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Posted by UpNup | Jun 27, 2020 @ 05:52 PM | 4,523 Views
Five flights of my DW Hobby Griffin resulted in five crashes. Making these changes:

1. Bolts fell off the motor causing it to become unstable and crash in a muddy place in a field. Two loose screws ended up in the dried mud under the motor. The motor was not affected. I removed the black Econokote and had to saw off the front balsa former. There was no way else to get to the motor. I cleaned everything with a Q-tip and water. A hardware store had the 4-40 screws and nuts that matched.

2. The 4 metal wing hold-down screws tore out after the mildest wing tap on landing. I drilled fore and aft holes for 1/4” dowel rods. I plan to use #64 rubber bands with the wing hold-downs. So that the rubber bands won’t make ridges in the LE and TE, I installed aluminum shields. I made the shields from a highly sanded soft drink can.

Looking forward to seeing this powered glider succeeding!
Posted by UpNup | Jun 13, 2020 @ 06:06 PM | 6,475 Views
Over the past month I have been developing building blueprints for a 1/9 scale Nakajima B5N2 Kate. None existed that I could find for an RC version. 68” WS, 45” Fuse, electric with .46 Rimfire and 65A Beatle ESC.

As I write this, my scaling isn’t quite compatible with Office Max’s printer. I’m apparently off 3/8” vertically and 1/2” horizontally. My master is 36” tall by 56” wide. Back to the Drawing Screen.

Tip of the day PowerPoint only Permits a 56” Wide master. And Office Max has unlimited horizontal but 36” (really 35.5”) vertical max.

Once I learned how to use Edit Points in PowerPoint, my drawings became much smoother. Office Max doesn’t charge for rough drafts. And since they can print in color, I made my plans color-coded by my final plan.
Posted by UpNup | Apr 23, 2020 @ 03:10 PM | 6,425 Views
After two flights resulted in crashes, I decided the Griffin was slightly tail heavy.

Rather than add weight, I decided to carve out the tail feathers a bit. The balsa was 3/8” thick throughout. During the building process, I had anticipated this and so my marks showed through the white Monokote.

After removing the center of the rudder, fin, and stabilizer, the plane seems to balance on its CG just fine. I have recovered the sections that were removed.
Posted by UpNup | Mar 30, 2020 @ 12:31 PM | 5,257 Views
Flight report on maiden:

The plane made a graceful arc to the left and dove nose first into the ground. The ground where it landed was in a low spot and muddy. The nose went in about four inches deep. Most of the wings landed next to it. Flight time: 9 seconds

1. Damage report:
Sheared off left wing entirely -- pulled the carbon fiber tube out of the joiner tube
Broke right wing at the outer quarter section
Pulled the top plate holding the wings off the plane
The fin became loose from the fuselage's tail boom
Fuselage was cracked from the front right down the right side until after the wing; fuse's ply servo platform pulled loose on that side
Shattered four ribs on the right inner wing
Pulled the right servo out of the ply base

2. Good news:
Spinner, 3.1 shaft, and plastic folding prop are solid. Just a good rinse with water was needed to remove the mud.
Everything was repaired in about four to five hours, including re-covering with film in certain key parts
The fuselage did have a crack, but the carbon fiber slats on the boom remained firm
The ailerons were easily reversed in my DX6e.

3. Cause of crash:
Ailerons were not reversed as they should have been.
Wing servos were limited by the clear plastic bubbles taped over them
Pilot couldn't respond within five seconds before plane turned over

Looking forward to flying again with the plane -- and pilot -- better than ever.

UPDATE: Added photos of damage and repairs.
Posted by UpNup | Mar 30, 2020 @ 12:14 PM | 5,240 Views
Pride goeth before:
:: reversed ailerons
:: loose servo screws
:: missing servo screws
:: crimped control wires
:: bad or weak soldering
:: overlooked damage from a hard landing
:: caring more what others think than what you know to be the right thing
:: bloated lipos surely lasting one more go
:: low battery voltage in the Tx
:: leaving a prop on during tests
:: leaving a prop on during transports
:: thinking you have time for just one more flight
:: ignoring wind gusts
:: missing that request for help from the newbie
:: hyperfocusing instead of looking to see who has the right of way at the field
:: failing to conduct a range check
:: destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
Posted by UpNup | Mar 25, 2020 @ 02:45 PM | 7,435 Views
The launch of the new Griffin 1.5 glider was flawless. She powered up to 20 feet high and then began a graceful wing-down turn to the left. The turn kept going until it was upside down. It hit nose first. The nose plowed about four inches deep in the mud. The left wing snapped off shattering ply and balsa. The right wing broke at the aileron. The tail feathers came undone. The fuselage cracked down the right side from the nose to the tail boom.

There's something about watching a plane not respond to inputs that is so helpless. The groan I made on impact released six weeks of construction at night and on weekends. And the walk of shame didn't help. I had flown in a park near my house. The playground was surrounded by yellow keep-out tape and orange signs because of social distancing due to the Covid-19 virus. The sky was a mottled gray with 10 mph gusts. And my wife was with me. Families walked by me with the men giving me that sheepish grin as I walked past holding parts in my hands.

