Spirit Elite ARF First Flight... - RC Groups
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Dec 25, 2003, 01:49 AM
AMA 16192

Spirit Elite ARF First Flight...

As some of you will remember, I had some questions on here a few weeks ago concerning the Spirit Elite ARF that I was assembling, and I now have an update.

I'm happy to report that I got a break in my schedule to test-fly it this past Sunday afternoon. I'm also happy to report that this is truly the FIRST airplane in over 25 years of modeling that I did NOT have to so much as TOUCH the trim levers! Honesly... not even one click!

The weather totally stunk for thermal flying, with strong, gusty winds and no real lift to be found, but I did get one handlaunch for a test glide, then did 3 launches on the winch to start getting a feel for the way the airplane flies. So far I think I'm really going to like this little bird! All controls are quite responsive and plenty powerful, and the flaps seem to have plenty of authority too without affecting roll or pitch control to any great degree.

The weather is supposed to be nice here (north Alabama) on Friday and Saturday, so I plan to take it back out for a second day of flying. Hopefully there will be some thermal activity and I can spend more time flying instead of launching!

One more thing... the stock canopy hold-down sucks! I modified mine with a steel pin running the width of the fuse at the rear of the radio compartment. The ends of the pin stick out each side of the fuse about 1/32" and fit into holes in the rear edge of the canopy. The canopy is removed by simply pulling out slightly on the lower rear edges to clear the pin, then slid backward to disengage the front tongue. Works like a charm!

Good lift to all!
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Dec 29, 2003, 03:45 PM
.: Looking for Thermals :.
Ricardo RW's Avatar
What is the AUW?

Did you deviate from the instructions or hardware provided?


Dec 29, 2003, 04:02 PM
AMA 16192
Sorry, I have no idea what the AUW is... I'm too lazy to weigh it properly on a good scale. All I have at home is bath scales, but if I can find a good scale somewhere to weigh it on I'll let you know.

The only deviations from the hardware provided was as follows:

1. Sullivan gold clevises on all pushrod connections except as noted in #2 below (no bent control rods and swing-keepers for me, and no nylon clevises either)

2. Ball links at the servos inside the fuse

3. Sullivan "Pro" flexible pushrods for rudder and elevator (the ones with the black inside section)

I also used a .020" music wire antenna glued inside the fuse with a quick disconnect between it and the Rx antenna pigtail. Other than those items, and the canopy hold-down method already mentioned, I did everything else as recommended.
Dec 29, 2003, 04:04 PM
.: Looking for Thermals :.
Ricardo RW's Avatar
AUW --> All Up Weight

What servos did you use?
Dec 29, 2003, 06:06 PM
AMA 16192
I figured out what AUW was, I just don't know what the all-up weight is because I haven't weighed it.

I have a total of four JR NES-321 mini and two JR NES-241 micro servos on board. The two NES-241's are on the ailerons, and the 321's are everywhere else.

The Rx is a JR R600 slimline "micro" receiver with all six channels in use. I use channels 1 and 5 mixed together for flaps so that I can have proportional flap control plus some reflex, and I also mixed channels 2 and 6 together for the aileron control. The Tx I'm using is the JR XF-652.

Hope this helps...
Dec 30, 2003, 06:57 AM
.: Looking for Thermals :.
Ricardo RW's Avatar
I'd suggest you to weigh that baby, mine came a bit heavy, around 40oz. I have thermaled it for more than 25 minutes and it's quite fast, I think due to it's airfoil and weight.


Dec 30, 2003, 10:47 AM
AMA 16192
I'll try to find an accurate scale to weigh it on in the next few days.

Quite a few folks made comments about how tail-heavy theirs were, and gave lots of suggestions on lightening the tail during construction to keep from adding a lot of weight to the nose.

For what it's worth, mine balanced on the aft end of the CG range with no additional weight added! I did add maybe a 1/4 ounce in the very front of the nose to bring the CG forward to the middle of the range, but that is all. I have a 4-cell AA NiCd pack up front with the receiver right behind it, and the servos in the location originally designed for, and the balance is just perfect.

In conclusion, it would appear that whatever weight issues with the aft end of the fuselage that were previously present have been resolved by Great Pains.

Dec 31, 2003, 08:30 PM
Hit my smoke....
Hostage-46's Avatar
Of course it's a personal preference but I found mine flew much better when I moved the CG aft. Can't recall exact loation but it was beyond the aft limit on the plans.

That might be a bit too lively for some, but the difference between the middle and aft and of the CG was huge for me.

I found it signaled lift and thermalled like a new airplane once I moved the CG back.

Just my $.02
Jan 01, 2004, 11:09 AM
AMA 16192
Right now mine is just about in the middle of the range indicated in the instruction booklet (no plans for the Elite ARF version) and seems to do well. I did a good bit of flying with it yesterday including a 20-minute thermal flight in very light lift, and other than a problem with occasional radio hits the airplane itself does quite well. The pilot is definitely the limiting factor at the moment. I'm about to head back out with it in a few minutes and fly another session with it. Hopefully there will be much more lift than yesterday...

Cheers, and Happy New Year to all!
Jan 01, 2004, 08:51 PM
Registered User
would the spirit elite arf able to thermal when launched from a high-start like the one from dynaflite?

Jan 01, 2004, 09:16 PM
Hit my smoke....
Hostage-46's Avatar
Jan 02, 2004, 11:29 AM
AMA 16192
Originally posted by lagcisco
would the spirit elite arf able to thermal when launched from a high-start like the one from dynaflite?

Of course! Technically you could thermal it from a really good hand launch, but that would require some serious muscle to get the thing decently high.
Jan 02, 2004, 06:26 PM
Registered User
Brew Glider's Avatar
Hey bronicabill,

In the same boat there with the Elite ARF. I experienced everything mentioned about the kit as well. I flew mine for the first time yesterday. She is a hand full compaired to my Soph Lady. I have a 9CAP that is a hand full as well.

I am in West GA area. Where do you fly? You mentioned flying off a winch. Are you in the North Alabama Club?

Jan 02, 2004, 09:01 PM
AMA 16192
I fly with the North Alabama Silent Flyers in Huntsville. We fly off of a large open field on the UAH campus right in the middle of town.

Regarding the winch, I have one I picked up several years ago for a mere $75.00. I just added an automatic drum brake release to it this evening. It had a manually-operated brake which was a real pain in the backside... especially if you forgot to reset it before launching. Now it works automatically like all "modern" winches do! Took about 2 hours of time, a 3' length of 3/16" music wire, and a bit of silver solder, but it appears it'll work like a charm.


Bill R.