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Old Jul 21, 2012, 08:25 PM
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Ran a bench test: WOT on a fresh charge the amps hit 119, then went down to 116. Average wattage was 1500, volts were around 14...I didn't want to keep it WOT without air going through her for too long, the test was about 20-30 seconds or so.

Don, whatever you did, these motors sound much more balanced. I feel the power setup is ready to roll.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 10:27 AM
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The jet exhaust was a very pale blue with almost white shock "diamonds"
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Aros View Post
Ran a bench test: WOT on a fresh charge the amps hit 119, then went down to 116. Average wattage was 1500, volts were around 14...I didn't want to keep it WOT without air going through her for too long, the test was about 20-30 seconds or so.

Don, whatever you did, these motors sound much more balanced. I feel the power setup is ready to roll.
Aros,

After seeing your numbers, I bench tested mine... slightly different numbers... but I'm running the stock 6-bladed fans out of the MaxJet kit (now on the LX bird). The wattmeter that I have only shows peak and current values, and it cycles through the different numbers, so it was hard to get an "average"... but I had a peak amperage of just over 104 and just over 1600 Watts. I'm sure the settled values were a bit lower.

Anyways... I decided to take her out for her maiden voyage this morning... I was out in the desert at 6am... but the winds were a bit too gusty for a first flight. Sadly, I had to pack it back in the truck and bring her home. Then, after getting home, it looked as though the winds had died down a bit, so I jumped in the truck and raced back out to the desert -- very light winds now, and about 95 degrees outside.

Plugged in the battery, set her on the runway and started laying on the power. She screamed down the runway like a scalded eagle... lifted off with a buttery smoothness, and started her climb for the heavens! Halfway to the heavens, we took an intermediate level-off and trimmed her out... 3-4 clicks of nose-up trim and 1-2 clicks of roll (can't remember which direction... I was too excited).

Talked to the tower and told them that the plan had changed and that we'd be staying in the pattern. Flying downwind at half-throttle, and she was still scooting along... then base to initial, and we laid on the gas... I couldn't believe how smooth she was cruising around... it seemed effortless, and the sound of Don's twin Wicked Plus 4000's was music to my ears. Still getting a feel for the girl, we flew a few more laps around the pattern.

I had the elevons on low rates with about 30% of the available roll. She definitely wasn't "twitchy" as I was fearful of her being... and started to see if we could do an aileron roll on downwind. With a full right roll input, she got to about 90 degrees of bank (very slowly) when I aborted that maneuver and leveled her back out.

The tanker had canceled, and the Bingo light was on, so it was time to start bringing her in for the landing. The tower was now reporting a slight crosswind, but not knowing if I had the gas for low approach, I felt committed to the landing. Fearful of getting too slow and seeing her pitch up in the flare, I kept the speed up (wasn't hard to do... she doesn't slow down very easily) and brought her in with about 1/4 throttle for a nice smooth touchdown.

There was one maintenance write-up from the sortie... and that was to have the nosegear re-installed. Unfortunately, the reduced roll rate - coupled with the slight crosswind, resulted in a landing just off of the paved surface. The nosegear strut simply pulled out of the retract assembly... but the damage was otherwise cosmetic... just a couple little scratches in the paint... nothing a 5-minute touch-up won't fix!

I had the CG right at the recommended 78mm behind the lip of the engine inlet. With this being such a long fuselage (and therefore long moment arms), the CG is very sensitive to battery placement (in my opinion). I had her on the balancer last night for about 30 mins just trying to sort things out. A small movement of the battery (like an 1/8th of an inch forward or backwards) would cause her to start moving... so when I had it just right, I got a Sharpie and drew a line on the battery so I knew exactly where to put it this morning.

I'm very happy with how she flew today... the power setup was perfect! (Thanks again Don!!! ). I'm not sure if the whale-tail mod was necessary or not... but it gave me comfort knowing that I had the elevator authority if I needed it. I'm not sure if I ever touched the rudders after she got airborne... heck... it took me two laps around the pattern before I remembered to raise the gear! Stacker... the paint scheme was awesome... thanks for sharing that video! Next flight, if I get the nerve, I might even flip it over to high rates... but in the meantime, I dialed up the low rate roll to 50%.

Thanks again to everyone who has shared their lessons-learned with this temptress! My face is already getting sore from smiling so much this morning!!!

(Sorry... no video...)

Cheers,
Sully
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Fantastic write-up Sully! Congratulations on the successful maiden! Pattern flying is pretty much all I do with her as I've been bitten by the Habu too many times to do much else. But even simple pattern flying with her is anything but boring! As for the bench test, the wattage was around 1600 for the first 10 seconds or so than dipped down to around 1500+, so I just said the average was 1500 but I'm not really sure how to mark true averages...I'm new to the wattmeter thing so I was trying to memorize the inputs in real time while she was screaming at me at WOT....Is there a way to get the true averages, or somehow get a data read from the wattmeter instead of trying to figure it out as all the values continue to change in real time?

