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gzsfrk
02-07-2008, 08:31 AM
UPDATE: I had my first flight! Flight Review is below the Build Review in this post.

http://site.nitroplanes.com/New4ChannelAirplane/607katalina_1

Plane Model: Catalina RTF
Manufacturer: Guan Li
Supplier: RaidenTech.com
Price: $99 (free shipping with coupon code "CJFREESHIPPING")

Specifications:

Wingspan: 1380mm (54.3")
Length: 880mm (34.6")
Flying Weight: 780g (27.5 oz)
Drive System: Twin 370 carbon brush motor with gearbox
Speed Controller: 25A speed controller
Servo: 4x10g
Battery: 8.4 V 1000mah Ni-MH
Control system: 4 CH Multifunctional Radio Transmitter and Micro Receiver
Radio Control Range: > 1000 feet (300m)BUILD REVIEW

This is a review of the build-only portion of my experience with the Guan Li Catalina RTF boat plane (http://www.raidentech.com/new204chkara.html) that I purchased from RaidenTech (http://www.raidentech.com/) last week for $99 shipped (used a coupon for free shipping on any order over $50). It arrived this afternoon, and after around 4 hours of work, I managed to get it (mostly) assembled and tape reinforced.

After UPS dropped off the package and I brought it inside and opened it, I was first struck by the fact that the box it came in was about the same size as the one in which my Wild Hawk (http://www.raidentech.com/rtfwiha54el3.html) arrived, only twice as deep.

5480954810

Upon opening the box, the reason for the deeper profile became immediately evident--the fuselage was much, much fatter than any of the other planes I'd yet purchased. Also, there were a ton of loose pieces, almost all of which would have to find their place on the plane before I could call it a night.

5481154824

Another thing that was pretty clear after looking at the contents was that, despite being labeled an RTF, this plane was hardly going to be "Ready To Fly" any time soon. With both the need for gluing and letting the slow-drying glue set at several stages of assembly AND the need to fill in the gaps that the documentation didn't cover, this was going to take a while.

Here's a few pictures of some of the notable pieces that came with it; namely, the radio, the wings, the aileron servos, the engines, the props, and the 7-cell 1000mah NiMH battery pack.

5481254814548155481654817548185482054826

With all the pieces in hand, I started the assembly process. To be honest, this plane felt more like a kit than an RTF, or even ARF. It was actually sort of like when you go to Home Depot or Lowes and purchase one of those wooden swingset/play fort "packages", and what you get is actually a load of lumber, some hardware, and printed instructions. Except in this case, the instructions that came with the play fort were often either missing steps or outright wrong.

For example, one step says that I am to insert the aileron servos into the wings and then fasten them with two screws. Ok--except there's neither any way to access the screw holes in the servo when it's in the molded slot in the wing, nor would there be anything to screw into even if I could insert the screws. Obviously, these were intended to be glued in, which is what I ended up doing. And then it doesn't even mention anything about gluing the aileron servo covers over the servos--never even mentions them in the instructions, except to list them among the parts that should have been included in the box.

Those are just a couple of examples, but I could easily bore the reader with quite a few more should I be so inclined. And given the late hour during which I'm writing this review, I am most certainly not of that inclination. :)

Probably the most egregious shortcoming was that there was absolutely nothing in the instructions and, yea, even in the design of the plane which accounted for the motor and servo wires needing to be pulled out of the foam engine compartment, along the bottom of the wing, and then into the fuselage. I actually ended up having to carve out some wiring channels into which I laid the motor and servo wires before covering them with packing tape to hold them in place. This is a ridiculously poor oversight, as there was absolutely no way for the plane to go together without the assembler performing some kind of manual modification to the wing, as the wires would not allow the wing halves to fit snugly onto the wing mount with the wires running into the fuselage.

548375483854839

Another aggravation was the fact that the rudder came simply as a piece of foam (the rudder itself) and 4 tab hinges. There were no slots in either the rudder or the vertical stabilizer into which I was supposed to insert/glue the tab hinges, nor anything in the instructions detailing the process. So I just had to best-guess place and glue them after carving my own tab slots using a razor blade.

After much turmoil and beneath-breath cursing, I managed to get everything together with the exception of the wing joint cover (which I'm holding off on installing since it requires you to glue it in place, at which point the wings won't be removable) and the wing pontoons (since I'm going to try flying it over a grass soccer field first and thus have to belly land it, which I imagine could be pretty rough on the flimsy pontoons).

It's a big rascal--54" wingspan, 34" length--although it's really the bulk of the fuselage which makes this plane look so much bigger than my Wild Hawk, which has roughly the same dimensions. Should I be able to get it airborne and keep it there for any amount of time, I'm confident it will look pretty impressive flying around.

Here's some pics of the finished product:

548315483254833548345483554836

Note the very cheap design on the push rods going into the elevator and rudder control horns. The instructions actually had me put the V and 7 bends in the push rods (for adjustment!) because the manufacturer was apprently too penurious to include a couple more screw-adjust snap connects.

You may also be able to tell in the pictures that the dihedral of the main wing seems to be off. I need to toy around some more with the wire struts to make sure they're not keeping the wings pulled down like that, but I think it's more to do with the poor manner in which the wing halves connect to the wing mount on the fuselage. I'm definitely going to need to make some changes there prior to flight, for stability's sake.

Note that I reinforced a LOT of the fuselage with packing tape (particularly the bottom), along with the usual treatment of the main wings (Leading edge, lengthwise reinforcing strips in the top and bottom surface area).

SUMMARY:

Well, seeing as this is only the review of the build process, I don't want to get too involved in passing judgement. After all the grief of getting the thing assembled, it could well turn out to be a great, fun flying plane. However, speaking strictly on the build process, quality of the parts, and comprehendability of the instructions, I'd have to rank this one as a pass for beginners (among whom I count myself). It's a whole lot of work for what, I suspect, will be a niche plane in my fleet. A nice little niche plane, mind you, that will certainly turn heads on the lake this Summer (provided it remains air worthy until then). But I very much doubt it's going to see nearly as much flight time as my Wild Hawk or J-3 Piper Cub.


THE GOOD:

Unique plane design--big bird that will definitely get some looks when I take it to the soccer field (assuming there is anyone there before I crater the thing into a million pieces).
Really cool engine cowling
Only RTF boat plane I've seen
Good price for a 4-channel RTF ($99 shipped), especially given the very large size for a scale plane
Modular setup; very easy to upgrade Rx and ESC. Fairly easy to upgrade motors, provided you can find some that are the right size with mounting screw holes correctly placed in the front.
Once the wires were in place and connected, all the electrics worked perfect the first time.
Nice, strong, responsive servos that give good, full action on all control surfaces. (Maybe even too much--a heavy thumb could well crash this thing pretty quick with over-control.)
Big props on gear reduced motors put out a LOT of thrust at full throttle. (Hope I have the engines lined up right, or that might actually hurt me on my first flight.)
The radio, despite being 27mhz AM junk, has a nice feel to it and seems to control pretty precise. I do like the molded finger slots on the back--gives it a nice, secure feel while holding it.THE BAD:

27Mhz AM Tx and Rx -- junk pile fodder (or, possibly, replacement hardware for my Yellow Bee :) )
Crowded canopy; poor access to battery compartment; difficult to keep control and power wires out of the way of the rudder and elevator servo arms.
Quality control on the parts was very bad; had to machine down one of the motor mount slots with a Dremel just to get the wood support to slide in. Several places where the foam fuselage halves weren't fully glued together and were loose.
Very fragile stock--maybe even after tape reinforcement. Very thin foam walls in the fuselage. Also, it uses push rods for wing struts--very weak; carbon fiber, balsa, or even some stiff tubing around the rods would have been acceptable. Finally, the horizontal stabilizer wing is very, VERY fragile, even after taping almost the whole surface area. In particular, the outer edges are barely connected, and I expect they'll be snapped off at some point.
The glue that came with it is very messy and weak/rubbery; recommend using another glue, such as two-stage epoxy or something simple like Gorilla Glue.THE UGLY:

No on/off switch on the plane? And to connect the battery, both hands have to be between the two propellers that barely clear the fuselage canopy? Pray for no radio interference. To remedy this, I'll be installing my own on/off switch in the very near future.
No landing gear + thin foam wall could mean EOL (end of line) the first time I try and belly land this thing. Fortunately, the packing tape seems to have increased the durability of the fuselage substantially.
Battery got hot as fire (too hot to keep held in my hand comfortably) when I charged it using the 1000mah wall wart that came with it. I'm definitely not going to leave this one charging when I'm not at home or while I'm asleep.
The wings are not easily removable once the wing joint cover is glued into place. Given that this is a big plane, that's a serious problem for transport. For that reason, I'm holding off on gluing on this piece.
The velcro mechanism for holding the cockpit canopy in place is HORRIBLE. Very hard to get the canopy all the way on, and once it's all the way on, it's near impossible to get the darned thing off again without bruising/denting the foam..
FLIGHT REVIEW
(posted 2/12/08)

Having gotten the plane to a point at which I was comfortable with its durability, I began waiting for a good day to fly it. I didn't want to risk the Cat's maiden (which would also be my first time with aileron flight) to too much wind, so I decided to be patient and not force it. Monday evening the weather was finally perfect--about 45 degrees, clear skies, and no wind. So I packed up the plane and, accompanied by my wife and little girl, headed to the soccer fields.

When we arrived, I got the plane out and went through the pre-flight, trimmed the controls, and got ready for the hand launch. I was at first a bit leary of launching the plane myself, hoping to have my brother around to do the honors for me. But the weather forecast looked bad for the next several days, and I was getting impatient to see how the Cat was going to fly.

Due to its bulk, it was awkward to launch in one hand while holding the radio in the other. But I managed to find a good hold around the fuselage just behind the main wing, throttled up, and gave it a solid running toss. It took off level and strong, and then started to slowly climb as I entered it into a soft turn.

It didn't climb as quickly as I would have liked, but it flew very steady and was very, very stable. The aileron controls were extremely responsive, as was the elevator. But the rudder was a bit on the weak side, and not nearly as responsive as my J-3 Piper Cub. I tried several dips and dives and moderate turns, and it handled them all very well, based on my limited experience. I even attempted a barrel roll and loop, although the Cat couldn't quite pull them off (at least not with me at the controls).

After about 7 minutes of flight at full throttle, the engine started cutting out intermittently, so I figured it would be best not to take any chances, and that I should go ahead and bring it in--mainly because I didn't have much faith in the ability of the plane to glide sans engine power. I lowered to half throttle, brought it around towards where I was standing, and gently touched down (actually slightly bounced the first touch). As an aside, this being my first flight with ailerons, I was pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to land when you can control the plane's roll.

Here's a video with some highlights from the maiden flight (apologies for the poor quality of the video):

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6307976883556757799


SUMMARY:

Overall, I was very pleased with the way the plane flew. It's not going to get any oohs and ahhs due to its aerobatics, but you can still do some reasonably interesting maneuvers (figure 8s, stall turns, etc.). Of course, no one should buy this plane with the intention of doing hardcore aerobatics using the stock motors. But then, anyone buying a Catalina that expects to do 3-D flying with it absent significant upgrades probably deserves to be disappointed. :)


THE GOOD:

Very responsive aileron and elevator controls
Flies extremely stable
Looks great in flight--very attractive profile (got lots of kids watching while I was flying it)
Very easy to landTHE BAD:

The twin 370 engines seem a bit underpowered
Slow to gain altitude
Doesn't seem to want to glide particularly well absent throttle
Stock battery might have a short flight time, although that may have been due to my keeping the throttle near full most of the flightTHE UGLY:

My pitiful attempt at a barrel roll :)And, just because I can, here's a picture of my little 2yo girl who cheered her Daddy on while he was putting together the "BIG PLANE! BIG PLANE!". :)

54841

Murocflyer
02-07-2008, 09:03 AM
Great review!

And from reading this, I wouldn't buy one. But great review none-the-less.

We do have a seaplane forum here on WF. I'd hate to see all this work get buried here in the General Discussion thread.

Maybe the Mods can move it for you?

Frank

FlyingMonkey
02-07-2008, 11:20 AM
Wow, excellent report. Putting me right between wanting one, and not... :D

It looks far from watertight, I would certainly seal those electronics.

gzsfrk
02-07-2008, 03:24 PM
Wow, excellent report. Putting me right between wanting one, and not... :D

It looks far from watertight, I would certainly seal those electronics.

Yeah, that and before I put it in the water, I'm going to have to come up with a better way to seal the canopy. I imagine it would be alright if you were sure that you weren't going to crash it in the water, but that's certainly far from a given at this point. :)

gzsfrk
02-07-2008, 04:32 PM
Great review!

And from reading this, I wouldn't buy one. But great review none-the-less.

We do have a seaplane forum here on WF. I'd hate to see all this work get buried here in the General Discussion thread.

Maybe the Mods can move it for you?

Frank

Yes, I considered putting it there. But I figured the sea plane forum probably doesn't get much traffic, whereas it would likely get more activity and views here in General.

aviatordave
02-07-2008, 06:12 PM
This is one of the better reviews I have seen here. Although the plane does have the 'cool look' to it. To bad they skimped on quality. I'll be looking forward to your flight review. Are you flying this off water, wet grass, snow?

gzsfrk
02-07-2008, 06:30 PM
This is one of the better reviews I have seen here. Although the plane does have the 'cool look' to it. To bad they skimped on quality. I'll be looking forward to your flight review. Are you flying this off water, wet grass, snow?

Soccer field sod is my planned first attempt. I maidened both the Wild Hawk and J-3 Piper there, and the damp turf seemed to absorb the planes pretty good on the occasional less-than-stellar landing. :)

I do hope to make it to water eventually. However, as FM pointed out, it will require some waterproofing before then.

