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Old Feb 08, 2009, 01:54 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
Build Log
KMP Pilatus PC-21...

This one has been on my short list ever since I first saw it, the KMP Pilatus PC-21! She is a beauty, the color, the design and details, a real pretty plane. Now this is generally how I get into trouble in the first place, I purchase a plane on looks versus feedback on how it flies, etc. Oh well, call me superficial then because I just couldn't say no! Something about the way it looks with a 5-blade (doubt I can get that but I'll settle for a Mejzlik 3-blade CF) just makes my eyes roll back in my head (in a good way, like a shark about to eat!).

Warning: I will advise now that there is a rant coming later, I won't start with it because why spoil a good intro.

So I'm browsing Chief Aircraft's web site and there she is, the KMP PC-21, she looks big too, perhaps too big? Nah, I've converted larger glow planes to electric (oh, did I forget to mention, she'll be electric). According to the specs we're lookin at around 15 lbs., right in-line with a 12S setup and my favorite Axi 5330/F3A motor. I searched high and low for details or a manual, couldn't find anything, even from the vendor.

I did manage to find a build thread on RCU but the guy posted perhaps 8 pictures and jumped right to the end, not a build thread really as I need to see pictures and fine details for me to get the gist. The one thing I did see from this other build thread was a problem with the cockpit, cracked and dented on arrival. I'm not a big scale person so to me it wasn't a big deal (more on that later) so I added it all up in my head and decided to pull the trigger and order one.

TECH SPECS
------------
Wingspan: 71 in.
Fuse: 81.5 in.
Weight: 15.2 lbs.
Engine: 120 4-Cycle
Wing Area: 864 sq. in.

MANUFACTURER
---------------
ESM (Ever Soaring Model) Producing Company, Dongguan, China

Jack
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Old Feb 08, 2009, 02:16 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
So here's where the fun (i.e., rant) starts, I call Chief (Larry @ Chief is really a nice guy) on Friday evening 2 weeks ago to see if they have any in stock, to my surprise they in-fact have 1. Larry warns me to order it if I really want it because they rarely stay in stock. A few minutes of thought and I decide to order, done, I have one! So Monday rolls around and I find they've processed the order and one is on the way.

A few days later I am wondering why I haven't seen a shipping e-mail with a tracking label. Being in South Florida (same as Chief's new warehouse) I expected it to get here in less than 2 days, like all my other Florida orders. A quick call confirms it's a little more complex, see KMP drop ships, it doesn't come from Chief. OK, a few calls and I hear there is a delay because they are under-staffed at KMP's Florida warehouse, argh! What can I do, I wait.

A week goes by, no shipping e-mail, I've talked to Larry a few times and he's called KMP but they haven't replied. I decide to call them myself at this point, I really hate when people don't return calls. I get a song and dance about container shipments and ony 1 guy in their warehouse and things just moving slow. Naw at this point I am annoyed, if you charge me $1,000 and a week goes by without shipping (from my own back yard too!), I'm going to be a little mad.

I start looking around in build threads and other info on KMP and quickly find their "warehouse" is actually Bob's Hobbies in South Florida. So, I call them and surprise, they don't do this anymore for KMP but advise me that IMEX RC is handing KMP warehousing, OK progress! I call IMEX and talk to Larry, he tells me the delay is unpacking these huge cargo containers and shipping out the orders, he's the only guy and KMP makes them ship using some cargo company, not UPS. Not only is he the only guy, he said they do this "when they aren't doing their own work", great!

A few calls back and forth and Larry says I'm good, he's going to get it out today after he throws in the retracts (it's now Friday, a week after ordering) and I should have it in another week. A week I say?! I live 230 miles from the warehouse? This is where the cargo carrier comes in, yes UPS can do it in 2 days but the cargo company says 7 to 10 days, argh! Monday rolls around, still no shipping e-mail, oops! there it is, in my inbox at mid-day but guess what, it hasn't been picked up yet.

Tuesday I'm on the phone with BAX global shipping, turns out the IMEX warehouse is in an "extended" area so pickup takes another day. Wednesday, good news, it's been picked up and taken to Tampa, no closer than it was but also no further, we're making progress! Yikes, can this be, the tracking on Wednesday evening says it's now in Atlanta (no, there is not city in Florida named Atlanta, it's in Georgia!), what the heck, it's now 850 miles away, argh!

