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Top Flite Contender

Old 12-06-2004, 05:42 PM
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Tomcat_AL200
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Default Top Flite Contender

I hope to come in to possession of a TF Contender kit soon, and I would like to hear some of your comments on the kit, how it builds, how it flies, which wingtip to use, ect. Also, I plan on using my OS .61 FX for power.
Thanks for the comments
Old 12-06-2004, 08:10 PM
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2slow2matter
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Tomcat, I just got my kit in. Looks like quality stuff. However, I've not had time to build it yet. My father and I are going to build it over the Christmas break (I am a teacher/coach). So, we'll start it a week from this coming Saturday (or Sunday, whenever). I can't wait. from looking through the instruction book, it looks pretty straight forward. I'm going to use the turned up (new style) wing tip to prevent roll coupling. I'm powering mine with a Saito FA 100 (overkill, I know, but I'm going to use it because I love 4 strokes. I thought about buying a .72 for it, but I'm not made out of money, and I know for sure I don't want a .72 on my p51 that I'm building this spring. The contender is going to be my low wing trainer. Once the spring comes, I'm taking that 100 out and putting it into a warbird (p51, p47, something like that). That's why I went with the 100--so I could use it in a later project. At that time, I'll put either my vmax .52 (If I have it back!), or an ev 46, or buy some other cheap 2 stroke for it. Those are my plans, anyway! Do a search for contender, and you will find several threads about building one. I can't wait to build and fly it!
Old 12-06-2004, 09:25 PM
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campbec
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Hi,



Build it with the upswept wingtips and do a search on building there are many threads. The Contender flys very well and is a great model to learn the pattern manouvers. I would also recommend the flaps for landing as it penetrates very well if there isn't any wind.

One tip this model is a PITA to cover. I would suggest that you cover the fin, rudder, tail plane, elevator separately and then assemble like an ARF.

I have a Saito 72 in mine. Take care with CoG with the 100.

Have fun with the cowl. Please PM me if you need help.

Cheers,

Collin
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Old 12-07-2004, 10:54 AM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

I have added this thread to my subscriptions, because I am getting a Contender, also. Maybe the 3 of use can help each other as it looks like we may be in different stages of construction.
2slow2matter, I look forward to consulting with you. I am so excited, and look forward to building this plane.

Let's keep each other informed on progress.

Jim V.
Old 12-08-2004, 09:07 PM
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miamiflyer
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

allright, I'll join.
If this is your first kit ( like it is for me) read through the destructions and identfy all parts to make sure
they are complete and not broken. look at the balsa for wingsheeting. mine was somehow thin and brittle.
i used it and broke the sheeting by just grabbing the wing and lift it. i patched it but later at the LHS i found
better quality sheeting ( sig) that's also the right width so you don't have to edgeglue it.
make sure the LE/TE sticks are straight and call cust.service soon to get new
ones hopefully straight. they ship fedex ground and the tailfeathers and wing build fast, so you'll need them soon.
Mine were warped badly and i called topflight for replacement.
they send four LE sticks, no TE,[] all of them warped again [:@]and i've had the wing pinned on my only building
board waiting for them to ship. i lost a week already and decided to use the warped ones.
(no similar stock was available at the LHS).
and just straightening with a razor planer to get all the surface glued to the ribs.
I evened out with a little elmers wood filler and now it is straight.
I didn't know what to check for if you receive a kit. (other than the great smell of it).


Pat
Old 12-09-2004, 01:08 AM
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Fubar-One
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

If your spars, etc are warped like a bow ( put them together in the build like: () This will result in a straight wing. Was in the intructions of a kit I built a while back but dont remember which one it was. Only ran into bowed spars one time, did this, and the wing came out straight!
Old 12-09-2004, 01:32 AM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Well, I have added this thread to my subscription list. I appreciate the input, so far, from those of you who have building experience. I have a Super Decathlon-40 kit, but, the Contender is on the way and I am going
to start with it. It will be my second plane also. I am still in the trainer mode. Just got started, so it will be sometime before, after many more hours on the trainer, before I attempt to fly the Contender, much less
the Super Decathlon.

I am definately going to build the flaps and will decide on the upturned wing after reading the instructions and hopefully, more input on from those who have already built and flown this kit. I plan on using JR DS 811 servos (54 oz torque) which are ball bearing, digital with cored motor. I think they should drive the flight surfaces well. I don't have a engine picked out, but it will be 2-stroke. Both of my trainer, Hangar 9, Alpah 60's, have .61
Evolution engines. However, I am going to wait and see what is most suggested for this plane.

