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Flying Fortress a Favorite at the NEAT Fair

Flying Fortress a Favorite at the NEAT Fair

This past weekend was the NEAT Fair (Northeast Electric Aircraft Technology Fair) and as usual, electric airplane lovers from all across the country made their annual trek to Downsville, NY to partake in this E-Power Extravaganza. The MAN Team was on hand and we captured some of the action that drew center-stage on the flightline.

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One regular to the event is past MAN contributor, Dave Baron who had several E-planes at the event including his tried and true, giant scale B-17 Flying Fortress WW2 bomber. The 4-engine Boeing warbird has evolved over the years and now equipped with brushless motors, Lipo battery packs and Robart retractable landing gear, the B-17 is simply amazing to watch. Dave is real smooth on the sticks and puts on a great flight demo.

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The model was originally built by Joe Beshar and today, the Flying Fortress is powered by Axi 2826-12 motors powered by 4S 3700 lipos, (one per motor) with Jeti Speed controllers on each motor. It previously had 4S/2P A123 packs in it. And originally it was powered with four AstroFlight 05 geared motors with 32 NiCD cells, (motors wired in series), and it eventually ended up with 36 cells before the Axi upgrade was done around 10 years ago! It weighted as much as 22 pounds. Weight this year is about 20lbs.

 

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Flying Fortress a Favorite at the NEAT Fair

Flying Fortress a Favorite at the NEAT Fair

This past weekend was the NEAT Fair (Northeast Electric Aircraft Technology Fair) and as usual, electric airplane lovers from all across the country made their annual trek to Downsville, NY to partake in this E-Power Extravaganza. The MAN Team was on hand and we captured some of the action that drew center-stage on the flightline.

IMG_1478

One regular to the event is past MAN contributor, Dave Baron who had several E-planes at the event including his tried and true, giant scale B-17 Flying Fortress WW2 bomber. The 4-engine Boeing warbird has evolved over the years and now equipped with brushless motors, Lipo battery packs and Robart retractable landing gear, the B-17 is simply amazing to watch. Dave is real smooth on the sticks and puts on a great flight demo.

_MG_9658 copy

The model was originally built by Joe Beshar and today, the Flying Fortress is powered by Axi 2826-12 motors powered by 4S 3700 lipos, (one per motor) with Jeti Speed controllers on each motor. It previously had 4S/2P A123 packs in it. And originally it was powered with four AstroFlight 05 geared motors with 32 NiCD cells, (motors wired in series), and it eventually ended up with 36 cells before the Axi upgrade was done around 10 years ago! It weighted as much as 22 pounds. Weight this year is about 20lbs.

 

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Sopwith Camel Build-Along Part 14 — Cabane Struts and Top Wing

Sopwith Camel Build-Along Part 14 — Cabane Struts and Top Wing

After finishing up the top wing by making and installing the laminated center cutaway bow, it’s time to mate top wing to the fuselage. The struts that support the center of the wing (and set the wing incidence), are called the cabane struts. These work together with the outer interplane struts near the wing tips to support the entire upper and lower wing installations. Here’s how I do it.

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I start off by installing all the plywood hard points for the attachment bolts in the wing. Using the plan’s side view I made up the plywood rib doublers and notched them to accept the plywood plates so they would be relatively flush with the bottom surface of the top wing. I installed 4 for the cabanes and 4 for the interplane struts.

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Also using the sideview of the plans I made this alignment jig that supports the wing at the proper height and incidence angle (3 degrees).

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Here you see the alignment jig in place supporting the top wing. The jig rests on the platform that’s under the main fuselage hatch cover.

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Here you see the opening at the base of the jig that allows access to the holes where the cabane strut wires will be inserted.

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To prevent the wing from being burned while soldering the attachment tabs to the cabane wires, I replaced the wing with these plywood strips. They are marked precisely for the locations of the attachment points.

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Here is one of the blind nuts inserted in the attachment hole. Note that the plywood strip is also supported by some balsa spar material glued in place to prevent the strip from warping.

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So here is the front right cabane wire and attachment lug in place on the model. The attachment tab is a steel solder tab available from Balsa USA. it fits precisely onto the 1/8 inch music wire.

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Here’s the aft cabane wire. As you can see, it is bent to align with the inside of the fuselage and extends into the radio compartment about 1 1/2 inches.

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Before soldering the wires, the bases have to be secured. I made this slotted plate from 1/8 inch lite ply and glued it in place.

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A second lite ply plate is epoxied over the first to bury the wire securely. I used 5 minute epoxy to fill in the “pocket”.

