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Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

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Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

Old 02-26-2008, 12:07 AM
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Default Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

A good friend and neighbor gave me a badly damaged Soarcraft Centurion II glider. It came with the glider, Orbit four channel radio, the box, the blueprints, extra covering material, and some of the original hardware (balsa, plywood, etc.). It is missing the four plastic rivits that hold the mylar canopy on though.

The Orbit radio still works although all the electrial connections needed to be cleaned. Even the batteries charged and all four of the servo's worked! BUT I'm not going to use the Orbit parts for the airplane at all.

Damage: Nose is 90% there but many cracks in the plastic. Because the nose is cracked so badly, I'm going to have to do some major repairs to it. I plan on repairing it by joining the broken parts with two part epoxy. I built a new right elevator for it today (isn't CA glue the cats butt! so fast and easy too!), installed it (CA again), and re-covered it with the Monocote that was in the box (along with the blueprints for the glider!). The only thing I could find wrong with the wings is that the brass tubing for joining the wings together were plugged with dirt (possibly from sitting around or from crashing. I cleaned them out and installed new brass tubing in them and they appear to be OK.

Anyway, I have questions about it and me.

1) Am I getting in over my head with this size glider? It has a 100" wing and weighs in at (according to the box) 28 oz (I weighed it on my digital scale and came up with 37 oz). I am a novice flyer with very few sucessful hours of flight BUT I have a Hobby Zone Aerobird Challenger that I've been training myself with AND I'm in the long drawn out process of building a electric conversion of a Carl Goldberg Eaglet 50 with a Eflite 25 brushless motor, 60 ESC with BEC, and a EVO 4250 mAH 11.1 VDC 3S LiPo battery.

2). What is the best and least complicated method of launching it? And what and where can you get the launch material(s)?

3). I am going to install new Fatuba S148 servos and receiver which are within an ounce of the original Orbit parts. BUT, here's what I want to add to it: Because I do have to repair the nose, I want to put a brushless motor sytem in (brushless motor, ESC with BEC, and LiPo battery). I added up the total added weight of the brushless electric motor system and it comes to about 1 pound. Subtract from that the original Orbit receiver battery of 6 oz = a net weight gain of around 10 oz. Is that too much weight to add to it or is it worth the effort to put it in to gain the advantage of being able to hand launch it rather than have to use a bungee or winch system? I I think it would be worth the effort as I have to rebuild the nose of the fuselage anyway so why not modify it to accept the brushless motor too!

Any and all thoughts on this will be greatly appreciated.
Old 02-29-2008, 12:20 PM
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Default RE: Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

Duce,

That's a classic sailplane you've been given. I've been looking for a Soarcraft Glasflugel 604 recently and had a Soarcraft Libelle as a kid.

Anyway, if you *really* want to learn to fly gliders I would not electrify your Centurion but rather get your hands on a hi-start and start working with that. That will simplify your life, at least the flying part of your life, and force you to learn to work lift. I, and I'm sure many others who have really enjoyed this sport, learned this way and would argue that it's the best way to go.

You can find a used hi-start or put one together yourself. It's basically 100 ft of surgical tubing, 400-500 feet of 100 lb mono filament fishing line, snap swivels, a couple of stainless steel rings, a long stake, a hammer and a parachute or piece of cloth. Hell, just buy one; they're only $30 or $40. Here's an article describing their use:

http://forums.radiocontrolzone.com/s...d.php?t=142772

The KEY is getting the glider flying by throwing it wings level toward the horizon and NOT just dropping it or letting it go.

Electrifying that glider will bring the wing loading, and thus flying speed, of the glider way up and reduce your chances of working any kind of light lift, which is key to flying a sailplane well.

Just some thoughts,

Mike
Old 02-29-2008, 01:39 PM
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Default RE: Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

Mike: Thanks for the kind words.

You think that adding 10 oz (or less depending on my choice of servos, battery, and receiver) to the original weight/wing loading would be critical?

Here are pictures the damage:







Old 02-29-2008, 05:46 PM
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Default RE: Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

Duce,

No, I wouldn't think that adding 10 oz is going to make a huge difference. What you have is a glider that was gifted to you that you can use to get excited about soaring. It's not going to be a competition ship -- it wasn't in its day -- but rather something you can use to learn some lessons from.

It looks pretty rough from your pictures so I wouldn't spend a lot of time fixing it up. Fix it, fly it, fly it and fly it until you get tired of it. By the way, that is a good sized plane on which to learn; anything smaller won't give you the reaching ability you need to find workable lift.

Start looking for another glider to build while you're learning to fly the Centurion. Sooner or later, you'll wear out the glider -- by breaking it beyond repair or outgrowing its potential to help you learn -- and you'll already have something built or on the building board. Ray Hayes has several glider suitable for a second sailplane:

http://www.skybench.com

Check out the "Beginners" section. It has some good advice.

Not trying sound like an expert, by any means.

Hope this is advice that will help get you to the next level where the REAL fun starts!

Mike

Old 03-07-2008, 08:55 PM
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Default RE: Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

I closely examined the fuselage where the wing attaches and noticed that it is NOT flat. I bent a small piece of wire and then measured it on a protractor which told me it had about 2 degrees of bend to it.

I then cut two 8" long by 1/8" diameter pieces of music wire and put a slight bend in both of them. I installed the music wire in the wings and then attached the wing assemly on the fuselage. AMAZINGLY, the butt ends of the wings match up PERFECTLY! I love it when a plan comes together!

Here is a link to my web site where I posted a picture of the wing installed where you can see the very slight amount of dihedral in the center of the wing:

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n...thdihedral.jpg
Old 04-10-2009, 09:53 PM
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Default RE: Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

It's been a LONG time since I worked on this aircraft for a good reason. On close inspection, one wing has extensive damage: the leading edge is broken in many places, in 50" of wing there are MANY broken ribs, the main spar is broken in a couple of places. Some of it was poorly repaired so I had to remove all of the old yellow glue. It's all fixable without replacing major pieces but there are a LOT of pieces to a 50" wing which means it's going to take time that I don't have. LOL!

I did repair the fuselage by cutting it back to remove all the FUBAR repairs that were done to it and added a bulkhead to mount a gear driven folding prop brushed motor in there.

I also found the right elevator was trashed. I have the original blueprints so I made a new one and covered it with the blue Monokote that was in the box that the aircraft's kit came in. It turned out excellent.

So, unfortunately, the wing is stripped down to parade rest and needs HOURS of repairs before I can even think about re-covering the wing. I don't know if I can match the original covering so I'm thinking of leaving the read on one wing and putting a blue on the other wing. That would make the aircraft my signature red, white, and blue color scheme!
Old 04-11-2009, 02:43 PM
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Default RE: Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

It's been a year! hay that's O.K. , hopefully you have been able to enjoy some flying. Keep us posted as to how thing's are progressing. Not all models have to be beauty queens, some are purpose built, and if this one becomes a confidence builder to create outside of the box, then see what you can do.
Snuts
Old 04-11-2009, 04:07 PM
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Default RE: Soarcraft Centurion II. Electify or not?

Other projects have taken priority over this AC.

I built a Magister Cessna style airplane which is a pleasure to fly. I also rebuilt a Hobbico Superstar 40 (wing and fuselage damage from previous owner's adventures) and converted it to electric motor power which is also a pleasure to fly.

The weather was getting warmer but that isn't the case right now so I think I'm going to start working on the Centurion II.

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