View Full Version : Video of my GWS E-starter on floats

03-12-2007, 09:07 PM
Hey guys I posted this on Rcgroups but I thought I would post here too and get some advice etc.

I got a slope glider kit or whatever, and built an E-starter. I did some customizations on it though, supposedly to make it "better", but who knows if I improved it any.

Here is the plane, making sure it floats on my parents' pool:

You might notice the wing struts are different. I made them of CF rod and linkages. I also built up epoxy around where the struts mount to the wing and to the fuselage because the foam squares that were used to attach them were weak. When testing the struts, I put the battery in the plane and held the wingtips and sort of shook the plane up and down, and one of the strut mounts broke, that's why I re-did them with epoxy reinforcement. Now they pass my "bounce test" and the wing feels very strong.

I also put a CF rod in the wing for the spar, instead of bamboo, but I made the spar run almost the length of the wingspan, up to where the curved wingtips are. I put a second, shorter spar in the rear area of the wing where the torque rod for the ailerons normally goes, since that space was not used for my aileron setup.

I also epoxied strips of CF tape to the ailerons to reinforce them. Probably overkill but they seemed flimsy.

Here is a pic of how i set up the ailerons, a separate servo on each wing. With this setup I can do flaperons.

Here is a view of the CF rods I used to stabilize the floats and you can also see my ugly velcro battery holder.

Here is a view from below, it looks like the floats have toe-in but it's a perspective optical illusion thingummy. http://jerry.cleedo.com/waterplane4.jpg

Just a view of the prop and brushless outrunner. That's a 10x7 prop but I changed it to a 9x6 prop - I dunno what I was smoking when I put a 10x7 on there, but it would have been way too much.


I maidened the plane yesterday on grass and it went well, I landed smoothly, then I got another good takeoff and landing, so I felt cocky and asked my friend to video me taking off and landing again. Well... No such luck, from then on, every time I tried to land for the camera, I crashed instead.

Here is a video so you can laugh at how much I suck! I started flying, oh, I dunno, about 2 months ago, I don't have much skill yet, and this was my first airplane build, my other planes were bought RTF. I think I learned something from the crashes and I want to try it on actual water instead of grass.



EDIT: The damage from the last 2 bad crashes is all fixed, the plane is ready to fly again, but I think I want to try water next, maybe it will be softer for landing on LOL.

03-13-2007, 06:46 AM
funny very funny THANKS for letting me in on a good day of flying !!

03-13-2007, 10:31 AM
OK I flew it on water today for the first time! What a rush! Maybe I am just a chicken but man... I remember my legs were literally shaking when I was making landing approaches! I really pushed the limits of my skills today... I really have very few total hours flying RC planes so this was hard!

I flew at my sister's condo, which has a man-made lake behind it. My philosophy was, at least I will be able to retrieve my plane if it crashes, because her house backs up to the water and they have a paddle boat.

I don't have video, and I only took off and landed once because I didn't get started until it was almost dark so there wasn't time for a second flight, plus, I just about collapsed from exertion after the successful landing. I do, however, have an aerial photo of the place I flew, if you are curious! I flew off the little dock behind the house where my sister lives, the red circle shows where I was standing. This is a sort of small U-shaped part of the Dobson Ranch waterway.


Before attempting the flight, I did a few things that made things easier. I adjusted the throttle trim, as my motor wasn't turning on until the stick was like 1/4 way up. I got the throttle trim nice so I could know that 1 click was the lowest motor speed, then 2 clicks was faster, etc. etc, as opposed to my first flight, where the first 5 clicks or so didn't even turn on the motor. That was very disconcerting and made it harder for me to know what I was doing throttle-wise. With the throttle trimmed better, it made it easier for me to dial in a nice slow landing approach.

The other thing I did was set up exponential so when I throw the switches, I get 50% exponential on the ailerons and elevator. That actually helped me a lot to fly more smoothly on landing approaches.
I don't know if better adjustments made a difference, or learning from my mistakes, or if I just got lucky, but I was able to do a perfect landing on the water! No bounce or anything, it was fantastic, I wish I filmed it. It was extremely rewarding to see my vision for this plane finally come to pass.

Granted, I did make 4 or 5 aborted landing approaches before I finally set up a really good one I felt confident about. My extensive crash experience Sunday has led me to believe that when in doubt, abort the landing! In fact, funny thing is, the silly amount of extra power this motor has came in handy a couple times, it allows me to abort a landing approach by simply rocketing straight up into the sky! It gets me clean out of a bad situation in NO time! It is so fun to fly this plane. For example, a couple times I thought I had a good approach set up, but I was coming in too hot and I could see I wasn't going to touch down onto the water before I reached shore so I could run into someone's house or something, so I just aborted by shooting straight back up into the air.

I don't know if it looks like it from the aerial photo, but this was a really hard place for me to land. At the bottom of the photo, the lake curved around like a U turn, and there are tall trees all along the shore. The lake itself is lower than the surrounding ground level and there are houses or buildings along both sides, as well as tall trees. The clearest area to approach from is at the top and left area of the photo, but there are some trees and a freeway there, and I really didn't want to fly over the freeway at all.

What ended up working for me was I got a feel for tooling around with the flaperons on and doing circles around that somewhat open area of water to the top left of the photo, circling as slow as I could to lose some altitude (tall trees are on every side so you gotta kinda drop in) then when I got low enough, I approached flying southward and made a nice landing.

One thing I learned from this is that without a water rudder, it's a real pain to move around after landing! It was too dark to fly again after I landed so I found a styrofoam plate and cut a water rudder and tacked it onto the rear steerable tail wheel wire mount, with a water rudder it was fun to just cruise around the lake, circle the fountain, etc.

I also found out that while just cruising around on the floats, my 9x6 propeller still hits the water occasionally! I thought 9" was small enough to avoid this. I wonder if I should make the plane sit higher off the water or use a smaller diameter propeller. What do you guys think? It wasn't much of a problem, I didn't even notice it on takeoff, but later I did notice it while cruising around.

I think water planes are extremely fun and today's experience made all the work and white-nuckle scary flying experiences worth it. I probably deserve to have my butt kicked for flying in this location, there were several scary moments when I was approaching for landing and overshot and came near someone's house and had to abort by climbing out of there or doing a sharp turn. If I had made one mistake I could have ended up crashed into someone's back window or something. The temptation was just too great though to finally try it on water. I definitely won't fly in this location again until or unless I become more skilled and confident in my landing ability.

04-23-2007, 04:50 PM
Hey I just watched your video! Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

04-23-2007, 09:14 PM
Thanks, I'm going to fly it again soon, I put a smaller, lighter motor in that is still powerful enough to give it a 1:1 thrust to weight ratio, and allows me to use a smaller, lighter battery. The new ESC is lighter too and doesn't require a separate UBEC.

I also re-did the floats, I had originally glued the halves together with silicone but it came unglued. I redid the job with epoxy and now it's really sturdy and leak-proof. I also redid the struts on the floats to make them more sturdy. This plane is going to be a blast next time it rains! There is a local flying field that is a retention basin, next time it rains the field will fill with water and I'll fly this plane there!