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The base wire in front of the firewall, is shown here. It is glued in place and the balsa section that I removed, will be replaced and glued with more epoxy to secure the front cabane wire.

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Here the right front and rear cabanes are now in place. The jig sets the length and angles of the cabane wires.

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Close up of the cabane wire and solder/attachment tab. The attachment bolts are 6-32 cap head screws and I use a lock washer between  the tab and bolt head.

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Before soldering, I also made the cross rigging wires. The ends are bent to match the angles of the cabanes.

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I first solder the 4 tabs in place to stabilize the wires. Once cooled, I clamp the cross bracing in place, wrap with thin copper wire and solder the bracing in place.

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Here’s the finished front left cabane attachment junction.

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Here’s the bottom aft left cabane with bracing wire in position.

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Bottom aft cabane juncture all soldered up.

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Here’s the completed left side of the cabane assembly. Notice that I also soldered together the two bracing wires where they cross.

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Here is one of the bass wood fairing strips that will be glued to the cabane wires. it is grooved to match the wire and are available from Balsa USA.

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So with the soldering all done, I removed the plywood strips and placed the wing in the alignment jig. With the wing centered in the jig, I clamped it in place and measured from the tips to the tail post. Once everything was aligned, I drill through the attachment tabs into the top wing attachment plates. Then I removed the wing from the jig, removed the jig from the fuselage and installed the blind nuts in the wing plates. With that done, the wing was bolted in place and the alignment distances from the tips to the tail were checked again. The distance on either side is within 1/16 inch, so that’s close enough for me.\

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The last step is to fit the hatch cover back into place.

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A little at a time, these notches are made to clear the cabane wires.

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That’s it. The openings will be enlarged a bit more after the wood fairing strips are glued into place.

Using the wing alignment jig is another advantage from designing the model with CAD and laser cutting out the parts.

See ya next time.

 

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Dromida Ominus 238mm Performance Quadcopter

Dromida Ominus 238mm Performance Quadcopter

Crash it, bash it, smash it, trash it, and watch it come back for more. The Ominus is the unstoppable robotic menace of other quad’s worst nightmares, but it will fly like a dream for you. Gyro stabilization, four flight modes, high-powered motors, intense LEDs—it’s all here to help you get the most out of every flight.

This is the quad for beginners—it’s almost impossible to break and comes with a host of great flying features.

This is the quad for intermediate flyers—it gives you just enough help to ensure flawless flights while delivering the power you need for sick stunts.

This is the quad for experts—it’s big, it’s bold, you can switch off flight assistance and revel in the pure power.

This is the quad for YOU.

Features:

  • Fully assembled quadcopter
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • Rechargeable LiPo battery and USB charger
  • AAA batteries
  • Extra set of blades
  • Available in 4 colors.

Specs:

Length: 9.4 in (238 mm)
Weight: 3.6 oz (101g)
Requires: nothing!

DIDE01** – $79.99

DIDE01

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Dromida KODO Micro Quad With Camera

Dromida KODO Micro Quad With Camera

A micro quad with a camera that costs just $60? Sign us up! This little quad even has LED lights to fly at night (and for more “cool factor”!) Photos and videos from a bird’s-eye-view has never been easier.

Here’s the complete press release:

What makes the $59.99 retail price even more impressive is what it buys: a complete quadcopter package that virtually anyone can enjoy. Its advanced stabilization system includes a three-axis gyro as well as three accelerometers – a virtual guarantee of smooth, stable flight. What’s more, the included 2.4GHz radio system offers pilots a choice Easy, Normal and Expert flight modes. Beginners can learn on Easy and progress to Normal, while more experienced pilots can go straight to Expert for a wider flight envelope. The radio also includes an Auto Flip feature, which delivers pro-style flips instantly just by touching a button.

Taking pictures or shooting videos is just as easy. A push-button on the top left of the radio snaps photos; the one on the top right helps pilots shoot sharp, clear videos at will. And with the memory card and card reader provided, pilots can review images just by plugging the card into a laptop or PC.

With a diagonal measurement of just 3.5 inches (90mm), the KODO can shoot photos or videos virtually anywhere, inside or out. High-intensity LEDs on the motor pods simplify tracking and orientation during the day and on into the night.

Performance, completeness and an unbeatable $59.99 price tag make the KODO micro today’s best and most affordable choice in camera equipped quadcopters.