Thank you for your continuing contributions. My kit should be here Monday or Tuesday. I will be asking more questions in the near future.

Jim V
Old 12-09-2004, 11:00 AM
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robert92679
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Just a comment about engine selection on the Contender. I am getting toward the end of my assembly. Wing, tail feathers, control surfaces all done, and down to one of the last steps on the fuse. I am now shaping the built-up cowl. I'm using an OS .61 FX. I haven't tried the balance yet, but I expect to add tail weight if I can't push my 6.0V Ni-Cad back far enough. Balance aside, I had to add a new tool to my workbench in order to fit the engine - a shoehorn!

The .61 is a very tight squeeze. A router bit on the Dremel made short work cowl sides, but I had to take them down to 1/4" or less around the engine mount, and even thinner near the throttle push rod. Maybe once the shaping is done I'll open it up a bit with the Dremel drum sander. I'm not quite sure an engine that's any larger would fit. Even a similar size 4-stroke would be harder because it would have to sit farther out on the mount to account for the rear carb.

Good luck,

Robert
Old 12-09-2004, 12:34 PM
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glowstart
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

I've just finished the fourth summer with mine, it's one of my favorite planes. One great trick is to drop the flap around 50 degrees and do a steep carrier landing, flaring it right before touchdown. Mine has a 46FX with a tower muffler, and 12X4 prop. Have almost unlimited vertical with this combo. Comes in at 6 lbs. Try to make it a light as possible, and watch the brittle wing sheeting, might be a good idea to pick up some better quality stuff at the local HS. It has small alerons, but roll rate is quite good. Planning on re-covering it this winter, and possibly lighten up the airframe even more. Good aerobatic low wing trainer.
Old 12-09-2004, 09:53 PM
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2slow2matter
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Well, just did a quick inventory of my box, and I know for sure it's missing one landing gear rail. No big deal, can make another one just like the one supplied, but frustrating, none the less. Hopefully nothing else is missing. Will let you know next week!
Old 12-10-2004, 12:06 AM
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miamiflyer
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

I glued in the firewall yesterday and dry fitted the engine today.
looks perfect and has allot of room.
The J'En, the 40 that thinks it's a 60, with a genesis throttle pipe.
http://www.justengines.unseen.org/Jen.htm
going to break it in this weekend.
Old 12-10-2004, 07:38 AM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

I built one several years ago just to see how it compared to the kits of the early 70's
( of which I've built many)

I thought the kit was fairly well done and the components were of high quality.
I built mine with the standard tips and the working flap. It flew just the same
as it's predecessor.(no surprise there) If I were to do another, I wouldn't bother
with the flap option.

For the most part it's a neatened up version of a once very popular good flying plane
of years ago. What more can be said ?

Regards
Roby
Old 12-13-2004, 01:44 PM
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2slow2matter
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Alright, guys, I finally got started on mine. Wow, those built-up tail-feathers are a pita. Lots of weird angles, and final sanding. Took me about 5 hours to complete the tail feathers. Only a couple of die-cut pieces in those, though. Most of what I have left now is die-cut, so hopefully it will go much faster??? That is, until I get to the dreaded cowl. I'ts looking good, so far! Still have to finish sanding the V's in the LE of the elevators and rudder. Went to the field to fly on Saturday, and a guy had one out there with an older os 91 two stroke on it. Swinging a 14 inch prop. No trouble with ground clearance at all, and no weight issue. I know my saito 100 is comparible in size and weight, so I've decided to go with the big motor in it. Will post more as I continue to build. It will be next week before I get any more done, but should be completely finished by next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Old 12-13-2004, 09:27 PM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

which wing tip should be used?
Old 12-13-2004, 10:03 PM
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2slow2matter
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

I'm going to use the new upswept tip. If you're using a lot of rudder to fight a crosswind, I think you'll appreciate it. I would either use that tip, or just a clipped tip. It looks kind of cool, I think....
Old 12-14-2004, 01:32 AM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Hey Guys: Just got my kit today about 2 PM, had to go to work at 3, so, I didn't get to do anything but just look in the box. Appears, just short glance, that the wood quality is great. Will know tomorrow because I am going to get it out and inventory it. I can't wait to get started. 2 slow 2 matter, if you can, post some pictures as you build. I am going to try to, if I can figure out how to do it.

