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Old 09-14-2012, 02:29 AM   #1
hoghead5150
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Default apprentice flight problems

ok, i'm new and had some horrible problems today. see if ya'll can help me out!

eflite apprentice, fully stock, never crashed, always flown great.

today i took her out, and upon takeoff she didn't want to climb. we are talking full throttle, after about 3/4 of up elevator she finally climbed, but as soon as i relaxed the elevator stick she nosedived!!! i pulled her back up and this became the norm. finally got enough altitude to try some trim. FULL up trim and it would fly level (at full throttle) for maybe 20 seconds then start to climb. now it would climb constantly, and it would take at least 3/4 DOWN elevator to get her to come back level. mess with trim some more. got trim back centered and it would fly level for about another 20 seconds then start nosediving like it did on takeoff.

brought her around and landed. not pretty but on the wheels. checked everything i could think of. all flight surfaces are square and level with trim set to center, nothing loose. CoG is spot on at 3 1/4 per the manual. battery secured, nothing binding that i could find.

second flight, same as first!!!!

the ONLY thing i have been able to find that might be wrong is the elevator servo. when i move the elevator stick, the servo seems to move inside the foam. the horn is not stripped, and it gives movement to the elevator itself, but the servo is surely moving forward/backward as it cycles.

could this little movement of the servo be enough to cause such a terrible flight problem??
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:52 AM   #2
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I'll let others chime in on the cause. i would say this is plausible and any way, you don't want a loose servo. What they use to hold these in is bathroom/kitchen caulk. I got this straight from HH when they had to send me a replacement servo. They may also have been some servo tape on the bottom, but I can't remember for sure.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:56 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by hoghead5150 View Post
could this little movement of the servo be enough to cause such a terrible flight problem??
Definitely! Make sure the servo is secured and doesn't move around. A loose servo WILL cause trouble! It may have wiggled itself loose and pushed on the walls of its seat so it's no longer a snug fit. Not sure how the servo is fitted on an Apprentice, but if it sits in a pocket in the foam, make sure it's a snug fit. Add shims if applicable and fill in with hot glue.

Also, check that you don't have a stripped servo. With the power on, try to move the servo horn GENTLY with your fingers. If it moves, you have a stripped gear train and you need to replace the servo. DON'T use too much force when you test this, or you WILL strip the servo. Also, try to hold the servo horn GENTLY with your fingers and move the stick. If the gears are slipping when you do this, the servo is kaputt and you need to replace it.

If all that checks out, I would check the pushrods, the servo leads and finally the radio. Make sure everything is hooked up correctly and makes good contact.

Good luck!

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Old 09-14-2012, 03:01 AM   #4
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the only other thing that changed, is i use rechargeable batteries in my transmitter (dx5e), and they were showing very low, so i swapped in some cheap dollar store batteries. they showed fully charged (just led lights on the transmitter), maybe they either weren't making good contact, or something. i had full control all the time tho....

i'm talking serious nosedives!! scared the crap outa me. pulling back on the stick, i noticed it had no effect until i would get a little over half way, then it would climb slightly. as soon as i relaxed on the elevator any at all it was nosedive city.

i was at full throttle and had plenty of airspeed so i know it wasn't some kind of stall, i would trim a little and try and keep it level, once i got amost 3/4 trim (trimming for the plane to climb) it would sorta level out. now still at full throttle it would fly level for maybe 200 feet, then it would start to climb, and climb, and on. start trimming the other way, one notch, let it settle, one more notch, let it settle,,, i got the trim back to center and the plane would fly level for another 200 feet or so, then nosedives here we come!

the servo is moving quite a bit. not up and down like i can't pick the servo up, but front to back and is moving probably 1/8 inch. i can move the elevator by hand and watch the servo move.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:09 AM   #5
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Invest in good transmitter batteries! Much cheaper than replacing a crashed model.

And you definitely need to secure that servo.

