MXSR repairs seem to be holding

I’ve put on several flights on the MXSR since making repairs. Normally about this time the muffler would again come loose, but its holding strong. I’m convinced that there was a series of issues causing the problem, and I’ve taken actions to address all of them. I hope in another 10 or 15 flights things are still on track.

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EG MXSR with DLE 55cc gas motor

I suspected a couple of issues. Overheating caused by a bad carburetor and reduced airflow over the cylinder, which in turn caused the muffler to loosen over time, further causing worn cylinder head threads from repeated loosening and tightening and vibrations on the loose bolts and muffler.

To resolve this, I replaced the cylinder head and carburetor, resurfaced the muffler cylinder head face, new muffler gasket/sealing, replaced the fuel tubing to the carburetor, created a better airflow over the engine by opening up the cowling, and re-tuning the fuel mixtures. So far so good.

Not being able to fly this airplane without issues was a disappointment. It is a great flying airplane, very responsive, lights, gobs of power, and very nimble with the large control surfaces.  Getting the MXSR back in the air after flying the YAK54 for so long, makes the YAK54 feel like a taxi, and the MXSR a Ferrari.

If all is well with the muffler situation, my next post on the MXSR will be cover dynamic flight testing and setup. I had a 40% Giles 300 that I absolutely loved flying. It truly was my Ferrari in the air. This MXSR has all the earmarks of the Giles but only in a smaller package. It could easily become my goto favorite airplane for all out 3D flying.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

2017 Season is upon us

The MSXR is in need of repairs. It seems every 4-5 flights the muffler would come loose, rattle around damaging the bolts and muffler and cylinder faces. I was always able to land without issue, but it was putting a dent in my flying time. Not having luck with the repairs I was implementing, I decided on a shotgun approach touching anything that could remotely cause the issue. I’ll report later on the results and repairs.

Everything else is fully maintained and ready for the season. Decathlon, Yak54, Valiant and its float system, and all helicopters had all maintenance done and are ready.

I’ve made plans to attend Joe Nall this year. Its been quite a while since I visited last. It should be an event based on all the changes made since I’ve attended. I hope to run into people I haven’t seen in years, and possibly get back into the yearly migration habit.

Sun occasionally appearing, warm breezes visit every other week or so. Spring is definitely in the air. Lets accelerate this, I’ve enjoyed the winter, but now it’s time.

 

2016, A Great Season

2016 has been a great flying season. No major issues, everything flying well and performing as expected, and I’ve managed to get away to several events in the New England area. Unfortunately, with the amount of traveling I’ve been doing this year, not as many as I would have liked.

I missed Joe Nall because of work as I was traveling with a circus for 2 weeks filming a documentary. Unfortunate timing, but I had a good time and accomplished work needed to finish the documentary.

The Decathlon is flying great and I am getting very comfortable with it. The Yak, while I never warmed up to it, I finally got in touch with its inner soul. All I had to do was fly it like an IMAC airplane, and not try to 3D with it. It just doesn’t have the power to do 3D. Once I just accepted that it was more of an IMAC airplane, and started flying it as such, it really flies nice. Tracks straight, very predictable, and honest flying airplane. It would be a great airplane for someone that competes on the IMAC circuit.

I never wanted to compete in IMAC because of the time commitment involved. I realized long ago that I am competitive, and if I started IMAC it would become an obsession. I would want to place high in the rankings, and that takes practice, practice, and more practice.

But flying the Yak through IMAC maneuvers has been a lot of fun. Not enough to compete, but fun none the less.

Let 2017 Begin!

Season Wrap-up Wrap-up.

Ok, I thought the season was over and wrote the preceding wrap-up. Its been unseasonably warm and I’ve been able to fly everything right up to New Years day. We finally received snow, so it will mostly be helicopters, foamies, and Valiant on skis till spring. Looking forward to the 2nd Annual Boston Blizzard Fly In this year, if we have a blizzard. Hoping there is more than two of us like last year 🙂 Here is a video if you missed it;

The last few weeks I’ve been putting flight time on the Decathlon. The DA-150 has been running flawlessly now that I solved the non-start issue due to an error in programming the ignition kill module. I’ve posted a  video on YouTube during a setup flight. Nothing fancy, just getting used to what the airplane wants in a given maneuver.

