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my mini ultra stick escapades

Old 03-05-2012, 01:07 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Utah
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Default my mini ultra stick escapades

Hi, this is a bit long winded. I have several pictures I will update this with when I get to a computer to upload. This was pulled from the who crashed today thread. Just hpoing to update and share a bit of my flights and crashes with everyone.

Hello everyone. I just joined and am a fairly new flyer. I just purchased my second airplane, first being the slow stick, second is the mini ultra stick. The reason for the upgrade, I was flying my slow stick right as the wind started to pick up.

Already flew for about 4 hours earlier that morning, but broke my motor off my fuse. I was doing some lower altitude hovering, ended up loosing it and hitting straight nose down at wot. Well charged up my 1800mah batteries, cut the end of the fuse off and re attached the motor. Went for another flight right as it was getting dark. I flew for about 10 minutes, this time making sure I had pleanty of air time. Big storm front was just starting to move in. I was running a heads up 450 sport, pleanty of grunt. With the 1800mah battery, I was flexing my wing a lot before. I added a brace to the bottom front and back of the wing using some dowels from a $1 kite my kid broke. I had never had a problem since adding that dowel.

Wind started gusting up to about 20mph, I started to realize I was going to have a hard time bringing it down. I was kiteing the plane, and doing wot climbs with full down elevator until I could barely see it, then holding full up elevator in to slow it down till the prop wasn't even spinning. I could get a solid minute, maybe minute and a half gliding time, before having to give any throttle. Well the wind picked up right as I got my plane WAY up there. There was enough wind that I was putting almost 3/4 throttle into it to keep it infront of me. I can hover the plane on about 1/3rd throttle, so I was really sweating it getting it down. Worst part was, if the wind caught the under side of the wing, it would pitch the plane up and fly backwards at 20mph or so, maybe quicker.

So here I am with 3/4 throttle, almost full down elevator in it to keep it decending, and in the park. Finally I decided the only way to get it down was to do a no power dive to bleed off my I get it as far in front of me as I can, mean while the wind is getting worse and worse. Cut the throttle, full down, its dropping down, but shooting backwards to me in the wind almost as fast as its dropping. I pull it up slow to level it out, getting really worried I could even get it on the ground in one peice. I have full right rudder in it. The wind is blowing in a cross wind now, and I am trying to keep it away from the trees along the edge of the park. Then all of the sudden, my wing snapps. I was about 4 feet of the ground or so, glad the damage was minimmal. But the wind was blowing it around faster then I could run, with my pockets full of batteries without loosing any. Ended up getting caught against the chain link fence about 10 feet from the road.

That's when I decided I was just way to bored with the plane. It was getting to the point I was flying 3 to 4 hours a day, but I was doing really stupid things. I knew there was a bit too much wind. I diddn't know it was going to get as bad as it was though. I'll bet it was near 30mph winds by the time I finally got it to the ground. If I would of him my battery cutoff, I would have been screwed.

After crashing my ministick a couple times though, I am starting to miss the $1 fixes to the slow stick. I broke the fuse doing a full throttle dive, pulled it up last second, rubber band on the battery broke. Stayed with the plane, but all the weight swinging around made it un controllable. A trip to lowes and 98 cents latter, I'm back in the air.

First flight with my mus, waited from 6 am till 4pm for the wind to die down, never did. Decided screw it, I'm going to fly today. Took it off, scared out of my mind. Having never flown with alleroins, and a maiden flight in higher winds. Got the elevator trimmed in, took almost full trim. Decided that I was way too nose heavy. After about 3 or 4 minutes of not beleiving how quickly the plane flew compared to the slow stick, and how twitchy aleroins are, decided to land. Perfect landing, no problems, but decided there was too much wind.

Well second flight the next morning, lost orientation, nosed it straight in, full throttle. One day I will learn to not fly so fast. Picked the plane up, only really damaged the firewall, and the landing gear block ripped out. Pissed, but glad the motr was still good, actually didn't even break the prop, and really minimal damage. Spend about 4 or 5 hours building the plane back up, getting it looking really good. Even glued the monocote that I had left back on.

The next flight went very well. Git it trimmed in real well. lost the stupid magnetic hatch. Cruddy handling on the ground though. Land was really smooth. Bit fast, but nice and soft and straight. Well as it was about stopped it hooked a hard right, hit the curb and took off the landing gear. Done after a single 8 minute fligh. So far I have about 10 minutes of flying time in, and about 10 hours or som time spemt setting the plane up.

Decided I must not have glued the block in well. This time it ripped both the bottom in front and behind the block out. Well another 4 or 5 hours, spending way too much time sanding and making it look nice. Decided not to redo the monocote until I know how well it fly's. Well go to a different flying spot. This one is a lot wider dead end road. Right on takeoff, hooks right when I start to hit the gas to get it in the air. I hit full and try to horse it off the ground before hitting the curb, unsucessfully of course. Takes out the landing gear, but this time the glue holds everything else in place, no damage to prop or motor.

