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Maiden Flight: 72 inch PICA 1/5th Scale WACO-YMF 08-05-18

Started by Paul Lange, August 06, 2018, 11:32:26 am

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Paul Lange

This airframe is spot on Gorgeous.....the only complaint I have is the access to the battery compartment which is from the bottom fuselage with a nice removable access hatch just forward of the landing gear....so the plane must be upside down to swap batteries.....a plane this size and heavy is a bit awkward to flip over.  I may build a special rotiserie for this effort?

Yesteray (08-05-18) I did my maiden:
Winds gusty out of the SE 10-13mph or better
At or about 7:15pm (Bob is my trim man, Jim is at the flight line videoing via his iPhone and Brian on hand to witness)
I had charged the 6v 2300mAh NiMh flight battery at .5amps for 4hrs total with a resting voltate at or near 6.9v on the test meter
The two 4s 40c 3600mAh LiPo were fully charged and inserted as designed in series for 8s motor power train
I noticed the airframe was not center trimmed when I bound the Spectrum AR6210 with external satellite antenna to my Spectrum DX6 transmitter - so I trimmed all control surfaces to neutral from the transmitter instead of physically setting control surfaces to neutral on the aircraft thinking it may trim back to what I witnessed at intial binding.
I have no manual for setting up COG but figured since the batteries that were left in the WACO seated full forward as possible from its last known flight (I suppose) that were still fully charged....my batteries of choice would work fine mounted same way forward as they are a tad bit heavier by 10grams.

After taxing out into the wind and adjusting a wheel pant....I slowly applied power and stabbed some rudder as she picked up the tail right away and rolled about 10yards where she litterally floated up like an elevator!!! Easy and ubra stable flat at about 50% throttle on the 18x10 APC prop.  The WACO was very easy to fly and was handling the wind as expected......it needed only a scoshe of down by a couple of transmitter clicks elevator down. On the 3rd pass Bob suggested I take it up into the wind at 45degrees and roll it over inverted to check COG.  It rested just fine inverted with (Maybe) a hint of upward tendancy.  If there was any tail heavy bias at all I ....could not tell  - as it was stable yet pretty nimble.  Since I had no bench mark set for battery load and flight duration....I had set a timer for a 5min flight.  So at 3:35 into the flight I wanted to start shooting landing approaches to learn the glide slope and decent rate.  My first pass was perfect and very slow but the wind blew it back up for an aborted landing.....the ensuing go around was excellent with no P-Factor or rolling tork as I applied power to climb out heading south.  Another smooth left turn in an aggressive bank she pointed back north down wind with ease.  As I boxed left again in the north east corner heading west.....she abrubtly rolled over on her back and I lost control.  It then snapped back right with nose to the sky as I was trying to counter transmitter sticks for level flight....I finally let go of the sticks for a second and blipped the throttle as it dipped nose down and rolled again...I continued pulling back the throttle where I was just able to get her flat winged for level flight and was able to point the nose toward us and center runway.  The airframe was still "Jittery" as it darted southward at or near 50% throttle.  Bob strongly suggested to get it down if at all possible on this pass....again the wind was picking it up so I kept pointing down while reducing throttle while keeping wings flat....she finally landed long and coasted into the rough with no damages what so ever.....but less than an inch from the right wheel dropping off into an irrigation inscpection hole cover (it might have rolled it over)

I was able to pull it back onto the runway green and taxi back without issue.  It sure as heck lost control in the North East corner of our field.  Triny who was watching from the pits thinks it was loss of flight battery voltage and suggest that I change to LIFE battery and toss the NiMh battery.  I did make a  range check after my maiden with no evidence of issue. 

Just for notes....I had warmed up this maiden with a flight of my FMS 1700mm P-47 on Spektrum radio system and Bryan had been flying his FMS Electric warbirds and jets just prior to my maiden.....all without issue. 

I am thinking to agree with Triny to lend fault to the flight battery....will replace with 6v Life battery with same form factor to fit the tray.

This aircraft will be pure joy to fly....and for the record.....is "Fully Acrobatic" as noted when all the monkeys came out during the control loss at our infamous GSWAM Trinity River Bottoms Netarian Nebulous Time Continuem Vortex North End Corner.

