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Pilot Dolphin Review and Build

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Old 01-05-2015, 06:31 PM
  #1
MorseAircraftDevelopment
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Default Pilot Dolphin Review and Build

Hello all, my name is Jordan Morse and I am the owner of Morse Aircraft Development. (www.morseaircraftdevelopment.com) We have been offered the opportunity to do a build review and flight review of the new Pilot Dolphin Turbine Ready Jet. We will post tons of pics and details as I build. The jet arrived today via DHL. It actually came faster than I anticipated, from overseas. The box was in decent shape considering the trip it had to make. I really like the way it was boxed, and I saw something I have not seen before in packing, the fuse was held in place by a wooden dowel through the wing tube and then secured on both sides. The plane came in two boxes, one for the fuse, stab, rudder and accessories. The other box contained the wings. Tony at Pilot included the light kit and wing bags for our review plane. Everything was pre installed at the factory, servos, fuel tank (I will address this during the build), air tanks, air lines, retracts, all linkages, air valves, voltage regulator, and lighting kit. The manual for the plane is downloadable from www.pilot-rc.com.


All you really need for this plane to get it flying is a turbine, radio, receiver, batteries, and a UAT. We are using a Futaba 18MZ and R7008SB for guidance, A Demon Cortex for a gyro, 2x Tail Dragger RC LiFe batteries (2500). For a turbine we turned to Barry at King Tech for a K100G. I believe this will be the perfect match for this airframe. The install of the components should be strait forward.

I found the plane to be very good looking. If you were 5 feet away you would never know it was a balsa and covered airframe. The only wrinkle I could find was on the belly pan. The build seems to be of the quality you come to expect from Pilot. Most of the glue joints look good, of course I will go over them all with a fine tooth comb, especially since its a jet and not an IMAC plane. I will say I was weary at first seeing that Pilot, who has always built prop planes, was coming out with a woody jet. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the boxes. I think this will be a great trainer or sport style jet for those lazy Sundays.

Here are some pictures of the packaging and each component, along with some pictures of the factory install, not as neat and tidy as one of my builds, but it will work for an ARF. Sorry some of the pictures are sideways, they are not that way in my flies. I will be updating this thread everyday with the days progress and pictures of such progress.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvoCmGDvY5o
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Last edited by MorseAircraftDevelopment; 01-22-2015 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:24 PM
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Vertical and horizontal stab install:

The horizontal tube fits really tight in the fuse and a little loose in the stabs. I was worried about this at first but then I test fit it all together and bolted it down. It tightened right up with no wiggle in any direction. I removed the stabs and got them ready to install for the final fit. There is plenty of servo wire to work with here. I left the fuselage side in its holder because the pipe is right behind it and i didn't want to risk the chance of the wire touching the pipe. The extra wire on the servo I just zip tied up and left it in the stab. The connection was heat shrunk. the stabs are held on by one 3.5mm by 20mm bolt and washer and secures through a tab on the stab to a blind nut that is reinforced on the inside of the fuselage. The shape in the tail saddle area is obtained by the shaping of 9 layers of 5mm balsa sheet on each side, this is what the stab sits on. I then bolted it all together and once again, zero slop. Now, what I don't like. There is a pretty good gap all the way around the horizontal stab, especially where the bolt goes into the fuselage. I do not think you can just cover this area as there is not much to attach to and I think it would just blow off. This is more of a "looks" issue than structural. I don't think this is going to be a high speed jet so it probably will not effect performance.

The vertical is attached to the jet by epoxy. There are no fasteners here. I test fit the rudder to the fuselage, it fit nice and tight. Next I sanded the surfaces and tack clothed them. Before applying the glue I heat shrunk the rudder servo connection and tested the servo. Next was to hook up the light wire, now here the servo wire was way to short, I simply added a 4" extension. Here again I left the slack in the surface to keep them from falling in the fuselage and hitting the pipe. Pilot had this in mind and built in holders to keep the wires from falling. One thing you will want to do is protect the pipe from getting glue on it when you install the vertical. I used wax paper and just worked it to the tail cone. I was now ready to glue it into the fuselage. I used Hysol E-20HP. This is a far superior glue versus a normal epoxy. Once the glue is applied you simply put the vertical in place and push down. I then squared it up with the horizontal and left it to dry. My only issue with this whole setup is once you glue the vertical in, you can not get to your connections.

