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VK .60-Sized Camel -Questions

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Old 11-11-2004, 06:43 PM
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E-Challenged
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Default VK .60-Sized Camel -Questions

Some time ago a "friend" gave me an old completed VK Camel less engine and RC gear. I recovered the ancient wings and painted it with exterior latex. Installed a K&B Sportster .65 and rigged it with heavy monofilament. Installed 4 D-size nicads in a U shaped box around engine to get it to balance per the plans. It's first and only attempt at flight, I managed to get it off and climbed to about 50 feet, then attempted a right turn. It seemed to pitch down and crashed in a curving dive to the right. Broke the crankcase. Found another Sportster .65 and am getting ready to fly again.

Is there a pitch instability problem with this design? Should I begin turns with rudder then ailerons, vice versa, up elevator???. If you have ever flown this one or similar design Camel, tips on flying without crashing will be much appreciated.
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Old 11-14-2004, 04:47 AM
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Uncle Heinkel
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Default RE: VK .60-Sized Camel -Questions

E-Challenged, I have a VK Camel. It's hanging from the ceiling now but for two years, it was my everyday flyer.

Mine was very easy to fly and didn't have the problem that you mentioned. My maiden flight was uneventful except for having to add a lot of elevator down trim. Laterally, it was dead on. I found that it would turn with ailerons only without adverse yaw. The small rudder is extremely effective and would make it turn immediately if added. An easy flyer but it needs to be flown all the time. It goes where you point it and stays there without any tendency to self correct.

As soon as I would throttle back for the approach, the nose would drop and it would start to lose altitude QUICKLY but it was easily compensated for with the elevator. Mine would slow down to a walk without dropping a wing tip so it was easy to three point it. In fact, that was the best way to land it to prevent nose overs. If you land on the mains with excess speed or in tall grass, it's going over.

I set the incidence on mine as close to the plans as I could and balanced it exactly where the plans indicated. I used a Saito 50 four stroke. I also built a box above the inverted engine for the battery. I filled the dummy engine with weights to help balance it.

You might want to check for incidence problems, strut lengths equal, warps(very easy to twist that framework), engine thrustline, CG, etc. As I recall, there was a lot of right thrust required... I had to shift the engine mount to the left of center on the firewall just to bring the propshaft back to the center of the cowl.

If you have the plans, compare your plane to them. That's what I did and it flew just fine.

Hope this helps,
H.
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Old 11-14-2004, 10:15 PM
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Default RE: VK .60-Sized Camel -Questions

Thanks for the clear info Unc!

It may have been stretchiness in the monfilament that I used for rigging. I don't have the plans but will contact Proctor to get proper incidence data. I will check the amount of right thrust. I'm sure that your tips on flying this old bird will help.
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Old 01-07-2005, 01:16 AM
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Default RE: VK .60-Sized Camel -Questions

I agree with Uncle Heinkel, the Camel is a very nice flying plane, without any unusual characteristics other than the falling out of the sky when power is down. Drag from wires? I have built and flown 3 of these VK Camels and they all fly the same. It sounds like maybe CG might be off some. If you do not have the plans, you may not know where to balance. This is one of those rare planes that the balance point is in front of the lower wing leading edge. Because the plane is so short coupled(short fuselage behind the balance point), if you are off just a small amount on balance, it will not fly well. I would advise changing the flying wires to cable. I use U/control braided wire cable made by Sig with rigging couplers from DuBro and metal clevis connected to solder tabs held by the mounting screws of the struts. You only need a adjustment rigging coupler on one end of each wire. I cut short pieces(about 3/16") of 1/32 copper or brass tubing to use as swedge fittings and then crimp them on the cable to hold fittings. You MUST have these tight and they cannot stretch. These wires on this Camel hold the lower wings on and strengthen the upper wing. The wings will break or fall off if this is not proper
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Old 01-07-2005, 10:41 AM
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Default RE: VK .60-Sized Camel -Questions

E-challenged, I’ve owned a VK camel for a life time one year. It’s a great flying Box Kite and fly’s very nice, for a box kite. I don’t mean this to sound like I have a problem with Box Kites, I love them, But if you don’t know how to fly them they will frustrate you to no end. Right after lift off level the plane! You want the attitude to be level or slightly nose down. With a K&B .65 it will still climb at that attitude and at full throttle. I tell first time box kite flyers to make sure they have enough down elevator that they have to pull elevator to lift off, if the plane lifts off on its own get the nose down as described earlier ASAP! If you have the nose high for any length of time chances are the ailerons will not work because you are right at the hairy edge of a stall.

I may be wrong but the scenario I see from your description is after takeoff you established a shallow climb (as best as can be done on a trim flight). One wing started to go down you corrected with aileron and the bank got steeper and the nose dropped. You added more elevator to try and hold altitude but it did not work. If this sound about right you needed to let up on the elevator, or push it down to level the plane, she was stalled.

In fact I would go as far as to say on box kite as you approach a stall you loose aileron authority and it is even possible to be close enough that the aileron that goes up stalls that portion of the wing and gives a mild role opposite your input. So the moral is if the ailerons don’t work get the nose down.

The other tid bit you need is to carry throttle on landing right to the ground! Once trimmed, reduce the throttle to 3/4 at hight , the nose will drop and pick it up with elevator and fly level traffic patterns once comfortable it is flying trim to that throttle setting. Then do loops and other maneuvers to make sure it is a good flying throttle setting. Now notice when you add throttle it climbs and when you reduce throttle it dives without touching the elevator. You can even fly the plane using the throttle to adjust altitude. At hight once leveling the wings to the runway reduce the throttle to ¼ and keep the attitude level with elevator. You will notice the plane looses altitude, increase the throttle to ½ keeping the attitude level with elevator and notice the altitude lose decresess. Advance to full throttle while holding the attitude level with elevator and notice the plane climbs. This is how you must land!

If you think you can go to idle on landing try it up high first and remember the procedure for recovering from a stall. Reduce throttle to ½, hands off the sticks (only if it is trimmed) tap the sides of the gimbals then pull it out increasing the throttle to ¾ after the elevator starts to bring the nose up.

Good luck! The VK Camel is a great deal of fun.

Joe
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