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Mountain Models Magpie Build

Old 10-05-2005, 03:08 PM
  #1  
johnhay73
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Default Mountain Models Magpie Build

My second plane. The Magpie. Here at last. My T-Hawk will soon have a nesting partner, as I am taking flight on this new build (well, my first build). Too bad my building has to be interrupted by this thing called work.

It took ten days for my rather large package to cross the border from Colorado to British Columbia (Victoria to be exact). I place the blame squarely on customs, because Karen at Mountain Models got my package out promptly, as she is known to do. Thanks Karen.

The box was barely out of the car before I sliced that baby open. Everything was squarely packed away. A casual onlooker might mistake this maiden-of-the-sky to be nothing more than a couple blocks of Styrofoam. But, looking closely, you can see the intricate laser cuts in the blocks from which pull the fuselage, slow flyer wing, and sport wing. The Depron tail feathers and ailerons were nestled in there too.

I was struck immediately by how large the wings were. I thought my T-hawk was a decent size. But it has narrow 40" wings. The slow flyer wings on the Magpie are 46" with a core size of your average catwalk model (about 8"). This is going to be a good size plane. I live in a very small house and I have no idea where I can store this thing without it being trampled.

Anyway, here is a picture of the parts, minus the sport wing.

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And here is a picture of the little bits. I quickly put everything back in the bag before anything was lost to the black hole that exist in my work area.

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Old 10-05-2005, 06:38 PM
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After the undressing of the parts, we started to get intimate. Out came the glue. The fuselage and wings need to be joined in the middle. 5 minute epoxy was recomended, and used.

Everything worked out well for me. The trick was to use tape, bricks, and books. These 'tools' allowed me to hold together and align the halves as the glue dried.

Here is my setup for the wing...

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...and the fuse...

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I left the trimmings from the rear of the fuselage taped on because it more or less kept the aft end alligned with the forward end. The bricks at either end were set so they were ever so slightly compressing the two parts together.

Here are the two wings and the fuselage after joining.

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Old 10-05-2005, 10:37 PM
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Great start to the thread Johnhay. I am seriously considering the purchase of a Magpie, so I will follow your progress with interest. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-06-2005, 12:07 AM
  #4  
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You'll love the 'Pie - she's a sweet flying baby!!!!!!!!!

Will
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Old 10-06-2005, 12:59 AM
  #5  
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Wow, dejavu all over again, I have spent a lot of time lately watching the videos on the mountian models site so I will be very interested in your experiences.
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Old 10-06-2005, 04:10 PM
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Default Back to the build...

Last night I applied the reinforcements to both wings and the fuselage. MM (Mountain Models) sends with the kit a roll of 1/2" packing tape. It's that rigid plastic stuff that is often wrapped around boxes during shipping. Not the wider, thinner, sticky type. I will refer to the former as strapping tape, and the latter as packing tape.

Anyway, this strapping tape is epoxied into a shallow grove running along the top and bottom of each wing. The concept being, that this will add rigidity to the wing. The strapping tape is also epoxied to each side of the fuselage.

I had heard that other Magpie builders have had problems with the strapping tape lifting from its placement while its glue is curing. I was not spared this fate. The way I read the manual is that you cut the strapping tape the length of one wing. Thus, you end up with four sections of strapping tape for each complete set of wings. I really couldn't see the point in doing that. Instead, I cut one length to span the top of both wings. Good idea in concept, harder to enact in reality. I will explain shortly.

I wrapped some 150 grit sandpaper around a block of wood and clamp one end of it in the my vise. This allowed me to hold both ends of a section of strapping tape and use a alternating pulling motion to run the tape around the sanding block. I deem this to be an effective method of roughing up one side of the strapping tape. (The manual stresses the sanding of the tape is necessary for good adhesion.) After sanding, I attempted to remove as many curls as possible from the tape. Not easy to do, but a little effort will yield a slightly straighter piece of packing tape. I think removing any tendency to curl helps the strapping tape lie flat while the glue is curing.

I used thumb tacks to lay a length of strapping tape onto a layer of wax paper. I then use a brush to put a even layer of epoxy on the tape. I then transferred the strapping tape to the shallow channel that was factory cut into the wing. There was still a tendency for the tape to lift. I pressed the tape down and laid a strip of clear packing tape over it hold it down. The packing tape didn't hold on to the wing very well and it allowed the tape to lift. Anyway, I ended up feeling like that kid who had to keep putting more fingers in a growing number of leaks in the dyke. Anyway, gradually everything got sticky enough to stay in place without my help. It was a messy and anxious procedure.

