Greg Egan's Flying Page

Myself (Greg Egan), Dick Hargrave & Ray Cooper at Bairnsdale Airshow with Duigan, P15035 and the Cat
Photo: J. Bird

"Flying: the brief period between repairs" - © G.K. Egan 2001.

These pages are a running record of my flying activities updated spasmodically.

Very early on (1960's) at the Mildura Technical School sports ovals I flew IC powered control-line balsa planks models carrying house bricks - to see whether it could be done of course! Actually they were half bricks as that was all our puny teenage arms could cope with pulling on the lines.

From memory I started flying again around September 2001.

 


Aircraft (Way Too Many - Master of None)

Check out You Tube for flight videos (gke3800). New builds probably on RCG Blog as it is easier to maintain/update.

Aircraft I "Should" Be Flying!
Indoors AMSA
Under Construction/Reconstruction
Boys Own Aircraft RTF - Had to Build
In Storage RTF
Legacy Aircraft RTF
Retired/Decommissioned
Norwegian Blue or Gone to a Good Home
Other Peoples Aircraft - mainly Birdy's

In reverse build order.

 

Arado 555

Ready for Test Flight(s) 23 May 2016

20160524 Maiden @ VARMS
20160531 Low & Slow @ VARMS
20160602 EDF V1 @ VARMS

Based on Josef Poisinger's Build. In my case a 1200mm version and foam cored with 8% section. There is an RCGroups Blog.

Arado 555 Mini

600mm Indoor Version March 2016

20160420 Indoors @ Waverley

I built a quicky 600mm indoor version using WLToys Polecat electronics and Diaso ColorBoard foam. There is an RCGroups Blog of the build details.

Bird of Time

Ready to Fly March 2016.

Fuselage built by Birdy and Roger. Birdy was unhappy with kit balsa but I elected to follow through with original kit adding air brakes and 8x0.5mm carbon straps to the bottom spar and replaced inboard ply shear web plates with 2mm carbon sheet at the wing roots. AUW 1.9Kg.

Maidened 22 March 2016 @ VARMS - thanks Ray. Magnificent!

Muesli

Muesli October 2014

Medium aspect ratio (1.8M, 250mm) plank looking surprisingly like the P16025 and constructed by Ray Cooper. Not a recent build - more like removing some decals from an old bird.

While Muesli uses the EMX07 airfoil in the future I may try the PW75 which has less drag than the EMX07, an adequate Cl and the same positive pitching moment. The PW75 seems similar to the JWL065 but a little more consistent over a range of REs.

PopCorn

PopCorn January 2016

Successor to Cornflake. Rebuilt fuselage after a radio outage at Kilcunda - antenna pointing at aircraft! There are some VERY rough build notes (zip) after requests from VARMS members.

Only damage so far was a badly split fuselage after being blown head over heels backwards down the field after landing in wind velocities higher than PopCorn's flying speed. Some white glue and fixed!

FX61 Phantom

 

Phantom with Colin Smith "Kilcunda Notch" (Right Wing) February 2016

Changed motor to Turnigy D3536/6 with 9x6 Aeronaut Folder. Added Birdy preventers (fibre glass plates in hub crossbar) to stop prop crossover when trailing and flicking forward hitting the wing at spinup.

OK on the slopes. Fins are largely decorative as it flies about the same without them. The usual yaw squirms common in some wings!

Fluity

Fluity @ Home 21 January 20142014

"Fluity" is corflute flying wing design due to Paul Van Tongeren aka Bixler Boy. Build time was about four hours including waiting for paint to dry.

All up weight 550gm. Drive line is a mild ex AXN Cloud Floater with 7x5 prop and 1000mAH 3S pack. Not a white knuckle rocket but does vertical happily and covers the sky quickly enough. On the numbers should do a little over 100KmPH but the airfoil section is WYSIWYG so when drag meets thrust is anyone's guess. Throws +/-8mm aileron and +/-6mm elevator.

Had a minor oops when when demonstrating at Pauls workshop accidentally launching with maximum rates - several snap rolls right and several snap rolls left at an altitude of about 1-2M then a "controlled impact with terrain" as NASA would say at high speed. Damage was extensive LOL - broken prop or more correctly blades removed and a slightly bent motor mount. Back in the air next day.

