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Sep 23, 2017, 01:18 PM
Today is a good day to fly
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First 500

For quite some time, the last couple of years anyway, it's been my goal to get to the 500 class of machines. I found an EC 135 with Align 500 ESP mechanics, a TT and Align 4 blade head. The fuselage is rough, but (some) damage was disclosed by the seller. In pictures, the EC is well, blah. I hoped I'd warm up to it, but it's just plain ugly (IMHO) and with the damage this one has, it's going to hang in the garage. With only four choices for a fuselage (fiberglass/here in the States) I decided to go with another AS 350 B. First, I have to re-configure this 500 to a pod and boom, get it tuned and flying right before I ever consider putting it in a shell. The air frame it's self needs a few parts replaced, but is in overall good shape. Need to round up the missing parts to restore to P & B.
Not having any luck finding a 3 blade head, mine will be an experimental hybrid with 4 blades on top. Now to come up with a custom paint job and graphics. The hard part will be deciding if This is next after the Cal Fire is done, or if the smaller AS is next. Picture(s) when the new fuselage arrives.
9/28/2017. The new fuselage arrived late last night, so as promised here's a photo or two. My wife likes it so "Flying Tigers" it is. MY friend with a Trex 500 has said he has the parts I need to convert back to P & B, so when those are available, I can get this thing airworthy. I need to decide what to use for the FBL, the included unit didn't come with the interface cable and I'm not sure I want to use it anyway. Don't know squat about the Kbar, other than it's a clone of the Vbar. Been researching it, seems there's those that love it, others not so much. I have an AR7200BX, AR7210BX and AR 8000 w/satellite on hand so I could go with one of those. Another friend is strongly recommending the Ikon, of which he speaks highly. Don't know if the gyro from the Kbar would work with the AR8000, so might need one to make that work. It also came with some off the wall tail servo so that will get replaced with the proper Align, to match those on cyclic duty. I've never been a fan of TT tails, and will convert to belt drive. Research shows these had two different ways to accomplish this, one has a pulley attached to the main gear while the second has a anti rotation gear below the main gear driving a pulley for the belt. would prefer the latter as that's how the TT is driven and would be an easy swap requiring fewer parts. A word on buying used. The seller did note some damage to the shell,but not honestly,much more beat up than lead to believe. One of the main blades looked as if it was used for a stir stick, in contact cement. Tail blades were puppy chewed, a broken gear in the tail and the battery it came with has a dead cell. A phone call and he agreed to send another battery and cover the costs to replace the other stuff, I didn't even mention the shell, it's ugly anyway. He promised to ship in two days, well that was a month ago. Buyer beware, especially if the seller is in Alabama. He's not answering my calls/texts.
10/18/2017. Thinking of going with the Ikon2 w/Bluetooth, it has a setup for the 3 blade in the software. Parts ordered for the belt driven tail and a fantastic scale AS 350 head. Parts started trickling in yesterday. Looking forward to getting setup as a pod and boom, tuning the setup. Hope to maiden this year, but if we have another wet winter I'll wait until spring next year.
10/22/2017. TT to belt conversion is nearly done, however the used tail box I picked up doesn't seem quite right. It's a clone of unknown origin so it'll be replaced with an Align tail box. The cyclic servos are used, came with the original purchase, seriously considering replacing them as well. Why risk this over suspect parts? Pod and boom restoration is nearly finished, starting to look like a helicopter.
10/26/2017. Tried to mock up the belt drive, but the belt I have seems about 10 teeth too short. With the boom fully inserted, the belt is so tight the tail box is near impossible to assemble. It seems like there's way too much pressure on the bearings, so some research is in order. Bought new cyclic servos and a HW 100a PP V4 ESC. Also found a stunning scale replica of the AS 350 tri blade head, very nice. The scale light kit from RCA came yesterday, much nicer than the 10 dollar specials. Even though I'm staying with this paint, it'll get stripped down, rivets and other detailing done and re-painted. Callie Graphics will be my graphics supplier. The goal is a nicely detailed, but not museum quality bird I won't be afraid to fly. It will never be in any contest as it won't represent anything being flown, but something I came up with. After the design is finalized, I'll post it up. This will get bumped up in the order to after the UH-1 and before the 450/AS 350, of course to be fully tested and tuned as a P & B before it ever gets fitted into the fuselage.
11/1/2017. Tail or "N" number will be N224JW and will be "Flying Tigers Air Taxi", Serving the north bay since 2017. Veterans of a certain age will no doubt recognize the name and appreciate the reference. With some minor adjustments, the emblem will be as in the photo gallery. I'll squeeze in "Nut Tree Airport" somewhere. I was looking at the new scale tri blade head, something's amiss. The amount of pitch, both ways is 9 deg positive on one, while the smallest deflection is 7.2 deg positive. I can see the root of the problem, it won't be difficult to rectify. I will call the vendor to see if this is common, or if mine was just not inspected prior to delivery. Don't mind cleaning up some minor imperfections, but for this amount of money, it should be turn key and ready to install w/o any modification.
Last edited by farquward; Nov 01, 2017 at 01:03 PM.
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