose and sliding for and aft in mount channels.
*Re-glue, and provide for and aft stoppers (wood) to prevent servo tray from sliding for and aft if glue comes loose again. In my case the sliding servo tray was used to my benefit. After securing the tail wheel steering pull-pull cables, I slid the servo tray forward to make the cables slightly tighter and then re-secured in place using 1/4" wood square stick (6" long in the forward tray area), glued to the tray and then the foam fuse tray mount. When this dried I backed up the glue joint along the wood to foam mating area / slot to ensure the tray would not break free. This is an area worth checking every time you secure the battery for flight.

5) Rudder and Elevator Pushrod Stabilization.
*The rudder and elevator pushrod could use some stabilization toward the aft wing saddle and just over the speed brake servos (2 locations) to prevent pushrod sag and also interference with the speed brake servos. A simple wood brace mounted from the left to right fuselage side, allowing the pushrods to rest on the brace - and then glue the pushrod outer sleeve to the brace. Per Uncle Joe.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=348

Also, as the pushrods exit the model they are free hanging for several inches until they attach to the clevises. This is OK for low speeds and low control loading but it's a setup for flutter or soft control surface attachment under high loading, and slop. I have not done this yet but I was considering adding a shim to stiffen the rods, about 1" aft of the exit. This would help stiffen the control rods and may actually lead to more crisp handling in flight. Probably not noticeable at low speeds but at higher speeds if anyone mods the model to fly faster it may be beneficial.

6) Speed Brake mounting and design.
*Relieve the upper/forward inner edges/corners of speed brake to allow bind-free opening and closing. Re-glue and mechanically attach actuator horns to speed brakes (my horns popped off due to little or no effective glue on them. I also strapped some balsa over the horn to glue to the foam and the horn to back up the security of the bond). The way my speed brakes were set up, there was no way they were operated correctly before closing up the box. I detached the clevises and re-adjusted the rod length by turning the clevises a few turns to get the correct operation - all doors shut at the same time with no binding. The servo arm will have to be set identically on the left and right speed brake panel servos so they operate symmetrically. Looking at the lower speed brake, it's just designed to open on the ground with little to no air pressure over it. Otherwise you'll get an unwanted pitching moment that will need to be trimmed out. Just as well. Leave it as-is but change the clevis as needed to work in tandem with the side brakes.

7) Prop Hub Threads
*Some report prop hub threads and hub are easy to cross thread while assembling due to soft metal. A little oil on the threads and careful assembly (un-rushed) will prevent a hassle here and potential problems.

8) Landing Gear Rotation Pins, and "C" clips...
More to come, see Uncle Joe's post and solution.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncljoe View Post
Robert ,Spaceshuttle and who ever else has one of these SKYRAIDERS make sure you check the security of the landing gear pins that enable the rotation of the tire .. check out the photos and you'll see .. BTW the plane flies great !
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncljoe View Post
Used smaller brass collars about 1/4"longx3/64 in dia then used heat shrink tubing over the joint .
I also had to add 3 ozs. of nose weight to get the correct CG.
Semper Fi
Joe
****
My experience with failed Starmax landing gear on 01 September 2011: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...5&postcount=23

SEE POST 32 and beyond for LANDING GEAR MOD: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...1487128&page=3

9) Landing Gear Hardware clearance issues, quick fixes to make to ensure free operation.
See Robert's Post and solution, more to come.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Stinson View Post
Another alert; run the retracts a few times on the ground to check the following. The pin may catch on the post that makes it rotate while coming down. It'll stop the deployment halfway. I saw it happen in flight, cycled the LG and it cleared up, fortunately.

I haven't figured out a solution yet, but half the problem is identifying it...
Note* This has not occurred on mine. Watching out for signs of trouble, but so far so good.

10) Removed
See #8 as this was related

11) Foam hinge on rudder is weak(lower portion)
Upon installation of the vertical stabilizer, I accidentally tore the foam hinge (lower hinge where the rudder "control horn" is located... the part that keeps the rudder hinged in the lower fuselage area). I could tell the foam hinge was not going to last even if I had not torn it - maybe it's just mine but check yours out and fix of needed. I installed a regular size Robart Hinge Point in the rudder control horn area, and then secured it to the fuselage too and this made up the new "lower" rudder hinge. This makes removing the horizontal stab more difficult via the screw attachments, but I can't see the need to remove the vertical stab as much as I see the constant need for a secure rudder hinge system.

