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View Full Version : Great Planes Spectra kit


losi24
12-26-2005, 09:21 PM
i got one for christmas yesterday. so far i have the tailfeathers and almost the whole wing done. it is a very easy and enjoyable build if you pay attention and take your time. for a trim scheme i think i want to do a black fuselage, yellow wing, and red control surfaces and stars all over the plane. it came with a electrifly 600 instead of the goldmaster or whatever. how does this plane fly? for now i will just use the included "speed control" setup, then get a 30 amp ESC (http://www.rcuniverse.com/buynow/keywordclick.cfm?bid_id=2595). does it have any bad habits? do i have to "thermal" it, or can i just fly with the motor? thanks!

losi24
12-30-2005, 12:46 AM
i got Roxy done a couple of days ago. i am very pleased so far. i am just waiting on some money so i can buy a battery and some servos. would i be able to use my GWS Naros in it? for a battery pack, i am still comparing prices. cant beat towers 7 Cell 1900mah for 20 bux so far. i am looking on cheap battery packs as i type. the covering job is not the best by any means. there are quite a few wrinkles, but its not bad for my first job. it has a red fuselage, black wing, and yellow tailfeathers. i also built the wing in 2 pieces so it doesn't get broken while trying to carry it up the stairs or when i'm going to the flying field.

Sky Sharkster
12-30-2005, 02:00 AM
To Losi24, I've seen a couple of the GP Spectra's fly, they're pretty good gliders. The climb isn't the "Hot Rod" type, but bear in mind I fly at 5,200 foot altitude so maybe it'll be better at sea level. In any event they're not overpowered so be prepared to take a minute or two to get to thermal country. You might consider going to 8 cell packs of about 1100-1200 mAh, these will weigh about the same as 7 x 1900 but have a lot more "Punch" for climb-outs. Even if you don't catch thermals (but you will!) the flights will be long, once you get to 400-500 feet, cut the motor (remember to set the ESC for "Hard" brake so the prop will fold) and it will take you several minutes to glide down. With 1200mAH you should get at least 2 or 3 climb-outs, plus glide time, maybe 15 minutes flight time without thermals. With some decent lift you're looking at 1/2 hour, easy!
I've never run the battery out using 8 x 1100 mAh NiMH, but three climbouts is my limit.
I think the Naros will be OK but they're as small as I would go with a 2 meter. As I mentioned the stock motor is adaquate but this model would really come alive with a brushless motor, maybe down the road you could try it. I'm flying a similar-sized and weight 2-meter and use the AXI 2808-16 with either 8 x 1100 NiMh or 3 cell LiPos. Much better climb and with the Lipos, lighter, too.
Good Luck with the Spectra! Ron

losi24
12-30-2005, 02:27 AM
Ron, thanks for the advice! would this plane thermal even without motor and just hand launching? i have heard of people thermaling about 20 feet in the air. i have also heard of thermals taking planes away. it doesn't have a folding prop on it. it didnt come with one. do you suggest one? i really love the whole sailplane scene. i may have to save up some and get a couple more of them! i have been looking at the monstrous bird of time. if they make it in a kit, im in. i will hook up the Naros in a little bit and see if they will work. the control surfaces are pretty free now because i worked them back and forth for a while. i also hooked up my ICS-480 ESC and it showed no signs of overloading, though my battery got hot. it was my "test pack" its that 8.4V AAA pack that i have. i cant wait to fly! i may just go with my AAA pack tomorrow and just hand launch it and glide a bit.

losi24
12-30-2005, 03:56 AM
those gigantic pushrods are binding up somewhere, so i think i'm just going to buy some smaller ones. the servos would work if i could stop the binding. besides, the servo rails are epoxied in so i think i will have to make them work.

