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..The sun is out!...Let's go FLYING....False alarm...
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Heli-Log 3:23:13

Posted 03-23-2014 at 05:54 PM by rcnut

Special addition!

I received a phone call from Dan wanting me to test fly their team project airplane. Yep...once again The Northen ILLinois University (NIU) Engineering students built another experimental aircraft. This year they decided to go with an electric motor and a simple aircraft design. They modeled it after the Sig Cadet, but is looks more like a C130 transport. There building skills are improving and I gave them thumbs up for their design and improved building technique.

These young men normally come to our club two days before the competition to see if their creation will fly. It doesn't leave much time for modifications or rep are in case of a crash. The competition is based on how much payload they can carry…I believe it is 40+ pounds! All that in a 40 size airplane, well the motor is for a 40 size plane. They have to be able to take off in 200 feet, and fly around the field one lap, then land.

I did my ussual, checked servo installment, linkages, control surfaces, wiring, ESC/motor wiring, balance, and radio settings. There was a few things I needed to address, but nothing too bad (compared to previous years). They actually thought ahead and brought an extra battery pack to test out the servos and receiver, versus using and draining the main pack. Everything was assembled for the maiden test flight and the "butterfly's" kicked in. Well...for them at least. I had confidence in their design, it was well built, sturdy, everything about this aircraft told me it would fly, how well...I was about to find out.

They carried their plane to our "tarp/artificial" runway, and place it at the edge into the wind. I took a position slightly behind and off to the side of the aircraft. Adjusted my sunglasses, checked the gusting wind, checked the switches and controls on the radio and plane...and it was throttle on! (oh yea...39 degrees, 15-25 mph wind with gusts up to 35 mph!) Hoo-Raa! Their plane started down the runway picking up speed and right at the end of our ~60-80 foot runway, I started adding elevator. The plan didn't want to leave the ground at first, but the nose started lifting and the rest was was airborn! Within 3 seconds time, I needed elevator trim and aileron trim. I tried to use my right hand, but the plane was too out of trim to do that, so I managed to sneek over with my left hand in my radio bag and made the nessary adjustments.

The second lap around the field it became apparent this plane is tail heavy as I was fighting the elevator to keep it level. I backed off the throttle and it was much better, but not perfect. 3rd lap around [and about 3 minutes into the flight], the motor started acting up. I started loosing power, ok, time to land. The plane didn't want to land, it wanted to keep flying! I blew right across the runway and decided to go around one more time...maybe. I made the turn to down wind and slowly added throttle to about half, not wanting to push the ESC any harder due to not knowing what was going on. and then the motor quit. No power to the motor. Ok...I let it drop, then started adding elevator to flare out, but this plane had it's own idea of how to land. Stall in the air, then drop. It's glide path is almost like that of a jet plane...45 degrees down angle, flare at the last few feet! As soon as the plane finished the down wind turn and hardly any power, it just stopped flying.

I wasn't far from the ground, 8 feet'ish. It landed and the nose gear took the brunt of the impact and broke the prop. I said oh crap! The guy's were ecstatic! It flew well and it landed in one piece...ok 2 pieces...the broken prop. So they packed their prize possession and said let's get something to eat, we're buying! Wow, ok, thanks!

Now, before I was honored as the students test pilot...I had just finished 20 minutes before getting to the flying field, my new Agile 7.2 electric heli (the one to replace my electric Whiplash). I had 3 sets of batteries to run through this heli providing everything worked on the first flight. I pulled it out, unfolded the blades, turned on the radio and verified it was set to the right profile, plugged in the Beast X, and waited for the controller to initialize. I watched the swashplat move up and down 3 time, I'm good to go! As I had plugged in the first LiPo 6 cell pack, I could hear buzzing from one of the servos. This was a bound up type of buzzing. I quickly discovered it was coming from the tail servo! WHAT!!! It's a new servo, how could it be bound?! I tried to move it by hand...carefully, but it was no use, it's stuck! Ok, shut it down and look at it later.

So I pulled out my Whiplash gasser. One of the guy's said "that's a gas helicopter?" Yep, then the 20 questions I gave it a few pulls on the rope and my Whippy came to life. As I walked out to the runway, all eye's are on me. I could hear one of them saying "watch this...he's good!" Yea right, I'm mediocre, I can hold my own in the intermediate/advance class. So I put on a show for them. There was a lot of oo's, ah's, eee's, the cool sounds coming from an audience. That was the second highlight of their day. They really enjoyed the autos, so I did my land like an airplane and spin around backwards and slide across the runway on the front skids. The mat is not as slippery as asphalt, but it worked somewhat.

We went to a small resturant called Mr.C's. It's a small "mom & pop" shop, but they have good food! One of those hidden places. The guy's loved it and told me they look forward to going there every year. Cool! Even though we were freezeing our butts off...I give yesterday a 10/10!

Whiplash gasser = 1
NIU plane = 1

Total heli flights = 10

Tuesday the NIU team is off to Texas for their competition! Good luck guys!
"I love the smell of Nitro/Gas in the morning!"
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