Build Log - STARFIRE! Mc Clain Wing Cores 48" Beta Build - Page 5 - RC Groups
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Jul 21, 2009, 03:05 PM
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BETA Two - saturday update

Hey all

posted this somewhere else accidentally . . .

well . . .a wonderful morning . . . to cut grass followed by time to fly in the afternoon!

unfortunately, it rained all afternoon

I got two shots to put the plane up in between the deluges that were frought with frustration and mixed sucess.

I ended up keeping things close to home in order to enable the most opportunities and was stuck on my smallest flying field . .At first I didnt think much of an issue would be brought by flying here . . . . . until I opened the thottle and let this bad boy loose!

The airplane is fast, and when I say fast, I mean really fast.

The extra wing loading enables beautiful penetration in wind and much easier launches with the extra mass. Believe it or not, the little extra weight correlates to much better control out of your hand. There is NO lag . . the plane hops to and really accellerates well.

The down side of flying a fast one on my small field is that you can not stop turning if you want to keep the plane within the boundries of the flying area.

I got little opportunity to trim it out as I was constantly in a turn trying to keep the wing over the area.

I could not figure out why the pitch seemed so sensative until I checked the CG between flights. What I realized was that my new 30C 3S pack is a few ounces lighter than my old 2500 mah 20C 3s pack... to the point of moving the cg to the full aft area... that made things real interesting to say the least, my larger winglets were not helping to make things easier either!

All in all, the first flight was a lot of work - and my knees never stopped shaking the entire flight!

My guess is that my speed was in the 70-80 mph range but with the field confines, it might have been doing over 100!

The second flight was a little better as the CG was right on the 7" point (median) and the venue was changed to my larger area (not big but big enough to keep things on a little more managagable level.

The second flight was dead on. trim was right on the money with a click left to make it track dead on.

the plane has neutral stability . . that means that it goes where you point it . . like a pylon racer. When I rolled into turns, the plane just locked in until I input some pitch . . .rolls were axial and clean . . .

Flight lasted four minutes before the rain started . .

I waited 40 minutes then went home.

First impressions:

Great flying, stable and maneuverable. The glide was much faster than any of the other alpha or beta set ups and the penetration in wind was much better.

approach speeds were about 5-10 mph faster than the Beta 1 or the other starfires (because of the higher weight).

Handling in wind was beautiful. I like the weight of this one as it lands with much more authority than the lighter starfires.
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Jul 21, 2009, 03:36 PM
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Beta 2 some pictures

Oh what a beautiful airplane!

Just after preflight and before the first flight . . awaiting the sun under the trees!
Jul 21, 2009, 03:44 PM
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Beta 2 some more pictures

here are a few more . .

lots of pictures before the FIRST flight means that the aviation gods will shine favorably on your airplane and make it last until it is old and beat up . . until it is just too u g u l y to take out and play with . .

flying without lots of pictures means you will loose it on the first flight

Front view

side view

sexxy new winglets are a 1/4 taller top and bottom at the back than the beta 1 version. The main game was to try to get 1" on the bottom to keep the fully deflected elevon safe on landing...3/4" full throw with the Dual Rates off plus an extra 1/4 inch keeps them safe as a bug in a rug!
Jul 21, 2009, 04:01 PM
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Beta 2 some more pictures

here ya go

more of the beta 2

couldnt get anyone to come out and dodge the rain drops with me so no video yet other than the basics. I though I would be able to do it myself but the knees were shaking so much from the speeds on the first and second flight that I couldnt even get the camera out of my pocket.

This thing was like a bat out of hell - appropriately colored - - flame red!
Jul 21, 2009, 04:08 PM
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Beta 2 update

went flying sunday

much better weather but not a lot of time.

Went to my larger field and launched only to find that just after my first pass, I got a hit on the right elevon . .full up . .

I could see the white underside of the darn thing from the other side of the field. One hard hit for about three seconds.

I pulled the throttle back and seemed to have regained control to glide it in.

Amazingly I was able to get it down unscathed . .

Went home and swapped out the esc with a 30A that had a seperate BEC connected to it. I am hoping that this solves the issue by providing a cleaner power source. My concern is that the motor, even on 3s will push the esc way too close to its limits.

I am also going to swap out the current receiver with a new JR sub micro 6ch rx I have.

I am hoping that the combination of the two will resolve the glitch issue as the esc and the rx are already seperated . .about 1" between them and the wires are all routed out and around the esc trench side . . nothing but the servo wire from the left elevon passing by.
Last edited by pval3; Jul 21, 2009 at 10:52 PM.
Jul 21, 2009, 11:16 PM
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Beta 2 update FIREANTS

Went flying today (tuesday) at my intermediate field on the way home from picking up my daughter.

