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My Mini Sportster Build Mods

kacknor

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#1
My Mini-Sportster Build Mods

I’m relatively new to RC airplanes compared to many here, Flying just over a year and building about as long. About a dozen or so FT designs so far both scratch and speed build kits, plus a few modified planes based on FT design and one or two started with a piece of DTFB and ending up with delta wing using no plans at all. Maintaining the 4 Horizon planes I have is fun too, in spite of my apparent learning curve disability where it comes to flying and landing properly.

All I can say is I really like the FT concepts. Looking around the internet results in plenty of very nice designs, but most have long or complicated build time in comparison. Maybe someday when I don’t crash so much.

I’ve learned a few things about the FT planes in the process. Specifically, where they break when I’m at the controls. It’s no fun fixing the damaged pod for the fourth time, or adding support after the fact. I also bang up landing gear. The rubber band sets survive mostly OK, but anything glued I’m still having issue with. I also like planes that can not only take off from the ground, but are steerable also.

So for this FT Mighty Mini Sportster build I added in modifications as I put it together. Yeah, I know I’m not doing anything special or new, but I thought I’d put it up here in one place for others to see and maybe get some use out of. Most of these can be used on other FT planes besides the Mini Sportster.

1. Paint Before Building

It is so much easier. Flat surfaces, easy masking or taping. Don’t use Minwax or Camp Dry yet. Hot glue doesn’t stick. Be aware poster board rounded decks distort the pattern if you use one.

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2. Steerable Tail Wheel

No, not the best solution or implementation of a not the best solution, but on a Mini it isn’t so bad. The rudder has a high strength to weight and on other Mini builds has held up well. Place, trace & cut. Insert wire and glue then tape. I did bend it a few times didn’t I? ;0


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3. Support the Elevator


One of my first builds was an FT Simple Storch, and it was great, but the elevator warped on me because the connection between the side was so thin relative to the surfaces. So now I add a little bit of support.

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4. Magnets

in the plans, the top deck is attached with a paper hinge and bamboo pin. I wanted a canopy, but it covers the pin. Easiest way was to add magnets. These happened to be out of a dead motor, but they are available online. I cut the paper, pressed in the magnet to size the hole. Then put a drop of hot glue in the hole and pressed it in with my finger and wiped off excess at same time. Do it fast and rub it off and it doesn’t burn (much) at all. Tape to keep them in place.

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5. Landing Gear

I admit this one may not be for all. If you fly well or don’t wish to add the weight, this isn’t for you. For me however, I hope it beefs it up enough to survive while I learn how to return to earth more gently. The added supports inside the fuse transfer shock to the wing. The card transfers the shock to the supports. Easy enough and likely good enough just like that, but I also added a second card on the exterior. Overkill. Maybe.

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6. Power Pod

One of the more common mods. Most use it or some variation. Adding it after the fact is a pain. This is how I hid the reinforcement to make the exterior fuse look cleaner for this paint. I just didn’t want the motors hanging out this time and they usually cover the cards. No pictures of it, but I also added 4 individual card squares inside the pod. The BBQ skewers are tight, and they survive my inevitable oops moments. I peeled the paper inside the nose dubler and pressed the reinforcement in to make room. Nothing is glued at this point save the card. Install the doublers normally as per the build video.

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Sorry this is a long post... I'll post pictures of the plane itself later... I hope this can help the newer builders.

JD

Link to full plane pictures: http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?23712-Newest-Build-Mighty-Mini-Sportster!
 
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kacknor

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#7
They sure did! Don't you think that the Sportster is basically a simplified version of the GeeBee?
The forward fuselage is too square for me. A few formers and some poster board could sure fix that. Anyway, it sure looks good wearing their colors! I have a bud who has been flying RC since the days of tube radios. He took one look at it as called it a Slowpoke. OTOH he called my Baby Baron an Ugly Stick. I don't think it's ugly at all. ;)

Here is the picture I found for inspiration for the paint.(OK, to copy from). I really did toy with wheel pants too. Too much work to sacrifice to the way I land.

