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Old Dec 02, 2012, 12:22 AM
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Got it radio'd up and...not worth flying

Take a look at the photo of my surface horn photo....notice that the barrels they send stick off to the side of the nearly rubber plastic horns?

The rubber surfaces flex as the airspeed increases, but well before that the horns twist sideways under the lightest loads, you can turn on the servo then just lay your finger on the elevator and it flexes about 1/8" down and the servo arm isn't moving. Add to that the servos they send are super weak, so they also give.

Newbie or experience guy, anyone out there thinking that surface position changes of 1/8" might cause some non-uniform flying?

Too often models are reviewed with the best intentions and with real glee, but the information is pretty useless.

Replacing the servos with stronger digitals, replacing the horns with something stiffer that is bolted thru the surface (because the horn flex in the foam too), getting rid of those side loading linkage barrels...and this thing might still have some merit. :-).

All this is important for motor 0FF flying. Motor on, who cares....its not a hot liner.

And you can bet that I'll be flying mine as elevons, not elevator and aileron.

I might take it to the slope tomorrow as is, we'll see. Glad I bought the ARF and a spare kit.

Gordy
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Old Dec 02, 2012, 12:46 AM
AMA 937634
United States, AK, Anchorage
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I went with the kit version so the changes I made were:

Metal geared servos
Park 480 motor
9 x 6 electric prop
25amp ESC

The metal geared servos will stay but I still need to put the plane on a watt meter to get an accurate reading on exactly what I'm pulling with that motor and prop.

I ditched the folding prop because it didn't fit on my Park motor so that's also why I have the regular E prop. Also, the length of the Park is a bit short for the cowling so I had to remove that for these test flights.

I have some standoffs for the motor if it turns out that this is the one I'll be going with that will bring the motor out to the correct position and allow me to put on the cowling.

The canopy was removed to facilitate moving the battery around to try out different CoGs easier.

-Mike
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Old Dec 02, 2012, 01:14 AM
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I should've also mentioned that I was running a 2500mah battery and had my CoG set at around 30mm. I moved it back from the 25mm I had been flying at but left my elevators set at 10mm and my ailerons set at 2mm.

No other changes were made on the first flight.

I noticed a fair amount of wing flex as I pulled it through some tight turns and climbs. I think that I'm going to have to put in carbon to stiffen them up a bit.

-Mike
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Old Dec 02, 2012, 09:12 AM
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Good stuff Mike!

I like to see guys thinking!

The 9/6 prop...went the wrong direction...rule of thumb is big wing, big prop. There's too much cavitation from a small prop you need to put cleats on its shoes:-) by going to a bigger prop.

The drag from a fixed prop is huge! Kind of like putting a 9" plate in front, even if its not spinning.

The CG thing is spinning wheels too until the linkage is maxxed on reducing play at the surfaces. If you can deflect the surface with a light touch of your finger, its happening in flight. All part of considering aero-elasticity.

Okay, so lets say we put the CG where it ought to be for best glide and incidence...that sets the neutral for the elevators....at glide speed and forces. Increase the speed and the surfaces are allowed to flex downward due to servo/linkage slop....and dives with continuing downward angle.

Now we say to ourselves, according to the dive test we need to move the CG forward so that the model pulls out of a dive. We do that and now have to have more up trim to keep the model from diving at slow glide speed, but when we hit the throttle the plane noses upward , or if the glide speed is allowed to increase the nose balloons upward, then comes to a stall and drops that heavy nose, then speeds up then balloons etc.

Hobbling an airplane with nose weight works until the first crash, then the model sits in the rafters instead of getting fixed because it wasn't that much fun to fly.

Even though this model is rubber, it can be optimized to be a really nice flying sailplane. I own one of the EPP Eagles and its really fun to fly because it flies really hands off with the motor off and it thermals up too. Because its balanced for what it is (rubber and a bird) it glides slowly into my hand.

The Pioneer will have a lot higher wing loading because of the fuselage but has about the same wing area and a cleaner airfoil, but I suspect it can fly slowly too.

Using the ailerons as Elevons and the elevators as speed brake flaps (on and off full down 90 degrees ) could cause this thing to be extra fun on the slope.

Work to do first :-).
Gordy
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Old Dec 02, 2012, 04:53 PM
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Much too windy today to make any test flights.

Gordy,
Yeah, I know I went the wrong direction with my prop for this type of plane but I plugged in the values into a calculator and this setup, while not optimal, was stated to be something that worked. I've got a new 10 x 6 folding prop on the way and I'll rerun my calculations once it shows up.

I'm interested in how your elevon setup will work. I definitely like the idea of utilizing the elevators as speed brakes since this plane glides forever!

-Mike
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 10:08 PM
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Planned on flying it today at the slope

But didn't have time to go home to get it and make the hill in Frankfort..Kentucky.

The more I look at the twist in the horns and servo arm, and the flex from the glued in surface horns, the more annoyed I become. But I am glad that I bought this one in the ARF version because it let me see just how much was wrong for guys like the FPV company.

