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ElectriFly S.E.5A WWI ParkFlyer ARF

Great Planes has made a new scale World War I ARF parkflyer, the S.E.5a. This built-up ARF arrives reasonably priced and designed to be powered with the ElectriFly Rimfire 28-30-950 brushless motor plus a 3-cell Lipoly battery. Return with Mike Heer to the Western Front as he checks out this model of the fastest of allied fighters.

Splash

Introduction

A picture of the S.E.5a from the Great Planes website.
A picture of the S.E.5a from the Great Planes website.
Wingspan:34 inches
Wing Area:420 sq in
Length:25.5 in
Weight:lb
Wing Loading:7.5-8.2 oz/sq ft
Motor:ElectriFly RimFire 28-30-950
ESC:ElectriFly Silver Series SS-25
Battery:ElectriFly 3-cell 1250 LiPo
Servos:4 Hitec HS-55 sub-micro servos
Receiver:Berg 7P
Transmitter:JR 9303
Manufacturer:Great Planes

ARF modelers have had some great variety in modern aircraft, with the choices ever expanding. However, for the WWI enthusiast, the choices of quality wood built-up ARF models have been very slim -- ESPECIALLY in the park flyer size range! Great Planes recently released two additional all wood built-up ARF scale parkflyer planes from World War I. This first release was the British S.E.5a; the newest, the Fokker D VII became available November 10th, 2006. These planes are designed for easy assembly and should be great flyers with the recommended RimFire brushless motors. Stay with me as I review the S.E.5a.

The S.E.5a in World War I (Scout Experimental 5)

The Sopwith Camels were great dog-fighters, but difficult to fly...about as many pilots died in crashes as at the hands of the Germans!

Enter the British S.E.5 -- an easier to fly solution which used the in-line Hispano Suiza 180 horsepower motor. It was easy to fly but experienced pilots felt it was too slow and was inferior to the Albatross fighter it was meeting in the sky. About 200 of the first version were made.

Then SE5A was born... the plane was redesigned to use the 200 HP version of the Hispano Suiza or the Worselet Viper. This higher compression motor with more power was based on the Hispano Suiza motor. This plane was a hit! H.P. Folland designed both the S.E.5 and the S.E.5a using the in-line motor instead of the rotary motor as was used in the Sopwith Camel. The in-line motor help give the plane it's stability and made it easier to fly.

The S.E.5a had a top speed of 138 miles per hour and that tied it with the Spad XIII as the fastest fighter of the First World War. About 5225 of these fighters were made during the war, a number equal to the Sopwith Camel. The S.E.5a was a fast, stable gun platform. But, with its dihedral wings and straight-line motor, it simply couldn't turn with the likes of the Camel or Dr-1. Whenever possible, SE5A pilot's used its speed to get in a kill position and dispatch the enemy before the enemy knew they were there.

Most of the S.E.5a's had two machine guns with a Vickers machine gun on the fuselage on the left and a Lewis machine gun on the top wing. Both guns had a load of 500 bullets each. After that they had to be reloaded. This was a very good fighter plane that simply lacked the post war publicity given to the Dr-1 and the Sopwith Camel.

It's nice to see a scale parkflyer version of this plane. ElectriFly indicates the color scheme they used is even for an SE5A that did NOT have the Lewis machine gun mounted on the upper wing. (For more history and lots of scale photos go to: http://storage.mfa.free.fr/SE5Auk.html and take a look.)

The Kit

The kit was packed beautifully! Nothing is worse than finding a broken part in a kit and that is very unlikely as nicely packed as this. All parts came bagged and securely packed in the box. Many of the small-bagged parts were in the boxes that held the fuselage in place and protected it during shipping.

The wings and tail feathers as well as the fuselage were nicely and lightly constructed and covered. The quality of the finish was excellent. I couldn't have done any better with the covering. I couldn't have done as well as they did on the fuselage! Ok, the covering was a bit shiny for the scale purist, but I liked it. The wheels and the undercarriage look terrific. The front cowling/radiator was very nicely done.

