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  1. #1

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    Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review(SHE FLEW!!!)

    Please note this review was not written by "bhunn3". I had to post this from my moms computer and forgot to change sign-in. The author, me, is "splais".


    Introduction.

    I am not a master builder, kit builder, or professional writer. I am an ARF assembler that would rather fly than build. If I could get someone else to do all the work for free, I would. I have assembled a couple of dozen ARF’s of all types and sizes from small to large; and cheap to expensive. This is the first ARF I have done with a “real” gasoline engine and the first with retracts. That being said, here goes.

    Initial Impressions (after working on it for awhile).

    This is a very nice plane. Built as well as any of the other three $400 ARF’s I have done. It appears well build, straight and strong. Many nice touches like pushrods already installed, lots of mounting blocks, etc, provided; comes with a 5” aluminum spinner that probably will only fit a Zinger prop. Already setup for either fixed or retractable gear without modification. The kit comes with the standard adequate hardware. The manual is very complete and full of neat information. If you use their recommended engine (US41) and retracts (Robart) all the instructions are there.

    The covering, while looking nice, is not up to the standard I expect from this high a cost ARF. LOTS of ironing required and it seemed to require it to be done a couple of times. Conversely, the DP Ultimate and PacAero GeeBeeY I had both came with banjo tight Ultracoat covering that required very little maintenance. Monocoat seems to need a lot more work. All the many parts appear to fit perfectly without any sanding/fitting required.

    It is not a completely scale plane; but I think it’s one of the best near-scale ARF’s out there. It also lends itself to upgrading if you want to spend the money. I personally thought some of the parts were a little cheesy (like the gear doors and exhaust stacks). But, all-in-all, it’s pretty good copy of the real thing.

    Notes & Cautions.

    [CAUTION: Hinge Points. If you are not familiar with Hinge Points it is very easy to screw them up three ways; (1) not enough glue, (2) to much glue, and (3) gluing your surfaces rigid I suggest you be very careful, practice and ask a lot of advice before installing. No matter what you do, do not install them and then forget then. You should check every so often to make sure the surfaces are still free until the glue sets up completely.]

    [NOTE: Wing Hold Down Screws. Save yourself a lot of aggravation and replace the provided slotted nylon wing hold down screws with phillips head or socket head nylon or aluminum screws. And forget putting pieces of fuel tubing on them. Go to the hardware store and get a couple of small O-rings.]

    [NOTE: Quick Disconnect Fittings between wing & fuselage.: The fittings are directional. If you mount the fitting on the red hose one way and the blue/purple hose the other way around. When the wing is disconnected you can plug the two ends of the fuselage and two ends of the wing into each other to keep dust out of the system when not in use.]

    [CAUTION: Drilling Prop. Be very careful when drilling your prop if it has multiple hole mounting. You must get the notch in the spinner backplate, prop, prop hub holes all lined up or the prop will not fit properly because of the ridges on the side of the backplate.]

    [CAUTION: Decals. Make sure you completely iron down the covering BEFORE applying the decals. You cannot do it after the decals are applied without easily screwing them up.]

    [CAUTION: Decals. The instructions don’t mention it, but the Stars & Bars decals are two different sizes! The large ones are for the wing and the small ones are for the fuselage.]

    [CAUTION: Canopy Paint Job. The canopy paint job is lousy. When I was installing the canopy and using tape to hold it down, it pulled a big junk of paint off the canopy. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE CANOPY PAINT JOB.


    What I used, and What It Cost!!! [Jeesh - The first time I added this all up I got nauseous. Seriously, I probably well never build another giant scale plane. There is to much money involved in a plane that can crash at any moment for a dozen reasons. People that fly these things are either crazy or work for Microsoft. PS: I don’t work for MS]