They felt it was too unstable in pitch because its short coupled but in fact its due to the control system install that makes it not coupled at all.

It is definitely one of the best looking EPP ships to come a long...and its really well designed too.

Rain and wind the rest of the week here so likely won't fly it soon :-(.
Gordy
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 10:18 PM
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I agree, it's a good looking kit.

I was wrong about the prop I was spinning; I've been running a 10x7. My folding one came in today but it's too windy to fly.

Did you add more glue to the wood structure? Mine was barely holding together when I received it.

-Mike
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Old Dec 09, 2012, 09:07 PM
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Got several flights in on the Pioneer yesterday at a Toys for Tots flying event held in Grapevine: entry fee was one toy. A good excuse to get together and have fun flying R/C, while collecting a huge pile of toys for the local kids than need something extra this Christmas.

Started the Pioneer about 9:30 Friday night and was done by 12:30. Added one carbon blade spar per wing and will add another as well, later. In flight, with some mild turbulence, the wing showed some minor flexing in the air. Gave all the control horns a hard pull and they were well attached, so decided to use them for now. All the stock servos were working well. Tightened up the holes in the control horns so that the pushrod connectors had no slop.

Pulled off all the black decal trim except for the Pioneer words in a few places. Tape easily removed it.

Trimmed the canopy better and gave it a quick coat of silver paint....black plastic canopies do not live long in the Texas sunshine. My wooden framework was pretty well glued, but did add some thick CA in a number of strategic places.

Used a 40C 3S 3000 battery and a 9 channel Spektrum RX that I had available. Balanced at around 40mm from the wing LE and decided to try it at 40mm, even though it might be a little sporty balanced there based on previous reports.

First launch showed a LOT of elevator sensitivity and an aft CG. Toned it down and added more expo and tried it again. Still rather pitchy, but made two laps around the field. Moved the CG forward to around 32mm. At that CG, the model needed more elevator throw than I had on the launch, so it landed a bit hard after launch and cracked the cowl and loosened the motor mount a little.

With the factory down thrust, it launches better at half power until it has some airspeed. Plan on reducing the downthrust by about half for future flights.

Repaired the cowl and the motor mount, added more elevator throw. Next two flights were picture perfect. If you put the model ins a 45 degree dive, power off, and let go of the sticks, the model does a very slow pullout on its own.

Nice climb performance on the stock motor and prop. Not a warmliner, but very decent and not terribly far from being one. Needs just a little more balancing on the prop and will do that before the next flight.

The Pioneer is more aerobatic than one might think. Loops, Cuban 8s, half Cubans, wingovers, split S's were all beautiful. Did not try any horizontal rolls, but will next time. Does take a LOT of aileron to roll the model with authority.

Some have mentioned going to all elevons on this model. I think that is not the way to go on this model and if you read Jim Marskes' design discussions on his web site and in his book, he makes a very good case for the inboard elevators and outboard ailerons on the full scale aircraft and I think it applies to the model as well.

The stock ESC came without the brake activated, so will puzzle that out before commenting significantly on the glide performance, with was not great with the prop windmilling.

The Pioneer looked great steaming around the traffic pattern, climbing out in large steep spirals and cruising high overhead. Landings were a thing of beauty. Great presence in the air and really a beautiful design. Thank you Jim Marske and X-UAV!

A REAL bargain for the 50 buck close out price from Ready Made R/C.
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Old Dec 09, 2012, 09:19 PM
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Nice report!

A couple of key things I want to comment on....EXPO.

Imagine pulling on a haywagon using a rubber band....the wagon doesn't move till the rubber is really loaded with energy then the wagon really moves....a lot more than you wanted...So you try again but you try to be more careful of the amount of energy you store in the rubber band so that the wagon doesn't shoot toward you all of a sudden..but alas its impossible to gauge..and you are killed.

But wait, You can fix this by...yep adding some nose weight...or you can get rid of the rubber band.
Expo desensitizes the connection between your thumb and the surface you are trying to control. There are reasons to use it, but likely not on this model..which is already rubber. :-).

USE dual rates, keep thing linear (rope). Don't worry about your CG setting, you can tell if that's right not by how it controls but how it lands. Hold it off the ground as it glides in...do NOT let it land...but watch the very last 5 feet of its glide...ONLY the last 5 feet is important, if it stops in the air and drops its nose, its nose heavy. IF it glides and glides and glides and glides and glides and finally settles smoothly and soft and slowly onto its belly, its balanced.

So far I think every one who has 'calmed' their model down (hobbled it and made it heavier overall) has crashed during a 'landing'.

Don't worry about that part....even more important is the comment about the motor thrust...IF it has that much motor thrust up, its very inefficient, you could add elevetor compensation to the throttle stick, the more throttle the more down elevator, or you could shim the top of the motor....the right way to do it.

Gordy
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Old Dec 09, 2012, 11:35 PM
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Not sure why you are saying the model has upthrust. It come with considerable downthrust built in. Too much in my opinion, as it pitches the model down when a lot of power is applied at low airspeed.