Oh, the ship is repairable. In an hour I had all but the left wing back into place. Another two hours of building and re-covering with film will put her back into the air. I've got scrap balsa and ply that should work well to replace four broken ribs and the wing sheeting. And I'm pretty sure I can cover the plane with what's left of the Monokote and Econokote.

But it's the emotional stuff. Was I too arrogant to second-guess my settings? I put those bubble protectors on the wing...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Mar 21, 2020 @ 06:11 PM | 6,486 Views
While out for a walk today I saw some packaging on the ground for a child's toy. The clear plastic was perfect to cover the exposed servos on my 1.5m powered Griffin glider by DW Hobby. This was good news because I tried and failed to make my own "blisters." I don't own a vacuum apparatus and do a better job at scavenging.

I simply cut out the bubbles and used clear tape to affix them into place. Just be sure to (1) curve the ends of the tape to resist air flow prying them up and (2) make sure the control horns have enough room to travel freely.

The purpose is to help the wing servos to be more aerodynamic and also provide a bit of protection. They may collapse upon landing, but can be easily re-shaped. And in the meanwhile, I'll keep looking for more large blister packs to provide a bubble!
Posted by UpNup | Mar 15, 2020 @ 08:05 PM | 12,123 Views
Took the opportunity to design a new cowl and vent the Griffin.

The canopy is now a full sleeker cowl that stretches from the front to up and over the wing.

Added a vent and glued in a spoon half for a scoop. Opened up a hole in the rear of the main cabin that was 2-3 times bigger than the opening in the glider’s chin.
Posted by UpNup | Mar 14, 2020 @ 03:45 PM | 8,697 Views
Go here to read through my Build Log in digested form. My blog below has day to day details.
Posted by UpNup | Mar 13, 2020 @ 01:54 PM | 8,719 Views
This powered glider came together pretty smoothly after tackling the tail boom modifications.

Electronics went in just fine. I tried really hard to insert the wing Servos on their sides. However the carbon rod blocked the way.

The two-color covering I chose is an homage to Harley Michealis’ Orca from 1989. The white was Monokote and the black was Econokote. The underside is done in 4 pieces (wingtips to servo, then servo to middle). The top is covered in two halves.

The kit includes two black hook and loop straps. I used 3/8” ply slats (popsicle sticks) to make a strong latticework in the bottom. The straps firmly hold the ESC and battery in place. The 4-channel receiver (Rx) is tucked under the wing fronts.

I removed a rectangle of film underneath the stabilizer and glued it to the top of the fin. I cut off some of the rear control horn. However, I found it better to reverse the control horn to provide more throw.

The clear cockpit Was okay but for my scheme I made another cockpit cover and attached it with rare earth magnets....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Mar 13, 2020 @ 02:49 AM | 7,181 Views
Spektrum was kind to help me set up my DX6e Transmitter. This is for my DW Hobby Griffin. Being a 4-ch Sailplane does have some distinctions.
Posted by UpNup | Mar 07, 2020 @ 07:06 PM | 8,593 Views
Fitted a faring on the front on the fin’s 1/4” wide LE. That’s really wide and bugged me.

Rolled 1/32” ply that was soaked in Windex. After drying overnight, I cut it in half and glued to on with Titebond II.

Another fix was to widen the platform for the stabilizer. Triangle stock would help e worked, too.

The TE was tapered on the rudder and elevator. I gently softened the LEs on ailerons, elevator and rudder.

I fully expected to have to cut out openings in the tail and even drew lines, but the CG was 5cm (1.9”) right where it should be.

The weight is right at 1 lb., 5 oz.
Posted by UpNup | Feb 28, 2020 @ 04:36 PM | 3,920 Views
Previous builders of the DW Hobby Griffin complained about the tail lacking elevator authority and breaking easily because the tail boom was weak. At least one guy mentioned it being tail heavy.

The tail feathers are treated separately. They weigh 5 oz.

1. Installed carbon fiber strips 1/4” X 8” to the back end on both sides inside. These cost $6.99 extra and did not come with the kit. I CA’d them in place and think 5 min epoxy would have been wiser.
2. Moved the two A5 balsa side doublers forward to the compartment behind F11 former.
3. Kept the carbon fiber tube and cut a side slit for the rudder control. Cut one on top for the elevator control.
4. Reviewed the cable routing on the Carl Goldberg Sophisticated Lady plans. I matched the entry in the front of the stab and kept some of the rod exit angle. I also put graphite powder into the plastic tube to ease friction.
5. I epoxied the plastic tube in place and ground out ruts in the balsa sheeting to make the sides lay flat.
6. Had to trim 1/8” off the bottom of the right sheeting to make it match the left side. And I had to trim the front of the eppenage’s front piece to accommodate the carbon fiber slats.
7. Rounded front of rudder and tapered TE.
8. Glued a rounded faring to front of Fin. Made out of 1/32” ply soaked and rubber-banded to a dowel rod s as d dried over night.