I was very impressed with everything I found as I unpacked the kit. I was tremendously impressed with the quality of the parts in the kit and for such a reasonable price.

Additional Items Needed:

  • ElectriFly Part # GPMM3122 Bullet Adapters to connect motor and escape
  • 4 Futaba or other sub-micro servos, I used Hitec HS-55s
  • Azarr antenna
  • ElectriFly 3.0mm prop adapter
  • ElectriFly Powerflow 10 x 4.5 propeller (Comes in a pack of 2)
  • Soldering Iron and solder
  • Exacto knife with a new blade
  • Cyano-acrylic glue thin (CA)
  • CA accelerator (AKA Kicker)
  • Small flat blade screwdriver
  • Small Phillips screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • MonoKote type covering iron, optional
  • flat black paint and brush, optional
  • small piece of carbon fiber rod or a bamboo skewer to add to landing skid, optional

The Assembly

This ARF arrived nearly completely built. The wings were fully assembled and covered as was the fuselage.

Per the instructions, I was careful NOT to use accelerator on the supplied hinges. The hinges supplied were much smaller than those shown in the instructions but they proved to work fine.

Expert Tip on Cutting Covering without Cutting the Underlying Wood!

The instructions are very detailed on how to center and install the stabilizers and they also include an expert tip. (Use a hot soldering iron to melt/cut the plastic covering where you need to expose wood to make proper glue joints.) This is a great approach that ensures the underlying wood isn't accidentally scarred or cut while trimming back the covering. With a hot iron and a straight edge to guide it, use the soldering iron to melt a line in the covering material. You work as quickly as you can -- speed depends on the heat of the iron. Work too quickly rather than slowly and repeat if necessary. Be sure to only press lightly. If you work too slowly, you melt too much covering. I found it really does work well, but as with a knife, it takes a steady touch and the metal straight edge helps. I used my Exacto knife, going in sideways, to get under the melt opening to the covering material to peel away and expose the wood on the stabilizers.

Be sure to trial fit the rudder to the vertical stabilizer and the tailskid to the fuselage before gluing the vertical stabilizer in place. I didn't and my vertical wasn't down all the way. I found out only after I installed the stabilizer and the rudder. I have a small gap between the landing skid and the bottom of the rudder...but it does give me more clearance. It won't affect the flying characteristics of the plane. With the "tail feathers" installed I added the tailskid and saw the gap for the first time, too late to easily fix it.

Installation of the RimFire Motor and the Berg 7P Receiver

I used the recommended ElectriFly RimFire 28-30-950 brushless motor, the ElectriFly Silver Series 25 SS brushless ESC, the ElectriFly battery and ElectriFly Bullet Adapters, part number GPMM3122. There was no soldering necessary, just plug and play using the adaptors.

The other good news was that the ESC and battery both came wired with matching Dean connectors. No need to solder to connect to the battery. (I liked that!)

An assembled plywood motor mount also came in the kit, including longer motor mounting bolts. I just used the supplied motor mount and hardware from the plane kit to bolt the motor to the mount and the mount with motor to the fuselage.

Azarr Short Antenna & Berg 7P

I selected the Berg 7P for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to test out this new Berg receiver.
  2. Having a 5th channel allows trimming each aileron separately with my transmitter.

Before installing the Berg receiver I measured two inches of antenna away from the receiver and cut the antenna off at that point. I stripped about 1/4 inch of wire and soldered an Azarr antenna to the end of the Berg 7P receiver antenna wire. Per testing by Castle Creation this will cause very little to no loss of range and since the Berg 7P is a full range receiver I should never fly this plane out of range.

I did extensive testing of the Berg receiver in flight. I had performed several range checks on the Berg 7P receiver on the ground and on the third flight I flew the S.E.5a up until it literally was a speck in the sky. While it was only 800-1000 feet high by my best estimate I could barely see it and the weather conditions were perfect. I had no reception problems at all. I only stayed up there for about a minute and came down to about 500 feet after my spotter completely lost sight of the plane.

