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Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 09, 2012 @ 08:21 PM | 3,576 Views
I decided to put on bigger wheels on the Pitts to handle deeper grass. I opted for Hangar 9's 2.5" Prolites. I used a 5/32 Brass shim to mate to the axles, but I am planning on getting a better axle system to handle beefier touchdowns. The stock setup seems like it might come loose over time.

The 2.5" wheels look better, and should handle things a bit better too. I had 2.25" H9PLs before, these have more of a "tire" look to them - closer to scale photos I've seen with PItts 12s on the net that do not use pants.

I also medium-tinted my canopy, it looks darker due to the lighting. It's at about 55% tint. I finished cutting it and smoothing it out, just need to glue it on (waiting until I can decide how the balance is planned, as I may add some weight in the cockpit rear).

Other than that, just waiting for my 4S batteries to show up, glue the canopy, and I'm flying!!!

Pix below...

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 06, 2012 @ 03:40 PM | 3,588 Views
Well, I powered up my plane after attaching the linkages to the ailerons. At 4S, 1/2 throttle (inside, that is as far as I wanted to try!!!), I got 209.4Wp at 14.09Ap.

Not too bad. This should pull around 400-500W on full up WOT.

At cruise (50% or so) I should get about 10 minutes of flying time...

Pictures of the finished plane (sans canopy) below. Empty weight is 1425g (60oz.).

Just have to balance and weigh the unit. At 50% throttle, this pulls a LOT with the MAS 12x6 3-blade prop...

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 05, 2012 @ 11:00 PM | 4,027 Views
I used a Sullivan Wing wire kit and an extra spool of 30' wire (needed about 3 feet more than I had in the kit - figures...).

My approach was different than many - I wanted a clean look to the wires, without all the turn buckles and such. So, I used the grommet mounts on the wing struts, and two eyelets on the cabane rear struts, and two on the gear struts.

This way, I use one set of wires on each side and level to snug up! Two bottom strut wires go to the upper rear cabane strut through an eyelet, and the other side same. The top strut wires on both sides go to/through the eyelets on their respective sides at the gear. This allows a shared load between wires, and a cleaner setup (but trickier to install!). The loops are affixed with crimps and CA, any excess is removed via a Dremmel and diamond wheel (carefully!).

See pictures of this below. I adjusted the tension using the nuts on the eyelets to be able to increase tension on two wires at once. They are taught, but not too tight, and I have enough room to adjust them further if need be...

Now, the aileron linkages, and prop/canopy and balance! Whew!

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 04, 2012 @ 02:18 AM | 3,435 Views
I decided to make my plane look more stock than it was, so I added exhaust pipes off the airscoop just like real Pitts planes. I know, not really needed, but it just adds that something "extra".

I also am going to paint my cabane struts like the stock plane too. I removed th etop wing and struts, and graphite-epoxied the underside scoop to the fuselage. Mine was horribly fitting, and there's NO way that CA would have held it in two teeny places at 30mph+. I used my Dremmel tool with a carbide 1/8" cutting tool to match the curvature of the underside of the fuse as best I could, then used graphite-epoxy 1:1:1 to adhere it. This also flows nicely out and is BLACK. It filled in the gaps very well, and the scoop is rock-solid.

I then made two pipes out of 3/4" pieces of aluminum: 7/32" dia. and 3/16" dia.

They fit inside each other, to make a virtual exhaust pipe. A little CA, and some flat black paint dusted on lightly, and they look like they've been busy!

I then carefully added a small slab of balsa on the front behind the firewall on the inside of the fuselage's wooden spars to allow me to drill into the fuselage at an angle - this worked very well. I then use graphite-epoxy to adhere the pipes into the holes drilled carefully at an oblique angle on either side of the scoop, just like the real McCoy. The GE fills in nicely, and flows out to smooth out and cover over any left over roughness in the holes. A touch of GE inside the...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 03, 2012 @ 01:04 AM | 3,287 Views
Well, I am almost ready to go.

The top wing is attached - I opted to use 2.5mm cap screws, 2x 2.5mm washers, 10mm length to the screws. They seem to be better in the slots and more rugged. The wing went on pretty much like clockwork, except that I need 8 more washers to complete the cabane strut total.

I think my wires will be dual ones: two bottoms to the rear cabane, two tops to the mount I have in the gear strut. I have seen this on a couple of planes, and it looks great.

The only other thing to do is to tint and eventually mount the canopy, and cut some rear underside slots in the fuselage for exit air, and finish the aileron linkage with the ball sockets and rods.

