Monday, July 14, 2008

Multiplex Easy Star Initial Experience

One of the things that I've decided to do lately is start flying planes again after a 23 years departure from flying planes.

I've Always enjoyed RC cars and the last few years have been fantastic with regard to electric-powered helicopters, now it's planes (again)!

So, where do I start? A few weeks back I purchased a MS Composite Swift II (lot's of fun and small). What a great way to get back into planes. Then a week later I purchased the Great Planes Slinger. I didn't even built it with the included (brushed Speed 400) motor, instead I chose to go straight for the gusto - 2900kV brushless, CC 35A ESC and A123 3S pack. Wow, what a load of fun!

So, my restless thumbs had me itching for something that I could practice a lot of orientations with - that also can fly VERY slowly when I'm attempting to orient myself with nose-in approaches and other things that I still have a slow response time with (i.e. left is right / right is left).

Last Saturday I picked up the Multiplex Easy Star and I think I'm in love (again). She was easy to build and I was careful when I selected my motor so that the 28mm can would fit most aircraft that I'm training on. It had fit perfectly in my Slinger (flying wing) and also in the Easy Star. I made some wiring changes and that was that. Everything else was a standard build except for the following:
  • swapped out the 400 (brushed) motor for me handy dandy 2900kV motor
  • CC 35 ESC
  • A123 2S1P pack - when I feel I've reached that point, I'll also use the 3S1P batteries - but for now, no need for all that speed!
  • added very strong magnets to the canopy and cockpit - didn't use the included canopy clips - everyone seems to have the same poor experience with the canopy clips (after one or two hard landings they don't line up well anymore)
  • added reinforced tape to elevator and rubber as hinge reinforcements (dabbed 3m 77 adhesive to the areas to be taped to offer even more 'holding power'
  • added the reinforced tape to the belly of the plane since that where she's going to 'skid' when she lands
  • added some crazy strong hatch magnets! I was told to cut the correct size holes (so they would be flush with the surrounding areas) and CA them into place. Well they're so strong that two of them tore right through all of the CA. I reinserted them, re-applied CA and overlaid them with the reinforced tape. After a weekend of flying and reconfiguring the cockpit, not a whimper of movement!
  • added a "foam barrier" between the battery and the electronics (esc/rx). I hit nose-first pretty hard with my Swift II over the weekend and crushed a AR6100e rx (about $50). I won't be doing that again.
  • added a foam pad in the nose of the cockpit to keep the battery from sliding (even with velcro) - a decent nose tap on a slightly rough landing caused the battery to wedge itself as far forward as possible causing a bulge (almost a break in the foam). I will also be fiber-tape reinforcing the nose since it has shown a weakness here. As I get better the plane's (assumed) weaknesses will magically diminish ;)
With the build completed late Saturday night, I took off Sunday morning to some fantastic sloping hills in San Diego (4S Ranch area). With my trusty DX6i tx in hand and several A123 packs, I was all set.

Amazing - with a total flight time of about 25 minutes, I consumed 1290mAh of a 2S1P 2300mAh A123 pack.
  • note: for $90 I get a DeWalt pack shipped to my door. That's (5) 2S1P batteries. Hmmm, I can fly all day
Here are some pics to better reflect my positive experiences with this fantastic training aircraft.

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