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Last edited by MorseAircraftDevelopment; 01-05-2015 at 08:29 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:36 PM
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Nice work Jordan. I for one will definitely be following your build closely and look forward to your test flight!
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:42 PM
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Thank you, I think this jet is just what the market needs! It's perect for the guys wanting to make the jump and investment into turbines. And being that it's wood, most everyone can fix a crash. Now with that comes the hopes that it's repaired correctly since it is a turbine powered model. We will be flying it off a 400' runway. Our flight test will include short takeoff and landings so guys know what it can do at their field. I will give all weather and altitude conditions so you can figure for your home field. The turbine is going in tomorrow. I always put the gear that has to go in a certain spot in first then I build on the balancer after that. Insuring the lightest plane possible.

Last edited by MorseAircraftDevelopment; 01-05-2015 at 09:44 PM. Reason: Typo again, fat fingers
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:59 AM
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I also have bought this one, will follow With interest. A lot of snow where i live, so i have too wait for 2-3 months before my first flight.

Viggo
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:59 AM
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Nice thread...appreciate the effort. I understand that you have a " review " model. I wonder if it is the same as the " turbine ready " version?
Mine arrives on Thursday.

Dean W.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:29 AM
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Yes, this is a production version. Same as the one you are receiving. I will post more this evening after doing some more work. And I have some additional info on the jet that most will find useful.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:31 PM
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I've bin waiting for a build, review and some good flight testing. of Pilots Dolphin jet. Thanks for the effort and Good luck with the project.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:54 PM
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Default Fuel Tank System

Today I worked over the fuel system and fuel tank. I had planned to install the turbine tonight but that will have to be tomorrow. I have many jet projects right now and had to do some building on those. So, on to tonight's project. I took the factory fuel tank out to clean the tank and change some things with the plumbing. here are some specs of the system.

Tank capacity: 101.2 oz
Stock fuel line ID: 3mm
Stock tubing through stopper ID: 3mm
Stock clunk weight: 18 grams
Stock clunk ID: 2mm

I changed the tubing and line to the following;
Fule line: 4mm
Fuel tubing through stopper: 4mm
Clunk weight: 21 grams
Clunk ID: 5mm

So here is what I did and why. The first thing you need to do to any fuel tank (ARF or not) is to clean it, to remove any molding release agent or things of that sort. To remove the tank I simply undid the Velcro straps and pulled it off the Velcro that it sits on. Next I chose to remove the factory vent because I will be installing a Jersey Modeler dry break fueling system. (www.jerseymodeler.com) Even if you don't change the system you will find it easier to get the line off of it if it is removed. While its out I would make a small ring and epoxy it in place so that the vent doesn't simply screw through balsa into the backing plate. I think it needs a bit more structure here. The main reason is the vent is used for more than just overflow on jets and is messed with a lot considering you will probably run a wing tank or overflow tank while starting up and taxiing, or waiting for your turn at a jet rally. Next I pulled the tank fitting and cleaned the tank using kerosene. While that sat I started in on the stopper and fuel lines. Here i chose to replace all the factory lines with bigger lines. Main reason fro this is to allow higher fuel volume to the UAT and more vent action fro fueling the plane. I then changed the clunk to a slightly heavier one and one with a bigger opening. If you run a smaller line to the UAT then it calls for you can create cavitation at the fitting causing air to enter the system on the suction side. You literally can create air. This discussion could go on a thread all on its own but I will stop here with that. You may notice that I am using Zip ties for "clamps" or "safety wire". I use high quality fuel resistant T&B ties with stainless clips in them. On the fuel system it takes very little pressure to keep the line from coming off, I will put these zip ties up against any retaining system out there. Once again a whole other thread. I then reassembled the tank and reinstalled it in the airframe.

The UAT i am using will mount under the radio and valve tray and stick out into the battery tray. This will allow me to see the UAT while fueling. The instructions call for it to be mounted under the tray. I will give measurements and weights of the mount I make tomorrow.