I have 2800mAh 4S Lipos on the way for this plane. Should be a nearly perfect fit and balance. I'll pretest the balance with a "dummy" load (simulated battery using 2xD alkaline cells that weigh close to the batteries I'm getting (288g). I'll then determine if I need a small weight in the canopy section to re-load the plane or not.

I'll probably have the plane fully done this Wednesday, if nothing else goes awry. I may need a second wire kit but we'll see how much I have to work with.

By the way, the 900kV RC Timer motor had a misalignment in the rear bearings, which held the rotor slightly too far forward by a hair of a mm. A good friend and I adjusted the bearing seating in the main shaft, and re-lubed the motor. It now runs MUCH smoother and quieter. As a precaution, I have a replacement on order, but will fly this unit during maiden trials to determine its performance.

SkyCadet... gettin' closer!!!!
Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 01, 2012 @ 12:07 AM | 3,324 Views
I stalled the motor back on, after putting some small 1/8" O-rings as inserts to minimize vibration from the motor. I am probably going to ultimately use a different motor, but meantime, want to use this one. It is fine, except for some reason noisy when running, and clicks when hand turned.

It runs smooth, but has a tiny bit of bearing play in it. I have a replacement on order. Need to use this one to at the very least balance the plane out.

Also, installed the 60A E-flite ESC. I opted to have it sit under the battery tray, facing flat forward. Air will spill over the whole fin area of the heat sink. Also, I used Industrial-grade velcro for the unit, and will also be putting some cable ties to use as a backup. Just in case. It sits totally solid now, but under 6+g loops, who knows?

I also used white glue on the top and bottom of the wood canopy floor - it is SOLID now. No flex at all. I also reinforced the gear on the inside with a overlay spar inside the gap where the blind nuts are. Epoxied in.

I made a side mount for the ESC's on/off switch. This sits off to the port side of the plane. It was cut from a 3/4" pice of balsa and slotted to fit against the wall of the fuselage on the battery cross member I installed, and the near furthest bulkhead ring. It should work well there. I may just leave it on, but thought I'd try it. I don't like having stuff out of the fuelage wall, and the battery compartment seemed an excellent location.

I also zeroed and adjusted the bottom wing throws and positions as a prelude to mounting the wings tomorrow.

Pics below...

Almost finished now, just mounting the radio, wings, linkages for the ailerons, and then wires! Woo Hoo!

Stay tuned, getting her done very fast now!

Posted by SkyCadet | Mar 31, 2012 @ 11:49 PM | 3,430 Views
I decided after inadvertently breaking off one of the flimsy aileron link horns, to follow another fellow who used the same thing: Dubro #189 ball links (aileron type). These normally get used inside a fuselage to link the servo horns to "L" wires, but these are a fantastic way to get a solid aileron linkage!

These use a 4-40 screw to normally lock a control rod/wire in place; in lieu, I used 3/4" cap screws with 4-40 threads into the ball link, and then used CA to fix them. I then cut off the head o fthe cap screw about 1/8" in from the head base, and smoothed off. The ball/screws then thread into 5/32 holes I drilled right next to the locations of the old horns. I trimmed the material carefully first, then used white glue and matching paint to hide the wood, where showing. I started with pilot holes of 1/16" and took my time with my Dremmel.

CA was dripped into the holes first, then a drop or two onto the screws. These then got fed into the holes, and bite WELL! Wicked the CA that may have squeezed out with a Qtip. Voila! Ball linkages on my Ailerons!

I plan to use the stock control rods, though ANY 2-56 threaded rod will also do. The links come with nylon sockets that have 2-56 threads in them, and brass couplers which can be soldered or adhered using CA after cleaning the surface of a straight rod.

See pix below for finished results!

Sky Cadet
Posted by SkyCadet | Mar 27, 2012 @ 11:27 PM | 3,119 Views
Well, finally!

I opted to use 2-56 clevices from Dubro in lieu of the stock units, with 2-56 threaded rod. I used Dynamax aluminum servo horns on my aileron servos, due to the 82MG HiTec servo horns being a bit small/short, which concerned me for the throws.

Problem was that the clevices are around 1.6mm OD. No problem! I used nylon spray tube inserted over the clevis pins to act as a shim. Perfect fit! The intial fit was a bit snug, but once moved a few times, it loosened up nicely with almost no play.

