Landing is Inevitable

Sunday, March 25, 2007

13, the Extra's lucky number.

Since the last entry, The Extreme Flight Extra have racked up 35 flights. I have experimented with the different prop types (SF and E), different pitches. Finally I have found the perfect prop in Ken's APC 13x6.5 E prop. Overall power was greatly improved and the amps draw was still manageable. Going vertical is a non-issue now, thrust on mid stick is more comfortable and still no evident sign of torque rolling. The 13 incher maybe two inches too big according to the recommendation given by AXI but it barely gets warm after a seven to eight minute flight. All is good. Other than that it has been great fun flying the Extra and now I'm finally get comfortable with it. Must have been the bad experience I had with the Katana Mini. But I also got that repaired and its raring to fly again.

I have also finished building the Tensor 4D and just have the servo and VPP motor installation to do. It should be up and running by next week.

Not much else to say in this post except; enjoy the pictures (taken by Ken aka MadFlurry)

Signing Off

Monday, March 05, 2007

Successful Maiden of the Extreme Flight Extra 300

This has been a very good weekend. Manchester United had won a difficult game against Liverpool eventhough they clearly were second best and I manage to successfully maiden my Extreme Flight Extra 300 (EF EXtra 300). I think this is the first plane I ever maidened on my own. It had very predictable flight characteristics and was a breeze to fly. It felt like I was flying a foamie. And it lands so sweet. Three point landings are such a pleasure to view, and gratifying when managed to be pulled off by the flier.

Today's flights were mainly to find the sweet CG spot. I still need a few more flights to find it then I will be going to start on the intensive trimming regime. I got this Peter Goldsmith guide on how to trim precision aerobatic planes and I'm gonna try it out.

Just some frank reviews of the EF Extra 300;

Generally the plane is a looker. It's nicely covered and the overall quality is not bad. I've not much experience with other planes to compare it to for now on this aspect. This plane has very docile flight characteristics on low rates and is a blast to fly on high rates. I have increased the throws on all control surfaces after today's round of flights to give it that extra manuevarabilty and control.

Ok, let's get on with the gripes I hav with this plane. Firstly, I'm not impressed by some of the hardware included with this ARF. Starting from the top, the spinner cap was way off balanced and impossible to rectify. It caused so much vibration at half throttle, that I dare not even go any higher than that. The canopy is rather flimsy. Before the first flight there was already a crack on the front part of the canopy. The EZ links connectors are not that good either. The tightening screws on all of them have very weird sizes. For the aileron connectors I actuslly had to use my pen knife to tighten them as my smallest screw driver (which is very small by the way) was way to big to fit. Next problem is the general quality of the wood used on the plane. Some parts are so soft I dare not even sneeze when handling them. I CAed most of the wood frame and motor mount of the plane to give it that extra rigidity with the advice from the shop owner who sold it off to me. The landing gear itself is not too bad but the wheel, axles and the wheel pants are far from perfect. I think I'll have to add ball bearings to my wheels so that it would track straight.

I'm not saying that this plane is bad or anything of that sort. In fact far from it. It's just that I think my overall experience with this plane would have been much better if these small details were sorted out. But for now, I'm very happy with this plane and I hope that it will last me through the second stage of my aerobatic learning process.

Signing off,

Friday, March 02, 2007

Flight Log 02.03.2007

1. Extreme Flight Extra 330

AXI2814/20 Gold Line
Castle Creation Phoenix 35amp ESC

Maidened: 04.03.07
Number of Flights: 5

All built up and ready to maiden this weekend.

2. Precision Aerobatics Katana Mini

AXI2217/16 Gold Line
Castle Creation Phoenix 25amp ESC

Maidened: N/A
Number of Flight: N/A

Currently in the rebuilding process. If it flies well, great. If not, it will be sold off cheap.

3. Multiplex Easy Glider

Maidened: 28.11.2006
Flight Time: 8h+

4. Micro Bug HLG (JAWS)

Maidened: 06.01.2007
Flight Time: 2h+

5. Hacker SuperZoom 4D

AXI2212/26 Gold Line
Castle Creation Phoenix 25amp ESC

Maidened: 10 August 2006
Number of Flights: 154

Sold it off! Hope it serves the new owner well.

Signing Off

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Extra build log (continued)

I was thinking about writing a whole build log but I'm not really that good at it. Anyways, there are tonnes of better builds of this plane on RCGroups and this other German forum (the website eludes my memory at the moment). I figured I'll just show some pictures and have some short description of it at the bottom.

At long last my motor arrives, the AXI 2814/20 (thanks Mack). It was a very good deal. Initially I planned to adhere strictly to the recommended prop size by the manufacturer. But after reading through the forums, most of the motor users said that it can take up to a 12inch size prop and still handle the load eventhough it was considered grossly over-propping the motor. I did some bench testing of the motor with different props and this was what I got:

APC 12x3.8SF prop at WOT: 22amps (no spinner)
APC 12x3.8SF prop at half throttle: 3-4amps (no spinner)

APC 12x6SF prop at WOT: 25.5amps (no spinner)
APC 12x6SF prop at half throttle: 5-6amps (no spinner)

APC 12x6SF prop at WOT: 29.5amps (with spinner)
APC 12x6SF prop at half throttle: 7amps (with spinner)

Not bad numbers for bench testing. The motor was barely warm in all the tests and at half throttle the plane was already quite a handful to hold back. I expect the amp draw to unload a bit in flight and that would give me a piece of mind. Even though the spinner cap does add to the amps drawn, I'm leaving it on for both aesthetic reasons and I believe that it will help in the aerodynamics department however miniscule.