Got two nice flights and started a third when I stepped in a fire ant mound and had to fly and run at the same time trying to get the plane on the ground fast (not easy when you are not really use to a high speed airplane and have no idea how to judge a turning approach

Let me tell you - fire ants are the nastiest little buggers!

Right in the middle of the third flight I moved about 2 feet to the right of my "pad" to check out a spectator and wammo . . .right in the hole!

My foot hurt so bad and swelled up like a melon!

Thanks to CVS and Benedryll I am A OK! and no sympathy from the wife either!

The first flight was to hash out whether the esc and rx were going to fix my glitch issue and I am happy to say that it seems to have resolved the glitches.

The amp draw on my simple ammeter is showing 28 amps with a 5x3 on 3s...very very close but . . .I tried to run it mainly at full throttle . . not an easy task with this airplane and motor combo . . I am guessing about 80 mph easy on the 5x3 and 3s... manageable.

ESC was very warm after about 3 min of flight. I kept the hatch slightly ajar to allow some better cooling and it seems to be working.

Put the plane back up and flew very well.

The plane tracks like it is on rails, very smooth to respond and very maneuverable.

launch off the first battery took the total flight time for the first pack to about 5 1/2 min then a return to check all the mounts and esc.

No issues.

Swapped batteries and put it back up for flight two.

Spent the main part of the flight up high so that I could really test stall and slow flight characteristics and it is the same as Alpha 1 and Beta 1 . . very nice progressive stalls with no real adverse nose drop even with the higher wing loading.

I was very please with the acceleration with power application. The launches have all been absolutely effortless!

The tracking is much more positive with the extra mass, a very nice addition. I thought that it would fly heavier but it doesnt, it just penetrates much better than the lighter builds.

The end of the flight was taken up with trying to set up and land at my feet. It takes a little more practice to get this to happen as it is much faster and a little more planning has to be done to nail the spot landings. After the third attempt I got it within about 20 feet of my toes . . Ill take it!

Third flight was suppose to be more fun, I had plans to take it up and do some high speed passes and some loops and rolls.

I did a single pass at full throttle from level flight and was very very please with how solid it was at high speed . . no pull up or nose over and very predictable.

On the pull up I did a few large symmetrical loops to see how it performed at varying speeds throughout the maneuver. The plane tracked nicely and with slight changes in pitch as the speed decreased at the top of the loop, the starfire performed very nicely. The smaller props dont like that large slow maneuvering, they like the fast passes and quick maneuvers, not the torque ones

As I set up for another high speed pass and loop, I stepped in the ant hill and spent the rest of the time swatting ants from my leg, running from the mound and trying to keep the plane from hitting cars, folks, trees or houses while I managed to maneuver the airplane onto the ground. Best part was I landed about 3 feet from my "feet" which was right on top of the ant mound!

I went back and got the plane then left for CVS!

I still have video to get and some mods to the starfire beta 1 before this thread is completed.

I understand that Jeff McClain is planning to release this design once these mods have been documented in this thread.

I have my Proficiency Check in Dallas this weekend so nothing is going to be happening until after that . .

Stand by for more pics and video

Jul 22, 2009, 07:29 PM
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Beta 1 update

got lines drawn for the large fins on the beta 1 just outside of the prop cut out (1") and parallel to the centerline of the wing.

This was not an easy task as the thing is painted and I did not draw the lines in something dark before I sprayed the white.

Once I got it all finished I had an epiphany - - had I just dropped it into the wing saddle from construction I would have had perfect guides without all the headaches and time - yet another reason to keep those wing saddles until well after you have finished your model!

I am using a two piece nylon bushing/insert in the base of the fins that extends up 3" in the front and 1" at the rear.

I will mount it from underneath and pull it down into the wing with a washer around the base of the nylon bolt.

I think this will be secure enough for the test flights.

Toughest part will be getting the winglets off . . they are hot glued onto the tip and really . . really make sure they dont go anywhere . .

I spent the better part of 30 minutes messing with them today to no avail.

Aug 01, 2009, 01:58 PM
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Beta 2 flight report - 107.5 mph!

Hey guys

I have put 13 flights on the beta two as of this am and three more tonight.

Had a great time getting it tuned in, this one is the best of the three.

With the greater weight and very clean finish, completely faired in hatch and the hot motor, this one just flies like it is on rails.

You can roll it up on a wingtip, wait a few seconds then crank it through a turn without having to worry about it falling out of the air, it just goes like hell!

Turns can be super tight without any tip stalling so far.

Slower speed handling is the same as the others but the glide is a little faster and responds very positive to control input.