Discus launches seem to work and are necessary on still days with about 5% up dialed in. I don't recommend hand launches for pushers BTW - just my choice but but when I do it I do it with my thumb across the throttle holding it off. I now have my Taranis which is programmed to "yell" at me if I don't have low rates selected at least for launch .

Construction.

Lancaster (Tony Nijhuis)

The Real Deal @ Spitfire 75th Duxford IWM September 2011 - Copyright © G.K. Egan

Lancaster "Aries" November 2015 - Copyright © G.K. Egan

20160602 Lancaster @ VARMS

There was no excuse for buying this in 2006! The Lancaster kit was designed by Tony Nijhuis but has a 72" span not Tony's scaled up larger 17' version. Others have had fun building it including a few mixups with the plans.

SLEC produces a part kit with CNC cut formers and ribs.The CNC ribs I received at the time were VERY warped like the Spitfire kit. This was going to mean a lot of fiddling to get things lined up in an acceptable manner.

Recommenced building in 2011. Kit was reasonably complicated and I thought at the time probably more so to fly.

I changed the build sequence a little as I found the nominal sequence to be messy. The fuselage tops do not curve easily even when damped with water and ammonia. I would use planking next time. I have built the centre wing panels as one piece and will cut them apart later. Some templates on the plans for the rib angling for motors would have been useful as it is easy to get it wrong.

Late decision to initially finish as a Manchester to be flown bare balsa which I did 21 October 2013. It is a pussy cat to fly. Hopefully it will not take another seven years to paint.

Finally completed in 2015 as the Lancaster Aries after some sagas with the undercarriage. Still needs decent flair when landing but that's probably as it should be! 4x Turnigy 2213/20 with three blade 8x6 Master Airscrew counter rotating props. 4900mAH 3s pack. 3Kg AUW.

There is a construction page.

Attacker 2

Rescued from a kerbside rubbish collection in our street. It turned out that the aircraft was a very rare Japanese OK Model Co. Ltd. Pilot Hit Kit Series Attacker 2. It was probably 30 or so years old and had never been flown. I made the minimum modifications to convert it to electric (bulkhead 1) before realising what it was, otherwise it was in in the original state as rescued when flown.

F35 Freewing/HK

Bought in 2010 this was the baby Freewing version with the 64mm fan and no undercarriage. Added two servos for elevators and the suggested duct deflector to prevent pitch down at launch. The latter was not needed, as it turns out, being spat out in flight with extreme vectored thrust and some excitement while being flown by Damien Mould. Launch slightly upwards at around 50% throttle with a little up mixed in perhaps. Flys suprisingly well according to the jet experts. Interesting to launch but easy to fly in good light and blue skies as it is grey coloured and VERY small and so not compatible with early morning fog and overcast. Happily cruises around at 35% throttle with vertical available using a 2000mAH 3S pack.

Fuselage eventually gave up in 2014 so in a moment of madness replaced with HK even smaller version which I may never build up as it is just to silly.

Busby aka Tractor Cat aka Pushy Cat

Further Modifications (Shorter Nose) @ Yarra Glen 10 June 2009

Only a faint resemblance to the original Pushy Cat. Busby likes to go FAST and as rebuilt is great on the slope and, now it has something to hang onto, flat-field as well. Spoilerons work well to tame quick landings although it lands fine without. Have not tried an elevon configuration - yet.

There is a construction page.

RC Groups Thread (all variants).

Spitfire IX (Tony Nijhuis)

The Real Deal @ Spitfire 75th Duxford IWM September 2011 - Copyright © G.K. Egan

Spitfire in K5054 Colours - 23 June 2012 - Finished at Last!

Every boy has to build a Spitfire! The kit is a full ground up design by Tony Nijhuis published late 2006 by RCM&E. SLEC produces a part kit with CNC cut fuselage panels, formers and ribs. The ply ribs warped badly when broken out of the sheets. Unfortunately it was after I glued them in that someone suggested steaming them and then putting them under weights! Good idea Batman. There are construction photos, some while in Manchester without my workshop.

I will complete the scratch built aircraft as I just cannot miss the "joy" of construction and inhaling a tree or two of balsa, despite mask, in the extensive sanding process.

CG very difficult with 2x2000 3S packs plus 150gm of lead with predicted best airspeed 11MPS! First flight 7 January 2012 - result star picket 1, Spitfire nil. Stalled on landing approach - way too slow. Flies OK on the slope in a strong breeze.

Construction/reconstruction photos.

