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My Cherokee finally left earth

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  • My Cherokee finally left earth

    I've never been accused of quickly going from building board to the air, and this weekend we finally got good weather and a clear calendar so I had a chance to maiden the Cherokee. I have a very large group of soccer/football practice fields about a mile from my house, and they are usually empty. Saturday morning they weren't empty, so the maiden was postponed until Sunday.

    I bought a used winch earlier this year and finally had a chance to get it setup for the first time. Nothing like putting a new airplane up the line hooked to a winch that I've never, I setup the winch with about 500 ft of line out. I wasn't going for super high launches, rather just get this thing up in the air. I made a bridle for it with the hooks under the wings, and prepared it for a ground rollout. The first attempt didn't go so well since the grass I was in was a little too tall for a ground launch. Although I had one of the tips propped up at the launch, I managed to hook a tip and almost ground looped it, but I backed off the pedal soon enough. The wings came detached but stayed on the center rod, but other than that all was ok. The second launch was much better after I moved the winch into shorter grass and it gave the rollout a better chance. Plus, I kept my foot in it during rollout, and the first time I think I hesitated too much. However, this time the canopy popped off about half way up the line when the plane slipped sideways. I can tell you the airframe flies much better with a canopy. It felt a little sluggish in the turns like it had a big air brake going on!

    For the third attempt everything stayed together, and I had a great launch including a little ping at the end for another 25 feet in altitude. The wings stayed straight and true going up the winch line, and the canopy stayed attached this time. She flew nicely although wasn't turning right very well. I later realized that the aileron control horn had loosened up and I wasn't getting full deflection of the right aileron. But other than that, just a wonderful flying airframe. The spoilers are more of a suggestion than anything, but I won't be doing any spot landings with it so they are effective enough.

    The fourth flight ended up ejecting the canopy again when she got sideways going up the line (I think the air pressure from under the airframe causes the canopy to pop), but this time a bright chrome object went with it. About 2ozs of lead weight that came detached probably in the previous landing. So as it is climbing up the line, I knew that it was going to be a handful missing that much nose weight. She came off and immediately felt very sensitive - very much like my competition gliders that are setup to be sensitive. So I had to be really light on the sticks to get her around the pattern and down to the ground. I managed to do just that and probably had my best landing at the same time. After that one, I packed it in.

    All in all, I have a complete airframe with minimal issues and other than fixing some minor things, I'm happy with the outcome. When she was in the air, she flew beautifully and the light coming through the covering looked really good!

    Dave Smith, thanks for designing such a wonderful airplane. I asked Dave to design me a beefier center rod wing just for this purpose, and the wing didn't bend at all going up the line. Once I get some kinks ironed out this thing will be a real joy to fly. She looked great in the air and was floating like a plane half its weight.

    Here is the customary before maiden pics. Sorry, no other pics of video. I was the Lone Ranger this morning. Definitely next time.

    Last edited by Dion Dunn; 06-05-2017, 05:39 PM.

  • #2
    Woo whoooo congrats Dion, way to stick with it and persevere.

    Len Buffinton
    Team Horizon Hobby


    • #3
      Yessir! +1 Now if we could come up with a tow plane between us we could put on a show at next year's Wings For Kids charity event and expose a few hundred more folks to aerotowing!


      • #4
        Originally posted by ARUP View Post
        Yessir! +1 Now if we could come up with a tow plane between us we could put on a show at next year's Wings For Kids charity event and expose a few hundred more folks to aerotowing!
        I thought you had a tow plane almost ready to go? If we could come up with an electric tow plane, we could fly off the field near my house.


        • #5
          Jelly, I may have to sell you my old Electric Porter with the 160 and 10s!
          As you know that has plenty of power for your and Dion's models

          Jeremy and Ben

          SCCAAA TT TN


          • #6
            I think my tow plane is too small. It has a non-Schnuerle Enya 40 two stroker on its nose. Thanks Jeremy but Mikey don't 'do' electrics! Dion does! How 'bout it Dion? Jeremy's Porter is pretty nice!


            • #7
              Great job Dion!!! She turned out real nice. I'm glad I was able to tow mine for the maiden you've got some real stones maidening it on an untested winch!!!


              • #8
                We have a local guy who already has an electric two plane ready to go. Michael, does that mean you won't be towed up behind an electric either?


                • #9
                  Anybody can tow me but I'm not interested in electric power airplanes myself. I don't understand what you are asking.


                  • #10
                    I was kidding Michael. When you said you 'don't do electrics', I was asking if that meant Electric Tow Planes too.....