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  1. #51

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    Well, after working on some other non plane related stuff for a few days, I decided it was time to tackle the wings. Part of the delay was that I know the ailerons wouldn't be a whole lot of fun. They are pretty time intensive and you don't have a whole lot to show when you are done. But after a bit of procrastination...

    Like the tail, I covered the leading edge of all the ailerons, then glued the hinge pins in. After that, the trailing edge of the wing got covered and the ailerons themselves. With that done, I could glue the pins into the wings. With the ailerons complete, it was time to turn my attention to the wingtips. I had no idea how good they would turn out and I have to say, they exceeded all my expectations. They were covered it two pieces, bottom first, then top. I positioned the covering so that I could pull it as tight as possible, then tacked it down with a trim iron. After that, the heat gun and some time carefully going over the edges with the trim iron left me with a nice tight, wrinkle free, tip.

    The bottom of the wing is being done in yellow and red strips. Since the yellow is transparent, it has to be put down before the red. Each of the panels was pretty straight forward. The edges were tacked as the panel was pull tight by hand. Then the edges were sealed down good and the whole panel was gone over with the iron set at minimum shrink. That got most of any wrinkles that remained. The final step was a pass with the heat gun. The center panel took some patience. As you can see, the center section of the wing was sealed with thinned epoxy. It did a great job of sealing it, to air as well. Getting most of the bubbles out from under the covering was a time consuming job.

    Last night, with all the yellow panels in place, I put down the outer two red panels on each side of the wing. They were done the same as the yellow. Once they were shrunk I cut the servo mounting hole out if the inboard stripe. Hopefully today, I can get the final stripe on each side and get the servos mounted.
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  2. #52
    vasek's Avatar
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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    Great work you're doing here!

    I like the choice of horns for control surfaces, are they Dubro? i tried to find them on Tower Hobbies site without success....
    Remember: Speed is life!

  3. #53

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    No, not Dubro. I can't remember the manufacturer right off hand, though I can visualize the package they come in. Next time I'm in the local shop where I get them I'll check on the manufacturer. I found some that look pretty similar on the HobbyKing.com site: http://hobbyking.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8270&Product_Name=Adjustable_Control_Horn_3x24mm_(5sets )

  4. #54
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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    Thanks!
    Remember: Speed is life!

  5. #55

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    Ah, progress is good.

    Finished the bottom stripes. With them done, the wing servos could be installed and wired up. To make sure the channels were right, I connected everything up. Once the control rods were glued, I set everything up. Trim offsets on the radio are "0" and everything lines up correctly. I'm sure some stuff will change after the maiden flight, but I'm at least starting from good spot. The connection from the servo to the "squid" was wrapped in heat shrink tube to make sure it will not come apart. The only downside here is that if I ever damage a wing servo, I'll have to remove covering to replace it. Thats the trade off for not having slack wire flopping around in the wing.

    With the servos in an wired, I started in on the top. Each side had one large transparent panel and a smaller one at the center. The leading edge took a bit of patience. It is a single strip that is wrapped around so there is no horizontal seam on the leading edge. The final piece was the center section on the top. When I stripped the wing, I did not remove the covering on the wing bolt plate. It was on good and in good shape. The blue in the center section had a cutout made for this plate, but making it an exact fit was impossible. I turned my trim iron as high as it would go and worked a thin strip of blue around the mounting plate to give a nice clean finish.

    And finally, something I've been waiting a long time to do. I mounted the dowels that hold the front of the wing to the fuselage. They are definately much nice looking that what I started with.

    At this point, I could "technically" go fly it. I still have to trim all the bolts on the aileron and flap control horns and of course I still have to decorate the top of the wing. The blue center section will get two red strips just in from either side to help with the transition and then I have to decide on what I want to do with the wings.
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  6. #56

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    So I went ahead and put the red trim stripes on the wing and trimmed the all the bolts with the dremel. I had to slightly enlarge the holes in the former for the wing mounting dowels to get a smooth but tight fit. Then I put it all together. The motor isn't fully mounted yet as I still need to tune it and I need to do the covering trim, but the major work is done. It is effectively in flying condition. I weighed it too. My last estimate was that it was going to be 7lb 12oz. Right now it is 7lb 11.2oz (3.5kg). I have not yet put it on the CG machine. Part of me is afraid to.

    After I took the pictures I pulled up the starboard red trim stripe on the wing as it was off by about 1/8" and since the come around the leading edge right at the side of the fuselage, you could really tell.



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  7. #57

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    I decided to have some fun with the wing. The wing panels will be mirror images of each other. I haven't decided what to do on the tail yet. Maybe a margarita glass?