I’m looking forward to next season with it, and will practice and pull together a sale  aerobatic flight routine for it.

One thing I haven’t written about is the 50CC MXS-R that I picked up used as a BNF with a DLE55. After a few flights getting it trimmed and balanced out, it flys very well. Tons of reserve power, lightning fast roll rates and very responsive elevator and rudder. Very fun aircraft. Strangely enough, I don’t seem to have a photo of it on my hard drive. So instead, here is a shot of one of our members getting ready to start his monster bi-plane nick named Binky. I am having an issue with the muffler coming loose during flight, and will resolve that over the winter if possible.

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Enjoy the winter, I sure will 🙂

Season Wrap-up

I Haven’t posted much this season. Mainly busy having fun and not really giving much thought to sitting in front of the computer and writing.

I had several issues that were plaguing me this season. It wasn’t smooth sailing like the last. The first was having multiple things fail on the Valiant. I flew it harder than designed, so some problems are expected. But there were also quality issues, mostly with regard to the factory glue, materials, or assembly process. I usually give very high marks to Hangar 9, but I feel they failed me with this ARF.

The first issue was the failure of the left aileron servo mounting structure. It basically just came unglued and the servo was dancing around within the wing while the aileron was left dangling by its hinges. I fixed it, added some reinforcements, and did the same for the right side as a preventative measure.

Next up were the flap servo mounting points. Same basic issue, same resolution. In hindsight I probably should have done these at the same time as the aileron servos. The next failure was both flap control horns on the flap surface broke off, about even with the flap hinge surface.

Flap control horn, factory installed, broken on both flaps.

Flap control horn, factory installed, broken on both flaps.

I’ll give Hangar 9 a break on this one, as I don’t think it was designed to be flown as hard as I have been. Such as deploying full flaps at high speed while rolling inverted for a split-S with a hard pull at the bottom to  landing. Let’s just say I “exceeded the design limitations of the aircraft”. Put a check mark in my column on this one.

I was fighting with my Align 700 (E03) due to stripping the main gears flight after flight. What I now believe happened is that I stripped the main gear after a fast hard start and accidentally replaced it with a 110 tooth version rather than the 112 version to match the 12 tooth pinion. This is what caused the main gears to immediacy strip over the next few flights. After checking everything else I could think of, I finally decided to check the gear ratios, found the mismatch, replaced it with the correct one, and the problem went away.

Both Align 700s also broke their one way bearings and needed replacement. One (E04) just let go in the air, followed by a successful auto rotation. The second (E03) failed on start up by slipping and not providing enough power to lift off.

I had intermittent engine start issues with both the Decathlon and Yak54 which caused me to put them back into the trailer on several outings without ever taking flight. Frustrating. Sometimes they started and ran flawlessly, and others they did not. It took some time to track down the issue since it was intermittent, and seemingly without reason. At the field sometimes it just wouldn’t start, but nearly every time I got it into the shop to test it, it seemed fine.

Extreme Flight Yak54 with a DA50.

Extreme Flight Yak54 with a DA50 at the Westport NY fly-in over July 4th weekend. 

At one point while troubleshooting I noticed that the Aux3 end point in the radio programming was different from the last time I checked. Trying to track this down, I finally found that one of the sliders on the back of the DX9 remote control, the ones no one uses, was still active and mixed to the Aux3 channel that I was using for the optical kill module. I checked the YAK programming and it was the same issue. Evidently, when handing the radio I would offset the slider changing the mid-point for the optical kill module such that the kill switch channel wouldn’t reach into the activation range. The sliders are not on my pre-flight checks because I never use them for anything and they are not tied to any channel. Except they were in this case 🙂

Luckily, no crashes or mishaps this season. Just some problems that plagued me for a while and always left me scratching my head.

Now the winter season starts. Valiant on skis, helis in the snow, and the Second Annual Boston Blizzard Fly-In if the weather allows!

