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Posted by VicT | Feb 08, 2018 @ 12:53 AM | 2,256 Views
The Pandora is a good advanced trainer because of her flying qualities and component designs. She has a top battery load system which is much easier/convenient than the belly mount of the Apprentice, Timber, and a Valiant. She can fly on 3 or 4 cells with the FMS 35 amp ESC (with different prop sizes). Because of her heavier weight she can handle higher winds. With the Apprentice receiver on Self Level/ Beginner mode she is a pleasure to fly. Using a 7 Channel TX and the Aux2 receiver channel flaps can be addded and used for more takeoff and landing performance.

You have choices of top or bottom wing and tricycle gear or tail dragger gear. The internal tailwheel tiller and axle will bind and fail over time. Rebuilding the internal plastic and metal parts is tedious and will fail after a few flights. When it failed I removed the pushrod and internal components to save weight. I then added a music wire axle and bent it to the bottom of the rudder. Wood and fiberglass cloth with CA bind the music wire to the rudder. I used the stock wheel. There has been no problems now with the tailwheel. See pics for details.
Posted by VicT | Jan 30, 2018 @ 10:44 AM | 1,131 Views
I ordered my tx from Brian (owner of Phils Hobby shop) in St Pete in Dec 2017. On Fri Jan 19 they called me and I picked her up for a cost of $586 including tax (just a charge cable, no case or receiver). Horizons online cost was $599.

Charge was about 50% so I charged it overnight and on Sat she was 99% charged. Orange raindrops (Boot up indication) took about 2 minutes then black screen then the Spektrum Airware took about 10 seconds.

Under System Settings I went to Product Information and pressed the REGISTER TRANSMITTER block. I filled out all the info using my old account user name and password. I received a confirmation that the TX was registered. It took a few days before I was able to see the radio on the My Spektrum site along with all the past transmitters that are registered.

I called up Horizon Tech Used the TX to update with the help of phone tech support. I asked for the Brittish voice and the talked me thru downloading and installing the software. I chose the female Brittish English and its a little better than the DX9 Brittish female English. Tech talked me thru updating the apps and there was no problem. I lost 1 test model so learned to back up models into hard drive or SD card before doing updates. (Although on 1/30/18 I did not lose my test AT6 model after a new Airware update!
Had trouble setting the local clock but finally figured it out. Emailed pics of Lonnies AT6 Texan and picked this from Gallery

On 1/29 from reading RCGroups I...Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Jan 30, 2018 @ 10:29 AM | 1,079 Views
I ordered my tx from Brian (owner of Phils Hobby shop) in St Pete in Dec 2017. On Fri Jan 19 they called me and I picked her up for a cost of $586 including tax (just a charge cable, no case or receiver). Horizons online cost was $599.

Charge was about 50% so I charged it overnight and on Sat she was 99% charged. Orange raindrops (Boot up indication) took about 2 minutes then black screen then the Spektrum Airware took about 10 seconds.

Under System Settings I went to Product Information and pressed the REGISTER TRANSMITTER block. I filled out all the info using my old account user name and password. I received a confirmation that the TX was registered. It took a few days before I was able to see the radio on the My Spektrum site along with all the past transmitters that are registered.

I called up Horizon Tech Used the TX to update with the help of phone tech support. I asked for the Brittish voice and the talked me thru downloading and installing the software. I chose the female Brittish English and its a little better than the DX9 Brittish female English. Tech talked me thru updating the apps and there was no problem. I lost 1 test model so learned to back up models into hard drive or SD card before doing updates. (Although on 1/30/18 I did not lose my test AT6 model after a new Airware update!
Had trouble setting the local clock but finally figured it out. Emailed pics of Lonnies AT6 Texan and picked this from Gallery

...Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Jan 18, 2018 @ 11:33 PM | 1,338 Views
Fellow club flyer has about 1 yr experience with his Apprentice and has recently switched from the DX5 to a DX6 Gen 2 TX.

So without any experience with programming the DX6 for flaps or SAFE Select On/Off he asked me to help him out.