With the help of a friend, a further test of the Berg receiver was performed at the edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills a bit east of where I live. With my friend on a hilltop I drove down the highway (a straight shot sloping downhill) 3/10's of a mile or about 1500 feet. I could see him on the hilltop. Using our cell phones and with the transmitter antenna fully extended I ran a check on the Berg and I had control of all functions. There were no obstacles between my plane and my transmitter. I drove on another 2/10s of a mile for a 1/2-mile total. I couldn't really see him but using our cell phones the plane still responded to the transmitter and that was with the Azarr antenna. (He held the plane up during the tests.) That completely satisfied my need to test the receiver's (and transmitter's) range before using a Berg 7P in a full house glider. It will never get that far away from me...intentionally.

A four-channel receiver with a Y-connector for the ailerons could easily be used with this plane. A 5+ channel receiver gives computer radio owners the option to trim the aileron servos separately, use differential, etc.

My first evening ended with centering the tail servos. I spent four hours on and off the project the first night. The second night of assembly started by installing the aileron servos into the lower wing.

The wings had a string pre-installed to pull the servo leads. It took a little back and forth pulling to get the wires through all the ribs but it wasn't too time consuming. The servos mount to the servo bay covers per the instructions.

I next started making small melts with the soldering iron and installing the wooden mounts for the struts and the connectors to connect the upper and lower ailerons and the spaces in the fuselage for the cabane struts. The soldering iron tip once again worked perfectly on this process, much easier than using a knife.

Finishing the Assembly

Installing the cabane struts into the fuselage was easy on the front and just a little tricky on the back struts. The front holes were better prepared for the struts and that was the slight difference. The location for the struts came pre-marked with pinholes. There were pinhole guides for every assembly location hidden by the covering. This made the assembly easy.

My real joy was installing the landing gear. It is strong and looked great and the wheels looked very scale. (No research done to confirm if they were true scale.)

While doing this I remembered the foam World War I Slow Fliers that came out in about 2000 and how the balsa kept breaking on the undercarriage with "normal" landings. That shouldn't be a problem with the metal undercarriage on the S.E.5a. In fact thinking back on those $100.00 foam kits I am amazed with all that is included in this kit for just under $90.00! Built up and covered wood wings and fuselage, metal cabane struts and landing gear and with a quality look and feel to it. That is quite a lot for the money!

Back to the landing gear...There is no real flex to the undercarriage so the landings had better be good or there may be damage to the bottom of the fuselage and wing where the gear is mounted. We will watch and see how this holds up in our trial flights.

Mounting the machine gun, exhaust manifold, cowling, prop and adapter wrapped up the 2nd evening.

The third night I programmed my transmitter and used dual rates for elevator, rudder and aileron. I used the throws per the instructions. I balanced the plane at the recommended C/G at 2 1/2 inches behind the leading edge on the top wing. No additional weight was needed to accomplish this, just a slight adjustment of where the battery rested in the battery compartment.

Rates for control throws and Center of Gravity Location:

  • Elevator: 5/8" up and down is High Rate and 3/8" up and down is Low Rate.
  • Rudder: 1/2" to each side is High Rate and 3/8" to each side is Low Rate.
  • Ailerons: 5/8" up and down is High Rate and 3/8" up and down is Low Rate.
  • Center of Gravity: This is 2 1/2" inches behind the leading edge on the upper wing.

The black paint mentioned as an option was used to paint the inside of the cockpit and the edge of it on the outside. All that white wood just didn't look right. I never got around to assembling their included pilot. I thought I would use a pilot from a previous project but he proved to be too small when placed in the cockpit.

Reflections on the S.E.5a after the Assembly process was complete.

The assembly was finished and I found it was very easy and enjoyable. I liked everything that was included in the kit and had no complaints about any of the included parts.