Sky Sharkster
12-30-2005, 05:43 AM
to Losi24, welcome to the wonderful world of Gliders! It's possible to catch thermals from a hand launch but not very likely. After you get the model trimmed out for a nice flat, straight glide, try giving it increasingly harder launches, with a little bit of "bank" angle to promote a turn. What you don't want is a straight up climb and stall, just a smooth turn after the launch speed has bled off. Once you get the feel for that you can get a circuit or two around the field and maybe catch some low-level lift.
If you can get the right size folder for the motor you will increase your glide times and efficiency quite a bit. I believe that plane comes with an 8" x 4" prop, whatever it is, try to get the same in a folder, but make sure the propshaft diameter is the same size. I'd suggest taking the whole prop and adaptor to the hobby shop and matching it up.
You've got me a little worried with the binding control surfaces; If they don't move freely they will stall out the servos (the smaller the servos, the less torque they have-this is a receipe for disaster!) and you won't have control. According to Murphy's law, THAT's when you find a thermal!
Or a tree or a brick wall. If you can't get the control surfaces to move freely, I mean literally "Flop" back and forth, my suggestion is don't fly the model. You will lose or crash it for sure. I know it's a disappointment to hear this but it will be a worse disappointment and much more heartbreaking to see your model fly away and not be able to do anything about it.
If there's a local hobby shop nearby or an experienced modeler you can ask, bring the fuselage there and see if they have smaller pushrods or a whole different set of pushrods to put in. If it were my plane I would not hesitate to cut off the fuse top or bottom to replace the pushrods. It's a small price to pay to make sure you have control of the model. A few hours here will mean you can fly the model safely for years!
As far as getting out of thermals, most high-end gliders now have spoilers: Also if the glider is equipped with dual-servo ailerons this can be run through a mixer to get flapperons or spoilers. Two of my rudder/elevator powered gliders don't have spoilers and I've always been able to get them out of strong thermals but it takes some work and there have been some scary moments. Generally I put in a couple clicks of "Down" trim, not enough to cause a steep dive but more to keep the airspeed up which gives the control surfaces more command. Then I put it into a spiral dive, try to judge how much the wings can take, gently pull out of the dive, maybe a loop or two to bleed off altitude, repeat as needed. Always keep the model pointed upwind (back towards you) and try to maintain that heading, eventually the thermal will move through with the wind and you'll be (hopefully) over the field.
Here's a couple of glider kit sites, hope you find something!
http://www.skybench.com
http://www.isthmusmodels.com
Good Luck! Ron

losi24
12-30-2005, 08:36 AM
i hooked up the rudder on the opposite servo and it works like a charm! the elevator, on the other hand, was binding up worse. i took the pushrod out of my slow stick and now it works great! now all i need is a battery pack. i looked on cheapbatterypacks.com and i think i will just get a tower hobbies brand battery for now. i tested the thrust on a fresh 8.4V pack. wow. thats all i can say. this thing puts out quite a bit of thrust for such a little prop. i dont plan on trying to get into thermals until this spring. its a might cold to stay up that long. i cant wait!

Warden
12-30-2005, 01:50 PM
The Spectra was my first RC plane around 15 years ago. My son bought the entire outfit for me for Xmas. I'm still flying that plane.

I'm on the second Goldfire motor which flies the plane quite nicely. I've run both 6 and 7 cell nicads and nimh's in it. Right now I'm running 7 cell 1100mah nicads. I can get several climbs out of each charge and then, of course, the long glide time. The plane thermals beautifully! I've been caught in more than one thermal and the way I got out was to spin it down. Just give it full up elevator and full left rudder. Remember to pull out gently at the bottom of the spin.

Also, if you want to "fly" the plane before you get your regular motor battery, just put in your AAA pack to operate the servos, go to a small hill or slight rise and hand launch it. Toss it either level with the ground or at a slight downward angle and then glide it into a landing.

losi24
01-01-2006, 07:28 AM
i found an old 6 cell pack and to make sure that it doesn't pull too many amps, i took 2 cells off. it works great! the motor gets quite a bit of thrust with it on half throttle. tomorrow i'm going to go and glide around the field a bit. i will let you know how the flight goes!

losi24
01-01-2006, 07:30 AM
BTW, how heavy is yours RTF, Warden? i'm estimating around 46-47 OZ because of the ESC, smaller Servos, no RX case, and the lighter battery.

qban_flyer
01-01-2006, 07:33 AM
i found an old 6 cell pack and to make sure that it doesn't pull too many amps, i took 2 cells off. it works great! the motor gets quite a bit of thrust with it on half throttle. tomorrow i'm going to go and glide around the field a bit. i will let you know how the flight goes!

What size prop are you using? I think 6 cells should be the minimum for that sailplane and motor size. You'll never get above 18 or so amps with a 6 cell pack if using the recommended propeller. :)

losi24
01-01-2006, 08:48 PM
i'm using a 8x4 prop. 6 cells is the minimum with it, but with a 7 cell, it will climb better and faster. i just hooked up that 4 cell pack to go test how good it glides.

