Flight page 2
6/27/06 - I'm still waiting for the struts to come from Century Jet and I have stuff to fix so I thought I should get going.
I think I figured out the braking problem .Whenever I worked on the nose gear they were un sprung. I set up the brake so it would work while I was working on it but not so it would work when it was supposed to. The nose gear uses an oleo strut so under load it is shorter. When on the ground or under braking the strut gets shorter which took away the brake. I also hit the gear door track while under load. The solution is to shorten the brake lever so it doesn't hit the track and to lengthen the servo throw so the brake works under braking.
The tail skid did what it was supposed to do but broke in the process. Only the clevis broke and the hinge broke loose so I replaced the clevis and re glued the hinge but this time I put a couple screws in to keep it in place.
7/12/06 - The struts arrived on July 3rd but they were longer than the originals so I had to wait to talk with Century Jet to find out what's up. They offered to assemble the gear if I sent them to in but after talking to them I found out they would just grind them down and I can do that so I did. The new struts should be stronger. The old struts are hollow, the new struts have a solid center so hopefully they will last longer than two flights. Century Jet also said that I should use JB Weld where the main strut fits into the yoke so it can't rotate. I did that so now I'm covered under warranty if the strut bends again.
With the gear fixed up I decided that Old Iron Sides needs some engines. It never looked right with just the gold outrunners sitting in the cowls and I have the plastic radials I bought from Dare. Since the outrunners outer case rotates I would have to build a mount system that keeps the radial away from the spinning motor. The first thing to do was I needed to move the motors back 3/16" so the radial won't rub. That turned out to be a good thing because the original motor mounts I made from hickory compressed and needed to be replaced. I made new 1" tall mounts from aircraft grade 1/2" plywood. I then made the radial mounts from 3/32" ply and 1/8" lite ply and it works great.
The radial comes made from white styrene and doesn't look like much but some black, silver and gray paint and it starts looking better, add silver painted toothpicks for the push rod tubes and a piece of red wire and it looks pretty darn good. Not true scale but still good. Really cool would be to get another set of 4 radials to put behind the first row and make true 14 cylinders. Also move the cylinders back, re-make the large gear reduction case on the front and add spark plug wires so it all looks true scale. Maybe someday. The nice thing about electric is that a scale engine could be done, even with an outrunner motor. I did cut holes between the cylinders to allow cooling air to flow over the motor. Very important to have the airflow and the fake radial helps direct the air over the motor.
I'm hoping that I won't have anymore problems and I'll just get to fly. After thinking about it I decided against trying to get two flights from one charge. I would not be comfortable on the second flight and it's just not worth the risk. I splurged and bought a second AstroFlight 109 charger and four PolyQuest PCM guards so I can charge all four batteries at the same time using two "Y" connectors, one for each charger. The PCM guards go between the battery and charger and shut off charging when any of the three cells reach 4.2 volt. I hook up two batteries to the charger and set it at 8 amps to charge two 4 amp packs. I hope my trucks battery can handle it!
7/16/06 - Flight # 4 today. I flew at Bayside in front of the club crowd and my family got to see it fly for the first time. I used the Graupner 10/7 3 blade props and still had good power. I noticed that I had to keep more power on but I have plenty to spare. I flew for around 5 minutes and used half of the 4000ma pack. It wasn't without mishaps though. On landing I came in on final OK but began to flare and about a foot off the ground I released stick pressure a bit too much and the aircraft dove to the ground, hitting the nose wheel first then bounced up and came down hard on the left main wheel, bending the new solid inner strut and breaking the left gear mounting plate loose just a bit. Also the nose wheel got shoved into the door track and messed that up a bit. Other than my ego, that was all the damage. I checked for stress cracks on the entire airframe and everything is A-OK. So I guess I built it strong enough! So far the only good landing I've made was the first one without a nose wheel.So I have to order a new inner strut. This one was my fault though.
I also decided that now is the time to re-build the nose gear door tracks. The rear track was too close to the wheel and also not enough room for the brake servo when turning to the right which made for a very large turning radius. I moved the rear track back and widened the angle on the tracks which not only gave clearance for the servo but the doors work better too. I added about 3/16" of an inch to the door end and moved the operating cable location to match the new track angle and that's it. It now works very well and I have a full range of steering.
7/29/06 - Today I got flights 5 & 6 in and it's significant because it marks the first time I got two flights in one day. It wasn't without problems though and I'm hoping that someday I will have no more things falling off or needing repair.
For the past couple of weeks I have been trying to get new inner struts for the main gear. The guy who makes them was out for a week and then when I did get the package it was a set on entirely new main gear struts, re-designed to withstand my landings!. The problem was that it would require me to modify the gear cutouts in the wings and they were not very scale looking so I had to send them back with and explanation that I really only need the inner strut. If I make normal landings the solid inner strut will be just fine. So I could fly I put the un-bent old hollow inner strut back in.
The flights today were going to be for me. I need to get more comfortable with the flight envelope and practice landings and that's just what I did. The first flight I shot touch & goes. I had a slight cross wind but all went well and was able to get some good touchdowns and NO bounces. I tried some landings with half flaps and some with full flaps and finally landed with full flaps. Full flaps allows the aircraft to slow way down, so much so that I have to be careful not to slow down too much. I think that was why I was slamming to the pavement on the previous flights. I was simply running out of airspeed to soon. I did discover and problem with electrics, I'm use to throttling back to idle at times with a fuel burner but if you do that with electric the props all stop which really drops the airspeed fast. Now after start-up I move the throttle trim up so I can't shut down the props in flight. That makes one less thing to think about while landing. Also with the brake working I can come in a little hotter and still stop before the end of the runway.
After that flight I checked everything and after re-bending the weak hollow strut, I gave myself the OK for another flight! The batteries were barely warm so I hooked them up to the PCM guards then to the chargers, two to a charger, set the amps at 8 and away we go. I was able to re-charge in about 45 min all four batteries form my trucks battery and got another good flight, flight #6. I did have one of the main gear covers fall off during the takeoff but recovered it.
After flight #6 I can say that I feel pretty comfortable flying Old Ironsides and predict many more great flights. I'm glad that I can feel comfortable flying at my club field, Bayside RC. It's a tiny field with a tiny runway so if I can fly there I can fly anywhere! And I wanted this to be a everyday flyer and now it can be.
Before the next flight I need to fix the right main gear door, replace the right inner strut and tighten up the bomb bay door cables. I noticed one cable came loose and the door could catch the wind and rip off. I plan on re-doing the bomb bay doors to make them move more freely. I just don't want to have to re-visit that yet. That will be a winter project. I probably won't write here again until I get the bomb bay doors working and I'm dropping bombs. Then I'll be finished!