    Top Flight 1/5 ARF P-51 469.00
    Desert Aircraft DA50R gasoline engine w/Slimline muffler 525.00
    Desert Aircraft prop jig 20.00
    Futaba 9CAP Tx & R149DP Rx 450.00
    Hitec 5625 servos on elevator, rudder, flaps & ailerons (7) 350.00
    Hitec 225MG servos on throttle, air valve & choke (3) 90.00
    Hitec 425 servo on tailwheel 25.00
    EMS Servo reverser Y servo extension 19.00
    Misc servo extensions & Y 10.00
    Robart air tank, hoses, connectors, air fill valve & pressure indicator 75.00
    Robart retractable tailwheel 160.00
    Sierra main gear retracts & air control valve 407.00
    Supplied pushrods and control horns for elevator & rudder NC
    Supplied control horns for flaps & ailerons NC
    MK BB clevis and H9 titanium Pro-Link push rods for flaps & ailerons (4) 76.00
    Blue Box Elite forces WWII Pilot 32.00
    Dynamic Balsa 1/5 scale K14 gunsight 25.00
    1600 NiMah batteries for ignition and Rx 25.00
    MPI HD combination charge/on-off/status switch for Rx and ignition (2). 25.00
    Tru Turn 5” 3-blade P-51 spinner 175.00
    Mejlik 20x12 3-blade prop 60.00
    Aerotech 4&7/8”” scale main wheels 95.00
    Dubro 1&3/4” tailwheel 4.00
    Aerotech Scale Options Kit (purchased but not used) 75.00
    Cheveron Zinc Chromate paint 9.50
    Testors Misc colors 5.00
    Dubro Fuel Valve 15.00
    3’ rubber fuel hose 2.00
    30 minute epoxy 9.00
    15 minute epoxy 9.00
    thin CA 6.50
    med CA 6.50
    1 roll aluminum monocoat 20.00
    Socket head screws #2x9/16 1.50
    Socket head screws #2x7/16 1.50
    Socket head screws #4x1/2 3.00

    Total Investment: $3280.50

    [cont'd in next post]
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  2. #2

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    RE: Top Flight 1/5 Scale ARF P-51

    Wing Assembly.

    The initial wing assembly (servo trays, flaps, control surfaces, control horns) was straight forward, without problems. Everything fit perfectly. I utilized the supplied control horns; replaced the control rods and clevis’. I am not using any of the kits supplied screws (hate those small flat blade screw heads). I used #2 x 9/16 socket head screws for servo mounting; #2 x 7/16 socket head screws for the doors; and #4 x 1/2 socket head screws for the control horns and cowl. Followed the instructions and drilled and CA hardened all screw holes.

    [CAUTION: If you are not familiar with Hinge Points it is very easy to screw them up three ways; (1) not enough glue, (2) to much glue, and (3) gluing your surfaces rigid I suggest you be very careful, practice and ask a lot of advice before installing. No matter what you do, do not install them and then forget then. You should check every so often to make sure the surfaces are still free until the glue sets up completely.]

    Gluing the wing halves together was straight forward and messy, as it always is. There are plenty of places to clamp the wing together, so had no problem. The fit was excellent. This is a big wing.

    Attaching the wing to the fuselage required a little sanding at the rear of the wing for a good fit. The air scoop mounted without any problem at all and fit well. The front fairing piece was a different story. Required a lot of fitting to get it just right.

    [NOTE: Wing Hold Down Screws. Save yourself a lot of aggravation and replace the provided slotted nylon wing hold down screws with phillips head or socket head nylon or aluminum screws. And forget putting pieces of fuel tubing on them. Go to the hardware store and get a couple of small O-rings.]

    Fuselage Assembly.

    Tailwheel gear doors were a very labor intensive job that took a lot of sanding an fitting to get right, and then extreme care in gluing the hinges. I still didn’t get it as nice looking as I had hoped, and they do not work well at all (bind); but it was my first attempt at gear doors. [note: the retract tailwheel has pulled one of the doors loose and I have given up and am removing the doors and painting the wheelwell in Zinc Chromate color.]

    The horizontal stabilizer was spot on in alignment with the wing and all hinge slots were straight. Installation of the elevator and rudder was straight forward with no problems. I used Sig Easy Hinges instead of cutting my own out of the supplied material. The pushrod tubes for all rear control surfaces are already installed and ready to go. Just cut the covering off the ends. They were lined up properly.

    The canopy instructions in the manual have proved to be completely inadequate and wrong. The canopy blew off (all 8 screws poped right off) within 5 minutes, the first time the engine was run. The wood is to soft and the screws to small. If you follow the instructions, the canopy is installed to late in the process. By the time you get to it you cannot reach the inside to reinforce the mounting screws. I would suggest installing the canopy as the very first fuselage step. Drill your hole, go inside and put small reinforcing blocks on them, install screws, remove, CA reinforce. Then you can remove the canopy until needed later. Or, make it easy, forget the screw and use RC56 canopy glue.

    [CAUTION: Canopy Paint Job. The canopy paint job is lousy. When I was installing the canopy and using tape to hold it down, it pulled a big junk of paint off the canopy. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE CANOPY PAINT JOB.

    The canopy paint job is very weak. It will come off at the slightest stress. I have a big ugly 2 inch repair on mine. If you have to tape the canopy down, make sure you do not tape over the painted portions. Put something between the paint and sticky tape. Once it starts to peel off, it's hard to stop.

    The servo trays fit nicely and the fuel tank install is described elsewhere. Because I needed to move the fuel tank rearward about 2”, I moved the forward servo tray back one former to just in front of the cockpit.