***FLIGHT REPORT***
i put my Losi-tized pack on the charger to peak it out while i got my things together. when the battery was done, i headed out to the elementary school playground where there is a hill. nothing big, but it was something to launch Roxy off of. i set the plane down on a bench, turned the transmitter on, plugged the battery on, tested the control surfaces, then put the wing together and strapped it to the fuselage. i gave it half throttle because i knew that it wasn't going to fly. when i let it go, i was amazed! it flew BEAUTIFULLY! i cut throttle and it glided for about 50 yards, i brought it down and thought i heard the prop break. i went over to inspect it, no damage. i climbed the hill and threw it again, but this time, without throttle. again, it glided forever. i cant wait to get my 7 cell pack and new ESC and put this thing in the air for real! no wonder Warden said that this thing thermals great! it is really heavy for a balsa plane, so i dont see how it flies so good!

qban_flyer
01-01-2006, 08:53 PM
Good show losi! Glad to see you succeeded in your primary tests. You are going to have lots of fun flying Roxy.:)

Keep us posted of the progress.:)

losi24
01-01-2006, 09:00 PM
i will!:) as of now, i'm trying to find a good 30A ESC that's not going to burn a giant hole in my parents' pockets.:rolleyes: any suggestions? i was looking at the Electrifly 5 channel reciever with the 30A ESC built in, but i dont need it. its 45 bux. any suggestions? i think i'm just going to get that towerhobbies pack for now. i cant find a cheaper pack. it'll be a little while before i can buy this stuff though.

losi24
01-02-2006, 06:20 AM
i have an ESC on the way now. thanks Bert! i added one more cell to my pack to get more thrust to fly around the field tomorrow. i will report back on Roxy's flight:)

qban_flyer
01-02-2006, 08:03 AM
Hope you have a good session with Roxy!:)

losi24
01-02-2006, 10:33 PM
well, i went to fly her today again at the elementary school kickball field. i threw her off of this parking lot with half throttle to give her a jump start. she glided great! after landing and picking her up, i gave her one more throw. for some reason or another, she did a left roll like a tip stall and landed on her nose and tore the whole motor mount system off, due to a bad glue joint(i was almost out of CA) thankfully it didn't break anything. i just repaired it with thin CA and i think i will do a thin fillet between the front former and fuselage where the firewall meets with the fuselage. i am going to just wait for my ESC and battery to avoid further damage.:)

qban_flyer
01-03-2006, 12:36 AM
well, i went to fly her today again at the elementary school kickball field. i threw her off of this parking lot with half throttle to give her a jump start. she glided great! after landing and picking her up, i gave her one more throw. for some reason or another, she did a left roll like a tip stall and landed on her nose and tore the whole motor mount system off, due to a bad glue joint(i was almost out of CA) thankfully it didn't break anything. i just repaired it with thin CA and i think i will do a thin fillet between the front former and fuselage where the firewall meets with the fuselage. i am going to just wait for my ESC and battery to avoid further damage.:)

It could have been the wind getting under one of the wings making it turn that way on launch, or that the model was not let go with its wings level. It happens to all of us more often than we are willing to admit.:o

There was this guy at the field yesterday morning, he is a purist sailplane flyer, no motors on his models. He launched by means of an electric winch. Though he's been flying sailplanes for over 25 years, he had a similar experience on his third flight. He was able to recover in the nick of time, though.

JETI JES-350 going out tomorrow.:)

losi24
01-03-2006, 01:02 AM
again Qban, thanks so much!:) i think i'm going to save up for a hi-start for my Marks Models Wanderer also. i just love sailplanes! i think i know why that ESC was cutting out. i think it's because i didnt have enough cells for the ESC. it needs 6V and i had 4.8 on it.

qban_flyer
01-03-2006, 01:27 AM
again Qban, thanks so much!:) i think i'm going to save up for a hi-start for my Marks Models Wanderer also. i just love sailplanes! i think i know why that ESC was cutting out. i think it's because i didnt have enough cells for the ESC. it needs 6V and i had 4.8 on it.

YUP!

It was reading the voltage at which it should cut power off to the motor. No wonder you were not getting anything out of the motor, the ESC was doing its "job".:eek:

losi24
01-03-2006, 04:49 AM
well, there is something funny going on with that ESC. i hooked up that fully peaked 6 cell pack that i wrote you about, Qban, but it still does it. the ESC was cheap anyway.

qban_flyer
01-03-2006, 12:43 PM
well, there is something funny going on with that ESC. i hooked up that fully peaked 6 cell pack that i wrote you about, Qban, but it still does it. the ESC was cheap anyway.