FlyingMonkey
02-08-2008, 01:38 AM
and FM has the solution....


HOT GLUE!!!!

It is already plastic wrapped, seal the ends with hot glue, then put some hot glue on top of that, just to be sure!

FlyingMonkey
02-08-2008, 01:41 AM
hmmm, for sealing the canopy....

You wouldn't want anything permenant, it doesn't have to be water tight, just water resistant, if you hit the water hard enough to go under, you're breaking the foam anyways.

What about some of that tacky glue, like they use to put the ads in magazines these days?

I bet they sell something like it at Staples, or Office Depot.

dk_aero
02-08-2008, 02:03 AM
Excellent review... I have a weak spot for PBY's.. I was thinking about this one, but didn't want another RTF (another junk radio). Too bad the execution on this one seems so bad (54" wingspan and not detachable??? <grrrr> ) Maybe if they sold an ARF version for under $50 I'd be sold... I guess I blew it by not picking up the Hobby Lobby Cat while it was available... <sigh>

FlyingMonkey
02-08-2008, 02:07 AM
This is why he will never be a writer for a magazine, and why I read forums instead.

Great review, honest and informative, I like the idea of the plane, but the bad might outweigh the good in this case.

gzsfrk
02-08-2008, 05:24 AM
Excellent review... I have a weak spot for PBY's.. I was thinking about this one, but didn't want another RTF (another junk radio). Too bad the execution on this one seems so bad (54" wingspan and not detachable??? <grrrr> ) Maybe if they sold an ARF version for under $50 I'd be sold... I guess I blew it by not picking up the Hobby Lobby Cat while it was available... <sigh>

According to the instructions that came with this plane, there is actually an ARF model available from the manufacturer. However, I wasn't able to find any reseller that offers it.

gzsfrk
02-08-2008, 07:21 AM
(54" wingspan and not detachable??? <grrrr> )

I actually took the steps to address this today. I reinforced the flimsy plastic wing joint cover piece (that you're supposed to glue over the joint, covering the wing screws thus making them inaccessible for removing the wing) with a piece of thick, rigid plastic from a tupperware dish. I used 2-stage epoxy to bond it to the wing joint cover, and then drilled screw holes into it through which I could insert and remove the wing screws as needed. As an added bonus, this made the wing joint MUCH stronger.

I also re-situated the antenna wire (which had been simply run out through the canopy and wrapped around the elevator push rod at the back) to run out the back of the wing mount and then taped it to the top of the vertical stabilizer. This obviously looks much nicer. I just hope it doesn't negatively affect reception.

Additionally, after noticing that it seemed to be a bit weak while doing wing load tests, I added some extra packing tape reinforcement to the wing mount portion of the fuselage. I think this is the part of the plane that I'm most afraid is going to end up breaking, as all the wing load pressure and fuselage torque is going to be routed through this tiny little area of the plane which is only reinforced with hollow foam a bit of balsa framing. I doubt I'll be attempting any loop-de-loops or high-G snap turns in this thing any time soon, if ever.

Lastly, the nose of the plane seemed so flimsy that I decided to give it a covering in cloth backed, waterproof duct tape. I did it clean, though, so I don't think it makes the plane look THAT much worse. And it seems to have strengthened it quite a bit. A nose-first collision is still probably going to crush the front a bit, but at least this makes it a bit more resilient and should also protect against scratches and stabs into the foam.

I've got some pics attached below that show my modifications:

54978549795498054981

I should've mentioned in the Build review that one other outstanding thing about this plane is how light it is for its size. In fact, even though I haven't done any tests with a scale yet, I dare say it weighs less with its battery installed than my Wild Hawk does with the video camera and battery on board. Hopefully, the extra tape and plastic I added today won't turn out to make it handle any less effectively. I tested the CG, and it still seemed to be balanced the same as before. (Although I really need to pick up a CG scale--my finger tests are a bit less than precise. :) )

gzsfrk
02-08-2008, 07:40 AM
One more interesting thing about this plane. While I was looking for Catalina ARF models, I found this (http://www.electrifly.com/largeelectrics/gpma1154.html) Great Planes Electrifly model which appears to be almost EXACTLY the same as the Guan Li plane I bought, with the exception of the engine cowling assembly and the cockpit canopy. Oh, and the fact that the Electrifly is fiberglass. :)

http://www.electrifly.com/largeelectrics/gpma1154aa02-lg.jpg

I'd say it's not terribly unlikely that Guan Li built their Catalina using a direct mold of the Electrifly model. Of course, ripping off designs is hardly a new practice--SDM obviously created my beloved Wild Hawk as a very close knock-off of the Easy Star.

Still, I have to admit that the silver finish on the Electrifly makes it a MUCH better looking model.

dk_aero
02-08-2008, 03:17 PM
The GP Cat is really nice, BUT... at $140 for just the plane (Tower Hobbies) is a bit steep for me (combo w/ motors and escs - $300).

I currently have a HZ SuperCub, GWS Beaver, GWS PT17 and GWS big Tigermoth... (Spektrum DX6) so you see where I'm coming from...

gzsfrk - Can't wait to hear how she flies! (the final determining factor to decide if it's worth the work to make a RTF a RTF... <grin> )
I truly hope all goes well!

gzsfrk
02-08-2008, 03:26 PM
hmmm, for sealing the canopy....

You wouldn't want anything permenant, it doesn't have to be water tight, just water resistant, if you hit the water hard enough to go under, you're breaking the foam anyways.

What about some of that tacky glue, like they use to put the ads in magazines these days?

I bet they sell something like it at Staples, or Office Depot.

I might have to look into that. But actually, what I was thinking of for the canopy was just some gravity sealing. That is to say, right now, the canopy has no "step up" where it meets the fuselage. So if water splashed against it, it would just pour through the crack. I'm thinking I might use some foam or balsa to create my own step up and at least prevent against splash leakage. It might be even better if I combined the step-up with the sticky gel you mentioned.

Alternately, I guess I could just glue a 1/2" strip of light, stiff rubber or plastic along the bottom inside edge of where the canopy mounts to the fuse. That might be the easiest fix. And I guess I could add something similiar along the top front and back edges of the canopy. But I'll worry about that once it starts getting warm enough to get out on the lake with the in-laws 26' pontoon. :)

herk_1
02-10-2008, 02:25 AM
Guanli is well-known for making unauthorized copies of GWS kits (link (http://www.zs-gl.com/english/Product.asp?BigClassName=RC%20Model%20Product&Smallclassname=emulational%20airplane)). Then they throw in some ultra-cheap electronics and sell it as a RTF, taking advantage of the fact that GWS doesn't offer most of their planes as RTFs. First time I've seen them copy a Great Planes model.

gzsfrk
02-12-2008, 08:50 PM
Well, I finally got out and managed to fly the Catalina Monday evening before the sun set--absolutely perfect weather with zero wind. Of course, it was a pretty timid flight since I wanted to make sure that everything was solid before trying too much with it. But I did get in an attempted barrel roll and loop (note the qualifier "attempted") before winding down the battery. I ended up getting in a 7 minute flight at mostly full throttle before the engine started sputtering and I decided to bring it in. It might have just been the cheap radio cutting out, but I decided not to take any chances, since the Catalina doesn't seem to be a great plane for gliding.

Anyway, I had my wife out there using our digital camera to record the maiden. It's terrible quality video, and it was an odd size so it left black bars when I went to convert it to something Studio Plus could understand, but here's the video of some highlights from the first flight.

6307976883556757799

Again, please forgive the terrible quality of the video. Our camera doesn't let you zoom in when recording a video either, so often times the plane is just a speck. I'll try to get a better camera next time we bring it out for a flight so you can get a better idea of how this plane looks in the air (which is fantastic, by the way).

Some quick notes about the flight:

This was my first ever aileron flight! And I can't believe how much easier it is to control the plane when flying. I think I picked up pretty quick on how to combine ailerons, rudder, and elevator when turning. Also, landing is SO much easier when you can control roll. :)
The Cat is VERY stable in flight. I guess that's to be expected, given that it's got what amounts to the highest of high wing designs.
It's a slow, lumbering plane, and it takes a while to gain altitude. I had to circle quite a few times to get it up to 500' or so.
You can see in the video around the 2:00 mark that I had gotten my confidence up with some altitude and decided to attempt a barrel roll. That didn't work out so great, although I had plenty of time to recover. With this planes design, I know that BRs should be tough, but possible I would think. Rather than just giving it straight aileron, I'm guessing that I would have to start applying up elevator at some point to get it "over the top"?
Also, around the 2:40 mark, I tried doing a loop. I couldn't quite get it to come over, but it was close. I'd imagine with some practice (and a longer dive to build speed) I could get it there. But again, with this plane, there's not much point to stunt flying. Rig it with a couple high end brushless and some LiPos, and who knows? Jasmine might be able to do some pretty cool 3d flying with this thing. ;)
One quick thing about the thrust the twin 370s put out--you can sit it on the ground and rev up the throttle, and the thing will actually start going forward, ground friction and all. Is there such a thing as a SoG (Scooting on Ground) take-off? Because I think this plane could do it on some short, soft grass.That's all for now. I'll be posting the full Flight Review in the pretty near future--if not later this evening, then probably sometime Wednesday.

I'm also going to be posting my list of recommended modifications for strengthening the plane prior to first flight.

If anyone has any specific questions about the Cat, please feel free to ask and I'll be happy to answer as best my n00b self knows how. :)

FlyingMonkey
02-12-2008, 09:14 PM
Now, you need to find a nice long shallow puddle...

So you can SoW (scoot off water :D)

I think that body, with a couple towerpro brushless motors, a real radio,

I think I would want one...

Do they sell replacement parts, like the fuse and wing? ;)

gzsfrk
02-12-2008, 09:34 PM
Do they sell replacement parts, like the fuse and wing? ;)

Raidentech doesn't have any replacement parts listed for it yet. But I notice that for their best sellers (Yellow Bee, Wild Hawk, Piper Cub) they tend to end up offering replacements. If the Cat sells good, I'd say it could well see a selection of replacement parts on the site.

And I don't yet know of any other re-sellers who are offering the plane, although they may well be out there.

cyclops2
02-12-2008, 09:54 PM
I really enjoyed your listing of short comings. I assumed you have built enough models to know a " not so great one ".

Many thanks. I will calmly wait for more GWS planes to appear.

I love it when a bussiness ?? person, just decides to start making model planes. They could care less if it never flies or crashes.

Make it look pretty and a plane made of dog do do, will sell like Hamburgers.

This plane is not for a, "I only fly them."

Rich

gzsfrk
02-12-2008, 10:30 PM
I really enjoyed your listing of short comings. I assumed you have built enough models to know a " not so great one ".

Well, to be perfectly honest, this is only my 4th plane, and all of them so far have been RTFs (although as I noted in this review, this plane was much closer to a kit than my previous planes). I have a radio (Optic 6) due to arrive on Thursday, after which I hope to try my hand at some more serious ARFs, or maybe even a medium-difficulty kit.

Many thanks. I will calmly wait for more GWS planes to appear.

Glad to be of help in making a decision. :)

I love it when a bussiness ?? person, just decides to start making model planes. They could care less if it never flies or crashes.

Make it look pretty and a plane made of dog do do, will sell like Hamburgers.

This plane is not for a, "I only fly them."

Well, as far as quality control and instructions go, this plane certainly left a lot to be desired. But I have to hand it to whichever designer came up with the plans for the model (which, I guess, would probably at least partially mean credit due to someone at Great Planes)--it flies great and is remarkably stable. Could do with some slightly more powerful engines, but seeing as I got 7 minutes of flight time with both 370s at full throttle on a 1000mah 7-cell NiMH, I can't fault them too much. I'd be surprised if I couldn't get 12-14 minutes out of it while being a bit lighter on the throttle, and maybe even more than that with one of my 1200mah batts.

So just to be clear, this plane leaves a LOT to be desired with regard to quality and the design weaknesses I've noted. But once I got it assembled and took measures to strengthen the structurally weak points, it really seems to be a great flying plane. And especially at the price point, even if you just bought if for the body, engines, ESC, servos, and battery and stripped out the junk radio (which I plan on doing Thursday), it still seems like a steal to me if you were just buying it as an ARF w/electrics at $99.

Again, it's not going to be competing at the GeeBee. But if I'm able to get it taking off from water, then I still think that, despite its flaws, it's a tremendous value.

FlyingMonkey
02-12-2008, 11:08 PM
I think that I will just be forced to cut my own from foam :)

GreenAce92
02-12-2008, 11:41 PM
Wow great flight! Nice review too! Very cool!

cyclops2
02-13-2008, 12:03 AM
My first DIY foamy was a lot to attack as a first plane. I bought the plans from the AMA site. Blew them up. Bought BIG-- billets of blue foam, Cut out frames of the plans and started shaping a 2' X 1' X 6' piece into the Clipper below. If you start a plane you REALLY WANT, You will finish it.

Rich

GreenAce92
02-13-2008, 12:11 AM
Wow nice job with your planes. What do you use to cut and also for sanding?

beavenx5
02-13-2008, 12:50 AM
I love the PBY Catalina and I don't own a waterplane yet to use at the lake. I plan on getting the Great Plane/Electrifly PBY Catalina later this summer. I hope to get it completed for a little over $200. I already have a radio and lipos (3S 2200Mah needed).