Spitfire IX (HK RipMax Clone)

Hobby King Spitfire @ Yarra Glen circa November 2008

On 7 April 2008 I ordered a ARF HK Spitfire from Col Taylor in Oz for $89 on sale. A great deal compared with the similar cost for a box of balsa and some CNC bits and the rest to be purchased. Unfortunately the last one in stock set aside for me came to a tragic end, reportedly involving a foot, just before being shipped. I ordered a HK Spitfire from Hobby City 30 May 2008 instead. 100 odd aircraft in the shipment sold in a couple of days with no more to be available - reportedly. Mine delivered 13 June 2008. Construction commenced 20 October 2008. There are some build notes and a RC Groups Thread.

It is excellent on the slopes and will thermal!

Construction photos.

Multicopters.........

The Multicopter Collection (incomplete - I have many many more!) @ Home 25 April 2013
"You can't have too many multicopters" (C) J. Solinski

There is a gitHub where the quadrocopter/tricopter programs I have developed/rewritten so far may be found.

RCGroups Blog | gitHub | UAVX Thread | Warthox's flight collection.

Starting in 2008 this was a little different and a reasonable alternative to trying to have more conventional aircraft work as a VTOL solution although I have the ducted fans for that as well. I am using the standard INS based quadrocopter processor board initially but then may use my autopilot.

Some initial programming issues the control software has been loaded succesfully to PIC processor and tested after some time in determinig that the "lipoly.de" preloaded PIC did not have a bootloader installed and was the wrong configuraton - my fault. Fortunately I have the kit to program blank PICs.

Construction of my first quadrocopter commenced in earnest 10 June 2008 and finished pretty much the same day with all static motor tests done. Motors are 4 Hyperion Z2213-24 outrunners with Titan 20A ESCs and the normal 10x4.7 props; Quadrocopter Black Board (initially V3.15b5 firmware). Motors are at a 600mm pitch to suit the lead lengths; I had planned 800mm! Motocalc predicted performance with one Hyperion 2000mAH LZ pack is 2513gm thrust 918gm mass, 3:14 minutes and seconds @ 100% and 14:27 @ 55% hover. For 2x2000mAH, 2685gm thrust, 1077gm mass, 6:04 @ 100%, 24:03 @ 58%. Should comfortably take my Pentax Optio S with pan tilt servos.

First flights in my lounge room 11 June 2008 at 200mm off the carpet - interesting. Trims work OK, Pitch Gain was inverted so first flight resulted in a backflip. Failed to watch for the VERY bright LED alarm as the LiPoly went down to 7.8V while I was enjoying myself. Proportional control OK but there are issues with PID integrators.

On 14 June 2008 I rigged up a tuning frame pinning the frame on either the pitch or roll axis. I suspect there may be a leak in the integrator adding to the fun. I will order ADXRS300 gyros which hopefully will be compatible with the ADXRS150 on the yaw axis. Flights June 16, 2008 good fun but the daffodils on the lawn suffered. The idle was set deliberately low at 5% so flights could be terminated quickly to avoid the surrounding shrubbery and, of course, the video camera.

Short movie [.mov 1.1Mb] 16 June 2008 nothing broken by the way, just a decisive landing to avoid the camera.

Whilst OS on holidays June-July 2008 I wrote a Zeigler Nichols tuning spreadsheet as a possible contribution to the Quadrocopter community. There seemed to be no consistent way of obtaining the PID tuning parameters other than "suck it and see". I also partially rewrote the Wolfgang Mahringer's UAVP 3.14 control code for the Microchip C18 compiler and the 18F2520 pin compatible update of the 16F876 as this was the easiest way for me at least understand what the code actually did. The Next Generation quadrocopter effort has of course jumped to ARM but there quite a few of us with legacy UAVP kit.

I completely rewrote UAVP, renamed UAVX, with GPS based navigation based on the 18F2620 PIC with no other hardware mods required on the original UAVP "black" board. UAVX was release 15 August 2009 Australian EST. Thanks go to Jim Solinski (Jesolins) for much of the ongoing UAVX flight testing.

There are also some short notes and associated video on my ZN tuning experiments - DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME "CHILDREN".

2012 and the saga continues or is that the coding Albatross still lives? New UAVXArm32F4 version now flying using Ken Yu's board. Steve Westerfeld assisted with much of the testing and engineering of the mbed version which immediately preceded UAVXArm.