What brand name and model is it?:confused:

losi24
01-03-2006, 03:01 PM
it is the GWS ICS-480. my experience with GWS electronics hasn't been all that great really. i've had 3 batteries go bad, 2 servos had stripped, 2 ESCs messed up including this one. im thinking this one might be messed up too. maybe something in the programming?:confused:

qban_flyer
01-03-2006, 07:11 PM
it is the GWS ICS-480. my experience with GWS electronics hasn't been all that great really. i've had 3 batteries go bad, 2 servos had stripped, 2 ESCs messed up including this one. im thinking this one might be messed up too. maybe something in the programming?:confused:

I have only used their ICS-300 so I have no clue about the ICS-480, though I will tell you, their batteries STINK. All of the ones I have gotten with their label on them have gone south very quickly. I don't like them at all.:o

The JES-350 will do a good job.:)

losi24
01-03-2006, 10:51 PM
the GWS packs are OK for the beginner with something little like the slow stick IMO. as for the JES-350, it will do a great job!:D thanks! i am trying to think of a way to earn money for the battery, but my mom said that she may be able to buy it for me, as long as i do chores and work:rolleyes:

qban_flyer
01-03-2006, 11:09 PM
the GWS packs are OK for the beginner with something little like the slow stick IMO. as for the JES-350, it will do a great job!:D thanks! i am trying to think of a way to earn money for the battery, but my mom said that she may be able to buy it for me, as long as i do chores and work:rolleyes:

Their batteries never did anything for me. They have always died after 100 flights or so regardless of what planes they went in. The NiMHs were the worst of them all.

Mom is right, you know. Gotta earn those pennies somehow!:D

losi24
01-03-2006, 11:15 PM
as of now, the pack that i used on Annalisa i used to power a small fan from a computer that i use to cool my charger. later down the road, i am going to put a lipo, folding prop, brushless, and maybe spoilers on Roxy. right now, i am trying to figure out something to use as a landing skid. maybe a piece of that pink foam that is used on houses. i think my next project may be the GP Spirit 100 or the Siren Hotliner.

losi24
01-05-2006, 12:54 AM
in my little "crash" monday, i went to put my AAA pack in Roxy today because i tested the ESC with the AAA pack and it didn't cut off early. anyway, i went to recover the nose and i realized that i had forgotten-the-canopy-assembly-at-the-school! i went and looked for it for about an hour and gave up. does anyone have an extra canopy for the Spectra laying around?:p is Great Planes' customer service good enough to send me one? i cant fly it without the canopy.:mad: :(

qban_flyer
01-05-2006, 01:27 AM
E-mail their Customer Service Department. They are pretty good at pleasing the client.:)

losi24
01-06-2006, 03:18 AM
again, Qban, yet another funny, funny sig! i found my cheapo cam and had my mom snap a pic of me holding Roxy. its very poor quality, but you get the idea.:) http://img429.imageshack.us/img429/4322/jan059743su.th.jpg (http://img429.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jan059743su.jpg)

qban_flyer
01-06-2006, 03:33 AM
Roxy is a big girl!:D

Been changing them around tonight. Haven't decided on which one to stick with yet.:confused:

losi24
01-06-2006, 03:50 AM
i love both the weightwatchers door one and the open minded one. to give you an idea, i am 5'5 1/2" tall, 117 pounds. so i guess she is pretty big:)

qban_flyer
01-06-2006, 05:34 AM
i love both the weightwatchers door one and the open minded one. to give you an idea, i am 5'5 1/2" tall, 117 pounds. so i guess she is pretty big:)

HE, HE, HE. Roxy at 78" towers over both of us and most of us as well.:D

I think I'll put the wide open side door one up for a while!:eek:

losi24
01-06-2006, 11:46 PM
i got the ESC in today. thanks a ton Qban!!!:D i hooked up a 9x6 to Roxy last night. it gave it a ton of thrust and i dont think it was pulling more than 30-32A. i will try it with the 8x4 though. it pulls about 25-28A with a 8x4 @ 8.4V

qban_flyer
01-07-2006, 12:22 AM
i got the ESC in today. thanks a ton Qban!!!:D i hooked up a 9x6 to Roxy last night. it gave it a ton of thrust and i dont think it was pulling more than 30-32A. i will try it with the 8x4 though. it pulls about 25-28A with a 8x4 @ 8.4V

Have fun. Roxy deserves it!:p