I was told by a member here to try the Tower Pro brusless motor/ESC combos. He has been using many of them for a while with great success. You can find them very cheap here:http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/store/uh_listCategoriesAndProducts.asp?catname=Towerpro+ Combos&idCategory=179&ParentCat=192
I ordered 2 combos BM2409-18T/25AESC for $20ea and 2 BM2410-9t/18AESC for $15ea for my e-flite P-38. The other will be used on the Catalina. Their TP 9g servos are also great for $2.99ea. I orered them last week just before the Chineese New Year and therefore I don't expect to receive my order before the end of February.
With this electronic the radio and lipos I already have, I expect to be able to build the Electrifly Catalina for around $225.
The quality of the Electrifly is great with its fiberglass fuselage, balsa covered wings and numerous molded parts. The planned motor set-up will be more than enough as the BM2409-18T can deliver up to 180w (Chineese watts:<:) and 104w for the BM2410-09.
I look forward for this project later this year:D

cyclops2
02-13-2008, 02:14 AM
I made 3 sets of blown up plans. 2 sets were cut up & glued together to make the full outside outline of each frame. I glued a side view of the body on to the billet. Took it to a wood shop and rough cut the side view out line. Did the same thing with a top view. Started sanding it down with 33 grit paper. 3 rubs with #33 and 1/2" is gone. Used each outside template to gradually get the shape at each frame station close. Left about 1/8" excess for final sanding.
The plane was sanded with the vertical tail still attached. Used the airfoil ribs, off of the plans.
Then I got 1 of those GIGANTIC thoughts. Maybe there is a manufactured foam wing I can use ??........ Lanier U-2 was made for it. Bought a spare U2 wing a did the tail surface. Toilet roll paper tubes are a perfect fit for the 4...400 motors with a 1/8" space around the motors. Glued on some blue foam scraps and 4 engine cowls..
The plane ready to fly was hand tossed and went about 35' in a shallow glide.
Takeoff on the 8 NIMH is TOO scalelike. 100' +. 2 big circles and the battery is pooped.

GreenAce92
02-13-2008, 02:33 AM
battery pooped? bummer.....

dk_aero
02-13-2008, 04:21 AM
Congrats on a successful maiden! It looks great in the air (at least to me!). A great review and many helpful tips for this aircraft... I really appreciate an honest, unbiased and straightforward critique. If I could find this Cat in ARF form in the $60 - $70 range, I'd pick one up in a heartbeat! Once again, GREAT review... BTW, you'll let us know how it goes off h20??? :D

gzsfrk
02-13-2008, 04:38 AM
BTW, you'll let us know how it goes off h20??? :D

Thanks for the kind words.

And yes--I plan on launching it off water as soon as it gets warm enough to hit the lake. Of course, I've still yet to implement Flying Monkey's waterproofing suggestions--I'll definitely have to get that done before trying the wet take-off. :)

gzsfrk
02-13-2008, 05:48 AM
Flight review is now up in the original post below the Build Review. Enjoy! :)

easytiger
02-15-2008, 01:56 AM
I have one of these...while I appreciate the review, let me give another perspective from someone who has built a few more planes...with no offense intended...

The wing is not reinforced with cardboard. They are laser cut plywood spars.
Yes, the manual is pretty shoddy for a first timer, and it does say "use screws" for the aileron servos, and there is no way to use screws...a drop of epoxy will secure each servo.
Yes, you do need to cut some channels for the motor wires in the wing. The aileron servo wires will go into the channel with the spar in it, then get covered up with clear tape. You will need to make a little cutout for the connector, too.
The wing struts are plenty strong for the power and weight of this plane. So is the wing pylon. You can adjust the struts to get the wing on straight.
A v-bend and then an L-bend on the elevator and rudder pushrods are quick and easy ways to set them up, and there should be no problem with that.
Adding a lot of tape, which is weight, is not needed, the plane is plenty strong just as designed. It's not designed to crash, though. From seeing your video, you are definitely suffering a little in performance from the extra weight, but it's not really critical, as you can see, your plane flies fine.
The 27mhz radio has given no problems at all, but certainly, it's much safer to use a better radio.
The charger is no great shakes, you will get much better results with a "real" charger.
Fitting a lipo will make a huge difference, of course, as will fitting brushless motors, but the plane flies fine just with the stock geared motors. They even provide spare props.
It will loop, not a problem, but this is not really an aerobatic plane, of course, and it's not stressed for negative G forces, so be careful with that. Do not attempt to fly it without all four wing struts in place.
This plane has nothing, zero, zippo, nada, to do with the Great Planes Catalina, not one part in common, totally different construction, and a totally different fuselage shape. Sorry, but it's an original from GuanLi.
The contact cement they provide, well...it will work, but I don't care for it, I used nothing but five minute epoxy.

My total time building this model was just about one hour, and I would expect any builder with modest experience to be able to do the same.

Yes, it will get off water, or off snow. It's very light. It hand launches very easily, too.
Off water, you really need to add a water rudder.

I had no quality control issues at all, except one aileron control horn was put in a little too far back, so I removed it and epoxied it back a little further forward. That's it.

Anyway...I'm very, very impressed with this plane, and for only $99, it's a ridiculously good deal. Have fun with it.

gzsfrk
02-15-2008, 06:26 AM
I have one of these...while I appreciate the review, let me give another perspective from someone who has built a few more planes...with no offense intended...

No offense taken. I think I made it pretty clear in my review that I'm still a beginner, and I'm tickled to hear input from a veteran on this same plane.

The wing is not reinforced with cardboard. They are laser cut plywood spars.

You're absolutely right--I'll update that in my review.

The wing struts are plenty strong for the power and weight of this plane. So is the wing pylon. You can adjust the struts to get the wing on straight.

The struts are plenty strong when the wing flexes up--not so much if it flexes down. As for the wing mount pylon, I have to completely disagree. It's hollow with a 3/8" thick foam wall. I could see it giving when applying light down pressure to the wing with my hand. I didn't take much comfort in that, since I'd prefer it to not buckle or crack to shreds on a rough landing where I clip the ground with the wing or due to an unfortunate gust of wind. Also, the wood plate into which the wing halves screw was simply GLUED to the top of that foam pylon, with no connection to the wood frame lower inside the fuselage. You can break that plate loose by simply overtightening the wing screws (guess how I found that one out).

For those reasons, one of the ways I strengthened the pylon, in addition to applying the packing tape externally, was to fill that area with expanding foam. I also used 5-minute epoxy to more securely attach the plate at the top of the pylon. It's much stronger now, and it added barely any weight at all (about 10 cubic inches of expanding foam's worth). I think it's a more than worthwhile precaution.

A v-bend and then an L-bend on the elevator and rudder pushrods are quick and easy ways to set them up, and there should be no problem with that.

I didn't say it wouldn't work--I said it was a cheap design. The V bends weaken the servo action by giving a bit rather than applying the full force to the horn. Why not just have the push rods cut to the proper length with the snap-on ends in place? Cost reduction was the only reason I could think of. And I don't begrudge them that--after all, this plane certainly has a very low price, and no one should expect frivolous niceties on it. However, I would think that the cost of using snap-ons opposed to not doing so would be negligible. (I could well be wrong, though--I'm certainly lacking in manufacturing experience. :) )

Adding a lot of tape, which is weight, is not needed, the plane is plenty strong just as designed. It's not designed to crash, though.

Well, remember that, as a beginner, I prefer to be prepared for a crash rather than just be optimistic that I won't. And you can't seriously tell me that you have any faith in the thin foam walls of the fuselage to absorb a moderate impact into the ground without significant damage. As it is with the tape, it gives me a little more hope for minimal or no damage in the event of the unfortunate. :)

From seeing your video, you are definitely suffering a little in performance from the extra weight, but it's not really critical, as you can see, your plane flies fine.

If you read my flight review, you'll see that I say I'm quite pleased with the way the plane flies. While I mentioned some negatives (most or all of which I think you'd admit are fair, legitimate points), I was overall very happy with its performance. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I was inspired to make a horribly amateurish little music video using the low-quality flight footage. You've apparently already noticed and, I hope, enjoyed my humble efforts. ;)

The 27mhz radio has given no problems at all, but certainly, it's much safer to use a better radio.

I think that pretty much goes without saying. 27mhz AM can work fine, but it's gimped range and susceptibility to interference are the reason you don't want to use it, particularly when flying a fragile plane. I may be one of the new guys around here, but I've already picked up that much. Are you saying that the fliers on this site should consider the included radio system to be acceptable? I wouldn't. This Catalina is a nice plane, and I personally don't want to risk it getting shot down by some kid playing with a cheap RC car across the street.

But I'm not really criticizing the radio system that much. I mean, I already mentioned in one of my posts above that even if you just threw out the included Tx/Rx and treated it like an ARF with included motors, servos, and ESC, then it is STILL a fantastic value at $99.

It will loop, not a problem, but this is not really an aerobatic plane, of course, and it's not stressed for negative G forces, so be careful with that.

Glad you were able to get yours to loop. Like I said above, I think I should be able to get mine over the top with a bit of practice.

Were you able to get yours to do a barrel roll? If so, I could use some pointers. :)

And one reason it's susceptible to negative G-forces is, again, because of the flimsy struts. Of course they'll hold against positive Gs, but they'll also do practically nothing against negs. I think that's a legitimate complaint about the design.

Do not attempt to fly it without all four wing struts in place.

Who suggested that??? And for that matter, who in their right mind would fly ANY plane designed to be flown with struts without them?

This plane has nothing, zero, zippo, nada, to do with the Great Planes Catalina, not one part in common, totally different construction, and a totally different fuselage shape. Sorry, but it's an original from GuanLi.

Totally different? Let me repost the pictures of both:

The Electrifly:
http://www.electrifly.com/largeelectrics/gpma1154aa02-lg.jpg
http://www.electrifly.com/largeelectrics/gpma1154aa01-lg.jpg

The GuanLi:
http://site.nitroplanes.com/New4ChannelAirplane/607katalina_1
http://site.nitroplanes.com/New4ChannelAirplane/607katalina_2


Here's the listed dimensions on the Electrifly Catalina:

Wingspan: 53.5 in (1360 mm)
Length: 34.25 in (870 mm)

And here's the listed dimensions on the GuanLi Catalina:

Wingspan: 1380mm (54.3")
Length: 880mm (34.6")

Pretty dang close. And based on the pictures, other than the cowlings and canopy (as I mentioned in my post above, although they STILL look VERY similiar) and also the slightly different rudder, the lines look practically identical to me. As I said, I'm by no means certain that GuanLi's is a direct copy. But it looks almost exactly the same to my (untrained) eye.

Of course, that could also be due to them both being models based on the same plane. :)

The contact cement they provide, well...it will work, but I don't care for it, I used nothing but five minute epoxy. My total time building this model was just about one hour, and I would expect any builder with modest experience to be able to do the same.

I had no quality control issues at all, except one aileron control horn was put in a little too far back, so I removed it and epoxied it back a little further forward. That's it.

Well, your use of 5-minute epoxy instead of the included cement along with your experience, the fact that you apparently didn't have to machine out any of the parts (as I did), and that you didn't do any tape reinforcing goes a good ways in explaining how you were able to get it built in an hour. :)

Anyway...I'm very, very impressed with this plane, and for only $99, it's a ridiculously good deal.

I totally agree.

Have fun with it.

I have and intend to continue doing so. :)

Doesn't invalidate the issues I raised with the model, though.

gzsfrk
02-15-2008, 03:27 PM
This plane has nothing, zero, zippo, nada, to do with the Great Planes Catalina, not one part in common, totally different construction, and a totally different fuselage shape. Sorry, but it's an original from GuanLi.

By the way, I meant to ask. This quote above sounded pretty categorical. Was this just speculation on your part? Or do you work for or know someone who works for either GuanLi or one of its resellers?

It doesn't matter either way, but if you DO know someone in that supply chain, then I was thinking you might be able to answer Flying Monkey's question about replacement parts. (Which was, to wit, is GuanLi going to be offering any replacement part for the Catalina through stateside resllers?)

easytiger
02-15-2008, 03:58 PM
By the way, I meant to ask. This quote above sounded pretty categorical. Was this just speculation on your part? Or do you work for or know someone who works for either GuanLi or one of its resellers?

It doesn't matter either way, but if you DO know someone in that supply chain, then I was thinking you might be able to answer Flying Monkey's question about replacement parts. (Which was, to wit, is GuanLi going to be offering any replacement part for the Catalina through stateside resllers?)

Well...I have both of them, the GP and the GL ones! The GP one is a much nicer airplane, but it costs much more, too! I cannot say enough nice things about the GP one, too. But for $99, the GL one is a steal. Frankly, I think the GP one is a great deal at $139, too.

I know people at GP and Nitro, yes. Both of them. I do not know of any reseller who plans on stocking GuanLi parts, but there are a bunch of smaller resellers of GuanLi, so anything is possible. I have my doubts that anybody would stock parts for the Catalina...most of the parts would be very big, hard to store and ship, and how much would you be willing to pay for a new wing or fuse or something? But I certainly don't speak for any of these companies, anything is possible. I see it more likely that someone will import some kits without electronics, so you could get a complete new airframe for fifty bucks or whatever. I also have heard that sooner than later, they will import brushless versions of the whole line. Not many people want the 27mhz radio, but plenty are willing to pay a few bucks more to get brushless power.
I also have the A-10, which I hope to test out this weekend. Like this one, it's brushed. But it should fly okay, we shall see. Quality was excellent, nothing but pleasant surprises. There were zero QC issues on the A-10, not even a misplaced control horn like on the Catalina. It took 20 minutes to get together.
I am not surprised that you got a few QC issues, it's a low-dollar item, these things happen, but I am glad that none of the issues prevented you from finishing and flying the plane.
I also ordered the P-47. Should show up next week. That one, people said it was a copy of GWS or E-flight, but I doubt that, too, as GWS does not even make a P-47, and the E-flight one is much larger.
So...so far so good with GuanLi for me.

easytiger
02-15-2008, 04:30 PM
No offense taken. I think I made it pretty clear in my review that I'm still a beginner, and I'm tickled to hear input from a veteran on this same plane.


