|May 06, 2004, 11:21 AM|
Weasel Pro - photos and maiden flight report
Finally finished the first of 2 WPs the other day and maidened it yesterday. Flew nicely on first launch. Floated out of my hand and out into the lift with very little encouragement required.
Control was good but inverted flight was a bit of a chore and it was also pulling out of the dive test. So I landed, moved the CG back and went again. This time it was so responsive I had to reduce the elevator throw below the minimum recommended setting (10mm) down to about 8 mm.
From then on I enjoyed myself immensely. Easy aerobatics and great all-round performance in light and patchy lift (5-10 knots variable/shifting). I was VERY impressed with the performance of this plane. It flew every bit as well as I hoped/expected!
I did have one minor model aviation incident. Tried looping a bit too close to the lip and ended up stalling a few feet above the fence that was running along that section of the lip and the wind wacked it into the vegetation behind. (This thing recovers quickly from stalls so this was solely due to pilot error ) The result was a one inch rip in the balsa on the outside back corner of the left elevon. A bit of fiddling with the balsa and some tape and it was almost unnoticeable. Threw it back out and enjoyed some more weasel antics for a while before I had to (very reluctantly) get going.
Can't wait to take it out again and really wring it out, while keeping it at a safe distance in front of the slope, of course
AUW: 340g / 12.1 oz.
Servos: 2 x HS81MG.
Battery: 1 x 700 NiMh (ordered with kit).
Receiver: Schulze Alpha 435 (identical, or very similar to, Berg Micro Stamp).
Covering: Sanded, wiped with acetone, bi-directional fiberglass tape applied to TE/LE/spars, more sanding and wiping with acetone, then coloured packing tape over the top.
Elevon hinges: clear/all-weather/UV-inhibiting tape, upper surface only.
See photos below.
A pair of likely looking Weasels
Close up of receiver hatch
Clear tape hinge using "Bear" all-weather tape. (This is very strong and somewhat thick and non-flexible tape, so I only used it on the upper surface. Seems to work well, with good adhesion. Also has UV inhibitors in it.)
|May 06, 2004, 02:58 PM|
Very nice job on the covering !!! Gives me a goal to shoot towards on my next foamie... Take care and have fun with those Weasels...
|May 06, 2004, 07:49 PM|
Thanks for the compliments guys. The finish is decent for a tape job, but the designs are very simple. I'm happy with them though. I think a no-fuss design suits the character of the plane!
Here's a pic with my g/f's mini (finished other than receiver not yet installed and no tape over servos):
Bottom of the new mini - note the trademark dolphin stickers
Only one more Weasel Pro to build and I'll have completed the flock!
|May 07, 2004, 06:36 AM|
Wow! what a finish, too good for combat. I know moulded EPP helps but they look better than most Weasels I have seen on this forum. What technique did you use to get the tape that smooth?
Agree the fun really begins once everything is set up. I still get concerned with initial performance when I first test a new design but always press on and get it sorted, the rewards are worth the effort.
This much fun can be aging!... Expect to develop a lot of grin-lines .
|May 07, 2004, 10:35 AM|
Thanks Louie, ycc and Tony.
Tony, the process used was:
1) Sand EPP.
2) Dab some acetone on a cloth and wipe over EPP.
3) Apply bidirectional fiberglass tape over LE, TE, and top/bottom spars.
4) Lightly sand fiberglass tape and give it a quick wipe with acetone.
5) Cover wing with coloured packing tape, following Michael Richter's recommended method of using the edge of a credit card to smooth the tape down and prevent bubbles, moving it widthways across the tape rather than lengthways.
6) Fuselage and elevons on both minis were covered with high quality signwriters' vinyl (Avery 800PF, from memory). On my Weasel Pro, I used vinyl for the elevons only.
My preferred method of taping is to first lay a strip of tape down without any tension. With the Weasels, the instructions call for most strips to span the entire width of the wing. I then press down firmly at the mid point of the wing and pull the tape off one side of the wing carefully. Then I roll it back down using a cloth, or my finger if it is clean, applying the minimal tension required to get a smooth and straight application. I then repeat with the other side and then use the credit card idea to maximise adhesion.
The end result is a decent finish (at least for a taped foamie!) without any spray adhesive.
The bidirectional fiberglass tape sticks very well to the bare EPP (much better than the unidirectional stuff that I've used), following the sanding and wipe with acetone. The packing tape sticks very well to the fiberglass tape after it too has been sanded and wiped with acetone. The only downside is that the packing tape doesn't stick as strongly to the bare EPP as it would with 3M77.
However, overall this method is certainly sufficient to provide a nice, tight finish and helps to keep the weight down by avoiding the use of spray adhesive. It works even better for a heavier plane where the entire wing surface is first covered with fiberglass tape and the packing tape goes over that.
Actually, I've got no intention of combating any of my Weasels. They are purely for fun at the smaller local slopes that are closer to home. The main combat slope near me tends to attract heavier and larger planes and and I don't want to tempt fate by chucking my little Weasels up among them. For that purpose I'd rather use something more suitable and less cherished for its performance...such as my Zagi 3C!
|May 08, 2004, 07:17 AM|
Did you use the same procedure for your mini as well? ie. fibreglass tape over LE, TE, spars? You mentioned before that your mini was a bit on the heavy side, just wandering what would you do differently if you were to build another one to keep the weight down.
|May 08, 2004, 08:05 AM|
I used spray adhesive on the mini, with unidirectional fiber tape over TE/LE/spars (as per instructions). I think I overdid it with the spray. If I was repeating the build I would not use the spray, but would use the sanding and wiping with acetone procedure that I used for the Weasel Pro (described above). I would limit my use of fiber tape by using thinner strips of it and not extending it down the fuz past the CG. I would also probably use bidirectional tape as it sticks better than the unidirectional stuff. In addition I might even consider using a Zepron fin and/or shaving down the TE of the elevons.
|May 09, 2004, 12:24 PM|
ya know that Zephron fin is actually pretty strong... i gave it a go wiht my last mini and it held up for a long time... if you had like 3 of them total you should have at least 8 or so months of flying.... it really took a beating.... maybe i'll pick up another one.
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