    I got the Saito 100 out on the test bench today and tuned it up. It's turning a MA 16x4W at ~9300 and a Evolution 15x6 at ~8500. The pump seems to be doing its job. I did find out that it does much better with the tank vent open to the air instead of using muffler pressure. Pulling the pressure line gained me about 500 rpm.
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  8. #58

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    Ah, the stories I could tell....

    So the weekend before Thanksgiving was designated as "maiden" weekend. Actually, it should have been designated "attempted maiden" weekend. The end result was a snapped leading edge and a shattered 2nd rib. The cause? Pilot/builder stupidity. Remember that pre-flight check you are supposed to do? Don't take it for granted. I did the preflight, ran the motor up, wiggled all the surfaces and gave it a thumbs up. Rolled out to the center of the runway and began the throttle run up. As the plane approached takeoff speed, I pulled back on the elevator to begin rotation and..... Anyone want to guess? Nose into the ground. No damage other than a "trimmed" prop. Being the persistent type, I replace the prop and tried again. Nearly the same results. No prop strike this time, but the tail pops up, no steering, wing into one of the pilot's stations.

    I had to cut a new rib back to the main spars, splice in a new section of leading edge, then fit in the replacement sheeting. When all was said and done, the only way you can tell is to find the seams in the Ultracote where I laid down the patches. From more than about 12" away, even I can't see it. I had started taking pictures of the repairs, but lost them due to a failed memory card in the camera. All in all, just a bad series of events.

    Of course the culprit was quite simply when I actually looked. The elevator channel was reversed. *sigh*. In the end, there was a slight positive out of the whole thing though. I had noticed at idle that the motor was sounding odd. It was making noise every fourth stroke, likely on the combustion down stroke. There wasn't any vibration nor loss of power so I attempted the above maiden anyway. After the failed maiden, I decided to send the motor back to Horizon Hobby to have it checked out. It was a good thing I did too. The rear bearing had started to come apart and was starting to dump metal shavings into the motor internals. I ended up getting both bearing, the piston, and connecting rod replaced. It sounds much better now. Last weekend I re-did the break in. I gained about 200rpm on both the 16x4MA (9500) and 15x6(8700) and it is still running pretty rich.

    While to motor was away, I had the guys over at deadstickgraphics.com do graphics for my name, AMA number, and other vendor graphics. It is again ready to fly. The weather looks iffy for a re-maiden this weekend, but we shall see.

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  9. #59
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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    Nice job Mac!

    good luck with the re-maiden
    Remember: Speed is life!

  10. #60

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    The weather was quite nice this weekend and I got out to the field Sunday sunny and low 70s with a 5-10mph breeze, almost straight down the runway. Other than my horrible take of rolls (for whatever reason keeping it straight on the runway seemed impossible), the maiden was quite uneventful. It required about four clicks of down elevator trim for level flight, no rudder, no ailerons. It is quite responsive, even on low rates, but it is not at all hard to control. The only real issue I ran into was with motor rpm. For some reason, the motor was topping out around 7500RPM. Right now I suspect that the throttle servo travel needs to be extended and that it isn't actually opening the carb all the way. Other than the lack of RPM, the motor ran flawlessly. It idles between 1700 and 1900 rpm and pulls like a beast. Even missing 1250RPM the plane has nearly unlimited vertical. Landing was completely uneventful, other than misjudging the width of the runway on the first landing. The second was probably the best landing I've ever made.

    With any luck, I can get back my missing RPMs and have a very fun plane. I need to fine tune the low speed needle as it is still running quite rich (I'm guessing over 1.25oz/min) still. The high speed is pretty well set. It will die with little increase in RPM doing a high speed pinch test. One the low end there is still a very substantial increase in idle speed and it take nearly a minute to finally die.

    Overall, a good weekend. This weekend looks pretty conducive to flying as well so hopefully I can get the remaining kinks worked out.
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  11. #61
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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    You did a lot of what I was going to do on my 60 when it eventually bites the dust. Glad it was successful. By any chance have you ever noticed any cracks running on the sheeting near the former that meets the elevator? Mine has done it on two occasions. I finally fixed it with thin carbon fiber rods glued to the area and sheeted on top of it.



    ORIGINAL: sir crashallot

    thats some good work your doing, there not built to be strong are they there built for lightness unfortunatly creating them to be very weak airframes. but keep up the good work
    Very true, the bad part is it gets worse as the Ultra Stick gets smaller.

    Everyone crashes, its the matter of whose is cooler when it does!
    MUS Rebuild: http://tiny.cc/D6vWj

  12. #62

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick


    ORIGINAL: minicrazy592

    You did a lot of what I was going to do on my 60 when it eventually bites the dust. Glad it was successful. By any chance have you ever noticed any cracks running on the sheeting near the former that meets the elevator? Mine has done it on two occasions. I finally fixed it with thin carbon fiber rods glued to the area and sheeted on top of it.
    I didn't see any signs of cracking. All the damage I found was due to contact with other objects.