That's my intent...not criticism, just a different perspective. For me, it was a breeze to get together, and some of the things that might be sort of stumbling blocks or areas worthy of criticism are really nothing to me. Not at all meant to be a criticism of you. I suspect that nowadays, your perspective is more common than mine, that there are an awful lot of new guys, to whom a lot of this stuff is not basic instinct as it is to me, and I also suspect that this plane is going to be more popular with newcomers than with experienced modellers, so maybe it's MORE important to hear your perspective than mine, actually...



You're absolutely right--I'll update that in my review.



The struts are plenty strong when the wing flexes up--not so much if it flexes down. As for the wing mount pylon, I have to completely disagree. It's hollow with a 3/8" thick foam wall. I could see it giving when applying light down pressure to the wing with my hand. I didn't take much comfort in that, since I'd prefer it to not buckle or crack to shreds on a rough landing where I clip the ground with the wing or due to an unfortunate gust of wind. Also, the wood plate into which the wing halves screw was simply GLUED to the top of that foam pylon, with no connection to the wood frame lower inside the fuselage. You can break that plate loose by simply overtightening the wing screws (guess how I found that one out).



For those reasons, one of the ways I strengthened it, in addition to applying the packing tape externally, was to fill that area with expanding foam. I also used 5-minute epoxy to more securely attach the plate at the top of the pylon. It's much stronger now, and it added barely any weight at all (about 10 cubic inches of expanding foam's worth). I think it's a more than worthwhile precaution.


It's plenty strong for the flight loads the plane is made to take. And your mods do no harm, except to add a little weight, which really won't matter much on a plane with this much wing area and two motors. It matters a LITTLE, but not much.


I didn't say it wouldn't work--I said it was a cheap design. The V bends weaken the servo action by giving a bit rather than applying the full force to the horn.

With the flight loads on a kite such as this, the v-bend does not matter. I looped mine, and that's pushing on the V-bend as hard as you are going to get, with no issues. Up the power or weight or both a bunch, and then, maybe, you won't want v-bends on that thin pushrod wire...


Why not just have the push rods cut to the proper length with the snap-on ends in place? Cost reduction was the only reason I could think of. And I don't begrudge them that--after all, this plane certainly has a very low price, and no one should expect frivolous niceties on it. However, I would think that the cost of using snap-ons opposed to not doing so would be negligible. (I could well be wrong, though--I'm certainly lacking in manufacturing experience. :) )

Just cost. And frankly, e-z connectors on flight functions are not such a great idea. Even on little planes like this. I mean, you will get away with it most of the time, but they have a habit of coming lose. Some clubs won't even allow you to use EZ connectors on flight functions. For real. They consider it a safety issue. I lost a Hyperion Spitfire last year due to that. Elevator fluttered, EZ connector came loose, voila, no elevator. Not that this is really relevant to our floaty and slow Catalina, but it's a fact to file away...



Well, remember that, as a beginner, I prefer to be prepared for a crash rather than just be optimistic that I won't. And you can't seriously tell me that you have any faith in the thin foam walls of the fuselage to absorb a moderate impact into the ground without significant damage. As it is with the tape, it gives me a little more hope for minimal or no damage in the event of the unfortunate. :)


Oh, I have no faith in it's ability to withstand any kind of crash. Just beware of the classic vicious cycle of model airplanes....making them strong enough to resist a crash makes them heavier and more prone to a crash, and so on and so forth. Yours is flying fine, but I can see there is a little performance difference between yours and mine, and that's probably due to a little extra weight.



If you read my flight review, you'll see that I say I'm quite pleased with the way the plane flies. While I mentioned some negatives (most or all of which I think you'd admit are fair, legitimate points), I was overall very happy with its performance. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I was inspired to make a horribly amateurish little music video using the low-quality flight video. You've apparently already noticed and, I hope, enjoyed my humble efforts. ;)

Absolutely, I have no criticism of your filmmaking aptitude, it's not about that, anyway, it's about just seeing the plane fly and hearing your report. It's all good.



I think that pretty much goes without saying. 27mhz AM can work fine, but it's gimped range and susceptibility to interference are the reason you don't want to use it, particularly when flying a fragile plane. I may be one of the new guys around here, but I've already picked up that much. Are you saying that the fliers on this site should consider the included radio system to be acceptable? I wouldn't. This Catalina is a nice plane, and I personally don't want to risk it getting shot down by some kid playing with a cheap RC car across the street.

We are on the same page here. I have used quite a few of these cheapo radios, and had mixed results. Some have worked perfectly, to the range of vision, some have crashed my airplanes. It's a throw of the dice. Do a proper range check, for sure, and keep in mind that, yeah, you might get shot down by some kid with an RC car. If the cheapo radio is all you got, chances are decent that it will work out fine for you, but if you have anything else available, use it instead. But what I am NOT saying is that all these radios are automatically junk and need to be tossed. Hey, I'm flying mine right now...

But I'm not really criticizing the radio system that much. I mean, I already mentioned in one of my posts above that even if you just threw out the included Tx/Rx and treated it like an ARF with included motors, servos, and ESC, then it is STILL a fantastic value at $99.

That's how I see it, yes.



Glad you were able to get yours to loop. Like I said above, I think I should be able to get mine over the top with a bit of practice.

Were you able to get yours to do a barrel roll? If so, I could use some pointers. :)

I started to, but then thought better of it. I did not feel the wing was stressed for negative Gs, forces pushing down on the top of the wings, which can happen in a roll, so I just let it go. Did not feel a real need to test it to destruction finding out whether or not it will do a manuver it was not really meant for anyway! The GP one will do it, no problem, but it has a totally different wing...

And one reason it's susceptible to negative G-forces is, again, because of the flimsy struts. Of course they'll hold against positive Gs, but they'll also do practically nothing against negs. I think that's a legitimate complaint about the design.

You got it...but I don't see it as a design flaw, but more the nature of the beast. The plane was not made for aerobatics, but for lumbering around and doing touch-and-goes off the water...like the real thing. Making the wing stiff enough to handle positive G forces would mean adding weight, which affects the normal flight regime of the plane negatively. Maybe you can pull some positive G, fly it inverted for a bit and see, but me, I'm not going to find out, it's just not worth it.



Who suggested that??? And for that matter, who in their right mind would fly ANY plane designed to be flown with struts without them?

You would be very, very surprised. I saw a CMP Cessna go in the other day, the wing folded on the first flight. By a magazine review guy who you would think would know better. He left off the struts. As a lot of people will try, figuring they are just aestetic! It's worth mentioning, at any rate...



Totally different? Let me repost the pictures of both:

The Electrifly:
http://www.electrifly.com/largeelectrics/gpma1154aa02-lg.jpg
http://www.electrifly.com/largeelectrics/gpma1154aa01-lg.jpg

The GuanLi:
http://site.nitroplanes.com/New4ChannelAirplane/607katalina_1
http://site.nitroplanes.com/New4ChannelAirplane/607katalina_2


Here's the listed dimensions on the Electrifly Catalina:

Wingspan: 53.5 in (1360 mm)
Length: 34.25 in (870 mm)

And here's the listed dimensions on the GuanLi Catalina:

Wingspan: 1380mm (54.3")
Length: 880mm (34.6")

Pretty dang close. And based on the pictures, other than the cowlings and canopy (as I mentioned in my post above, although they STILL look VERY similiar) and also the slightly different rudder, the lines look practically identical to me. As I said, I'm by no means certain that GuanLi's is a direct copy. But it looks almost exactly the same to my (untrained) eye.

Of course, that could also be due to them both being models based on the same plane. :)

Yes. That's the only similarity.



Well, your using 5-minute epoxy instead of the included cement along with your experience, the fact that you apparently didn't have to machine out any of the parts (as I did), and that you didn't do any tape reinforcing goes a good ways in explaining how you were able to get it built in an hour. :)

I did use the contact cement for the cowls, just in case I want to get them off to upgrade the motors later and add firewalls. Otherwise, I can't stand that stuff, wheras five minute epoxy works like a charm.



I totally agree.



I have and intend to continue doing so. :)

Doesn't invalidate the issues I raised with the model, though.

As far as waterproofing goes, mine ran totally dry, but I did not dork it into the water. I would not worry too much, but you want to put the receiver and or ESC into a plastic bag and seal the top with a rubber band. You can make a decent watertight seal on the nose hatch with silicone adhesive on the hatch, using saran wrap as a release, to make a gasket for the hatch. But it fits pretty tight as is, and the only way you should get water in there is if you manage to dunk the nose. Which is possible, yes. Do add a water rudder, though, if you intend to get off water. Take a look at the GP one for ideas, or just make one that sticks to the rudder itself. Good luck with your plane.

gzsfrk
02-15-2008, 04:58 PM
As far as waterproofing goes, mine ran totally dry, but I did not dork it into the water. I would not worry too much, but you want to put the receiver and or ESC into a plastic bag and seal the top with a rubber band. You can make a decent watertight seal on the nose hatch with silicone adhesive on the hatch, using saran wrap as a release, to make a gasket for the hatch. But it fits pretty tight as is, and the only way you should get water in there is if you manage to dunk the nose. Which is possible, yes. Do add a water rudder, though, if you intend to get off water. Take a look at the GP one for ideas, or just make one that sticks to the rudder itself. Good luck with your plane.

Thanks--that's a great tip about the silicon; I wouldn't have ever thought about that. Now if I can just figure out how I'm going to replace that crappy velcro as a canopy latch. :)

A couple other quick questions, though--did you glue on the wing joint cover, or did you opt to find a different work-around as I did so that the wing would remain removable for transport and storage? Also, have you thought about adding an on/off switch to yours? I don't know if you're like me, but my heart skips a beat every time I plug in the battery and the props jerk a little bit. :)

easytiger
02-15-2008, 05:10 PM
Thanks--that's a great tip about the silicon; I wouldn't have ever thought about that. Now if I can just figure out how I'm going to replace that crappy velcro as a canopy latch. :)

A couple other quick questions, though--did you glue on the wing joint cover, or did you opt to find a different work-around as I did so that the wing would remain removable for transport and storage? Also, have you thought about adding an on/off switch to yours? I don't know if you're like me, but my heart skips a beat every time I plug in the battery and the props jerk a little bit. :)

I like the velcro closure enough...I see your point about dinging the foam getting the hatch off, though...you might try taking that clear tape, and making a tab you can pull on to get the hatch off.

I left the center cover off for now, to keep the wing removeable. And my wing is not glued in the center, so I can break it down into two pieces(have to unplug the motors and servos, of course), and it has not failed yet.
I am not too worried about my hands near the props, you should just be careful. I beleive(but you had better check this) that the ESC is set so that it cannot start the motors unless the stick is in the bottom position, first. That glitching when you plug the batt in is unlikely to get the props through a full rotation.
You could add a switch, sure. But use one big enough, and do a good enough soldering job, so that you are not losing any power through it...

DaveESPI
02-15-2008, 06:05 PM
I bought one of these today. I'm going to repaint it a bit. The yellow "rescue" is driving me insane.

Need to paint it like a Nightfighter-Sub Hunter.
I'll post in about a week or so with my additions to this thread. Thanks for the great heads up on it !

I hate "building them". The last RTF I bought was really nice from this company (GWS- Corsair mold).

gzsfrk
02-15-2008, 07:35 PM
I bought one of these today. I'm going to repaint it a bit. The yellow "rescue" is driving me insane.

Need to paint it like a Nightfighter-Sub Hunter.
I'll post in about a week or so with my additions to this thread. Thanks for the great heads up on it !

I hate "building them". The last RTF I bought was really nice from this company (GWS- Corsair mold).

Yeah, your prospective paint job sounds like it would look really cool. Be sure to take a lot of pictures along the way, and be sure to come back in and either post them in a new thread OR feel free to simply add them to this one.

Good luck with the plane! I look forward to reading about your results.

donjiskra
02-16-2008, 02:32 PM
GREAT review, excellent descriptive writing and photos.
Thanks!!!
BTW, what group performed the music in the video, I loved it.
Don

gzsfrk
02-16-2008, 10:47 PM
GREAT review, excellent descriptive writing and photos.
Thanks!!!
BTW, what group performed the music in the video, I loved it.
Don

Thanks for the kind words, and glad you enjoyed the review. I hope to see more of them around here on the site; supposedly, the site admins are working on some features to make them a bit more organized and easier to post.

By the way, the music was by the Lenny Kravitz Band - the name of the song is "Fly". (See the credits at the end of the video. :) )

wilky
02-17-2008, 03:37 AM
I wonder how well Glad "press and seal" would work at sealing up the hatch area?? just a thought.
Beavenx5, I'm not seeing the TP servos on Hobby citys site. do you have a link??

gzsfrk
02-17-2008, 05:03 AM
I wonder how well Glad "press and seal" would work at sealing up the hatch area?? just a thought.

Hmm... I'd never heard of the stuff until you mentioned it. I might have to look into that. Thanks for the tip! :)

wilky
02-17-2008, 06:47 AM
Hmm... I'd never heard of the stuff until you mentioned it. I might have to look into that. Thanks for the tip! :)
You find it in the Reynolds wrap, freezer bag, aluminum foil section @ the supermarket. I've turned a cereal bowl sealed with this stuff upside down full of cereal and milk without a leak sooo. also works good as masking for painting:Q

easytiger
02-17-2008, 09:02 AM
I changed out my connector to a deans, and installed a cheap 3s 2200 12c lipo. Right on the tray where the old nimh was, just a friction fit.
What a dramatic transformation. Flight times are 12 minutes, plus, and now she is anything but nominally powered, she will climb out at forty five degrees and do loops with ten foot diameters. How long will the motors last at 11v? Dunno. But three flights so far, no problem. And there is little need for full power.
What a great little model. She will hover in a slight headwind, is very, very stable, lands at a walking speed. Trainer-like. Amazing, amazing deal for $99.