Again, congratulations! Here's to many, many more successful sorties!
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 03:14 PM
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Brooding skies but calm conditions. I'm debating whether I should go for the maiden or not. I'm waiting on Callie's decals for her but I'm not sure whether it's good luck or bad luck to maiden before I put them on.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Aros View Post
Brooding skies but calm conditions. I'm debating whether I should go for the maiden or not. I'm waiting on Callie's decals for her but I'm not sure whether it's good luck or bad luck to maiden before I put them on.
I put mine up with no decals today... glad I did... now I can tweak the aileron settings in my radio and fix the cosmetic damage so the next time I put her up in the air, she'll look good and fly good.

I also couldn't stand the thought of having to wait another entire week to get the maiden out of the way... but I don't want to pressure you... if it ain't right, just wait.

If you do go out... best of luck! Hope to see a full report this afternoon...

Cheers,
Sully
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 03:39 PM
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Thanks Sully...Well, Mother Nature is telling me today isn't the day. It's raining.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 03:55 PM
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...What's this? A break in the rain?

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Old Jul 22, 2012, 05:32 PM
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Okay, another maiden tale today!

I noticed a break in the rain so the next thing I know I'm packing Habu #9 up with my Freewing F/A-18E Hornet for a potential maiden at the local school. I arrived at the school and nobody was there. Perfect! I had the whole soccer field to myself. After taking a few snapshots of both of them together (always need photograph evidence to prove they were once in one piece!) I decided I wasn't getting any younger so I plugged the battery in to the Habu and heard the ESC tell me I was ready for business and that's when I started shaking.

I checked the CG (a bit nose heavy but not unusually so) and re-examined the elevon neutral position (Hmm, should I give it a few more clicks of up?). I gripped her in the "Bowling Ball" formation (two cutouts for my middle finger and thumb, one cutout behind both a few inches, center for my index finger), shaking like a leaf, I went into afterburner mode (WOT) and started running and gave her a good toss.

As she headed for the ground it was instantly obvious that the CG was too nose heavy and "HOLY CRAP I NEED TO APPLY FULL UP TO SAVE HER!!" Within three seconds from her leaving my fingers she slapped down back to earth at full WOT and slid about 10 feet. OH NO! Of course, my first thought was "Down goes yet another airframe!!" then I determined as I got closer that my full up elevator response right at the last second saved her from a certain familiar foam confetti party.

Not a single broken piece of foam. She was intact!

I quickly checked all the control surfaces and used my adrenaline to commit to the re-launch. I gave her about 5 clicks of up, and without thinking (too much thinking and I'll either chicken out or do something really stupid) I grabbed the holes and hit the throttle wide open and chucked her with a little more nose high than before and off she went into the brooding skies!

I immediately assumed "Habu Flight Position" (death grip on the radio, a slight hunch to my back, legs slightly buckled...Looks like I am in need of a serious dump) and kept her in the safe pattern. Throttle was about 80% at first and once I trimmer her out (a click or two of down, a few clicks of right) I gave into what she craves and kicked the juice beyond full military power and into afterburner mode. Oh how my heart dances, hearing Don's motors sing! She flew fantastic! No wind certainly helped but she felt completely stable the entire flight.

About 3 minutes in I set up for the downwind, base and final. I reduced power to about 30%, kept that nose down, maintained a perfect glide slope and she touched down to earth as gently as a little trainer.

I shook my fist into the air triumphantly, laughing like a school girl and pondered on how much of a dork I really am.

No RC airplane has ever made me feel the way I feel flying the Habu. I was shaking like an alcoholic badly in need of a drink (actually I could use a drink) several minutes after.

I drove home and proudly told my wife about my successful mission. She looked at me with that dead stare as if to say "My God, you really are a big dork."

Clearly she doesn't understand me.

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Old Jul 22, 2012, 05:35 PM
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So, no "kink" in the wing on this one, Aros?
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 05:38 PM
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No, I actually forgot to do it and the flight proved to me that I don't think it's needed. Without wind, she was as stable as I could ever ask for.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 11:31 PM
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Okay, another maiden tale today!

I noticed a break in the rain so the next thing I know I'm packing Habu #9 up with my Freewing F/A-18E Hornet for a potential maiden at the local school. I arrived at the school and nobody was there. Perfect! I had the whole soccer field to myself. After taking a few snapshots of both of them together (always need photograph evidence to prove they were once in one piece!) I decided I wasn't getting any younger so I plugged the battery in to the Habu and heard the ESC tell me I was ready for business and that's when I started shaking.