I decided to do the bottom of the wings in two individual strips rather than one long one. I found that when using two strips you could focus your attention to a smaller area deal with any lifting in a more concentrated fashion. Also, if you are adjusting the tape on one wing, any movement in the tape that you induce will not translate the to other wing and cause problems on that side.

Strapping the sides of the fuse was a cakewalk by the time I had finished the wings. I think at that point I had refined my technique. I did more prep' work on making sure the tape did not want to curl. I put a more even layer of epoxy on the tape. I spent a little bit more time sanding the tape. I also made sure that while attaching the strapping tape that the tip of the tail was as as close to the center line as possible. I shimmed the bottom again with the matching cutout from the packing, and where it needed more adjustemt I used a wooden shim. Those in combination with a heavy object allowed me to end up fixing the tip pretty damn near center. This bird just might fly straight!

With all the strapping tape applied and set, I used a pair of sidecutters to trim the excess that overhung the ends of the wing and the fuse.

After an hour or so I used some 220 grit sandpaper to round off the corners of the fuselage. The manual is correct in saying, "sand in one direction." A back and forth motion tends to cause more balls of EPS to come off. Also, this requires a very light touch. The sanding was not hard to do. It just required very careful movements. I only put the slightest rounding on the edges. I avoiding sanding the last 5 or so inches of the tail because it just felt so delicate there without any covering on it. Also the top of the tail area will receive the vertical stab, and I didn't want to affect its mating surface. Also, I made sure that I didn't sand the edges of the wing cradle area.

Forging ahead (I really want to fly this thing this weekend), I applied the plywood that the tail servos sit within and the wing cradle. I put an even layer of epoxy on each wing cradle and put them on the plane. The mating surface of the cradle is laser-scribed with a line that allows you to correctly position the pieces. I took my time with a ruler with 1/64" gradations to make sure that I had both sides of the cradle rising up an equal distance from the foam, and that they were both lined up the same distance fore and aft. I didn't use clamps to hold them in place as I had seen others do because my small clamps tended to make the cradle pieces slide on the clue when they were tightened. I just firmly pressed them in placed and monitored their position until the glue was set.

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The tail servo mounts were a breeze to place. I left a 1/16" in gap between the mount and the perimeter of the GWS Naro servo that was to be installed. Piece of cake to install. Even layer of epoxy, yada, yada, yada... Later a tight fitting whole for the servo will be cut within the mounts. What I don't immediately know, is how I am going to deal with the servo leads. The Naro's have a 1/4" long reinforcing rubber piece where the leads go into the servo. I will have to find a way of getting the servo seated in its tight holder, while allow room for the 1/4" piece on the servo. I'll cross that bridge later, but would gladly accept any suggestions on how to do it.

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Tonight I will be covering the wings and fuse with the wing tape that I ordered with the Magpie. It's very much like standard clear packing tape, except I think this stuff is lighter (maybe), and comes in colors. I got three colors, which you will see pictures of, hopefully tomorrow. Before work today I used some scraps of foam to test out sticking the tape to the foam. The manual calls for a thin application of 3M 77 adhesive spray after which the tape is applied to the now tacky surface. I can only find 3M Super 77 which has known foam eating properties. I have heard that the mild foam eating can assist with the adhesion of the tape. That may be so, but I decided to also try some Elmers craft adhesive spray. I applied 3M Super 77 to one piece of foam. I applied Elmers to another. After each started to get tacky (about 1-2 minutes) I laid down a strip of wing tape. After about 4-5 minutes the glue was tackier, so I applied another strip of tape. After about 10-12 minutes both glues were still tacky, but the Elmers was less so. I laid down a third strip of tape. I will be trying to pull these off tonight to see how the different glue and application time affects adhesion. By the way, the 3M Super 77 does eat the foam. I applied a fine misting from about 10 inches away, and the very surface of the foam dissolve a little bit. I am sure this will not degrade the integrity of the structure at all. It may indeed, as the manual states, allow for better adhesion of the tape. Also, because the 3M seemed to stay tacky longer, it will allow me to take more time applying the wing tape. Unless the Elmers glue holds tighter at the resolution of the test, I will stick with the 3M (no pun intended).

Strapped.
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I apologize for not documenting more of these steps with photos, but my hands seemed to be constantly covered in glue and weren't going to be handling my camera.

Last edited by johnhay73; 10-06-2005 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 10-07-2005, 07:44 AM
  #7  
Tailspin Ken
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Talking

Johnhay73,
Before you cover the fuse, check that the two haves of the fuse are straight and the tail end is not curved. I do this by first putting one side of the fuse to the wall and eyeballing the distance that the aft section is away from the wall. Then I turn it over and check the same thing on the opposite side. If both sides of the aft section of the fuse are the same distance from the wall, the chance is good that the fuse is straight, if one side is noticeably closer to the wall than the other, then the fuse is not straight and adjustments must be made.
You are going to love this plane! I call my Magpie "Pie in the sky".

