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What should I be checking after numerous flights?

Old 08-23-2008, 06:36 AM
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cappaj1
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Default What should I be checking after numerous flights?

I seem to finally have gotten rid of the deadsticks. It seems it was bad fuel. Anyway, I got in 19 flights yesterday and plan on getting in a lot more to make up for lost time.
My question is this. In addition to the normal flight checks, control movements, range check and battery levels; what are some of the things the vibration of the engine and airplane might cause that I should be checking on periodically? A couple things that came to mine were the wiring routing to make sure it's not binding on anything, and the servo mount screws to make sure they're not loose from the vibration. Maybe the hinges on the control surfaces? Others, please? I just don't want to have any catasrophic event if I can avoid it. Thanks.
Old 08-23-2008, 06:54 AM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?

All of the things you mentioned plus...

Engine mount bolts (Both on the engine and firewall)

Muffler bolts

Tank stopper

Wheel collars
Old 08-23-2008, 06:57 AM
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?


ORIGINAL: cappaj1

I seem to finally have gotten rid of the deadsticks. It seems it was bad fuel. Anyway, I got in 19 flights yesterday and plan on getting in a lot more to make up for lost time.
My question is this. In addition to the normal flight checks, control movements, range check and battery levels; what are some of the things the vibration of the engine and airplane might cause that I should be checking on periodically? A couple things that came to mine were the wiring routing to make sure it's not binding on anything, and the servo mount screws to make sure they're not loose from the vibration. Maybe the hinges on the control surfaces? Others, please? I just don't want to have any catasrophic event if I can avoid it. Thanks.
Deffinately your hinges!
Motor mount bolts for engine to mount and mount to firewall
muffler
fuel soaking untreated wood
leading edges of wings and stabalizers for loose monocoat (this almost cost me a 1/4 scale Cap 232. if the monocoat peals back it can act as a spoiler and stall that wing or stab.)
landing gear collars/set screws/mounting to fuse
all stress points such as wing mount, where the wing is joined in the center and landing gear block
I'm sure there is more but this will keep you busy
Old 08-23-2008, 07:45 AM
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HighPlains
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?

Engine - Head and backplate bolts, carb mounting screws, prop tightness and location (should be horizontal when against engine compression), muffler (mounting and cone). Also check engine mounting screws and mount screws (generally hex head bolts don't loosen). Avoid running in the dirt, or on the ground for long periods.

Use good fuel, keep it closed and in the shade.

Prop - stress marks at hub, general damage.

Spinner - make sure it is not touching prop, tracks true, and is tight.

Fuel line for wear marks, tank for vent at top and clunk clearing the rear of tank. The fuel line inside of tanks tends to grow slightly when exposed to fuel. If the tank is round, it can rotate, so prevent that.

Check for any leaks inside model.

Servos, listen to them for gear damage. Also check them for smoothness, especially rudder servos attached to nose gear. Highly recommend you bend the pushrod with a "V" shaped spring to prevent servo damage from nose gear.

Check Screws of course, mostly before first flights each day.

Hinges, and pushrod ends. If model has plastic pushrod clevis' and plastic control horns, watch the pins for wear.

Batteries - test airborne packs under resistor load with good multimeter (digital). Get to know your packs, and what is normal.

Always range check with model on ground away from people and metal structure. Walk an arc around the airplane at distance. Hold the transmiter in different angles to the airplane while checking.

Be careful not to damage the glow plug when putting together or cleaning the airplane. The glass seal can be broke if the airplane rests on the plug. Of course you can also do this by running lean.
Old 08-23-2008, 09:14 AM
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?

well, if you ever had a wheel fall off during flight..you'd check there often
Chuck the rubber bands for the wing.

If you're rolling the model a bit more, pay attention to the airleron servo.

spray contact cleaner in the switch or inspect it for dirt.

If you're on a tri gear...inspect the top retaining collar and arm collar.

If you use a wire for the throttle linkage, inspect for a blow in front of the firewall.

Look at the carb barrle closely, inspect to see if there's not a groove gettting form.

yank on the control surface as always.

Depending if you clipped the screws to the fire wall for the engine mount or the front wheel...and sholved foam in the front of the tank.
You might wanna check the tank.

If you added weight...inspect that too.
Old 08-23-2008, 01:15 PM
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alfredbmor
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?