If this weren’t a review I probably would have connected the ailerons to their servos using one wire per aileron and E-Z connectors from Dubro for Park Flyers. Great Planes had me use two wires per aileron on the bottom wing to connect to the servo and the wires were fitted together in shrink tubing and then secured with CA. I found that they did work fine as installed. Since I am using a 7-channel receiver I can individually adjust each servo's trim as needed on my transmitter. If I had used E-Z connectors I could have mechanically adjusted each lower aileron servo's connecting rod. This was a small point and just a matter of taste.

The assembly process was not perfect. There were two minor points and one glaring omission.

I was disappointed this SE5A had no Lewis machine gun to mount on the top wing, even if ElectriFly confirms that the real SE5a modeled did not. As with the Bebe Nieuport, it just doesn't look quite right without that machine gun on top. Besides I don't want to face the Hun's twin Spandaus on the Fokker D VII with only the one Vicker's machine gun on the fuselage. Eventually, I will find or make a Lewis machine gun to finish off my SE5a.

Two minor points: with the plane assembled and resting on a flat surface there was very little clearance space for the rudder behind the tailskid and the skid's covering would quickly wear out on the ground. To correct both of these concerns I glued a small piece of a bamboo Bar-B-Q skewer to the front of the skid and had it extend down about 1/4" below the skid. The covering was now protected and the rudder was a little higher off the ground.

The second point was that the battery box would fit the recommended battery pack and a couple of my other packs, but not some of my fatter packs that have about the same voltage. There was space in the fuselage, so the battery pack mounting board could have been mounted a little higher to allow other packs to fit. Since I am using the recommended pack I had no problem, but it would've been nice to fit a larger range of packs.

Dawn Patrol

It was a crisp cool Indian summer morning in October when I took my new plane up on a test flight. I had no wingman as this was to only be a shake-out flight this morning. Take-off was accomplished after a roll out of about twenty feet at a setting of about 3/4 throttle. Ailerons were trimmed nice and level but some down trim was needed on elevator as it was climbing a little rapidly for the current speed. I flew across the field, approached the tree line and turned to fly parallel with the trees. Suddenly I was jumped by an attacker who rose up behind me out of the trees. I twisted first right and then left and he kept with my every move. I applied full throttle and entered a steep climb and still he stuck with me and if anything was gaining on me. He was on my tail so I dove and started to pull away from him. I leveled off about twenty feet off the deck at full throttle and the superior speed of the S.E.5a allowed me to distance myself from my attacker. That sparrow may have been little but he sure was feisty!

The remainder of that first flight I avoided the sector patrolled by the sparrow. I found that on low rates, the S.E.5a handled very smoothly but was still acrobatic. Going to the more extreme rates it was even more acrobatic but still easily controlled. I had very good climb but not unlimited vertical. Slowed down it looked very authentic in the sky and was a joy to fly, fast or slow. I landed with just a little throttle on and it landed nice and smooth and showed no desire to flip onto its nose on me. I limited my flight to 3-4 minutes and mixed my throttle during the flight. I recharged the battery and had a second flight where I hit full throttle and shot into the air after about four feet of roll. I made a great big loop and made a series of fairly tight axial rolls and a sloppy barrel roll. (That will take a little more practice.) I did a series of half pipe climbs where I cut the throttle and stalled falling back on the plane's tail and kicking over with the rudder and repeated the process going the other way. What fun! After about four minutes or so I landed.

The next day on the third flight, I climbed until she was a speck above me. I stayed at altitude for less than a minute and did rolls, loops and inverted flight for a couple of minutes as I slowly worked my way down. She flies inverted very well with just a little elevator adjustment needed to maintain level flight. My barrel rolls still need work but I will get those down soon as well.

With power on the plane handles beautifully! However it is not much of a glider so plan on landing with power on and don't shut the power off completely until after the plane has touched down. I had six flights with the plane before we had the mysterious problems discussed below. My flights had all been from about 3-5 minutes duration and had been without a hitch, a glitch or even a burp. I found the plane to handle flawlessly fast or slow.

