Top Flite Contender - RC Groups
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Nov 18, 2005, 01:47 AM
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Top Flite Contender

I have just started the build on a Top Flite Contender. 63" wingspan. Will be
powered with a .61 OS FX. The Contender kit was first introduced in 1969, and was and is considered a very nice flying sport plane.

I am just learning to fly (buddy box style) with a Hangar 9 Alpha 60, so it
will be a while before I can handle this one. It has been 45 years since I built
my last balsa and silk control line plane, so this is going to be interesting.

I got the pcs. for the horizontal stabilizer and elevators cut today. Will glue tomorrow. I can only work on this as time permits. Trying to hold down 1 regular job and a business on the side. Be patient, feel free to offer tips or constructive criticism.

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Nov 22, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Top Flite Contender Build

Here is a pic of progress, so far. I changed the rudder configuration from the plans. I straightened out the trailing edge of the rudder. I have the wing plans on the build table as seen in the pic. I am going to start laying out the ribs, etc. tomorrow.

Diana, Texas
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Nov 22, 2005, 04:11 PM
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Kevin Matney's Avatar
Are you going to make a bent wing? They fly Soooooo good.
I have had 4 Contenders 60's . The last one I made had a bent wing and flaps, With a ST.75 It was great . When I lost it there was no more kit out there. I think I will get one to have for old times. Take the rudder and make a new one . Like 4" at the bottom and 2 1/2 " at top this will work much better.

Nov 23, 2005, 02:09 AM
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Hi Kevin: Thanks for the tip. Another Contender owner gave me the tip on straightening the rudder. Is the rudder in stock configuration somewhat lacking in effectiveness? I am posting some pictures of ones that I have seen since beginning this build. The finished plane is one Andy Steere built. It is beautiful. Is that the configuration rudder you are talking about? Note in the picture of the unfinished that he has changed the elevators too. They are full floating. I have considered this, but I guess I am too scared to go out on a limb. What do you think? Will it make it fly that much better? As I stated before I am just learning so it will be awhile before I can fly it anyway.

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Nov 27, 2005, 04:03 PM
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Contender Build - Continued

Got shorted 2 48" pcs. of basswood for wing, so I elected to go on with fuselage. This is what I've done in about the last 4 - 5 hrs. Also, began
gluing up the wing tips. I am going to use the optional upswept tips.

I assembled the motor to a Sullivan rubber isolated motor mount and
checked hole alignment on the yet uninstalled firewall. I plan to turn the engine 90 degrees to the right which will put the muffler running at the right lower corner of the fuselage. Exhaust will be between the main gear.

It appears that I will have to lower engine approximately 1/8" from pre marked holes. I will be using a OS .61 FX which is within the specs of this kit. I am hoping I can do this. My only concern is: will it affect the thrust line? I
believe I will be able to mount the tank inline with the spray bar, ok. Once
I get the wing built and I can assy. the wing, fuselage and gear to the plane I will make the final decision.

I did add some tri-angle stock behind each former for strength. That modification and the modification to the rudder is all that I have changed
so far. I do intend to stretch out the aleirons another 1/2" which will
require that I stretch the wing tips an equal amount. No Big thing.

Attached are 2 pics. of progress, today.

Anyone have any tips, suggestions or comments, they would be
appreciated by this novice.

Jim Vines
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Sep 06, 2006, 01:21 PM
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Contender Build - Continued

Well it has been a long time since I posted the beginning of this build. I am nearing the end as you can see by the pics. I am ready to install gears, center servos and begin hooking up control surfaces.

I can't wait to see this baby fly. I assembeled completely before covering
and balanced it laterally. Req"d. 1 oz. to offset muffler. It is perfect, now.

I am just 2 or 3 flights from soloing, so I won't get to fly this for awhile. I
am going to get my instructor to maiden it for me. I want to see it fly. I will
run at least two tanks thru the engine (OS .61 FX) first.

I will post pics of completed and assembled plane.

Jim Vines
Diana, Texas

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