Having rebuilt the plane three times, I decided I was going to fly it. I had way too much time and money int the plane to not fly it. With the landing gear gone, oulld some trim out of it hoping to counter act the huge oversized landin gear. My dad hand launches it, I give it full throttle when it leaves his hand. This plane is FAST without landing gear. My dad commented on how the missing hatch makes it sound like his old quicky 500 pylon racer. He guess I was hitting 50-60mph with a 10X5 prop. This time I get it nice and high, keep it where I can see it well. Lots of fun. Do some rolls and lots of high speed turns. Low level passes and close fly by's. The plane is awesome, does exactly what I want it to. Left it full throttle the whole flight until setting up for landing. Ditched it in some tall weeds by the grass.

My dad said I had way too much aleroins. I would say I could do 10 or so rolls a second. Plane flew so. Wonderful, I wouldn't change a thing about it. Ran all 4 1800ma batteries dead. About 40 minutes to and hour of flight time. I throw the 2200 in it, just because I was having so much fun. The 2200 makes it way too nose heavy. Flys much faster, which is weird because is was a 15c battery and about 42 amp rating, and the 1800's were 54.

On a low level full throttle pass, ended up giving it a bit too much in the turn. Cut the throttle, got the wings level, pulled up and straightened out just quick enough for the plane to belly bounce along the asphalt. Slides sideways and the wing tip hits the curb, same spot the landing gear broke. Broke the tip of the wing, but not any of the wing ribs. Got way. Lucky considering how fast I was the plane was moving, and how close iwas to the ground.

Rebuild the wing tip, re mono coat it, glue the landing gear block back in. I recut and trimmed a lot of the balsa I fixed earlier. Made it look really good, decided to add a tail wheel. Everytime I broke the landing gear, it was because of how cruddy it handled with the skid. Another 5 or 6 hours into the plane, but I'm in love will how well it was flying. I think I had this plane for 4 days at this point.

Liked the new steer wheel. But it was way too touchy. Made the nose balance out just right though. Next time out, good flight, bad landing. I was landing crosswind again(really need a better flying spot...), good landing, but once again pulls hard right once on the ground, takes off the landing gear. Did a quick fix, but grounded for a day or two for wind and vehicle needs. Basically just reglued the balsa back around the landing gear block.

I decided it was pulling so hard the plane would pull on the ground wasn't the steer wheel I added. taxi at low speeds and thelittlest correction and the plane tries to do a ground loop it turns so hard. I decided the rubber 3/4 inch wheel was gripping pavement turned harder then the front wheels gripped, swung the tail hard and lifted slighlty making in skid and loosing all steering input. The stock front foam wheels are more foam then wheels, and the axles are a threaded bolt. The bolt on one side was slightly tightening with it was rolling on ground, makeing in want to turn right. When I correvted with the tail wheel, it would over correct and skid along the ground making it turn harder which everway it started to skid. Front wheels flexed so much that turning distorted them and they would bind up and not roll well.

Decided to run down to a hobby shop and get some "sport" 2.5" wheels, and a matching tail wheel. Tail wheel ended up as either 1.25 or 1.5", don't remeber which. Back wheel is a bit large for the bend in the .40 sized tail bracket, but a bit of offset in the wheel colars makes it work okay. I will probably bend a new wire that fits it a bit better later, on a grounded day. Taxi's much better, slow and quickly. Not sure if it was the smalled rear wheel, or the better front ones, but does well enough you can steer it now.

Well the next flight, way too windy. Decided I was going to fly anyways. Flew fine, but I was parranoid about battery percentage left because of how much I was fighting the wind, and it felt a bit weak.landed fine, bit of crosswind, but very manageable. Decided to throw a new battery in and go for another flight, against the wishes of my dad, who watchedto first flight. I didn't like the runway because I parked downwind and didn't want to fly at the car, so I made a newb mistake and took off away from the wind. Lost the tail wheel (forgot to tighted the wheel collar) plane hooked right, pulled it up enough to miss the curb. Wind caught it, fought it hard but stalled and did a nose dive. Worst damage of any crash to date, and I would have assumed the softest of them all.

Well did a really quick and dirty fix of everything. Cut off everything to the back 2/3 of the wing with the bandsaw. Glued new sides in, rebuilt everthing except firewall, and bottom, let it sit out to dry. Well, one side of the fuse slid down in the clamp, but cured well and plenty strong. Everything was off a bit, but I decided it would only be a flight, maybe two before I destroyed it again. Glued it all together, and it looks rough, completely mishapen. One side of the firewall is 1" taller then the other, the bottom isn't level, but it I redid it and started again, I couldn't fly that day. I also ran down to the harware store and got some nylong bolts for the landing gear. Went up from a 4-40 bolt to a couple sizes bigger to get a same sized blind nut.

