Hangar 9 27% Extra 260 Project
For the past few years we haven't flown RC at all. With my little one getting to be not so little anymore and developing an interest in planes himself I plan to be back at the field in spring 2008.
To that end we are trying to get the old planes in flying condition again and on our recent visit to the D.O.G.S. Giant Scale RC Show in Dayton I purchased a new 27% Hangar 9 Extra 260 and Spektrum DX7 radio. After returning I also ordered a Desert Aircraft DA-50 from Chief Aircraft to power it with.
I plan to buy the remaining servos, mufflers and other parts for the kit and document the build of the model here in the coming months.
(12 September 2007) - Well the DA arrived today so the assembly will begin this weekend with any luck. It will be a slow go as I do not have all the parts right from the start but it doesn't have to be ready until spring anyway. As long as it flies well it will be worth the wait.
(16 September 2007) - Not a whole lot of actual progress on the project this weekend. Far less than I had hoped. I did make the work table that I needed to build the plane on. I also got it all unboxed for the first time so I could inspect it.
One thing I have known for some time now is that although I had bought this plane as new it seems to really be an "Open Box Special" of sorts. I knew this shortly after I came home and found the stock Hangar 9 carbon fiber main gear had been replaced with Graph Tech main gear. Not a bad thing actually since many people had issues with the Hangar 9 gear and upgraded to the Graph Tech. If nothing else it certainly looks better. However given the aforementioned anomaly I am wary I may find other "surprises" along the way with this build.
Sure enough while unboxing I note that the hinge pins are in a zip-loc bag and not a sealed bag like all the other hardware in the box. On counting the hinge pins I count 16... I need 17 to complete the kit. Clearly some scalping has happened here too.
Another thing I noticed was the cowl screw holes had been put in the wrong location at the factory and then reworked. I think I remember reading on RCU that some of the initial builders of this kit had issues with this so I am not surprised. I am actually glad it's fixed in fact. Better they did it than me having to.
Some views of the fuselage construction.
(25 September 2007) - Last weekend I started hinging the ailerons. Being the first time I have used these types of hinges (Robart Super Hinge Points) and the first time I have ever used the Pacer (Zap) PT-55 hinge glue I decided to take it slowly. I put the hinge points in the ailerons with petroleum jelly on the moving part of the hinge itself just as I have done previously with flat hinges and I used the Pacer glue on the points. I had carefully roughed up the surface of the hinge with sandpaper first being as careful as possible not to damage or round over the ridges on the shaft of the hinge points. I coated the inside of the hole and the outside of the hinge points with the glue and put them in slowly being careful to stop a few times while installing each hinge to wipe off glue squeeze out. I didn't want it to flood the hinge joint itself when it got all the way in. After all the moving part is the one part you don't want glued. I made sure each hinge was rotating at a right angle to the center-line of the control surface with a small engineers square. After I got them in each control surface I left them to dry overnight. The next day I checked and it seems my cautious clean up paid off as none of the hinges seemed stuck and they seemed to be in the aileron pretty solidly. So for now it seems choosing the specialized hinge glue over 30 minute epoxy paid off. It seems to hold well, although the true test will be in the air, and it cleans up easier and with water instead of alcohol.
I also assembled the canopy section last weekend as well. I mounted the dash panel and used canopy glue to glue the canopy down and painters tape to hold it in place while it dried. Since weight is an issue with this plane with the big motor and the canopy came pre-tinted there will be to pilot figure or character of any kind in this cockpit. I did the canopy now instead of at the end of the build where it is in the instructions because the back of the canopy section without the canopy being glued on is very weak and just asking for something to hit it and for it to get broken. I figured doing the canopy now would alleviate that risk.
I also drilled out the carbon fiber gear to be mounted onto the plane and to have the wheel pants mounted on them using the backup aluminum gear I bought as a drill template. As the carbon fiber gear comes from Graph Tech only the holes for the wheel axle itself are pre-drilled for you.
