Finally 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.
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.
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.