A Few Random Images from this Seasons Fly-Ins

Valiant and Yak54 at Westport NY

Valiant and Yak54 at Westport NY

Yak54 at Westport NY

Yak54 at Westport NY

Dawn, Propbusters fly in in Salem CT

Dawn, PropSnappers in Salem CT

Dawn, Propbusters fly in in Salem CT

Dawn, PropSnappers  in Salem CT

Dawn, Propbusters fly in in Salem CT

Dawn, PropSnappers in Salem CT

Early morning fog over field

Early morning fog over field

Camping at Propbusters in Salem CT

Great camping site, under the trees, and with a fire pit!

Camping at Propbusters in Salem CT

Great camping site under the trees, and with a fire pit.

Decathlon at our local field

Decathlon at our local field

Stormy Skies at Westport NY

Stormy Skies at Westport NY

40% Pilot Decathlon, DA-150 twin, at our local club fly-in

40% Pilot Decathlon, DA-150 twin, at our local club fly-in

Valiant on the Water

RCMusingsBlog-0001-cropFinally got the Valiant on the water, but not without some excitement! I ordered the scale float set for the 1/4 scale Hangar 9 Cub since they were a bolt on with little modification or building required. They were pricey, but they should look great on the airplane, and they are already built saving me a lot of time.

I was unhappy with the quality of the floats once I opened the box. I almost returned them, but decided to keep them anyway. When you look close, the lack of quality is apparent. But from a ‘stand off’ scale they look good.

Even with the heavy floats, the Valiant got up on step quickly and took off with authority. The DLE35RA motor and Valiant are a great combination. Lots of power, yet doesn’t feel heavy on the nose or overpowered. The DLE35RA has also been running flawlessly for the last 75 or so flights. Not even an hiccup. It ran just as well while it was installed in the BigFoot, so it probably has around 125 or so flights without any issues.

Although I did experience a nice blunder when I installed the floats. Pilot error, almost costing me the airplane. Having flown off water in the past, I knew I probably wouldn’t need to install both sets of water rudders that came with the float kit. So I only installed one side.

Being in a rush to get it ready for flying the next morning at a float plane fly in, I neglected to think about the ramifications of not installing the second water rudder. Thus there were two blind nuts installed for the mounting point that were left open. Egads!

After the successful maiden flight, it sat in the water waiting for its next flight. Having so much fun on the first, I took it up minutes later for another flight. I trimmed it out, did some loops, rolls, a couple spins, and even did a gentle snap roll. After landing, a buddy and I sat pond side admiring the plane, had lunch, sat and chatted som, and flew other airplanes.

Then it was time for flight three. This is when things got very interesting! During all our chatting about life, having lunch, etc, the left float was slowly filling with water. I started it up, taxied out, and took off and immediately knew I had a big problem. She pointed her nose nearly straight up and started yawing to the left toward the tree line. I corrected the yaw but needed to just let it climb and hope to clear the trees. Just as it stated to slow considerably due to the added weight of the water, I was able to push the nose over and sneak through a clearing at the top.

1/4 Scale Hangar 9 Cub floats.

1/4 Scale Hangar 9 Cub floats.

My fun wasn’t over though! Now that I narrowly escaped hitting the tree tops and had it turned downwind and somewhat level, I got to do the moving CG dance. She went about 60 degrees nose down as the water sloshed to the tip of the float. I corrected back toward level, then she went 60 degrees nose up as the water sloshed to the back of the float. This continued with me struggling to achieve level flight.
After several cycles of this dance, I somehow managed to get the water level in the float stabilized and I was flying mostly level with small corrections. But I still had to point the nose down on final for the landing, and feared she would again start the dangerous dance. So I tried to keep the plane as level as I could, and use power to control the descent. It worked, and the landing was mostly uneventful. I think the water once stabilized was mostly held in place by the internal formers in the float.

We put the Valiant on the airplane stand, tilted it back at an extreme angle, and spent about 5 minutes watching the water dripping out of the left float. We guessed it was nearly two soda cans worth of pond water!

Yes, those blind nuts are now sealed tightly 🙂

Image or our club Flying Field and pond.

Image or our club Flying Field and pond.

The above image shows our club field and runway, as well as the pond just beyond the runway we use for flying float planes. The vantage point is on a raised observation platform at the runways midpoint. We share this runway with full scale airplanes and ultralights. Generally, there is only light full scale traffic most days we fly. The runway is about 2200′ in length, and the pond is roughly half that with a sandy beach at one end.