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Jul 29, 2012, 06:26 AM
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Hobby King's Canary SQ

This mini review was previously published in the August 2012 edition of the Radio Control Soaring Digest

This August (2012) marks my 9th year flying RC; mainly electrics and gliders, and I don't know about you, but for the last 4 or 5 years I have seen a steady decline in prices of the various bits and pieces. It started with brushless motors, logically followed by cheaper ESC's, then the bottom fell out of the servo market. Mind you, these were all (and often still are) manufactured in the Far East - copies of reputable brands, or re-branded servos exiting the very same factories, but with less strict (i.e. cheaper) quality control.
Now I do not intend to start an argument (or a case) for or against these cheaper products. Fact is, some of these cheaper items aren't worth even the little bit of money you spend on them. However, some are. You just need to be either lucky, or knowledgeable about what you need, and where to buy it. For example, both my Riva Tango F5J glider and my Topmodels Nike2 hotliner have brand name quality servos. But they both sport "top-of-the-line" Turnigy motors and ESC's. My foamies on the other hand, all have $2 - $3 servos, and have withstood all possible abuse I could think of. And some even I couldn't think of…
But how about planes? Many ARF's are produced in the Far East nowadays, including a lot of brand names. And those prices are still way up there where they were 4 years ago.
So then, what kind of glider can you get for a whisker under $40, plus shipping? That's what I asked myself when I saw the Canary SQ on the Hobby King website.

First off, she looks very much like at least two other known gliders, both marketed by reputable name brands. Here and there are some minor differences (a few centimeters wingspan, shape and attachment of the tail group), but other than that, virtually identical. But at that price, I decided it couldn't be much. I just assumed it to be a cheap Chinese knock-off and forgot about it until, through no fault of my own, I had a large store credit and started an order of a variety of odds & ends. And somehow a Canary SQ found her way into my shopping basket.
On arrival the box was slightly "frazzled", but not more than any other large parcel I had ever received. Can't fault HK for that of course.

The wing halves and tail group came out of the box in pristine condition. Not so the pod. It was wrapped in thin tissue paper, and while unwrapping I could see a 5" long crack along the bottom seam, and another 2" long crack in the side of the pod. That was my first setback. Putting the pod aside (carefully), I examined the rest of the contents. The carbon fiber boom was pre-cut to receive the tail group. But whoever had done the cutting hadn't used a ruler. Or did the cutting with his/her eyes closed. Or both. The slits were so un-evenly spaced I wouldn't try to use it. Right, put the boom next to the pod…
A small plastic bag with some bits & pieces came out next. This contained: a 5mm carbon fiber tube, 3x2mm carbon fiber rods of various length, control horns with backplate and screws, a piece of light ply with a pre-drilled hole, and two elastic bands.
The 5mm CF tube was obviously the wing spar, the shortest CF rod the wings' aligning pin, the other two CF rods wing retention rods, the piece of ply will go inside the pod to hold the boom in place. The supplied control horns went straight into the spares drawer. They are the wrong ones; the elevator and rudder have pre-cut slots for horns. And the elastic bands both snapped when I gave them a little pull.
Tied together and folded away inside the box were 1mm metal pushrods. These were unusable because of the way they were folded; a permanent bend had appeared. I put those next to the CF boom then.
And last but not least a large sheet of sticky-back decals.
By now you may have noticed I did not mention instructions. That's because there weren't any! So my first thought of "a cheap glider = good for beginners" was out of the window. Quickly followed by the rubber bands, the pushrods, and the CF boom.
That means I was left with: two wing halves, a tail group, a pod (to be repaired etc., but more about that later), assorted CF rods and tube, and a decal sheet. It's sort of what I would expect to get for $40…
On the bright side; on closer inspection the wings, elevator, and rudder look pretty good! Expertly covered, without a wrinkle in sight. Not only that, but when trial fitting, the CF tube and rod where a snug fit, and the wing roots touch without a gap! Before glueing the wing halves together I applied the decals. It's easier to do, with less chance of hangar rash, when dealing with the two smaller wing halves separately. I cut two of the larger decals out of the sheet, one for the top and one for the bottom of the wing. To apply the decals I sprayed a generous amount of window cleaner on the wing, peeled of the backing paper from the decal, and gently placed the decal on the wing. With the window cleaner on the wing I could move the decal about a bit, until in position. I then squeezed the fluid from under the decal with some kitchen tissue. Let it dry, and the decal is applied without any air bubbles or creases.
I used 5-minute epoxy to glue the tube and rod in place, and after that with a generous amount of 30-minute epoxy on the wing roots I taped those together, after wiping away any excess epoxy. As there are no instructions, I let the wing halves decide the dihedral (as it happens, this turned out to be just right). I had saved the box from my Nike2, which now came in handy to store the wing when the epoxy had cured.