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Old 09-14-2012, 03:18 AM   #6
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i've been using enegizer rechargeables. they seem to work well, got about 6 or 7 flights on them.

i'm not sure about radio glitches, another guy there was flying with a spektrum dx6i, i don't think we were interfering with each other. his plane flew great. i flew my brothers super cub and it flew great. i'm pulling the servo now, it's not stripped, i've stripped a bunch of those in my rc rockcrawlers, so i checked it good.

i'll tell ya tho, it brought my confidence up quite a bit. i haven't had any problems flying yet, and that has always scared me a little. how would i react IF i did have a problem. well today i didn't panic, just kept cool, stayed as calm as i could and brought her in. now next time i fly her, i may get a little nervous thinking it'll do the same thing.

to bad there isn't a way to check everything on the ground!!
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:23 AM   #7
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Next time you meet your buddy with the DX6i, ask him if you can bind the DX6i to your plane and take it for a spin. Then you'll know for sure if the transmitter is at fault.

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Old 09-14-2012, 05:45 AM   #8
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Replace or fix the servo. I find minor problems become big ones very quickly.

Almost everytime I've been iffy on something, it became a big problem in the air.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:10 AM   #9
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On my Apprentice, the elevator servo was loose, too. Didn't cause that much trouble, but was noticeable. Also, the elevator pushrod was binding where it passed out of the fuselage through the plastic fairing.

To check if this is the problem, power up your tx and plane and get down to where you can get a good view of the elevator position. Try moving the elevator one way then let it go back to neutral. Did it go back to exactly where it was before? Try it both ways, up and down. It should go back at least really close, if not exactly, back to center. If not, this could be your problem.

I used a dremel and opened that area for the pushrod to make it less of a bend.

As far as the servo, I think at the front of the elevator servo, it's even with the rudder servo. or was it the back of them? In any case, i cut a piece of balsa that I glued accross both of them and it secured the elev servo really well.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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I had the same problem, only up instead of down, on 2 of my Apprentices. Both happened after mishaps. Mine would climb as if I had pulled the stick back all the way. I would give almost full down elevator until I could get the trim set. Very intense moments for sure. I found in both cases my small elevator servo had come loose.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:25 PM   #11
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got servo reglued. used a shim to get the servo as tight into its pocket as i could, then shoe goo'd it in place. it doesn't move at all now.
planes battery just came off charger. battery took 280 mah. (it was fully charged before, just making sure it is topped off)
transmitter batteries are on the charger. (enegizer rechargeables, they were low on the last flights where i had problems and i swapped in some dollar store batteries)
rechecked CoG. battery installed, everything ready to fly. CoG is exactly 3 1/4 inches from leading edge of wing (spot on according to manual)
checked ALL servo's for binding, looseness,
checked ALL flight control surfaces. all are dead level at rest with trims on radio centered.
even pulled cowl off and checked motor, motor wires, motor mount screws, and firewall. all good.

it seems like everything is checking out good, did a power test (no meters i'm still new). on ground full throttle, while at full throttle, moved all flight control surfaces with radio to maybe check for problems under load. not sure if this actually works, but it made me feel better!

i did notice that with the plane on the ground, me standing over plane with stab against my calves doing the engine run that the tail feathers sure seem to move around alot from the wind off the prop. the tail feathers are tight, the screws are all the way in and tight, but the feathers sure seem to bounce around from the turbulence.

is there anything else i could check, should check, i'm a little nervous about putting the bird back up in the air!! i did it twice yesterday (when all these problems happened), and i was able to get her back to the ground safely, but a few times i thought i was gonna lose it.

oh yeah, checked battery wires- they good, checked esc to battery wires- good, checked esc to receiver wires and plug-good, checked well, every wire on the plane. all good, no bad connections, no nicks, scrapes.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:44 PM   #12
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Sounds like you're ready for a test I know the feeling. I took mine up twice and each time it shot straight up and was a nerve racking 5 minutes trying to get it around and back down on the ground. I haven't had a chance to check mine after fixing the loose servo.

Good luck.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:49 PM   #13
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thanks. yeah the last flights were straight DOWN! scared the crap outa me. i'm gonna take it over to the soccer fields and test it in about 2 hours. they have some nice TALL grass over on one side, so i'll be over there just in case!! maybe that would give the plane a little cushion if something goes terribly wrong.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:59 AM   #14
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Good luck. Just replaced the firewall on mine because i cracked the nose gear control horn. Re-maiden is tomorrow.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:09 AM   #15
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well here is the update: mixed emotions...

was a little wind today, so this added to my nerves. solid 8 mph according to our wind meter.

first flight,,,, perfect! handled the wind fine, flew just like it always did. i was nervous so some of the jumpness of the plane was all on me.