Went out to fly again, basically given up on flying it at this point. Loved the plane to death, but kept making rookie mistakes, bad flying spots and flying in too much wind. Motor didn't appear damaged, but has taken several hard wot hits straight down on the ground. Had a bit of a wobble from a crash, but actually straightened out after the last crash. Its frustrating to completely destroy the front half of your plane 5 times and still be running the same prop and motor.

We went back to our first flying spot. Higher wind because its along the salt flats, and right next to i-80. No hills, tree's or anything really. There is a freeway overpass/offramp the runs into a dirt road right by the dump. Runs about 3 miles, not a very good dirt road, and no one really takes it because its quicker and easier to just take the main road, and its just as close to the dump. It also has a nice long paved road from about 500 feet from the freeway before the dirt. So parked at the beginning of the dirt road, took off twoards the freeway on the pavement.

Well , ground handling is perfect. Bit of a crosswind on takeoffs and landings, bit more wind then most other spots we would fly, and ocassonal traffic. Wide open feilds everyway and far enough frok the freeway that I could easily ditch the plane before hitting the freeway. Flew nice, but plane is down on power. Not sure why, but flew nice. Did a couple good take offs and landins, finally getting to know the plane a bit better. Couple of lower level passes, getting used to aleroins better, and feally liking the slower speed characteristics of the plane. Broke a nylon screw on my last landing, decided to call it a day. Mostly because I realied I forgot to bring extra screws.

Next day out, flew really well. Same types of flights. Did a couple nice high alpha passes, plane won't quite hover now, but has plenty of power for verticle. Really thinking motor may be damaged, or maybe I acidentally reset my esc throttle. But it was flying really well. I eded up popping out one of my blind nuts in the landing gear. Couldn't get it back under the back of the battery tray, so I just stick it into the tray. The bolts line up nice and straight with the slot cut into it. Last flight, a bunch of traffic out of nowhere while I was on my battery cut out. Forgot to set the timer. So I landed perfectly in the weeds. It was getting sort of windy, then a big gust of wind came, enough to almost blow my plane over while I was swapping batteries. Decided to call it for a bit, to see if it wouls die down. My dad wanted to do some running around and maybe buy a set of batteries for another plane.

Well we found ourselves on the other side of town. There was a park flying site there that some electric clubs like to fly at my dad wanted to check out. We were also hoping to figure out where some of these local guys fly bigger planes and gas jobs. We got there and there was two guys flying. On older nice guy that left right as we got there, another guy fkying a foamy trainer on a 27mhz channel. He left right as we were getting ready to fly my dad's slow stick. Well I decided I wanted to try my plane out there. It was a bit smaller area then I wanted, but with how well the plane has been flying, I decided to go for it. There was still wind, but only about 5, maybe 10mph. Well as I started to taxi it out, landing gear block came out... really starting to get sick of this.

Decided a hand launch wasn't the best idea, and that the plane qould probably eat up too much sky, and I still only had maybe 2 hours of stick time on alerons. So me and my dad passed the transmitter back and forth on his slow stick. Had a lot fun, my dad started showing off a bit. I talked him into stepping up from the 800mah to the 1800ma batteries I was flying, so the plane flew just like my slow stick did. I was hovering quite a bit, kiteing it, you could almost do a hovering tailslide it you could keep it against the wind right. His plane was balanced so much better then mine, and hadn't been crashed much, but flew really nice. We my dad having 30 years on me, and two or three years on his airframe got a bit cocky, broke the motor mount on a nose in. Actually watched him nose in twice, first time I have seen him crash, other then flying through the goal posts at the park by our house. It always bugged me how I would go through two or three props an outing, while he would run the same prop for a couple months. He normally only broke his on a nose over landing.

But there is the story of my mini ultra stick. I think I have 2, aybe 3 hours on it now. Of course my cruddiest looking repair is going to last forever, but the ones I spent a lot of time on to make them look nice went straight it. My dad calls this the law of knetic uglyness. Well sorry to make it into a book. I think I had 5 or 6 crashes in 9 days, hopefully I have this thing all figured out now. It does fly good enough I don't want to mess with it though.