Last edited by Up&Away; Jul 29, 2012 at 06:38 AM.
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Jul 29, 2012, 06:33 AM
The original Flying Pigs Sqd.
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On to the pod. I have been corresponding with HK about a replacement, and they've assured me the factory will send a replacement. The only question is "when"… Not wanting to wait any longer, I decided to repair the pod. A long strip of carbon fiber cloth, about 1/2" wide was applied on the inside, along the bottom seam of the pod, and when that was virtually dry, I applied another piece of carbon fiber inside the pod where the second crack was. Using as little finishing epoxy as possible, I only added 2 grams! Closer inspection showed that the top seam in the nose was also looking a bit iffy, so I painted some leftover finishing epoxy here. I didn't add any further fiber cloth or other re-enforcement. The thinking behind it was that on a hard nose landing, something's gotta give, and I'd rather it be the nose itself, which is easy to repair. There were some hairline cracks in the gel-coat along the wing bed, which I treated with some thin CA.

Putting the pod aside, I moved on to the boom. As mentioned, the supplied boom was useless. No problem; a quick trip to the LHS (10 minute walk from the office), and I had a new boom. Measuring the length, I made an on-the-spot decision to lengthen the boom by 2". What can I say, I felt adventurous… I wrapped some masking tape around the end, and marked the middle and top. With a cutting disc on my Dremmel I made the first cuts, followed by some elbow grease and a flat file to open up the slits, and produced three straight openings for the horizontal and vertical stabs to slide into. (As I mentioned some time ago, do make sure you wear a facemask when doing something like this; carbon fiber dust can be dangerous!). When all was straight and true, I filed the end of each slit round to prevent cracks appearing, and wrapped the tube with some dental floss (the unwaxed type) and thin CA.

As I threw away the pushrods, I decided to make (for me) a drastic change. No pushrods! I've been reading about this spring/pull system which only needs a string between the servo and the moving surface. Reading up on this on RCGroups it all looked really simple, and it was. For a spring, I used a 0.5mm piece of pushrod (which I had with my spares), cut to size, and bent at both ends to a 90° angle. The rudder was folded back, lying parallel with the stab. One end of the bent piece of wire was inserted in the trailing edge of the stab and the other end into leading edge of the rudder. Testing this I found I needed a lot of force to push the rudder both ways by hand, so I took the wire out again, and bent it so that the rudder would spring to about only 50°. That felt much better. A small drop of thin CA was applied to both sides of the spring, and I repeated the same steps for the elevator.

Jul 29, 2012, 06:42 AM
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Both the rudder and elevator had a 2mm wide pre-cut opening for the control horn. I took two pieces of 1mm lite ply and sandwiched a strip of carbon fiber cloth in between. From this I cut two control horns, and CA'd them in the rudder and elevator, making sure the hole was on the hinge line.
With this done I fitted the vertical onto the horizontal stab (there are tabs & cutouts for this) and (thick) CA'd them in place, of course making sure they were at 90° angles. When the CA had cured, I added on both sides of the vertical stab a tiny CA-and-micro-balloons fillet. With this cured, all I had to do was slide the tail group into the slots of the tail boom and add a few drops of thick CA.

Aug 08, 2012, 09:01 AM
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Next steps were for the pod. I drilled (by hand) holes for the CF wing hold down rods by hand, because as you may realize by now, the pod has the strength of an eggshell. I pressed the CF rods through the holes, and re-enforced the inside of the pod with plenty of thick CA. This took a long time, because I had to hold the pod on its side while the CA was curing. Wait for the CA to cure, turn over, repeat. I didn't want to use kicker here so as to get maximum strength out of the CA.
Aug 08, 2012, 09:04 AM
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I now could attach the wing to the pod to trial fit the boom. Not so fast! While fitting the wing to the pod with (new) elastic bands, I realized the wing's trailing edge would very quickly get damaged by the elastic bands. So I glued (Epoxy, CA didn't hold on the plastic shrink covering) a 1mm piece of lite ply onto topside of the wing's trailing edge root area.
NOW I could trial fit the boom…
With the wing on the pod, and a spirit level on the wing, I placed the pod level on the table. To keep both sides level and in place, I first placed CD/DVD boxes under both sides and then taped the whole kit-and- caboodle to the table with masking tape. I then slid the tail boom inside the pod (a good tight fit), and made sure the tail was absolutely horizontal as well.
And then I could take it all apart again because I forgot to glue in the piece of ply that should be in the rear of the pod, to hold the tail boom in place. Plus, I also forgot to lightly sand the carbon fiber in all areas where glue will be applied! The down side of building without instructions?!

