Sorry for not posting the maiden flight report earlier, school has made it difficult to keep up with the forums.
Anyways, the Lightning flew fairly well. It was stable and slow with the fowler flaps down and I haven't even built the outboard flaps yet. However, the wing flex was quite noticable and there was occasional flutter in the horiz stab, so I will be getting carbon fiber spars for both the wings and horizontal stab. Also, when I landed, there was a small trail of smoke coming out of the right boom around the LE of the wing where it connects to the boom. It continued to lightly smoke for about 3-5 mins. Kinda funny because I did a close fly-by and my friend said "it smells like something's burning". Well, there were no electronics there (no motor, no esc, no servos etc) where the smoke was coming from. There was only the wires that connect the motor and ESC. However, when I examined the wires, they weren't melted and seemed to be perfectly fine. I have not opened up the boom or inboard wing panel completely yet so I have not been able to examine the full length of the wires, but I got a good look at the wires where the smoke came from.
My guess is that my motor/ESC wires were too long (about 20-25 inches), and with overpropped motors on 3s it caused some sort of problem/desync along those wires and it smoked. The only reason I made the motor wires so long was that I read it is better to make the motor wires longer than to make the battery lead longer, and my battery leads were already quite long at 9" (many ESC's recommend 6") without a ferrite ring. Talked to a guy (Steve) who had a large (about same size as Lightning) B-17 there, and he said his battery leads were very long - about the length of one wing - and he never had a problem with it, even without using a ferrite ring.
My current solution/idea is to get larger motors with lower kv (planning Emax XA2212-820kv), possibly a bit smaller props (was using 14x4.7, may try 13x4.7), move the ESC's so they sit in the booms behind the motors and the wires are around 6", lengthen the battery/ESC wires to 25-30", and get a 2s 2200mah battery to run it all on. What do you guys think?
With these problems, there is no way I will get the P-38 completely done for NEF. Even if I had not had these problems it would have been a very tight schedule and may not have even been doable. However, now the plan is to simply get it flying (without any major issues) for the event and finish it off afterwards.
I will upload the video of the maiden to Youtube soon, this weekend at the latest.
A little update. Flew the Lightning twice at NEF. Flew beautifully with the new motors and other modifications, limited wing flex, no fluttering, and no overheating this time.
I had been working almost nonstop on the P-38 for a long while before NEF, so I have taken about a week off from building it. It surprised me, as I usually build all the time anyways, but once you spend so much time on a project you really have to take your eyes off it for a while.....
Here is the video of the maiden flight (not at the actual NEF event, but at the same venue). I had flexing/fluttering/overheating issues during this flight (that have since been fixed). Thanks to Marc Stermer for recording and uploading the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-gZKWkD2SY
I guess I was too excited during the NEF event, as I completely forgot to have someone record my two flights there on my phone. Luckily Josh Bixler got it on camera, and I was told that there may be an episode in the future....
The Lightning is fairly close to completion, but there is still quite a bit to do. I need to finish covering and sanding the fuselage/booms, install fowler flaps on outboard wing panels, make spinners, make the canopy/cockpit, make dummy guns, buy/install landing gear covers, and of course paint in Pudgy V scheme.
I will get back to work on it soon, hopefully I will be able to find enough time during this month to finish it up before the build-off deadline. It may not fly again before then, as I do not have access to a suitable venue for it (and I don't want to risk flying it outside), but it will definitely make an appearance (as well as a few flights) at next year's NEF event.
Hey guys, if you haven't already, check out the new FT video! So honored that Josh and the rest of the FT team has made an episode of this as well as the NEF event in general and all the other amazing people who were there.