HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale
Reply
Thread Tools
Old Jun 19, 2004, 10:15 PM
BOP spotter
Omaha, NE
Joined Jun 2003
158 Posts
Laser Arts Sovereign build

Hi, folks, I'm about to begin building a Laser Arts Sovereign two meter, and hope to share the progress here. I haven't posted often in the past, but RC Groups > Sailplanes > Thermal has been a daily read ever since joining.

Background - I've built many models, and mostly from scratch, BUT that was all years ago. In the last ten years I've only built three wood kits, so while the experience may be there, the practice is not. I'm looking forward to the Sovereign because many people have commented on how easy the laser cut kits go together. My last build took me four years to complete, due to job, family, the usual suspects. I'm hoping to get this bird in the air in four to six weeks - we'll see how I do.

A few minor details have to be attended to first - getting a building area set up again, getting a camera to post pics (got one on the way) and a 25th wedding anniversary celebration coming up next weekend. After that, it'll be full speed ahead, hopefully!
bfretless is online now Find More Posts by bfretless
Reply With Quote
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Old Jun 19, 2004, 10:45 PM
BOP spotter
Omaha, NE
Joined Jun 2003
158 Posts
My loving family ordered this kit for me as a birthday present. (Evidently enough subtle hints had been dropped!) Previous to that, Brian Eberwein of Laser Arts and I had exchanged a few e-mails about the Sovereign. Brian has been responsive and helpful with all my questions, and I don't think there will be any problem with support should I need it during the build.

The order was shipped within 24 hours of being received at Laser Arts, and it only took a day or two to get from Colorado to eastern Nebrasksa - of course, it's downhill all the way.

I'm going to try insert a few pictures of the kit as it arrived. Haven't done pics here on RC Groups before, so we'll see how it goes...

The kit came in a US Postal Service triangular long box. When I opened it I was a little surprised to find there was no "kit box" inside. The bundles of wood, plans, and instructions were simply loaded into the USPS box with some styro peanuts. But hey, nothing was damaged in shipping, so I guess it works just fine.

[Question - How do you insert an image between paragraphs?]
bfretless is online now Find More Posts by bfretless
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 19, 2004, 11:08 PM
BOP spotter
Omaha, NE
Joined Jun 2003
158 Posts
By the way, those last pics were taken with my camera phone. You can see why I have a better camera on the way!

I've read through the instructions for the Sovereign once, and will read them through again. They seem well done and complete, but of course you never know what's missing until you get to that step.

The plans.... Oohh, the PLANS!! I have never had plans this nice with any other kit I've built! Full-size, detailed, on one rolled s_e_v_e_n_-_f_o_o_t_-_w_i_d_e sheet. Simply beautiful. Wish I could just lay them out full-spread on my building table, but my table is only going to be four feet wide at the most.

The only modification I intend to make on this plane is to add flaps. The fields I fly at are small enough that some flight path control is mandatory for anything larger than an HLG, and I want to experiment with a little camber changing. The S3021 airfoil isn't specifically designed for camber changing as far as I know, but it will be interesting to try, and in any case I'll be using them mostly as a landing aid.
bfretless is online now Find More Posts by bfretless
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 19, 2004, 11:13 PM
Registered User
Cambridge, MA USA
Joined May 2001
1,742 Posts
The Sovereign is a great kit, but it could definitely use more control punch and more yaw damping. Simply increasing the tail size will fix this.

I would add a 2" or 2.5" extension to each tail tip, and increase the elevator chord by 0.5" or so. Making the tail hinges go all the way to the tips will also help.
markdrela is offline Find More Posts by markdrela
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 19, 2004, 11:18 PM
Registered User
Cambridge, MA USA
Joined May 2001
1,742 Posts
Quote:
The only modification I intend to make on this plane is to add flaps.
Yet another reason to enlarge the tails and especially the elevators. A center landing flap requires considerable down-elevator compensation, which I think will consume much of the down-elevator power of the existing tail.
markdrela is offline Find More Posts by markdrela
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 20, 2004, 04:50 PM
BOP spotter
Omaha, NE
Joined Jun 2003
158 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by markdrela
The Sovereign is a great kit, but it could definitely use more control punch and more yaw damping. Simply increasing the tail size will fix this. I would add a 2" or 2.5" extension to each tail tip, and increase the elevator chord by 0.5" or so. Making the tail hinges go all the way to the tips will also help.
Thanks for the tip, Mark. In fact, using Google I had already found a post from you on this subject dating back to May of 2001. You were replying to Jack Rowland's request for Sovereign building hints on rec.models.rc.soaring.

One of the questions I wanted to put to the group was whether to build it stock to provide a more generic review of the kit as it is, or go ahead and improve on the original. I'm tending to think, "if Drela says do it, then do it." Comments, anyone?
bfretless is online now Find More Posts by bfretless
Last edited by bfretless; Jun 20, 2004 at 05:11 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2004, 11:38 AM
[intentionally blank]
fprintf's Avatar
Cheshire, CT, USA
Joined Jan 2001
1,528 Posts
Make the changes as recommended by Mark unless you are competing in a one-design class. They are easy to make and will probably require only a few extra pieces of balsa to complete.