    It’s kind of hard to explain but I set the fuel tank up so that it pivots on the first former behind the firewall. I extended the support blocks ¼” to serve as the pivot. The tank plate is held in place with a wedge block (see picture). It all worked out very nice, in deed.

    Main Retractable Landing Gear.

    The Sierra retractable landing gear was a near drop-in. Fit nicely and mounted up easily. There is a small problem mounting the cover plates. The way the gear is designed, one edge of the mounting bracket sticks up high enough to prevent proper installation of the cover plate. This is amplified by the fact that the screw holes in the plate are not recessed enough.. It must be noted that I received the first developmental set of these gear. I have spoken to Sierra about the problem and it will probably be fixed in later manufacturing runs I hope. In any event it was not hard to get around. I CA’d in a couple of wood strips (see photo) and just monocoat covered the entire unit. If I need to work on it, it will be easy to remove the covering and do whatever I need to do.

    Retractable Tailwheel.

    The retractable tailwheel unit was very easy to install with no problems at all. Dropped right in, drill four holes, hook everything up.

    Air Bottle, valve, fittings & Hoses.

    The air bottle mounted easily in the recommended location. The actuation valve was mounted in the recommended location. For ease of access and installation I mounted the fill valve and pressure gauge above the wing. All the hoses and fittings went together nicely without any problems.

    [NOTE: on Quick Disconnect Fittings between wing & fuselage.: The fittings are directional. If you mount the fitting on the red hose one way and the blue/purple hose the other way around. When the wing is disconnected you can plug the two ends of the fuselage and two ends of the wing into each other to keep dust out of the system when not in use.]

    [cont'd in next post]
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  3. #3

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    RE: Top Flight 1/5 Scale ARF P-51

    Engine Install.

    After much research I choose the Desert Aircraft DA50R gasoline engine. It is a beautiful, light, narrow, and powerful engine in it’s size. It is equipped with a Slimline inverted Pitts muffler designed especially for it.

    This engine is small in overall size for a 50cc and fit within the cowl nicely. No hole was required in the firewall for the rear mounted carburetor. It is 7.5” from firewall to cowl face. The DA50 required 3” engine standoffs and a 1” wood block to get the spacing perfect. As you can see from the photos, you must cut out the entire bottom of the cowl, two holes for muffler clearance on the left side and a couple of small holes to reach the carburetor needles. There are no holes on the right side at all. Doesn’t look to bad. I could not figure out any way to mount the ignition battery and CDI unit outside the firewall. Just no room. I have mounted both these items with a certain amount of pain-in-the-butt work on the inner side of the firewall. In order to do this you must be willing to relocate the gas tank rearward a couple on inches (still well forward of CG) and enlarge the existing firewall hole for the sparkplug wire exit, fuel lines and CDI connection.

    The throttle linkage is behind the engine and is in a location that needs the tank to be moved out of the way. But with the tank moved already, it allow a pretty straight shot from carb to servo. I utilized the supplied Nyrod with a neat little 2-56 Sullivan quick disconnect ball link at the carb.

    The plane comes with a pretty nice aluminum 5” spinner that will hold a Zinger 22x10-12 prop. Don’t know about anything else. I am using a Tru Turn P-51 spinner and Mejlik 20x12 3-blade prop for visual effect and some scale appearance.

    [CAUTION: Be very careful when drilling your prop if it has multiple hole mounting. You must get the notch in the spinner backplate, prop, prop hub holes all lined up or the prop will not fit properly because of the ridges on the side of the backplate.]

    Radio/Electronics Install.

    There is plenty of space in the fuselage to mount the ignition circuit and receiver circuit and keep about 12” of separation. There is limited space on the firewall. Because of this I mounted the CDI unit and ignition battery on the inside of the firewall. I mounted the ignition switch just aft of the cowl in one of the black checks. All of the radio gear is aft of the first servo tray and mounted in the stock location. However I did move the receiver to the bottom of the cockpit floor. I also ran a tube down the fuselage to run the receiver antenna in instead of running it outside the fuselage. The receiver switch is mounted above the wing and about 14” aft of the ignition switch. Both of the switches are the new MPI switch that have the little green-yellow-red battery indicator light, charge receptacle and on-off switch in one integrated unit. Very sweet.


    Scale Stuff.

