Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cessna 150 Flies and Cessna Died

Not all of my model building projects turn out well, I do try to learn from my mistakes and do better on the next project. On the first conversion of a rubber powered free flight model to electric RC, the Guillow’s DHC-2 Beaver I went into the project with no prior experience with these types of conversions. After the initial problems the airplane flew very well and I think maybe it gave me over confidence for the next project, the Guillow’s Cessna 150.  

Cessna 150 Before Crash Testing

For the new conversion I had a more powerful motor/ battery combination and greater weight although I never weighed the airplane. It felt light and had plenty of power to climb, maybe too much. It was getting towards the end of the flying season and I rushed to get it in the air. The first flight didn’t seem too bad until the wings ripped off the airplane. On trying to fix the airplane and strengthening the wing joint I did not put in enough dihedral and the plane would not turn properly.

Cessna in Flight

After one flying session I grabbed each wing half and broke the wings partially loose to add more dihedral. The wings were still fairly solid on the plane so I flew it that way and it turned better. Repairing the joints with added dihedral the plane still did not turn well. It would appear to not be responding and then go into a spiral dive. Sometimes it didn’t recover before hitting the ground.  The plane never did fly super stable like the DHC-2 Beaver had. After so many repairs, I gave up. 

Wing Halves Bent Up

About this time I purchased the eFlite Sbach 342 which used the same batteries and charger as used in the Cessna. This airplane is a real performer for something so small, it does nice big loops and axial rolls. I wanted to do something with the equipment from the Cessna, so I looked through the treasures in my basement. I found a really lightweight wing structure that my friend Floyd Richards had given me, it was a symmetrical airfoil that was thick and had a good amount of wing area.

RTF Sbach 342

The idea was to build a nose on to the wing for the electric motor and add a vertical fin to build a flying wing. I rushed this project and went out to fly without checking the direction of the elevons. Sure enough this was backwards, when I fixed that the elevator action was backwards. At this point I was forced to read the manual to get it working right.

Flying Wing

It was starting to turn cold and darkness was coming early, if I was going to get a test flight in early morning would be the only time.  With little time to fly before going to work, I flew over the street in front of my house. It flew really well, stable but yet agile.  The wing needs to be recovered as the clear food wrap just isn’t strong enough. I am looking forward to flying this plane more, maybe indoors in a gym where it is warm.

Bill Kuhl

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1 comment:

  1. Try using 1.5mil laminating film. Look for the brand name Doculam. It's great stuff.