When Flite Test finally released the plans for the FT Spitfire I saw this as a great opportunity for my first swoppable build and to take it in another direction.
I'm on the committee of my local Slope Soaring club "Two Oceans Slope Soarers" and we host a yearly PSS (Powered Scale Soaring) competition called the Black Eagle PSS Festival. There are four classes you can enter: Expert, Sportmans Heavy, Sportsmans Light and Combat. You can see the rules here http://www.toss.co.za/documents/PSS_Rules_2013_v15.pdf
I decided to build and enter the FT Spitfire in the combat class and slope the FT Spitfire for the first time. (Probably a world first? :))
Combat Class: For foam (normally EPP) and correx (corroplast) planes with a less than 1,4m wing span. More for the guys who just want to have fun and fly at the event. Judging is not taken too seriously and you just need one photo of the real life version your plane was modelled from. You also fly a 2 minute freestyle session where you need to perform manuveres as scale as possible.
The build went fairly quick. An evening to cut out the plans and foam. I even tested 3mm verses 5mm wing weights. Not worth going 3mm as the weigh saving was minimal. Prefer the extra strength you get from the thicker foam.
Construction took a few hours on a rainy Saturday with my father in law helping me.
Some Spitfire decals from a friend who owns a South African online hobbyshop call Hobby Mania. Thanks Andrew :)
The next weekend when the weather was dryer I borrowed a compressor and air brush to apply the paint.
I made two pods. One for the slope and one for flying electric at my local flying field. I extended the length of the slope pod and added a ply cap on the end to mount the spinner. FYI this is the same spinner I use on the power pod. I filled the space between the pieces of ply with enough lead to balance on the CoG. I used a 4 cell AA NiMh 2000mA to power the receiver and 4 x 9g servos.
The power pod has an Emax GT2815 1100kv motor with 9x6e prop on a 2200mA 3S Lipo which is complete overkill and I ended up running at just over 1/4 throttle for most of the flight. BUT the plus side the flight lasted for ages and when I checked the battery it still had 40% left :) I also used a 30A Turnigy Plush ESC which is borderline for this motor. I have a NTM prop drive 28 but didnt get the accessory pack in time, so hence the bigger motor.
The finished FT Spitfire ready for the slope.
THE BIG DAY
22 June 2013
We all met at the cannon at the top of Red Hill in Simons Town at 9:00am. Our club has been given permission to fly at this site and we are very lucky to slope at such a senic location.
SE wind was predicted for the late afternoon but the morning was very still. I got my tricopter in the air early to capture some footage and we started the process of static judging all the models. After the FT Spitfire had been judged it gave me the perfect opportunity to maiden it with the power pod.
Maiden Number 1
After a not so quick swop out and checking CoG she was ready for maiden. Took it out to the edge of the slope, did all my control surface checks and chucked it off with a good amount of throttle. I had to fly it "Bixler" style (no trimming) until I was high enough to start triming it out. Needing alot of right aileron and tiny bit of down elevator. The rest of the flight was.... AWESOME! Thanks David for a great looking and flying plane. No tip stalls! Rolls beautifully. Alround a great warbird for any parkflyer and best of all it's made of cheap foamboard. All the guys who witnessed the flight were very impressed and I think you guys are definitely going to pick up some new viewers from Cape Town. So after what must have been 20minutes of fun I decided to land. Be aware there is NO landing strip in sight and our usual slope landing runway is pick the nearest bush and set it down there! Which wont work with a foamboard plane. I spotted a fairly clear area on the top of the slope and called my landing. I did two quick circuits to check and commited to land. Unfortunately I ended up about 1meter short and in a bush anyway :( Breaking the horizontal stabilizer on tail. I thought I'd pack the FT Spitfire away for the rest of the day and fix it that evening, ready for day 2 and a slope maiden.
Maiden Number 2
The afternoon saw a steady SE breeze blowing up the slope and slowly but surely more gliders started getting in the air. It all started off with an Alula, which is not a surprise. As more of the heavier combat planes were flying I thought to myself let me see what I can do about fixing the FT Spitfire now. Back to the make shift workshop at the back of my truck and a quick rummage in my RC tool box. BINGO I have a BBQ stick! A quick fix with tape and swop out for the slope pod and I was ready to go. This maiden was much easier. Just a slight nose down trim needed and it flys GREAT, alot slower but very scale. Definitely could use abit more ballast :)
23 June 2013
The wind had switched NW with an imminent cold front approching the Cape of Good Hope we move the venue to another beautiful slope on the famous Chapmans Peak drive. The wind was blowing early and guys were eager to get up in the air again. This time I packed some more lead as balast for the FT Spitfire. I had two really great flights with the spitty during the day apart from two lockouts which almost ended really badly. Luckly got control back and avoided disaster. Not sure why it's happening but think it might be a Spektrum DSM2 thing, was bound to my DX8. Rebound it to my DX6i for the second flight and it was fine. Go figure.
Spent the rest of the day filming and chasing some BIG PSS gliders with my GoPro taped to the front of my correx Mig3 sloper :) http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1335350