Elevator mixes to a throttle position are crude tools that only work at one airspeed. I never use them. Elevator effectiveness is airspeed dependant. More speed, more effect. Throttle pitching effects are more prevalent at low airspeed and high throttle settings and less prevalent at higher airspeeds. Much better to set the thrust angle to the best average needed and just fly the model.

Don't agree with your assessment on expo. I fly most models with some and I liked how this model flew with about 20%. The model being a little flexible has nothing to do with how it reacts to expo, in my opinion. It was smooth around centers and had plenty of control authority when you need it, for aerobatics.

My model is balanced well by your criteria as it settles out and touches down without dropping the nose at a VERY slow speed . Rolled about 4 feet in a light crosswind.in very short grass.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:07 PM
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Sounds like you have the model you want!

Elevator mixes to a throttle position are crude tools that only work at one airspeed.


Not sure what that means, Elevator to throttle mixing is set to stick position. You are 100% right about not using it though. Always fix the model not the symptom.

Okay so this is a toy airplane fully worth the $49 price for the ARF kit...and not $1 more.

Its fun to try to make it seem like its made of stiffer materials, that's part of the fun of RC modeling.

What I was looking for is an electric launch sailplane. Mine will have an ALES switch in it that shuts the motor off at 200m and won't allow the motor to be restarted in flight...same as my 4m contest ships. An airframe is $2,000 without servos, and its far from an ARF...of course at 156" and able to take 180mph dive pull outs, it only weighs in at 63ozs.....not too far off from the weigh of the Pioneer.

So my Pioneer can't have servo slop, linkage play, or any extra nose weight.

Kevin is right, you can use nose weight to stablize an airplane, but I'm not looking for stability, I have thumbs for that, I'm looking for lift and sink...and I need an airplane that tells me about those, not about airspeed changes.

"Neutrally stable" means that the model can fall forward or backwards....not sort of. I guess anything forward of that is nose heavy and anything behind that is tail heavy.

You see these kind of bantered phrases don't mean anything, they don't actually describe anything ...other than opinions. They don't reference any kind of specific measurements... nothing.

When I said sailplanes need to be balanced - I offered a concrete way to do that. "during landing, do not let the model land, keep pouring up elevator into it until it slows and drops...if the nose drops first, its out of balance, if the belly drops first, you got it close enough.

All the babble about centers of pressure and references to full size aircraft are ludicrous....if for no other reason that no man would fly in a full size airplane made of rubber. The formulae for figuring centers of pressure are based on constants in the airfoil shape, not a wing that is constantly twisting and flexing.

This is a great looking toy airplane that can be made to fly really well but it takes some work. Not CG work, but work on linkages and servos to first insure you have as assured control consistency as possible. Then to limit the airspeed to reduce twisting and flexing during flight.

IF your goal is the same as mine...fly it as an electric launch scale sailplane
Gordy
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 10:09 AM
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brake programming, maybe

The Mystery brand of speed controls seems to be the popular use controller in this kind of kit.

I did mine, you power up with the throttle all the way up, it will beep 4 times, then it will start a second set of beeps...move the throttle to low after the first of the second set of beeps to turn the brake on.


Here's a link to programming.

http://robots.dacloughb.com/wp-conte...rogramming.pdf

This one is a little more step by step
http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_5568120/tm.htm
Gordy
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 04:57 PM
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I flew it and I have a challenge for you guys!

A normal thing to do with a sailplane is to give it a light left handed toss to check elevator settings etc.

With a contest sailplane that usually gives you a glide that goes for about 100'.

I put the balance at the 40mm mark and gave it that light left handed toss....you can bet it didn't stay at 40mm.

Would you guys take your models and please give it a light left handed toss and then tell me how far it glides? (....that means with the motor turned off.)
Light left handed toss.

Gordy
PS, flew it on two cells with stock motor and prop, more than enough to fly it around.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 09:27 PM
AMA 937634
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Great report Thomas!

What was your settings for reflex on your control surfaces?

I watched my wings flex a bit too and am in the process of purchasing some carbon strips right now to see if I can stiffen them up a bit. Did you only do the outer 2 feet or so or are you installing longer strips?

I was worried that my cowling would become brittle because of the cold weather here so I taped the inside up with packing tape to help it hold together. It will probably still shatter but at least I won't have to pick up a bunch of little pieces.

With my setup I didn't find the rudder particularily effective; how was yours?

-Mike
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 02:41 PM
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Balance point figured out.

Clearly 40mm is too far forward. A light toss causes the model to nose into the ground MOTOR OFF. About 44mm seems about right, you should get a decent glide from a left handed motor off toss. and the model will flare to a near stop in the air during landing.

mixing both surfaces to elevons would be a huge help with slowing the model down for landings and likely smooth out the turns while thermaling.

If you take a look at my flight video at my YouTube channel "GordySoar" Pioneer video, there are two parts, taken with my Iphone. I have a 1600mah 3 cell pack and it is located with its front edge about 5/8" back from the deck opening where the battery pack pushes into. So you have the square hole, then about 5/8" behind the back edge of that is where I have the battery pack.

Gordy
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