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Apr 12, 2021, 08:36 AM
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A1 Skyraider "Chona"

"Chona" is a Ziroli 100" A1 Skyraider scale model. The Ziroli kit was built by Ramon Medina, one of the best model builders in Puerto Rico. The model was built around 2015. Since Ramon built it, I shared with him that if he ever sold it, I would be the 1st in line. I purchased the model in 2017, some months before Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico.

Ramon is not a fan of installing any external payload in his models. Even thou he had made the payload pylons and missiles for the A1 Skyraider to carry, he never installed them. This is one of the things I added to the model. I added the payload pylons and installed E-flite payload releases. I made 2 droppable Napalm bombs for those two pylons. I also finished and installed the missiles and rocket tubes in the remaining wing pylons.

In 2017 I gave the Skyraider my maiden flight, (it had been flown multiple times before by Ramon). The model flew perfectly. I did experience scary moments when prior to the 1st landing, the main landings didn't fully extend themselves. Ramon, who was standing right next to me, told me that this was normal. Ramon explained that the landing gears and big 5.5" wheels created such drag with the airflow that the gear would not fully extend itself unless you slow the model significantly. Taking this measure, the retracts would be able to win over the airflow and fully extend themselves. This really gave a goosy feeling since I was not going fast when I attempted to extend the gear for landing. Immediately I made a mental note to fix this issue. Even thou that 1st landing was perfect, I brought it in with full flaps, slow at a shallow angle and the landing was on the mains with no bounce and with a slow run with the tail in the air. Ramon told me I had come to slow that I needed to come in hotter. On the 2nd flight, I made note of Ramon's recommendation and came in hotter. I guess I came in a little hotter than needed and upon touch down the Skyraider bounced. The bounce was not a big one, 12 - 18", but it did slow down the model significantly. I should have hit the throttle and make a go around, but did not do that. Upon recovering from the bounce and landing again, the right main gear ripped the wings lead edge and thru the wings top skin. What a disaster, on my 2nd flight I had screwed up Ramon's beautiful A1 Skyraider.

On the other hand, for me it had not been a hard landing. Yes there was a bounce, but the angle was very shallow and the energy on the when the A1 had hit the ground again was not high. The left retract and wing had suffered no damage at all. Anyways, I had a damaged beautiful plane and had to fix it. My self-esteem was very low and did not initiate the repair for quite a long time, two full years.

This is the center wing section and the damaged area after the 1st step of cleaning up and removing damage areas..
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Apr 12, 2021, 08:53 AM
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Upon initiating the repair procedure, I decided to check in the RC forums to see if my experience was unique. To my surprise, many had experienced the same fault indicating that the design did have its structural flaws. I continued with my plans to strengthen the center wing, retract attachment structure and the areas immediately around it.

The process went smooth. I finished it in a lot less time that I had thought it would take me. Also the new structure repeated in both the right and left wing panels looked very strong and did not add much weight to the structure. Also the CG was not affected by it since most of the added structure is in the CG area. Upon finishing the process and balancing the model, I added 8 ounces to the nose which on a 35 pound model, itís insignificant.

Photos of repaired structure prior to planking the wing.
Apr 12, 2021, 09:09 AM
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With the center structure repaired, strengthened and squared off, the finishing process started. I planked the center wing, glassed it and painted it. Also installed the retracts and tested them. Installed the right wing pylon and made a center pylon to add an additional droppable payload be it a 3rd Napalm bomb or a droppable External fuel tank.

Some photos of this process,
Apr 12, 2021, 09:33 AM
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The model is ready for flight. All system are tested including engine. The weather did not cooperate thou. After the photos were taken, it started pouring and did not end until that night. Will post the re-maiden when it takes place.

Photos of "Chona" in the Borinquen RC Club runway.
Apr 12, 2021, 09:38 AM
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"Chona" is ready to fly. Hope to re-maiden next Wednesday 4/14/21.
Apr 15, 2021, 02:54 AM
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Nicely done. Looks perfect.
Apr 15, 2021, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by RCvertt
Nicely done. Looks perfect.
Thanks RCvertt, Yesterday 4/14/21 went to the club to fly Chona, but the wind did not help. The wind was 90 degrees across the runway switching constantly. For a maiden those were not the best conditions.
Did check once more the engine and did some taxing to burn some anxiety.

Videos of Chona taxing;

Skyrider (2 min 41 sec)
Apr 17, 2021, 12:58 AM
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RCvertt's Avatar
Sounds great. It definitely wants to fly. Smart move not rushing it in bad wind for a maiden. It'll be that much better when the time is right.
Apr 28, 2021, 04:10 PM
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Finally, today 4/28/21, I was able to give the re-maiden. The weather was not good at all, but did not want to wait any longer. After three aborted re-maiden visits to the field, today was the day. Flew the A1 Skyraider with all its payload off to test it as clean as possible.

It rained, with the thunder clouds the wind was crazy changing direction continously. There was lightning, there was rain, there was strong wind, but it was done. During the maiden the wind was East/Norhteast or 45 degrees to the runway.

Lightning started after I took off, if not I would have aborted specially with my old whip mghz antena.

This is the video.

Skyrider (4 min 51 sec)
Last edited by GonzoBorinquen; Apr 28, 2021 at 04:23 PM. Reason: spelling
May 07, 2021, 07:59 AM
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Yesterday, 5/6/21 had a full flying session with "Chona". At last all the ducks got in line and I was able to fly "Chona".

The Skyraider flew flawlessly although I cannot say the same for me. Had various flights but one of the landings was not good at all. The others were but that one wasn't.
At least the bad landing tested the wing repair and it stood to the test with flying colors.

The original wing breaking landing was 30% as bad as this one. That one broke the right landing gear of the wing along with the parts of the wing structure. This bad landing was a lot more stressfull on the area and no harm done. The fix worked although I am ashamed of such a poor demosntration.

The other landings were very good thou.

Douglas A-1 Skyraider (8 min 42 sec)

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