2015 and I have lost count of how many multicopters I have so far, many of which use my UAVX and MWLite software so the OCD is under control or perhaps not! Much of the software I wrote is off the links above. I now mainly use Ecks framed quadrocopters for outside.

The Open HUB People put the time so far developing UAVP/UAVX as 76 years at a monetary value of $4.1M! Time to stop - maybe.

Cockatoo aka EPP Eagle

More retail therapy acquired February 19, 2008 - becoming a habit. There is most likely a good reason why my kit was so cheap as it may be a KNOCKOFF/CLONE/COPY. Before choosing a supplier READ THIS and THIS and make up your own mind. My kit had no instruction manual and the box had no cover label - clear alarm bells in hindsight. The kit I purchased certainly has deficiencies in quality.

John Bird's Eagle and my Cockatoo (before paint jobs) @ Yarra Glen 8 March 2008

There are construction notes and photos including bolt on wings rather than rubber bands. General EPP Eagle information from the original designer. Also the extensive RC Groups Eagle Thread.

I initially christened it a Galah (read the first paragraph) but could not stand the idea of a pink aircraft so it is Cockatoo. A good fun flyer thermalling easily but do buy the original.

Canary aka Thunder Tiger eHawk 1500

Modified Canary - Flaps and Spoilerons Deployed Yarra Glen May 12, 2008

A little spontaneous retail therapy, delivered 1 February 2008 and first flown 10 February, and now something to have in the car boot. I chose yellow as John Bird chose magenta - we don't want to go flying each others aircraft as we have done before.

There are some build notes and photos. Further improvements were made by 5 May 2008 including moving the spoileron servos outboard and adding flaps; all up weight 504gm. See also RC Groups Thread.

Why "Canary"? Because its a tiny yellow bird of course.

Multiplex Microjet

Microjet @ Yarra Glen May 12, 2008

Spontaneous purchase to test my autopilot against Paparazzi Group's claims. I made the fins demountable by inserting rawl plugs in their bases and tapping them for 3mm nylon bolts.

The aircraft is VERY difficult to hand launch except on a slope site with a bit of air underneath. Once in the air it is surprisingly easy to fly if you pay attention to getting the CG just right, which you tend to do if you spend a lot of time flying planks and flying wings. Up trim of 3mm left and about 5mm on the right to counter torque and add reflex helps a bit. Most wings and planks need extra up trim on launch because very little pitching moment is generated until the aircraft is actually flying. Microjet stalls at about 12M/S and flies at about 15M/S - how good is your arm?

The standard power-train of a 6V Permax S400 and Gunther prop on 7x500AR cells is hopeless! I used a 6V Graupner with 6x3 folder and 3s 1700mAH LiPo which, while still conservative, gives good ROC and a reasonable endurance at the same all up weight without resorting to brushless motors. For folders in pusher configuration rotate the blades and use a rectangular shim overlapping the blade root under the spinner nut to prevent blade cross-over; this idea is due to Professor J. Bird.

The configuration 20 April 2008 uses a Mega 16/15/2 (spare to hand from a planned ducted fan VTOL) and a 4.1x4.1 fixed propellor with a 2000mAH LiPo. Performance should be adequate if I can get it in the sky! Hint: do not use long bungees for lauching MicroJets; catapults good, bungees very bad. I should, of course, know this! Everything is fixable but too much boiling water to uncompact EPP can lead to lizard skin.

Returning to brushed S400 for some practice. A couple of succesful flights 6 May 2008 at Yarra Glen. Co-Pilot not useful - too sluggish in updates - removed for next fights. Launch aided and flights made interesting by turbulent 7M/S Northerly.

Several flights 9 May 2008 with Gunther propellor at around 14A and zero wind. The 6x3 tried way back (above) draws too high a current (18A+) with newer LiPos and their higher terminal voltage under load. One soft landing in fresh brown stuff (its a farm) necessitating a wash (pretty much clean by then) under a tap. WeldBond glue joining bits together started to melt in damp conditions so I have painted over the glue with SpeedClear™. Used 580 of the 800mAH pack over half a dozen flights; motor and pack cold on landing.

Flights 14 May 2008 in 8M/S northerly at ground level and a LOT more above the ridge line, very exciting. Usual launch up-trim resulted in a rather nice Immelman on first launch. I managed to look nonchalant.