I have tried to upload some before and I keep getting the message the file is too large. I crop it and it still says to large. Anybody know what I am doing wrong. I have a digital and can download them instantly.

I think I am going to do the upswept wing. It rally looks good. Campbec, your plane looks great. I like the color scheme. I am going to cover in UltraKote. I have a little experience with it, seeing how as I had to redo my crashed (mid-aired) trainer. It is relatively easy to work with. I found use the iron to stick it and the heat gun to shrink it. Works, great results.

I don't know about engine, yet. I could use one of the Evolution .61's off one of my trainers, but think I would like to have the OS FX .46 with a Mac or Jett muffler. What do you guys think? They say on some threads that these mufflers really boost RPM's and power.
Old 12-14-2004, 11:06 PM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

After much carving, razor planing and sanding, I have finished the real 'building' of my Contender. Now it's on to the covering and equipment installation. Looking back, the building wasn't as bad as some have described and I'm really looking forward to seeing it in the air. Here's a picture or two of the frame work...

One caution for those building one: Determine the location of your wing mounting holes based on the actual position of the maple blocks. The marks on the plan were a bit too close together and if I hadn't checked, the holes would have been right on the edge of the blocks. Measure the distance between the center of the blocks, and center the holes appropriately on the wing center-line. The offset marked on the plans for the holes measured from the trailing edge was right on.

Robert
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Old 12-14-2004, 11:42 PM
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2slow2matter
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

great job so far! How many hours? I spent about five hours on the tail feathers last weekend. Not hard work, just tedious getting all of those angles cut and sanded right! Post some covered pics too!!
Old 12-15-2004, 12:43 AM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Couldn't even begin to estimate the time in hours. For what it's worth, I started the kit on the first weekend of October. Between my family, a full-time job, and with the weather here we still fly most every weekend, I really just squeeze in a few hours of building here and there.
Old 12-15-2004, 01:10 AM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Robert, it looks great. I really like the upturned wing tips. I am not sure I completely understand what you mean about the holes in the blocks, but I will look over the palns and the illustrations tomorrow and I'm sure that will help me. I haven't begun my assy. yet, but hope I can start this weekend.

Thank you for the tip. I will reread this thread while "in build."
Old 12-15-2004, 03:00 PM
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campbec
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Guys, having re-read the posts I think that some builders are possibly expecting the Contender to do more than it was designed to do. It is a great sport flyer and pattern trainer. It is not a 3D machine. I know, I know, some will bash the kit to do anything but if 3D is your thing build a light profile thingy. My Contender will fly the sportsman schedule easily with a Saito 72 at half throttle for most manouvers, although you do need plenty of throttle to hold knife edge. Its' capabilities far exceed mine.

Corresponding with Pat and others I keep forgetting that many are first time builders. If it isn't too late make up tubes of paper, mylar, woven spider webs or something to run the aileron servo leads/extensions in through the wing ribs so they don't rub on the balsa. If using extensions and Y leads ensure that connections are taped or shrink tubed and that the connectors that "are buried" are gold to minimise corrosion.

Do a search there are heaps..........of Contender threads out there. They are quite popular beasts.

Good Luck

Colin
Old 12-15-2004, 09:06 PM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

ten more days untill my Contender arrives
Old 12-15-2004, 10:14 PM
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2slow2matter
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

By the way, guys, after really tearing into the box of wood, I did find the other landing gear rail that I thought had been left out. It just wasn't in the package with the other one (weird???). Anyway, so far everything is there. All long stock seems straight and without warp or twist. Let's hope I can keep it that way!!!
Old 12-17-2004, 10:30 AM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Ordered my Contender today. This thread including the pictures have just been too much to handle. I couldn't help it, got the Contender fever and had to have one! This "old school" bird has unique lines that I just had to have in my small hanger. No more guessing necessary for my second build. Thanks
Old 12-17-2004, 10:43 AM
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Default RE: Top Flite Contender

Hi Fellow Contender owners:

Just going to try to upload a pic. I want to be ready and able to upload pics of the build as I go along. I have been unsuccessful in uploading
pics to the site. Always, says my file too large. I have cropped and cropped, to no avail. Anyone help me? Well here goes.
Well, I tried and got the same message, "File too Large."

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