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HH's S;ortsman S+ Setup and C.G. fixes

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HH's S;ortsman S+ Setup and C.G. fixes

Old 07-15-2016, 08:08 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Darien, IL
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Default HH's S;ortsman S+ Setup and C.G. fixes

Putting aside the GPS and Auto Fence/AutoLand features for now, the Sportsman is a very good trainer. Here’s some details on initial checkout, CG, and setup:

The landing gear set with the wheel pants is ONLY good for SMOOTH runways. With the Generation 2 Sportsman S+, I suggest immediately installing the “grass” set of landing gear with its 2.25” wheels, even if you use a smooth runway. (Save the 1.25” pants-type landing gear for later when you never, ever, miss the runway.)

Horizon provided a couple extra screws, but the printed instructions don’t clearly show you which ones go where: Two of the screws with the LARGE washer go on the outboard ends of the wing struts. The four smaller screws are for the main landing gear assemblies.

The “always on” Stabilizer system works well on the Sportsman S+ to reduce problems with the wind. Just a minor note: I use stabilizers in other planes, and to me, the Sportsman Stabilizer seemed to react pretty aggressively when I was holding and handling the plane. But, in actual flight it’s perfectly OK. Just FYI.

On my stock Sportsman S+ the stock battery needed to be placed as far forward as possible to try to get a correct Center of Gravity at 1.75”. This means Horizon’s pre-installed battery hold-down strap assembly is WAY too far back to be of any use. You may want to install more “Velcro” inside the battery compartment towards the front to deal with this, or, rip out the battery hold-down strap assembly and reglue it as far forward as practical. I ended up ripping out the strap assembly and filling the entire “floor” of the battery compartment with Velcro.

When I first got the Sportsman S+ Generation 2, I found the ESC was inside the cabin area just hanging by its wires. It was not glued down or mounted on Velcro. I’m guessing the ESC is supposed to be a friction fit inside the air shaft (tunnel) between the cowl area and the cabin area. Make sure to check this on your plane.

Another way to deal with the CG is to slide the ESC as far forward as it will go in the previously mentioned tunnel. This adjustment may sound difficult but it is pretty easy. The benefits are that the ESC and most of its heavy, excess wiring ends up in the cowl area, wrapped around the motor mounting protrusion. Plus, the excess throttle control wire is also moved forwards, which leaves less of it to fill up the cabin space. Here’s how to do it: Follow the Owner’s Manual instructions for removing the cowl. (Take this opportunity to balance the prop.) Next, gently and carefully push the ESC forward into the tunnel between the cowl and the cabin - while at the same time GENTLY pulling the ESC forwards using the power wires. You need to also pull the EC3 connector out of its access hole while you reposition the ESC. Once the ESC is about 0.25” away from the motor, you are almost done, except for protecting the wires; loosen the two top motor mount screws for the white plastic motor mount. Get two pieces of string or plastic-coated bread ties. Wrap the string around the screw heads and tighten down the screws. Tie the three loose motor wires with the string so they won’t contact the rotating bell of the motor. Reroute the EC3 connector and wires into the front end of the battery compartment. Reattach the cowl. Bingo, your Center of Gravity is now correct with a stock battery.

Minor item: The original battery strap is so long it gets in the way of cinching up the battery. For convenience sake, consider trimming the strap a little shorter.

When you buy extra batteries, consider moving up to a 1500mAh to get more weight up front if you still need help with the CG.

In the USA, there are generally three “weights” of Hook-and-Loop (Velcro) systems; the Commercial Heavy Duty grade that most of us never see, the normal grade you see in everyday use by everyone, and the very Light-Duty “fine-strand” Hook-and-Loop material. (We first started to see this light-weight Velcro when the indoor foamies became popular, such as with the Horizon Hobby UMX aircraft.) The Sportsman has the Light Duty stuff; you may want to replace all of it with standard-weight Velcro.

You may want to order a spare prop, rubber bands and prop adapter.

To me, the provided “Y” connector for the aileron servos seems WAY too short for convenient installation of the wing, especially when it’s windy outside. Buy a longer one, at least 6” to 8”.

The rubber band wing hold-downs work well and don’t dent the wing or wing saddle.

The plane normally takes off quickly, except for the Beginner’s mode with its restricted elevator action. Be aware of this ahead of time.

I’ve run about 10 batteries through the S+ WITHOUT using the GPS system and features, in order to get familiar with the plane before we use it for our club training. So far no dents, damage or dings. The landing gear is holding up well.

Finally, a couple words on the GPS system and its features:
  1. When you are calibrating the GPS system or just plugging in your Rx, the “wait” times before you get tones can be a LOT longer than you are used to with other electric planes.
  2. After you turn the plane upside down, you get a sudden swing on the ailerons. That seems to be normal; it’s just the GPS system acknowledging it’s lost its lock to satellites.
  3. Note that when the plane goes into its Holding Pattern, that the Holding Pattern is a circle around your original takeoff point. Again, “Holding Pattern” is NOT a rectangle! Therefore, to keep from overflying you, any spectators, and your buddies, make sure your original takeoff point is “well out” onto the landing area; i.e., better farther away than closer in.
  4. Many of the calibration videos and most of the print information do NOT mention the “wing waggle” that occurs when Holding Pattern takes over. You have to view the generic Sportsman Sales (PR) video to hear about the wing-waggle. Just be aware of it, because if you don’t know about it ahead of time, it can be a little disconcerting.
  5. More on the GPS inauguration later………….

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