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Apr 18, 2019, 09:36 PM
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Question

Anticipating Alula Repairs?


Hello Hand Launch Community! Itís been a while.

Iím about to order an Alula and get myself back in the air. Since Iím new to this design, will you help me by describing how it tends to break and what parts/materials to have on hand from day one?

Thanks in advance!

Good flying,

Marc
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Apr 19, 2019, 07:19 AM
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Speaking of its great durability as a hand launch glider, since this question is posted in the hand launch forum. Get it trimmed well, and balanced properly, with suggested control throws, before launching it hard or flying on a windy day. I used the suggested Blenderm tape on the wing panel joints, same with the tail. Also used the Blenderm on the leading edge of the wing, and the bottom edge of the tail. With my Alula Evo, the previous generation design, it was several years of hard flying (full power launches, windy days with tumbling landings on grass), before I broke the belly skid, and eventually broke the fuse off. My old Evo is still in flyable condition but dinged up & softened somewhat. I bought Alula Trek this winter, I didn't buy any spare anything, and perhaps having a spare kit would be nice to have around. Its totally unneeded in my opinion.
Apr 19, 2019, 10:00 AM
auto-tune remix
slopemeno's Avatar
I have an Evo as well- it has to be six or seven years old by now. It's pretty easy to break the nose off. I just made myself a couple of fiberglass belly skids since parts for the Evo aren't available from Dreamflight anymore. I used 3M Super-90 sprayed onto a piece of cardboard and then applied with a disposable rosin brush to do repairs.

Other than that- the Alula is a pretty amazing little glider. It's been with me on a couple of road trips to Oregon and Arizona. I fly at a spot that has a cable hand rail and I must have hit the cable about a couple of hundred times on landing. My leading edge got pretty beaten up, so I straightened out the leading edge as best I could, dribbled some thin CA into the cracks, and then taped my leading edge with packing tape- which has held up pretty well over the last two years. I also put a piece of 2mm carbon rod in the fuse through the tail to help stiffen up the tail, which was getting pretty beat.
Apr 19, 2019, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for the quick feedback, folks. Iíll look into the Blenderm tape, but otherwise build and fly my Trek as designed.

Cheers!
Apr 19, 2019, 06:01 PM
a.k.a. Bob Parks
The nose can be reinforced by inserting a couple of small diameter carbon rods into the nose to past the battery compartment ( I did this on the older EVO to repair a broken nose).

BP
Apr 19, 2019, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbp
The nose can be reinforced by inserting a couple of small diameter carbon rods into the nose to past the battery compartment ( I did this on the older EVO to repair a broken nose).



BP


Good tip. Thanks!
Apr 22, 2019, 07:59 AM
Registered User
Hi @marctrudeau - all good thoughts raised so far. I've been flying an Alula Trek for about a year now - hundreds of hard launches, quite a few hard landings . A few experiences: the wing tips are a bit more fragile than the rest of the airframe and I've cracked them pretty badly a few times, though not broken them completely off. A bit of Gorilla Glue with drying overnight and it's been as good as new. The leading edge of the wings are subject to dings and I've used strips of 3M fiberglass reinforced packing tape along their lengths for reinforcements - works well. Also use small patches of the 3M tape along the wing and tail seams to bond them more solidly to the fuselage section. Next, the nose will take quite a bit of abuse, but the topside foam section has been crushed in over time and there too I've used the 3m tape to reinforce it. I've also cracked the black plastic skid that makes up the bottom side of the nose section and used super glue to repair the crack. For a while at the beginning, I used blue painters tape to attach a small section of 1/8" dense foam rubber to the nose (i.e. folded so the seam was right at the nose tip, with approx 1"of material on the top and bottom of the nose). Finally, setup of the elevons is very sensitive to small changes so it will take a bit of work to get them dialed in. The black plastic "folding" clevis hardware is a little fiddly and works fine, but where the clevis attaches to the black plastic horn on the wing, there is a tiny bit of slop which is a little problematic given the elevon setup sensitivity. To remedy that I used a needle & thread to add a few wraps of thread on the horn (i.e. through the receiving hole and out around the edge of the horn) - enough wraps to narrow the receiving hole slightly and remove any slop in the clevis/horn connection. All that and my Alula still flies wonderfully and in fact still looks good - I've seen much, *much* worse.

p.s. you will see there is a bit of space at the front of the fuselage compartment in front of the carbon fiber wing spar. I will add 1, 2 or 3 nickels in there - very close to the CG - for ballast depending on wind conditions (amazing the impact of so little weight on a design as light and as refined as the Alula). On very windy days flying the Alula on a slope I have added various weights of steel rod (maybe 4"-6" long) at the center of the wing for ballast, taping the rod down perpendicular to the fuselage, right at the CG.
Last edited by ceyak; Apr 22, 2019 at 08:07 AM.
Apr 22, 2019, 08:38 PM
It's time for me to fly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceyak
I've seen much, *much* worse.
Hey don't talk about John's Alula like that

But it still flies!
Apr 25, 2019, 11:26 AM
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Thanks, @ceyak!


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