From past experience with another club members Commander I thought it would be maybe and hour effort. However it turned into 3 hours! Heres why:

The Commander manual does not explain how to assign a switch (and a channel) to turn SAFE (Self Level) On/Off. The Apprentice uses 3 modes that are Beginner, Intermediate, and Experienced set up on a 3 position B switch. The Commander manual is of no help and the. DX6 manual is not much better.

The Commander manual does not explain how to assign audio to the SAFE/Self Level switch, nor does it explain audio settings for flaps, dual rates, throttle cut, or time remaining. The DX 6 manual is not much help. Here is what I did:

Since new Commander owner never switched out of Apprentice he wanted to know how to switch to the new Commander model. First I showed him to press the two left buttons (Clear and Back) to jump from the Apprentice main display to the Model Select menu. At the bottom you pick new model and start from the top and work down. Now the Commander manual on page 4 shows this wing type and flaps settings. There is no guidance on how to set up a SAFE/Self Level switch so here is what I did:

Go to Channel Assignment and set B switch to operate the...Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Jan 09, 2018 @ 04:31 PM | 1,261 Views
This was second flight with Lonny Walkers AT and first with wireless buddy box. So both TX have same settings. Flights of 7 min with mostly 50-60 % power with high was 20%. Wattmeter indicated 35 A and 350 watts on stock prop and 40 amp ESC.

SPARKS RWY 9-27 asfault Jan 9, 2018
Posted by VicT | Nov 30, 2017 @ 05:44 PM | 2,188 Views
Full size aircraft manufactures use throttle detents for a number of reasons. Many have a gate that seperate flight idle power from reverse thrust reversers or reversible pitch operation. There is no switch to move just move the throttle below the detent/ gate and you are producing reverse thrust. In model flying we use flaps, slats, or prop wind milling drag to slow down. I have a reversible ESC that uses a spare channel for reverse thrust but I want to use windmilling drag instead. So how does this work?

If your ESC does not have the brake activated/enabled just bring the throttle stick all the way down to the stop and the propeller will turn as fast as your airspeed will allow. Even when you slow down to zero airspeed the prop will turn until centrifigual forces stop and then the prop will stop until airspeed increases and then the prop will start windmilling again. The windmilling drag may cause turbulence over the elevator and/or rudder that can reduce pitch and yaw control. I have had some models that have temporarily been out of control until the turbulence diminishes. This can be very alarming so I have used folding props to reduce drag and flaps to increase drag.. recently I have been trimming out a friends 43 Rick Stick. It can be fast but not slow down. It was not designed with flaps and although I could install flaps I want to know if wind milling prop drag is sufficient to slow the model down for landing. Another friend takes off with high...Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Nov 22, 2017 @ 08:26 PM | 2,443 Views
The stock wing bolts are too short to hold the wing panels to the front or rear brass threaded inserts. I originally made wing hold down bolts from 3mm Allen head bolts screwed into a dowel. A washer was made from a credit card type plastic with a music wire pin to hold it in place. A nice custom bolt but went to Ace Hardware and bought the 50 mm long 3 mm bolts with a metal washer for my buddies to use. I can use my fingers to hand tighten or a Phillips head driver. See sketch below. See post 619 for picture info.
Posted by VicT | Nov 15, 2017 @ 11:55 PM | 1,901 Views
The purpose of adding a second elevator servo is for safety purposes. If one servo fails and that elevator fails to move then the other elevator servo and elevator will provide pitch control. Half of the normal elevator surface area will be used so reduced pitching power will be available. If Self Level is on it is assumed that the gyro will command more movement of the elevator half to regain a level pitch attitude. In case of one elevator servo failure the remaining servo and elevator will allow some pitch control for a descent and landing. Both servos are connected to a Y cable and use the same signal. The elevator horn and servo arm holes are equal so the elevators have equal throw and endpoints.
Posted by VicT | Nov 13, 2017 @ 01:27 AM | 1,957 Views
The Valiant 1.3 speed control (ESC) comes with the propellor brake off which causes the prop to spin (windmill) when the throttle is at idle/off. The windmilling prop spins faster at faster airspeeds and slower at slower air speeds . The drag of the windmilling prop can be beneficial if you want to decelerate such as on vertical downlines or for rapid descents. So why reduce drag more by "feathering or stopping" the prop from spinning or windmilling?
The spinning prop causes turbulent air over the elevator and rudder and their effectiveness becomes diminished. Stopping the prop by activating the hard brake causes the slipstream over the rudder and elevator to be smooth or "laminar". This increases control effectiveness and authority. In addition to smother control there is less frontal drag so you can glide for longer distances. This helps make it back to the runway in case your ESC stops power to your motor. This can happen when you fly too long or your ESC/ BEC fails and your Scorpion or 430 backup 2S pack (if installed) takes over for receiver power. A feathered prop helps reduce drag when you enter a thermal and/or you practice a climb and glide fun fly task.