    The supplied very semi-scale cockpit kit actually fits pretty well once you get it all cut out and trimmed up. Read the instructions carefully about what to cut and not cut. I painted the entire cockpit area Zinc chromate and the instrument panel flat black. I also painted and installed the Dynamic Balsa 1/5 scale K14 gunsight. Initially it looked cheap and poorly made, instructions were poor. However, when it was finished it looked pretty nice. I made some dummy radio gear to mount behind the seat. The pilot I used was the 1/5 scale Blue Box Elite Forces WWII pilot. It is a very scale pilot. However I don’t play with dolls and he came in about 20 pieces. I had to dress him and put all his equipment on him. Took about an hour just to get him setup. You need to cut his legs off at the knees (ouch) for him to fit. I also cut the rudder pedals off the dash piece of the cockpit.

    I found some round stickers to emulate the red-yellow-green signal lights on the bottom of the right wing tip. I was going to upgraded the wing guns and engine exhaust manifold to Aerotech 1/5 scale items vice the supplied parts. But after looking at them I decided it was just not worth the effort as I had already prepared the stock exhaust stacks. I did replace the supplied wheels with Aerotech scale aluminum hub wheels.

    I used Windex (dries faster) to install the decals instead of the recommended soapy water and had not a single bubble. Amazing, first time that ever happened, I must be getting better.

    [CAUTION: Decals. Make sure you completely iron down the covering BEFORE applying the decals. You cannot do it after the decals are applied without easily screwing them up.]

    [CAUTION: Decals. The instructions don’t mention it, but the Stars & Bars decals are two different sizes! The large ones are for the wing and the small ones are for the fuselage.]


    Just for info, the supplied dummy exhaust manifold is totally bogus. You have to glue a square wood block about six inches long to the plastic exhaust and then proceed to grind, sand, chew, whatever, ½ of the 1” square block away so that it fits flush to the cowl. I was talking a lot under my breath about how stupid TF is during this little operation.

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  4. #4

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    RE: Top Flight 1/5 Scale ARF P-51

    Setup & Programming.

    CG. I figure I kind of lucked out here. I did not check anything until I was almost done. I have now done my final CG checks and have found that the CG is just slightly nose heavy. I think I will be able to have it spot on or at least within recommended range without adding any weight at all.

    I was concerned that the location of the elevator and rudder pushrods and servo spacing would not allow for a long enough servo arm. This was not a worry. A short servo arm that allowed everything to line up had more than the recommended high rate throws.

    The throw required to activate the air valve for the retracts is very short. Even with a short servo arm, I am only using about 12% of available travel.

    If you use everything available and install as recommended by Top Flight you will need 8 or 9 channels, at least 8 of which are programmable. I have a Futaba 9CAP. Here is my setup.

    Ch1 R-aileron
    Ch2 elevator on reversing Y
    Ch3 throttle throttle kill switch Sw-F
    Ch4 rudder
    Ch5 retractable main & tail wheel Sw-E
    Ch6 L-aileron
    Ch7 flaps on a Y Sw-C
    Ch8 steerable tailwheel Sw-H
    Ch9 engine choke (optional) Sw-G

    With proper elevator servo orientation a standard Y will operate the flaps. I have them programmed to Sw-C with two position (half and full) activation.

    The elevator servos are attached to the Rx with a reversing Y that allows two servo activation off one channel.

    The tailwheel is steerable off Ch8. In order for the Robart retractable tailwheel to work properly you must link about 10% left tailwheel to the landing gear switch in order for the tailwheel to clear the fuselage former when going up. I have also programmed the tailwheel on Sw-H so that I can lock it centered for takeoff, flight, and landing. Then unlock it for taxiing, kind of neat. It is programmed to work with the rudder when taxiing.

    If necessary, and you can’t figure some other way to do it. You can run a cable parallel to the throttle cable and put the engine choke on a servo mounted next to the throttle servo. If you do this, the only channel left is ch9 on whatever switch you want.

    Sierra recommends no more air pressure than necessary (80-100#) I have found that I can get 4-5 good complete cycles with 80# pressure. I am using a small Coleman 12v tire pump ($14) to charge the system.

    Sub-par Products. Products I purchased or that came with the kit that I determined to be sub-par and what I replaced them with.

    Bad part / Good part
    Hughes RC “Fuel Jewel” / Dubro Fuel Valve
    Robart Air Control Valve / Sierra Air Control Valve
    Robart Fill Valve / Sierra Fill Valve
    Canopy Screws / RC56
    All small slotted & phillips screws / Socket head screws



    Final Comments.

    This was my first Top Flight ARF. I was pleasantly surprised. For a first-run design, the plane came out exceptionally well. Overall weight – 20.6 pounds. There are a number of labor intensive minor things required in assembling a gasoline powered, retractable, giant scale aircraft; but all-in-all, it went together with no major problems or flaws. This is one beautiful airplane.

    Hits.
    Overall quality & fit of parts
    Ease of assembly
    Instruction Manual
    “Wow” factor

    Misses.