    ORIGINAL: minicrazy592
    ORIGINAL: sir crashallot
    thats some good work your doing, there not built to be strong are they there built for lightness unfortunatly creating them to be very weak airframes. but keep up the good work
    Very true, the bad part is it gets worse as the Ultra Stick gets smaller.
    It's not just the Ultra Stick. I think it is partly driven by the "3d craze". You need very light planes. There is always a trade off. The lighter you make it, the weaker it gets. In the business world there is a saying "Good, Cheap, Fast: If you are lucky you get to pick two". For airplanes is would be "Light, Strong, Cheap...". I'm not sure that weak is the correct term for the Ultra Stick. The fuselage not withstanding, it is built for light weight. But, if you look at the wing structure, it is quite strong and rigid in the directions it needs to be. It will handle flight stresses, however it is not built like a tank so it may not survive "non flight stress" nearly as well as a heavier wing.

    I did get out flying last Sunday and got another four tanks through the stick. Unfortunately the battery in my tach is dead so I couldn't re-check the RPM. It certainly seemed better though. Since I didn't have a tach, I didn't mess with the needles. Right now I am running through ~14oz of fuel in a 10 minute flight. It is going to take some experimenting to get the fuel mix right. This is my first pumped setup which adds extra set of adjustments. Still, I'm happy with the outcome and it flies well. It is balanced exactly on spec, but I think it is a bit nose heavy still. It takes about 4deg of up elevator to fly level and it pulls to the gear pretty strongly in a 45deg up line. Mind you its not a bad flier as configured and I would consider it a good setup for someone to start with. However, I think I'm going to add about 1/4oz to the tail next time I'm out.

  13. #63

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    And the wheel of life comes full circle. In late March, I went out to the field on a beautiful spring morning to continue trimming the Ultra Stick. It really hadn't seen any flight time during the winter. This year our winter was not nearly as conducive to flying as normal. Anyway, I got the motor tuned a bit more and began trim flights. I started with 1/4oz on the tail and it got better. Added another 1/4oz and it got really good. Elevator trim needed for level flight dropped in half and it lost most of the pull to the wheels in a 45deg climb.

    After one of the climbs, I pulled a split S and started back towards the runway. I came out of the split S a bit low. Not dangerously low, perhaps 20ft up. The way our field is set up, there is a large pond with old trees in it a couple hundred yards out at about 10 o'clock. I have really good eyes, but at that range, depth perception is hard, especially for something the size of an Ultra Stick. I thought I was well in front of the trees. The resounding whack of the port wing hitting a tree trunk corrected my... erm... perception. I was high enough that it cleared the edge of the pond before it nosed in.

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  14. #64

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    The nose came out relatively unscathed. The ground where it impacted was pretty soft from recent rain. The Saito 100 is fine if a bit dirty in the pictures. Moving further back is another story altogether. You can see the crack under the wing and there is a split that runs the length of the fuselage from the wings to the tail. I suspect it broke every former along the way. The tail feathers are intact and undamaged, but the fuse is broken and twisted right in front of the horizontal stab. The vertical stab actually sank into the fuse a bit at the front, right behind the rudder servo though you can't see it in the pictures.

    The impact obliterated the out six inches of the port wing. Most of it was floating in the pond. I don't think the starboard wing completely separated at impact with the tree, but the ground certainly finished the job. Past the break though, the starboard wing is pretty damage free. The tree impact was hard enough to knock the wing mounting block completely out of whack.

    It is a sad sight sitting on the garage floor. While I am sure it is "technically" repairable, I'm not sure the time it would require is worth it. It will probably get put in storage for a while before I decide. Even if does get rebuilt again, I have two or three other projects in line first. It really is a shame because, as it got trimmed out, it was turning into a wonderfully flying airplane.

  15. #65

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    A bummer after a lot of very well done effort to rebuild. My initial take from picture observation is that damage is extensive enough to think total given that the plane is still available at a reasonable price.

    Ultra Sticks are fine and very fun planes and when I lost mine (120 Lite), I knew it had to be rebuilt because it had been discontinued and was my favorite flier. After the rebuild, they did release another run of them and a back up was laid in.


  16. #66

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    RE: Reconditioning an Ultra Stick

    That's kind of my thought too. At $180 new, in a time vs money calculation, the new airframe is cheaper than the time to repair. I'll have to give some thought about whether I want to recover a new airframe in the same scheme or just leave it stock.


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