12) Fuselage joint near wing saddle and forward canopy mount
I noticed the glue for the fuselage seam/joint was giving way on the forward wing saddle joiner and near the forward portion of the canopy mount. Not like the whole fuse is splitting but to prevent a shearing away of any more of the fuse seam I added a light 1/16" balsa and 1/64" plywood laminate doubler. Just a piece of 1 by 2 inch wood laminate that I glued across the seam on the forward saddle, directly to the foam, to "strap" the two fuse sides together and prevent them from pulling apart (of course make sure the wood grain runs across the seam). Below the canopy forward mount, I glued a .5 by 1 inch wood laminate in a similar way. I used fast dry gorilla glue and the glue expanded into the joint while it was drying. Totally secure now.

13) Add some forward rake to the landing gear
For stock landing gear or upgrades with 90 degrees of swing only, not for Eflite gear upgrade. This is very easy. I simply added two steel washers under the retract aft mount to cant the wheels forward by 1/4" at the wheel hub. This allows the Skyraider to not be so light in the tail and allows better soft field performance. Negatives are the fact that the wheel stick out of the retract wells just slightly. But you can't tell in flight. Ground handling seems to be improved slightly - the tail is not so light upon adding power and it's easier to keep the model stable under taxi conditions with quartering tailwinds, etc. It could use more rake but for now it's as good as it will get on the stock landing gear.

14) Double check servo security
Some have reported the servos coming lose in their slots in the wings (flap and aileron). This is not suprising given that they look glued into pre-painted foam and also the attachment technique. While this works on smaller models it might be advisable to check the servos before and after each flight. When/if they start to lose seciruty, pull them out and take the paint off and re-glue in place or devise some sort of "belt and brace" servo cover that assists holding the servo in location. Edit: This happened to me too now, on the flap servo. I am going over all the servo mounts as this is a verified issue and could cause a crash.

15) Basic "ARF" Pre-Flight Checks
On any and every ARF. The to do list before flying: a) Always, always, always check every screw for servo mounts, servo horns, landing gear screws, clevis screws (for stripping) and screws everywhere else. Re- check the security of the assembly screws you did during assembly. Typical things to look for - stripped screws in wood that need a soak with thin CA and then re- tightening. Loose screws, screws that need to be changed out if necessary for larger ones, etc. b) All control horns. If they aren't bullet proof on the ground they aren't airworthy. c) All clevisis. Use some heat shrink tube to cover the clevis or something to make sure the clevis does not "possibly" open up as it will fall off the control horn and the surface will go un-controlled when it works loose. Critical ones to do this on are elevator, rudder, aileron and flap. d) Re check the CG. Don't just just hold your fingers under the model to make sure it doesn't nose or tail dive. That's not being thorough enough. Re- check the measurement of the CG that you chose. Most CG errors are the modeler choosing the wrong location on the model due to a measurement error. Be sure you are looking at what you think you are. A nose heavy model flies like a truck on ice, a tail heavy model flies "just once" but bring a garbage bag to the landing site. Err on the safer side if you must measure using the "that's about right" method, and then work your way into the sweet spot slowly over a few flights. e) And everything else while you are at it.

Flight Notes
See next Post...
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 03:42 PM
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Flight Notes

Flight Notes

Maiden flights went very well. I put in two flights this morning. Tested the envelope with the flaps up and speed brakes stowed. It was a little breezy for flaps on T/O or Landing. Speed brakes? This model doesn't lack for an ability to slow down but they are very cool an the ramp and I'll look for excuses to use them in flight as I get used to the model more.

My battery is a 4s 4000mah 40c pack (2). I balanced my model at the recommended 75mm for the first flight and 72mm (more fwd) for the second. My control throws are a little less than the instructions but fine, and 20 percent expo. I have lower rates too but didn't use them. My first flight was "clean" with no underside stores and the second flight was with the centerline tank and the two green stores next to the gear but no missiles.

The model is very light on the tail. Any appreciable wind and you'll have a hard time fighting a weather vane tendency while taxiing down wind for the full runway. Into the wind and she tracks beautifully. You'll want full up elevator to keep the tailwheel planted. For takeoff I recommend about 20 percent to get rolling, then release the up elevator and allow the tail to fly off (it will right away). Don't allow yourself to get airborne off a 3 point attitude though so easy on the throttle (really easy). As soon as you are level fly the model straight with rudder (you'll turn left) and then ease in 80 percent throttle. You'll probably be air borne by then and then smoothly feed in the rest for the climb.