Lets Talk about the capacity of the tank. 101.2 Oz, this is great for turbines up to about a K100 and will give you somewhere in the 7-8 min flight time. Which is great for the beginner turbine pilot! gives you plenty of time to practice approaches and such. I think 101.2 oz is a little shy for a K140, probably in the near 5 min mark for average flying. We will get actual fuel burn and fuel remaining numbers on the K100G when we do our test flights. Right now all I can do is speculate based on the numbers out there on fuel burn. So this concludes my thoughts and actions on the fuel tank. Here are some pictures of the tank and parts.

The first three pics are of the stock system. Any pic with black zip ties are of the "upgraded" system... just to clarify
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Last edited by MorseAircraftDevelopment; 01-07-2015 at 03:31 PM. Reason: clarification on pics
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:21 PM
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Default Some special notes about the Dolphin Jet

So here are some facts that you guys might find interesting about the Pilot Dolphin Jet.

So the driving force behind Tony at Pilot wanting to develop a jet was cost. He wanted to create a jet that the average pilot and hobbyist could afford. He wanted it made out of wood for easy repair. And since they offer free wood parts this is a plus! I personally have ordered many parts from him for fixing customers planes. It is an easy process for the average builder, and you can also get pre cut covering for a small fee. The other driving force was a jet that was easy to fly. Now most of you can see the resemblance to a L39. That's because it is modeled after the good points of the L39. Forgiving platform, good trainer, and great performance all in one are the attributes that make the L39 a great plane. Tony took these attributes and designed the Dolphin. He just didn't want another ugly wood jet out there. There were five prototypes before the Dolphin came to be what you see today. They worked on wing placement, CG, and incidence to get the best performing jet they could.

Next Tony wanted to address the fact that some will outgrow the "trainer" style wing that comes with the jet. So he designed a smaller wing with a different airfoil that will bolt right in. You literally can change the wings and change the plane into a true sport jet. This is the first time I have ever seen this offered in a jet. you can set up two models in your radio, one with the trainer wing and one with the sport wing. Simply copy your model into a new model and make your sub trim changes and probably some minor adjustments to the expo ect... and you have a whole new plane.

The retracts on this plane are robust to say the least. He designed them to stand up to the beginner landings, i.e. bouncing. The retracts were tested to 60,000 cycles before there was any issue with the seals. Now for some inside news... There is a 12-14 LB version in R&D right now. I've seen pictures and can not wait to get my hands on one of those. Tony has really helped the jet community with this plane. I have not flown it yet so I'm still holding out on my final report, but it looks like it is going to be a great plane for beginner and expert alike.
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:44 AM
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I hope it warms up for testing! Is the stock clunk the one with white zip ties?
It doesn't look like there is a way to hook up to the factory overflow (white circular two piece fitting)?
I'm a big fan of the dry break fittings as they allow for several different ways to fuel the airplane. Very nice.

Last edited by 757Driver; 01-07-2015 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:02 AM
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Build is looking very good and am sure you will love the way the bird flies! No need for a gyro, the aircraft is a very stable platform. We have already had on up in the air for some flight testing and we were very pleased with it. Chief Aircraft is the exclusive importer of pilot Aircraft in the USA and we currently have several of these in stock and ready for shipping. As mentioned, Pilot Aircraft has delivered a great flying entry level jet! Keep up the great work!
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:00 AM
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Danny, would you mind posting some pictures of your setup with the K140 (on another thread so we don't inadvertently hijack all the good work on this thread)? Also, would it be possible to see some video of your flights with the K140?

Thanks,

Tom
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:24 AM
  #14
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Jordan,
Thanks for the info on the fuel tank. I'm definitely going to go with the Jersey Modeler Dry Break connector. I've also been using zip ties to secure fuel lines for years and I have never had one fail. My worry with using safety wire is that if I tighten it to much it could actually cut the tygon tubing.