    Canopy paint job & installation
    Fake Exhaust Manifold
    Tailwheel doors
    Fit of front wing fairing
    Covering job

    Nice touches.

    Factory supplied spinner
    Pre-installed pushrod housings
    Hints & Tips in the instructions
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  5. #5

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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    a few more pics.
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  6. #6

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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    Some pictures of the finished product.
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  7. #7

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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    Well, here she is all done (sort of). With any luck she will have her maiden flight on Saturday.

    A few final comments. I have run the DA50 three times in the yard. You need the choke. It will not start by hand without it. The engine only has about 15 minutes of actual run time on her. It is turning about 6200 rpm with the 20x12 3-blade prop. I'm still on the factory recommended starting settings.

    I have completely re-ironed this plane twice now and it still has extensive wrinkles in her. It seems like they just pop up every few days no matter what. I know some like it; but I am beginning to like monocoat less and less.

    I have cycled the landing gear numerous times and it seems to be working fine. All systems are go. so Saturday, here we come.




    I had failed to discuss one issue because I was not sure what I wanted to do. That was how to resolve the choke issue. I had already mounted the engine and did not want to demount it. The DA50 needs a choke.

    Because of the design and angles, a choke servo was the best option and that was what I ended up doing tonight. Took about an hour to complete. I mounted a Hitec 225MG next to the throttle servo and ran another Nyrod parallel to the throttle Nyrod. Used the same type Sullivan Quick Ball Link on the choke arm I used on the throttle. It works very nice. There is a lot pressure on the servo because of the ball and spring tensioner on the choke arm. At some point I am going to have to demount the engine and remove them.
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  8. #8
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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    Thanks a million for the complete and informative posts!! The narrative is very detailed and the photos are quite useful.

    Have been kicking the idea of doing the TF P51 around, and your experience has given me both pause ('cuz of the $$$ [X(]) and hope (because a great looking product is possible [sm=sunsmiley.gif]).

    Nice Work!! [sm=thumbup.gif][sm=thumbup.gif] Two thumbs up!
    Have you flogged your crew today?

  9. #9

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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    You are welcome. But keep in mind that my cost was the down and dirty, every nut and screw cost, with a lot of upgrades. Most of us have a lot of the required stuff already lying around. But this bird does take 11 servos if you hook up everything!

    In reading through my review I noticed I had missed something between writing this and posting in the Warbird Forum.

    I replaced the supplied hardware for aileron and flap control with MK BB adjusters and Hanger 9 Titanium Pro-Links. Very trick looking and easy to adjust because the Pro-Links are reverse threaded on one end. This means you just turn the Pro-Link and the pushrod either lengthens or shortens depending on which way you turn it. It is also completely slop free and very strong. There is a picture in the second post.


    [coming soon, maybe - gear doors install]
    [coming soon – comments on DA50 engine and first flight]


    {That's it so far}

  10. #10

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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    I think you would have had much better results if you had used offset door hinges on your tail wheel doors.

    I am happy to know Sierra precision makes gear for this plane. Their work is top notch. I have a set of their gear for the Mark Frankel Douglas Skyray, a real work of art!
    Steve Collins

  11. #11

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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    Steve, you are probably correct.

    I installed the doors following the instructions to the letter. I seriously doubt that anyone at TF has installed the doors with a retractable tailwheel and had the doors actually work. Mine ended up being a complete mess and I have removed them. A scale guy sent me some drawings of a neat little way to install doors and I may try to reinstall them at some point in time. The TF instructions for the tailwheel were whoafully inadequate. I used the recommended Robart Tailwheel. Without special programming that turned the wheel about 10 degrees as it went up, it would hange up on the side of the fuselage . I attribute most of this to the fact that this is a 1st-run plane that hopefully will receive some improvements in later additions.


  12. #12

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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    That has to be one off the best writen and put together posts,I'am just trying to get into the hobby so seeing that was a great help thank you.

  13. #13
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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review

    What I used, and What It Cost!!! [Jeesh - The first time I added this all up I got nauseous. Seriously, I probably well never build another giant scale plane. There is to much money involved in a plane that can crash at any moment for a dozen reasons. People that fly these things are either crazy or work for Microsoft. PS: I don’t work for MS]
    Crazy?? Hey!! I resemble that remark!!

    Excellent post.. looking forward to the flight tests... and glad it's you 'n not me doing the flying.

    Best of luck!

    <S!>

    Hang
    Steve Anthony
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    NoBS Batteries

  14. #14

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    RE: <span class=

    Great, detailed post! Need more of these types of postings for us "novice" builders. I'm thinking of buying this ARF...please let us know how it flies as soon as possible!!
    Thanks,
    BadBart

  15. #15

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    SHE FLEW!!!!