I also got the A-10 from the same company, and have similarly positive experiences and comments...

beavenx5
02-17-2008, 10:58 PM
I wonder how well Glad "press and seal" would work at sealing up the hatch area?? just a thought.
Beavenx5, I'm not seeing the TP servos on Hobby citys site. do you have a link??
They currently don't have the TP brand but the Hextronik HXT900 which l think is the same. http://http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=662
The HXT900 is currently out of stock but I hope to be able to get more in a couple of weeks. Because of the Chinese New Year, many items coming from there are B/O in February.

beavenx5
02-17-2008, 11:21 PM
About waterproofing the electronics on a R/C boat or Flying boat, I read on an other forum to spray all the electronics (ESC, receiver, servos) with some Corrosionex: http://corrosionxproducts.com/corrosionxpage.htm. I never tried it myself but seems to be an excellent solution. I will try it for sure when I get my Catalina and before I put my boat back in the water in May.

gzsfrk
02-18-2008, 03:57 AM
I changed out my connector to a deans, and installed a cheap 3s 2200 12c lipo. Right on the tray where the old nimh was, just a friction fit.
What a dramatic transformation. Flight times are 12 minutes, plus, and now she is anything but nominally powered, she will climb out at forty five degrees and do loops with ten foot diameters. How long will the motors last at 11v? Dunno. But three flights so far, no problem. And there is little need for full power.
What a great little model. She will hover in a slight headwind, is very, very stable, lands at a walking speed. Trainer-like. Amazing, amazing deal for $99.

Hmm... I've been considering making the move to Lipos, although the 3000 degree fireball horror stories have kind of kept me away so far. I don't have an out-building that I could use for charging them, so I would definitely at least need to have some kind of fireproof charging compartment like I've seen in several videos. Doubt I'd be comfortable with one of those little batt sacks like they sell on HobbyCity.com--just can't imagine that would contain a lipo fire.

At any rate, I might just have to bite the bullet and make the investment in a decent charger (Imax B5?) and a couple 2200mah 3S's.

But be sure and let us know if you wear out the motors on the Cat using the Lipos; it probably wouldn't be worth the Lipo upgrade if they burn out rather quickly, even if I was thinking of upgrading them to brushless at some point.

I also got the A-10 from the same company, and have similarly positive experiences and comments...

How about posting a review of your experience with the Warthog? My brother has been looking to get that one as his first plane, and I've been having to talk him out of it over and over. :) Still--it might be nice if he gets it, then decides he can't fly it and turns it over to me. :)


Oh, one other thing--I -did- convert my Catalina over to the Berg 4L receiver I got with my Optic 6 Tx, and it works perfectly with it. Much more responsive to the controls, in fact. Seems like the stock Tx that came with the plane had a lot of dead space.

Can't wait till we have another pretty day so I can try it out. :)

Take care, and happy flying!

gzsfrk
02-18-2008, 03:59 AM
About waterproofing the electronics on a R/C boat or Flying boat, I read on an other forum to spray all the electronics (ESC, receiver, servos) with some Corrosionex: http://corrosionxproducts.com/corrosionxpage.htm. I never tried it myself but seems to be an excellent solution. I will try it for sure when I get my Catalina and before I put my boat back in the water in May.

I've read about a couple of different such solutions, but I just don't know if I'm comfortable coating my electrics like that. Just seems so counterintuitive to dip radio equipment in a liquid. :) Still, others seem to have had no problems with theirs after doing so, so I might need to consider that as yet another option. But for the time being, I'm probably just going to start out with the rubber-banded baggy route.

beavenx5
02-18-2008, 04:20 AM
Another alternative to the plastic bag could be the radio box from my Losi LST2 truck: http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=LOSB2350.

I will have to check its dimentions and weight of it but it is pretty much waterproof, easy to open and get servo and antena wires inside and comes with a warterproof silicone covered swich.
I got 2 more of these for other trucks at $0.99ea on e-bay this summer. Cheap, easy to open and work with but maybe a little heavy and bulky for the foam Catalina...

easytiger
02-18-2008, 01:52 PM
Hmm... I've been considering making the move to Lipos, although the 3000 degree fireball horror stories have kind of kept me away so far. I don't have an out-building that I could use for charging them, so I would definitely at least need to have some kind of fireproof charging compartment like I've seen in several videos. Doubt I'd be comfortable with one of those little batt sacks like they sell on HobbyCity.com--just can't imagine that would contain a lipo fire.

At any rate, I might just have to bite the bullet and make the investment in a decent charger (Imax B5?) and a couple 2200mah 3S's.

But be sure and let us know if you wear out the motors on the Cat using the Lipos; it probably wouldn't be worth the Lipo upgrade if they burn out rather quickly, even if I was thinking of upgrading them to brushless at some point.



How about posting a review of your experience with the Warthog? My brother has been looking to get that one as his first plane, and I've been having to talk him out of it over and over. :) Still--it might be nice if he gets it, then decides he can't fly it and turns it over to me. :)


Oh, one other thing--I -did- convert my Catalina over to the Berg 4L receiver I got with my Optic 6 Tx, and it works perfectly with it. Much more responsive to the controls, in fact. Seems like the stock Tx that came with the plane had a lot of dead space.

Can't wait till we have another pretty day so I can try it out. :)

Take care, and happy flying!

Lipos, well...the transformation is dramatic. While new ball game. You can get a cheapo balance charger for $20 and a cheap 2200 for $20 and off you go. Fires? Pretty rare, unless you charge at the wrong voltage.
Good move to put in the better RX.
As far as the A-10 goes, I put a little review up on www.rcfreedom.com I don't want to post all the same stuff everywhere...

donjiskra
02-18-2008, 04:50 PM
Hey, I made the transition to lipo's three yearsa ago and NEVER had a fire problem because I've ALWAYS charged then with a charger that could do lipo batteries. (the original Triton).

If you set the charger properly you will not have a problem. My batteries never get hot. Just make sure the charger is set properly !!!!

You won't burn up the brushed motors if you use 2s instead of 3s packs.

The lighter lipo's will affect your CG balance so you will need to adjust for that but the flight performance and duration will improve a lot.

I've been using CorrosionX for many years in my float planes, that stuff is amazing.
It really works!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good luck,
Don

gzsfrk
02-19-2008, 02:41 AM
I changed out my connector to a deans, and installed a cheap 3s 2200 12c lipo. Right on the tray where the old nimh was, just a friction fit.


I'm looking to go the LiPo route with mine (at least part of the time) as well now, but I was wondering--did you install a LiPo saver along with your battery? If not, how are you keeping up with the LiPo cell voltage to avoid going below 3.3v? If you flew it up to 12 minutes, I have to think that you're pretty confident that you aren't bumping up against the limit.

As far as I could tell, there's no kind of BEC shut off mechanism in the stock ESC--when I tested it, it just let the prop run till the entire NiMH battery was drained.

easytiger
02-19-2008, 04:41 AM
I'm looking to go the LiPo route with mine (at least part of the time) as well now, but I was wondering--did you install a LiPo saver along with your battery? If not, how are you keeping up with the LiPo cell voltage to avoid going below 3.3v? If you flew it up to 12 minutes, I have to think that you're pretty confident that you aren't bumping up against the limit.

As far as I could tell, there's no kind of BEC shut off mechanism in the stock ESC--when I tested it, it just let the prop run till the entire NiMH battery was drained.

I did not use any sort of saver, I just took a chance...12 minutes, and the power did not feel like it was tapering off even then...
But, yes, you risk puffing the pack with overdischarge unless you use some sort of liposaver.
I doubt the cutoff in the BEC, even if there was one, would be set for the lipos anyway...
But we are talking about a $20 battery, and an old one at that. I took that risk. If you set a timer for 8 minutes or so, you would be plenty safe. Or spend a few bucks for a liposaver cutoff.

GreenAce92
02-19-2008, 05:15 AM
Is this"liposaver" like an LVC? Im trying to get into lipo also and am gathering info here n' there.

gzsfrk
02-19-2008, 05:43 AM
Is this"liposaver" like an LVC? Im trying to get into lipo also and am gathering info here n' there.

This (http://www.rcflyair.com/) was actually what I was thinking of.

gzsfrk
02-19-2008, 05:47 AM
I did not use any sort of saver, I just took a chance...12 minutes, and the power did not feel like it was tapering off even then...
But, yes, you risk puffing the pack with overdischarge unless you use some sort of liposaver.
I doubt the cutoff in the BEC, even if there was one, would be set for the lipos anyway...
But we are talking about a $20 battery, and an old one at that. I took that risk. If you set a timer for 8 minutes or so, you would be plenty safe. Or spend a few bucks for a liposaver cutoff.

Well, I'm going to have to figure out something. I took the plunge and ordered a couple 2250mah 3s lipos and an IMax B6 charger from HobbyCity.com today. I also ordered a couple of the TowerPro brushless/ESC combos (this one (http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=4709), actually) that I'm considering using in the Catalina. But if it flies as well as you say with just the 3s Lipo, then I might just leave in the stock engines and install some kind of LVC or Lipo Saver mechanism and leave it be. I can always save the brushless motors for use in an ARF. I've been itching to put together a Slow Stick anyway. :)

easytiger
02-19-2008, 01:26 PM
I would leave the stock motors, just change the batt, and find a lipo saver. Or fly it without. My experience is you are really rolling the dice with Hobby City. Like many other customers, you will find it is great...until it isin't. Particularly their lipo batts, which puff regularly. Get your stuff from somewhere local, with a warranty. My two cents.

gzsfrk
02-19-2008, 03:34 PM
I would leave the stock motors, just change the batt, and find a lipo saver. Or fly it without. My experience is you are really rolling the dice with Hobby City. Like many other customers, you will find it is great...until it isin't. Particularly their lipo batts, which puff regularly. Get your stuff from somewhere local, with a warranty. My two cents.

I wouldn't have gone with the LiPos or charger from HobbyCity, except that I found several people highly recommending the Loong Max batteries that they sell, and also a few positive reviews of the IMax B6. Granted, they could turn out to be crap, in which case I would be screwed, since there's no way I'm paying the shipping back to HK. But for the price, I'm willing to take a chance. I just can't bring myself to pay $80 for a Thunder Power and $150 for a comparable charger at my LHS when I've got a pretty good shot at having the near same (or possibly even better, in the case of the charger) parts for less than $100.

As for the brushless combos--I've read lots of people on the forums here and on RCG being really happy with the TowerPro parts. They're by no means the top end, but I'd imagine that, barring some bad luck with QC, they'll be fine for entry level engines. And for $20, it's hard not to take the jump.

Hopefully, I won't be an exception to that expectation. :)

easytiger
02-19-2008, 03:47 PM
You definitely don't need the top end, Thunder Power batts, or even an expensive charger. One of the little $20 balance chargers will do just fine, as will a $20 3E brand battery. The Towerpro cheapo motors, they are just what you say, and, for the most part, they work just fine. And their bigger motors are very nice indeed. Try BPhobbies.com for good deals and good service, right here in the USA. Plenty of mail order places that are not risky at all...

FlyingMonkey
02-19-2008, 11:08 PM
I wouldn't have gone with the LiPos or charger from HobbyCity, except that I found several people highly recommending the Loong Max batteries that they sell, and also a few positive reviews of the IMax B6.

I don't know about the charger, but the batteries are awesome. At least for what I have been doing with them, and to them...

LaptopZZ
02-20-2008, 12:36 AM
Good review.... but my only point of buying this plane would be for ROW (Rise off water). Shameful you didn't have a water maiden. I am curious how long it takes to get airborne from the water.

Other than the fact that it floats its just like any other dual motor foamie..

gzsfrk
02-20-2008, 01:06 AM
Good review.... but my only point of buying this plane would be for ROW (Rise off water). Shameful you didn't have a water maiden. I am curious how long it takes to get airborne from the water.

Other than the fact that it floats its just like any other dual motor foamie..

Well, I mean... There's also the fact that it looks cool. :)

I mean--that's the main reason I decided to buy it, at least. Aesthetics count for something.

But yes, I am getting impatient wanting to launch from and land on the water. Hopefully, we'll get a really nice, warm week within a month or so and I can head down to the lake.

LaptopZZ
02-20-2008, 01:40 AM
Well, I mean... There's also the fact that it looks cool. :)

I mean--that's the main reason I decided to buy it, at least. Aesthetics count for something.

But yes, I am getting impatient wanting to launch from and land on the water. Hopefully, we'll get a really nice, warm week within a month or so and I can head down to the lake.

Awesome, I look forward to another video *nudge* right?

gzsfrk
02-20-2008, 05:00 AM
Awesome, I look forward to another video *nudge* right?

I'll tell you what--you work it out with God for it to be guaranteed sunny 65' or warmer on Saturday with no wind at lake level, and I'll have you a video posted the next day. Deal? :)

LaptopZZ
02-20-2008, 05:20 AM
I'll tell you what--you work it out with God for it to be guaranteed sunny 65' or warmer on Saturday with no wind at lake level, and I'll have you a video posted the next day. Deal? :)

So picky! I used to fly my helis with 2+ ft of snow on the ground!

gzsfrk
02-20-2008, 07:34 AM
So picky! I used to fly my helis with 2+ ft of snow on the ground!

