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StarLite's first flight!

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After a few days of miserable weather (snow in MAY?!?!) it cleared up tonight, temperature rose to 10C and the winds calmed down. So, out came the StarLite for her first flight.

How'd it go? Not bad. The control rods needed to be modified to a) not strike the servos and more importantly, b) not come unhooked.

ControlRods.jpgOne flight almost ended in disaster when the elevator become disconnected!

One more change I made was to increase the control authority - this is done by selecting which hole on the server and on the tab attached to the control surface to insert the control rod.
By putting the rod into the hole furthest from the pivot on the servo and closest to the pivot point on the control surface you maximize how far the control surface will move. This makes the plane much more sensitive, however, with a good transmitter, this sensitivity can be dampened through dual rates and exponential rate curves.

The little 9g brushless from hobby city with a gws5030 prop really pulls that plane around. I was worried that being 20% over the recommended flying weight would be a problem. But that was back when electric planes flew on NiMh batteries. Now with a 2 cell 360mAh LiPo and a 2290Kv motor, it almost has no choice but to fly!

In the end I flew it just over 3 times. The first couple times it became airborne was on my front street. It needs a lot more room then the Citabria did. Those flights lasted a few seconds until I panicked and put it down on the other side of the street. Heading to a nearby school yard was a much smarter decision. The first real flight there was going quite nice until I lost the elevator. It came down rather hard it seemed on the nose, but suffered no damage!

I took it home to correct the control rod problem and was back on the field in less then an hour. However, in that hour the winds had picked up. It was a very wild flight that ended with a throttle off glide in for a hard cross wind landing that broke the left landing strut. That is currently being repaired. Here's to hoping the winds will be calm tomorrow!

StarLite ready for take off!

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Coming in a bit heavy (5oz), I finally got all the pieces to finish the StarLite park flyer that I bought last year. Mounting the motor was a small challenge. The plane is designed for a geared motor / prop combo. Mine is a direct mount. So I glued a 3/8" square piece of balsa to the motor mount plate and then screwed the motor to the block. The screw holes on the motor are extremely tiny! I had to scrounge to find screws small enough to fit. These oldies probably came from an old airplane attitude indicator I took apart years ago. The motor is a 9g 2290Kv motor from HobbyCity, the prop is a GWS5030 and the speed controller is a hexTronic 10A with the heat shrink removed and leads shortened to try and save weight. Powering it all is a Rhino 360mAh 2 cell LiPo pack.

Motor.jpg Here's the final package. Hope it flies well! (Final notes, receiver is a 4 channel 72MHz Futaba, matched to a 3 channel basic analog Futaba transmitter - SkySport I believe. Servos are hxt500s.

StarLite.jpgFollow its status and flight logs!

Potentially fatal crash - pilot survived

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Ok, I'm being a little over dramatic. However, tonight at the WHAM indoor flying club I frequent Monday nights, I flew the Citabria too close to the gym wall. I tagged the wall, fell the floor and it appears I have stripped the rudder servo.

The servo is an integral part of the main board, which costs 50% the price of a completely new plane. And I have spent my last few pennies (in advance even...) getting some equipment for the StarLite park flyer.

Looks like the end of the road may have come for the Citabria. Pics of the servo may or may not appear. *sigh*. Nearly 14 hours on the airframe over 12 months of flying and probably over one hundred flights. It has served me well.

Rest in pieces little buddy.

May 2009: Monthly Archives