    Well here is what you have all been waiting to hear.

    Conditions: Late afternoon, heavy overcast and grey sKies from San Diego Fire smoke, wind 8-10 mph quartering to 90 degrees off the nose.

    Two flights, The first landing was in the dirt on the side of the runway. Hey, I was just glad to get her on the ground in one piece. Second landing was a dead stick!

    So here are the dirty details. After two weeks of stuff happening and lousy weather I decided we were flying today no matter what. We basically had an 8-10mph crosswind. In a nut shell it had no effect on the plane at all. The engine was brand new. Has been run about 15 minutes on the ground before this first flight.

    Take off and flying. The P-51 taxis slowly, very well, with no problems at all. On take-off there is a transition area just before the rudder becomes flyable that is a little tricky and takes a lot of rudder to keep her going straight. However, once the airflow is hitting the rudder she is a dream. The P-51 is beautiful in flight. The DA50 is going to be a great engine. She took off with very little roll. The “Doll” took no aileron or rudder trim at all for balanced flight after takeoff. I did need to put in about 4-5 clicks of down elevator. That was it. She is naturally very fast and smooth. I had zero trim changes at both half and full flaps. That was great, but still trying to figure that one out. The retractable main and tail wheel worked perfectly. I am going to have to put the other tailwheel door back on. The one side I had closed easily. I think because of the wind of flying. I noticed no noticeable trim change when the gear came down. These two flights had nothing more than fly around on the new engine and a few barrel rolls after low passes. With the recommended maximum aileron throws the roll rate was conservative. All I can really say is that she flies beautifully. I can hardly wait until the engine and myself are “broke in”.

    Landing. The “Doll” has a very nice sink rate. I did not notice anything that seemed bad in the way she camen down. Just reduce power and she settles right down. She actually will float a little if you let her and the elevator was responsive at slow speed with the engine off. It was getting late, low visibily and scared to death. I missed my lineup on the first landing and actually landed on the side of runway in the dirt. No problem landed fine and taxied backm up on the runway. On my second landing I was coming in to low and almost hit the fence at the end of the runway. When I pulled up and punched it, I killed the engine about 20 feet off the ground and nose high. I just pushed the nose over and flared just before she hit. No problem at all. She never stalled and the nose came up fine, she just set right down on the runway. She is a lot like my DP Ultimate. A dream to land. Not a floater, and not a sinker. Just right.

    The Engine. The DA50 is going to be a great engine. She has huge power right now, fresh out of the box. I am having some normal tuning problems due to not being broken in and a really rich mixture. But I can tell already I am going to love this engine. I am having some vibration problems that are causeing the engine mounts to loosen up. But I think that will be resolved after things get a little more broken in and tightened up.

    A final comment or two. The aircraft speed does not seem to affect either the landing gear or flap operation or aircraft trim to any great extent. The only other comment is that under the right conditions this plane is VERY HARD to see. With the gear up she is grey all over. The “Doll” is fast and it’s easy for her to get a long way a way before you realize it. I had to watch her like a hawk because it was hard to tell orientation against the grey sky. This bird would be great with Invasion stripes. I’m already thinking about renaming her and putting the stripes on. We’ll have to see about that one.

    Two flights, one dead stick - nothing broke, nothing came off, life is good.


  16. #16
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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review(SHE FLEW!!!)

    Excellent work, dude! Now all of us who have been following this review can breathe a little easier.

    Yer a brave man, Charlie Brown! There is NO WAY I would have flown the maiden on a warbird of this magnitude with a crosswind! Although I believe that P-51's may be the best flyers of all warbirds under imperfect conditions.

    mt

  17. #17

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    RE: Top Flight P-51 ARF 1/5 Scale Review(SHE FLEW!!!)

    Very informative thread. Congrats to you on a successful maiden. Sounds like you found one you like
    It\'s all fun & games...till sombody gets hurt!

  18. #18

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    A Few More Minor Details

    Well now that I just realized I don't have to keep signing in as my mom (bhunn3); here are a few more construction points.

    I found that the one tailwheel door I had would close in flight so I have reattached the door that came off. It remains to be seen if it will stay on. I found out how it came off. You must be very careful to trim the axle shaft on the Robart retract flush with the strut. I left mine sticking out about 1/8". Just enough to catch on the door and knock it off.

    Once again I have learned the hard way that fuel valves, no matter who makes them, are nothing but trouble. We were having starting problems and came to the conclusion that the fuel valve was a big part of it. I now have what I should have done in the first place, a fuel dot.

    The weather has been lousy around here. The plane has been done for 3 weeks now and I've only made two short flights. I guess I should be happy I don't live in Minnesota or some place like that.

