Joined Mar 2012
From Real Flight to a Real Flight - GP Silhouette on Floats
This is somewhat of a cautionary tale from a Newbie...
So, on fine winter morning at our lake house, I noticed that the water was smooth and the air was calm, perfect for taking in Mother Nature's charms and contemplating life. Just then, my serenity was abruptly violated by the roar of my neighbor's ski boat as he came past for an all too close wave good morning, complete with his smug grin.
I'll get him I thought. I think I shall assail one of his yard parties by air. A plan was launched.
I've always enjoyed flight, and water. Grew up around both all my life, and like many of us, thought that a wonderful hobby to embrace as I approach 50 would be to combine both passions through RC flight. What a great old guy hobby, I thought. After all, I had the perfect setting. Sounds easy. Boy was I wrong.
As I am an active member on touring motorcycling forums, I knew a wealth of knowledge could be gained through the internet. I had a nice LHS nearby (you guys taught me a LOT of new acronyms), so my conclusion was to buy some simulation software, virtually crash my fill of aircraft, then get on with the building, then the winds willing, the flying. After a few month's worth of Real Flight, and a whole lot of data gathering, agonizing, and deciding, I settled on an aggressive plan. I was to build the Great Planes Silhouette, put it on floats, and fly it off the lake for my, and its, maiden.
Well, while the Silhouette is billed as an easy build, for this first time flyer it was a healthy challenge. Just figuring out all the required parts hurt my head. Y harness? Why? Canopy mod? Sure, I'll try it. Build it light? Oops, probably should have waited before tearing into the foam for that canopy mod! Balsa knife, rare earth magnets, glue all over the friggen place. Solder? Really? Definitely a challenge. And no where in this state do they sell the right sized music wire for the landing gear. A closet full of old fashioned wire hangers did the trick - cut, bend, more glue.
Here it is, Silly One, moments before full throttle:
And here's the rescue, not too many moments after the initial full throttle!
Did it fly? YES! About had a heart attack when she took to flight. No amount of Real Flight time prepared me for that. After subjecting my little painted pilot to no end of unplanned positive and negative G's, I found level flight, only to hear the battery give up the ghost. Then the plane seemed to not respond. Then the wind gusts changed my intended recovery course. I had not planned for, nor anticipated any of this. Where's that little red reset button that starts the plane safely at the end of the runway like in RF? Sorry kid, you're on your own.
Well, I managed to land her flat like a pancake in a manner that was comprised more of descent than approach I'm afraid to say. Got to love those GWS floats, they sure float. Post mortem? Broken rudder, rear float mount tore loose, and that damned dead battery. How I brought her down all shot up like that makes me want to name her Warthog, after the famed A-10. Total flight time, about 1 minute I'd say. One crazy ass minute.
My plan was way too aggressive, learned a ton (like not to put too much tension on the landing gear stabilizer wires on a foamy), and am eternally grateful to this and other boards like it. Special shout out to Fast1Guy and innervoid375M for the virtual guidance your information provided. My neighbor is safe from my air assault for the time being. OK, I wasn't planning to threaten him from the skies after all, but there is always the next, bigger, plane. But this one is pretty darned good, just needs a calmer more experienced pilot. I aim to give it one.
Silly One (GP Silhouette)
Castle Thunderbird 18
APC 12 x 4
Hyperion CX850 3S 25C (which I did not charge correctly, remedied)
Hitec Optima 6 lite
Lots of glue
Canada, ON, Thunder Bay District
Joined Apr 2007
Great story Jake. I enjoyed it very much. I still fly my Silhouette regulary on floats and enjoy it very much. Keep at it, the experience will eventually turn from sheer terror to great fun.
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