The model really could use some forward rake on the main gear. When will these ARF guys learn to mount the gear with about 15 degrees of forward rake and make the retracts work this way? Anyhow, there isn't much prop clearance and you are riding the line of nosing too far over with the landing gear being straight legged, or lifting off too early if you keep the tail too low. So gentle on the sticks, she will fly off beautifully on her own and take your time.

Less than half throttle to 3/4 throttle flies her wonderfully. About 30-40 percent throttle and three feet off the deck makes a picture perfect, sweet pass for a thousand feet if you want - like she's on autopilot. She's not a speed demon though. The prop pitch speed on the 4 blader must be around 60mph. Full throttle makes more noise in level flight but doesn't do much for speed. When you climb, full throttle keeps you moving along in a climb nicely though. In a descent, low power really get's you coming down fast so know that you have a speed brake with your prop too.

Stalls. With about 10 percent throttle she will stall at a very low speed and snap roll to the left. Simply reducing elevator to level will stop the roll at 90 degrees and a normal recovery is easy; but a fast recovery will snap roll her again so don't do this down low (you have to be really slow or pulling hard). At idle power she will drop a wing to the right to about 60 degrees bank, and recovery is a little easier. This seemed to be consistent over three tries each and will really only reflect my airplane on my day so expect "similar" as long as the rigging and CG are about the same on a straight airframe. I will say this is pretty tame for a "warbird". No, she's not a trainer but anyone with aileron time and a sense of elevator loading and speed can very easily handle her.

Approach and landing. Once you get used to a few practice stalls up high you'll know the speed range. Something a little like a medium-slow cruise speed works nicely for approach and you can effectively use throttle for altitude control. Fly her into the round-out, above the runway, with throttle control. Don't chop the throttle but nicely reduce it to idle or just above in the flare, as you see fit. Both landings I touched down with about 10 percent throttle and went to idle on the roll out. Remember the wheels aren't raked forward so you may feel she is a little pitch sensitive on the runway but nothing so horrible that it is hard to control. She really is a floater at heart but the prop will slow you down quickly too, and you'll get used to it. As far as flaps go I didn't use any. I sure was not landing nose high (3 pointer) with a clean wing, they were wheel landings. So I'm not sure of the flaps would just make it more difficult. I'll work those into the routine on the next flight. Normally I use flaps from the beginning but I just didn't feel like I needed them on this model at all.

The prop is difficult to balance on my balancer as it's so heavy. So I'm flying it stock but I feel it is a little out of balance. The blades don't "track" well either as seen from the side, that's probably adding to the low frequency, low level vibration I'm feeling on ground tests. So far the firewall mount is holding well.

One weird thing that probably means nothing is I heard a noticeable "hum" or harmonic in flight that was probably the speed control at about 50 to 80 percent throttle. I checked all flight controls and everything seemed fine. At first I thought it was a flight control buzz. I'll keep trying to track it down over the next few flights.

More to come on the forward rake quick "fix" I did to the landing gear and ground handling.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 05:58 PM
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Odds and Ends

Here is a mental "transmitter programming" challenge for you guys. Feel free to follow along and ask questions if you are interested in this and get stuck. I'm using a Futaba 12FG radio for reference.

I like to set up my larger electric models and all my EDF's so that I can smooth out the throttle ups with servo-slow features on the ESC (like a 3 second swing from idle to full for smoothness) and I also maintain a minimum throttle setting at a place where the prop keeps ticking over at about 300 RPM or so (pretty much zero thrust) so it looks more realistic on taxi out and taxi back (this is for props). I never get a stopped prop in flight or on the runway unless I command it. The electric motor behaves like a gasoline engine - you can move the power lever up and down and it returns to idle at full stop position, and accelerates smoothly through all the ranges due to the servo slow feature. It's a "gasoline engine simulator" for electric powered warbirds.

I do this with a throttle up switch I mix into the throttle channel. The throttle up switch is programmed so that in the normal "stop" position it allows 100 percent end point for idle, and when activated to throttle up, it brings the throttle setting up to a point where the motor almost turns on with trim neutral. This is by trial and error in setup. I turn on the transmitter with the throttle up switch in the "full stop" position and the throttle trim neutral. Power up the model. Bring the "idle up" switch to "idle up". The motor will not come to life yet. Then, I bring the motor to life with several power trim bumps. At an appropriately slow and realistic speed I'm satisfied with the trim and test the "cutoff" feature of the idle up switch. The motor comes to a stop. Then bring the motor back on line with the idle up switch and taxi-out and fly. Importantly to note, the idle speed is nearly a "zero thrust" setting - just for looks and smoothness only.