Ken
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Old 10-07-2005, 02:20 PM
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Thanks Ken. Exactly what I did, except I used the floor. I did it prior to and during the application of the strapping tape. I got tip of tail within about 1/8 inch from the center line. I was satisfied with that. It looks really straight if you are just eye-balling it. I didn't pay much attention to it when I was putting the covering on. I figured with the epoxied strip down each side that it wouldn't move much during the process. I haven't used the floor/wall technique to re-check, but it still looks good and strait.
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Old 10-07-2005, 03:02 PM
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The results are in from the 3M Super 77 vs. Elmers spray adhesive testing. 3M wins by a fair margin. All the strips of tape laid down on the 3M product pulled up about twice the foam as the Elmers. Also, as I stated in a previous post, the 3M had a longer period where it remained tacky.

Elmers had no foam eating tendencies. While the 3M product did, It was minimal. If the coatings were kept light, only the very surface of the foam would show any sign of melting. There was a spot on some scrap foam that I used to clear the nozzle after use. This spot got multiple heavy layers, and perhaps only lost about 1/8" to 1/4" of its surface. (Oct.9 - Upon closer inspection I see I exagerated the effect. There is yellow discoloring and some melting, but as far as depth of degredation, there was little to none.) I was fine if I kept the can moving steadily across the application area and at a distance of about 12".

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Old 10-07-2005, 04:42 PM
  #10  
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Default Covering

I made some awesome progress last night. However, had I taken more time I might have ended up with a more polished look. Ah well, It will look perfect at a 100+ feet up.

Most of my evening was spent doing the covering. Well, most of it was preparing, not doing. I only did the slow flyer wing, and not the sport version. I gave the wing a light sanding and blew/wiped of the dust. I sat the wing down on a cardboard box with some wax paper draped over the edges it came in contact with. I cut out the top half of the near side of the box (done after picture was taken). This allowed me to pull the wing towards me and give me an uninterrupted access to whichever wing edge was closer.

I laid out everything I thought I would need for the wing covering process. Multiple pairs of scissors. Razor blades. A clean sock. Windex and paper towels for cleaning scissors. I wanted to get this part of the job done, but I wasn't looking forward to doing it. I knew that I would only have a small window of time while the glue remained tacky.

I gave a light coating of 3M to the entire wing, top and bottom. I held the can about 12 inches from the wing and moved the length of the wing in about 2 seconds. It took about 3 passes to ensure total coverage on a side. As the testing indicated, with careful application, there was no appreciable melting of the foam.

The first tape I laid down was some clear, fiber reinforce tape over the leading and trailing edges where the rubber bands would sit. I put down two layers in these spots, plus the wing tape the followed. I covered the trailing edge with wing tape, then continued to cover the bottom site from trailing to leading edge. The process was fairly easy. Sometimes I got the tape laid down only to reveal that I had introduced a couple of wrinkles. Only once did I deem it necessary to pull up a piece I had already laid down. It didn't come up without a fight, but I eventually did and didn't pull away any foam at that point. After doing both sides of the bottom I continued with the top, working from trailing to leading again. After I had done the bottom in blue and the top in white I added some decorative as you can see in the pictures. I was going to do something a little more elaborate, but I was a little sick of dealing with tape at that point so I went with the simple yet sophisticated look. Once you have the base layer of tape down there is no longer any need to use the spray adhesive. So that's a plus.

The fuselage was a smaller area to cover, so that's a plus. But it has a lot more nooks and crannies, so that's a minus. I just gave her a spray and started laying tape. I did the top and bottom edges first. Wrapping around the nose was the trickiest part, but you get a handle on where you have to nip the tape to allow it to wrap around the bends. I laid the tape on the side right over the wing cradle, and trimmed it to fit a little later.

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Old 10-07-2005, 04:44 PM
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Default Cutting

I used a razor blade to do two cuts from corner to corner in the receiver hole. The resulting four triangular tabs where folded in and remained pressed against the interior of the whole. I then cut the tape from the h.stab slot and the motor mount slot.

