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..The sun is out!...Let's go FLYING....False alarm...
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Heli-Log 2:24:2015

Posted 02-24-2015 at 08:11 AM by rcnut
Updated 02-26-2015 at 12:48 PM by rcnut

My Synergy N7 build…the final touches and…the maiden flight!...and the NIU students experimental aircraft...

So on with last nights' build/finish... I started with powering up the Spartan Vortex to run through its' programming and discovered the second satellite wasn't working? For some reason, it wasn't bound, that or I have an issue with the cable going to it. So I started off with binding both satellites, and after several tries, It was finally bound.

At this point, it was time to clamp the tail section in place. I had drilled a hole in the boom for a "pin" (actually a short bolt), so it won't rotate. I've had issue with this many years ago, and I have found several techniques to hold it in place...for a while, but the "pinning" works the best!

Then I added the boom supports, tail push rod with the Teflon sleeves, and loctited all the screws and tightened them. The gear mesh is perfect, and once the "loops were in place and straight, hardly any drag on the tail system. Now back to some more programming.

I went through all the sections concerning the initial setup including the tail section (servo centering, servo direction, end point adjustment, etc.). Everything was perfect from the first time I did this. Then I plugged the "data pod" (an interface for the Vortex controller) into my laptop and used the Spartan Studio (beta) - Vortex Editor M5 for the rest of the programming. This is a really cool program. It allows me full access to see where everything is set to. Plus it has a data logger that I can view to see if the controller is having an issue that I'm not aware of. I was going to do a full write up about this on HF, but I haven't done that just yet.

So now that I was happy with the settings (autorotation bailout delay, throttle hold delay setting, Expo, style settings, etc.), it was time to finish this heli! I plumbed the tank, added the muffler, and mounted the canopy. Everything was going great, until I went pull one of the Key Chain Canopy Mounts out. The bottom fell off and that little spring flew out! You know, I haven't been able to find the little bugger! So I used a spare RCbooya Key Chain pin...for now.

So that finishes up with the build. The only thing left is to top off the LiPo and go fly! Oh yea, take some better pictures before it goes in the air.


The Maiden Flight!

Saturday was a mixed bag of where we were going to fly. Mark wanted to stay here and the students want me to go to them, at the NIU campus. As it turned out, I showed up at the NIU campus. I had to wait for the students to finish putting everything together. So… I pulled out my Rave to see if I solved the loud bearing problem…nope! I think it is the main bearing making all the noise. But that wasn’t the only problem I was having with it, the muffler came loose and almost fell off as I was trying to bring it in. I landed with one screw missing and the other hanging on by 4 threads!

Ok, so I put that one back into the truck…still no students… So I pulled out the new and ready (I hope) Synergy N7 out. Now it’s time for a maiden flight! I filled the fuel tank and no leaks, turned on the radio and then the Spartan VX1n. Red flashing light turned blue and I’m good to go! It took a couple of minutes to get the motor to start, it was cold, heavy overcast with a light breeze, and I had the throttle idle set just under the lowest speed the motor would run.

Once I had the throttle trim set, the motor came to life and began purring like a kitten! So now it’s all or nothing! This maiden flight was done at the NIU campus in back of the engineering building. I throttled up slowly checking the controls and tail direction. Then I added more throttle and my new heli was airborne!

It had a little shake about the swashplate area, so I think the swash sensitivity is a bit high. The blade tracking is off just a tad, but not a show stopper. I need to increase the tail authority some; it’s a bit slower than what I like. As far as flying around, it is definitely lighter than my other helis.

The flight characteristics are a lot like my Rave, only better, cleaner and crisper! I started off with some left and right pirouettes, and that’s when I noticed I need to increase the yaw per second and decrease the expo…just a little, for my taste.

Then it was time for a few figure “8’s” laps. The synergy handles very nice, tracking as if it is on rails. After the third lap around, I rolled the N7 3 times. WOW!!! The rolls were very aggressive! And that could be why the ailerons are very sensitive (Spartan controller adjustment needed here). Make another turn around and tried some side tic toc’s. It was fast and fun! The collective response is very quick, but not overly quick. Regular noise up tic toc’s were fairly fast, however, I was in idle up 1 which I set for 1850 rpm…using the Spartan governor.

Now for some inverted flying, however, that was short lived as the overcast had some haze mixed, so if I flew too far away (over 75 feet) I would start losing sight of my pretty heli! As it was, the color scheme was beginning to fade, making it hard to see. So I decided to keep it close. Small loop (50 footers), rolls, tic toc’s, forward and back flips, was about as far as I was going to go. Besides, by the time I flown to the ¼ tank of fuel mark, the students were watching and waiting for their plane to make its maiden.

I was going to try an auto, but the twitchiness of the ailerons became too aggressive, so I opted to land normally. Good thing as I hadn’t tried the throttle hold switch…to see where the rpms are set to. I just need some time to adjust some of the settings.

The NIU students…

Everything was set and good to go! Right!!! LoL! There was the preflight check that needed to be performed. I was handed the controls and just the radio was plugged in. I checked all the control surfaces verifying the proper travel directions (no body like to have the ailerons connected backwards, or have the elevator moving the wrong direction…it makes for an interesting flight/crash on takeoff and landing!), and amount of deflection, meaning having enough control surface movement. After a few minor adjustments, it was time to plug the motor in and check the thrust capability. Wow, this motor had enough power to just about takeoff vertically!

Only there is one small wrinkle to the contest; every aircraft has a power limiter. The motor cuts out if you go over a certain power level. Well, it’s now or never time! The students were getting nervous by the second. I knew it would fly, but wasn’t sure how well and what surprises I might find once off the ground. Like too much elevator (up or down), the wrong motor thrust line, something falling in flight, etc.

So as everyone was getting ready and just standing around waiting for someone to say go!...I hit the throttle and off it went. Their plane tracked to the left some and I corrected with some right rudder. A few feet later and it was airborne…WOO HOO! A second new aircraft flies! The experimental plane needed some down elevator trim and some left aileron trim. Once established, I made several laps around the area.

I decided to freak them out and do a low and slow fly-by over their heads. At first they all thought I was coming in for a landing, wrong. I setup for another fly-by as they shouted out to do that again! And I did, this time they got out of the way so I could drop down lower. Did someone say “lower?” He, he, he!!! I was having fun with their plane and remembered the pack will last for 5 minutes, and I was up for 3-4 minutes already! Ok, time to land while it is in one piece.

The students moved out of the way as I made the final turn into the wind. I have the plane lined up with the parking lot driveway; everything looks good, chop the power/throttle, now its glide time! Everything was looking good, but the plane decided to nose up and stalled some, no problem, I goosed the throttle some to capture the stall and set the plane back into its decent (we heli pilots call that a throttle pump)…touch down!

The students went nuts! They were so happy; one of them said takeoff again! Nope! I’m not doing it. But why not? The plane is in one piece, it flies, and your contest is in less than 2 weeks away! Take the plane back to the lab, and put all your decals on representing your school, and then go out and celebrate. Great idea! So we headed out to a place called “Fatties Pub” I had the “Fatty burger”, it was really good!

The students showed me their next year’s plane…a Tandem Wing. I will need to research this myself, build one and learn to fly one so I can help them with this project.

All in all, it was a good day! Two brand new aircraft were maiden, and both flew successfully.

I am also looking into the possibility of attending the Central Alabama Helicopter Fun Fly - Birmingham, AL (aka The Ditch) Its a 770 mile drive oneway! But the chance to get out and do some flying...in much warmer weather...Oh yea baby! Now...which helis should I take???
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