Go Back  RCU Forums > Radios, Batteries, Clubhouse and more > Control Lines
Reload this Page >

Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Notices
Control Lines For all you fly-by-wire fanatics!

Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Old 10-21-2008, 10:20 PM
  #1  
sepierce
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Little Rock, AR
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Hello to all the folks who flew the original "Park Flyers". I've enjoyed a low key re-interest in Control Line flying over the last few years. One of my most interesting new planes is the Brodak Electric Clown. But that's a story for another post.

The newest box of balsa I've acquired is the Brodak Pathfinder. I like the modern stunt look of the plane with the simplicity of being a profile. Plus, there are a few P40 events I could make with this ship.

Do any of you have any lessons learned, or scars healed you could share with me about getting this bird ship shape? My plan is to use a fire breathing Fox Q-40 (late 1980's vintage Quickie 500 engine with pipe) for P-40 events. I also have C/L versions of the LA 40 and 46 as well as the really strong running ST-51. I was planning on 60 foot lines, but will be ready to slip on the 70 footers if the lap times are too fast. I've also had the best luck with the round 4 oz Sulivan plastic fuel tanks plumbed and pressured as I would an RC engine. Like Grasshopper, I am still seeking the nervana of the elusive 2-4-2 break in any engine.

I was planning for a long friendship with my 2 year old Tutor II. That plan came to a dusty end when I came out of a wing-over about 8 feet below the planned 6 foot exit altitude. I also have a Top Flight Nobler with an RC version of the Thunder Tiger .42. This is the BEST C/L ship I have ever owned. But, it isn't for P40. There is also a 35 year old Ringmaster with an even older Fox .35. It's front end has been re-built more often than Pamela Anderson's.

Any thoughts or learned experiences on the Pathfinder would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve Pierce
[email protected]
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Zx72095.jpg
Views:	191
Size:	106.6 KB
ID:	1056672   Click image for larger version

Name:	Kg15081.jpg
Views:	199
Size:	137.0 KB
ID:	1056673  
Old 10-22-2008, 04:42 AM
  #2  
RCPAUL
My Feedback: (1)
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Gahanna, OH
Posts: 1,118
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

I built a pathfinder a few years ago to re-experience CL. The Brodak kit was very poor - rock hard fuse - punky ribs - several pieces of balsa the incorrect length, etc. The plans had mistakes in several places. I sent John Brodak a full page list of errors and he offered to replace the kit. I even took a lot of flack from the pro-Brodak forces on the CL forums until all my comments were verified.

Long story short - I flew one flight on the Pathfinder and decided after 40 years that UC was no longer an attraction for me. The Pathfinder now hangs on the basement wall.

Paul
Old 10-22-2008, 08:15 AM
  #3  
mikeainia
My Feedback: (1)
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Madrid, IA
Posts: 233
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??


ORIGINAL: sepierce

Hello to all the folks who flew the original "Park Flyers". I've enjoyed a low key re-interest in Control Line flying over the last few years. One of my most interesting new planes is the Brodak Electric Clown. But that's a story for another post.

The newest box of balsa I've acquired is the Brodak Pathfinder. I like the modern stunt look of the plane with the simplicity of being a profile. Plus, there are a few P40 events I could make with this ship.

Do any of you have any lessons learned, or scars healed you could share with me about getting this bird ship shape? My plan is to use a fire breathing Fox Q-40 (late 1980's vintage Quickie 500 engine with pipe) for P-40 events. I also have C/L versions of the LA 40 and 46 as well as the really strong running ST-51. I was planning on 60 foot lines, but will be ready to slip on the 70 footers if the lap times are too fast. I've also had the best luck with the round 4 oz Sulivan plastic fuel tanks plumbed and pressured as I would an RC engine. Like Grasshopper, I am still seeking the nervana of the elusive 2-4-2 break in any engine.

I was planning for a long friendship with my 2 year old Tutor II. That plan came to a dusty end when I came out of a wing-over about 8 feet below the planned 6 foot exit altitude. I also have a Top Flight Nobler with an RC version of the Thunder Tiger .42. This is the BEST C/L ship I have ever owned. But, it isn't for P40. There is also a 35 year old Ringmaster with an even older Fox .35. It's front end has been re-built more often than Pamela Anderson's.