I did this same research maybe two years now and while I didn't end up getting the kit, the changes seem to make sense. I believe there have been a few of these planes flying at the CRRC field where Mark is a member. Just don't make the same mistake as I did and ask the designer why he didn't change the kit based on recommendations available on the web... I got a firmly worded response about the flying capabilities of this plane being just fine without the changes. I have since learned that designers are generally protective of their designs as I have heard of similar things happening on three occasions with three different vendors of built-up planes.
fprintf is offline Find More Posts by fprintf
Last edited by fprintf; Jun 21, 2004 at 11:48 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2004, 12:16 PM
BOP spotter
Omaha, NE
Joined Jun 2003
158 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by fprintf
Just don't make the same mistake as I did and ask the designer why he didn't change the kit based on recommendations available on the web... I got a firmly worded response about the flying capabilities of this plane being just fine without the changes.
Since in this case the designer and kitter are not the same person, maybe some changes could be made.

Thanks for the input, Stuart, it's in line with the way I'm leaning at this point. Have enjoyed reading your adventures with the Marauder (got a name for her yet?)
bfretless is online now Find More Posts by bfretless
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2004, 01:21 PM
[intentionally blank]
fprintf's Avatar
Cheshire, CT, USA
Joined Jan 2001
1,528 Posts
Hehe, no name for her yet!

p.s. the firmly worded response was on a Sovereign inquiry many moons ago...
fprintf is offline Find More Posts by fprintf
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 21, 2004, 03:24 PM
BOP spotter
Omaha, NE
Joined Jun 2003
158 Posts
fprintf, I don't know when your 'firmly worded' exchange took place, but Laser Arts changed hands a little while back and is no longer owned by Dave Meyers, the Sovereign designer. Brian Eberwein heads it up now, and posts here occasionally. So there might still be hope for a kit change!

A big factor with the Sovereign is that it's a one-design contest plane. Changing it now would probably be problematic since there's a contest created for the type. But maybe the kit could be offered with the enlarged tail, and an outline provided on the plans of the original size layout. Then those who want to build to the original spec to qualify for comps could do so, and others could profit from the improvement. A "Sovereign 2", if you will.
bfretless is online now Find More Posts by bfretless
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 2004, 09:46 AM
BYOP - Build Your Own Planes
Mountain Models's Avatar
United States, WI, Appleton
Joined Mar 2001
1,723 Posts
Sovereign 2

Hello all, this is Brian Eberwein, "New" owner of Laser Arts.

I will indeed incorporate the "Drella Mods" on both the Sovereign and the Majestic in the future. The sovereign will still be offered as it is because so many people currently use it in their "1 Design" contests.

No, you won't see any "strongly worded" emails from me at all, especially in the area of design. I believe that people need to listen to feedback from other designers as well as users. Dave is a prety good designer, but he was a little ... how can I say politely ... stuck on HIS design. He is a lot more open minded these days though!

I have a list of the "Drella mods" for the Majestic and am currently building one stock and one "mods" to compare the difference in performance, as there may be even further modifications to it after that. A big factor in "other mods" for the Majestic is that my boom supplier is starting to dry up. Still getting enough for orders, but thay warn me it's going to dry up some time. So, it's finding a new supplier for booms (possibly carbon) or go to a fiberglass fuselage. Not sure at this time which way I'll go.

If anyone else has questions/suggestions/experiences they'd like to share, please email me!

Brian
Mountain Models is offline Find More Posts by Mountain Models
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 2004, 02:02 PM
Registered User
Cambridge, MA USA
Joined May 2001
1,742 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eberwein
So, it's finding a new supplier for booms (possibly carbon) or go to a fiberglass fuselage. Not sure at this time which way I'll go.
Look at the Bubble Dancer boom from www.tailboom.com
It's shorter than the Majestic glass boom, but you can move the front of the boom back by one fuse former station with no problem.

I suggest also replacing the stranded cable pushrods. These are heavy for their stiffness. Replace either with 0.060" or 0.070" CF rods, or 0.029" or 0.035" hard stainless wire. The latter is available from www.smallparts.com as a loose coil, at just pennies per foot.

If using the CF boom, consider putting the pushrods on the outside of the boom. This avoids the exit hole which severely weakens the boom at a critical point just ahead of the tail. The external pushrods also have much less slop than internal pushrods which flop around on the inside of the boom. The bondable teflon housings from www.tailboom.com make external mounting fast and easy, and they are translucent and almost invisible against the carbon.


BTW, a while back Dave was musing about putting out a "Majestic Pro" version with the carbon BD boom. Never happened, obviously, but it's worth reconsidering.
markdrela is offline Find More Posts by markdrela
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 2004, 03:47 PM
Registered User
Upland, CA
Joined Mar 2004
540 Posts
I had considered a Majestic a year or two back, but was put off by the amount of mods that people recommended. If you go with Dr. Drela's recommendations for the kit and manage to keep the price in the ballpark of where it currently is, you'd have a *very* attractive kit on your hands.
briandlg is offline Find More Posts by briandlg
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 2004, 04:48 PM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar
Seattle
Joined Sep 2001
770 Posts
Sign me up too....

Chris in Seattle
Rain City Flyer is offline Find More Posts by Rain City Flyer
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 2004, 05:01 PM
Registered User
chlee's Avatar
Atlanta, GA
Joined May 2000
602 Posts
This is all very exciting.
Chung
chlee is offline Find More Posts by chlee
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Build Log Laser Arts Majestic Build - with mods chuckand Thermal 56 Sep 19, 2007 01:18 PM
Laser Arts Majestic Build trident58 Sailplane Talk 108 Dec 10, 2006 08:21 PM
Build Log Laser Arts Sovereign, Build with some minor mods chuckand Thermal 72 Nov 28, 2006 08:50 AM
FS Laser Arts Sovereign rcbrust Aircraft - Sailplanes (FS/W) 2 Aug 25, 2003 01:21 PM
Electrifying the Laser Arts Sovereign Allan Wright Electric Sailplanes 0 Jan 07, 2003 01:18 PM