The whole carbon tube slid into place. The wires were run. And everything was CA’d in place....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Feb 21, 2020 @ 02:41 PM | 3,803 Views
Front part of fuselage went together just as the photo plans show. The plans consist of photos and part numbers.

Several have told me that the problem is with the weak tail boom, weak controls on linkages, and being tail heavy. Trying to rethink that part.
Posted by UpNup | Feb 09, 2020 @ 09:17 PM | 5,769 Views
Good to be building my first RC balsa kit. I’ve been building RC planes from plans. So, it’s amazing how fast a 61” wing goes together when you just pop out the laser-cut ribs and formers.

This is For a DW Hobby Griffin 1.55m T-tail powered glider.
Posted by UpNup | Feb 07, 2020 @ 09:52 PM | 5,696 Views
Harley Michealis and I met last year. Harley is almost 99 years old. I tracked him down simply because of an email address remaining the same from an article in Model Aviation November 1989. Harley had developed a slope soarer that had twisty wings, called pitcheron. The soaring glider was named Orca (killer whale). A 2012 update exists. It’s actually a “hotliner” capable of 100 mph speeds with no motor.

Harley didn’t have a copy of the magazine and so I mailed it to him. That act led to many email exchanges. Harley is a strong follower of Jesus and has had an amazing life.

So, based on that experience, I have focused my next build — a t-tail glider. I live in Ohio so a powered thermal glider is a better choice for me. It determined the 1.55m (61”) balsa kit I purchased on January 4 this year.

In keeping with my approach to this hobby, I have made a scratchbuilt 1:48 scale plastic model. I fashioned after the DW Hobbies Griffin glider. I built the model during the month it took to have the glider kit delivered from China.

Harley and I keep talking. He really would prefer that I build his Easy Genie. I just might some day.
Posted by UpNup | Feb 06, 2020 @ 12:58 PM | 7,466 Views
The DW Griffin is a 1.55m (61”) balsa kit. This is my first RC Kit. It was ordered from Banggood on Jan 4 and arrived Feb 6.

The cardboard box was crumpled on one side and two holes were punched in the side. The kit itself inside was in perfect condition.

Everything was in English from the 1:1 plans to the manual to the characters. This plane could be covered clear and no ID marks would be on any piece. DW Hobby always places them adjacent to each part.

The 1:1 plans were folded and are difficult to lay flat. I placed books on the open plans. I may have to iron them. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to resort to making a copy at a quick print place.

1/9 scale of something close to a B6-500 Elan Glider
46’ WS = 14 meters 1/9= 61.3”
24’ length = 8.4 m = 32”

Griffin specs:
Wingspan: 1550mm (61”)
Fuselage Length: 820mm (33”)
Flying Weight: 650g

Needed to fly:
Motor: recommended 2212 1100KV
ESC: 20A recommenced, using a 30A
Servo: 9g (4 needed)
8 inch Folding Propeller: (8×4.5, Shaft φ3.17)
Covering: Using 1 roll White Monocote and 1 roll black Econocote.
Battery: 3S 1500mAh
Receiver & Transmitter — Spektrum AR410 Rx with a Spektrum 6xDe Tx.
Posted by UpNup | Jan 10, 2020 @ 01:45 PM | 4,089 Views
The pilot with the Airfield Tempest 800mm is weak at best. My pilot didn't have his nose. It was just a hole at the middle of his face.

I pulled the canopy off and got the pilot out. His face was rubber and unpainted. He's wearing a double-breasted green coat with black collar. And his eyebrows had been well-plucked. What war crime did he commit to get that punishment? There was no life preserver. This pilot was about 1.5" tall and had no arms.

I used 400 grit sandpaper on all but the face and used Testors enamel paint. I gave his Britishness a blue coat and brown leather helmet. I gave his beard stubble a wash of 1:10 flat black paint to mineral spirits. His eyebrows were thickened to normal. After spraying a Clear Matte finish, I put silver on the glasses rims and then dabbed thick clear finger nail polish on the lenses.

But that sour expression remained. Who makes these things? Not even a new nose and a new coat of paint could help this guy.

The unhappy pilot was glued back in with TitebondII and I used Canopy Clear Glue to get the cockpit glass back in place. Ready for take-off.
Posted by UpNup | Jan 02, 2020 @ 09:00 PM | 5,030 Views
A dollar store sells an 8” black plastic action figure (1/9 scale) that could be made into an inexpensive pilot figure. Super Police is apparently a SWAT series of action figures. The paint job is haphazard at best.

However, the molding detail is very good. The front and back do not fit well. I had to scrape off the extra sprue. Three tiny screws in the back helped tighten up the torso. The top of the head required quick-drying modeling putty to smooth the cap.

Acetone wiped the paint right off. I used 400 grit paper to help the paint adhere. Testors enamels work well. I mixed up a 10:1 black wash to make the beard and some minimal weathering.

I cut “police” off of the chest plate and sanded it smooth.

Update: Added titles and wings to chest, hat and shoulder. It's just paper from an injet printer. Used canopy glue and sealed with MicroSet. I used a modification of Glider Pilot wings found online. I chose ORCA on the breastplate since that is the theme of the next build. To be continued...