second flight,,,, same as first. only difference was the wind picked up a little to 9.5mph. plane flew great, handled the wind fine and my nerves were a little better.

third flight,,,, uh oh. started fine, then about a minute into the flight the plane started nose diving again!!! here is the weird part. the wind had died down. wind was around 3mph on the meter. now going WITH the wind, at half throttle the plane would fly perfectly level, give it the throttle and the plane would climb. not straight up, but up at a pretty decent angle.

turn around and fly INTO the wind, and at half throttle the plane would pitch down at around a 40* angle!!! at full throttle INTO the wind, the plane would nosedive BAD!!

landing this time was a HUGE pain in the butt, but i got her down. checked everything again. CoG is spot on, all control surfaces are perfectly in line, battery shows 3.7v per cell (fixing to throw it on the charger and see how many MaH it takes). servo i reglued was good and solid, all control rods are free and not sticking, servo horn not stripped.

why would it climb going WITH the wind, and dive going INTO the wind? this is exactly opposite of how it used to react..

remember, this plane is bone stock, NEVER crashed, no rough landings. nothing is bent, broke, or distorted!
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:28 AM   #16
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I'm stumped. I'd have to see it. The servo didn't come loose again? It worked good the first couple of flights.
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:29 AM   #17
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servo is solid as a rock. first flight was great. noticed it was a little twitchy, but i think that had to do more with the wind today, and my hands shaking!!

i'm stumped to. i think next flight (maybe sunday) i'm going to borrow my brothers dx5e and bind that to my plane. maybe, just maybe, it's a radio problem. i doubt it, but who knows.

could this be a prop issue? after it acted up, i pulled the prop off so i could take off the cowl and inspect the motor and such. i noticed the prop just basically slides onto the adapter and the nut and washer kinda squeeze the prop to hold it tight. i thought it would have some type of knurl or something to help hold the prop. i know this is far fetched, but what would the plane do if the prop was to slip?
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:48 AM   #18
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may have found my problem!!

after revisiting the elevator servo, i found that IF you place any pressure up or down on the servo horn, the servo locks up and won't move. as long as the servo horn is not under any pressure up or down it works perfectly.

the control rod from the elevator to the servo is not exactly parallel with the servo horn, and it has that S bend in it to connect to the servo arm, i'm guessing that this angle and the bend is putting pressure (either up or down) on the servo horn during flight and locking it up.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:14 PM   #19
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well the only servo that i can find locally that will fit is the futaba s3115. this servo is an analog servo, but it's the same physical size as the eflite and has slightly more torque (eflite is 32oz, futaba is 39oz).

will this servo work correctly? really not sure about the differences between analog and digital.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:09 PM   #20
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Contact Horizon and you can probably get a replacement from them. They replaced mine that was DOA.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:21 PM   #21
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i might do that. but in the meantime, i'm gonna try the futaba 3115. i hate waiting on them to decide to send replacements, but i might send the old one in just to have a spare.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:15 AM   #22
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They didn't even ask for the old one. And they sent the new one pretty quick. Couple of days, I believe.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:58 AM   #23
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will do.

tomorrow is the test flight. suprisingly i'm not that nervous about it. i think i found the problem, and i'm confident the plane will fly like it used to.

we shall see!!
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:35 AM   #24
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Anxious to find out. I took my Apprentice out after securing the elevator servo and it still was very unpredictable. Shot up and down abruptly and for no apparent reason. I did notice easing off the throttle helped. I was able to get it down without incident but still very nerve racking.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:46 PM   #25
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Default UPDATE:

So I had an extremely short weekend because we did some remediation on my main(MDF) network closet at work. Worked from 3:30 AM to 7:00 PM Saturday and from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday. I was so tired I decided I needed some flight time to relax and even with winds of 10-14 MPH I took the problem apprentice out for a fly. Before going I looked it over good and noticed the tail section seemed a bit loose to me. I could move the elevator horizontally a bit and the rudder seemed loose. I took some super glue to both.

I took it out with all the likelihood I would be bringing it home in a box but it flew like a champ. Recorded the flight with my cheap Spy Net video glasses, expecting a spectacular crash caught on video, but the video is pretty poor except for the takeoff and landing so I didn't bother to post it.

Anyway, I'm hoping the loose tail section was the problems with my out of control spasms of the apprentice.
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