It is loud, I mean really loud. I would rate it right up there with a .40 sized pylon racer. I mean it will tip the noise scales at any club that has noise restrictions. On high speed power off passes it sounds sweet too! a very clean design.

With the 3S 25C pack on the 5X3.5, I am pulling 28,000 rpm. With the 4S 30c pack I just picked up and put in tonight, I am pulling 32,400 on a 5X5 prop. With the 60Amp Esc, I am pushing it warm when it comes down. I never got a chance to slap my ammeter on it but it is pulling some amps!

The set up on the radio was a clone of the Beta 1 then I dialed the ailerons back down to 45% on the dual rates and set the elevator back at 55%.

Response to all controls was crisp and very clean to start off with no real need to increase it for more control.

I ended up moving the control rod all the way down to the base of the elevon control horn to allow for max control, the dual rate setting yielded 3/8 up and 3/16 down on roll.

Elevator ends up being 3/8 up and down.

I ended up using the JR 6ch micro dual conversion rx with the 60A esc with a separate BEC to keep the signal clean.

I set the CG at 7 1/16” from the nose. That put it slightly on the nose heavy side which made it rock stable.

Regardless, the pitch response was the same as the beta 1 and the roll rate was similar but cleaner. The overall control response is just phenomenal; the extra elevon width in the Beta builds gives it exactly what we were lacking in the alpha build.

You just couldn’t ask for a better balanced airplane. The full sized servos with all their torque really make the response crisp even with the little changes. . they just have much better centering than any of the park type servos.

I ended up putting the 5X5 on it tonight before I went out to a field near my home that has been built on since the last time I was there. When I went there last, there was nothing but cement pads against the road with a huge parking lot and empty field behind.

Now it is a Best Buy with empty shops all around. I started flying in the empty field with the 3s packs and put up one pack which drew a crowd, including a cop and his partner in their cruiser who saw me from the road! I really thought I was going to get tossed out but these guys were blown out of the water by how much territory this thing was tearing up.

I have been trying to set up for speed passes and this field is just barely long enough to do that. The cops asked how fast I was going and I told them I thought it was going about 80. They got out their radar gun and did a ping when I did the next speed run on the 25C 3S pack they clocked me at 89, 91 and 83!

On the last pass, I got distracted by some of the bystanders and blew the gate so they didn’t get a reading.

On the next flight the brand new 4s pack had finished its charge and balance and was ready to go.

The motor didn’t even sound the same on the prelaunch check. It was just overwhelmingly loud.

When I launched, it initially cavitated and bogged down. . Then, I can only describe the event as reminding me of the road runner "beep beeping" out of there!

The prop caught and the plane was gone!

The climb was almost straight up and the loops were huge with no drop off. The power was insane. I have never seen this motor on 4s before, all I can say is that I am so happy I bought two of them the last time Don’s hobbies put them on sale!

I tried to get it stabilized but it was just so fast that I could not adjust my flying inputs to give it justice.

I brought it around and landed it but had a very rough landing.

I landed smooth on the belly but the left wing caught a stick in the weeds and flipped it around a few times. It looked bad from the parking lot but the plane appeared to be ok.

I set up the radio’s exponential on both pitch and roll so that it would make the control in the center of the stick a little smoother to my inputs.

I topped off the pack then launched again, the launch was the same. .absolutely amazing!

I had to do a vertical rectangle to keep the plane over the flying area. I brought it over the field twice before I got a good run where they could get radar read on it. . 107.5 mph!

Man, my knees were shaking, I had it 5’ high directly in front of me 10’ out at full speed over the deck with 8-10 folks watching me . . .the plane was so loud it was piercing!

Rock stable in the passes and rock stable in the pull out with no tip stalling and no fall out in the climb out – just amazing!

I tried it once more but could only get 104 out of it on the pass. I pulled up and did a bunch of rolls left and right to see how it performed at high speed, it did the same as slower but with more authority.

Outside turns and inverted flight were effortless with negative pushes to positive pulls were no different. The plane just grooved beautifully. I did horizontal 8s with a roll in the middle, it was so smooth!

I landed and caught my breath. The cops left and I had to go pick up the take out for tonight’s dinner!

Overall amazing! This plane is the best flying wing I have ever flow and the most versatile yet.

It flies fast, slow light and heavy. It slows down to a crawl and is still very manageable.

I have yet to be able to get video. I was going to try tonight but no one was willing to work the camera.

My wife was home with the kids while they were playing on the slip and slide so she was unable to come on out again.

