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May 31, 2005, 11:45 AM
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chrisgood's Avatar
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New River Gorge Bridge Aerial Photos

I was in West Virginia this weekend and drove down to the New River Gorge Bridge. It is 876 feet above the water. There is a visitor's center and a small field next to the parking lot. You can't see the bridge from the field, so I put the plane up out over the gorge and snapped away, hoping I was aiming correctly. These are some of the shots.

I just finished the plane on Thursday evening before we left for WV. It started life as a Gentle Lady kit, but I straightened the wing, increased the rudder size, changed it to a full-flying stab, and added huge flaps. It has a simple Speed 400, 4:1 gearbox, and runs on 3-cell lipos.

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May 31, 2005, 01:35 PM
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Nice shots! I have rock climbed at New River a bunch of times. Next time you are in that area stop at Summersville with is about 20 miles north of the bridge on route 19. Goto Summersville lake and do some flying there. Beautiful place it is, plus the dam at the lake is a sight to see. It is "The largest earthen dam east of the Mississippi" and feeds the Gauley River, a major Kayaking river in the east.

Thanks for posting your images!
May 31, 2005, 05:12 PM
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d9's Avatar
WOW.... awesome shots.

Kind of takes my breath away thinking about being that high above a bridge that is even higher.

I've never been there but I grew up in Roanoke, VA in the Blue Ridge Mts.


May 31, 2005, 05:38 PM
29 rods from you in western WI
Karl Bē's Avatar
Great bridge shots, Chris. I flew out over a similar, but much lower bridge recently.

I have a NIB Gentle Lady that will be the basis of an AP ship. Do you have any threads or pictures of your build/mods?
May 31, 2005, 09:03 PM
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banks's Avatar
You should go there when they have bridge day
Jun 01, 2005, 09:46 AM
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chrisgood's Avatar
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I built the Gentle Lady from the start with the intention of it being a traveling, aerial photo platform. The center wing polyhedral joint was flattened so only the wingtips have dihedral. The two wing halves are separate; I used a removeable carbon fiber spar that slides into a wing box in each half. There is a smaller removeable carbon fiber spar into its own wing box where the rear spars meet. You can't see them in these pictures (I had not installed them yet), but there tiny "fins" at the center point on each wing half pointing up. The rubber bands which hold the wing on also hold the wing halves together by being placed on the outside of each of these fins.

To make the whole thing fit into a flat package, I made the horizontal stab removeable. The best way to do this is to make it a full-flying stab, just like a Sagitta 900. There is a rear pivot that steel wire slides through and each half of the stab has a brass tube that the steel wire runs into. There is a front attachment point that slides up and down that accepts a similar steel wire to control the pitch of the stab. The whole thing can be removed and laid flat in a box for travel.

The vertical stab is about the same size as the plans call for both the stab and rudder. The rudder is about half the size of the vertical stab.

The flaps were cut out of the center section, from the rear spar to the trailing edge. They are controlled by separate servos, wired by a Y-connector. I discovered on the landing while taking the pictures at New River Gorge that the flaps will catch the grass, and I managed to strip out the gears in one of the flap servos. I now have servo savers on each flap servo. They are spring loaded devices common on RC cars.

The fuselage and wing bottom are covered in black Monokote, except for the red right wing tip. The top of the wing is covered in transparent Monokote for several reasons. If carried on board a plane, the inspectors can see exactly what is inside the wing and won't have any questions. It is also a good conversation piece when you are flying and someone says "How is that thing built?" - you can show them. The camera shots out at about 45 degrees down through a small hole in the fuse along the right wing. I just have to remember to point the red wingtip at my target.

The whole airplane fits into a very small box. I plan on taking it with me to Arizona next week on business.
Jun 01, 2005, 10:39 AM
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lvspark's Avatar
Nice looking bird. What kind of flight times do you get with the S400 and 3 cell?
Jun 01, 2005, 06:13 PM
29 rods from you in western WI
Karl Bē's Avatar
Great details, thanks Chris!
Jun 02, 2005, 02:35 AM
Slope Soaring, Electric
Artur H's Avatar
On my Gentle Lady I installed spoilers. When they are open the elevator compensates.
Flaps on a Gentle Lady? Wow, great idea! How effective the flaps are and do you experience any pitch up, and do you compensate?
Would love to see the camera install
Jun 02, 2005, 08:28 AM
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chrisgood's Avatar
Thread OP
The flaps are very effective. The plane slows down A LOT, but it does pitch up quite a bit. I have flap -> elevator mixing that puts in down elevator when the flaps are deployed.

The camera is installed the same as it was on my AstroFlight Challenger. The Gentle Lady ended up looking about the same as the Challenger, but the Gentle Lady comes apart and fits in a small box. Here is a link to my aerial photos page. The Challenger setup is half way down.

Last edited by chrisgood; Jun 02, 2005 at 08:42 AM.
Jun 02, 2005, 10:03 PM
gram obsessive
Thanks for sharing your modified Gentle Lady with us. Your design is well thought out and well executed, indeed. I would enjoy a look at your box and how your 'Lady breaks down, and how she fits in the box. I have several "boxed" models. Thanks.
Aug 22, 2005, 04:43 PM
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Carnifax's Avatar
WOw, Awesome shots of the New River Gorge Bridge. I am a raft guide and flyer and Im impressed! I do fly a lot in that area but in the back of my mind, Im always nervous about the plane getting away from me but it looks like you got it under control. Darrnit, I wanted to be the first to get bridge photos but you beat me to it, good job!
Aug 22, 2005, 06:00 PM
foamie re-cycler
daddiozz's Avatar
Originally Posted by Carnifax
WOw, Awesome shots of the New River Gorge Bridge. I am a raft guide and flyer and Im impressed! I do fly a lot in that area but in the back of my mind, Im always nervous about the plane getting away from me but it looks like you got it under control. Darrnit, I wanted to be the first to get bridge photos but you beat me to it, good job!
Last edited by daddiozz; Apr 05, 2007 at 11:59 PM.
Aug 22, 2005, 06:26 PM
Registered User
Glad you enjoyed our fair state. Every state I've ever visited has had areas of picturesque scenery, but I'm always glad to return home after a trip. I'm looking forward to getting my AP platform complete, so I can get some shots of our exquisite fall foliage (which might not be so exquisite this year due to lack of rain). Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of a remodeling project which I've been putting off for months. I hope to have it finished soon, so I can go APing.

Tony Turley

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