Very pleased I can actually launch, fly and land this thing - now Norwegian Blue as there was more glue than foam.

Vladimir's Mini Graphite

First Flights Mini Graphite at Yarra Glen 22 April 2005
Photo: J. Bird

The Mini Graphite was acquired, after a very long shipping delay (several months), at Ray Cooper's prompting that I needed to get a "real aircraft" as distinct from the planks. Having completed the construction I first flew with an AXI2820/10 and 10x6 folder. This was replaced by a Hyperion 3019/12 with a 12x8 folder now an 11x7 (2016). The batteries are 3s Lipos.

Only damage so far is a slight chip out of the rudder, caused by insufficient control authority and a barbed-wire fence at Kilcunda, and some gel coat cracks in the tail boom where I dropped in vertically in the Hollowback Saddle after going to far down wind and a motor that did not start (dead ESC phase).

The Mini Graphite is an absolute joy to fly on either slope or flat field now I have (at last) mastered the flaps, crow braking, camber control, differential settings etc etc. More practice is required.

Weetie

Weetie Yarra Glen 20 February 2006
Photo: J. Bird

Construction
Weetie, so named because it is heavier than Cornflake, uses the MH60 airfoil. Like Cornflake it has a span of 1.2M and a chord of 250mm. The wing surface is covered in 0.75oz fibre glass "painted" directly onto the foam using SpeedClear™. The main spar is a carbon-fibre arrow shaft and the wing joiners aluminium tent pegs which, unlike that in the Phoenix, have proved to be entirely reliable. Another quote from Ray Cooper after I noticed some minor damage after hitting the beach (unsighted due to the Sun is my claim) - "You came in vertically from 20 metres up and you chipped a bit of foam off - its not worth talking about:-)".
Weetie flies faster than Cornflake because of its slightly greater mass and also to obtain the necessary pitching moment at neutral trim. It became part of the general push for our plank research aircraft P16025 and P15035 which reverted to the EMX07 airfoil with its slightly greater maximum lift coefficient and higher pitching moment.
Weetie has been used regularly for autopilot trials including those at Kilcunda (gke3800).
The initial power-train was an Graupner SpeedGear S600 with a 2:8 gearbox and 11x8 folder and an 8x1800SCR pack. It is now flown with an AXI 2820/10 10x6 prop and 3s LiPos.
Wing Extensions
Weetie was designed from the outset to take a 600mm centre wing extension taking the span to 1.8M. Low speed control worsened markedly, even with the long tail boom, but remained acceptable. The tail-fin area should be 30% greater with the wing extensions.

Weetie with wing extensions @ Yarra Glen 15 December 2004

Flaps
Weetie was fitted with flaps in 2005 and proved very successful. Interestingly, partial deployment of the flaps dramatically improved thermalling performance. The flaps are on the underside of the wing at about 40% of chord so as not to change the pitching moment. The positioning of the flaps was from B2Streamlines. The ME163 Komet also split flaps at around 30% - I would rather fly Weetie.
The flap operation was by the servo arms bearing directly on the flaps (no complicated links and associated setup) with closure by magnets close to the hinge. Despite scepticism from some they work very well with the magnets closing the flaps so positively that they have to be prised open if the servo is not operating.

Weetie with flaps deployed

Cornflake

 

29 October 2009 @ Fitzgerald River WA

Cornflakes "BIG Day Out" 22 October 2009 @ Bunda Cliffs SA (Google Earth)

17 October 2009 @ Carots' Bore - William Creek to Coober Pedy Road SA

Photos above taken on a little road trip of 7070Km from Melbourne to Perth on one of Australia's scenic routes.

Construction

Cornflake Mk I Short Tail 13 October 2002 @ Yarra Glen
Photo: J. Bird

The plank aircraft I have been involved with so far have their genesis with an EMX07 wing cut by Ray Cooper circa 2000 at John Bird's instigation which languished for a few years. It was finally assembled into our first prototype plank in mid-2002 by me and is still intact. The wing is basic packaging foam covered with tissue paper and painted with SpeedClear™, a water-based clear varnish. The spar is made of half span hardwood strips approximately 10x5mm with a shear web of bamboo kebab sticks. It has a span of 1.2M and a constant chord of 250mm.
The eyes are very effective in scaring off magpies. The eyes were simply printed on A4 using a laser printer and "painted" on using SpeedClear.
The power-train has for several years been a 6V S400 geared 4:1 and a 11x8 folder and an 8-cell 1700 NiCad later replaced by 3s LiPo.
Long Tail Boom
The second version of Cornflake's fuselage (and later Weetie) is quite unusual for planks in that it has a (detachable) distinctive long tail boom yielding excellent low speed stability. With the stall performance of constant chord planks it can hover looking for a landing slot on the slope. The long tail boom can be seen in our autopilot altitude hold tests (gke3800) and has flown regularly with the autopilot installed but navigation disabled.
Wing Extenders

Cornflake with wing extensions @ Home (sawdust is not from aircraft!)

