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Beginner build questions

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:02 AM
  #1
Brian Dixon
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Default Beginner build questions

I am new to RC. I am building a Balsa USA Stick 40 Plus trainer and have a few questions.
1. I know balsa is strong for its weight, but would the fixed parts of the rudder and elevator benefit from triangulation provided by the addition of wires between them as I see on many real planes?
2. The main wing is meant to be held on with rubber bands. In theory, this allows for the wing and fuselage to separate in a crash and minimize damage. Is this really likely to work? Does the wing ever shift during flight? Would it not be better off bolted on?
3. I’ve certainly heard of planes being flown into trees, but how often are planes completely lost? Would it be a good investment to buy one of those new GPS locators?
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:26 AM
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1. I'm thinking you're referring to a wire tail brace system. Many models do incorporate them into the design mostly on larger faster aerobatic planes and biplanes. If your plans or instructions don't call for them (few trainers do), a good rule of thumb is....if it isn’t broke don't fix it. Also keeping your model lighter by minimizing additional unnecessary tail weight is the highest priority.

2. Rubber band mounted wings are not meant to move around in flight but tend to forgive more in the event of a cartwheel on landing or take-off. However I've seen a rubber band mounted wing bust apart the fuselage upon ground contact as well. A bolt on wing is cleaner and less fuss but often breaks more stuff on a less then perfect wheel down landing. That said nothing can be built entirely crash resistant gravity just plain sucks, wheels make for better landings then wings. If you do manage to figure out the crash resistant engineering dilemma you'll be worth billons.
In my opinion rubber bands suck they must be cleaned after each use and stored in talc powder they're usually more trouble then they are worth. The learning curve for safe wheel down landings is often short with a good instructor thus minimizing wing strikes. So if you have the option to bolt that wing on do it. You can also do it later after you solo but that is also a hassle once it's built and covered.

3. I've been flying RC for 30 years and of the hundreds of flights and models I've only seen 2 fly away. One was a larger gas model during flight the battery pack died. It flew completely level until it could no longer be seen. Days later in town at the dinner a neighbor living about 7 miles north of the field asked "if we lost a model the other day"? We said, “yes did you find it”? He said, “yep seen it flying over my house about 300’ flying level still heading north until it was out of sight”. It was never seen again likely flew 2 counties away with 40 minuets worth of fuel dead calm wind. The other was a smaller towed glider taken away by high winds never found. Often when things go bad planes never go up or fly flat and level. Unfortunately Murphy's law works fast by smacking a plane hard into terraferma instantly rekitting your model never far from the field being quite easily found with the obvious debris.

Save that GPS money and buy a good quality PC flight simulator the skills built flying one of these units are far more valuable. When trouble does happen with many simulated flight hours you'll have a greater chance at recovering with lightning reflexes that are as instinctual as breathing. Practice makes the hands work with little thought even real pilots know this fact, it's crazy how habit works on the brain so try to build good ones.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:10 AM
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Default RE: Beginner build questions

Hey Stick.. what's a "blot" on wing? Just teasing, of course.

A quick reminder about rubber banded wing mounts. I don't re-use rubber bands. Some people put them in baking powder, I believe, after use, to soak up the oil, but I just throw them away. The cost is minimal. And, I advise to use at least 4 per side, running front to rear (or rear to front - your choice ) and one pair cross wize from left to right (ok.. yeah, from right to left ).

I left my 72 mgh antenna down after flying 2.4GHz all day. It was a Little Something Extra conversion to electric. Once airborne, I made a right turn to begin orbiting for trim adjustments, but half way through the turn, the planed leveled out and headed away from me. I didn't realize what was going on until it was out of sight over the trees about 200 yards away. I did manage to pull the throttle back and heard it wind down, but it was high enough to keep on gliding on away from me.

I was flying with another pilot.. he saw what happened and stood by while I drove around. I had him point in the direction where the plane went over the trees and walked on in. I walked in about 100 yards and there it was, sitting on the ground with a broken prop. That's all that happened. The point is, that due to my lack of brain cells that day, I forgot to raise the antenna and almost lost the plane as it flew away. It does happen, in other words. However, I would not spend the money on some sort of locator. It just add weight and is rather expensive. A good pair of eyes as to the direction it was going at the time will help a lot.

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Old 01-29-2013, 04:14 AM
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Default RE: Beginner build questions

Got it!
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:48 AM
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:17 AM
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Default RE: Beginner build questions

When you are building your plane you can both rubber band mount your wing and bolt it on...For the first little while till you are comfortable flying it use the rubber bands then start bolting the wing on...The tail wires help a lot...You can use string, or fishing line and the little crimp on electrical connectors to make some that won't add much weight but will add a lot of strength and will cost next to nothing...I have seen a lot of broken fins on trainers...Planes are seldom completely lost unless you have a big swamp next door with tall bull rushes like we do...There is about 4 ft of water and 2 ft of mud .We lost two last summer , they went in straight down and you cant see them..You cant walk too them..Maybe if you knew exataly where they were you could fight your way to them, Depends what they were worth I guess....The rushes kinda cushioned the blow on the ones we have recovered over the years..You get them back sometimes with minimal damage.. I would say on a really expensive plane it would not hurt to have an emergency locater transmitter ELT Just like the full size do..
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:31 AM
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Default RE: Beginner build questions

If you use the proper size and number of rubber bands, the wings will not move in flight, and they can help let the wing pop loose in a crash instead of breaking. But many people think they need to add extra rubber bands for safety, this can make the rubber band mounting stronger than wing bolts, resulting in more damage when a crash occurs. You can check your rubber bands to see if they are adequate. Make sure all components are installed and the tank is full of fuel, hold the plane by the wings close to the root, carefull not to grab an area with weak sheating or no sheeting at all. Raise the plane up and down as quickly as you can and observe how much the fusalage separates from the wing when you start to raise up. If you are moving it vigorously and you can not get the wing and fuse to seperate at all, you may have too many rubber bands, if you get a minor seperation, like an 1/8" to 1/4", you are probably about right.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:40 AM
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Default RE: Beginner build questions

A GPS is a waste, but one of the lost plane buzzers is a smart investment. If your flying area has a lot of tall grass or woods and you put one in, there are many stories of guys searching for 2 hours for a plane that was 15 feet away the whole time. A $5 lost plane buzzer would have prevented that, and also has the very helpful benefit of alerting you when you leave your switch turned on accidentally.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:53 AM
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Brian Dixon
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Thanks for all the great answers!

Sincerely,
Brian
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