Next I cut out the two holes for the servos. I used a #11 blade in my exacto knife. I made sure I stopped short of cutting all the way through to the covering on the other side. I used a small flathead screwdriver to gouge out the rectangular hole up to the point that I could see the tape on the opposite side. This allowed my servo to sit at the right depth to allow me to screw it into the servo mounts. I got my servo mounts as close as I could to the perimeter of the servo and still allow the wires to be squished in there. This BARELY allowed the screws to go through the holes in the servos and bite into the wood of the servo mount. Make sure you get the mounts as close together as you think possible.
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Old 10-07-2005, 04:45 PM
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Default Gluing

After I cleared the tape away from where the v.stab goes, I placed the stab in place. It sat there nice and vertical, as a vertical stabilizer should. It did appear to have a very slight bow from front to back. So slight that it might be an optical allusion. I don't think it will have any affect that a little trim can't fix. So, I layered some glue on the bottom edge of the v.stab and the top of tail and plopped them together. I adjusted it by eye so that it lined up with the fuse and was perpendicular to the planes horizontal access. It was happy to sit in the position I set it in so I just let it set. Oh, Make sure you accurately align the trailing edge with the tip of the tail because later you will be hinge the straight edge of the rudder to both joined areas.

On a flat surface I aligned the elevator pieces with the h.stab, and found that the wooden dowel was about an 1/8" too long to fit in the notched area. So I trimmed it. Then as the instructions recommend, I rubbed the dowel along the midline of the notched area to create a groove for it to sit in when glued. If you didn't do this, the dowel would protrude out to far to allow the elevator to closely mate with the h.stab. I sunk the dowel in about 1/4 to 1/3 of its diameter. I laid some epoxy on the dowel where they joint the elevator, and some more glue on the joining portion of the elevator. I stuck the dowel in position and set the assembly on to my flat surface. I then took my straight edge and bucked the leading edge of the assembly against it to ensure that it dry straight and match up well when hinged to the h.stab.

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Old 10-07-2005, 04:46 PM
  #13  
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Beveling

I taped a ruler to the trailing edge of the horizontal stabilizer. I then pulled a new razor blade along the edge of the ruler at a 45 degree angle, thus creating the bevel to allow the elevator to pivot down. I think having the ruler taped to the h.stab really helped, as I didn't have to worry about holding it in place while I made my cut. I used the same method for the leading edge bevel in the rudder.

When the elevator assembly was dry, I taped it with clear 2" packing tape to the h.stab. Because I had dried it up against a straight edge, it lined up well. I tape them both in a flat position, with just enough of a gap so that I just barely see the table through the crack (about the width of a pin). This gave it just the right amount of room to hinge to a 45 degree angle downward onto the beveled h.stab trailing edge.

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Old 10-07-2005, 04:48 PM
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Default Wing Mounting Dowels and Motor Mount

I had to use a drill bit to clear out the wholes through which the wing holding dowels went. I was worried that when I pushed the dowel through it would miss its mark on the opposite side. I must have done something right, because when I pushed them through the matched up perfectly with the holes in the opposite wing cradle. Phew! The manual says you probably won't need glue, but mine were a little loose, so I put a very thing coat of white woodworkers glue on them to make them stay put.

The motor mount is very complicated to put together, if you're a three year old. I didn't have any problems. It assembles like a 3D jigsaw puzzle and some thin CA goes in the joints to lock it in place. A touch of sanding and the gearbox slid on smoothly, yet snuggly. My finest drill bit made the hole for the screw to hold the gearbox on. There was just barely enough room to accept my 2025-4100 Himax. Pushing the mount into the slot in the nose does rip up the foam a bit because there is only a horizontal slot, and none for the perpendicular sections of the mount. Oh, well. After it was taped into place it wasn't going anywhere.

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Now I have to glue the h.stab in place and hinge the rudder. I'll mount my battery somewhere. Perhaps on the side. It is a 3s 2170. I need to install the servo push rods and make some landing gear. I think the black hole in my work area has sucked up the wire for the landing gear and pushrods because they are nowhere to be seen. It could be that they were missing from the kit, because I don't recal seeing them. Anyway, I will have a good look around and buy some if necesary. This bird wants to fly.

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Old 10-08-2005, 12:15 AM
  #15  
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Good choice for a second plane. Order the sport wing if you haven't already and it can be your third plane too.
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Old 10-08-2005, 06:00 PM
  #16  
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johnhay73,
Here is something to consider when you get you next Magpie ( and you will in time). There are more covering materials that can be used besides the tape. I cover mine with So-lite. Other iron on covering will work as well. The iron- on covering makes the plane lighter and there seems to be little sacrifice, if any, of structural integrity. Plus there is no fumes or mess.

Ken
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Old 10-08-2005, 08:54 PM
  #17  
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Wolfwind, the sport wing is on the workbench. I am excited about its potential. As you say, it will be like having a third plane.

