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Firefeather Rocket Glider/DLG/Hotliner

wilmracer

I build things that fly (sometimes)
Mentor
#1
So for my first thread in the Balsa subforum I wanted to share my progress with a kit designed and manufactured by one of our own! J & H Aerospace (owned by Joshua and Hope Finn, aka @FAI-F1D here on the forums) have recently released a REALLY cool model called the Firefeather. I guess I get to take some credit too, but just a little, because I had submitted the name Firefeather in a naming contest they had some time ago. At SEFF a few weeks ago Joshua and Hope presented me with a kit saying "you give us a name, we give you a kit!" WAY too generous of them!

We got to see Joshua put the Firefeather through her paces at SEFF and it is really a neat (crazy?) hybrid of ideas. It is a DLG, it has an electric motor and can move like a hotliner, and if that wasn't enough it is also a ROCKET!

I got some video of J & H Aerospace's noon demo on Friday


I have my "big" project underway but after watching some of the build videos for this one I figured I can knock it out pretty quick. I want to have it completed before Flite Fest 2019 so Joshua can check it out and critique my DLG technique :LOL:
 

wilmracer

I build things that fly (sometimes)
Mentor
#2
So the other evening I got started with the wings. The whole build process is well documented on the J & H Aerospace YouTube channel and you can just follow along. So far everything has been very straight forward and everything has gone together perfectly. I've got one more small part to add to the wings and then I will be ready to cover them.
 

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PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#3
Yer a building machine brother..

With that collaboration it shpuld be an amazing bird.

Add you, Ben, and Jonathan into that design team and it could be a dream team to rival Flite Test
 

wilmracer

I build things that fly (sometimes)
Mentor
#6
Awesome!

It looks like you'll be ready for the NVRC Glider Day this Saturday! :p

I wish! Most of the electronics won't be here before then... otherwise I'd be pushing hard to get it done in time. I do wonder about the wisdom of using a rocket motor on a field that might be venting methane :p

I'll be there for a while with my radian. It is the only glider I've got running right now
 

wilmracer

I build things that fly (sometimes)
Mentor
#7
Got the wing wrapped up and covered tonight. All you balsa guys... please dont look TOO closely at my covering job. I'm happy with it. I love the blue that was included with the kit. I need to do some brainstorming on fuselage colors but I have some time before I need to worry about that.
 

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rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#8
Covering is looking just fine! Nice color too! And yeah, "Rockets over Methane Fields" has a nice ring to it, but I think it would get the county folks excited - and not in the good way :p

For the fuselage, consider an opaque white for a nice contrast.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#9
Carl is building a balsa plane? Welcome to the dark side! :) Any idea what covering brand that is? It looks a bit like the So-Lite transparent blue.
 

wilmracer

I build things that fly (sometimes)
Mentor
#12
So this may be the shortest build thread ever :LOL:. Construction is VERY straightforward and everything fits together great. Tail boom and feathers went together in an hour or so. Hardest part for me was getting the elevator tension spring installed. I've never had a model that used this type of setup. I'm excited to see how it works out!

With the fuse my fat fingers did break off a few THIN parts that were very delicate before I was able to get them installed, but I was able to glue everything back together and no one will notice. Gave the fuse a light sanding to clean up the seams and then laid the glass on the fuselage. I'm using the glass that is included with the kit so I'm not 100% certain but I'm going to say it is .5oz, or maybe .75oz glass. VERY light and went on nice and easy. I'm using my preferred method of Z-Poxy resin so it will need to set up overnight. I need to decide whether I'll paint the fuse or use covering film. I'm leaning toward the film but we'll see. I debated covering the tail feathers before installing but I opted to keep the weight off the tail for now.

As I said everything is really well engineered and assembly is crazy simple by just following along with the build videos. I'm intimidated a bit by the rocket install as I have 0 experience with rockets except for a few launches when I was a kid... a LONG time ago). I'm watching Craig's List for some model rocket supplies (launch pad and igniter). I'll probably wait until someone with rocket experience can help with the first rocket launch. I'll still have fun with the DLG and electric motor :)
 

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wilmracer

I build things that fly (sometimes)
Mentor
#16
Do you think the Z-Poxy with denatured alcohol? I find it goes on better that way.
In this case I didn't but I have done that before. I've found that helps a lot with wetting out thicker glass, but with glass this light it wets out immediately and I scrape off the rest with scrap balsa and a playing card.
 

wilmracer

I build things that fly (sometimes)
Mentor
#20
Motor showed up yesterday and I got it installed to the firewall. Tested it with a 10 amp Eflite ESC I had sitting around and it runs smooth. I did, however, opt to swing by the local hobby shop this morning and pick up a Castle Talon 15 esc for this model. It is smaller and lighter than the eflite, will run 2 - 4s, has more amps for the servos, and has more options for programming. I'll set the brake on the ESC and run a folding prop.

Servos and 2s packs should show up on Friday. At that point I should be ready to toss a small prop on and do some test flying.

Maybe I've missed it but I'm not 100% sure where the CG should be. @FAI-F1D ... where do you have your CG set? And if you don't mind my asking what throws and setup are you using? I started a basic glider setup on my Horus and currently have the throttle on the "usual" location (left stick) but I'm pretty sure you run a DLG program and have some flap mixing on that stick and use a knob for throttle. If you've got time would you mind recommending an initial configuration/setup? I have MINIMAL DLG experience.