Cornflake is also flown with 300mm wingtip extenders. Because of its very low wing loading I found that these could be taped on safely with masking tape. The tail fin area was increased to to improve longditudional stability especially on low speed turns.
Twin Engine

Twin Engined Cornflake

At the prompting of Ray Cooper I tried twin S400s with 6x3 folders. The engines had to be on extended booms for CG and also so the folders opened up when the motors were restarted in flight - a small consideration. It worked quite well and sounded great but had slightly lower rate of climb than the geared 11x8 version and less than half the endurance. I thought that adding two geared 11x8 motors may be a little excessive.

Active Control
The active control of the autopilot allows the aircraft to be flown with very low stability margins reducing the drag induced by the reverse camber on the EMX07 airfoil. See also Charles Rivers Article - note Lelke also uses a long tail boom.
Update to Brushless Outrunner

On April 7, 2008 I replaced the geared S400 with a Hyperion HP-Z2213-24 outrunner followed by a cheap Himark C2812/26, 10x6 propellor, and a 2000mAH 3s LiPoly. I would have preferred an 800mAH but the CG prohibited it. Very agile and still nice to fly after all these years and an hour and a half in the air at cruise.

Phoenix aka WMP Primera

The WMP Primera is a very pretty aircraft but the version as delivered to me (and others) had a fatally flawed main spare that could not tolerate bungee launches. The fault is that the wing joiner box is very weak and the wing joiner does not pass through the box into the spar structure proper. The result is that the joiner can, with the slightest displacement of one wing relative to the other, rupture the joiner box.
I have had the wings "butterfly" after a bungee launch with only the fuselage remaining relatively intact. A wrecked 2x6 wing was donated by David Down of VARMS. He said later (jokingly) that he wished he had kept it after he saw it fly again. The 2x6 wing also had an incident with a gate post while steering clear of a Cessna landing at CAC. By then I had given up on bungees as too much trouble and fitted a geared S600 2.33:1 and 11x8 folder. We also found that the Prelude wing worked well but was not quite as floaty as the 2x6.

Primera with 2x6 Wing and original fuselage
Photo: J. Bird

At Ray Cooper's urging ("anything can be repaired") I eventually rebuilt the original wing and flew it with the original version of the fuselage commencing late December 2004 and finishing early January 2005. I used a liberal amount of carbon thread to improve the strength of the wing roots and joiner arrangements. Late in January the wing joiner (aluminium tent peg) gave way in a spin-down test dropping both of the "new" wings off. The wings made it to the ground completely unscathed but the fuselage, having been embedded 100mm or so into the ground, was totalled as was the AXI2820/10, which had just replaced the geared S600. A new fuselage was then built.

Phoenix with new fuselage at Brigg's Field (VARMS)
Photo: G.K. Egan

At this point only the horizontal stabiliser and parts of the wings are original!
On the 25 March 2005 following a control outage (unnanounced Tx battery discharged) Phoenix, with John Bird's 2x6 wing which, unlike mine, had a spoiler, just managed to hit a steel farm gate (the second gate incident) on what was a reasonable near recovery. I recall saying to John at the time that the autopilot failsafe would have returned the aircraft overhead while a new Tx battery was found! Unfortunately as model aircraft flyers we are not able to engage the GPS navigation facility of the autopilot even as a failsafe.

Phoenix 25 March 2006 - flying again 29 March 2006 superficial damage only!
Photo: J. Bird

All of the radio and power-train survived unscathed. The fuselage was rebuilt and ready to fly by the 29 March 2005: I was on somewhat of a mission. John's 2x6 wing waits for a little more time as he has insisted on repairing it! So far, at least as of mid 2007, there have been no further incidents.

