500 size AH-64A Apache build - RC Groups
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Jul 11, 2017, 11:19 AM
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F106DeltaDart's Avatar
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500 size AH-64A Apache build


Over the past couple of months I've started working on another scale Heli to join my AH-6 Little Bird, a 500 size AH-64A Apache Gunship. This is all based off of the old (discontinued) RC Aerodyne scale fuselage kit. This includes a custom main gear to fit inside the narrow fuselage, and frames that lower the tail boom to the scale location. I am also using the RC Aerodyne raised tail kit, that allows me to use a torque tube drive setup. In addition, I will be using the scale 4 blade head and offset tail rotor kits from CNC helicopter. I am also planning on a fully detailed cockpit.

One of the first mods to the airframe was to move the tail rotor fairing to the correct side. The kit included the tail rotor on the left side, while it is located on the right in the full scale version. To do this, I cut out the fairing with a Drexel cutoff wheel, and glued in a styrene backing. The gaps were filled with bondo and sanded to blend the surface. The fairing was then painstakingly reconstructed from styrene on the correct side.

The next thing was to add in a few missing panel lines. Thin panel line tape was applied to all of these missing lines. These were then painted over with thick auto body primer, and then the tape was removed to leave the panel lines. In addition, various handles were added across the airframe by bending thin steel rods. Here is the current configuration with test fitting the mechanics in the fuselage.

Next up will be more airframe detailing including more handles/antennas/sensors, and a start on the cockpit detail.
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Jul 11, 2017, 11:22 AM
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More progress this weekend on the Apache. I got the landing gear attached and added on more airframe details, as well as starting the cockpit detail. I added some more of the various handles around the helicopter, and the antennas and fences behind the rotor mast.

Here is some of the cockpit detail so far. The seats, pilot, and instrument panels were all 3D printed and painted with autobody primer to smooth out the surfaces.

Next is the flare dispensers, start on the rivet detail, and move forward with the cockpit and window installation.
Jul 11, 2017, 11:28 AM
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Gear wire cutters and panel detail
Jul 11, 2017, 11:30 AM
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Working on the setup for the mechanics. The main objective was to substitute the stock align shaft to move the rotorhead lower similar to the real Apache. I did not however, realize how much of a pain this would be. The rotorhead that I bought for this project was a custom scale Apache from CNCHelicopter, which I now would not recommend.. The first issue was that the ball links on the head took a lot of force to move, not free to move as they should. So, I decided to change out all the linkages to Align hardware. While removing one of the ball links, the screw snapped clean off, inside the threaded hole. Trying to remove this lead to the discovery of more issues, including cracked parts, and poor tolerances. So, I elected to use the Align four blade head instead. I had to cut down the tip on the DFC mainshaft to get it to fit, and shrink all of the pitch links, but I finally have something that looks a bit more reasonable. Here are a few photos of the new head and lower positioning, couldn't resist a test fit with the blades attached..
Jul 11, 2017, 11:32 AM
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Added a few more details. Flare dispenser, antennas, and wire cutters for the most part. Also started hollowing out a few parts on the nose to make rooms for a movable TADS unit. Getting close to painting!
Jul 11, 2017, 12:14 PM
Track clear , smoke on !
cap231ex's Avatar
I would not recommend using those CF blades as they don't produce enough lift for as heavy as that AH-64 is going to be.
I had a pair I was using several years back on an EC145 that did not end well at all , they do look cool just don't make the lift needed.

Good luck and enjoy your project
Jul 11, 2017, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cap231ex
I would not recommend using those CF blades as they don't produce enough lift for as heavy as that AH-64 is going to be.
I had a pair I was using several years back on an EC145 that did not end well at all , they do look cool just don't make the lift needed.

Good luck and enjoy your project
I use them on my 500 AH-6J Little Bird without issue. They do like a bit more headspeed than your average thick chord blade, but have performed well so far, even in pretty stiff wind (~17 mph). I do have some of the plastic Hobbyking blades laying around as backups if these don't work out. They just tend to dislike wind quite a bit more. Otherwise there aren't really more options for thin chord blades for CCW rotation.
Jul 14, 2017, 01:17 AM
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After a long night of rewiring and getting the swivels to work properly, the TADS can finally tilt up and down successfully! Now I have to get it installed in the nose, and set up the servo for panning.

One thing that is also coming up soon is the H-stab install. The manual recommends letting the stab sit naturally on a hinge for the LE. On the full scale, incidence changes with airspeed. What would you guys recommend, especially anyone who has an Apache or Blackhawk. Leave it free floating, fix it in one position, or actuate it as a surface (perhaps couple with fore/aft cyclic like Huey Stabs)? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Jul 14, 2017, 07:26 AM
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rotorist's Avatar
This is a Jayhawk on RR..........



https://rc.runryder.com/helicopter/t.../?p=6667045#RR
Jul 14, 2017, 11:26 PM
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Thanks rotorist! I will definitely look into something similar. I do wonder how it would fare leaving it free floating though. Should droop in the hover and be free to move at higher airspeed, at least in theory. I'll probably add in the linkages so that I can actuate it if needed, but can save some weight and an extra channel if it flies fine without.

Also got the TADS up and working tonight. Now onto the gun!
500 size Apache servo controlled TADS demo (0 min 39 sec)
Jul 16, 2017, 09:10 PM
Love my scale Whirlybirds
Keyrigger's Avatar
If you use two head speeds, one for low speed flying (hovering maneuvers) and one for all out performance, tie the servo to your Idle Up 1 and 2 so that on the low speed, your stab is down and when doing high speed flying, you have it horizontal. If you get the helicopter flying fast enough, the tail will influence the flight characteristics and not in a great way. It will lift the tail in fast forward flight. Take care.

Don
Jul 17, 2017, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyrigger
If you use two head speeds, one for low speed flying (hovering maneuvers) and one for all out performance, tie the servo to your Idle Up 1 and 2 so that on the low speed, your stab is down and when doing high speed flying, you have it horizontal. If you get the helicopter flying fast enough, the tail will influence the flight characteristics and not in a great way. It will lift the tail in fast forward flight. Take care.

Don
That would be doable for sure, but it would mean sacrificing my remote gain channel. Should still be able to adjust it via bluetooth from my ipad though. With the tilt/pan for gun and TADS, my DX9 is starting to get to the edge of its capability. Thanks for the input!
Jul 23, 2017, 11:54 AM
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A bit more progress last night, weapons pylons have been attached and the rocket pods and hellfires have been dry fitted. I'll glue on the ordinance after the aircraft is painted.
Aug 06, 2017, 12:39 AM
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Finally made a bit more progress on the Apache. I got some paint this morning (as well as snagged a new 550 heli) up at a swap meet in Denton. Finished up the basic paint work this afternoon. Still need to do all the detail painting, but the majority of it is covered. One of the other things that I did was some detailing on the TADS. I had found out from reference photos that the targeting sensor pod and the big sensor on the TADS had a mirror finish. So, I ordered some one-way glass film on Amazon and applied it to some leftover clear plastic. Then I recessed that into the TADS and sensor pod. Here are some pictures of where it is at tonight, took them outside so hopefully it's a bit more visible.

I am debating what to do about the other side on the TADS though. This is where things get difficult. The mold line for that sensor is wrong on the airframe, the bottom should slant the opposite way, and the lense should have 2 separate plates with different angles not a single flat spot. Is it a small thing? Yes, but for all the detail I've put in so far I kind of want to fix it. Would definitely require some dremel surgery though, so I'm not sure if it's worth the risk. But, the angles panes with some fake cameras behind them would certainly look better than just a piece of clear plastic in the existing spot.


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