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Posted by gaffrig | Jun 17, 2010 @ 09:31 PM | 2,863 Views
So I had to get a new fuse for my Decathlon. The original was so compressed from it's abrupt meeting with Mother Earth that I couldn't get the down and right thrust set. Plus it looked like... well, a badly crashed plane. So I ordered a new fuse and it finally arrived. I then had to move the tail feathers, servos, etc. to the new fuse and build a new motor mount. I upgraded the motor to a Turnigy 2213-20 with a 20Amp ESC swinging an 11x5.5E prop. fed by a Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo. The battery fits nicely in the belly battery compartment (after removing the aft half of the battery cage) and the plane is dead on it's CoG. Now I just have to take it to the field and fly it.
With the new power sys I can hold the plane nose up and at 1/2 throttle it tries to leave my hand. A lot of power for a plane that came with a 400 brushed geared motor and a 1000mAmp niMh battery. So I should have sufficient power to get some altitude (for safety if you know what I mean). I'll write again after we fly.
Posted by gaffrig | Feb 11, 2010 @ 09:34 AM | 3,158 Views
It's been a while since my last blog, so here's an update for you to endure. Since my last entry I have removed most of the dirt off of my crashed trainer, cut the sides of the fuse off evenly, made patterns for the new sides (both side are the same size so weight balance shouldn't be a problem), and started to cut the pieces from plywood. The wing is patched and covered and doesn't look too bad.
My Decathlon RTF is ready to fly with a new outrunner motor. The ESC is also new, but I have to get a lipo battery and charger for it. I can get 8min off the NiMH battery that came with the plane, but I don't think I'm getting full power from the motor.
The weather has been cold and windy (very to both) and I just can't seem to get in gear.
Anyway that's how my world is shaping up. More later.....
Posted by gaffrig | Dec 31, 2009 @ 11:12 PM | 3,097 Views
So here we are, New Years Eve. I've been cleaning up the last crashed trainer, the SuperSport 40, for the last month and I think it is re-buildable. We determined that the cause of the crash was not checking the RX battery's state of charge. Dang it! The wing is repaired, the engine cleaned. The fuse is the problem. Both sides have multiple fractures as far back as the rear of the wing. Of course the motor mount is toast, as are the top and bottom panels of the forward fuse. But the good news is that all the parts are present and can be used as patterns.
The guys I fly with say junk it and buy a new fuse and get flying, but I'm one of those guys who likes to build (or re-build in this case). I think that I'll get serious about this project next week. Wish me luck.
And Happy New Year. May all your crashes be little ones.
Posted by gaffrig | Nov 30, 2009 @ 11:08 PM | 3,551 Views
Went flying yesterday. A little bit of a breeze at a 45 degree angle to the field. My instructor took off, then gave me the controls. I flew for about 10 minutes, then we brought the plane in to refuel and rest. A little later up we go again. Flew for maybe 5 minutes and the plane is starting to respond intermittently to control. So the instructor takes the controls and brings the plane in to land. On final all control is lost and the plane makes a big dent in mother earth. It also sprinkles the area with small bits of wood.
After retrieving the plane all the servos work. We check the Rx battery and it is dead. Strange as we had charged it to 6 volts before the first flight. Then I realize that it is a 4 or 5 year old battery that I had intended to replace. Why do I keep making these expensive mistakes?
So I'm rebuilding again. The wing is im pretty good shape, but the fuse is toast back to the windshield. The motor mount is toast. This may take a while to correct.
Posted by gaffrig | Nov 19, 2009 @ 11:05 PM | 3,343 Views
So, since my last entry I have torn down the SuperStar 40 that I had acquired. It had been the project of a high school student who apparently could not read and had few mechanical skills. Luckily the plane was mostly repairable. After re-assembling the wing, rebuilding the servo tray and adjusting all the linkages the plane is in pretty good shape. It came with a OS .40 LA and that will do for now. I had an older Futaba 72 mhz tx and rx, so I used them.
So back to the field I go. My instructor checks everything out and says "Not bad" which makes me feel good. We hook up a buddy box and check out the controls. Had to reverse a couple. Then he takes off as sets the trim. Now it's my turn and I hear "You have the plane". I fly a race track pattern making right hand turns, then left hand turns. I'm over controlling like crazy and my instructor has to take the plane several times as I spiral out of control. I'm sure glad he is paying attention. After about minutes I am worn out, so he lands and we review the flight. Actually I didn't do too bad.
Three days later we are back at the flying field and I get in two 10 minute flights and do much better. Still a little over control and some confusion when the plane is coming at me, but better over all. And I wasn't nearly as nervous. I'll be back flying this weekend.

Posted by gaffrig | Oct 31, 2009 @ 11:14 PM | 3,786 Views
Two days ago I'm at the flying field. It's a brezzy day. I decide to use my beginners success of the day before and fly my Dicathlon again. My instructor takes it up and insures that the trim is correct, then hands the transmitter to me. I fly to the end of the field and start my first turn. Nose too high, turning downwind, upwind wing comes over, it's in a spiral, it's in the dirt. Well, not quite as good as the day before. I pick up the pieces of foam. Last night I started to piece them together. Some don't fit very well due to the compression of the foam. It will probably look and fly a little odd. Can't wait to get to the field again.
Posted by gaffrig | Oct 30, 2009 @ 12:04 AM | 3,217 Views
I recently returned to model airplanes and for the first time RC flying. My first plane was an Art-Tech Decathlon RTF from Banana Hobby. It is listed as suitable for beginners and was complete with everything necessary for a reasonable price.
So while waiting for the plane to arrive I contactes the local club and arranged for an instructor. This was the first smart thing I did. I started working with my instructor and he advised me to spend some time and money on a good flight simulator. I went the cheap route. Error #2. My wife even told me to get a more expensive simulator. Wish I had.
So the plane arrives, is assembled in short order, and the battery charged. It came with small wheels and wheel pants, which look really cool. But the flying field is grass, which is kept very short. Plane wouldn't roll on the grass. So much for truth in advertizing. What was missing was a suitable motor/power supply. Pants come off, larger wheels are purchased. Still looks OK.
So I have my instructor fly it, hand launched. It goes up, woobles around, and lands (just), "What a hand-ful" he states. We adjust the control linkages and that helps, and up it goes again. Looks a little more stable, but still under powered. Then everything goes dead.....real DEAD. The nose of the plane is introduced to the ground, quickly. Later we figure out that the battery has a bad solder joint and well you know what happens then. So a new battery, prop and patch the cowl. And then the plane...Continue Reading