The Dubro 2-56 clevices on the aileron horns needed to be shortened by about 1/4" to fit the servo horn-to-aileron horn length at zero deflection. I used dubro 2.1mm screws on my horns, since the E-Flite stock 10mmx2mm (OD) machine screws did NOT have enough length to clamp the horn backplate to the 1/2" thick ailerons! Thanks, E-Flite! Bad planning....

Anyway, it fit great. When storing the wing (I was planning an out of town trip for two days, and need to mount my electronics inside the fuselage now before hooking up the wings), the horn on one of the servos hit my hand and snapped off the aileron! This is the one that hooks to the second wing-set horns. Glad it happened now! I guess I'll have to do an upgrade like many here now, before flying... VERY weak lateral strength.

So, a few more fun things to do before flying. Glad that this happened now - no fun having ailerons fail in mid flight... The servo horns fit great. VERY robust with MAYBE 1/2mm or so of play. smooth motion though. I like this Dubro and metal servo horn upgrade - much more beefy. I left the Nylon 82MGs on the rudder and elevator though, and used the Dubro clevices and 2-56 threaded rods like on the ailerons. I like this - easy to set up and adjust...

Stay tuned...

Posted by SkyCadet | Mar 23, 2012 @ 10:29 PM | 3,481 Views
I just finished painting the prop. Just put it on lightly to test fit everything.

Looks great, I think...

Tru-Turn 2.25" spinner, MAS 12x6x3-blade. Standard spinner, electric conversion kit to mate to a 5mm shaft with collet. Painted gloss black on spinner, yellow on cup for cool effect!

Posted by SkyCadet | Mar 23, 2012 @ 07:29 PM | 3,265 Views
I finished the cowling today! I used graphite epoxy to stiffen the backside of the faux-engine parts and then used semi-gloss white/black paint to make a steel grey mix applied with a toothpick into the grooves on the faux-cylinder heads and mounts. Just enough to look like an engine, but not so much that it looks too "new"

I also blackened the firewall and seams where the cowling and battery cover sit, as well as the battery cover where it has black on the topside. Makes a cleaner look to the model!

See pictures below. Now, onto finishing the wings and wires, and then battery system!

Almost ready!!!

Posted by SkyCadet | Mar 23, 2012 @ 12:37 AM | 3,998 Views
I carefully cut out the slots between the faux-radial engine! Whew. A fair bit of precision work to look nice. I plan to use some graphite-epoxy to strengthen the engine spars and radial cylinders a bit more. I smoothed the job with a polishing wheel and my dremmel to remove any burrs and to remove sharp edges. Looks great!

Now, to paint the interior flat black and then epoxy into the cowl. I plan to paint yellow tips on the prop, then mount it. Getting there every day!

Sky Cadet
Posted by SkyCadet | Mar 21, 2012 @ 08:46 PM | 3,221 Views
I did a slight mod to the Pitts battery cover: A magnet, 10mmx3mm was mounted flush-wise to the 10-o'clock position as viewed from the front. The magnet holds a small 4-40 socket screw that was mounted in the middle of the front battery cover rib.

This holds the cover with a SNAP! and is just tight enough to prevent the cover form flying off. Mine was pretty good anyway, but I wanted to make sure before placing the cowling on. Now, the cover is as close to ideal as I can get it!!

Just trimming the final bits off the Faux-Radial plate, then gluing to the cowling.

Posted by SkyCadet | Mar 20, 2012 @ 07:32 PM | 3,074 Views
Hey everyone!

Finally! After a long hiatus, some other-hobby related activities, and such, I am almost ready to finish this plane.

Mounted the motor, tail section, and just finishing the battery/ESC install before popping the wings on, the wires, the prop, and up we go!!

Meanwhile, a few construction additions and notes:

I decided to run 4S 3700mAh lipos topping out at 320g each. That should give me over 16 mins of cruising flight time, with some excellent left over capacity for some aerobatics. The firewall mount for the 900Kv RC Timer 770W motor was also touched up with dilute 50% white glue (WeldBond) to add some strength, and the cowl mount blocks were too, after being positioned with 6-minute epoxy.

As can be seen again in one of the photos attached, the battery tray was extended and lowered by about 1" to accomodate a wider range of batteries.

My Tail wheel was rplaced by an eBay special - it is 1/8" taller, and i used the wire hardware from the kit, and a mounting block for the tail wheel with dual collets to avoid rudder stress. The mains will be 2.25" Hangar 9 wheels in lieu of the stock wheels/pants. I personally do not like wheel pants due to excess drag issues when landing on grass. My gear struts were also pre-drilled near the top with a 1/8" hole to prepare for mounting the flight wire kit I bought for this model!