I checked the CG (a bit nose heavy but not unusually so) and re-examined the elevon neutral position (Hmm, should I give it a few more clicks of up?). I gripped her in the "Bowling Ball" formation (two cutouts for my middle finger and thumb, one cutout behind both a few inches, center for my index finger), shaking like a leaf, I went into afterburner mode (WOT) and started running and gave her a good toss.

As she headed for the ground it was instantly obvious that the CG was too nose heavy and "HOLY CRAP I NEED TO APPLY FULL UP TO SAVE HER!!" Within three seconds from her leaving my fingers she slapped down back to earth at full WOT and slid about 10 feet. OH NO! Of course, my first thought was "Down goes yet another airframe!!" then I determined as I got closer that my full up elevator response right at the last second saved her from a certain familiar foam confetti party.

Not a single broken piece of foam. She was intact!

I quickly checked all the control surfaces and used my adrenaline to commit to the re-launch. I gave her about 5 clicks of up, and without thinking (too much thinking and I'll either chicken out or do something really stupid) I grabbed the holes and hit the throttle wide open and chucked her with a little more nose high than before and off she went into the brooding skies!

I immediately assumed "Habu Flight Position" (death grip on the radio, a slight hunch to my back, legs slightly buckled...Looks like I am in need of a serious dump) and kept her in the safe pattern. Throttle was about 80% at first and once I trimmer her out (a click or two of down, a few clicks of right) I gave into what she craves and kicked the juice beyond full military power and into afterburner mode. Oh how my heart dances, hearing Don's motors sing! She flew fantastic! No wind certainly helped but she felt completely stable the entire flight.

About 3 minutes in I set up for the downwind, base and final. I reduced power to about 30%, kept that nose down, maintained a perfect glide slope and she touched down to earth as gently as a little trainer.

I shook my fist into the air triumphantly, laughing like a school girl and pondered on how much of a dork I really am.

No RC airplane has ever made me feel the way I feel flying the Habu. I was shaking like an alcoholic badly in need of a drink (actually I could use a drink) several minutes after.

I drove home and proudly told my wife about my successful mission. She looked at me with that dead stare as if to say "My God, you really are a big dork."

Clearly she doesn't understand me.

Don't feel bad... I sent my wife a text message from the field, mostly telling her how excited I was that the flight went "well...". I gave her the details of the calm winds... the cruising around the pattern, the sound of the motors... how fast she was... how the winds picked up for landing... and how I brought her back to Earth in one (kinda 1.5, if you count the nose-gear that needs to be fixed) piece! I sent her this HUGE text message... and she wrote back and said, "Yay".

Glad to hear that it went well though!!! Looks like the Habu Gods were looking down on us today!!!

Cheers,
Sully
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Old Jul 23, 2012, 12:55 AM
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Amen Sully! Whether or not our wives get the significance of our "mission" we always have each other to commune and brag about our conquests! LOL!
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Old Jul 23, 2012, 01:20 AM
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What is it about this dang bird?

I mean, I have tried to explain my infatuation with her for years but ultimately I can't seem to place a finger on what precisely it is that separates this plane from every other plane.

Is it the menacing look? I've always said that it's the only plane we've ever built that you would think Darth Vader would feel is worthy to fly.

Certainly its exotic airframe is part of the infatuation...The mystery. How does this thing fly again?

Today was a classic reminder...No matter how many complex planes I fly...Composite, foam, jet, scale, warbird, glider...No matter how many hours I have on the sticks, no matter how many tricks I can perform...

Nothing freaks me out like flying the Habu.

I have maidened planes three times her size. With three times the money investment. Yet, I've never, EVER felt the nerves I feel that I feel when I fly the SR-71 Blackbird.

Part of me wonders, "Should I just treat her like any other plane?" If I do, there's a good chance that either door will open. Door number one? She leaves my unshaken hand with authority and the flight is the good kind of boring. Nothing alarming and she lands in one piece.

Door number two? Well, I know that door all-too-well.

Maybe it's a bad or underpowered battery, maybe it's CG, maybe it's dumb thumbs, maybe it's a lack of understanding fundamental aerodynamics, maybe it's a poor hand toss, maybe....

After nine airframes I don't need anyone to tell me what is already painfully obvious. I'm obsessed. Yup, this little block of black foam has me wrapped around her intake cones. I can't quite define the passion but it's there, in spite of me.

My muse. My nemesis. My mistress.

My wife will just have to live with it. At least she gets a warm bed...Mistress Habu is forced to sleep in the garage...

...for now.
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Old Jul 24, 2012, 04:10 PM
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I got my decals from Callie and now that I've already maidened her with success I'm hopeful that 17958 is as her tail art says in Latin..."Always Ready".

She also has a code name:

Nine Lives.

I sure hope!
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