I love the looks and the handling of the S.E.5a. What a Great Plane!

Is this plane for Beginners?

Sorry, this is not a beginners plane. Although there is a slight amount of dihedral, there is not enough for the plane to regain center balance when I went hands off. It pretty much continued where it was last headed. Additionally, there was little or no flex in the landing gear and a beginner needs forgiving landing gear. That said, it handles very well on the reduced settings so anyone who can fly an aileron-equipped plane smoothly and grease their landings should have no trouble flying the S.E.5a.

Gallery

This first group of photos is being shown with the permission of Dawnron1 who took the pictures of PDA4's S.E.5a in the skies over Texas. You can tell it's not mine as the cockpit is still white and the rudder was installed correctly, no gap at the bottom.

My S.E.5a at our club's Fun Fly.

Downloads

Note: See the "Crash Analysis" below for information on the crash shown on this video.

Downloads

Conclusions

The finished plane looks great! The assembly was fun and easy. Their aileron linkage proved to work fine and I didn't need to individually trim my aileron servos although using the Berg 7P receiver I easily could have. The plane and the new receiver both worked very well for my six test flights and the range tested out as excellent. All landings that I made were nice and smooth and the undercarriage and fuselage continued to look like new. Despite Jeff's crashes, the undercarriage, wheels and where the undercarriage attached to the fuselage still look like new so they have held up well.

The motor, electric speed controller and battery pack all worked well together for my six initial flights. The video above shows that the motor supplies plenty of power and I was delighted with the performance of the recommended package. They work very well together!

I have to admit that I want the second machine gun, accurate or no. Unfortunately, the Williams Brothers don't make the Lewis machine gun in the correct scale.

With only a 34-inch wingspan I can transport the S.E.5a to and from the field easily in my Prius, fully assembled and ready to fly. Nice looks and nice handling from simple Sunday flying, World War I acrobatics or more extreme acrobatics and speed, all at an affordable price. I will enjoy flying my S.E.5a while I look forward to the Fokker D VII. My pilot is always watching for that Hun in the sun.

Crash and Post-Crash analysis

I got my good friend Jeff Hunter to make two flights with the S.E.5a at our club's Fun Fly so that I could videotape the plane in the air. There were five to eight other planes in the air at the time of these two flights. Both flights ended after four-five minutes of flying with an unexplained loss of power to the plane at the end of the first flight. On that occasion Jeff said the motor stopped so he shut down the throttle and the plane made a minor crash landing just off field as you saw on the first video above. There was no damage to the plane at that time.

On Jeff's second flight the plane had been performing flawlessly and Jeff had done a number of wild manuevers to show what the plane can do. He was on final approach and about 40 feet up when the plane went into about an 85-degree dive and crash. This time there was damage that would need repair. The battery still had lots of usable energy post flight both times and was "bench" tested after the second event on another plane (on the ground) and worked for three more minutes with a similar size ESC and motor with no problems.

Why did the motor stop working when it did?

I had six flights before our Fun Fly without a hint of trouble. There were two principle changes on the day of the Fun Fly compared to the first six flights: These flights were slightly longer and there were a lot of people present operating transmitters and planes. In the first situation Jeff said he lost power and turned the power to the motor off. He kept radio control and landed off field until slowly hitting a ground based object. In the second case the plane had power and was approaching the runway when it suddenly dove for the ground from about forty feet.

Two very different problems to a plane that otherwise was flying perfectly that day and six flights previously. Very confusing to me to say the least. While still at the field I removed the broken prop from the S.E.5a and installed a fully charged back-up battery. I was the only pilot on channel 48 so I kept the pin and left the transmitter on. I tested it off and on for the rest of the afternoon and I had no radio problems at all. That and the battery test mentioned above were the only field-tests that I conducted.

