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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Phoenix Waco F5c Maiden - Wowser!

I took my Phoenix Waco F5C out for her maiden flight this afternoon, and it was stunning. Simply. Stunning. Curiously I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. Somehow I just knew it was going to go well.

This plane is designed to fly with a 15cc engine, but who's got time for that. I found myself in possession of a used RCGF 26cc gas engine, and I had planned on putting a 20cc engine in it, so, what's 6cc more? I don't think its much, but 11cc is a whole other engine, and baby does she have some power.

My Phoenix Waco from Tower Hobbies is powered by a RCGF 26cc gas engine, and equipped with a Spektrum AR6210 with a satellite receiver, and a Spektrum Alpha6 Stabilization System. She has a Quikfire Fuel Balancer. The Receiver and Ignition packs are Turnigy 6V NiMH 2300 mAh.  The servos on the ailerons are Hitec HS-5645s and the throttle, rudder and elevator servos are Hitec HS-5685 servos. she has a 18x7 carbon fiber prop.

A Boy and his Toy

I have to remove one wing to get her in the car. I made a cardboard jig to hold the unsupported left wing when its not on the aircraft. It makes it so I don't have to remove the pins that secure the N-struts on the outside of the wing and the connector between ailerons.

I love the bullet spinner I got from China. Arrived in a week!

The wheel pants didn't get torn off! The 26cc is a bit big and does come out about 1 cm more than is cosmetically perfect.

The video guy David stopped videoing as he thought the camera had stopped. He actually did a pretty good job!

She flew smooth, clean and well trimmed.  A nice breeze had picked up but was steady in direction and force. The first take-off was, well you saw it (video above). That was about 1/2 throttle! Surprised me, to say the least. After that I did some touch and go's at a bit less than half with a nice smooth climb out. I flew most of this flight 1/4-1/2 throttle. She has good control response and I think will be a great sport aerobat. She rolled crisply on high rates, and looped clean. On the second flight I had her full power going vertical, and after a few seconds still going strong, the engine quit. I dead sticked her to a perfect landing. I restarted the engine to make sure there wasn't a problem and she started right up. There are some long fuel lines but I am still not sure why she would have a fuel flow issue in vertical as the 26cc should pull some vacuum. I was very impressed with the Spektrum Alpha6 Stabilization System. I don't think she will need any further adjustment from the default settings. I flew her in RATE and didn't turn the system off, or into HEADING HOLD. I will do that in later flights. I can hardly wait to fly her again!

I had some problems with the Spektrum Alpha6 that weren't problems with the Spektrum Alpha6, but with a bad model in my DX8 that wouldn't let us communicate through the FMODE switch to AUX1. That took me some time to sort out. In the meantime I worked with Spektrum/Horizon Hobby Tech Support (very awesome) and learned a lot about the Alpha6. The Alpha6 is a wonderful device once you get past the poorly written manual.

The manual's problems:

1. It leaves out critical steps like assigning a 3 position switch like FMODE to the AUX1 channel on the receiver, and plugging that into the G6 channel
2. It doesn't explain why one would chose Rate Mode or Heading Hold Mode
3. It doesn't explain what the 3 positions are. They are RATE MODE(green)-OFF(white)-HEADING HOLD (purple). The colors on the unit indication these are also not explained but they change with the 3 position switch. There is some confusion in the community who think that the positions are On-Off-Panic Recovery Mode. The box it comes in says there is a Panic Recovery Mode, but there isn't one according to Spektrum.
4. It doesn't explain that to change the gain of each surface of the Alpha6 you must use the software connected to a PC, and you have to buy the cable separately. There's supposedly a way to use an Android or iPhone, but its not clear how or what cable to use.  (I may try my USB cable with a micoUSB adapter).
5. It doesn't explain the software at all, what each adjustment does and when you would change them.

The box says there is a Panic Recovery Mode, but there isn't one.

Spektrum let me keep the original Alpha6, so I will be putting that unit in the 10cc Sukhoi. I had though about putting it on the 30cc MXS-R, and still may, but she flies very stable being so big. If I don't put it in the MXS-R, I will likely get one for it. I will be staying with the Spektrum unit, now that the deficiencies in the manual are overcome.

It has been a very goof flight day! I didn't want to screw it up b taking a heli out...

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