Includes:

  • Fully assembled quadcopter
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • Integrated digital camera
  • 2GB memory card and card reader
  • 1S 3.7V 390mAh rechargeable LiPo battery
  • USB charger
  • “AAA” batteries
  • Extra blades
  • Blade guards

Specs:

Diagonal Measurement: 3.5 in (90mm)
Weight: 1.8 oz (52 g)

Requires:

Nothing!

DIDE0005 – $59.99

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Carl Bachhuber’s Giant Baby Clipper

Carl Bachhuber’s Giant Baby Clipper

For many years, expert model designer, builder and pilot Carl Bachhuber of Mayville Wisconsin, has become famous for his amazing multi-engine giant scale airplanes. There is hardly a famous airliner or military bomber and transport that Carl hasn’t successfully built and flown. And for the most part, he usually takes less than a year to complete a project from plans to first flight. Recently, we chatted with Carl about his newest giant scale project. Here’s his inside story.

“I like building unusual aircraft and I chose the Sikorsky S-43 JRS-1 mostly because my good friend Bob Walker had an in with Kermit Weeks over at the Fantasy of Flight Museum. Kermit had just purchased Howard Hughes’ S-43 about a year earlier.  The S-43 has not been modeled all that much and I thought it looked like a fun build. I didn’t have a proper 3-view drawing with cross-sections to use to develop my woring drawing with, but Bob had an old plastic model kit which he allowed me to chop up and cut into sections which I then could scan into my ModelCAD program.”

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About the Build.

The aircraft itself is more of a sport standoff scale and the project begun in September 2013 and I finished it up in March 2014. The plane has a wingspan of 200 inches which makes it about 1/5th scale. The S-43 is powered with two Desert Aircraft DA-100 gas engines and the S-43 has a finished weight of about 110lbs. The engines came from my ill-fated Lockheed Hudson. It took 6 months to build and on May 4, 2014 the first flight lasted about a minute.  Took off very easily and climbed to about 150 ft.  I throttled back and at that point the left engine sheared off all 6 of the prop bolts.  However, the prop continuing to freewheel never left the plane.  Well after a couple of yawing turns I was able to set it down in the parking lot of the Fond du Lac field.  The plane is undamaged.  Engine is going back to DA.  These are the same engines used in the ill-fated Lockheed Hudson.

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Hardware

Once I had my general view drawings completed Bob started work on the pneumatic retract gear which is one his usual masterpieces!  Bob used 8-inch wheels and 1.25-inch diameter air cylinders to lift the gear and which feature Sierra Precision wheel rims and brakes. When the time came, everything just bolted into place. Bob also designed and built the tailwheel assembly. I use a Futaba 12FG transmitter and 14 Hitec RCD servos exclusively. Two 3600mAh 5-cell redundant NiCd packs power the Hitec servos and Futaba receivers.  Servos are connected to the control surfaces with short Titanium pushrods.  Control horns and ball links are all heavy-duty and are from Du-Bro Products. All the hinge points, air canisters, air connectors, and retract valves are from Robart Mfg.

Fast Fact:

SikorskyS-43

Photo Courtesy of Airbum.com (Budd Davisson)

Known as the “Baby Clipper,” the S-43 first flew in 1935, and was a smaller version of the Sikorsky S-42 Clipper. It was designed to accommodate up to 25 passengers and two-crewmembers in the forward cockpit area. The S-43 was flown primarily by Pan American World Airways for service to and from Cuba and within Latin America. The aircraft was also in service in both Alaska and Hawaii and approximately 53 S-43 flying boats were built. On April 14, 1936, the S-43 piloted by Boris Sergievsky, (with a 1,100 lb. payload,) set an amphibious aircraft altitude record by reaching an altitude of 27,950 feet. Designer Igor Sikorsky was also aboard during the flight.

 

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Axial Yeti Pre-run Checklist

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As one of the more unique releases of 2014, the Axial Yeti rock racer has garnered a whole lot interest. Enthusiasts have been clamoring for this vehicle since it was first announced. Now the much-anticipated Yeti is starting get in those eager hands and to support its customers and preemptively answer some possible questions, Axial has a little reminder article outlining a pre-run checklist.

You can view the article here.

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Secrets to Inverted Flight

Secrets to Inverted Flight

Nearly all aerobatic maneuvers involve some segment(s) of inverted flight, so to keep progressing, you need to develop proficiency with inverted flight. To start, let’s do away with the often repeated reference to the elevator being reversed when the plane is upside-down. It is that kind of thinking that causes people to become confused and second-guess themselves, or worse! A much simpler and more effective approach is to remember that you will always push forward-elevator during inverted flight. If the plane descends, push harder (you are not pushing enough). When it climbs, push less (you are pushing too much). The ailerons, of course, work the same whether upright or inverted.