During this build, the component which has caused me the severest of grief was the prop adapter. I went through two "no brand" ones from two different local hobby shops and was frustrated with both of them. In the end, I went for original AXI prop adapters which was just a few dollars more expensive and was immediately gratified. It stuck to the shaft with no budging and with a simple tilt of the sleeve it was out. Amazing! Word of advice, go for the good shit. It will not let you down.

The other component which was a pain in the posterior was the spinner cap. As expected the stock spinner cap was causing major vibrations. I could easily see the tip of the spinner making a circle with a 1cm diameter at half throttle and dare not go any faster. I shudder at the thought of the major vibrations it will cause at higher rpms. I got another one with a thicker base from another local hobby shop. It looked good, but alas, I had increased the size of the mounting hole for one of the dud prop adapter and it was way to loose for the AXI one. Safe to say, I was not going to use it, not on this plane anyways. Finally I got one spinner with an aluminium base plate. It tracked well and the tip did not move from what I could see. Now the plane looks good.

The motor mount was a bit tricky. The given holes were not lining up to the AXI motor I had. If I were to drill new one on the existing motor mount it will severely compromise the integrity of the whole mount. My simple solution was to CA a balsa sheet to cover the mounting area and drill new holes. It works and looks rather solid. After finding out what the funny sticker with the mounting holes markings, that came with the motor, was for some time back, I successfully used it to line up my new mounting holes on the new balsa plate. Personally, I'd rather front mount the motor, it's so much easier and it provides for better cooling of the motor. planes has this kind of mounting and I love it. And there are no pre-drilled holes so customisation is a breeze and there is no structural compromise of the motor mount plate.

I thought that the cowl was rather flimsy and guess what, before anything there was a crack at the front. I CAed it at the crack and in an attempt to strengthen the front part of the canopy, I coated it with a blend of Epoxy and micro baloons. That should do the job, I hope.

The other thing almost worth mentioning in my build is the extension of the servo wires. For the wire extensions to fit into the servo wells, I had to remove the extension wire connector cover. This also helps in reducing some weight. Yeah that's it.

Also had loads of fun checking the throws with my new throw meter. Makes this process a breeze. What used to be a chore is now kinda fun. And it also gives me that piece of mind that its all accurate.

I do plan to remove more weight after initial test flights though. The back part of the battery plate is slated to be removed and I will be making two 1cm wide holes on the firewall. That should knock off a few more grams.

I will also add ball bearings to the wheels so that id doesn't get eaten up by the threaded axles. This will also help the wheel track better and improve the general lifespan of it.

"The elevator and the horizintal stab."

Woah, that was a wordy post. So much for just slapping in pictures and writing descriptions. I'm just your typical talkative uncle. What to do? As I identify anymore significant mods to be done to the Extreme Flight Extra, I'll progressively update it on the blog.

Signing off,

Hobble, hobble

Two weekends ago as I was heading home after a flight session, which was full of ups and downs, I slipped down the slope on the way home from the field. Slid down hard and I heard a pop. Pain seared quickly up my leg. I thought I broke my ankle. Writhed in pain for a minute or so then this main and his daughter came by from over the bridge and helped me up. Tried moving my toes and twisting my ankle and I could do it. Phew, luckily nothing broke. This kind man helped me with my plane and other stuff and accompanied me to the nearest road and almost immediately a taxi came by. I hailed it and made by way back, not before profusely thanking the man and and his daughter. What a sucky Sunday. It almost made sure of the end of slope season for me. Gotta make sure I don't slip like that again.

"I'll miss this plane. Never thought I'll be so attached to a piece of foam"

Ok a week later and my ankle is still rather stiff but I still had to go for a barbecue organised by John (p4cm4n). I wouldn't miss it as it was an oppurtunity to catch up with some of the friends I have made over the last year from this hobby and not forgetting the good food. I was not let down, the food was great. Had some stick time with the Super Zoom at the field next to the pit and let Durex and Derrick have a go. Derrick managed some nice low hovers in the strong winds and I was impressed. The plane came in for a hard landing though and it broke along an old crack line. Small matter as it just needed a slap of CA and kicker and it would be as good as it was before. Ate some more that night and I have to say the barbecued chicken wings rock.

At home, I stared long at hard at the Super Zoom. It has served me very well. Took numerous crashes only to fly five minutes later. In the end I decided to decommision it and sell off the servos. I have a new Extreme Flight Extra 300 and I think I'll just concentrate my attention to it. It will be my new flagship plane. Just need to get new batts and it'll be good to go.

I feel kinda sad letting the SZ4D go though. I think it will always be like this everytime I let go a plane which flies well and has been through more than a hundred flights. It was well worth the cash spent on it. Today, a fellow DaddyHobby member will be taking it off my hands at a steal and I hope it serves the owner well.

Signing off,