Us Southerners don't like cold weather--we would, weather permitting, stay outside in shorts and flip-flops year round if we could. As it is, we tend to pout at the cold a lot during the winter months. :)

gzsfrk
02-20-2008, 06:28 PM
Just thought I would post an update--looks like the GuanLi Catalina has sold pretty well; RaidenTech.com is already sold out of them, along with both the new A10 models they were offering. Guess quite a few people WERE interested in picking them up as an ARF with some toss-away radio equipment. :)

(Or at least, I'm HOPING that it wasn't all newbies picking them only to have them crash and burn early on. :) )

ministeve2003
02-20-2008, 09:23 PM
I looked at this same model (raidentech) at nitroplanes.com and decided to go with the focke wulf instead... same company....
http://www.nitroplanes.com/new204chfofw.html

But it suffers the same issues as yours... I used some slow V pushrods for elevator and rudder, I replaced all the servos for hxt900's after finding out 1 of the servo's was striped and another was faulty... $3.50 each for 3 of them wasn't too bad though....and I replanced the pull-pull wire system with a better mico dubro one... also they didn't put the ailerons on very well so I had to use some tape to make sure they stayed straight...

I could have flown it the way it was, but went with a eflite park370 outrunner and a 2250 lipo for plenty of speed and good 30min flight times...

Using dx6 it needed the travel adjustment limited to about 75%high/50%low rates or it thought it was a 3d plane...lol

the planes landing gear came off easy (my fault) but needed to be epoxy'd on in the first place... the 2 screws holding each one to the plane are pathetic... same as the gws setup...

Overall... the plane flys beautiful and looks great in the sky... and with my setup flys about 25min full throttle...lol

The plane would be great in an $50 arf...

gzsfrk
02-20-2008, 10:29 PM
Thanks for the notes about the GuanLi warbird, ms2k3. But it sounds like you pretty much just paid for the foam and not much else. In that case, $82 wasn't necessarily such a great deal. :)

The plane would be great in an $50 arf...

Well, they don't have a Focke Wulf, but this site (http://www.r2hobbies.com/products.php?cat=11) does have a couple of warbird foamie ARFs for very cheap.

http://images.r2hobbies.com/RCP0138_arf/01s.jpg

F4U Corsair with 34" wingspan for $25.57 + shipping. Even comes with a 370 brushed motor and gearbox. Just needs ESC, Rx, servos, and batt. But then, I guess you'd also be upgrading the motor as well. :)

And there's this one:

http://images.r2hobbies.com/RCP0149_arf/01s.jpg

P-51 Mustang--basically the same as the Corsair in what it comes with and what it needs. $27.71 + shipping.

They also have a couple other really good foamie ARFs that come with just the body and motor--a 3-channel yellow J-3 Piper Cub (http://www.r2hobbies.com/proddetail.php?prod=rcpl51034_arf) just like mine for ~$15, a nice looking 4-channel Cessna (http://www.r2hobbies.com/proddetail.php?prod=rcpl51030_arf) for ~$20, and a neat 3-channel Baby Cat (http://www.r2hobbies.com/proddetail.php?prod=rcpl51023) (ailerons and elevator) for about $24.

I bought some Dean's Ultra connectors from them off ebay, and then they sent me a link to their direct store. I had to force myself to stop looking around earlier, lest I spend yet more money that my wife won't let me have. ;)

ministeve2003
02-20-2008, 10:55 PM
$82 wasn't necessarily such a great deal. :)

http://images.r2hobbies.com/RCP0149_arf/01s.jpg

P-51 Mustang--basically the same as the Corsair in what it comes with and what it needs. $27.71 + shipping.

They also have a couple other really good foamie ARFs that come with just the body and motor--a 3-channel yellow J-3 Piper Cub (http://www.r2hobbies.com/proddetail.php?prod=rcpl51034_arf) just like mine for ~$15, a nice looking 4-channel Cessna (http://www.r2hobbies.com/proddetail.php?prod=rcpl51030_arf) for ~$20, and a neat 3-channel Baby Cat (http://www.r2hobbies.com/proddetail.php?prod=rcpl51023) (ailerons and elevator) for about $24.

I bought some Dean's Ultra connectors from them off ebay, and then they sent me a link to their direct store. I had to force myself to stop looking around earlier, lest I spend yet more money that my wife won't let me have. ;)

Ohhhh.... That p51 looks good.... and yes $84 sucks for this plane... but $30 looks great for that p51...lol

SK

DAngilello
02-25-2008, 11:52 PM
Good news.
I couldn't wait for warm weather, so I maidened the PBY off the snow.
It took full power and around ten yards, but it finally got off the ground!

First flight was just wide ovals with some 'touch and goes' to get a feeling for landings. The second flight included a reversed Immelmann (half roll inverted then half loop), and then an inside loop (after a shallow dive.) The attempt at a full roll ending in an inverted stall (recovered.) Be warned, the glide slope is steep, so if your battery dumps, you are dead stick landing right now!

I think this plane is great because it's cheap, looks cool, and is a seaplane.
I had tons of fun flying off the snow.
I can't wait for warm weather to fly off water.

It sucks because it's a kit (not RTF as listed), it is underpowered, and it is disposable (one good crash and goodbye!)

But I'm going to enjoy the PBY while it lasts.

FYI
Fresh water won't hurt electronics, you just need to dry them out.
I plan to seal the hatch with tape.
Don't run off salt water.

easytiger
02-26-2008, 12:01 AM
Good news.
I couldn't wait for warm weather, so I maidened the PBY off the snow.
It took full power and around ten yards, but it finally got off the ground!

First flight was just wide ovals with some 'touch and goes' to get a feeling for landings. The second flight included a reversed Immelmann (half roll inverted then half loop), and then an inside loop (after a shallow dive.) The attempt at a full roll ending in an inverted stall (recovered.) Be warned, the glide slope is steep, so if your battery dumps, you are dead stick landing right now!

I think this plane is great because it's cheap, looks cool, and is a seaplane.
I had tons of fun flying off the snow.
I can't wait for warm weather to fly off water.

It sucks because it's a kit (not RTF as listed), it is underpowered, and it is disposable (one good crash and goodbye!)

But I'm going to enjoy the PBY while it lasts.

FYI
Fresh water won't hurt electronics, you just need to dry them out.
I plan to seal the hatch with tape.
Don't run off salt water.

To me, it's an RTF, only minimal assembly required. To each his own!
Disposeable, yep, pretty much!
Underpowered? Hmmm...yeah, you could say that. Modestly powered, let's say. Add a three cell lipo, though, and it's anything but.

Beware of this, though, about the glide...if you take the power off entirely, the two props become airbrakes, and the glide drops precipitously. Keep the motors idling just a little, and the situation changes totally. It will float around and catch thermals.

I did mine off snow, too, lots of fun...
What a hoot for $99...

gzsfrk
02-26-2008, 03:58 AM
Good news.
I couldn't wait for warm weather, so I maidened the PBY off the snow.
It took full power and around ten yards, but it finally got off the ground!


Nice! Glad to hear about the successful maiden. I don't think I've read about anyone yet who has crashed theirs on first flight. Of course, if I had crashed mine on the first flight, I wouldn't exactly have been itching to come back here and describe all the gory details. (Although I would have, since I had to finish the review. :) )

DaveESPI
02-26-2008, 03:40 PM
http://aycu03.webshots.com/image/44362/2001103678447296747_rs.jpg[/img]
DELAY in build due to CATNAPALINA !
OK, not a bad "ARTF" kit !
Mine was well made, the parts all fit with only minor fuss, and all electronics worked right out of the box. very little glitches, and the motors were good as well. I would highly reccomend sealing the electronics in some sort of splash proof cases ( small plastic snap containers perhaps or film containers as water will be possinle to get in the nose of this plane if you stuff the landing or catch the bow too hard. I had to notch a little bit out for where to route the engine wires into the wings, but it was easy with the dremel tool. I want to be able to take the top wing off, so I cut holes big enough to get the washers and screws up and out of the top of the wingmount after I glued the wing seam and plastic trim piece on top.
I'll try to maiden it in the next couple of days as we are expecting a bit of snow, and It should be able to take off nicely over some soft pack. It has Plenty of push, so the supplied motors are OK from what I can tell.
Have to tape the leading edges, and hull bottom, and the tail horizontal stab is indeed a bit fragile. Perhaps a stiff thin rod throug it will help strengthen it. Also, the connecting rods under the wing struts are fine IMHO. they work nicely and are adjustable. Overall I'd say this is indeed not a "Flyout of the box" plane, but flyable in 5 hours.
http://aycu07.webshots.com/image/44046/2001161007551750023_rs.jpg
http://aycu35.webshots.com/image/45914/2001119903526988308_rs.jpg
http://aycu40.webshots.com/image/43759/2001162909343067220_rs.jpg
http://aycu34.webshots.com/image/44233/2001179838659401481_rs.jpg
http://aycu20.webshots.com/image/43579/2001120190675338692_rs.jpg

gzsfrk
02-26-2008, 03:48 PM
http://aycu03.webshots.com/image/44362/2001103678447296747_rs.jpg
DELAY in build due to CATNAPALINA !

Hah... awesome. :)

OK, not a bad "ARTF" kit !
Mine was well made, the parts all fit with only minor fuss, and all electronics worked right out of the box. very little glitches, and the motors were good as well.

Glad to hear that your build went well!


http://aycu40.webshots.com/image/43759/2001162909343067220_rs.jpg


Interesting paint job--almost looks like shadows on water. Perfect camoflague for sneaking up on the unsuspecting carp! ;)

DaveESPI
02-26-2008, 04:26 PM
Ya, I was looking for the shimmering water effect. I decided if I really did paint it like a true night fighter plane, there would be good chances I'd lose orientation as to how Iwas flying a solid black/blue tiger striped plane, and roll it into the earth in a heavy handed over correction of the sticks.

I will add in some grey to the belly, but I wanted to leave it with just the black/ white for now and see how it looked in the air.


Sidenote: I picked up the ME-109 from this company also from Raidentech.

I was quite happy with this one and the quality was a B+ IMHO for the money, so I just need to trim this one out and get the COG measured, and I hope to fly it tomorrow :)

ministeve2003
02-26-2008, 04:50 PM
check the cheap servos they put into it... my focke wulf had the bottom half of the servos unscrewed and one of them looked like it worked untill I moved it quickly from side to side a few times and then it showed it was stripped... I replaced all the servos with hxt900's for 3.50 each... better safe than sorry...lol
SK

DAngilello
02-26-2008, 06:19 PM
I forgot to mention; I built the Guan Li PBY almost totally stock.
The only changes I made were:
Ran thin CA foam safe down the centerline to seal up the body seam.
Used 15 minute epoxy to assemble the foam pieces.
Used "Servo Arm Easy Connectors" (Ebay) on the rudder and elevator pushrods.

So, the bottom was just the bare foam, and got scrapped up flying off the snow. Not bad, but I'm glad I caught this when I did. Don't belly-land without reinforcing the bottom! Tape would work, but I plan to use Towercote. (www.towerhobbies.com) I've got a white roll somewhere...

I don't plan to fly this plane enough to justify a brushless motor / ESC / lipo upgrade. I think I'll just try an 8 cell 9.6V NiMH pack next.

FYI - The Guan Li A10 is four channel, but has a steerable nose wheel, not rudders as listed.

gzsfrk
02-27-2008, 09:57 PM
Holy moly!

The 3S LiPos I ordered came in today, and after charging one of them, I decided to try it in my Catalina as easytiger had described. Holy moly! What a difference a few more volts makes. I didn't even have it at half throttle and it was producing more thrust than the 8.4v NiMH. When I briefly had it at full throttle, stuff went flying everywhere off the table I had it sitting on and it was all I could do to keep the thing from moving forward.

Can't wait to try flying the thing with the LiPos, although I still need to find a good LVC solution for a brushed ESC.

Now I'm thinking I might have to find a really light little 7.4v LiPo for my Yellow Bee. That thing would turn into a bullet! :)

ministeve2003
02-28-2008, 05:34 PM
let us know how much better it flys with the lipo... I converted my focke wulf to brushless before flying it... I cut back to a 8x6 prop to slow it down...lol now with a 2250 pack it flys forever...
SK

easytiger
02-29-2008, 02:49 AM
Holy moly!

The 3S LiPos I ordered came in today, and after charging one of them, I decided to try it in my Catalina as easytiger had described. Holy moly! What a difference a few more volts makes. I didn't even have it at half throttle and it was producing more thrust than the 8.4v NiMH. When I briefly had it at full throttle, stuff went flying everywhere off the table I had it sitting on and it was all I could do to keep the thing from moving forward.

Can't wait to try flying the thing with the LiPos, although I still need to find a good LVC solution for a brushed ESC.

Now I'm thinking I might have to find a really light little 7.4v LiPo for my Yellow Bee. That thing would turn into a bullet! :)

Tojaso!

In flight, the difference is quite dramatic. Like, climb out at a 45 degree angle with the lipo batt.

Same transformation to the A-10, though the A-10 is certainly more sprightly than the Catalina on NIMH power. With the Lipo, it's just great.

I have the P-47 put together, it's as cute as a button. I will try her first tomorrow with NIMH power, then do the lipo upgrade. Just want to see her fly first on the stock gear.

I also have the ME109.

The servos, several of mine did not have the case screws screwed down all the way, like yours. And one of them had a broken gear right from the start. Oh, well. I put that one on the rudder of the P-47 and unplugged it for the moment...I am not using landing gear. I also used some of the excess clear material from the decal sheet for skid protection on the fuselage.

I would NOT call all the electronics junk, not by a long shot. The servos in the Catalina and A-10 have been fine so far...out of 10 servos, only one has been bad...

wilky
02-29-2008, 02:57 AM
I put that one on the rudder of the P-47 and unplugged it for the moment...I am not using landing gear.