2 days later it's on the way to Fort Lauderdale, I've already called and made arrangements to pick it up (enough already!). To make this long story a little shorter, I got the plane, it took 2+ weeks and I blame that squarely on KMP and their crappy "warehouse" staffing, attention to detail and insistence that it ship via a cargo company versus good old UPS, who deliver more packages than anyone else (can anyone say duh, no brainer!). I've been told it's because UPS would charge more and the cargo company is fairly cheap but in that case give ME the option, the guys that's footing the bill.

Well, rant over, move on to the next post, nothing to see here anymore...

<EDIT>
Rant not completely over, I just got the invoice from Chief, $100 to ship! I'm going to call and get this reduced in half, no way am I paying $100 so KMP can ship my product 1,000 miles when a simple call to UPS would have had it travel only a little more than the 220 miles to my door and likely done it for $50!

Jack
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Old Feb 08, 2009, 02:21 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
Here it is, the day I picked it up at the cargo companies warehouse. I almost had to open it at the warehouse, the passenger seat just slid forward enough to fit it in though, it's all good! The box comes in another "outer" box to save on damage, what you are seeing is the inner box which seems to be a custom build cardboard "crate". It's packaged nicely, nothing seems to have moved or been damaged (more on that later) and for the most part, unpacking is uneventful...

Jack
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Old Feb 08, 2009, 02:56 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
So I'm sitting here looking at the pretty fuselage and wondering how I'm going to get flight packs in this thing! I am not about to remove the wing, disconnect the servo extensions and air supply for the retracts, set the wing down and dig into the nose for 2 6S LiPo's between each flight! The problem is, there's no other way to do it! The scale cockpit is glued in at the factory and from what I can see, I'll have to destroy it to cut it out. At this point I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't a dead project, after all I don't want to destroy the fuse making it "LiPO accessible".

As I'm pondering hatches and other ways to do this and still stay clean and I hapen to notice the cockpit is damaged, exactly the same as that previous build thread I had come across. The thing is just paper thin in some spots, you can dent it with the thought of touching it. I call KMP and they say "take some pictures and e-mail Mr, Kondor" and "if there are any replacement parts that have to get ordered expect 10 weeks", argh. Now since the cockpit is damaged, 10 weeks is too long and I'm no stickler for scale anyway, I decide to remove the cockpit, as I get at it I find it's not as bad as I had first thought.

Yes, I am damaging the cockpit because it's so thin you could crack it with a stiff blow (please KMP, really!?) but by sliding a razor in between the cockpit and canopy I remove the 3 sections in about 45 minutes, as carefully as I can. Once removed, battery changes and placement is a moot point, you could park a foamy in the canopy opening. As I start thinking about re-buiding the cockpit deck, I also realize I'll have to make it removable, I have minor concerns about the stiffness of the canopy itself, it's pretty thin (again KMP, really!?) but that's what has to happen so on with it!

Jack
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Old Feb 08, 2009, 03:52 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
OK, here are the weights and component pictures...

Fuselage - 63.8 oz.
Cowl - 5.2 oz.
R. Wing - 22.2 oz.
L. Wing - 22.3 oz.
R. Stab - 4.3 oz.
L. Stab - 4.2 oz.
Rudder - 1.9 oz.
Gear - 38.2 oz.
Hardware - 17 oz.
Aero Parts - 10.6 oz. (these are plastic fairings, gear doors, wheel wells, etc)
Canopy - 4.2 oz.

Total Weight = 193.9 oz. (12.11 lbs.)

Jack
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Old Feb 08, 2009, 04:14 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
So here's the first real work I've done, this is what I did before taking all the pictures and starting this thread. The cockpit was removed and a tray built to exactly fit the space. I added some bracing on the side, both to strengthen and give something to fasten the canopy to (it has to be strong if it's 1 removable part). The plan is to paint it flat black but I may cut the original cockpit parts and try and mount them after strengthening them, it should look pretty nice all painted and assembled. The next part is deciding how to mount it for easy removal, likely some metal or wood pins and 1 or 2 BVM hatch latches.