I am so bummed because tonight’s flights were the best of all, even more impressive than the beach flights! The light was perfect and the flying was just right on for good video.
Aug 17, 2009, 10:59 PM
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Beta 1 update

Hey guys

got the whole fin thing finally set up and working . . pictures coming with assy details.

The fins are removable so that we can assess the effect of them on the amount of differential needed to compensate for aerodynamic drag induced by the descending elevon.

more with the pics . .
trying to get them off my camera . .
new laptop has a card reader that is not compatible with Sony memory sticks (Thanks Dell!)
Aug 18, 2009, 10:26 AM
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Beta 1 updates fins 1

Beta 1 updates fins 1

Here are the fins as discussed earlier in the thread. they consiste of two sheets of blue core bonded together with a strip of .007 X3/8 CF tape frfom 1/2" behind the fairing to the tippy top of the tail for better support.

the sheets are bonded with spray 77 and pressed overnight to ensure that they are tighly bonded together.

I used these very sharp nylon screws and threaded inserts to route into the fins after they were dried. I found these at Home Depot and they have worked on several other models I have built over the years. Flexible enough to let go when pulled very hard het stron enough to resist the beating of up to approx 80-85 mph. I wouldnt use these on a higher speed model, you need to be affix them with glue and cloth for any speed above 85-90.

I used a flexible ruler measuring from the centerline of the core which was visible in the battery bay and at the trailing edge then connecteed the dots to get my straight line for fin alignment.
Aug 18, 2009, 10:29 AM
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I used 8/32 1 1/4" nylon bolts with a #8 nylon washer under the head to hold the fins on. The stock bolts were just too short to give me a warm fuzzy so I replaced them with these.
Aug 18, 2009, 10:42 AM
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someone's helping dad!

my daughter has really gotten into this particular airplane as she suggested the finish for it!

Here you see the 1/16" starter holes in the wing and fins for the bolts and the threaded inserts.

I used a small screw driver with a large washer slid down the blade for balancing pushed through the bottom of the wing with the fin held in position and the screw driver held tight agaisnt the bottom of the wing then press the fin against the screw driver to make an impression for the direction of driling to make the bolt sit flat on the underside of the wing to wold down the fin.

Once this is done and you have a guide line, lay a weight over the top of the fin to hold it down then, with a high speed drill, drill holes in the center of the fin using the impressed line as the guide for pressing into the fin.

Go 1 1/4" in then gently pull it out.

If you try to use a slow drill you will shred the foam! Use a dremel if you do not have a high speed dril.

After you clean it up, check the alignment of the holes in both the wing and the fin to make sure they line up, then redrill the holes in the same manner with a 1/8" bit.

Finish the holes in the fin with a 3/16" bit then cut the flat tops of the threaded inserts so that you are left with just a capped tube. This will allow the insert to slide into the hole!

sand the tubes with 80 grit sand paper round wize, not vertically, this helps the glue hold tight.

drop a few small drops of glue into the hole then slowly turn the insert into the fin adding small amounts of glue as you rotate it to ensure that the insert has an even coating of adhesive.

Once you do both fins, place them in some wax paper and press them evenly so that the glue has a chance to only expand internally.

After about 15 minutes, check to make sure that the insert bottoms are clear of any foaming, use a sharp exacto to clean them out if they are contaminated

use gorilla glue for this process
Sep 01, 2009, 10:01 PM
Where'd The Wise Men Go?!?
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Curious - has anyone tried putting the winglets at the first section breaks instead of at the wing tips? Just think that would look better but not sure how it would effect flight characteristics...
Sep 02, 2009, 08:25 AM
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wow. just realized none of the final fin pics I posted stuck..

check out the pics up this afternoon, that is what we have done, made fins and move them inside to the joint between the inner and outer cores.

I have been trying to fly but the weather and work schedule just have not jived here in NC . .a whole lot of rain on all my days off!
Sep 25, 2009, 12:40 AM
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beta 1 version 2 fins update

finally went out flying.

Between mother nature and work, I dont know which was worse!

I wasnt sure if I needed hip wadders or a Uboat at the field but . . . braved the elements none the less! If only our little fire ant buddies would have cooperated with my wife we would have nailed the beautiful landing too!

here is the video link.

This thing is sweet with the fins. Far more responsive than I thought it would be since i dialed out all of the differential the night before.

Here is the set up . .a little change from the previous posts but . . for the maiden of the version two and the limited space to fly . . .here is the set up

Running gear
APC 8X4 prop
turnigy 2021/12 outrunner
rhino 2300 30C 3S pack
Set up:
CG 6.75 aft of nose
elevator dual rates set to A 65% B 45%
aileron dual rates set to A 85% B 45%
differential off
Last edited by pval3; Sep 25, 2009 at 12:53 AM.

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