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Bad_B
01-14-2008, 11:32 PM
Hi All:

Background:
I just got back into Rc flying again after a hiatus of 20 something years. The advances that electrics have made pushed me into thinking about flying again, but the looks of the S.E.5a really closed the deal. I wanted to fly that plane and fly it well. I bought the Real Flight simulator package with the controller and worked on the basics. After a few weeks I purchased the Hobbico Electristar and worked on all the basics of flight, but really focused on approaches and landings. Over the next couple of weeks I went from bouncy landings on dirt to bouncy landings on the bike path in the field. After a few more weeks was able to consistently stick my landing where I wanted to. During this time I bought the SE5a and put it together, set the throws, balanced it, and spent a lot of time rethinking my purchase of the Specktrum DX7 (more on that later). I also read the reviews on the flying characteristics and searched on this site for any thread on the S.E.5a. I really got myself worried about the dreaded ground loop that can occur on landing. I also knew the flight simulator tended to oversimplify the landing characteristics and it just couldn’t simulate the last second real life variables that occur.

Maiden Flight:
Today was the day! 11:00Am, 54 degrees, no wind, slightly overcast with high clouds. Everything checked out on the preflight, so I faced her up into the wind and gave her full throttle. Wow, she jumped off the runway (asphalt bike path) in what seemed like 5 feet. After I got her up to altitude I checked the trim and did a few slow turns. Nothing could have been sweeter; man, I had a huge smile on my face! I did a few lazy S turns then cut the throttle to check the glide characteristics and they were sweet, nice and gentle (I was expecting something akin to a brick after I killed the motor). I knew right away that this was a plane I could land at a reasonable speed. Loops barrel rolls everything that I thought she’d be and more!! The pulled off the best landing in my life (for me anyways), just a gentle kiss with the wheels, throttle back and full up elevator when the tail started to really drop. I’m hooked!!! After I landed I noticed that I almost lost the right wheel (it’s a screw through the wheel, then bolt, landing strut, then another bolt) due to not putting lock tight on the second bolt. Rather than do something rash like try to tighten it and fly again I decided to retire to the hanger and get some lock tight on the second bolt. The flight was 7 minutes long using the recommended setup with a 1345 mAh instead of the 1250mAh: Rimfire C28-30-950, 1345mAh 3s 11.1V LiPo, Electrifly SS-25 ESC, 10x4.5 prop.

Follow up Flights
I was able to get in three more flights later in the day, but the wind picked up to 7-10mph with stronger gusts so I called it a day. I was able to put two out of three landings on the asphalt, but the cross wind picked up and the last landing was in the soft dirt off to the side of the bike path. I was really surprised to see the landing gear handle the slightly uneven dirt without catching. The plane was a real joy to fly, it just looks great in the air. I have to say that the reviews that you read on the Electrifly web site are accurate, it is easy to fly if you have experience with ailerons. The plane will slow to a very reasonable pace especially when landing into a very light wind. The high throws recommended in the instructions worked great and I used them without any expo built in. I did not, however like the low throws, they seemed sluggish, but with my limited experience I guess that what they are supposed to do??

Specktrum DX7 problems:
I my first flight I made a trim adjustment to the elevator and I was immediately locked out of the plane (no response to inputs) for 3-4 seconds. Later in the day on my second flight I was again locked out for several seconds when the plane was on approach for landing (I thought I might have run the battery down too far and the BEC cut out?), but I walked towards the plane and regained control and landed fine. I do have the 1.2 rev of the AR6000 Rx in the plane. I checked the support page for Specktrum and that rev. should have had the software update that fixes the “lock out” problem that earlier versions had. One odd thing did happen when I returned to my car. The key fob send a single to the car when I approach and the car beeps twice and unlocks the doors for me. This did not happen today after my second flying session. The car is new and the batteries in the fob are new too. I’ve never had the car not recognize me and unlock the doors. Is this just an odd coincidence? Any thoughts would be appreciated because I don’t want to replicate the problem in the air!

This is a great site with a lot of good information and friendly folks. Keep up the good work!

Oh' almost forgot the attached pics show a bit of prop rash on the cowling (fixed now) and the SE5a on the runway.

Cheers,

Brian

Biplane Murphy
01-14-2008, 11:45 PM
Welcome to Wattflyer...Bad_B

Hey....Glad to hear you had a good time with the plane....I have had one for over a year with endless flights on it....

It is a sweet flyer.