Last edited by Tip22v; 01-07-2015 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:36 AM
  #15
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That is my thought as well with the safety wire. Now on the pressure side of the pump I do use safety wire. I don't usualy use Tygon tubing in jets but it came with it and I didn't see an issue in this jet because nothing is hidden and I can monitor the fuel lines on a flight by flight basis. I personally have never had an issue with tygon on jets but I could see where if the suction was great enough you might collapse a line, another reason for running a larger line on suction side. You can buy the dry break from Dean or me. I deal them as well. Doing business with Dean has always been great for me. And I was going to mention at the end of the build that you can get these planes from Chief. Once again I have always had a great experience dealing with chief as well, great customer service. My jet came from Tony because I am a "club" rep for Pilot here in Oklahoma. I will be posting videos of this jet as soon as it is done along with a bunch of flight videos following the first flights.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:44 AM
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So as for the Gyro, I am installing one simply because I have them. I am a dealer for powerbox and happen to have a demon sitting around so I figured might as well put one in and use it up. I'm sure this jet can fly great without one. I will not be using it during the flight tests. But after I fly it a bit they are always fun to turn on and make the jet fly even better. ( usually ) haha
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:02 PM
  #17
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Tip22, you will have to ask Dana for a picture of the setup because I do not have it. He is up in Oregon, I am down in Florida. We will have one or two at Florida Jets this year where we will have a large display and flying them throughout the event. Keep an eye on this build, he will show how great of a flying bird it is!
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Old 01-07-2015, 04:15 PM
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Thanks Danny, I will give Dana a call tomorrow.
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Old 01-07-2015, 04:24 PM
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Jordan,
I ordered my dry break setup from Dean. I did not know you had them otherwise I would have ordered from you because you are much closer than Dean in New Jersey Based on your photos I will also be upsizing the tubing. I've also had great service from Chief over the years, and because I'm just up the interstate a few hours (from their OR location) I usually get my orders in two days even when it's coming UPS Ground. I am a little disappointed that I ordered my Dolphin Jet last Friday and have yet to receive an email with a tracking number though.

Thanks again for keeping us all updated on the build, I feel like I've already got a head start when my arrives!
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Old 01-07-2015, 04:27 PM
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Thanks Tip22v! I'm working on the turbine install right now! I will have a complete write up hopefully up tonight.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:50 PM
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Default Turbine install

Well tonight I got the turbine in. I used a K100G. The mounting is strait forward and made easy by Pilot. They incorporated alignment lines in the turbine rails to assist with installation. Very helpful, and great for the first timer. After looking at that huge bell on the pipe, I consulted a good friend about the placement of a KingTech in this situation. They say in the instructions to put this one 20-30mm from the mouth of the bell. After sharing some pics and ideas we came to the same conclusion, mount it 20-30mm from the pipe, not the bell. This is because the bell is huge, a lot like the Germans make, not what most of us are use to looking at that comes from Tams or most Skymasters ect...

The Turbine is mounted 22mm from the end of the actual pipe. Since the bell is so big this is not an issue. The pipe size comes out to 71.8 mm, this is perfect for the K100G. with the turbine 22mm from the pipe my measurements are as follows;

turbine cone to pipe= 22mm
turbine mounting tabs from front of turbine rails= 75mm

I then put the harness in a braded loom and installed down the starboard side of the plane to the front. the fuel line is not ran to the turbine yet because I have to put the plane on the balancer at this point to lay out all other equipment.

UAT MOUNTING

I made a small UAT mount and cut away at the two upper boards for it to slide down and mount nicely. Here are the measurements for that.

on the board covering the air tanks I cut these measurements from the back of the board and in from the starboard side.

towards the nose 42mm
from the starboard side 20mm
and it was cut open 50mm wide

on the upper radio tray I cut the following from the front to rear on the starboard side

from the starboard side 20mm
from the front to the back 42mm
and 50mm wide.

I then glues the UAT mount to the air tray and reinstalled it in the airplane. Next I mounted the UAT in the mount with Velcro and one zip tie.
Then I reinstalled the upper tray with the new Jersey Modeler dry break system filler. once again I upgraded to this because no one else make a fueling system this good. And the only fault with the Pilot one is the fact you can not install an overflow tank or "taxi" tank because there is nowhere to attach the line. Plus the dry break insures no fuel inside the airframe while fueling.

