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Old Jul 19, 2008, 12:58 PM
"Spark Chaser"
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United States, WI, Middleton
Joined Jun 2004
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Maiden flight of Sky-Cat, Sopwith Camel

I got up early today and went to the Badger Prairie field in an attempt to beat the weather (which looks iffy at best today). Badger Prairie aeromodel field is a Dane county park with large grass area for take-off and landing surrounded by a mostly tree-free prairie.

I had three totally new items with me to try out, new Spektrum 6xi radio and two new planes which I had not flown previously.

Winds were 0-5 MPH. Pretty calm, but not totally.

I flew the Green Models / Powerline Sopwith Camel first. I was pleasantly surprised to find it seemed to have plenty of get up and go, even with the tiny little stock brushless motor. When I tested it out static it only pulled 10 Amps, so with a 3C lipo that is only 110 watts input power.

After a bit of trim it flew pretty well, although it may need a bit more weight in the nose. It seemed a tad pitch sensitive, which usually indicates the CG may be a bit aft of where it should be. With my 1700 mAH 3C lipo, it had plenty of juice. I didn't time it, but I flew two roughly 5 minute flights and it didn't seem even close to out of juice.

Flying was very scale-like. Not too slow but not all that fast. The Sopwith would loop happily. Landing was interesting, since with the draggy airframe you needed a fair amount of throttle to keep the plane moving as you bring it in. I did several landings and the large wheels worked quite well on the grass. Ground taxing was pretty good, although I did nose it over once when I taxed a bit fast and hit a lump in the grass. (No damage)

It is a very fun to fly plane and for the price ($170 for ARF, servos, ESC, prop and motor) you really cannot beat the bang for the buck.

Next up was the Sky-Cat. On initial taxi out and take off I was quite impressed with the power and acceleration provided by the motor / prop combo I picked. It really scoots! It seemed to want to descend slightly under power, and I tried trimming this out, but with little success. The motor mount had a lot of down-thrust built in, so that could be the problem. It also seemed a bit pitch sensitive, so I landed it and slide the battery forward. This helped make it much less squirrely on the 2nd flight. I didn't try much in the way of aerobatics, just a couple of loops.

Landings were a non-issue. I basically lined it up and decreased the throttle completely (essentially dead-stick) to get it to come down. The Sky-Cat has a very nice no-power glide ratio. Ground handling was excellent and the big beefy landing gear handling the grass field with no problems whatsoever.

The only disappointments on the Sky-Cat are related to my less than stellar assembly job and some issues with glue and paint sticking to the Elapor foam. So I have some re-work to do; re-glue the rear turtle deck piece, hinging job on the ailerons (must be redone!), install magnets to hold battery hatch rather than velcro (velcro doesn't stay stuck to Elapor), touch up some paint, and re-glue the canopy.

The stock motor mount did hold up - I had assembled it with Gorilla glue and added the additional pieces as per the revised instructions from Multiplex. I inspected it at home post-flight and it still seems solid.

I guess knowing what I do now, I would never have tried to paint the entire plane. Maybe a couple of stripes to aid in orientation, but I would have left most of it bare white foam. Paint just doesn't stick well, and so anything glued to paint (canopy) also doesn't stay attached either.

Lastly the new Spektrum radio - it was a pleasure from start to finish. Very nice feel. At Badger Prairie field there were always a couple of spots in the sky where I would get glitches with my 72Hmhz gear. No glitches at all with the Spektrum. A very nice radio for the price.
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Last edited by jokeane; Jul 26, 2008 at 08:52 PM.
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