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  1. #1

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    My first Super Sportster

    Finally finished up this model a few weeks ago, didn't get a chance to fly it until this past weekend. A couple years ago I bought a guy's entire pile of RC goodies for $50, mostly old, non-functional or incomplete stuff that he had picked up from someone else and never did anything with. I got a few field supplies, three good engines (one NIB!) a REALLY old/broken Ugly Stik (now restored and flown), and a couple of partially completed kits. The Sky Tiger is probably going to get bashed into something else, but the Super Sportster 40 had a mostly completed wing (minus covering and hinging), and the fuselage was just started.

    I finally was able to sneak in a flight Saturday night. It really felt good to see it fly! For as much as I enjoy building, I haven't built a lot of "new" planes, I've mostly fixed or restored old planes (didn't have a lot of $$$ for new models when I was a kid, and now I am much busier).

    In normal flight regimes, the plane felt much like any other .40-sized sport model, but a bit more like a larger scale aircraft (which surprised me). It also felt a little loose and skiddish in the air at times, I think I may need to move the CG forward a bit. The instructions call for no more than 3-5/8" aft of LE. Mine came out quite tail-heavy...with a spinner weight and as much equipment forward as I could fit, my CG still came out at about 4". Guess I need to add some lead to the nose.

    One thing I found unusual: spins! I have never had an RC model that would spin so easily, and so much like a full-scale (my PT-40 is probably the best up til now, actually). But the Sportster is quite something: pull power, hold back pressure, kick in full rudder, and it will spin like a top, left or right! Really beautiful to watch!

    It doesn't seem as forgiving in slow flight as, say, my CG Tiger. On my second approach, I had slowed down a bit more (overshot on first approach, small landing area). For my turn from base to final, I commanded a right roll and some back elevator pressure. There was not much of a response, my ailerons had sorta died. I had to ease off the back pressure and bring in some power to get a normal turn and set up for final approach. I don't really mind this, but it doesn't seem normal for what would appear to be a pretty standard sport flier design.

    Roll rate was also pretty tame, but I suspect I just don't have enough throw on the little strip ailerons.

    I never much cared for the looks of the Sportster models, so I changed this one up just a bit: instead of the one-piece canopy, I went for an open-cockpit design. I took the original canopy, turned it around, and cut off most of the non-curved area, giving a nice "factory" curved windshield. I also found that omitting the cartoonishly huge wheel pants improves looks (at least to me), which is good because I mostly fly from rough fields.

    For power, I am using an old Tower .40 (the 1990s design with the Tower logo drawn into the top cooling fins). It's not particularly strong, but has proven to be a solid runner: I "lost" this engine in a crash back in 1996, it sat in a cornfield in Indiana for 2-1/2 months! I love stuff that works.

    Pics!

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    I'm thinking of filling out the covering scheme a bit more, maybe put some design on the tail feathers. For now I just wanted to get it airborne and see how it flew.
    Crashes are OPTIONAL. Fun is mandatory.

  2. #2
    TomCrump's Avatar
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    Nice work, on your "new" airframe !!!

    The Sportster series is one of my favorites. They are fun to fly !

    As you have already noticed, they don't like to slow down on final. If you do, you're headed for trouble. I fly mine to the ground, like a warbird.

    I think that you will like yours more, if you get the CG within range.
    Tom C

    Sig Brotherhood # 120

  3. #3

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    Well your post reassures me, for a while I was worried my plane might have some sort of strange build issue that gave it these characteristics.

    I have added some weight to the nose and cranked up the aileron travel a bit, now I'm just waiting for a chance to drag it to a suitable flying spot......I have not flown any "big" stuff since the Sportster maiden, just my CG Eaglet at a local park. I really need to find a good flying field.

    Matt
    Crashes are OPTIONAL. Fun is mandatory.

  4. #4

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    Finally had a chance to fly the plane again this weekend. It was SUPER windy (27mph gusting to 36) so it was hard to really evaluate the changes, but the plane was definitely better mannered with the forward CG...handled the wind fairly well (still wish I had bigger ailerons on it). It's a pretty model in the air. Now I am thinking I might like to hang a bigger engine in it, I think it would really wake up this plane.
    Crashes are OPTIONAL. Fun is mandatory.

  5. #5

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    27mph gusting to 36? I think I'd just wait untill the winds were just 11mph.

  6. #6

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    If I waited for 11mph winds in Oklahoma, I would never fly.

    I got my flight review yesterday, and the pre-written refresher questionnaire/test had some example scenarios, and asked if you should fly or not. One was something like "you are flying a 172 at an unfamiliar airport, winds are 11 knots gusting to 17. Should you go?" The instructor and I both chuckled that such a scenario is an EASY day in Oklahoma. :P

    I flew the Sportster again at a Bartlesville fly-in not long after my last post. I am getting better with landings. It has a noticeable tendency to nose-over on landing, even with the gear bent forward beyond the factory setting. I still can't seem to get the roll rate up....maybe I should just yank those strip ailerons and install larger ones.

    Matt
    Crashes are OPTIONAL. Fun is mandatory.

  7. #7
    skyraider71's Avatar
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    I built a Sportster when it was re-released in 2007, I thought it was a brick.
    If I built another I would put it on a serious diet.
    Sig brotherhood #83
    Sig Kadet brotherhood #101
    AKA MrBreeze
    73's KK4MSE
    "I've always been crazy, ...but it's kept me from going insane" -Waylon Jennings.

  8. #8

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    Well I'm flying Super Sporster ARF's, maybe that's comparing apples to oranges. I'm happy with mine.

  9. #9

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    I can see the weight argument. The fuselage has a lot of built-up structure, plus the tail feathers are solid balsa. This all results in a tail-heavy model, I had to add a lot of nose weight. Still, I don't mind it being a bit porky. This is probably part of the reason it needs more speed and tends to fall out of the sky if you treat it like a typical lightweight, ever-forgiving sport plane. I don't mind the more "realistic" handling characteristics. I do wish I had put in a bigger engine, she's a bit lazy. Also wish it rolled better. But, she's too pretty to sell.

    Matt
    Crashes are OPTIONAL. Fun is mandatory.

  10. #10
    TomCrump's Avatar
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    On my Sportsters, I counter the tail heavy problem by extending the nose.
    Tom C

    Sig Brotherhood # 120

  11. #11
    skyraider71's Avatar
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    It's not that I didn't like it, it's a great design. Not to mention a good looking one too, but I
    would like it better 6-8 oz. lighter. I had to use an aluminum spinner and a 1 oz prop hub weight
    to balance mine.
    A few lightening holes aft of the wing saddle, and replacing some of the hard/heavy balsa that GP
    is known for would do the trick.
    Sig brotherhood #83
    Sig Kadet brotherhood #101
    AKA MrBreeze
    73's KK4MSE
    "I've always been crazy, ...but it's kept me from going insane" -Waylon Jennings.


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