Excerpts from the ESC manual (E-flite 30-Amp Pro Switch instructions) are here with my comments.


Remove the prop to prevent injury. Enter the Programming Mode 1. With the battery disconnected from the controller, and the transmitter turned on, first move the throttle...Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Nov 05, 2017 @ 11:27 PM | 1,809 Views
My fellow clubmember Jack W took my suggestion and purchased a Valiant 1.3 M. He had been flying his Apprentice and Timber and enjoyed both but damaged his Timber severely. I told him that the Valiant Flys faster, longer, and almost as slow as the Timber and already comes with the Valiant landing gear that we have been putting on our Timber models. By moving the Valiant gear full forward in the belly battery compartment of the Apprentice and Timber the pitch over forces are minimized. The Valiant gear can be moved forward in the Valiant battery compartment for the same advantages and it is much easier and quicker to do.

Jack had programmed his Valiant with SAFE Select on the B switch and after verifying controls to have proper throw I proceeded to maiden his new Valiant. I put the Valiant on the short grass and slowly increased throttle for break away thrust. The grass was only about 1 high but created just enough drag to cause a pitch over. I could bend down and give her a push with full up elevator to get her moving but knew a forward gear would solve the problem. I had modified another clubmembers Valiant (Bob W.) and after 18 hrs of dual time the gear had held up even with my severe doughnut stress test.
I had used ply and hardwood to screw the gear in and it took about 3 hrs. I wanted to do it quicker and at the field. Heres how I did it.

I removed the 4 bolts and the Valiant gear. I then lightly sanded the aluminum legs that form the U shape....Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Oct 29, 2017 @ 02:57 AM | 2,128 Views
We need to thank Andy Kunz for incoperating the wireless buddy box in our Spektrum radios. This feature along with self level has resulted in saving many crashes in my opinion. I have trained students from 9 to 91 yrs of age and when they are about to collide with something, fly away, or fly over or near something I can immediately take control and prevent an accident. Instructors never stop learning. Use your OWN model to instruct and accidents will be reduced.

Get to know how to set up your Spektrum TX for wireless and how to bind the students TX to your Instructor TX. Make sure the two position I switch on the DX6-9,18 announces Instructor has control and Student has control. Say I have the plane or You have the plane. Demo a maneuver before the student tries it. Keep instruction simple and start off in baby steps

An easy and no threat first training session is stearing (taxiing) the plane on the ground with out the wing on. The plane wont be able to take off and this teaches the student throttle and rudder control. Pick a large driveway or vacant lot so turns moving away and toward you can be practiced. If the student uses too much throttle just cut your throttle and steer the model back into a safe position before returning the I switch to Student has Control. When the student starts flying his left thumb will have stearing (yaw) experience and the right thumb and forefinger can learn roll and pitch skills.