I don't like the low rates either....I set my rates to as far as they can possibly travel...hahahha.....it will almost 3-D....but not quite...

Bad_B
01-15-2008, 12:07 AM
Hi Murphy,

Thanks for the welcome.

The biplane it quite a difference from the high wing trainer I was flying. Sure I'm giving up 12 mins of flight time with the SE5a, but boy, what a fun 7-8 mins of flying it is :)

Biplane Murphy
01-15-2008, 12:11 AM
Hi Brian....I cut through the floor/roof of the battery compartment, and managed to squeeze a 3 cell 2100mah battery in there...a little foam and some velcro for securing it....That would greatly increase flight times....

Mine has an E-flite 480 in it.....took a bit of mount bashing, and it sucks down the amps...but your motor would run a long time on a 2100mah battery.:)

firemanbill
01-15-2008, 12:24 AM
Very nice Brian! Congrats on the maiden and thanks for the very good, detailed write up!

That will sure be a benefit to anyone else considering this plane.

Concerning the DX7... I have one and use the older AR6000 in my smaller planes and the AR7000 in my big Waco. I have not had any lockout issues with either of them. I don't think I'll be buying any of the 6100's new or old.

Twmaster
01-15-2008, 02:50 AM
That AR6100 is very sensitive to voltage. I lost a plane due to this. At least that is the best explanation I can find. Basically I was flying a plane with a 4 servo setup. I suspect the 4 servos doing their thing simultaneously caused a voltage drop. This caused the RX to reboot. There is a few second lag of control when they reboot.

I'm installing BECs on everything with more than three micro servos from now on unless the ESC has a good strong >2A BEC built in.

Bad_B
01-15-2008, 03:47 AM
Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback. After reading several posts about the AR6001 I believe that's the root of the problem. I'll be going to the hobby shop in the morning to make some changes.

B

Twmaster
01-15-2008, 03:56 AM
Since the GP SE5a is kinda painful to remove the wings for access to the radio gear I went and put an AR6000 inside so I can avoid the whole issue. I have never had an AR6000 lock out on me.

WWI Ace
01-16-2008, 12:05 AM
So far my AR6000's have been bulletproof! I have them in 3 planes and 1 heli. Steve

guest001
01-16-2008, 01:08 AM
Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback. After reading several posts about the AR6001 I believe that's the root of the problem. I'll be going to the hobby shop in the morning to make some changes.

B
If you really want to have fun, buy the GP DR-1: flying and landing that thing will scare your donkey! I have one, and use a 6100: I'm holding my breath.

Biplane Murphy
01-16-2008, 01:15 AM
HAHAHHA.....If anyone buys the DR1...reinforce the motor mount!!!

I test flew one for a friend....the motor mount failed within 60 seconds.....and the motor/prop seperated from the plane chopping the cowl into little teeny tiny pieces....then I had the pleasure of deadstick landing a tailheavy triplane.::o

I managed to land it with very little damage...bent the landing gear a little...
Definately scared my donkey!!....HAHHAHAHHAHA

I have one I am very slowly putting together....I fiberglassed the motor mount area...:)


OK....off topic post over.

guest001
01-16-2008, 01:16 AM
And, HIDE YOUR WOMEN, TOO!

Bad_B
01-16-2008, 01:57 AM
Thanks for all the input guys.

I didn't change anything with the SE5a, but I did maiden my GP Fokker DVII today with the exact same setup. ESC, Batt, motor and different Rx, but same model. Thank God there were no problems with that rig. The only difference between flying the two planes I the fact that I kept my key fob in my backpack. I really doubt that's the issue with the SE5a.

I did find on old thread (I can't find it now) on another site that goes back to 2006 and there was some discussion about the S-25 ESC that GP recommends. That was the last thing I needed, another variable to fiddle with.

I'lm going to put a Ar6000 in the SE5a sometime this week and report back.