From this point on I will be building on the balancer for a lack of a better way of describing it. This is the best way to mount your gear and to keep from having to add weight to a plane. So on the table for tomorrow is getting the fuel pump in and the FADEC unit along with the radio system. I literally have 2 hours and 14 min in this build. It seems a lot longer taking pictures every few minutes and such. Here are some pictures to go with the info. Enjoy.

Jordan
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:38 PM
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Jordan,
Would the 22mm distance between the tail cone and tail pipe apply to a K140 as well? This is my first jet with a tail pipe so I'm not sure what to consider in the mounting distance. Perhaps the folks from Chief want to chime in with how they mounted the K140 in the. Demo plane they flew?
Also Jordan, do you sell all those clamps and such that you use in your builds? I'll understand if that's a trade secret but I really like how neat and tidy you do your work, I'm a big believer that neatness counts when building model aircraft thanks again for all the information you are posting here.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:40 PM
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Forgot to mention that I got my tracking number from Chief today, delivery is estimated to be next Tuesday. For some reason I was thinking this jet would ship from the Oregon location but it's coming from Fla so it will take a few more days.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:01 PM
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No secrets here, I am in the business of building professionally but I am always available fro questions and such. I get them from DreamWorks Rc (www.dreamworksrc.com) the blue ones I use are the 8mm size to hold the more rigid line that I normally use. They work great for the large Tygon tubing (5/16). I use them a lot in my IMAC and 3D plane builds as well. They are not cheap. I do sell them as well. The black "p" clamps you can get at any hardware store, they are usually in the electrical organization area. The spacing from the pipe on your K140 is suppose to be 20-30mm as well. If anyone was to try to use any larger turbine than that you would need a new pipe. The K140 is at the limit of the diameter of this pipe. http://www.kingtechturbines.com/doc/manual.pdf is the manual and specs for your turbine. There are dimensional drawings there. I have started to install the radio gear and such tonight. I can say that the K140 planes are going to need to use heavier receiver batteries or you are going to have to add weight to the nose. I got mine to balance with the receiver batteries on the nose gear box, the turbine battery right behind that and then the fuel pump and then the receiver and gyro. This was on the balancer with the gear down and the UAT full. I had a perfect balance at this point. The K140 weighing 1 pound .02 oz more about 12 in behind the center of gravity will cause a tail heavy situation. All my gear that I just mentioned above weighed 28.1 oz. Here is a list of gear that I weighed

Two 2500 Mah Taildragger Rc LiFe
One Kingtech 3800 Mah 9.9 volt
One Kingtech fuel pump and mount
One Futaba 7008 receiver
One demon gyro

I will post pictures as soon as I'm done with the install. And thank you for the comments on my thread. This is my first thread, I have always stayed away from posting much just because it takes so much time and the keyboard experts, but I feel I may be able to help people out so now I am posting. Tipp22V, you can call me any time, my number is listed on my website.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:56 PM
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No pictures tonight guys, ran out of time. Was on the phone a lot with customers updating them on their builds and got a new build on the books. Any way I did get the radio gear and fuel pump installed. Looks like my weather is not going to permit a test flight this weekend... I will update the thread Saturday with all the rest of the pics and go over the wings with you guys and the air system that comes with the TR version. I changed a few things in that area as well. Not that they have to be done, but I think they should be done. Been talking with Tony from Pilot and giving him some feedback on this jet and talking with him about the new smaller version. I cant say enough how much he is doing for the "new" jet pilot. Until now it has just been to expensive for most prop pilots to make the switch, now with this jet and the smaller version being developed right now, anyone that can afford a 35-40% prop plane or an average war bird can afford to buy a jet. And the way that the turbine technology is going with all internal valves and soon to come turbines with the pump and ecu built in, the turbine installs are getting easier as well. I will do a wrap up on the build part of the thread this weekend. I will include pics and specs as I have in the entire post. Then there will be a great video that I will make with a whole days worth of flying and testing along with a complete write up on the flying, I will have still shots as well. There will be two of us flying the jet on the maiden day. Me and 757driver. might even get the Hex up in the air and get some in air action video.
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