Learning to fly inverted is also easier if you throttle back to a more moderate airspeed. Not only will you have more time to think, but a lower airspeed also will require you to push more forward-elevator to hold the plane level and thus provide a greater range of feel for the elevator. It’s also smart to enter the first few attempts from a slight climb to reduce your initial anxiety. As your confidence and technique improve, you can gradually increase throttle to start achieving the airspeeds needed for aerobatics, and the climbing entry can be gradually eliminated.

The next most important step is to develop the habit of recovering from inverted by rolling upright with the aileron, especially if you become confused. In fact, rolling upright should be your response anytime you are not comfortable. In the event that you become confused, it is usually best to input aileron in whatever direction you prefer and thus more quickly upright the airplane than you would if you contemplate which way to roll and then act. Developing the habit of recovering from inverted with aileron becomes routine very quickly simply by repeating the exercise of rolling inverted for two or three seconds and then rolling back to upright.

Another crucial element during your initial inverted practice is making sure that the 1/2 roll to inverted is completed with the wings perfectly level before you start to push, because pushing with the wings banked will initiate an unintentional turn that will almost certainly lead to some confusion.

I have stressed the importance of maintaining consistent parallel lines with the runway during aerobatics again and again in previous articles, and so I won’t repeat it here. Let it just be said that the majority of the problems that people experience when learning aerobatics would be solved more quickly-or plain disappear!-if more emphasis was placed on better positioning! Good positioning is the reason why the good guys make it look “easy” and it is what is required to be successful at the advanced level. Thus, it is wise to take the time to cement a foundation of consistently flying straight lines back and forth parallel with the runway before attempting inverted flight.

 

 

TEXT & ILLUSTRATIONS BY DAVE SCOTT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RC Raptors Take Flight!

RC Raptors Take Flight!

Although these RC ornithopters are intended to scare away nuisance birds, we just want to know how we can get our hands on one! Designed by Dutchman Nico Nijenhuis of Clear Flight Solutions, the 47-inch-span Robird peregrine falcon and 86-inch-span eagle look and fly just like the real thing and can fly at speeds of up to 50mph!  The manufacturer even intends to make them autonomous, but where’s the fun in that? Until then, we want to enter the eagle in our next giant-scale fly-in (with scale documentation from Audubon!)  Enjoy this great video of the Robirds in action.

 

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Duratrax Picket and Six Pack Short Course Tires

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You’re all a bunch of spoiled brats. You kids these days don’t know how good you have it. Back when I got started in this hobby we had to walk to the hobby store and we didn’t countless brands of tires to choose from. Okay, let’s lose the grumpy old man schtick and roll down memory lane. A Hobbico brand by the name of Duratrax was one of the brands that came along shortly after I got started in RC. Back then, it DuraTrax with a capital “T” and I thought their tires and displays were pretty darn cool. Somewhere along the way the Duratrax brand evolved and its focus shifted from tires to beginner-friendly vehicles and a notably successful line of chargers. A few years ago, however, Hobbico decided to reinvigorate the brand, and in addition to a much-needed visual facelift, a lineup of tires was launched. The last time Duratrax was serious about tires, the rubber was rock hard and the spikes were big. Add in the fact that Duratrax had positioned itself not as performance brand but as more of a budget and beginner focused brand and it was understandable that most were at least skeptical of how good Duratrax’s tires would actually be. Well, if you haven’t heard, Duratrax’s tires are great. They haven’t won a world championship yet (and probably never will), but racers do use them and people have quickly realized you get a lot for your money with Duratrax. So, my first point of this article is to encourage you to also consider Duratrax next time you’re tire shopping. The second reason for me typing away is to introduce you to two new short course tires from Duratrax, the Picket and Six Pack.

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The Picket and Six Pack are both molded in Durtrax’s C2 (soft) and are general use, basher type tires. The Picket has the more realistic tread pattern and the Sox Pack has some big voids and should provide some decent grip. Again, these are both good for bashing and having fun on all sorts of surfaces. I’d use either for a truck such as the Traxxas Telluride or any short course truck ripping up the backyard.

Like the rest of the Duratrax tire lineup, you can get these tires unmounted or mounted. The Duratrax short course wheels are a black five-spoke design. Odds are they have the offset needed for your truck. They also sell the wheels in yellow and white, but if you want pre-mounted, it’s black.

Learn more here.