Dave, funny you mention the Fokker Dr-1, you see it at the bottom of the page...and that's how it's gonna stay until I get everything ironed out with the SE5a.:<:

Biplane Murphy
01-16-2008, 02:03 AM
Definately reinforce the motor mount on that DR1 when you get to it.:)

From what I have heard it haas not been an uncommon problem.....
I even saw a video that looked exactly like what happened when I was testing my buddies for him.::o

scalercflyer
01-16-2008, 02:14 AM
Guys, I'm still not convinced enough to shell out money to buy one of the Spectrums. I use BERG Rxs and my 7C Futaba computer radio. The Castle Creations BERGS lock on to the signature emitted by your transmitter and ignore everything else (including someone on the same channel as you!). :D:D These are rock solid Rxs and I've not had any problems to date. The price is right too and made in the USA to boot! :D:) Approximately $30 bucks for the RX and $6 for the crystal. For now I'll stick to my BERGS and my Futabas. :D BTW, I started flying RC with Futaba radios back in the late 70s and I'm still using them. :) Steve keeps telling me to switch.... sorta like a Chevy man buying a Ford :eek:...... LOL Martin

guest001
01-16-2008, 02:38 AM
Thanks for all the input guys.

I didn't change anything with the SE5a, but I did maiden my GP Fokker DVII today with the exact same setup. ESC, Batt, motor and different Rx, but same model. Thank God there were no problems with that rig. The only difference between flying the two planes I the fact that I kept my key fob in my backpack. I really doubt that's the issue with the SE5a.

I did find on old thread (I can't find it now) on another site that goes back to 2006 and there was some discussion about the S-25 ESC that GP recommends. That was the last thing I needed, another variable to fiddle with.

I'lm going to put a Ar6000 in the SE5a sometime this week and report back.

Dave, funny you mention the Fokker Dr-1, you see it at the bottom of the page...and that's how it's gonna stay until I get everything ironed out with the SE5a.:<:

Flies much better in the box! All landings must be with plenty of power until touchdown: NEVER try a three point "stall" landing. Did I mention it's a bugger to land? Use full aileron throws all around and 50% expo-45% on the elevator-pitch is a bugger, too. See the GP site for an airworthiness directive dealing with the motor mount-and, if using the Rimfire, see the directive on that, too! Don't take your donkey for the maiden on this one. Once you fly it, you will never be bored!

guest001
01-16-2008, 02:41 AM
Guys, I'm still not convinced enough to shell out money to buy one of the Spectrums. I use BERG Rxs and my 7C Futaba computer radio. The Castle Creations BERGS lock on to the signature emitted by your transmitter and ignore everything else (including someone on the same channel as you!). :D:D These are rock solid Rxs and I've not had any problems to date. The price is right too and made in the USA to boot! :D:) Approximately $30 bucks for the RX and $6 for the crystal. For now I'll stick to my BERGS and my Futabas. :D BTW, I started flying RC with Futaba radios back in the late 70s and I'm still using them. :) Steve keeps telling me to switch.... sorta like a Chevy man buying a Ford :eek:...... LOL Martin

I have a foot in both camps: DX-7, 6100's, 6300, 7000; two Optic 6's with gobs of Berg Rx's-the only other RX I trust is a Sambra Labs SL-8, a real rolls of an RX from Canada. Your advice is sound but for some models like the DR-1 I just don't like having an antenna hanging out or down.

Bad_B
01-16-2008, 04:48 AM
Thanks for the heads up. I getting my mantra ready for the DR 1; “It will make me a better pilot, it will make me a better pilot, it will……..” lol.

Twmaster
01-17-2008, 07:55 PM
Thanks for the heads up. I getting my mantra ready for the DR 1; “It will make me a better pilot, it will make me a better pilot, it will……..” lol.

If it doesn't kill you first! ;)

See the GP site for an airworthiness directive dealing with the motor mount-and, if using the Rimfire, see the directive on that, too!

Dave, would you have a link to the above?

Twmaster
01-17-2008, 08:03 PM
Found that link. Seems a small amount of triangle stock and some glue would work wonders.

Biplane Murphy
01-17-2008, 08:06 PM
Found that link. Seems a small amount of triangle stock and some glue would work wonders.

Yep...I did that, and also fiberglassed the corners on the outside....I have complete faith in it now...;-)

Just need to finish it up and get her in the air...:rolleyes:

sjbaines
01-17-2008, 08:16 PM
Hi all,
As with Brian, I've also been away from RC planes for about 20 years, and have got myself a GP SE5a... Spooky.

I've been practicing flying the Sopwith Camel in ClearView, on the assumption that it handles similarly. Is this a reasonable assumption, and any suggestions for tweaks to the model parameters to make it fly more like the SE5a will?

Also, a quick question on the kit - the connecting piece between the two halves of the elevator looks a bit thin to me. I was considering stiffening it up a bit, but wonder whether it's really necessary, especially since it'll add weight right at the back... Maybe a bit of carbon fibre?