Some excess fiberglass deposits inside of the pod had to be removed before I could fit the ply. I fixed it with a touch of thick CA on the front side. After that I dropped some thick CA with a dropper through the tailboom opening at the rear.
Aug 08, 2012, 09:07 AM
The original Flying Pigs Sqd.
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I sanded the end of the tail boom, and wound some masking tape around the boom just behind where the boom would enter the pod, and then re-assembled the wing, pod and boom again on the table. When all was leveled, centered, checked, and double checked, I drew a mark from the pod on to the boom. I dribbled some medium CA where the boom meets the pod and fixed it with a shpritz of kicker. Then, with thin CA, I saturated the ply ring inside the fuse, to fix the boom permanently. I let this cure by itself (no kicker here!).

Dec 09, 2012, 04:14 AM
Gravity sucks.
This is a quality in-depth review, great to read before commencing one myself - did you take the build further?
Dec 09, 2012, 04:39 AM
The original Flying Pigs Sqd.
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Oops! Family matters took over. Here's the rest...

Right then, on to the electronics. This was very straight forward. I cut the lug of one side of each 9 gram servo, butt glued them together and put some tape around them. Two pieces of hardwood were glued inside the fuse, and the servos screwed in between the two.
A MICRO5 Rx fit right behind them, and a 4 cell KAN 300 battery pack in the nose.

I drilled two holes in the tail boom, filed them at an angle, and inserted a small piece of pushrod housing, so the pull wires won't chaff.

The wire to do the pulling is 50Lb Stealth Spider wire that I got for my Su33 rudder's pull/pull system. Light, flexible, easy to knot and very, very strong.

One end of the string was taped to the end of a piece of scrap pushrod (yes, the one that came with the kit…) and guided through the hole to the pod. Cut to size, and repeat for the second string. To keep the moving surfaces straight while attaching the pull string, I bound two pieces of scrap hardwood together with rubber bands at either end and placed it over the stab and elevator/rudder..
With the moving surfaces held in place, it was a breeze to knot the string first to the servo (after centering the servo), and then tighten the string and knot at t'other end. A good tight knot, and a tiny drop of medium CA will keep it all in place.

That's it! Balancing showed I had to add some lead to the nose, so took about half of the lead pellets I needed, put the pod on its nose, added the lead and poured some runny finishing epoxy in the nose. I let that cure overnight.

Now I was ready for some test chucking!
Last edited by Up&Away; Dec 09, 2012 at 04:46 AM.
Dec 09, 2012, 04:40 AM
The original Flying Pigs Sqd.
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One sunny morning, after dropping my wife off at work, I drove to a nearby field. First throw (into the wind) ended in a good impression of a lawn dart. Entirely my fault due to stupid fumbling with dumb thumbs. No damage to the wing, but (not surprisingly) the fuse had some serious damage. The top seam of the fuse, just in front of the wing saddle, had totally separated. Nothing to do but to go home again.
Dec 09, 2012, 04:42 AM
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I sanded the inside of the fuse top and the seam lightly, and CA'd the seam together. Once cured, I removed the gelcoat with my dremmel, cleaned the area with alcohol, and epoxied some carbon fiber strands across the seam, topped with a piece of light fiberglass cloth.

Once cured, I wrapped the fuse with some unidirectional fibertape.

Back to the field we went…
No dumb thumbs this time, and some gentle throws showed a nice shallow glide. I felt I needed to some more throw on the rudder, but the elevator was fine. Maybe a bit nose heavy.
Dec 09, 2012, 04:45 AM
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A week later I had the opportunity to go slope soaring, so obviously the Canard came with. The 8knots wind was not straight on the slope, but good enough. After a short flight with my WeaselPro, the Canard got some airtime.

Put simply; she's a real sweet little glider. Because she's so light, she's very sensitive to changes in the air. The unsuspecting pilot might get caught short here (more proof this is not a beginner's glider). I would prefer the rudder to be more responsive (may enlarge it later on). But I really enjoyed flying her.

Final conclusion?
The wing and tail group are real good quality stuff.
The tail boom was just badly cut, some of the accessories didn't fit, were wrong, or broken.
The pod is really bad quality fiberglass.

I still say it's money well spent…
Next step will be a tow hook, and a light hi-start. Can't wait!
Dec 10, 2012, 03:42 AM
Gravity sucks.
Fantastic to see it in the air after the initial spill! I've got a highstart on mine and have been toying with the idea of adding a 10-15g motor instead of 10-15 grams of dead weight to improve flight times, launches and be a little easier to bring back to my feet.

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