Not related to this plane but to RC Flying in general I put a new glow plug and fuel into my Kyosho 60-sized Cap-232 this weekend and fired it up for the first time in 3 years. I was actually impressed with how well it started and ran after sitting so long.
(19 October 2007) - Just a small update since I haven't updated the page in a while. It's not that nothing has been done on the plane. Some has but not much.
As it sits right now all of the control surfaces are hinged and the hinge gaps are sealed. I tried using the sticky tape stuff that comes with the kit to seal the hinge gaps but it's a serious pain to get into the gaps far enough and ended up not being up to my standards so I removed it and used covering which is what the instructions say to use anyway. I am much happier with the results of the covering than I was with that tape stuff.
I do have pretty much everything I need to complete the plane at this point. So far the plane will be outfitted as follows:
- 3 MPI Miracle Switch/Regulators for the dual RX batteries and the Ignition.
- 3 Fromeco 2600mAh Li-Ion batteries.
- DA-50R for power.
- MTW 75K Canister set for exhaust.
- 22x8 Xoar prop for break in, 23x8 Mejzlik after.
- Anodized Red Tru-Turn spinner.
- 4 Hitec 5645MG servos for the ailerons and elevators.
- 1 Hitec 5955TG servo for the rudder.
- 1 Hitec 5745HB servo for throttle.
- Hitec HD twisted servo extensions for all servos.
- Airwild 1.25\" metal servo arms for all servos.
- H9 titanium prolinks for aileron servos.
- CF servo linkage stiffeners for aft control linkages.
- Smartfly fiber optic ignition cutoff switch.
- Spektrum DX7 to control it all.
- Graphtec CF landing gear (I have aluminum backups from H9 as well).
- Robart super hinge points for all hinges.
The DA50 with the Xoar prop and Tru-Turn Spinner on it.
(22 October 2007) - Another weekend and another small update. This past weekend I cut what seems to me to be a monster sized hole in the sub-firewall for the MTW 75K cannister muffler. I had to trim the mount to get it to fit into the area for it and I had to trim the bottom to get it low enough. I had to also seal the bottom covering to it because it is impossible to do it as they show in the instructions. The former they want you to seal it to has an arc in it in my plane that the one int he instructions photo does not. Clearly a redesign has taken place here. No matter though I just cut the muffler mount to the right height and width and it provided a nice straight place to seal the covering down in the opening.
(23 October 2007) - Last night I put in and drilled the holes for the servos on all the control surfaces and then reinforced the wood in the drill holes with CA. I removed the servos again when I CA'd the holes of course. I left that to dry overnight. When I get back to it, hopefully tonight, I will screw in the servos and then begin mounting control horns on the surfaces themselves.
(28 October 2007) - Lots of progress these past few days. The rudder linkage is complete. I setup the mixing in the radio for the elevator servos on different channels. I also mounted the main landing gear, tail wheel and wheels. The motor is mounted as well.
(26 May 2008) - It's Finished! At long last it's done and running after 8 months of off and on work she's complete and ready to fly! In the end I opted to purchase the Hangar 9 aluminum gear for this plane to begin with since I will be flying off grass. I will switch back to the carbon fiber gear when I am more used to the plane. Also I've initially opted for a singe RX battery and switch. The reason is simple, the plane balanced properly with the one set, the second would require adding weight in the front and I want to keep everything as light as possible. I do have the switch plate inside made for the second switch should I wish to add it later. The graphics are not stock, they are vinyl graphics from B&E Graphix and they look a whole lot better in real life than in these pictures.
(31 May 2008) - She Flies! Of course it was way too windy and it just finished storming but we took her up for a maiden flight anyway this past Saturday afternoon at Northampton Park in Sweden, NY. My friend put her on his digital scale and with a full tank a fuel she topped out at 15 pounds 10 ounces which was actually less than I ever expected. Landing in the wind was a hassle but she came down in one piece.