My Seawind, old and new
About 3 years ago I was at the JR Indoor Festival and we built a lake to land and take off from. I didn't have a float plane that I could fly indoors and I watched Frank Noll fly the Electric Seawind there. Now I was amazed at the plane, I wanted one, but was not sure I could handle it. I waited and thought about getting one for a long time. Then a fellow came to our flying field with an electric Seawind and he wanted it test flown. One of our members took it off the grass, flew it around a while and we played pass the transmitter around for a while. I got a chance to fly it and I felt that I could fly it so in one of my weak moments, I ordered it from Tower.
My Seawind came, I spent about a week reading the thread on the Seawind on the Waterplanes section on RC Groups. I knew all the problems and with the help from the fellows there, I got my Seawind all assembled and I got ready to test fly it.
Well it was winter time, late February or early March and I walked out on the lake and my bride came out to take pictures of me taxing it on the snow. That was the year we got a record snowfall here in Northern Michigan. I think we got close to 13 feet total, other parts got as much as 16 feet total from November to May. Yes we did have snow fall on the first of May. It was a long, cold, snow filled winter. Seemed everyday I was blowing snow. So I walked out on the lake, set the Seawind down, checked the throws and I was sure I could taxi it and I would then go back in the house. Well I hit the throttle and in an instant I was in the air and now I had to fly it. Well I was fine for a short time, then as the Seawind came around I couldn't tell if it was coming or going. All across the lake was white with snow, on top of the ice, there were some ice fishing houses out on the lake, but the white and blue of the Seawind just melted into the landscape. I finally got it back, landed it and had no damage. I was not too sure I made the right choice. I did another flight and the plane was very nice, a lot faster than what I thought and again I lost it a couple of times. So I put it away for a while.
I got the Seawind out again when the lake thawed and went float flying. I still had some trouble seeing it, a lot less, but I wanted it to be a bit more visible. So I went back to the thread about the Seawind. Someplace there one fellow took a red magic marker and colored the left wing tip. He said it helped tell which way it was going. Others put orange covering or tape on the leading edge of the wing. That was fine, it helped orientation, but I thought that messed up the looks of the Seawind. I know, looks don't make one bit of difference when it comes to keeping your plane or losing your plane. I have to agree. So I did the magic marker thing. It made a world of difference. I also had some checker board design that I put on the bottom of the wing, but that didn't help one bit.
I got a few flights with the red wing tip, I liked it a lot, I still had some trouble with taxing the Seawind and there is a sweet spot with the throttle and up elevator that allows you to taxi quite well, I just had a terrible time keeping that sweet spot all the time while on the water. So I knew the water rudder needed to be longer and about the same size as the stock one. i went to a float fly at another lake and while trying to taxi out to take off, I had to avoid some Lilly pads, I throttled up too much and the Seawind ran into the dock legs and ruined the wing. I was bummed, but said, I can get a new wing.
I ordered a new wing, I also said, this is a sweet flying plane, It is slick, a bit faster than what I am used to, but I will learn to fly it and I am sure I can handle it. So I got another whole Seawind, which if something happened to the present one, all I have to do is trade parts. So the new wing came. I thought about the red wing tip. I was thinking how can I paint the wing tips, one red the other green so that I will be able to see them all the time and it will only add to the color of the Seawind. I stopped at one of the local hobby stores, they deal with cars much more than airplanes and they have an indoor track where they race all year long. In that store was some paint that they use on car bodies.
It is called Faskolor, paint for Lexan model car bodies and other surfaces. Flexible, water based and non-toxic. I thought, Red and Green would be great. I got it. Painted the wing tips and wow, what a difference. I then thought, if I paint the right aileron green on the underside, I will be able to see the right wing better. So I did that and then thought that I should paint the left aileron red on the bottom. I said something to my bride, she said, now will you be able to see it. If you are flying towards dusk here on the lake, won't the red and green look alike in low light. Both will be dark and you won't be able to tell which is which. I said good point, to which she suggested, paint the top left aileron red and then when the plane flies by, you will have dark on the right side, light on the left side and if you are inverted, you will have the reverse. So I did it.
Also on the same thread, one fellow used some Valispar clear polyurethane varnish to protect the paint on the Seawind. I said I will try that also. So after I painted the tips, ailerons and made sure everything was dry, I sprayed the polyurethane all over the plane. It seals the foam some, protects the blue and the colors that I put on my Seawind.
I then test flew my Seawind. Wow what a difference. I could tell which way it was going, easy to see, make for nice looks and makes my Seawind different from all the others, from what I know of. Also doesn't spoil the looks of the Seawind paint job, helps it stand out and I like the way it looks in the air.
I did make a new water rudder and I have installed that also. Now taxing is much easier. As I said in my Super Cub post, the docks and hoists are closer than ever before, so I have to land coming towards shore and so I have to land out away from the boats and hoists and then taxi in. Now it is much easier.
I also have to watch flying along the shore. We have lots of mature trees that line the shore and all of us know what trees will do to airplanes. They have this ability to reach out and grab an airplane that is flying by and that is not a good thing when it happens.
I have a number of flights on my re-built Seawind. I had to re-seal the wing area and it flies much better now. I have gotten much more familiar with how the Seawind handles. I can get it inverted, I don't fly low like Kingsflyer does, but I am able to fly it inverted. It will loop and when I switch to high rates, it will roll very quick. I don't do that much. I can't see a seaplane doing loops and rolls much. Way too hard on the airframe.
My neighbors love to see my float planes and all are just amazed that these planes will do what they do. Of course I have seen people do a lot more than what I do with any model airplane. I now feel that this was worth the money now. At the time, I thought $300 was way too much for a foam airplane, yet when I look at all the other airplanes I have, that is about how much each of them run or there about. By the time you put quality servos, receivers, speed controls and batteries in an airplane, you have just about $200 or close to it. Sure you can do it cheaper, but I find myself wondering, when the plane is in the air, will I still have it at the end of the flight or will some component fail and I lose my whole airplane. I think and this is just my opinion, now and then you can lose money by buying cheap components. Now for some airplanes, that is fine, over the water, I don't want that to happen. Can I still lose an airframe, sure, things happen all the time.
So thanks for looking and enjoy some of the pictures. All of them were taken by my bride of many years. She has gotten really good with the camera she uses. If she had a Cannon or Nikon they would be somewhat better, but for the cheap camera she uses, she does a great job. it is a Kodak 850 digital camera and she knows how to use it.
Photos to follow, some are on one computer, an ibook and others are on this computer. So I want to show the original version and my changes.
ImagesView all Images in thread
Last edited by Conehead; Jun 13, 2010 at 11:25 PM. Reason: more images
Great looking sea plane!!!!
"Sure you can do it cheaper, but I find myself wondering, when the plane is in the air, will I still have it at the end of the flight or will some component fail and I lose my whole airplane. I think and this is just my opinion, now and then you can lose money by buying cheap components."
I hear you. Some people just need to remember that cheaper isn't always better.
Why would you spend time and energy in the building process then use cheap junk on the inside. I believe your opionion rings true, sometimes the risk is just not worth it.
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