Just a note for anyone that buys a mini ultra stick, get nylon bolts in there before your first flight. There is enough clearence for a 13" prop, or maybe bigger the landing gear is way oversized and has quite a bit of leverage to rip out the gear.I would swap out the foam wheels, and the tail skid was driving me nuts. The dubro .40 sized bracket and a small wheel make it ballance out much better, get rid of the nose heavyness, and still be able to get to the battery. Rather then drill through the thin balsa that joins each side of the elevator, I just bent the wire straight back and then up in an L shape and taped it to the rudder. Plenty of clearance on the tail, but of course check it first. 1/2" of aleroins is about right in my opinion.I had just a hair over that, and that make the right stick so twitchy it was hard to fly fast, and reacted too quick for me. Maybe that's just the newb in me? I went from 10 or so rolls a second to 3 rolls a second at straight level max speed, by movin the servo horns in two holes. Aleroins do not respond much at slow speeds, but my dad says this is normal?Plane impresses me in the wind, still seems to fly well without flaps slow. I have not done much low level slow flying or hovering. Does high alpha well, will knife edge. Can't seem to get it to hover, but I have seen other people do it. Rolls are a snap, will do a full speed, full throttle loop, no problems. Also, both tail surfaces were warped badly out of the box. Can't get the horizontal stabalizer perfectly flat, but doesn't seem to effect the flight. Vertical and rudder straightend right out with the heat gun. Wing was perfect, as was the fuse. Good quality on construction. Only real complaint is how easy the landing gear rips off.

Update, to anyone who wants to know, or really cares.

Flew the next day with thelanding gear superglued back in (getting a bit lazy with the fixes by this time), did one hard landing. Gear stayed in, but landing gear block didn't. Didn't even get 10 minutes on it. Decided to really beef up the block and the area around it. Just stacked piles of plywood and balsa in the whole area. Added a bunch of weight to it, but wanted to be able to land it. Ran longer nylon screws for the longer length.

Thus time thinking my landing gear is indistructable, got way cocky. Lostmy nerves and froze and landed hard in a stall. Hit nice and level, broke my nylon bolts. Yes... I still have a plane in one peice (reletively) on the ground. But new bolts, new battery and off I went. Decided I wanted to try some low level passes, and maybe touch and go's, with my new indestructible landing gear. Just touched the ground, awesome landing gear, minus a bit of weather vaning. I was getting ready to straighten it out and take off, when it looked like the prop hit the ground and the plane flipped over. Great I think as I take the long walk of shame. I was landing away from the wing, and the plane was out there a bit. I start getting closer anf I realie that the landing geat is under the tail. Not a big deal since I landed so soft, couldn't be hurt too bad right? As I get closer I realize that the prop is under the tail too. Great, I finally busted my first prop on thi motor. No big deal, I have more. Well get closer, the nose of the airplane is under the tail too...

Where I strengthened the landing gear was fine, but right behind it split right in half. No damage to electronics or the wing. Amazing, and glad I mounted everything with velcro instead of zip ties this time. I actually laughed this time.

Rebuilt this plane, for the thrid time replacing everything from where the back of the wing mounts forwards, again. This time I doubled the size of the landing gear block. I used some hard wood square stock to join the front and back half. I also made the entire battery tray one peice to greatly stregnthen the area around the landing gear. I also remembered to join the balsa together with the grain crossing instead of parrelell( idiot...) and it is much lighter, as well as stronger. Patched a small peice of the wing tp, and finally the plane looks straight again! However, I did devide to try to monocoat the new balso white because of the revent snow.

Next outing, got cocky with the plane. Did a bunch o low level passes and ended up stalling. Tried to recover by hitting full throttle and pulling into a dive. Pulled up and almost made it. Pancaked hard on impact, straight on the landing gear. Broke the bolts, but bounced and kept going. Gave it throttle and tried to correct my new cg without the landing gear and ended up summer salting it wingtip to wingtip. Bent the shaft of the motor, filled one wingtip full of mud, broke the front of the wing in a bit, and broke one dowel.

Well I made the plane look good.fixed the wing pretty well, stuck a 1/8" dowel in and glued it really well. Put the block at the back back in and glued the balsa bac down on the back half. Started to really analize what I was doing wrong. It was my nerves. Kmy first flights I was doing spot crosswind landings on a unpaved road without issue. Now that I'm at the salt flats with nothing to hit and all the room in the world, I can't get it on the ground in one peice? My dad and I talked it over, and he talked me through several lower level passes and said, "well what's the problem? You do the same thing 10 feet lower. Just fly it into the ground. Keep you wings level, keep your speed up so you don't stall, drop your throttle slow until the wheels touch" I complained about the 15-20 mile an hour wind, but my dad said "the plane doesn't know there's wind, just take off and land into the wind."

Flew three batteries all the way through. Three decent landings, about 40 minutes of fight time, and I probably doubled my air time, and I didn't even brake a nylon bolt. I had a 4th battery, but I decided that I wanted to bring home a plane in one peice. The increasing wing was making the landings a bit slower and easier to stall in the gusts. Finally, a plane in one peice without breaking anything.
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