55" Edge 540T by MrFlash, from RCM&E magazine, December, 2008
In December 2008, RCM&E magazine published a build article and plans for Dave Royds' (MrFlash) big 55" Edge 540T foamie. After sitting on the plans for almost a year and a half, I finally gathered all the gear and started building it. The big difference is that I had a bunch of FFF and depron left over from previous builds, so that's what I used instead of EPP. I can't publish the actual plans, but you should still be able to get back issues of the magazine through http://www.myhobbystore.co.uk/produc...-december-2008.
First, some statistics:
The only other major issue I had was the carbon wing tubes. I ordered 12mm and 10mm tubes from HobbyKing along with the electronics. The 12mm tube has a 10mm inner diameter, but the 10mm tube was just a little too big to slide through easily, so I had to sand it down just a bit.
Some points of interest in this build:
I had never painted an entire plane before, opting for either unpainted or a Sharpie paint job. For the Edge, I decided that I just couldn't have this be a blue plane with white wings, so I bought myself an early birthday present: a cheap Harbor Freight air brush and compressor. After learning the basic techniques on a spare sheet of FFF, I was ready to lay down some color. The big mistake I made was to not paint the entire fuselage white before putting the orange on the top half, because the blue color from the FFF mixed with the orange and made it darker than it should have been. This created problem because the wings were covered in white depron, and putting the orange onto white depron would have been very noticeably lighter. After trying several shades of orange from the store, I finally mixed in a couple drops of black to darken the original orange color before painting the wings.
For the checkerboard on the bottom of the wings, I cut acetate (transparency sheets), coated it one side with 3M 77 spray, let it dry, then stuck it on the depron before painting. This works very well and the acetate is easily removable afterward. I did the same for the lettering on the top. Then I traced the outlines with Sharpie before spraying a coat of Minwax Polycrylic.
I maidened the Edge on July 18th, 2010. Conditions were not ideal for a maiden: close to 100 degrees F, with probably 10-15 mph winds. However I was just dying to see how it flies and couldn't wait any longer.
My CG was slightly aft of the 3D CG point on the plans, so it flew tail heavy. You can kind of see this in the video. It was also a short maiden, because during one of the rolls it seems I lost an aileron. When it came down I noticed that one of my home-made 1/32 ply control horns broke. Oops! I promptly replaced the control horns with plastic control horns cut from a plastic gift card.
Here is the video:
Second and third flight report:
Second and third flights were done on another 100-degree day about a week after the maiden, but this time the winds were below 10mph. I adjusted the CG forward by putting 3oz of ballast in the ESC compartment, right behind the firewall. This allowed my CG to end up just slightly behind the wing tube. Unfortunately I couldn't get video of those flights, but the plane flew significantly better. Total weight increased to almost 42 oz, but the power system handles it no problem. As I mentioned above, this is when I realized the battery cooling issue and made some big air holes in the firewall, for both the battery and ESC compartments. I think after a couple more flights to adjust the aileron differential, and some beefier landing gear, I will be very happy with this plane.
Fourth flight report:
I've been shopping around for landing gear online, and finally went to the LHS to see if they had anything. I picked up some 1/8" music wire, which is definitely thicker and stronger than the 3/32" wire I was using. The 1/32" difference doesn't sound like a lot, but it's 33% thicker than the old wire. I had never worked with music wire this thick before, and it was so strong that I had to use a mini-torch to heat it so I could bend it into shape. The best part is that it still slides right into my landing gear box, so no modification was necessary on the plane.
The more difficult task was mounting the wheel pants, which I fashioned out of foam as well. I decided to make them easily removable, so I could fly off grass that would normally tear them off, which meant attaching a mounting plate to the inside wheel collar. I made the mounting plate out of aluminum flashing, which you can't solder with regular electronics solder, so I finally resorted to Gorilla Glue brand CA, which seems to be holding pretty well so far.
After a quick flight with this setup, the new landing gear seems to be holding up much better, and the battery cooling holes are doing their job, but I noticed that the ESC cooling is still inadequate. Before the next flight, I will have to figure out how to provide better cooling to the ESC. Also since I figured out how to put the spinner on, motor cooling is now an issue as well because the spinner blocks all direct air flow to the motor. The spinner will probably have to come off for the next flight. Either that, or I have to stop flying when it's 100 degrees outside.
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Yep it looked a little twitchy, but you did a good job of keeping it level in that wind. Just play around with the cg like you are doing then you'll find the sweet spot.
I think my cg was bang on the wing tube for "normal" stuff and about 3/4" back for 3D. Trim it for level flight when its not windy then flip it inverted. When it flys without climbing right way up and inverted thats a pretty good starting point.
BTW nice job avoiding the mid air
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