I should have the video uploaded later today for reference with smaller photos posting to this thread.

One last note....the 4s 40c 3600mAh LiPo batteries both had 3.95v left on each cell after the 4minute flight and long taxi from the south rough back into center gate.


Paul H Lange
Best Regards - Paul H Lange

Paul Lange

After testing the Pica Estes Model 1/5th Scale WACO in Steve Rogers Electrical Quantum BarnLabratorium .....

We found no issues with the flight batteries, cleared the receiver of any suspect issues and determined all the components were clear of any fault....thus agreeing that my maiden scary wonky dip dive and climb was pilot error to induced stall and recovery

- - - - WRONG- - - -

Subsequent test flight upon removing the Spektrum AR6010 with external auxilliary antenna and swaping with a brand new Spektrum AR610 receiver and brand new LIFE 2s 6..7v 2300mAh flight battery......we range tested the WACO systems new receiver for "Fail Safe" set up and flew the airframe for another test flight where it did ANOTHER jip-jive-dive glitch in about the same place as before in our respective "Coffin Corner" then again as I had to shoot an aborted landing pass.  I was able to get the airframe back on the ground safely again with knees shaking.....and many thoughts of strings of bad words

Was it a Spektrum radio failure again in "Coffin Corner" ?

- - - NOPE - - -

Testing the model again in the pitts galley with Steve Rogers and Doug Orden....we noticed intermittant power connection from the onboard Flight Battery Switch....I had to toggle it once or twice to get it to power up.  I promptly bypassed that onboard switch and took it up for another test flight.

- - - PERFECT - - -

It seems we found the gremlin's.....the next test flight was made with the LIFE flight battery hooked directly into the Spektrum AR610 receiver.  This flight had no issues other than my shaky thumbs....several circuits were made as the cross winds began to pick up I landed at about a 5:00minute mark.  The twin 4s 35c 4600mAh battery pack was at or near 3.89v per cell...proving the set up should go a good 7-8minutes at nominal cruise speeds.  Now all I need to do is get stick time on the airframe and continuing to learn how to fly this bird

- - - LOST Battery Hatch - - -

The next three test flights were smooth with no acrobatics but many touch-n-go's.   On the last flight......I decided to tape down the battery hatch cover since the rear magnet was awful weak and I wanted to fly out another complete battery pack.  Upon landing to remove the batteries.....the battery hatch was not on the airframe !!!!!!  It's out there somewhere - I never saw it come off.

I am not a balsa skilled builder...but managed to make a new battery hatch cover (Large) building a box frame with two arching ends to fasten a plastic milk carton cover.  The plastic follows the contours of the underside fuselage and is strong enough to act as a hand support while wrangling the large airframe.  I continued using magnets to hold it in place in addition to the normal friction of the frame.  The original battery hatch was very tender and might have even stress cracked during flight.

Photo's pending as soon as I can reduce the pics size for vewing

CASE SOLVED - now back to flying, pranging, repairing and flying.


Paul H Lange
Best Regards - Paul H Lange

Bill Bradford

Lane C.

Paul, you might want to try Electro-Dynamics power switches. They are likely the best switches available. Yet, they cost the same as any others. I changed over to them several years ago. You have to order them direct from Electro-Dynamics. Their servo leads are great too. Lane
Current Build = BUSA 1/4 Fokker DVII
Just Finished = Meister 118" A6M3 Model 22 Zero
Future Build = Top Flite ARC F6F Hellcat

Paul Lange

Thanks Lane,

I have one of these coming to the hangar: http://www.electrodynam.com/store/product103.html

Ordered with the Power indicator light and (JR/Hitec) connectors

Paul H Lange
Best Regards - Paul H Lange

Paul Lange

This airframe had a failed flight battery power switch....once it was removed and power was applied to a brand new receiver ...everything has been good to go.

UPDATE: The original receiver
Placed the original receiver in another plane for testing on the bench.....discovered that receiver has intermiattant control output on the elevator channel at least.  Thinking that failed power switch might have damaged it

Good thing to have replaced it with a new RX for flight testing from the git go.

FORE SALE: One intermattant functioning Spektrum AR6210 with external satellite antenna...guarunteed to help you crash that old unwanted airframe

Paul H Lange
Best Regards - Paul H Lange