Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Wheels for the Old Bird

Hello all,

As you know, if you have been keeping up on my posts, that I have been trying to get used to using the landing gear on my Wild Hawk.  In using the landing gear, I have noticed that the wheels do not work very well on the rough surfaces that I have as runways.  My Dad's place has a lot of grass, dirt, and gravel.  While my landings have been successful on these surfaces, the wheels really plow in the gravel and dirt and catch on the grass.

So I decided to change the wheel size in the hopes that it will help ease landings and take offs.  Because I did not want to wait, I went down to a local hobby shop and purchased a nice pair of 2 1/2 inch diameter wheels.  They are light weight plastic rims with foam tires and almost as light weight as the original ones are.  At least they do not seem to weigh that much more.

Carefully twisting off retainer
Comparing old and new wheels
It did not require too much effort with a pair of needle nose pliers to take the retainers off of the axles.  I did take care to not damage them as I did not have anything readily available to replace them if the would not go back on.

Close up view
How it looks on the plane
The new wheels had slightly smaller axle holes and so I needed to do some reaming and working on them to get them to go on.  They go on alright now, but they only just barely spin without too much effort.  This should have gone better, but I could not find the needed drill size in my tool box. I could have used some sand paper on the axle, but I couldn't find that either.  Oh well, close enough.

Now it's of to some test flights, or take off and landings.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and please post comments, good or bad.  Be sure to come back and check for future posts.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Hello all,

After my last flying experience with crashing my father in-law's Wild Hawk, I needed something to redeem myself.  As chance would have it, the following week was beautiful flying weather and my father in-law had repaired his plane, so I worked on scheduling another outing over the weekend.

When I woke up on Saturday, the wind was blowing like a tornado!  No flying today and most likely not tomorrow either.  It looked like it would be another week before we would have an opportunity to fly, and me an opportunity to redeem myself.

Amazingly, Sunday morning was as calm as could be.  Perfect flying weather!  I quickly scheduled a time with my father in-law to go flying.  He picked me up on time and we headed to the flying field.  And by flying field I mean the open field near my house.  We quickly but carefully unloaded our planes from his car.

I noticed that my father in-law had done a great job of hot gluing his plane back together.  It looked great!  Everything was straight and clean.  You could hardly tell that I had crashed it and broken the whole nose off.  We were too anxious to get out and fly so I forgot to take any before photos.

After several unsuccessful attempts to launch his Wild Hawk himself (short runs into the ground, but no damage!) he asked me if I could try.  The pressure was on to not crash and destroy his plane again!

I was in luck and his plane took to the air beautifully!  The pressure was coming down.  It took a bit but soon enough I had it trimmed out and flying around nicely.  I handed the controls back and my father in-law flew the plane for a minute or so before getting into trouble and handing the controls back.  I regained control and handed the transmitter back to him again.  He was flying around nicely and then started to bring it down some.  Before we knew it, his plane was headed to the ground without enough time to hand me the controls.  I have to admit though, that I don't know if I would have taken the transmitter back this time so as to not be the one to crash it again.

Well, even from where we were, we could see parts fly when it his the ground.  Ouch!

Here are the pics I did take of the results.
Father in-law headin out to the crash site.
He's there, look close.

The gear and most importantly, the coffee.
The plane without the damage is my plane.

Yeah, bad crash

Ewe, wing arch is separated too

The tape did not help much this time
Well, my father in-law has shown that he is really good at fixing planes so I'm sure that he will have this one flight ready soon enough.

I hate to say this but I flew my plane from ground take of to landing with no issues what so ever.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and please post comments, good or bad.  Be sure to come back and check for future posts.

Motor Mods

Hello all, I discovered that my new Wild Hawk motor is not performing as well as I expected.  I wondered why and after some research I found that others who had made similar modifications also upped the prop size from the stock 5x5 to 6x4 to 6x5.  So, that is my next update.

Ok, ok, I know that the Turnigy 2628/10 1400Kvm motor is a bit under speed for this modification, but for now, its what I've got.

Needs 2 or 3 more mm
Others were successfully using these props on their Wild Hawks so I did not think it would be a big deal and picked up a few of the size I mentioned above.  I tried to install one of these 6" diameter props but, it hit the tail boom on my plane, so I needed an explanation of what I had done wrong and a solution.

After some correspondence with Fishbonez and NJSwede, they said it should have fit, but if it's only a few mm, I could just cut out the foam.  So back to take a look at things.

After looking at my situation, I decided that I should be able to move the screw holes for my motor up enough to create the needed clearance.  After unbolting the motor, this is the view I had showing the alignment marks I used to locate the original mounting holes.

New holes marked and drilled
Ready to mark the new holes
 I added these lines to help layout the new holes directly above those that are already there.  It looked like I should be able to safely move the holes straight up about 6mm.  I marked them out and pilot drilled them with a 1/16" drill bit.