The first thing I tested at home was the battery pack used in all eight flights of the plane. At the end of both flights at the Fun Fly it had been hooked up to a volt meter and the meter indicated the pack still had plenty of power. After the second crash and back at my home the battery pack was recharged outside. Then it was hooked up to another plane with a similar size motor and on the ground in bench testing it operated that plane's motor and controls for eight minutes before I stopped the test. Since it had enough juice after the second flight to operate a similar size motor with servos for three minutes and now for eight minutes at my home the battery did not appear to be the problem. I again charged the pack and tested it. It was working perfectly.

Surprisingly, despite crashing on the prop adaptor the motor didn't appear damaged and on testing it it didn't sound damaged. After the repairs to the motor compartment (see below) I hooked it up to a different electric speed controller and used a well tested Berg 4L receiver and ran it twice for 8 minutes on the bench with the normal prop in place with servos working and varying the speed as I would in an actual flight. No hesitation or problems with the motor and it wasn't that hot at the end of the tests.

Next I examined the Silver Series ESC. After the off-field landing I suspected that the cut-off might have been set too high or defective and that it had been at fault. However, the second flight that day was more than a minute longer and both flights started with the same battery pack fully charged, fresh off the charger. With the motor and battery checked out I reconnected the Silver Series Esc to the motor in the S.E.5a and performed two more bench tests with it. One with a different battery and one with the battery used previously in the plane and still using the Berg 4L that was not in the plane. Again it worked as it should. I stopped both tests after eight minutes because neither of the flights in question had lasted six minutes.

I connected the original Berg 7P back with the other original components and tested everything again for eight minutes of operation and no problems on the bench. I next checked the programming on the Berg, which was to have the controls go to neutral if signal was lost and motor to shut off. Turning off the transmitter the motor shut down and the servos stayed or returned to neutral. Since in the last accident the plane was in level flight if signal was lost it should have continued in level flight, certainly not gone into an 85-degree dive to the ground.

Per the above testing I could find nothing wrong with any of the electronics. They were reinstalled completely into the plane after the repairs to the plane discussed below were completed and the entire plane was tested one final time with all four servos hooked into the original Berg 7P receiver. Again I could find no problem. Why did the motor stop working when it did? It remains a mystery. Why did the plane suddenly dive? I don't know.

How I repaired the damaged S.E.5a

I obviously didn't plan this section from the start but, well, here we are. Since I had a crash I will use it as an opportunity to show how to do a repair. When I started in this hobby in the 70s if you wanted to fly you had to learn to build or have a buddy who liked to build. One advantage to that is by building you also learned how to repair most minor pieces of crash damage. One of the keys is to be sure you have all the parts and don't break it further as you start the repairs.

In this case I elected to repair the bottom wing first as it had the most damage. I choose to try and leave the wing attached to the fuselage and rested the plane upside down on the top wing. I carefully cut open the already broken covering on the bottom crème colored covering to expose the wood and examine how bad the damage actually was. There were a number of breaks and it was clear the wing was broken in half. That said, it really wasn't too bad. I unscrewed the spars and the bolt and removed the top wing from the bottom wing and the bottom wing from the fuselage. I remembered to unplug the aileron servos from the receiver. I continued to remove covering to completely open up the damaged areas and to make for clean and sensible places for later re-covering of the bottom wing. I then carefully started pushing the bottom wing parts back into their original places. Once they were positioned in the proper locations I made sure they were fitting nice and tight and one by one I started gluing the wood back in place with thin CA. This wing was easily repaired. I did use micro-balloons to fill some small gaps and firm everything up. Once the micro-balloons were in place a drop of Ca locked everything together.

HINT: The damage to the S.E.5a wings was not very bad. If there had been big gaps then new parts could have been fashioned out of balsa wood from the hobby store. The small gaps were solidly repaired using the micro-balloons and CA. The repairs became as solid as a rock and very strong support. You don't need to use very much to fill the gaps.

The top wing was even easier to repair. It just required repositioning two parts and using CA and then some micro-balloons and CA and it was as good as new with very little weight added.

