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The 'Cuda (by Laine's Planes) Build Thread

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#41
The plan is to re-maiden it this Sunday, but my dad isn't the best with the camera so don't count on video. I also picked up a balancing stand and will double-check everything before I head out to the field.

Balsa is now all glued in place, and I just need to sand and cover it. Should take about 15 minutes total, although I'm also going to re-cover the top of the port wing, as I noticed it had a rip from the impact. No damage at all to the wing, but the shock of hitting the ground must have stressed or flexed it just enough to cause a tear.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#42
The re-maiden today went well. For the first battery...

We got an early start and there was still plenty of dew on the morning grass. I warmed up the thumbs with the Pietenpol, and then prepped the 'Cuda for another attempt at flight. Armed with a 3S 2200 I aimed it into the wind and gave it a strong toss. It was better than the first throw last weekend, but still wasn't successful, as the plane came to rest quickly on the wet grass. No harm, just not enough UP elevons to get it aimed in the right direction quickly enough.

I took stock in what Laine said about very small throws, and then realized something quite important. Those small throws are most important once the plane is actually flying! So I changed my approach and switched to medium rates, and also dialed in quite a bit of UP trim. Again aiming into the wind, the plane was thrown and it took off quite nicely! It had a bad tendency to climb with throttle due to the extra trim, but dropping trim back down to 0 had it flying nicely. I did need a little aileron trim to level it out, but quite soon it was flying along very well. Winds were choppy, and that was evident by the way the plane was bobbling at times. The plane was also ultra responsive, then I remembered to drop the rates back to LOW and that was much better as well. The rates could have even been lower than I had them set for good high-speed cruising, and it also needed a little more expo to make me happy. The only real issue I had was orientation, as only the small vertical stab is there for a visual clue.

So I blasted around for 5 minutes before bringing it in for a nice smooth (and wet from the grass) landing. The 3S was nice, but the 'cuda was screaming for 4S, so that's what I gave it.

I set the pack farther back due to the extra weight of the pack and sent it into the sky very easily. I did a high-speed pass and was trimming it a bit when I lost orientation and the plane did it's impression of a lawn-dart. Let's just say that the results weren't pretty... :( Both wings were separated from the fuselage, and all four CF spars were broken. The fuselage actually had less damage than I expected, although the nose is pretty well flattened, but the wings took the bulk of the damage and would require very extensive surgery. Since the plane hit the grass runway I had a good shot of the explosion of balsa which I haven't seen in a while! Bits of wings were all around the impact zone.

Oh well, the electronics will be harvested and will find new homes. This was still a fun project and maybe I'll pick up another 'cuda some day and try it again.
 
#43
Oh no! I hate to hear that! You did such a nice job with the build and I loved the covering. Don't give up! You know, we CAN cut parts, and balsa Planes repair very easily.

Laine.
 
#44
Speaking of repairs, if you recall, I slid mine into a speaker post at flite fest. A few parts, some glue and covering patch later, and it was back in the air.

Laine
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#45
Oh no! I hate to hear that! You did such a nice job with the build and I loved the covering. Don't give up! You know, we CAN cut parts, and balsa Planes repair very easily.

Laine.
I'll have to see if the fuselage can be saved. The wings would be too much work to salvage.
 
#46
FYI, I also have a few "not good enough to sell"parts laying around. Most usable, some not. Some burned, some didn't cut through well enough. Just saying.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#47
Sounds like the balsa kits I got from Hobby King! :)

The autopsy will be put off for a few days, I'm off to Indy for a few days for work tomorrow.
 

willsonman

Builder Extraordinare
Mentor
#48
Too bad! This is one of those airplanes I'm sure I could put together over a weekend and would be a hoot to fly. Not sure how the neighbors of the flying field would like the noise though. They complain about 50cc gassers as it is.
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#49
This plane is calling to me. After seeing Laine fly it at FTFF and talking with him on the podcast, I'm thinking one should join my fleet. Maybe I can cut my teeth on the Spitfire you gave me, Jeff!
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#50
Alright, I'll rebuild it, and would love to see either of you take the leap as well.

Patrick, depending on your power source I'd certainly recommend getting used to the speed with the expendable Spit. If you can fly it, you can fly the 'Cuda. Mine was easier to handle than the tiny Fun Fighters.
 
#51
There are multiple Cuda kits in both sizes currently sitting on the shelf ready to ship. Once again, just sayin! The build is a breeze, the power system can be pretty cheap and once you fly one, you will always be seeking that adrenaline rush again. Trust me.... I don't think I could be without one or three in my fleet any longer.

Laine.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#55
I had mine up ripping around on Sunday - it's become my "throw it in the car with the other stuff every time" plane. With low rates I love how it carves up the sky and goes right where I point it.

I did try high rates once. I didn't quite smash it into the ground about 10 times in 5 seconds, and impressed the heck out of some kids who were visiting the field and thought I did it on purpose. I went back to low rates and changed shorts after it was back on the ground. :black_eyed:
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#56
Still need to get that Cuda back in the air Joker!
My balsa Cuda is long gone as it wasn’t repairable after the crash. Well, it could have been repaired but would have been far more work than building it new. I have the foam Cuda still in the box and will eventually build it. Eventually.