Tiger, Just a thought. when a servo is unpowered they are fairly easy to move. are you not concerned that the rudder may get bumped or move in flight causing the plane to start to turn? If the servos shot, why not run some CA down into it to lock in in place if your just using it to hold the rudder still.:ws:

easytiger
02-29-2008, 03:01 AM
It's a thought, but I'm not really worried. The forces on that tiny rudder are not much. As soon as I have a chance, I will change the servo out, though, so I don't want to glue it...

DaveESPI
03-01-2008, 05:35 PM
WHat did you guys do to set the COG out of the box ?

Can it fly just as it comes out of the box with no mods ? it seems a tad nose heavy, but maybe thats all depends on where you hold it from.

I was going to fly it lastnight off the snow, but it was a tad too windy and dark for my pleasure in the parking lot so I opted for another smaller 30.00 plane that was a blast to fly from TRU :D

I ordered the winter camo ME-109 from raidentech. I assume it is the same Manufactuer ?

hopefully there is a thread about it around somewhere also.

easytiger
03-01-2008, 05:46 PM
WHat did you guys do to set the COG out of the box ?

Can it fly just as it comes out of the box with no mods ? it seems a tad nose heavy, but maybe thats all depends on where you hold it from.

I was going to fly it lastnight off the snow, but it was a tad too windy and dark for my pleasure in the parking lot so I opted for another smaller 30.00 plane that was a blast to fly from TRU :D

I ordered the winter camo ME-109 from raidentech. I assume it is the same Manufactuer ?

hopefully there is a thread about it around somewhere also.

CG is set from the factory, and it's non-critical, anyway. It's a floater.

I have the ME109 also(yes, same manufacturer), it's nice, but it will snap, given not much provocation. Small tail surfaces. The P-47, though, is just great...

easytiger
03-01-2008, 05:47 PM
Yes, it can fly right out of the box with NO mods.
By the way, ditch the spinners...they cost power, they are there as a safety feature so nobody gets poked by the prop shafts...

gzsfrk
03-01-2008, 09:34 PM
I'm going to hold off on flying the Catalina with the 11.1v lipo for the time being. My Watts Up meter came in and I've done some testing.

With a fully charged 7 cell (8.4v) NiMH battery, the Catalina pulls about 11A at full throttle sustained with servo action. However, with the 3S (11.1v) LiPo plugged in, that leaps up to over 25A with just the engines at full throttle. I really doubt that the cheap-o ESC is rated at 25A, so I'm thinking I'll install an ESC for which I know the specs before flying with the lipo.

Also, the BEC is way underpowered to handle the downconversion from 11.1v to the 5.5v needed by the servos and Rx. In my tests, with no throttle, I operated all the servos constantly for several seconds. Over the course of about 10 seconds, all 4 of the servos will gradually weaken and then eventually one of them will seize up (buzzing noise), rendering all controls inoperable until you disconnect then reconnect the battery. There is no such issue when using an 8.4v NiMH (presumably because the BEC in the ESC has less work to do to downconvert the voltage). That's just too big a risk, even if I was careful not to overwork the controls while flying.

I think I'm going to either order a SmartBEC, or maybe try and find a good brushed 30A ESC with an LVC cutoff switch you can set for either NiMH or LiPo. Anyone have any suggestions?

easytiger
03-01-2008, 10:36 PM
Actually, the ESC IS rated 25a, says so right there in the instructions.

The BEC, I cannot imagine a scenario where you would be running all four servos continuously for ten seconds with this Dumbo, unless you were trying to hover it.

And full throttle is a rare scenario, too.

But, hey, it does indeed fly on 8.4v, so do that, if that's what you like, but it's a lot more fun on 11v, the possibility of a crash due to overwhelming the BEC is a rather "corner" scenario.
I'm going to glass the bottom of mine for longevity, when I have the chance...the foam does not hold up well to snow or grass, much less anything rougher...

gzsfrk
03-02-2008, 06:19 AM
Actually, the ESC IS rated 25a, says so right there in the instructions.

Thanks for pointing that out. I don't know what happened to my instructions sheet, nor did I even realize the ESC specs were printed on it.

The BEC, I cannot imagine a scenario where you would be running all four servos continuously for ten seconds with this Dumbo, unless you were trying to hover it.

Flying lipos without a lipo LVC, running 4 servos off a BEC that can barely sustain them--you DO love to live in the Danger Zone, don't you? :)

I'm going to glass the bottom of mine for longevity, when I have the chance...the foam does not hold up well to snow or grass, much less anything rougher...

When you do that, be sure to post some pics and write up a short flight review of it post-mod if you get the chance. I'm curious as to how that would look and fly. As for me, I've belly landed mine on 7 different flights (2 more today, thanks to the lovely weather), and the bottom is still in pristine condition with only the packing tape coating that I have on it.

FlyingMonkey
03-02-2008, 10:11 AM
Tiger, Just a thought. when a servo is unpowered they are fairly easy to move. are you not concerned that the rudder may get bumped or move in flight causing the plane to start to turn? If the servos shot, why not run some CA down into it to lock in in place if your just using it to hold the rudder still.:ws:

It's foam, isn't it?


Just shove a toothpick though the rudder into the vert stab, you can always pull it out later.

easytiger
03-02-2008, 01:54 PM
Thanks for pointing that out. I don't know what happened to my instructions sheet, nor did I even realize the ESC specs were printed on it.



Flying lipos without a lipo LVC, running 4 servos off a BEC that can barely sustain them--you DO love to live in the Danger Zone, don't you? :)



When you do that, be sure to post some pics and write up a short flight review of it post-mod if you get the chance. I'm curious as to how that would look and fly. As for me, I've belly landed mine on 7 different flights (2 more today, thanks to the lovely weather), and the bottom is still in pristine condition with only the packing tape coating that I have on it.


This Dumbo could not even wheeze up the onramp to the Highway To The Danger Zone. It's one of those planes that you can put down the TX to light your cigar while flying. I don't really feel any risk from the BEC at all.

Glassing, well, it's just a little neater than tape. There are many online tutorials and such about that...I use West Systems, my favorite.

Yes...a toothpick will work, good idea, on the rudder. I've already replaced the servo, though...

gzsfrk
03-04-2008, 03:40 PM
Actually, the ESC IS rated 25a, says so right there in the instructions.

Just an FYI. I found my Catalina instruction/spec sheet over the weekend, and the graphic shows that mine supposedly has a 40A ESC? Now THAT seems odd. But if true, then my worries about overloading the ESC are certainly unnecessary. (BEC concerns are still worth considering, though.)

I ought to try and simply build a resistor (or series of resistors) setup, hook them up, and try running it up to 20A, 25A, and then 30A and hand check the temp on the ESC. What's generally the hottest, temperature wise, that an ESC should be able to safely run before you risk damaging it?

easytiger
03-04-2008, 04:06 PM
You are right...the ESCs in the twins(A10 and Catalina) are indeed 40a, the ones in the singles are 25a...

I would not worry about toasting them...

gzsfrk
03-05-2008, 10:52 PM
Well, I took the Cat out for a spin today with the 3S 2250mah LiPo, and I have to say, I have mixed feelings. While it initially was crazy with power (I -did- manage to do the loop this time :) ), it seemed to drop off kind of fast. Got the battery back in, checked it, and it was still over 11v, so I'm thinking I may well have been overloading the ESC to some extent (not via amperage, possibly, but maybe it just wasn't designed to handle 11.1v input).

After flying with the 3S, I downgraded back down to the 8.4v NiMHs for two flights for comparison. While the drop in power was noticeable, it wasn't so bad that I couldn't stand to fly it after experiencing the power increase that the LiPo provided. Maybe I should just go ahead and take the plunge to upgrade the thing to dual brushless and be done with it. :)

I think I may also be having some CG issues. I balanced the plane according to the spec sheet, which shows that the CG should be about 1" from the leading edge of the main wing. I thought that was strange, since the general rule of thumb I read is 1/3 the distance from the leading edge of the main wing to the trailing edge.

Is that how yours is balanced, easyt? If not, where do you have your CG set?

FlyingMonkey
03-06-2008, 01:31 AM
Brushed motors do not like 3S lipos.

They could be on their way out already..

Time for a couple towerpro brushless motors :D

easytiger
03-06-2008, 04:17 PM
Brushed motors do not like 3S lipos.

They could be on their way out already..

Time for a couple towerpro brushless motors :D

You can't assume that, as you don't really know how the motors are wound...

At any rate, I have at least five flights on mine, and the motors are still holding up on 3s. I don't do a lot of flying at full power...the plane just does not need it.
There is enough power with the NIMH pack to fly fine. More than enough with the 3s lipo pack!
CG...you know, I just don't remember. I built it stock, then put it on my fingertips just to make sure it was not tailheavy, I was not particularly precise about it. With the lipo pack, the CG probably moved back a little. It's not really critical on this aircraft, and it DOES sound like it is set far forward, if I started from scratch, I'd do 1/3 back from the LE and not be even slightly worried about it being tailheavy...in other words, you can try to move it back, I would not expect it to bite you. But since the thing is floaty and nice where the CG is set from the factory, you can just as well leave it alone....

cr2k
03-23-2008, 04:07 AM
Flew the PBY with an 1800 3s LiPo today. On second landing it totally quit. Had to wait for the breeze to blow it in to shore. Got home and found out the receiver was toast. Thankfully it happened on landing and not in the air.
Put a 127 Futaba in it and it seems to work fine. Will try it on the pond in a few days. I think the Futaba should handle the load. I will check voltage and if necessary I have a voltage regulator from a computer that will work for the rcvr. BUT BOY did it fly sweet! 10 ft. take off at 1/2 throttle!

easytiger
05-14-2008, 12:33 AM
Nitro says these will be back in stock next week, along with all the other Guanli planes...so keep checking their website.
They also said they would again be brushed, because Guanli cannot provide high enough quality on the electronics(brushless stuff) to make it worth the extra money. So, hey, they are great for the paltry money they get for these in brushed form, even if you have to spend a few bucks to convert to brushless. The Catalina flies great on brushed power anyway...

easytiger
05-17-2008, 02:34 AM
The Catalina is in stock now at nitroplanes...last time, they sold out really quick, so if you have an extra hundred dollar bill lying around, now is the time...

DaveESPI
06-10-2008, 04:34 AM
Mental Health Day at the lake ended with Good PBY Maiden Flight
Had my first day off in like 10 days from working. Went to the lake this afternoon with my buddy Kris. He dropped me off at his Moms place as he had to go do an Airconditioning job in that vacinity. I helped his family put the boat and jetskis in the water, fuel um up and then cooked some BBQ'd chicken and had a nice refreshing dip in the lake and rode around on the Bombardier for a few laps. Was good to see his family again since the last time I think I had seen them we all were in a sad state of mind back in November. To end the evening we went for a cruise around the lake in various craft, recovered the paddle boat from down the lake as it decided to "drift" astray over the winter.

I (FINALY !) flew the maiden battery pack (http://www.rcuniverse.com/buynow/keywordclick.cfm?bid_id=5287) on my GUANLI - RC plane PBY CATALINA. Perfect wind, and fairly calm lake. It was a bit nerve wracking at first with there being some rollers and chop on the lake, but I waited for the rollers to be uniform in size, and I puttered around the inlet for a minute to get a feel for how it would react in the water, then pointed her out to the center and hit the throttle. Gave it some lift and pulled back on the stick to see it climb smooth and steady up and out. I flew for a full 5 minutes with nice gracefull circles and a few figure-8s then brought it in close for a fly by and then a few low passes. People on the shore and in a few boats slowed down to watch and were gape jawed as the sun was setting and it looked really smooth flying out over the lake. On final approach I tried to watch the way how the water waves were rolling, and skip the plane in for a nice smooth landing, but the right wing pontoon caught a wave cap and spun it around bringing it to a stop. It was what I predicted happening -REALFLIGHT4 Simulator mimics this perfectly with the PBY model in there, so I was prepared for it to happen and gave it a little left roll, andpulled the wing out of the water before it torpedoed the nose. Not a "perfect" landing, but a sucessfull one that allowed me to putter it back to the dock and not have people laughing as I swam my ass out to get it http://image2-0.rcuniverse.com/e1/forum/image/s45.gif
Before flying I managed to lose one of the wing struts from walking to the dock (I knew it was not affixed properly, and didn't tape the closeure hasp, so I lost it), but it flew fine without it. The wave tore the wing pontoon loose also, but it was only hotglued in place (So it could break away if I did clip it hard enough and not snap the wing, so it acted as I had exactly planned it to)


Will definately be flying this bird a lot more !


Hopefully a Vid nexttime :)

jcrawford05
03-30-2009, 03:35 AM
you need 3 posts to be able to post a link? ok here is post #3 next is my maiden flight video!

jcrawford05
03-30-2009, 03:36 AM
here is my maiden Windy and raining IT WAS GREAT WOO HOO!! more real flying vids to come not disasters like this one haha.. (and water)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhqLeMlUEbo

Alpea42
03-30-2009, 08:24 PM
Gotta give you an A+ for effort. Most people would not have been there. As far as the video goes put the camera in manual focus to infinity so the camera isn't trying to focus on the rain drops on the lens. LOL

jcrawford05
03-30-2009, 08:39 PM
haha thanks... I could adjust the camera... or just fly on days that dont require foul weather gear! :)

jcrawford05
04-05-2009, 04:48 AM
here is the latest catalina video.... went swell.... actually the water rudder worked great for my first maiden off water :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rijPa_5jx7o

DaveESPI
04-05-2009, 06:47 AM
awww mannnnn SPPALLASHHH !

gah that sux. so what was toast ? the RX and ESC ?