With the wooden portion of the wings repaired it was time to put on some new covering. I had some olive colored covering but no crème colored covering. So I had a decision to make. Repair with what I have or wait and buy some matching covering? No brainer, I used what I had as I wanted this back to being airworthy. I could always recover later if it bothered me very much to look at it in flight.

With the wing off I removed the broken grill and examined the front of the fuselage and the interior of the fuselage at the battery box and the wing saddle. Unfortunately, there was damage to the firewall in several places. I repaired that damage with Ca and in one spot used some micro-balloons and CA. I double-checked the motor and motor mount and did some strengthening there with CA and micro-balloons. I put the parts of the grill together and glued with CA but I will order a replacement part from Tower Hobby to make that area as good as new. (They also sell spare wings and tail feathers but if too many parts get broken it is like a car and the parts cost more than the whole plane so choose wisely if you have significant damage.).

Although everything was repaired and ready to put back together I kept things apart while I completed my post crash analysis. I did cover the damaged area of the wings using an Olive on the top portion of the bottom wing and silver on the bottom of both the top and bottom wings. When that was completed I reassembled the pieces and my plane was once again complete. As discussed above all of the components used at the time of the crash were used again (except there was a new prop) and one final bench test run of eight minutes was performed on the patio at my house and it all checked out fine.

On October 29th, one week after the crash, I flew the repaired SE5a. It was the only plane in the air, and the plane flew fine. I had no glitches and the range was still excellent. I can find no fault with the electric gear. I'll chalk it up to gremlins for now but I will continue to monitor the plane as I fly it and if I discover any problems I will post on it in the future at the end of this article.

It remains a great kit, well built, easy to assembly that flies great. Great Planes, ElectriFly has a winner with this one. Remember the battery compartment easily fits the recommended battery pack but the space is limited as discussed above.

Handling Lipoly packs after a crash

Ruptured Lipoly packs can erupt into flame and burn at 1200 degrees or more, according to reports I have read. After the crash of my S.E.5a I examined the battery and saw a possible fold or tear and a slightly bent front of the battery as seen in the picture below. I had heard that it could take up to a half hour after a crash for a damaged battery pack to burst into flame. My post crash tests at the field and at home were done with the battery out of the plane and were done outside, not in my house. When charging I always use a ceramic bunker for the pack in case there is a problem. (This is for all packs at all times.) Further inspection has shown the pack was not damaged and working fine but always monitor your packs carefully, especially after a crash. Post crash monitor the pack for at least a half hour before putting it in your car to go home. I was at the field several hours post crash and the pack still rode home in one of my ceramic bunkers, just in case. A more portable Lipoly bag is sold by a fellow Ezoner and is now available to use with your lipoly battery packs. I consider such precaution to be mandatory.

On Friday, November 10th, I flew with two friends before work. We had a total of nine transmitters on and did field tests first moving the plane away from the controlling transmitter and near to the others almost two hundred feet away. No glitches were experienced by the receiver. The plane flew fine.

Last edited by AMCross; Nov 19, 2006 at 07:45 PM..

Discussion

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Old Nov 23, 2006, 07:11 AM
I fly for Beer
Jagzilla's Avatar
Chilliwack, B.C. Canada
Joined Sep 2004
2,730 Posts
Excellent writeup on the SE5a, Michael. I really enjoyed watching the video, I was surprised by how aerobatic the plane is!