Tailspin Ken, I must admit I wouldn't miss having to use the spray and tape method. I did find it frustrating working within a tight time frame and having to coordinate the application around curved surfaces and being careful not to introduce any wrinkles into the surface. I am sure I will get the AP version someday, so perhaps I will go the solite route.

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Old 10-08-2005, 09:13 PM
  #18  
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I was up until 1 AM last night and up again at 6 AM this morning. I new this morning might be the only rain free day for the weekend so I made the push to get the Magpie airworthy. Most of the last few hours were spent making sure all the components were on securely and that the plane was balanced fore and aft and laterally. Also, I set the radio up to comply with the recomended relaxed settings for a maiden flight. (I bought a Hitec Optic 6 as my first non-RTF radio and it seems like a wise purchase so far.)

By 9 AM I felt that I had a stable and solid plane with all control surfaces working as they should. I paused to reflect upon my work. I took my plane outside and blocked the wheels in place. I ran the motor and manipulated the controls. All looked good. I felt I had performed due dilegence, so I range checked and then hand launched (I have a very large flat flying area across the street from my front door. It has tall grass for gentle ditching, my preferred landing method.)

It seemed that my care in setup paid dividends in the form of a straight and level departure from my hand. A tad more throttle (up to about 1/3) with some up elevator sent the plane upward and straight. The Magpie flew as softly as a butterfly. With the rates I had programmed it made nice gentle turns at a slow speed with very little throttle. After I was confident that my elevator wasn't going to fall off, I gave the Himax the volts it was designed to take. She climbed vertical like an angel to the heavens (can you tell I'm happy yet?).

I had three sorties before the li-poly was spent. Perhaps about 25 minutes in total. Each takeoff was gentle and predictable. Each landing was like dropping a feather onto a pillow.

The only mishap was that the landing gear came off after the second landing. It was attached to its mount by three zip ties (zap straps?). The straps seemed brittle and snapped apart. I removed them as I don't need them for my grass landings. I might reattach them when I have a flatter landing strip.

My battery is charging now. I will take it out again this afternoon, weather permitting. I do have some more details about the the final phases of the build. Perhaps there will be some tips that someone might find usefull, so for the sake of completeness I will post those as soon as possible.
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Old 10-08-2005, 10:48 PM
  #19  
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Hi John,
Congratulations on the maiden of the Magpie. I've enjoyed your build thread. The MP is one of the few MountainModels kits I haven't built, so it was great to see a detailed build. Thanks!
Your tape covering job is excellent. I found on both my SmoothE and my Panic that if I was careful, I could take my covering iron and at a low heat setting, carefully shrink the tape to get rid of small wrinkles. I didn't see too many wrinkles at all in your pictures, but if you have some, and you have a covering iron, you could give it a try.
Again, I'm glad she flew well for you. The build thread certainly shows the effort you put into getting her built properly and up in the air. Enoy!
Mark
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Old 10-09-2005, 02:22 AM
  #20  
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Congrats on the successful maiden.
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Old 10-09-2005, 06:28 AM
  #21  
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John,
Way to go!! Congrats on the maiden. An easy way to eliminate the landing gear problems is simply to remove the landing gear completely! I have never used the landing gear on my 'Pie'. It is a great and gentle belly lander.
Ken
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Old 10-09-2005, 11:38 PM
  #22  
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Johnhay
hope you know, you have non AP Magpie version
MagAPie has a camera bay cut out in the fuse.
there is my MagAPie on the pix under my name
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Old 10-10-2005, 04:54 PM
  #23  
johnhay73
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Yes, thanks Nakelp. I deliberated on which version to get. I started with the smaller non-AP version so that I could get a slightly sportier version with the sport wing. I intend to get the AP version later when I have a better camera to send up with it.
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Old 10-23-2005, 01:47 AM
  #24  
fabricator
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John, care to share the rates you programmed for the maiden flight, my pie should be here early next week, and this thread was very timely for me, also in anticipation of the build I got some DURO spray adhesive, because the can says it works on foam, and it does no melting foam at all and if you try to peel the tape off it pulls the foam away to, also just to see if it would work I sprayed some clear packing tape with krylon fusion spray paint, the kind that is made to stick to plastic, you cant even scrape the paint off, very tenacious adhesion, it's flexible when dry so it wont flake off and you only need a very light coat, I dont know if I'll go that way or not but they make a lot of different colors and it dries in 15 minutes, the anticipation is half the fun.
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Old 10-24-2005, 04:45 PM
  #25  
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Hi fabricator,

I think I set my dual rates to 60%. I am still running them most of the time at that rate. The large tail surfaces really induce a lot of motion.

John
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