Ive got 6 flights on mine sofar, and luckily no "drinks" in the cabin.It looked like you tip stalled it and were being too heavy with the sticks. It really is a finnesse plane. Slow lumbering turns and scale flights untill you get used to it, then with some altitude you can rip rolls.

GerryD
04-06-2009, 08:25 PM
I've got a Guanli version and other than replacing the 'stock' servos with HS-55's it is built as it came. I just taped on the wingtip pontoons as we were on a lake and I would like to fly it off grass without the pontoons.
It was amazing how much control the ailerons gave to water taxiing without dragging the pontoons. It is a nice slow stable flyer and every landing was straight and smooth with none of the expected spins at the end. Seems to be a really nice flyer although I don't think I will fly it on any but nigh to dead calm days. My first experience with brushed/geared motors. When they wear out I'll go brushless, but for now it is fine as it comes.. Gerry

catalinadarve
04-21-2009, 03:32 AM
Whoa man you totally JFK'd it. I used to JFK my planes all the time.Just aerobirds though. Got tired of driving to the hobby store to buy more planes! Local guy sold em for 150 bucks. So I started to barledoo my controller and now I seem to be a Scully pilot "from the hudson river" Man I love this !

HobbyCult
05-19-2009, 02:13 AM
Flew at the lake yester day. Beautiful plane, flies perfect. For the price you gotta go in to it knowing you need to make upgrades as you go. five min epoxy in the right places and i brushed on a belly coat of epoxy. this one's had a few hard landing and is cherry besides the missing sticker.
The stock motor only lasted three flights on a 2100 11.1.
Pictures thanks to my Beautiful wife.

Mark963
05-20-2009, 06:44 PM
I've got a couple dumb questions for anyone kind enough to chime in. Are the wings supposed to be glued together? Is strapping tape pretty much the standard for adding a little protection to the bottom? I saw some comments way back about glassing the bottom, but I don't know if anyone actually did that. Thanks.

HobbyCult - nice bird!

GerryD
05-21-2009, 11:33 PM
On the bottom of the hull I put the sticky plastic that is designed to protect the bottom of RC cars. Comes in a sheet about 9" by 19" or so, at your LHS, but is a little spendy at $10. Used about half a sheet. Makes it really slick on grass and water and should protect it on pavement though I haven't tried that. Might try the really thin (.018") mylar flexible cutting board material you can get a WalMart in the housewares (kitchen) area. They are about 12" x 15" in a four pack for somewhere around $10. You can cut it to fit then spray it with a good contact cement.

And yes, at least my wings are glued together. I don't think they would be strong enough otherwise.

Mark963
05-24-2009, 03:48 AM
This plane seems to need a few tweaks right from the get go. I think I read elsewhere complaints of the Velcro on the hatch. It's awful. I replaced it with a pair of Neodymium magnets, but made sure that they didn't line up vertically. That way, they're always pulling, trying to get aligned, putting force down on the hatch. It closes VERY tight now and is a little hard to open up. I probably could have used a washer and a single magnet. I used epoxy to hold magnets in place.

I was concerned about how thin the foam bottom was and after thinking about it... and the fact that I've never glassed anything before and I was curious to try... I just had to. I used 30 minute epoxy, thinned with alcohol and 0.5 ounce/whatever SIG glass. I was concerned about if fitting over the complex surface of the bottom. There was only one trick required. Once I started gluing the glass in place, I used a razor blade and cut the glass from the front peak of the haul to the front tip. Then the two halves just laid over each other for the front 2" or so right over the seam in the foam. It's difficult to see now that it's set up.

I also noticed that push wires/sleeving to the rudder and elevator will allow a huge amount of play if there is any force back from the control surface. This can be eliminated by gluing the sleeves to the ply that they pass through right behind the servos.

I think others have commented that the motor mounts aren't lined up correctly so when the sticks are installed, the motors end up offset to one side of the foam housings. I dry fit everything and measured. Then I cut the front spar opening until the stick could be mounted straight. I used epoxy to glue the sticks to the spars.

I'm going straight to brushless (AX2308 1100kv that mount exactly as-is) with counter rotating 3-blade props, cutting openings in the back of the motor housings to let air flow through, 3S lipo and a new receiver so I can use a JR transmitter and seperate the two aileron servos so it can mix flap settings in as well. I found I could use the original spinners on the new motors if I just cut off the trailing edge that was meant for a two-bladed prop.

Mark963
05-25-2009, 11:11 PM
The aileron servo wiring is routed right over the rear spar. The coupler stuck out slightly, but it doesn't look too bad with some white tape over it. The wiring for the two brushless motors is run just in front of the rear spar. The wires from the left and right side have a wire tie holding them together right at the middle of the wing, so the wires will line up with the hole in the fuse mount.

On the bottom side, I cut off the "motor housing" at the rear spar to allow easier airflow. On the top, I wanted to do the same thing, but didn't want to trash the looks of the plane, so I cut two large holes, leaving a little bit of the cover right down the middle. Then I painted the spars and the wood stick with some "yellow" Apple Barrel Acrylic paint ($0.99 at any cheap hardware store). While I was at it, I painted the inside of the top and bottom housing black from the wing to the front opening. I think it adds something to it.

Following someone's suggestions (as almost everything I did was someone else's idea from here) I cut a piece of old Tupperware and put it under the wing joining cover, so the screws could go through from the top.

I tried a v-tail mixer to control the motors. Rudder and throttle in, two motor controls out. I've always wanted a giant AeroAce. It didn't seem to work really well. With both motors barely turning, if the rudder was put more than 1/4 either way, that motor would appear to go to full power - not quite what I was looking for. I could probably use the 6th channel of the Light Flight receiver and do some mixing in the radio to come up with what I want, but I'm not sure if its worth it.

The electronics are all wrapped in plastic. The ailerons are independently controlled, so they can both be set down as flaps to take off quicker or both up slightly to loose some of the under camber and maybe speed up a little more in the air. The two motors together measure 150W at 10V in and it seems like its just dying to jump.

I haven't put the floats on the wings yet. I read some comments about them causing more trouble than anything, making the plane spin around hard if it hits a good wave. On the other hand, it might just save the plane if one wingtip is headed into the water.

Thanks to everyone who posted about this plane. The manual certainly leaves a bit to be desired, but it isn't a very difficult plane to build either.

Mark963
05-27-2009, 02:16 AM
My Catalina flew for the first time today. I started out without the floats and found with the wind it was always dipping one wing in the water. Ailerons didn't work until the speed was up to good taxi. It was sort of OK once the throttle was up high enough, but I couldn't boat around back to shore without the floats. So I installed them using foam safe CA. That's a terrible idea. I got both floats back from the opposite shore, so in the end, I was glad for the wind. Really glad it wasn't out on the flowing river, but in a protected cove.

It's got a pair of 40A "super simple" ESC's, just wired straight together so with luck the built in bec's might share the load of the radio system. The motors draw roughly 10A at max. I'd wrapped them in sandwich bag plastic, 3 or 4 layers. One got hot enough to melt the plastic a bit. There's no chance for any air flow around the ESC's, which is why I went with a 40A ESC. Not sure what to do. Add a fan inside? Cut the shrink wrap off the heatsink and leave that exposed with some gorilla glue around the edge to seal it there and then just wrap some tape around the ends of the shrink wrap down the leads to seal them? Hmmm... I'm not use a switching BEC, but experimenting seems to indicate that the heat is more from the ESC function than the BEC. On any other plane, I just try to create some good airflow around the ESC, but that really isn't an option on a water bird.

GerryD
05-27-2009, 08:53 AM
Rather than wrapping the ESC's and having nigh to no airflow around them, have you considered using Corrosion - X on them? I haven't even wrapped the receiver. The motors, ESCs, and receiver have all been dunked/soaked in Corrosion X on all my waterbirds. With this craft, the receiver and ESCs shouldn't get wet unless you stove it in pretty well. I went with a couple of smaller Towerpro brushless motors and 12A ESCs. I did have a problem that sometimes on testing, at about 40% throttle the one motor would quit. I disabled the red wire from one ESC to the receiver and that problem went away. Never had that problem on other twins but have been warned by others that when using two ESCs I should only power the receiver/servos from ONE. I think I will try the Tupperware idea as the hold down bolts kind of want to sink the washers down into the wing, and it seems a caught wingtip could cause some damage there. I also like your flaperons idea. Might have to incorporate that... Thanks for the idea.... Gerry

robin4
10-10-2009, 11:37 PM
my brushless catalina

http://vimeo.com/6998703

pg_hermit
10-19-2009, 05:52 PM
Hello everyone; I'm pretty new to RC, so bought this as a trainer type with very little expectation of being able to fly it for long without a major disaster. The idea was to use it as a bash about and when it died use the guts from it to put into a scratch built CL-415. I've been building and flying free flight models for some time so have a pretty good idea about building and have done and flown a CL-415 free flight model. My RC experience is limited to gliders which I got started with this spring.

Trouble is, I like this thing! And I can fly it! This is the brushed version and as far as I'm concerned the brushed one is NOT short on power, flys from a hand launch and in a very scale like manner at about 2/3 throttle. Couple of things I changed were the color, yuch, sprayed it black like the old "Black Cat" squadron and didn't worry too much about scale documentation, and also put a shim under the front of the wing to increase the incidence a little. Seemed to fly with a nose up attitude before the change and looks much nicer in flight now, and seems to climb better. Elevator trim is still a bit "up" so I wonder if a bit more might even be needed.

Anyway, looks like the scratch build will have to get new gear, this one is staying as is for awhile.
Doug

cyclops2
10-21-2009, 02:08 PM
I agree totaly with you. :ws:

cyclops2
10-22-2009, 12:11 AM
3 water soaked RC gear and 1 day to dry between soaks caused NO problems. Yes we did blow off excess water under the ICs. Then rinsed with distilled water from my wifes ironing jug. Blow again. No corrosion under the big IC.

K CLOSE
10-22-2009, 02:02 AM
HobbyCult - nice bird!
:Q:Q:Q:Q:Q Thanks for that laugh Mark963!

tpr1035
10-27-2009, 12:18 AM
I also purchased the "RTF" NOT Catalina. Disappointed because there are no assembly instructions. What do I do? Wingit?

cyclops2
12-07-2009, 06:40 PM
It arrives in a few days.

Thanks to everyone else for finding all the problems & working out fixes. I should have a easy time.

Rich

Mark963
12-23-2009, 11:57 PM
and also put a shim under the front of the wing to increase the incidence a little. Seemed to fly with a nose up attitude before the change and looks much nicer in flight now, and seems to climb better. Elevator trim is still a bit "up" so I wonder if a bit more might even be needed.
Doug

Sigh... you free flight/glider guys... (I do a little of those, too.) That's one of the things I don't like about this plane. It really wants to squat on its butt a lot almost to the point of wanting to pitch up into a stall. I might try shimming the wing up to increase the decalage a little, too.

I had one bad bad bad low pass over the water. It was about 6 feet up and a little breeze hit it and it dove fast. It tore one of the floats right off. It got me thinking that a gyro on the elevator might help. Maybe next summer.

I did unwrap the ESC's. I'm using a pair of real cheap 30 or 40A "simple" ones from unitedhobbycityking. I ended up using a pwb conformal coating to cover the whole thing but the heatsink plate. Seems to be OK.

One thing I know for sure is that I'm not flying this one anymore until I get some sort of rescue boat to go pick up the floats or drag it's butt back to shore.

It's certainly a thrill lifting off water.

cyclops2
12-24-2009, 11:13 PM
What is PWB coating?

Rich

cyclops2
12-24-2009, 11:27 PM
And A BIG OLD child gets to play with his new toys.

:ws:

Rich

Mark963
12-27-2009, 01:58 AM
What is PWB coating?

Rich

aka "post coat" or "conformal coating"

Something like Humiseal's 1B31. There are a number of coatings for electronics that are used in harsh environments. Some are acrylic, some are silicone, etc.. CorrosionX is probably 100x easier and it appears to be reliable.

Alpea42
12-27-2009, 02:54 AM
Everytime I see a post in this thread I look hoping it's HobbyCult with more pictures of his .......................... plane :Q

Clark Savage Jr
10-02-2010, 08:14 PM
Just a bump to keep this thread in sight.

I am assembling one of these PBY's and am to the stage of testing out the radio. I'm using the radio components and brushless motors with the ESC's which came with the package.

Every control surface works fine, however the motors do not. With the transmitter turned on, I plug in the rx/servo battery. In a few seconds the props will rotate very slightly, and I hear a beep or two from the speed controls. This is repeated a few seconds later, with a few extra beeps thrown in for good measure. Soon I am hearing a veritable symphony of beeps with an occasional clash of cymbals (props quivering).

Of course, I am plugging the battery in with the transmitter throttle set to idle and the throttle trim in the center. Advancing the throttle makes no difference and the motors do not rotate. Up, down, change trim, - nothing makes the slightest difference. Both ESC's are beeping and the props quivering almost in exact synchronization, just a few milliseconds apart.

I would remove the wing and try unplugging one motor except for the tedium of unscrewing those four 30 mm long machine screws. I really need to get a #0 Phillips bit for my electric screwdriver, but I'll have to make one I guess. I can't find one at the Borg store.

Any suggestions? I've tried using one of my other transmitters to no avail. Same thing happens.

Doc :(

Clark Savage Jr
10-03-2010, 05:12 AM
Never mind - problem solved. A pal of mine stopped by today and had them running in a moment. He moved the throttle several times from idle to full, holding it at each setting for a few seconds. Next thing you know, the motors were humming along. :D

Bellylander
12-26-2010, 04:13 AM
If anybody is interested NitroPlanes has the Guanli Catalina fuse and wing kits on sale for $35!


http://www.nitroplanes.com/katalina.html