An excellent Trainer is the Apprentice S. With the rudder clevis in the innermost rudder horn you can make nice big inflight circles and figure 8s with out using aileron or elevator. Takeoffs and landings can be taught only using rudder and throttle with SAFE On. Of course aileron and elevator can be added for tighter turns in the Self Level Beginner mode. Aerobatics and Experience mode should only be taught according to the students progress, skills, and experience taken into consideration.
Posted by VicT | Oct 13, 2017 @ 12:45 AM | 2,166 Views
After flight testing the Funter I settled on spoilerons for approach and landing. I was hoping that flaperon would work to slow Funter down but the speed reduction was not signifigant and I had problems with aileron correction. The problem went away when I programmed spoilerons in the landing mode. I used slight camber in the D 1 postion as this slight camber had little to no effect on roll correction. I tried to program aileron to rudder mix but took it out when rudder reversal took place with both sticks being used. This yaw rate in the Apprentice receiver is set and all I could do is to bring rudder throw back down from 125 to 100% and high rate from 125 to 100%. Funter yaws fine with just rudder and would roll a little better with just a slight amount of dihedral. I will be making a bent wing tube with 6 of music wire at the mid point to set the 5 degrees of dihedral. Self Level works fine for pitch and roll despite only one aileron providing roll correction. Pitch leveling works fine. The weird thing about the Funter is that the Apprentice receiver is placed reversed so that the antennas face rear and the servo plugs face forward. The RX is Dual Locked on 3/32 balsa that is level and approx over the CG. A 30 amp Apprentice ESC is used (with brake programmed with a standard RX) and the 18 amps max power does not heat up the 1200 KV motor and 8x6 prop. Climb is OK but I will try a 4S 2200 for extra thrust (and noise).

Full power pitch down is...Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Oct 10, 2017 @ 11:54 PM | 1,994 Views
Pics show hot glue inside the spinner. Apparently Origin factory balanced the assembly since their is no vibration throughout the throttle range. I recommend the spinner and its backplate be marked with a Sharpie pen to ensure proper re assembly.
The bungee band insures the prop blades are parked horizontally during power off braking and folding. Bands are obtained at drug store hair aisle and go by Scrunchy.
Posted by VicT | Oct 10, 2017 @ 11:39 PM | 1,989 Views
Origin Hobbys Funter distributed now from Tower RC can use the Apprentice S receiver. I only have one flight but look forward to getting more time on her. Most of my planes with the Apprentice receiver require one reverser but this Funter needed 3! I could have used some spare reversers on rudder, elevator, and aileron but mounted the receiver with servo connections forward. That way I have correct Self Level in Beginner mode with out having to purchase and install reversers. The Skywalker 30 Amp ESC did not like the Apprentice receiver so I installed an on-off switch between the ESC and RX. This did not solve the problem so installed an Apprentice 30 amp ESC that I had previously programmed the prop brake.
The Funter has optional flaps but I programmed the Aux 2 channel for flaperon. Yes one aileron moves but does not self level! The Funter Self Levels fine so installing optional flaps and 2 servos would work but Im using the whole trailing edge as a flap and think this will have more flap area than seperate flaps.

The 1200 KV motor on 3S 2200 45C draws only 18 amps for the 8x6 folding pusher. It has enough thrust to slide off short grass. I will amp test and prop test a 4S 2200 pack to see what the extra thrust does.

I converted an Easy Star 2 for FPV using an Apprentice S receiver. Had to split the fuse in two and Dremmel out lots of foam to mount the receiver. It worked but took much time and effort. The Funter is an updated design similar to the pusher clones that can work with FPV. However I purchased the Funter for thermal and slope flying.
Posted by VicT | Oct 03, 2017 @ 10:25 AM | 2,944 Views
I tried to tighten one of the 4 wing bolts but the Philips head screw driver could not grip the stripped head. The stock bolt is not the hardest metal and if you use the wrong screwdriver it makes it worse. Luckily I did not have to use a hack saw to cut the bolt with the wing on.