It fits!
Just enough clearance
  Fitting on the motor shows that the clearance is just right.  This is probably closer to the shaft location of the original motor than my original modified location.  This would explain why this prop did not work before but does now.

Original motor location, face view
New location. You can see the old holes
 I like this solution because it was a lot easier than another option I was considering (building a new firewall to add on on top of this one) and I did not have to remove any foam for clearance.  Removing foam for clearance might have actually been the easiest solution, but I've had bad experiences with doing this before on another plane and so I really did not want to do this again.

Now I'm ready to test out those larger props and see if I get any more performance over the old 5x5 prop without burning up the motor or speed controller.  I'll post again with the results.


The 7" has much broader blades
I really like these APC electric props
I have since flown this configuration and found that this APC 6x5 prop, while much better than stock, was not performing as I had hoped.  I have since taken a 7x5 and cut it down to 6" in diameter and carefully trimmed and re-balanced.  As these APV props have a much broader blase mid section they grab much more air than others.  Most other props have the same blade width for a series of props and the only thing that changes is the length.

I now have all the power that I need and am seeing the performance of this torqueie 1400KV outrunner.  I have also tried this with an 8x4 and with similar results.  See my Wild Hawk vs Wind post for how well this configuration did.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and please post comments, good or bad.  Be sure to come back and check for future posts.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Making Points

Well, I've been kind of pushing my father in-law to get an RC airplane, especially since he has expressed an interest.  So he finally said he would get one but was unsure of what to get.  I asked around in the groups that I associate with and the consensus was that a Wild Hawk would be the best beginner RC plane for him.  I talked to him about planes and he was leaning toward getting something that was Cessna like.  He was very close to getting an eFlight Apprentice, but being a beginner, I talked him into the Wild Hawk.  Now the Apprentice is a nice plane and I really enjoyed flying the one I had to opportunity to fly, but, with the chance of breaking props and the motor every time it came down, he changed his mind.  Off to Harbor Freight we went and bought him a Wild Hawk.

I had scheduled a flying day with my Dad (at that great park near his house) and a craft day for my wife and girls with my Mom.  I told my father in-law that if he came, between my Dad and I, we could get his plane all setup and ready to fly in minutes.  He charged the battery overnight and met us at my folks house with his Wild Hawk still in the box.  He and my Dad browsed the farm while I setup the plane.  I stuck all the parts together using the supplied tape (figured that would be good enough for now), hooked up the controls, cut out the foam so the battery could be moved forward, trimmed foam from around the linkage by the servos, added the minimum amount of strapping tape on the full length of the underside, installed the transmitter batteries, checked out the transmitter and receiver, and was ready to go.

We packed up all of our planes and off to the field we went, ready to fly.  Well, we got there and found that the wind had come up and was gusty.  We later found out that the gusts were 5 to 10mph!  Since I had ailerons and more control, I took my Wild Hawk up and flew around a bit.  It was not easy to control but not too bad.  Next Dad took out his Wild Hawk #2 and was able to fly it around.  My father in-law wanted to get his plane into the air but did not want to do the maiden flight himself, especially in this wind.  So, he passed the controls off to me.  I was a little cocky and didn't think much of it and confidently strode out into the field to launch his plane into the air.  I figured that I would get it up into the air, gain some altitude, and trim it out.  After it was trimmed and stable I would hand the controls back to him and wait for them to be handed back.

I gave the controls full throttle and tossed his brand new unscratched plane into the air.  It was flying level just fine.  I gave a little up elevator and corrected for a gust with the rudder.  The plane just went all over the place! Suddenly I was fighting to keep this plane in the air.  About 100 yards out the plane took a final nose dive into the ground.  Pieces flew.  One of the longest walks ever over to the plane showed that after only 15 seconds of flight, the nose was broken clean off.  No more flying for this plane today.  Now the second longest walk back to show my father in-law the remains of this brand new plane.  Ugh, I felt bad.

After getting back and checking things out, I found that I had reversed the elevator controls and had not paid enough attention to notice that it was going the wrong direction!  So much for trusting my plan building skills.

Dad's back yard. Yes, that's a golf tee out there.
Well, how mad could my father in-law be?  At least I'm not the son in-law that divorced on of his daughters, right?!  No he was not that upset.  We returned to my Dad's place and when the wind died down a little, we flew our planes right out of his back yard.  My Dad got his Wild Hawk #2 up into the air and handed to controls to my father in-law and at least he was able to get the feel of things and fly it around a little (he did a really good job).  Now, I would have let him fly mine, but with the ailerons it would have been too much different from flying his plane.
Dad flying his Wild Hawk in his back yard.

Dad flying my Wild Hawk with ailerons.

Now we're waiting for another good day when we have time to fly, and this time we'll make sure that his plane is really ready to fly.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and please post comments, good or bad.  Be sure to come back and check for future posts.