Any thoughts or learned experiences on the Pathfinder would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve Pierce
[email protected]
I can only comment that the Q-40 Fox will NEVER make a decent stunt engine - especially if you are seeking a "4-2-4" (I presume you meant) break. The Quickie .40 was designed to run at one speed - VERY FAST - on 9 inch props. It was so fast that many areas outlawed it for Q-40 racing shortly after it came out. It doesn't even idle with the RC carb - it just shuts off.

ANY of the other engines you mentioned would be fine. Well, except for the .35 stunt. We have one Pathfinder flying in our club, with a K&B .40, muffler pressure, 11-5 or 11-6 APC props. Runs very nicely and will easily haul 65 foot lines, probably longer.

I would personally start with the LA-46. These seem to be pretty much "plug and play" and have good running characteristics - including the elusive 4-2-4.

Let us know how it goes

Mike @

Old 10-23-2008, 02:44 AM
  #4  
sepierce
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Little Rock, AR
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Paul and Mike,
Thanks for the ideas.

Paul- It seems the wood quality has improved over the years. No problems with my Pathfinder, here. I remember in the 60's when we got oak-like balsa with parts that were either die "crunched" or just inked in for the builder to cut out. Only the Free Flight kits had anything like good wood. Kits today (as well as ARF's and ARC's) have come a long way.

Sadly, my C/L planes don't often live long enough to hang on the wall. I run out of talent at about the same time the plane runs out of airspace.

As for the engine- Mike, you are right on the mark. I locked the throttle of the Q-.40 wide open- it wouldn't run at any other setting anyway. I do need to stay with a .40 to be legal for an upcoming P40 event... and the Pathfinder is no lightweight. I'll try the FOX running a tad rich. I can also experiment with my LA .40 and with an old Enya .40X I didn't mention. The LA .40 kinda struggled with the Tutor (about the same size and weight as the Pathfinder). The Enya is a BB RC ringed engine that runs very strong. Also, your comment about line length sorta confirms that I should start with the 70' lines instead of the 60' lines.

Thanks again for the thoughts.
Old 10-23-2008, 10:24 PM
  #5  
lukesp
Senior Member
 
lukesp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BrisbaneQueensland, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 407
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

I recieved my Profile Pathfinder kit several days ago and I'm extremely dissapointed. The wood quality is exceptional but nothing is straight except for the flaps. All spars are warped beyond use and the fuselage and fuselage top piece are warped beyond reality. []

I am awaiting a reply from Brodaks, nothing yet. To balance this out I also recieved a Brodak Me109 profile from their warbird series and the quality is tops and everything is straight. The Pahtfinder is packed way too tightly in the box it came in and I regard this asthe reason why it's just a pile of bent wood. If it was only the spars that were warped I wouldn't worry about it. Man![:@]

I really wish they would reply to my email.
Old 10-25-2008, 11:32 AM
  #6  
lukesp
Senior Member
 
lukesp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BrisbaneQueensland, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 407
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Update : John Brodak has replied and offered me some good advice re the straightening o the warped parts.
Old 10-25-2008, 02:40 PM
  #7  
dennis
My Feedback: (90)
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Minersville, PA
Posts: 1,872
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

ORIGINAL: lukesp

Update : John Brodak has replied and offered me some good advice re the straightening o the warped parts.


One of the problems today is that balsa wood is getting scarce and good contest quality is now so expensive as to be prohibitive for general kitting without charging a premiunm price. Most of Brodaks stuff has been reasonable and considering the price I just replace anything that is too far off spec.
Kitting models is probably the most frustrating business that anyone could ever get into and try and make a living at. I certainly wouldn't do it. Brodak makes a reasonable product for the price and if you were to pay for a premium kit that the custom kitters make you would then have a rightful expectation of superior quality in the kit. That said complain about the kits all you want because at the age of most of the manufacturers, Brodak,RSM, Umland, Neibur, Rice, et all I don't see a long future for C/L kits.
Dennis
Old 10-26-2008, 02:58 PM
  #8  
cutaway
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Lake Worth, FL
Posts: 1,009
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Just let the Q-40 rev and go with a shallow pitch prop to slow the plane down, and/or put the prop on backwards.
Old 10-26-2008, 08:38 PM
  #9  
lukesp
Senior Member
 
lukesp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BrisbaneQueensland, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 407
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