The tray is made from 3/32" birch ply, the angled ends front and back glued on with Aeropoxy (the best epoxy you can find IMO). I used CA for the triangle rails, there is a bit of a curve so epoxy would have been a lot of gluing and taping where CA was 5 minutes. The idea is it mounts quickly in one piece with no screws, I'd like to be able to change out batteries easily and some of my previous planes weren't the best in that regard. This exaplains why I'm spending so much time and effort to make sure the LiPo's have an easy way to change out...

Jack
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Old Feb 15, 2009, 05:59 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
I worked on the nose gear today, from what I can see it's pretty beefy, they have quadrupled the ply making a solid mounting plate. The gear is Robart and all the parts are included in the price of the plane (it used to be an option for retracts, now they simply sell it all together from what I can see). After looking over the air valve, I did decide to replace it with a genuine Robart valve versus the cheap Chinese one provided.

It seems the hardware provided with this kit is no better that what most Chinese manufacturers are suplying nowadays, crap! So in addition to the Robart air valve, I'll be replacing pretty much all the other hardware like clevises, hinges and pushrods. I guess I should have expected this but for the price, I was hoping for better hardware. The problem seems to be they just give you what they have that day, not very well thought out like say Hanger 9 who carefully matches hardware to model...

Jack
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Old Feb 15, 2009, 10:19 PM
One Idiot is plenty...
Dbox's Avatar
Planet Earth
Joined Jun 2005
4,975 Posts
Here is Pilatus -21 from more civilized world.http://www.eflight.ch/shop/USER_ARTI...28a9cd3e1532c8
Nice plane.
Yuri.
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 09:25 AM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbox
Here is Pilatus -21 from more civilized world.http://www.eflight.ch/shop/USER_ARTI...28a9cd3e1532c8
Nice plane.
Yuri.
This is the exact same model as KMP sells, it's manufactured by ESM...

Jack
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 10:44 PM
One Idiot is plenty...
Dbox's Avatar
Planet Earth
Joined Jun 2005
4,975 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfetter
This is the exact same model as KMP sells, it's manufactured by ESM...

Jack
Then WOW!
Go Chinese !!!!
Yuri.
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Old Feb 17, 2009, 04:47 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
I managed to get the canopy done, this was the most important thing for me to do to ensure I'd be able to get the flight packs in easily. I've got no time for screws and complex battery changes anymore, some of my older models are just no fun anymore because of battery placement.

As you can see from previous posts, the tray is ply with a long brace on the bottom to compensate for the length and preventing bending (curving over time). I painted it flat black before gluing the canopy on, I opted for glue versus screws because no matter how well you tape it all together, it never holds well enough during drilling the screws.

I also fitted a single BVM hatch latch to the front to hold it down, solid as a rock thanks to the angled block I glued on the front to ensure the hatch latch pin fits in almost perpendicular to the way the tray lifts up. To be able to get a single pin soultion for removing the entire canopy makes me quite pleased...

Jack
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Old Feb 17, 2009, 04:57 PM
Build'em and Crash'em
Ken Lapointe's Avatar
Narragansett, RI
Joined Oct 2000
3,125 Posts
Great info, thanks for weighing everything too. Its gonna be tough to resist this one

What are you plans for the 5 bladed prop?
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Old Feb 17, 2009, 05:09 PM
HAL... Open the damn doors!
jfetter's Avatar
Miramar, Florida
Joined Jul 2007
7,936 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lapointe
Great info, thanks for weighing everything too. Its gonna be tough to resist this one

What are you plans for the 5 bladed prop?
If I could get a 5-blade I would but from what I've seen doing the little bit of research I already have, it would have to be custom (and it would look custom too). I am really fond of the Mezjlik carbon fiber props, I think a 3-blade 18 x 10 CF will look sweet too...

Jack
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Old Feb 17, 2009, 07:45 PM
Build'em and Crash'em
Ken Lapointe's Avatar
Narragansett, RI
Joined Oct 2000
3,125 Posts
The only 5 blades I know of are the varioprop and the Zinger. My guess is you could get a Zinger the size you want. JetMang got a 16x14 Zinger prop for his Sea Fury and it looks great
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/attac...mentid=1541281
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