Note: In the video below, you see some of the simple trial and error demonstrated. In the video I actually start the motor with the throttle up switch. Then I manually trim the speed down a few clicks. My desired idle speed stabilizes at a very low RPM. Once I'm happy with the function and speed of the idle up switch settings, I end up using the idle up switch as an "on-off" idle switch. This requires some level of switch discipline. As explained a little more below, the way the ESC arms, it will not accidentally start the motor while plugging in if you have the switch incorrectly placed, but it will foul up the mixing and you have to un-plug, set the switch properly, and re power the model.

When I want the prop to come to stop (or if I think I'm going to pile it in) I flip the throttle "power up" switch to cutoff. The motor will stop now. Normal throttle and power is available at any time by just using the power lever if the prop is stopped, but it's just not as "realistic".

I started programing my electrics like this after I started flying turbines. Since I had to set up a single switch "kill switch" for my turbine models per regulation, it was easy to see the same programming could bring a subtle increased sense of smoothness and realism to electric models. If anything, trying this out will teach you more about your transmitter programing and possibly give you ideas as to what else you can "improve" by taking advantage of all the features we have hiding in these powerful transmitters meany of us "under-utilize" regularly. Since I use the feature a lot, I've come to just expect to do the "power up" and "power down" routine anytime I need to and it keeps me fresh for flying turbines with all the switch-oligy.

The reason I have to program my power up/cutoff switch is due to the fact that Futaba has only a digital throttle trim switch. If there were a mechanical trim for power, I'd just use the trim switch. But with a digital trim, you can't go to "emergency stop" fast enough to keep it safe without the use of a quick kill switch like I do.

Of note on the Starmax A-1: I've come to the conclusion that the ESC that comes with this kit is a self calibrating one. If you change your transmitter end points, the ESC will just re-set everything to it's desired place to keep throttle idle at the lowest stick position and the highest stick position it will maintain 100 percent power when you cycle the throttle stick a few times. It re-adjusts itself throughout a flight - the more you cycle the power lever/throttle from idle to full. This is OK for basic throttle control but it does mess with my programming a little. I have to occasionally re-set the power calibration in the ESC if I've been messing with the throttle on a fully charged model by taxiing and such (this is done by powering down the RX/ESC). Also, start up switch-oligy is important as the auto calibration will mess up the switch authority if you power up the model with the idle up switch in the "up" position (if this happens the "power up" switch for idle is useless - another re-booting of the ESC is necessary with the switch being placed correctly before power up required).

Demo of this is about half way through this short film showing some of the functions of this Skyraider:
Starmax A-1 Skyraider Functions.mov (2 min 25 sec)
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 04:25 PM
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Hi Eddie,

Great report. Just fantastic! Keep it up.

Question on the firewall. How do you get to it? Mine has a foam ring, painted black, rotary engine front attached to the front of the fuse. This prevents you from getting back to the motor mounts and firewall. Is it glued-on? I'd like to get it out of the way to get in there, but am afraid of damaging it. In a related note, how do you get to the BACK of the firewall, also? I can't even see access to it.

Thanks in advance, great detailed report,

Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie P View Post
Starmax A-1 Skyraider Notes, Mods and or Fixes
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.
3) Motor Firewall reported as loose in mount, getting worse after flights.
*Re glue firewall and/or place backing material behind mount and screw through to provide mechanical backup to the glue
.
.
.

Flight Notes
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 07:11 PM
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Hi Bob-

Glad to help! To get into your motor mount, you already know how to remove the plastic cowl cover. Once that's off, then twist gently back and forth and pull at the same time on the black "foam radial engine" facade. It's essentially just press fit but it has two side rails that keep it from twisting inside the fuselage without tearing the foam rail/slots. So don't force the twist but by gently pulling and torquing it the foam will come free. Once that's out you have a good look at the motor mounts and the plastic fire wall from the front. From the back? Not a lot of room, but you can see it enough to tell what's going on. Basically, just behind the plastic firewall is a foam wall and that's what you see when you look forward inside the battery bay area.