One of the problems today is that balsa wood is getting scarce and good contest quality is now so expensive as to be prohibitive for general kitting without charging a premiunm price. Most of Brodaks stuff has been reasonable and considering the price I just replace anything that is too far off spec.
Sure, but it becomes a tad wearing when you have to replace 90% of the balsa in a kit due to warping. I may as well have simply bought the plan. In fact I should have. Having said that, again, I say that warps are out of everyone's control and I don't blame Brodak for that, it simply happens. That's balsa. And it isn't the quality of the balsa I'm unhappy with, it's the fact most of the balsa is warped. The actual balsa quality itself is very very good for a kit, compared to the likes of Sig etc.

John has now offered to replace the warped balsa which I declined for now, I want to try straightening the fuselage and several other parts first via ammonia (John's suggestion) and see how we go. The warped spars mean nothing to me, they are easily replaced.

I am not attempting to stop people from buying the Pathfinder kit, nor am I attempting to disparage the name of Brodak, I was basically replying to the subject title. I'm pretty sure my kit is an isolated example, if all of the Pathfinder kits are warped we would soon hear about it. And once again, the Brodak Me 109 Warbird series kit I have is excellent. I cannot fault it.

Luke S.
Old 10-26-2008, 11:58 PM
  #10  
sepierce
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Little Rock, AR
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Ah... but how does it fly? The Pathfinder, Electric Clown and the FW-190 products I purchased from Brodak have no real wood issues (maybe I'm just lucky on this one). Unlike the Top Flight Tutor II ARF I purchased- with a quite noticable fuse warp from front to rear (at least the warp was in the correct direction and acts like right rudder).

I'm kinda beyond the initial Pathfinder building and am about ready to get dizzy. Does anyone know if the CG on the plans is really the best place for it to be, or is it a conservative CG location for novice flyers, like most RC kits provide? Does the ship like a lot of right thrust and right rudder, or does it keep better tension by moving the lines exit points further to the rear (it's adjustable). Is the flap/elevator set-up close to correct or does it really need more or less than the directions show? Does it have any hunting tendancies and what have folks tried to correct this, if present?

Of course, all of these questions could be answered by weeks of flight testing. But, I'm really not a C/L Guru to pick up on the nuances of trimming. And, I'm not aware of any C/L experts in the Little Rock, AR area. So, if the wheel has already been invented...

Thanks,
Steve Pierce
Old 12-05-2008, 03:57 PM
  #11  
cessna098
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Chicago area, IL
Posts: 25
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Steve,
I've been flying a Pathfinder in P-40 and PAMPA Advanced and Expert on the Midwest contest circuit for the last four years. I use an LA .40 and have flown in all kinds of weather conditions. If your Pathfinder weighs under 50 ounces then the LA .40 should be enough power.
The center of gravity on the plans is a little conservative. I use some tail weight. The amount you need will depend on your flying preference.
I use 2° thrust wedges under the engine lugs. To eliminate a tendency to be a little loose overhead I added about 1/4 inch rudder offset and that fixed the problem.
The control thows for the flap/elevator are set per the plans and work fine. The leadouts are adjusted to exit the wing where they are shown exiting on the plans.
Mine doesn't exhibit any hunting tendencies but you need to make sure the controls/hinges/etc are free from any binding. I also sealed the hinge line gap on both the flaps and elevators with UltraCote (the plane is covered with UltraCote and the fuse is painted with LusterKote).
I know you mentioned a preference for running a 4-2-4 type engine run. However, I've found my LA .40 runs best just leaned out from a 4 cycle into a two cycle. This normally yields an rpm about 11,200 with an APC 10.5 x 4.5 prop.
Hopefully this information will be of assistance. Enjoy your Pathfinder.
DennisV
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Yw67327.jpg
Views:	203
Size:	112.5 KB
ID:	1084327   Click image for larger version