Patterson_Aviation_20090803_MG_1708-cropped (1).jpg
 
#9
Great looking plane. What's happening when you land? Does it seem like the plane just suddenly drop or are you possible coming in to fast?
 

kacknor

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#10
Great plane. I love the idea of painting before assembly. What did you use to paint?
Rattle cans......poster board, razor blades and 3M Super 77. I am a believer now, in the cut a pattern and glue it to the surface you are going to paint. I used traditional tape and mask for the decks to get the pattern to match. A bit of sharpie permanent marker for cockpit and wheels.


JD
 

kacknor

Build another!
#11
Great looking plane. What's happening when you land? Does it seem like the plane just suddenly drop or are you possible coming in to fast?
Most often it's just too fast, or I screw up and fly too close to the ground, or this last was gusty wind plopping the whole place down hard before I could react. I do occasionally get it right, but fingers/muscle memory/flying skills are still the biggest problem. I'm thinking it's mostly wind variables because I do OK indoors. Need just more landings, more often.

JD
 

kacknor

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#12
I maidened it this evening. no video, indoors. 3 cell 460 lipo, First takeoff smooth, but elevator VERY Twitchy. One circle and landing. Set rates a bit lower, tried to take off again, ground loop. Guy next to me suggest I check the wheels and both were wobbling and really affecting roll out. Heat shrink can fix that, but not now. I figure more throttle sooner will overcome wobble and Whhooooppppsss! Dayum! Elevator still sensitive, plane does vertical to about 50 feet then noses over toward the deck I recover JUST in time and make the turn, chop throttle back to a reasonably level, calm down and fly. Uneventful landing. Guy next to me just looks over and comments: "That was a most interesting takeoff." I guess it's a matter of one's perspective.

Short of it. It still looks good! ;)

JD
 

kacknor

Build another!
#13
Great looking plane. What's happening when you land? Does it seem like the plane just suddenly drop or are you possible coming in to fast?
Flew tonight, didn't really stress the new one. See above though, I did come close. My older Mini Sportster tested the gear mod REEL GUD. Was flying along in a pattern and foolishly tried to do a roll. Did, but lost on the recovery and contacted the deck very hard A sure thing leave your gear dangling from the glue and paper hard. Bend left strut near sideways hard. No body damage at all. And I just grabbed the wheel and twisted it back into place with near zero worry about pliers to hold wire near fuse, Success!
 
#14
Whoa! Be sure to dial in some expo. And double-check those throws!
I maidened it this evening. no video, indoors. 3 cell 460 lipo, First takeoff smooth, but elevator VERY Twitchy. One circle and landing. Set rates a bit lower, tried to take off again, ground loop. Guy next to me suggest I check the wheels and both were wobbling and really affecting roll out. Heat shrink can fix that, but not now. I figure more throttle sooner will overcome wobble and Whhooooppppsss! Dayum! Elevator still sensitive, plane does vertical to about 50 feet then noses over toward the deck I recover JUST in time and make the turn, chop throttle back to a reasonably level, calm down and fly. Uneventful landing. Guy next to me just looks over and comments: "That was a most interesting takeoff." I guess it's a matter of one's perspective.

Short of it. It still looks good! ;)

JD
 

kacknor

Build another!
#15
Whoa! Be sure to dial in some expo. And double-check those throws!
Oh yeah. Did that. More expo, less rate. Check. Once it was in the air it was fine.

So this morning I fixed the main gear wobble with heat shrink. Much smoother. I also changed the entire tail wheel design, because the rudder was already starting to de-laminate. Now using this: http://flitetest.com/articles/landing-gear-with-steerable-tail-wheel by hursto75.

I corrected and credited it in the article FT published too.

Two weeks to try again, or good weather, whichever occurs first.

JD