All I've done so far is placed some fast cure gorilla glue and small 1/32" ply shims (in order to push the uncured glue into the gap) in the junction area of the firewall and forward foam fuselage. (this is a tongue and groove fit from what I can tell and there is some amount of play that can develop between the firewall and mount and the foam fuse that holds it in place)

This has really firmed up the small amount of play that developed. So far so good. I may eventually use the bolt through method if I have to.

As far as a bolt-through fix, I have not done that yet as it hasn't needed it, and I hope it will not. But the thought is: A set of small bolts would go through the plastic firewall/foam sandwich. There would be a light laminate of ply that would be forward and aft of the firewall sandwich. The bolt would tighten up via a nut or blind nut and the whole unit would be a little more secure. Right now this is way overkill, and so far so good with what Starmax have designed and what small amount of rigidity I've already added with the simple wood and glue mod.

PS - I fixed the highlighted area above in the "mods" post! It wasn't accurate as I had it.
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Old Aug 15, 2011, 06:55 PM
LSF 004 - AMA 5055
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Thanks Eddie,

I managed to get the "foam radial" off. The problem was that the black paint must have been a little wet when it was assembled and it effectively glued the ring to the fuse. Here are two photos of the front end for others who might have the same problem, to see. Makes it a little easier when you see how it was put together. BTW, that's a good size slug of steel they put in there. Must have been a tad tail-heavy.

Bob

[QUOTE=Eddie P;19046283]Hi Bob-
.
.
.
Glad to help! To get into your motor mount, you already know how to remove the plastic cowl cover. Once that's off, then twist gently back and forth and pull at the same time on the black "foam radial engine" facade. It's essentially just press fit but it has two side rails that keep it from twisting inside the fuselage without tearing the foam rail/slots. So don't force the twist but by gently pulling and torquing it the foam will come free. Once that's out you have a good look at the motor mounts and the plastic fire wall from the front. From the back? Not a lot of room, but you can see it enough to tell what's going on. Basically, just behind the plastic firewall is a foam wall and that's what you see when you look forward inside the battery bay area.
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.
.
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Old Aug 20, 2011, 06:59 PM
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Did you hear that???

The Starmax Skyraider is a very quiet warbird. In fact, one of the things I first realized aside from how well it flew right off the runway, was how quiet it was. The thought, "what a perfect model for a sound system" was not only echoing in my mind but a few of the guys at the field mouthed it, too.

So, with this in mind, my first official major "modification" to this Starmax A-1 Skyraider will be a sound system to replicate the R-3350 radial engine. Here are two systems available to use, one a Canadian and another a German system:

http://www.modelsolutions.ca/catalog_speakers.htm
http://www.benedini.de/

And a few videos to paint a clear picture:

Electronic Engine Sound for RC Model Aircraft (4 min 15 sec)


Brian Taylor electric Spitfire, Bf109 and Corsair with sound (1 min 10 sec)


FMS T-28 Trojan with Sound System flight (2 min 44 sec)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnLy6...D5E878C9BF28CF

ESM T-28 Electric w/ Sound - Startup (0 min 32 sec)


This is not so much an "end game" move, or a modification for the Skyraider itself. The Skyraider modification is more of a platform to learn and enjoy the sub hobby of adding realistic sound to electric models. I have a very large scratch build project in the works that the sound system is really meant for. But in the meanwhile, what a perfect place to employ a little bit of this technology just for fun and learning.
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 02:42 AM
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Cockpit

I went ahead and used the Hobby King 1/11th (or so) scale F-86 pilot for this Skyraider. Not a drop dead fit, as this model is just about 1/10 size. But close enough - like the 1/8 scale sizes available... they are all about the same size off, just bigger or smaller.

I also bought the scale F-86 cockpit as well as the scale Hawker Hunter cockpit. Both were on sale at the time, all told everything was $24 for two cockpits and one pilot.

I painted the F-86 pilot in Vietnam era colors and "bling". I ended up using the Hawker Hunter cockpit and hacked it up nice to not only fit the Skyraider cockpit but also fit the F-86 pilot. In the process I lost a lot of potential weight of the stock cockpit and the total weight of the new cockpit plus pilot is 2.0 ounces. Not bad for nearly a full figure and 3D tub cockpit.

In the process I cleaned up the canopy. I didn't like the non scale framing. I peeled back the stock paint and used "Light Ghost Gray" and "Flat Interior Black" Testors Model Masters to touch up the new framing. These pictures still don;t show the aft cockpit armor and bracing. I have not finished it yet, I'll do that and glue in place tomorrow. So far so good, this little 2 ounce $24 cockpit upgrade (+HK shipping $$) - it really brings some pop to the model.

