RE: Rebuild of a BalsaNOVA
The goal in any rebuild is to have a flyable airplane that is as good or better than the original. A couple of changes were made that have made it a better airplane from my point of view.
The original forward nose section was of a very weak design and was easily damaged with any stress. I replaced the forward nose section with a 1/8" light ply "box" with a 1/4" firewall. On that was laminated 3/32" balsa to fair into the original sides. Attention was given to the landing gear mount area. Again the original design was destined to failure at the first sign of stress. With the addition of plywood and gussets to spread the stress load, a much stonger landing gear mount was created with negligible wait gain. Mentioned earlier was the change to a four bolt wing mount which aids in strengthening the fuselage wing section on the weak area of this fuselage.
With the rebuild completed, it was time to fire up the new out of the box Super Tigre 2300. A couple of tanks of fuel were run through the engine and needle valves were set. At the flying field, last minute checks were performed. It was time to fly. With the engine a little rich, it went straight down the runway. Once in the air, it was noticeably nose heavy but manageable with trim. A turn to the left was also corrected with trim. First flight time was about five minutes and landing was set up. Landing the BalsaNOVA was so easy with a nice flair and kiss onto the runway.
I decided to take it home and make balance and trim corrections. When I got back to my shop, I turned on the transmitter to accomplish adjustments to the aileron trim. About 10 seconds later while moving the aileron stick. it flopped over to one side. The centering mechanism had broken inside the transmitter! Had the test flight been any longer, the BalsNOVA may have been a wreck again. Sometimes luck works with me. The transmitter was sent in for repair, the changes were made to the airplane and two more flights have taken place. Even after adding weight to the tail, it remains a bit nose heavy. Also, I found a slightly warped right side stabilizer perhaps accounting for the needed roll trim correction. Even so, I find the BalsaNOVA to be GREAT flying airplane. Knife edge pulls to the canopy a bit contributed to the nose heavy condition, but that will be corrected. It lands beautifully. Did three T&G's and each one was with a controlled flair and bounce free.
Further trimming will take place to make this a most pleasureable airplane to fly.
What a shame it would have been to put this airplane in the trash barrel after the crash.