Night Flying Report - RC Groups
Thread Tools
This thread is privately moderated by GimpyPilot, who may elect to delete unwanted replies.
Nov 04, 2010, 11:59 AM
T-28C, Extra 300, Beast UMX
GimpyPilot's Avatar

Night Flying Report

Well it has been getting darker earlier as we head towards Daylight Savings Time, and knowing that it was coming (plus wanting the challenge of the build) I included a scale lighting system on my fun scale T-28 build.

I now have about 8 dusk/night flights on the Trojan and am happy to report that things are working pretty well. Orientation has not been an issue in any way, even flying into dark after sunset. I did not intend for this to be a true night flyer, but it is pretty easy to fly - I have been flying it a little later each of the past 3 nights, and it is working out pretty good, even as it gets darker.

That said there are some limitations. The nose gear landing light has been functioning very well - it is pretty bright, and being attached to the nose gear steers with rudder input. However, finding the optimum angle for actually illuminating the ground has been tough so far.

This is important because I need to be able to judge height above ground during the flare accurately. This is a result partly of the angle of the light, and partly it is a candlepower issue. So I am thinking about mounting a second LED to the nose gear for more illumination, and I may also add some wing mounted landing lights.

The wing mounted lights are interesting because to be scale the left wing light would be mounted in the leading edge about 2/3 span out, and the right wing would be a retractable style light that sits about 1/4 chord back from the leading edge, also about 2/3 span out. Right now I am leaning towards mounting them both on the leading edge at the 2/3 span location and connecting them to the landing light controller where I still have open ports.

I am torn as to whether embed them into the foam, or actually make a small cutout, mount the lights, then cover with a clear lens like on the real plane. I want to minimize drag, but I also want to minimize effort and down time for the modification. Not sure yet how I will go about this.

The Park 480 and stock prop combo are working pretty well, but it seems to lack the punch I recall from my previous Trojan. Some of that is explained by the additional weight, and the rest I suspect to be drag from the nose gear cutout, main wheels when retracted and lastly by the wingtip and fuselage light installations.

The mains tuck up pretty cleanly into the center of the wing and should be lower drag than the fixed gear even though they protrude a little. There is still some clean up in front of the gear doors to make sure there is no airflow getting under them.

As a result, I am beginning to think about how to build up a set of semi-scale nose gear doors. This will be new ground for me, so I have started to look at other Trojan builds to see how others have made them. I will also look at other foamy builds for ideas. At this point I am about 70% sure I will fab up some doors and try to make them work. If they do not make a difference I can always pull them off.

I made a new nose gear operating rod and reversed the servo saver from below the arm to above and the nose gear retract is now rock solid in operation. This gives a more direct line of action, reduces angles on the operating arm at the retracts, still provides adequate access to the servo saver, and makes for a cleaner installation as well. Unless I really pile it in I think it should hold up just fine now.

The mains are still a little problematic. During retraction with higher throttle settings - you know, like when you are climbing out after takeoff or a touch and go, they hang up at about 80% retracted, just before the wheels go into the wells. I originally suspected the strut mounted outer gear doors but they seem to be holding up just fine.

I am now wondering if running both mechanical retracts off of a single HS65MG servo is too much load when combined with a servo slow and the adjustable reversing Y that operates the nose gear servo (another HS65MG) as well. Maybe not enough push. Reducing throttle and pushing for a little negative G always gets them to finish retracting, but that is not how I want to have to fly the plane. I will try retracting them earlier and see if it is airspeed related.

All in all, I am extremely happy with this build. It handles very well and the additional weight (about 7 oz over stock) really helps it handle the wind although wind at the field has died down significantly over the past few weeks. Turning to final with the gear and flaps hanging is very satisfying, as is the awesome slow speeds it is capable of with the big flaps.

Shot in low light

Shot showing the front on view

Untitled (0 min 29 sec)

PZ T-28 Gear Swing (0 min 31 sec)

Slingshot Johnny III Night Taxi (1 min 19 sec)
Last edited by GimpyPilot; Nov 04, 2010 at 12:11 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Nov 04, 2010, 01:38 PM
If It Aint Broke,I'll Break It
Rockin G's Avatar
John, are you using a BEC?
Nov 04, 2010, 01:52 PM
T-28C, Extra 300, Beast UMX
GimpyPilot's Avatar
Originally Posted by cna91
John, are you using a BEC?
Oh yes ABSOLUTELY, Castle 10A BEC wired into EC3 connector for the flight pack. Still using the stock ESC (same one I used when I was in SLC last year in fact).

With 4 additional servos (2 flaps, 2 MG's for gear) plus 8, soon to be 10 or 11 LEDs there was no way I even considered flying it without a BEC.

I am using the flight pack to power everything but the 480 seems to be very battery friendly combined with my current flying style - after 8 minutes of low-mid throttle flying I am still showing 3.8V per cell - and that is with the lights on.

I may still put a recevier pack in to power the BEC and lights and completely separate the Rx from the flight pack.
Nov 04, 2010, 02:37 PM
If It Aint Broke,I'll Break It
Rockin G's Avatar
Hmm...that is the only way that I could think that your retracts were hanging up at 80 percent when still on the throttle. But them darm mechanicals can be a bear to figure out, no matter the size.
Nov 04, 2010, 03:15 PM
T-28C, Extra 300, Beast UMX
GimpyPilot's Avatar
It was a good thought. The LHS programmed the BEC to set max voltage at 5.5V to protect the lights, it is capable of up to 10A, but the Rx would have dropped it down to around 5.5V I think anyway. I will check with the tech guys there anyway.

You know way more than me about retracts and the challenges they can provide - sorry to say for you and your Sabre. It may actually be airspeed, not propwash specifically that is keeping them out - I plan to experiment a little this afternoon by retracting the gear sooner.

It sure looks nice with the gear tucked up!
Nov 05, 2010, 03:54 PM
If It Aint Broke,I'll Break It
Rockin G's Avatar
Oh, I forgot to say that I am impressed with your ability to build and modify those planes....IN THE RV!!!. Wow, I cant even keep my garage in order, I cant imagine doing it in the RV....much respect to ya man.
Nov 05, 2010, 04:21 PM
T-28C, Extra 300, Beast UMX
GimpyPilot's Avatar
Yeah, forgot to mention to that my 14 yr old daughter and her cat moved in with me back in August so she could go to High School out here - will probably move into a condo or apartment around the 1st of the year, the RV is feeling a little tight.

Thanks Aaron!

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale Rc lights for night flying Horse feathers Aircraft - Electric - Airplanes (FS/W) 9 Dec 24, 2010 08:35 AM
Sold Rc Lights Night flying Horse feathers Aircraft - General - Miscellaneous (FS/W) 0 Oct 20, 2010 08:06 PM
Build Log Night Flying GWS Slowstick bbrstorm Electric Plane Talk 4 Oct 12, 2010 01:11 AM