For preventative maintenance I took the stock bolt to Ace and it matched a 3 mm-.50 x 12 mm long style. They had regular black Allen bolts but I spent .75 x5 for some stainless bolts. I bought 2 wrenches (2.5 mm Allen). The angled one is stuck into the aft end of the battery compartment and the other was cut and wrapped with some brightly colored string and hot glue. This is to easily see it if lost on the ground/grass. To keep the bolts from falling out from the plastic wing joiner I used 4 pieces of fuel tubing stuck into the wing jointer holes. The fuel tubing keeps the stainless bolts from falling out and the inner diameter of the fuel tubing is big enough to put the Allen wrench to the bolt head.
Posted by VicT | Sep 29, 2017 @ 01:36 AM | 2,309 Views
I've done this with my Apprentice, Timber, and Beaver but for some reason works better on the Valiant 1.3 with SAFE Select/Self Level On:
Align Valiant on a short grass runway directly into wind. Set T/O or Land Flaps. Slowly advance throttle to where Valiant's thrust starts to overcome the drag of the wheels in the grass. Call this "minimum break away thrust". For the Spektrum DX 6,7,8,9,18 transmitters note the numerical value on the top line of the on screen display. This will vary according to grass height and other factors. Today I used 67 % for "min break away thrust". My student's DX9 used 65 %. When the model starts moving only move the rudder stick left or right to maintain runway heading. Try not to add power as the added P effect and left prop thrust will require more rudder correction. Your Valiant will gradually start rolling and slowly accelerate and rise off ground (R.O.G.) in about 50 feet. The slow motion climbout is impressive and fun to watch. With practice I was able to make straight takeoffs without using any left or right stick. Of course you can abort or add power or intervene with a wireless buddy box. Using low power extends flight time and adds valuable training experience. With E Flight 3S 3000 lipos we were landing after 30 minutes with 20% capacity remaining. Full power was used only for 10 low approach and go arounds and occasional aerobatics with SAFE off.
Posted by VicT | Aug 15, 2017 @ 12:47 AM | 2,944 Views
The Valiant gear is stronger than the Pandora gear and is easier to install. The aluminum gear legs are bent so the battery can fit between them. You will need 1/16" thick plywood obtained online or from hobby/craft stores. Scissors can be used to cut out the rough shapes and final outlines can be cut with a metal straight edge and box cutter/ hobby knife. A sanding block with 100 grit paper helps. Clear or white Gorilla Glue and medium CA with accelerator is used for the wood to foam bonds. See pics....Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Aug 12, 2017 @ 01:01 AM | 2,603 Views
The CellMeter 8 is my favorite method to determine if I have accidentally charged my lipo cells over 90% or accidentally flown below 15%. By limiting useable capacity of 75% (90-15=75) I am extending the service life and minimizing the swelling of the cells. I usually have 2 of these meters when I go fly but they get misplaced easily. Now I have a storage place that can't be lost...... on the Apprentice fuselage!

To make the meter flush and streamlined with the fuselage use a small box cutter to trace around the meter while holding it on the rear window. You can make the vertical slices deep enough so that the foam plug can be pushed down enough for the meter to be flush with the fuselage skin. Before glueing the plug remove the plug and grey window covering and mount velcro to the foam and meter bottom. I use 3M Dual Lock (thick type either clear or black) to secure the meter but have it removable. Put a drop of Gorilla Glue on the 4 sides of the fuselage cutouts and with the meter secured to the foam insert the plug and meter into the cutout and slowly push down until the meter is flush with the fuselage top. You can use 3M 20X tape to secure the meter as well. Be sure to allow room for a cable extension (3 or 4 cell) to be plugged into the meter and routed to where you have your battery balance connector. If you use the voltage LED with dual horns a Y cable can be soldered so the horn is visible aft of the Cellmeter 8. A plug can be cutout aft of the...Continue Reading
Posted by VicT | Aug 09, 2017 @ 09:15 AM | 3,168 Views
The windshield can be cut away using a new small box cutter for the purpose of adding wood to tie the receiver floor area to the plastic motor mount area. My recommendations are 1/32" ply that's been sanded and scored to accept CA and the foam to get kicker. The winshied could be CA'd back in place.

Empennage is key cut aft of lights to access rudder and elevator servo relocation. Access is easier for installation of two elevator servos and relocated rudder servo. Key cut can be reglued or taped back in place for transport and storage box. Dowels and brass tubes can be used to mate the front and rear prior to taping with 3M 20 X tape.

Windows can be cut out but frame wood be needed to add strength.
Posted by VicT | Jul 31, 2017 @ 11:52 PM | 2,822 Views
Valiant Gear is a great way to eliminate nose overs with or with out the Valiant wheel pants. The belly battery compartment can still be used to mount a pack. Here are some pics of the kit I've created for my club members.

Pictures to go: Final glue steps using Gorilla glue on side pieces and CA once side pieces are installed into fuse and gear is screwed down. Check every 5 minutes to mop away any Gorilla Glue that expands and interferes with aluminum gear or foam hatch areas. Let GG dry over night. Remove gear and use GG to fill in any wood to wood or wood to foam areas that have not been glued.

Pics to go : Foam pieces to fill in gear cavities....Continue Reading