Name:	Pk30951.jpg
Views:	244
Size:	152.7 KB
ID:	1084328   Click image for larger version

Name:	Di10488.jpg
Views:	182
Size:	116.2 KB
ID:	1084329   Click image for larger version

Name:	Oi14851.jpg
Views:	230
Size:	86.2 KB
ID:	1084330  
Old 12-05-2008, 07:12 PM
  #12  
lukesp
Senior Member
 
lukesp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BrisbaneQueensland, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 407
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Dennis,

judging by the smile on your face that Pathfinder is doing what you want it to. Is that a uniflow tank? It appears to be permanently mounted to the fuse. Could you give some details on it?

BTW, Good post and thanks, I still intend to build my Pathfinder in the near future.


Luke.
Old 12-06-2008, 03:58 PM
  #13  
cessna098
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Chicago area, IL
Posts: 25
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Luke,
Yes. I do get a smile on my face every time I fly the Pathfinder. It is one of my all time favorites and has treated me very well.
The tank is uniflow with a 4 1/2 ounce capacity. I typically use about 3 3/4 to 3 7/8 ounces for a 7 minute flight. The tank is both removable and adjustable for height using Brodak slotted tank brackets soldered to the front and back of the tank (picture attached).
DennisV
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Rp44703.jpg
Views:	184
Size:	147.0 KB
ID:	1084944  
Old 12-06-2008, 04:19 PM
  #14  
cessna098
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Chicago area, IL
Posts: 25
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Luke,
Here are a few pictures of mine back in 2004. It was an easy build. Maybe this will help get you encouraged to build yours. Have fun.
DennisV
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Mk25609.jpg
Views:	179
Size:	73.9 KB
ID:	1084959   Click image for larger version

Name:	Dy79234.jpg
Views:	226
Size:	70.0 KB
ID:	1084960   Click image for larger version

Name:	Qw56925.jpg
Views:	156
Size:	126.9 KB
ID:	1084961   Click image for larger version

Name:	Ga78114.jpg
Views:	160
Size:	111.7 KB
ID:	1084962   Click image for larger version

Name:	Uf52101.jpg
Views:	147
Size:	115.0 KB
ID:	1084963   Click image for larger version

Name:	Of58378.jpg
Views:	151
Size:	109.7 KB
ID:	1084964   Click image for larger version

Name:	Ac62403.jpg
Views:	283
Size:	105.3 KB
ID:	1084965   Click image for larger version

Name:	Cb94664.jpg
Views:	235
Size:	126.2 KB
ID:	1084966  

Old 12-07-2008, 06:43 PM
  #15  
lukesp
Senior Member
 
lukesp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BrisbaneQueensland, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 407
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Brodak Pathfinder- Any Lessons Learned Out There ??

Thanks Dennis.

I am still cleaning up/sorting from the floods I had here and I also need to flatten out the balsa in my Pathfinder kit etc. The kit, which already had warped balsa became soaked from the flood. I'm quite pleased I didn't try to straighten anything before this, it would have been a total waste of time. It still looks good, just need to flatten out the fuselage more than anything.

I am going to power mine with an Enya 45 6001 BB. Should work well, and I also have an OS LA 40 should I change my mind. What you say confirms what I have been told before, the Pathfinder is certainly worth building.

Re the tank, cool. I usually rubber band mount my tanks but they still tend to move somehwat. I have several of the Brodak brackets and really should put them to use.
Old 09-06-2021, 12:55 PM
  #16  
woodburner
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Alpharetta, GA/Sao Paulo, BRAZIL
Posts: 123
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Fast forward to 2021....

I'm almost done building the Pathfinder's bones, and my fuselage parts were unbelievably warped for such thickness. Poorly cut too. Unacceptable, but I managed to fix it. Several sticks were also warped but manageable. And it's one of the newer kits with laser-cut ribs etc.

This one will be electric and will have a removable wing.
Old 09-10-2021, 04:50 PM
  #17  
jimz
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maricopa, AZ
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

I have a Pathfinder ARF thats been sitting on the shelf for a few years that I am about to start putting together,
going to put an Enya .45 s 6001 on it.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.