I am strongly comtemplating buying either this one, or the new Fokker, but am torn between the two. I like the looks of the Fokker better, but I would prefer to go with whichever one is the better "all around" flyer. I fly of a grass field, so if one of the two is better suited for that, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Again, great writeup!
Jag
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 08:57 AM
Electricholics Anonymous
claybuster's Avatar
WARREN, MICHIGAN
Joined Jul 2005
1,959 Posts
Mike,
I second what Jag said. Great writeup! I think this is a great parkflyer but like you i thought it lacked a few scale details. The lewis machine gun is what I think is the major thing. I plan on making one and having it attached to the upper wing with some strong magnets in case of a nose over,this way it will be able to break loose instead of just breaking. Keep me posted as to what you are going to do about making a machine gun. I also made a windscreen,new vickers machine gun and sight tube.I am working on some scale like cylinder covers and exhaust pipes. I am also trying to make a shock absorbing system for the landing gear. Here are a couple pics of some things I have done so far.
Mike
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Thanks for the kind words guys! I like what you are doing with your details. All I need is time and talent to do mine. I like the magnet idea for the Lewis machine gun. I will review the Fokker and while we aren't normally supposed to do comparisons in reviews I think the video will tell you what you need to know. Mike
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Joined May 2002
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Mike - great job as usual! Great news on the Lewis gun - I have a guy that is going to cut some! Doug my friend is working on the prototype right now so we should have it soon!

Sorry about the mishap!

And I finally have a pilot in mine!!!!

Mike
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 05:59 PM
Electricholics Anonymous
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WARREN, MICHIGAN
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Too many Mike's around here lol.
Mike
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 07:55 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
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Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
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Mike, great review and a nice video! I'm glad you were able to use my pictures

Mike, the details on your SE-5 look really nice!

Mike, that's great news on the Lewis gun, hope to see you, Doug and Sparky on Saturday again at Pearson

Ronnie
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 08:29 PM
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Thanks Ronnie - ever think about changing your name to Mike - it sure would make it a lot easier!

Mike
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 09:11 PM
Hold my beer and watch this!
Jeremy Z's Avatar
Northern IL
Joined Oct 2005
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Great pictures Michael. I just skimmed it; didn't read much of the review yet. But the pictures are stunning. Nice work to the photographer.
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 09:36 PM
Ron
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nice looking model....Jag....let me know which you decide to get...I'll get the other, we can compare at the field.....I should have never let you get me hooked on these small models..........I have a 2208/34...I wonder if that's enough power?? prop size looks same as what GP says to use on the Rimfire for this model..... it's all your fault...At least that's what I told the wife.....I got hooked when I sold the house next door to you.
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 09:44 PM
I fly for Beer
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Chilliwack, B.C. Canada
Joined Sep 2004
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Sorry Ron, what can I say?
J
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Old Nov 24, 2006, 12:04 AM
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Elyria, Ohio
Joined Sep 2004
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Mike,

Good review , liked the repair part also . Maybe that pesky little sparrow has a transmitter on Ch. 48 ?

Mike 1484
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Old Nov 25, 2006, 09:25 PM
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virginia
Joined Feb 2004
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I maidened mine today & it flew great. Its easy to fly & lands at a very slow pace. Mine flew very well inverted with just a touch of down evevator, Its a keeper for sure. The Fokker is the next on on the list. Great Planes please do other WWI planes. An Albatross, DH2, Camel, Spad13 or Neiuport would be a nice addition to this series & you will sell a bunch of them. Looks like the Fokker & SE5A have already been a good seller.
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 05:26 PM
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Joined Nov 2006
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Mike,

Good review but I have to add a couple of corrections to your assessment of the SE5a Geneology..so I hope you don't mind.

"the Worselet Viper." What? The Wolesley Viper surely.

and

" a Lewis machine gun on the top wing. Both guns had a load of 500 bullets each." Not a chance old boy ....the Lewis was a drum fed magazine that emptied rather quickly and went 'over the side' after about 48 rounds or so.

I did modify my tailskid to be steerable as was the pukka SE5a. The as supplied version in the kit is a joke. Also have modified the Vickers a bit and have a Lewis about to be mounted. The markings as supplied are inaccurate on the kit anyway so I shouldn't worry about that detail too much.
It is heretical to paint an SE5a Cockpit black.

Your prang sounds like it was radio interference induced.
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 05:47 PM
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ExRAFbod,
How about a couple pictures of the steerable skid and the Lewis machine gun you will put on your S.E.-5a.
Mike
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