Stay tuned, no several months waiting this time!!!

Posted by SkyCadet | Aug 06, 2011 @ 09:03 PM | 4,080 Views
My new Pitts 12 15e from e-Flite came in a few weeks ago, and I was awaiting the motor and a few additonal bits [sullivan wire kit, dubro tail wheel kit] to complete the build.

This will be initially a 3S, 3800mAh system with a 900Kv, 770W motor. I will be using a 60A ESC (Eflite) and 4x HS82MG servos (Hitec) for the controls. A AR500 full-range RX completes the ensemble. I have a TruTurn 2.25" aluminum spinner painted gloss back to match the scheme, and I plan to use a MAS 12x6x3-blade prop. (see pix)

Wings and Elevator were done about 10 days ago, and I am now finishing the build. First major mod is the battery tray lowering to accomodate larger batteries. I cut out the upper front spar and made one using 3/16" balsa. (see pix) It is the same hieght as the rear spar, to allow the tray to ride on both.

This will allow a longer new tray to fit into the plane and manage CG better.

I also used Weldbond white glue on the front inner wooden surfaces to strengthen them a bit without adding a lot of weight...

More pix to come as we continue the build!

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 21, 2011 @ 10:49 AM | 4,340 Views
Well, I had to slightly adjust my thrust angle after putting in the 1400Kv motor. I have been flying intermittently due to adverse weather. I recently added new tires to the plane, and these look and work very well.

However, during some weekend rolloff runs on TO with this plane, the yaw to the left was VERY significant. [I usually hand launch on the grassy field I fly at]

I used two thin ~0.4mm washers used often in landing gear as bearing shims to space the motor mount from the firewall on one side. Two went on the port (left) side of the firewall to adjust the angle slightly more starboard (right) and slightly up.

I flew the plane twice yesterday, and it tracks better in loops, and does not have the yaw/roll issue that seemed to be signficant [but not unmanageable]. I have yet to do an asphalt run with the new thrust setup, but it looks good so far.

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 17, 2011 @ 03:31 AM | 3,637 Views
The Super Decathlon BL got few new wheels to help in taller grass... so far they work fine. Main reason for retrofit is looks and functionailty - a better fit on the gear, with slightly narrower profile.

First pic: before, with Dubro Micro lite 1.75" wheels.
Subsequent pics: shots of new wheels, stock gear form my newly-aquired Pitts 12 15e by E-flite. These are just about 1.8" dia.

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 16, 2011 @ 07:26 PM | 3,635 Views
Well, I am consturcting a summer project: the Pitts 12 15e by E-flite.

I plan to use 12x7x3 and 12x6x3 MAS props, with a 2.5" spinner. Will be running a RC Timer 3648-5 900kV 770W motor, probably set it up for 3S service for now.

I have a 60A Eflite Pro ESC, and will be getting a AR600 fullrange RX.

Looking forward to building this plane!

Stay tuned...

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 04, 2011 @ 11:48 PM | 3,955 Views

I have had several PMs regarding my micro champ gear installation in more detail, so I have included some photos for those wanting them - apparently no pix in PMs are allowed.

This combination of replacement gear rolls WAY better than stock, and allows for much better grassy landing and takeoffs!

Mains are Dubro 1.23" sport wheels, [DUB123MS], tail is 3/8" micro Dubro tail wheel [DUB38MTW]; for those wanting more clearance, 1/2" are also available [DUB12MTW].

Posted by SkyCadet | Jun 27, 2011 @ 01:32 PM | 3,860 Views
I had a chance last night to try out the Champ's "bush" wheels on a flight last night (Sunday, near 2135 MDT). The plane flew just fine with the new wheels, and they rode the taller, 2" grass much better that the stock wheels.

I only had time for one medium length flight, but the plane seemed to handle the grass a little better with these larger wheels.

Posted by SkyCadet | Jun 25, 2011 @ 08:45 PM | 3,654 Views
Well, I decided to add some slightly larger wheels on my Pilot 1 Champ to allow it to handle longer/taller grass better, but I wanted to avoid overdoing it in case the CG gets out of whack with larger tundra type tires. I decided on a compromise, and used 9/32" carbon fiber rod as shims inside Dubro 2.75" foam microlite wheels. See picture below.

Too windy today to fly, maybe tonight if wind dies off.