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Thread: Test Mule...


  1. #1

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    Test Mule...

    How many of you have one? You know what I'm talking about; that old ragged-out sport plane that is loooonngg past its prime, but keeps soldiering on to try out new engines, radios, etc.

    Mine was a Midwest Aero-Sport (think of a Stik with conventional... i.e., non-Stik... tail feathers). I built it in 1987, as my third model. Good kit, but it was a lead sled. IIRC, the ribs AND LE sheeting were 3/32 balsa! But that sucker was strong. It survived many a pranged landing and numerous dead sticks. Once I "graduated" into nicer models, I used it for all sorts of things... everything from breaking in new engines to trying out those new-fangled base-load receiver antennas when I got into helicopters. Sadly, once I got interested in bigger airplanes, I let a fellow talk me out of it six or so years ago. I darn sure got my money's worth out of that one...

    What prompted this little jaunt down Memory Lane was the sudden realization, just this morning, that I don't have anything like that now. I'm about to venture into the world of 2.4 radios, and I need a test mule, just in case its not as simple as everybody says. I imagine there are numerous potentially bad decisions; antenna placement, battery selection, etc.; just waiting to bite me in the posterior.

    All I've got airworthy is one big ("nice") airplane, and the two .40 size sporters belonging to my grandsons. Don't want to risk any of those, of course. To make matters worse, I have exactly two engines to use (the goal being a cheap beater ARF in the .40-.60 range)... a 52 Surpass and a 91 Surpass. I guess they will still run... both have been boxed, on a shelf, for close to ten years now. But I did clean out all the old fuel and fill 'em up with oil before putting them away, so they should be good.

    So I'm off to the local model airplane emporium to see what they have. We are blessed with a most excellent hobby shop here, featuring a decent selection of ARFs from various producers.

    Stay tuned....


    .

  2. #2

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    RE: Test Mule...

    Hard to beat a Stick. The Kraft factory used the original to test radios back in the day. New ones are not quit as tough but they are lighter and that helps the flying.

  3. #3

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    RE: Test Mule...

    For my money MW makes the best Stik now available, not the lightest just the best.

    Karol
    When inverted always remember that down is up and visa versa

  4. #4

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    RE: Test Mule...

    Well, I was looking for a Stik. They had the GP .40 size ARF (which I would have to convert to a tail dragger), but they also had three interesting Hangar 9 models that would be ideal for the 91 Surpass... a Pulse 60, a Saratoga, and a Katana 50.

    Bop out to the car, fire up the iPad and check them out. The Saratoga has been dropped, the Pulse 60 seems to have QC issues, and the Katana 50 is more of a thoroughbred as opposed to a mule...

    But that's what I walked out the door with. What the heck, I'll set it up initially with the 9Z on 72 mHz, get it trimmed, then install the 2.4 receiver. Shucks, if it turns out as nice as it looks in the box, I may get the Stik anyway, and filch the .46SF off grandson #2's P-51/PTS long enough to make some test flights. Or, for that matter, put the 52 Surpass on that Stik. Making it into a tail dragger is no big deal.

    For that matter, I've got a still-in-the-wrapper Sig LT-40 kit. I can make it a tail dragger and install a rail engine mount arrangement (a'la Eagle/SkyTiger). That would be perfect. But I need something NOW, unfortunately...

    Anyway...I'm thinking this Katana will be an excellent little airplane to bring along with the "big one" when the grandsons aren't with me.

    Jeez, Louise; haven't been "back" into the hobby two weeks yet. It truly does not ever end, eh?[X(]



    .

  5. #5

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    RE: Test Mule...

    Mine was a 4 STAR 120, still regretting the day i sold it.

  6. #6

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    RE: Test Mule...

    Well, I went back and got a GP .40 ARF Stik. The more I thought about using that pretty little Katana for a "test mule", the more I realized that was a REALLY retarded idea.

    While I was there, I snagged an H9 Saratoga as well... Put it in the corner for rainy day, so to speak. That's another very attractive airplane; too bad they discontinued it.

    Three new ARFs in two days... That's it, I'm not going anywhere NEAR that hobby shop for at least a month...

    .

  7. #7

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    RE: Test Mule...

    I purpose bought an Ultra Stick 1.20 lite for my mule and have ran 4 engines on it so far (YS 1.10, Saito 100, Saito 150 and OS 2.00) I may go gas with a DLE 20 next. [8D]

  8. #8

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    RE: Test Mule...

    I've got access to a really nice engine test stand. This Stik 40 is a radio "test-bed". After I get my new 2.4 system sorted, I'll throw a 72 mHz receiver in it and turn the grandsons loose with it...

    .

  9. #9

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    RE: Test Mule...

    Ultra stick 1.20. My engine test bed up to 30cc. I use a trainer for radio gear testing.
    Edwin

  10. #10

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    RE: Test Mule...

    Meet Melvin. He's not really a test mule, he's a test donkey. He doesn't test engines but he's been known to test my patience. His flights are short, mostly touch and go's. He and his girlfriend Suzie decided to help me with my Dirty Birdy project on Saturday. Donkeys are great helpers. They are great listeners and don't drink all your beer.
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  11. #11

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    RE: Test Mule...

    Better than our cat. She decided to sharpen her claws on my motorcycle seat. She damn near crapped herself getting away from me. That was 20 years ago. I think each cat generation passed on the legend of the devil that lives in that building. I can open my garage doors now and they just sit out front looking in. They dont dare come in the garage.
    Edwin

  12. #12
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    RE: Test Mule...

    ORIGINAL: aa1a

    Meet Melvin. He's not really a test mule, he's a test donkey. He doesn't test engines but he's been known to test my patience. His flights are short, mostly touch and go's. He and his girlfriend Suzie decided to help me with my Dirty Birdy project on Saturday. Donkeys are great helpers. They are great listeners and don't drink all your beer.
    Can't beat a good pet , be it cat, dog, or donkey. Most of the time I'd take pet company over human company. Putting together test mule right now Great Planes Giant Big Stick.
    RC Hobby..... ($100.00 foamie = toy, $20,000.00 jet = toy)


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