Looking forward to finishing it off and flying it - and also dreading it in case I mash it straight into the ground...

Cheers - Steve

Twmaster
01-17-2008, 08:21 PM
Hi Steve!

Welcome to WattFlyer and welcome back to RC planes!

The joint between the elevator halves should be fine. Not a ton of force being exerted there. While I have not flown my SE5a yet the word is she's a *****cat!

Biplane Murphy
01-17-2008, 08:30 PM
for a WW1 bipe, it's a gentle flyer. You will need a little power on when you come in to land....then cut the throttle at touchdown...

I have flown mine too many times to even estimate.:)

scalercflyer
01-18-2008, 12:42 AM
Welcome Steve, Welcome! :) Many of us here spent many years on the sidelines of our wonderful hobby. You will find scratch builders, ARF builders, kit builders and self proclaimed amateur aircraft Engineers here too. :D Boy, 20 years is a long time to be away. I personally believe you are an RC pilot/hobbyist for life. Some would even argue that it's in your blood. :cool: I am thrilled you found us but more importantly have come back to the fold. :) I wish you luck, fair winds and beautiful weather for flying in 2008. Feel free to participate regularly with us WWI nuts here. We welcome your input! Martin

sjbaines
01-18-2008, 01:08 AM
Hi Guys,
Thanks muchly for the very warm welcome!

I've just finished attaching the tail-feathers - another job done.
Seems to be going together nicely so far...

The last plane I built (all those years ago) was a glider from a plan. These wooden ARF jobs are an awful lot faster to put together, and if this one is anything to go by, seem to be well designed as well.

Cheers - Steve

Bad_B
01-18-2008, 03:18 AM
Hi Steve,

Yes, that was my biggest fear was smashing such a pretty plane. I spent a little extra time painting the interior of the cockpit flat black and putting on a couple coats of flat lacquer overcoat to kill the shine of the covering.
I had the same thoughts about the elevator being a bit thin in that area too, but I let it alone. My guess is if you stay with the recommended throw settings things should be fine. If you want to be on the safe side reinforce it, some have used coffee sticks, light strips of extra balsa etc. If I do have a problem with the elevator I’ll be posting in the crashed threads. Lol

Sorry I can’t help you with the flight characteristics of the plane you’re flying in the sim. I used Real flight’s G4 and flew the Fokker DVII and Lanier’s SE5a in expansion pack 2. Both planes in that sim seemed very close to the real life version of the GP Se5a.

During the built/assembly I would recommend the following: 1. Tail skid. Strip off the covering off all areas of contact on the fuse and tail skid. Don’t use Ca, use epoxy. I also added small lengths of balsa strips **** into triangle sections to each side to give it better strength. Also cut a section of bamboo skewer 5 ½” long (see photo) and CA it to the outside edge of the tail skid, it will stick out 1 ¾” beyond the tail skid and give you better ground clearance. I used a black felt tip magic market to paint it black before I CA’d it. The reason I used CA, it I wanted the bamboo/tail skid connection to be the weakest link and hopefully break off first rather than stress the tail skid/fuse joints as the fuse is balsa and the skid is ply. I also thought the bamboo would wear down over time taking off and landing on asphalt and I could replace it easier. 2. Install a small nylon hinge on the front of the fuse/battery hatch connection. On pg. 15 of the instructions you’ll see the batt hatch simply slides into the front of the fuse and the back is held in place by magnets. I had that hatch come off on touchdown (not a hard one either) so I started using masking tape as a temp hinge until I found one the right size. 3. On pgs 12 and 14 pay close attention to the aileron arm connections (make sure your Rx and Tx are on and the arms are in neutral) by using masking tape to tape the ailerons in their natural neutral position. Same applies to the top/bottom aileron connection (I had to redo that one J). 3. Pre thread all the struts and strut mounts BEFORE you try to glue anything..that was the only pain in the a$$ thing about the whole assembly.

Take your time setting up the throws, balance etc. and the plane will fly great. The recommended power setup really makes the plane jump off the ground and it climbs to altitude quickly. The only thing that was different for me was landing a tail dragger. Yes, you need a little forward momentum, but this plane really slows well at ¼ throttle, let the wheels touch, throttle back slowly and when the tail really starts to drop give her full up elevator while you kill the motor (works well for me). I have done the ground loop thing on asphalt while landing at the very end and the plane suffered no more than a slight scuff to the top of the rudder.

Don’t hesitate to shoot me a pm if you have any questions.

Brian