    I have discovered that this warbird is really pre-flight intensive. I used to think that getting my pattern ship or big bipe ready took a lot of time. They are nothing compared to a full feature warbird. I would hate it if it wasn't so much fun. With 11 servos, 9 channels, gear, flaps, choke, steerable tailwheel, kill switch, air system, two separate battery systems - there is a lot to keep an eye. All you have to do is get lazy or stop checking everything and you will loose one of these birds in no time.

  19. #19

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    Flight Report

    Well just a little followup. I've flown the P-51 several times now and made a few adjustments. I stopped the poor slow speed taxi directional problem on takeoff by aligning the wheels square with no toe-in. She now takes off and lands with very little rudder required and easily controllable. I have flown the plane off grass and cement. In all cases she performs beautifully. This plane is an absolute joy to fly with the DA50. It is so sweet watching her fly. Very sleek and fast. The Sierra gear are working flawlessly so far. This plane has no bad tendencies that I can find. The landing glide slope is perfect at about 1/4 throttle. To land I just come in downwind, lower the gear and check her out as she goes by. Turn downwind and lower the flaps at the 180. Reduce power to 1/4 -1/5 throttle and she settles right down to landing. A little flare and she touches down soft as a feather. I have noticed no trim change when flaps are down and I have yet to fly her on low rates, flying or landing. The factory high rate aileron is very scale like in rate. Not fast but looks great. The plane is very FAST if you let her go. The only problem I am having is visual orientation because the all grey plane perfectly matches the all grey skies we have had lately. She gets away from you (distance-wise) very quickly if you don't pay attention. I have not tried any wild flight yet because I am just finishing the first gallon of fuel on the engine. But she has plenty of power already. Takes off in about 50 feet, tops. The grass field I fly off of sometimes is a soccer field and not all that smooth, but the "Doll" handles her just fine. I have noticed no tendency to nose over at all. Of course I use up elevator while taxiing.

    One final note. I am still extremely disappointed in the quality of the covering on this plane. It will NEVER be a beautiful plane up close. The covering is that bad. I just cannot get a lot of the wrinkles out of this plane and the ones I do get out seem to come back after a while. This plane is truely beautiful in flight. But up close everyone notices the wrinkles. I got one of the very first planes. Hopefully this has been corrected in later planes.

  20. #20

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    RE: A Few More Minor Details

    THANKS FOR AN EXCELLENT REVIEW. I am thinking of getting one of these. I had a Pica Mustang until about a month ago. Now I have alot of the components. Did you investigate a BME 50 for your Mustang? Would you recommend the Sierra gear over Robarts? I already have these, that is why I ask.

    Good luck with your P-51 it looks Great
    I love the smell of buring two stroke oil in the morning.
    AMA 1548
    IMAA 18995

  21. #21

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    RE: A Few More Minor Details

    The Sierra gear are turning out to be a very good gear. As they should be for what they cost. At least half again as much as the Robarts. I have not seen the Robart gear; but I have the Robart tailwheel and Sierra is much more scale. I actually think that all the retracts in this size range are probably very good products. The Sierras do just drop right in, as the Robarts do.

    I looked at a lot of engines. The 50cc size seem to be a just right compremise between power, size and weight. Just depends on what you want in size, horsepower and carb location. The DA50 fit the bill perfectly, is a beautiful engine, very powerful for it's size and the plane has balanced perfectly with no special shuffling of stuff or adding weight.

    One note I forgot to mention for first time P-51 flyers. The P-51 flies very pattern-like. I.e., on rails and it only goes were you make it go. It also means that if you just throw in 30 degrees of bank and expect it to turn like a trainer or aerobat you will be in for a surprise as it flies off into the sunset. The P-51 has to be flown. You need to use coordinated rudder, elevator and aileron to make good tight turns. I do not mean to imply it is difficult to fly. It is not; she is very well mannered.

    I also solved the tailwheel door closing problem. I put two more rubberbands on the doors. They now close.

    I have thought extensively of how to improve visibility and yet keep her at least true to a P-51 Warbird. Invasion stripes would fill the bill. But generally they are on the bottom or both sides of the wing. Because of the retractable gear and servo tray doors, putting the stripes on the bottom of the wing will be A LOT of work and probably still not come out looking all that good. Putting the stripes on the top of the wing is what I am considering at this; but I still may just bite the bullet and put them on the bottom no matter how much work it is.

    The plane looks really good with the Sierra gear and no gear doors. You sure can't tell they are missing while flying. But I like the plane so much I am probably add them soon. Sierra says they have some brackets that look much better than the glue-on wood blocks the TF plans call for.