Though this was a fun project I am just as happy if not more to go back to some of the "local" pilot figure makers here on RCG as well as "Aces of Iron" and make up my own cockpits out of styrene plastic. Try a cockpit upgrade, you'll probably like it. (This took all of 3 hours - did it after we put the kids to bed).
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 10:51 PM
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The seat

Some words of wisdom about Skyraider seats:

"But, the A-1 did not have an ejection seat. The Yankee Escape System by Stanley Aviation was unique to the A-1 Skyraider and was an extraction system rather than an ejection system. Instead of a rocket in the seat that pushed you out of the aircraft, seat and all, the Yankee Seat had a rocket attached to nylon lanyards that pulled the pilot out of the aircraft. Best of all, it worked."

So with that in mind, though it has been fun to fit the first generation ejection seat to the cockpit, I'll be making a more simple seat that fits the Skyraider.

Pics to follow.
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Last edited by Eddie P; Aug 28, 2011 at 11:31 AM.
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Old Aug 29, 2011, 12:06 PM
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Eddie: What cockpit is pictured in the previous post. I like it and want one. I realize you've done a substantial amount of modification but it looks great!
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Old Aug 29, 2011, 08:01 PM
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Hi jmpdgs - this cockpit is the Hawker Hunter cockpit from Hobby King. They had it on clearance sale the other day (and it probably still is) for $7. It's located under "accessories" and then "pilots and cockpits".

The modifications are very, very simple. Not much to them at all. Cut and paste. You can't actually make a wrong move that can't be fixed easily - it's all just make it up as you go.
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Old Aug 29, 2011, 10:16 PM
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Cowl and Radial Engine Facade

The Skyraider had an interesting cowl and engine arrangement. The engine was recessed a little and there were flow restrictors (doors that opened and closed in order to manage the engine temperature) that were at times closed and at times open (showing the face of the engine when open).

It's pretty tough on a foamie to accurately represent this unless a lot of work is done up front or a big mod is done later. The Starmax Skyraider is pretty simple in that it (incorrectly) represents a radial engine facade right at the cowl inlet like some other WWII type designs. It's not that big of a deal, but it's noticeable by those that know the airplane a little.

I wanted to fix this - on the surface at least. The predicament is, do you over complicate a simple and light foamie? No, not this time for me. I just made a few cosmetic changes that make the 63" model "look" like it has a Skyraider nacelle and engine arrangement from 10 feet away or greater.

A quick run down of what was done: The front of the foam airframe was cut off by about 1". This was to allow the radial facade to reside at the right place, inside the cowl. There is no real structure being removed thanks to the motor mount arrangement. The foam engine facade has a inner sleeve that fits in the fuse - it was trimmed away by about 1" as well so that it sits flat on the new recessed airframe foam. The outer nacelle still mounts in the same location it always has, and allows the slight gap between the radial facade and the cowl inlet. Then an engine crank case facade was made from a small bottle of water - the plastic. I trimmed out the inner lip from the foam engine facade to allow the fake crank case to protrude forward. Then when it was about done I realized I had to put in an inner liner in the cowl to represent the retracted engine cooling doors. Also I used 1/2" of the formerly trimmed foam airframe to line the forward part of the plastic cowl. This will allow some 1/64" thin styrene plastic liner to make the final touches (I haven't installed that in the first round of pictures yet). Some 1/16" plastic tube stock finished up the "impersonation" to make up the faux rocker arms on the facade.
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 12:38 PM
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Hi Eddie:

I found the HH cockpit on HK but that isn't the one I was interested in. I was referring to this one .

Thanks in advance.
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 01:05 PM
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Everything but the interior is ready so I figured I'd take a few pics prior to putting it up just in case. (I'm not really a pessimist, just a realist I used several of the suggestions from the thread as I always do, finding such info invaluable for avoiding unnecessary headaches.

One mod that I implemented I hadn't seen mentioned so I will do so here. When mounting the gear door I did so beneath the 90 rotating cap instead of above it which required some physical modification of the hinge flap to allow it to fit around the retract mechanism. This allowed the door to get substantially closer to the wing when closed. It also requires that you shim the rear section of the mount. That being the case, simply make the shims 150% as thick as the hinge flap and you'll create a bit of rake to better stabilize the AC on landing and help prevent nose overs.
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