Powerful Lady - still not able to beat a tree....

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Ok. I've been busy as beaver in the shop. I want to fly the sailplane, but for longer then a few seconds and with the ability to abort a landing should I be messing up. So, I have borrowed the motor, prop and speed controller from a Microwhiz plane I purchased last fall (it is way to acrobatic for my skill at the moment) and built an engine mount for the Sophisticated Lady. I bought a piece of 6 x 9" airplane birch plywood 1/16" thick and proceeded to replace the canopy with a frame to hold the engine.

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The darker wood is a piece of Oak - not the sort of wood normally found in light airplanes, but it is strong, and available - which made it an excellent choice for me. Notice the wood dowel coming through the front, the fit is nice and snug. Along with the rubber band strapping the back down, the mount does not move. The plywood is quite flexible, so I added a 5/8" wide strip of plywood running crosswise to reinforce the bolts.

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A close up of the engine mount. The prop has room to swing quite comfortably in front of the nose of the glider. (About 3/16" - Lots! :-)

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Balancing is always important. The main thing is to ensure the center of gravity (C.G.) is as close to but NOT BEHIND the point mentioned on the plans. Typically this means adding weight to the nose to bring the CG forward. The Lady had about 2oz of lead and steal in the nose to keep it down. That was all removed. When the larger of my 2 batteries (3 cell 1500mAh Li-Po) is installed, the CG is just slightly ahead of the ideal spot. This will make the plane fly faster, but handle better (a good thing for a rookie like me).

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And finally, all painted up and ready to go!

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So, the next step is to fly it right? Well I did just that today. There was a gentle breeze from the South, so I loaded up and went out to the local school grounds to try it out. Rev'd up the motor and with a gentle toss into the wind away it went! Beautifully! It works quite well. Climbed to about 100' feet and eased back for some level flying. The landing wasn't graceful, but no damage. In fact, I actually tried to abort the landing and so tagged the ground with the motor running at about 1/2 throttle. No damage to the prop or mount.

The next flight started just as well. I was coming around to try and land but realized I was too high and too far back, so gave it full throttle to climb out, and flew right into a tree. Sigh. The prop and tail broke - but not the engine mount!

The damage wasn't too bad. The tail was glued back together in about 15 minutes once I got home. And I even managed to glue the prop back together, although I suspect its days are numbered.

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