    Few more flight comments:
    The plane/engine continues to break-in well. Nothing has come loose in the last four flights, so all the fittings must have seated in. I have yet to make a flaps up landing, but have no reason to try because she lands beautifully with full flaps. I have discovered that I have about a 6 click trim change between slow gear-down level flight and normal gear-up high speed level flight. I flew her inverted for a short distance just before landing on her last flight today and she seemed to handle it beautifully. It was only a short distance but I did not notice an extreme elevator correction being required. I flew her first loops and they were actually pretty tight with no tendency to snap out. She also did some split-S's, barrel rolls, and aileron rolls with no problem. The four flights today were at our field that has a paved runway. Takeoffs were fine with an easily controlled pull to the left on takeoff.

    We did have a landing problem that I have not figured out yet. On landing rollout she was jerking pretty hard to the right just at transition from flying to tail on the ground. Pulling hard enough to tip up on one wing tip. Did not scrap any thing and had no tendency to nose over. Just suddenly pull hard right and tip. Then when the speed dropped even more she was fine. Did this on three landings. She didn't do this on the grass field and when landing in the dirt (sorry, missed my lineup on one landing). I have not been able to figure it out yet. Not sure if I'm landing to fast; or maybe just over correcting on landing roll-out. Will have to examine this more next time out.

    One other thing. this DA50 is turning out to be a dream. I have 8 flights on her now and I have flown her for a quite a while and have yet to get below half a tank. Fuel consumption is not a problem for the DA50.

    Hey, has anyone tried hovering a Mustang?

  22. #22
    Erik R's Avatar
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    RE: A Few More Minor Details

    Hi,
    Congratulations on your Mustang.You asked about hovering it,I'm sure a little toungue-in-cheek.I had the kit version with a G-62,and although I never tried to hover it,it would do some wild tumbles.Start with an inside snap(about 2/3 throttle,and at least 150-200ft high on a vertical upline)and after 1 1/2 turns feed full down elevator.It works best when the plane is 180deg out from initial entry attitude.As it starts to go the other way,add full power.If done properly you will get 2-3 full end over end tumbles.Once it starts coming down,release all to neutral to get it flying again.If it starts to flat spin,cut the power,and throw out some flap,and recover from the ensuing dive gently so she doesn't secondary snap on you.When people see your Mustang do this they will be amazed,especially if you have smoke.
    You made a good choice to not use the Robart gear,as they have nylon trunions that break under any kind of sideload.I used to keep spare trunions in my field box.Enjoy!![8D]
    Erik
    Farviewflyers.net

  23. #23

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    RE: A Few More Minor Details

    Well for the first time ever I decided to try painting something with spray cans and following the directions on the can. It came out beautiful. I was going to get my $178.00 Tru-Turn 5”spinner painted at an auto body shop; then I decided it was just ridiculous to spend another $100 on painting. So I went to Pep Boys and purchased a can of Krylon primer, white, black and clear paint. I sanded the spinner with 400 grit, primed it, taped off one side with low stick painter’s tape and painted it white. Taped off the other side and painted it black, then painted over the entire spinner with clear. It came out beautiful and only cost me about $12.

    As you can see from the latest pictures I have also added two antennas - the rigid vertical antenna behind the canopy and the wire antenna that runs up to the vertical stabilizer. The fuselage sheeting behind the canopy is a good ¼” or more thick so it was very easy to CA in the antenna. I did a quick fix on the wire antenna. Later I am going to make it more scale and run it through the canopy and all the way down to the radio on the turtledeck behind the pilots seat. The stabilzer end is attached just as on the real P-51, with a small spring.

    My final step is to add the gear doors.
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  24. #24

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    RE: A Few More Minor Details

    I also found a little known picture of the “Doll” when Col Landers’ squadron was flying secret missions over the Carpatheian Mountains in support of Resistance operations. Due to the terrible weather and visibility during the Winter of 1944 and the high chance of mid-air collisions they had to paint visibility strips on the tops of the wings. I duplicated this color scheme and it came out really sharp looking.

    One very reluctant mascot who is thinking "why are you making me sit here when most of the time you yell at me if I get anywhere near this thing".
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  25. #25

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    RE: A Few More Minor Details

    WOW... Unbelievable Post on this Plane. I have read it two times now, Thanks for all the information.
    I was getting ready to get up tomorrow and go purchase the H-9 P-51 150. After researching all night and reading about this Bird........I have been soul searching all Damm night. I have a 180 Saito that was ready to drop in the H-9 version, but now I can see it will be way to small for this plane.

    Well, Splais all I can say is Great job......

    ITS GOING TO BE A LONG NIGHT......DECISIONS, DECISIONS


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