After a good amount of flights and maybe years, the white plastic horns attached to the surfaces become dry and in a yellow color, then they easily crack. If they become yellow just change them.
If you have had some hard landings, you may also want to check your wheels, they usually break at the center hub.

A daily or weekly inspection (it depends the how many times you fly in a week) involves those mentioned by Minnflyer, other inspections could be made monthly.

I strongly suggest regularly checking the engine bolts, mounting and firewalling as well, as this is a common mistake on many pilots.
Old 08-23-2008, 01:19 PM
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cappaj1
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?

Isn't it strange I just asked this question and got so many good tips and then at the field this morning, my taxiing was wandering all over the place. When I got the plane to the stand and inspected the nose wheel mount, two of the four screws were missing and one was loose. I tightened the two remaining screws and went home to get a couple more screws. Seems the vibration of the engine wiggled these little screws loose. Could thread lock have prevented this and if so, would it prevent me from removing them later if I wanted to? Thanks.
Old 08-23-2008, 02:29 PM
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?

Fortunately airplanes are actually pretty simple machines. There just aren't that many moving parts. I think everything that could be checked is listed above. Once you get the hang of building them and learning which products are good and which are junk, these planes are basically maintenance free. It is a good idea to give them a good inspection after a day at the field. This is generally while you are cleaning your plane, which is important to do. Just like a pilot walking around a Cessna, you are looking for very general things, anything that moves too much when you wiggle it, or just looks wrong. Look for leaks or exhaust residue entering the plane. That will ruin a plane. A dry plane will last for years and years, longer than your automobile. But an airplane with residue entering the wing saddle or firewall is doomed in just a few years. When an airplane is new, some extra attention is generally given during the inspection . After a while, when you have corrected all the issues the plane will become stable. It will become nearly maitenance free. You still give it a cursory inspection when cleaning it. But you will rarely find anything wrong, or at least alarming. Servo wheels wear out, servo output shafts start having slack in them, holes in the control horns begin to elongate. Things will slowly wear out. And you watch and monitor. You don't necessarily replace things because they have some wear. But when the feel of the airplane starts to change, ie, it doesn't feel as tight, or it won't trim, etc. then its time to freshen things up. Depending on the airplane, this might be 5 years down the road. Maybe sooner. Maybe later. Well, thats the long view of things.
Old 08-24-2008, 04:22 AM
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?


ORIGINAL: cappaj1

I seem to finally have gotten rid of the deadsticks. It seems it was bad fuel. Anyway, I got in 19 flights yesterday and plan on getting in a lot more to make up for lost time.
My question is this. In addition to the normal flight checks, control movements, range check and battery levels; what are some of the things the vibration of the engine and airplane might cause that I should be checking on periodically? A couple things that came to mine were the wiring routing to make sure it's not binding on anything, and the servo mount screws to make sure they're not loose from the vibration. Maybe the hinges on the control surfaces? Others, please? I just don't want to have any catasrophic event if I can avoid it. Thanks.
Check everything!!! Make a pre-flight check list and use it. Then use a check list that has you check off everything you can think of............and use it!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you do you will have far less surprizes in this hobby
Old 08-25-2008, 08:13 AM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?


ORIGINAL: cappaj1
Could thread lock have prevented this and if so, would it prevent me from removing them later if I wanted to?
Any metal screw to metal nut connection should include thread lock. Just a tiny amount is needed. It dries to a consistency of dried chewing gum, so it will keep the screw from vibrating loose, but won't make it so "Glued-in" that you can't remove it.

Remember one of my favorite slogans: Use Loc-tite, or your nuts will fall off!
Old 08-25-2008, 11:15 AM
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Bob Mitchell
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?


ORIGINAL: MinnFlyer


ORIGINAL: cappaj1
Could thread lock have prevented this and if so, would it prevent me from removing them later if I wanted to?
Any metal screw to metal nut connection should include thread lock. Just a tiny amount is needed. It dries to a consistency of dried chewing gum, so it will keep the screw from vibrating loose, but won't make it so "Glued-in" that you can't remove it.

Remember one of my favorite slogans: Use Loc-tite, or your nuts will fall off!
With all the heat being generated, how effective will LT be on box type muffler such as on my Evo 61 or OS 75AX? So far, given that the supplied fasteners are hardened I've just really torqued 'em down hard.
Old 08-25-2008, 05:07 PM
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Default RE: What should I be checking after numerous flights?

The blue Loctite will work up to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

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