Phoenix with my Prelude wing

In January 2008 I added spoilers to the 2x6 wing to give at least some glide-slope control. The spoilers are deployed directly by the servo arm acting directly on the underside of the spoiler. They are closed using magnets placed close to the hinge line acting on a washers glued to the underside of the spoilers. The magnets came from an AXI2820/10 which did not survive the tent peg incident above. The mechanism is almost identical to that used on Weetie. As the spoilers each have their own servo I also experimentally mixed rudder to the spoilers which gives much better coordination in turns although the moment arm is not, of course, as good as from outboard ailerons.

2X6 Wing Spoilers with direct deployment by servo arm and retraction by magnet

RipMax Coyote

Coyote Yarra Glen 3 February 2006
Photo: J. Bird

I bought the Coyote for slope soaring, its intended use. It has no rudder, very short tail moment arm, and flick turns abruptly with sufficient aileron application and is not very pleasant to fly on a flat field. I run a separate servo on each full half-span aileron so can mix in some flap/camber/spoileron as required. The servoes are wing-root mounted allowing a two part wing which allows the aircraft to be packed into its original box.
The normal motor combination of a S400 and 6x3 Graupner folder is barely satisfactory. I usually fly it with the alternative 6V S600 4:1 gearbox and 11x8 folder. As with most of my brushed motors I went to 3s LiPolys. I have found the motors, against all conventional wisdom, to last well if ventilated. The Coyote was also used to trial the general applicability of my autopilot to ARTFs. UAV activities have now unfortunately ceased at all MAAA affiliated clubs, a pity with all of the new FAI UAV record classes open.

Graupner Terry

Graupner Terry V2 with black stocking sleeve at Briggs Field Post Major Crash

Bought for slope soaring. Loss of radio control on one flight resulted in a pile of foam (not EPP). The pieces were glued back together with PVA and inserted into a length of stocking also painted with PVA; a dose of boiling water helped partially restore the shape of the fragments. This repair method, suggested by John Bird, worked fine. The wing which has no spar, relying only on the stick on logo, had a distinct tendency to fold in two and the aircraft was finally converted to a slope glider by removing the S400 and battery. As a slope soarer it tends to annoy others as it is extremely light and with the RG15 wing slippery and so thermals easily.

Resucitated 7 November 2008 with the Cockatoo's servos and powertrain. Still great fun to fly and has now been fitted with a carbon spar. Graupner has re-released in white EPP (RCM&E October 2008).

Zagi 400

Zagi Reborn with Cockatoo Powertrain CAC 15 July 2009

Autopilot First Flight Kilcunda Ridge 16 October 2003
Photo: J. Bird

 

I bought this over-priced aircraft when I had less sense than now - make of this what you will. The performance of an direct drive S400 and 6x3 prop was barely adequate especially with the earliest version of my autpilot strapped onto it.
Performance and endurance with a 6V S400 4:1 geared 11x8 prop, was a little more interesting. This was one of my favorite drive combinations.

Last flown with a Turnigy 2213/20 brushless and 9x6 Prop.

Construction

I made the winglets demountable by inserting rawl plugs in the wing-tips and tapping them for nylon bolts. The winglets are made of coreflute and the wing halves are joined using a carbon fibre rod inserted into arrow shaft spars. The original motor tray was abandoned and a fuselage box made which could be inserted at will between the wing halves in either a glider or powered configuration. The whole aircraft packs down into the original Zagi box. Many of the construction techniques were due to the ideas of John Bird.

 

Much redesigned Zagi 400 with removable power pod and S400 4:1 geared 11x8

The picture below shows "standard" power-train but the elevons have been cut away for the 11x8 propellor. The servos have also been moved outboard to drive the elevons more centrally. Later the elevons were moved completely to the centre of the wing and the elevons operated by snakes. This was not a good idea as there was some inevitable slop. More than likely the snakes and associated tubes weighed more than the servos so there was no saving in roll inertia.

Powered (with Autopilot) and Glider Configurations Kilcunda Ridge 16 October 2003
It was VERY windy hence the foot
Photo: J. Bird

Parachutes
The Zagi was also used at Brigg's Field on 3 June 2003 to try parachute failsafes later appearing in our research aircraft.

Southern Sailplanes Prelude Plus

Prelude (Black and Blue) and Friends at Kilcunda Ridge

The Prelude, designed by Ralph Learmont, has been the standard training aircraft for VARMS. It is incredibly robust and flies very well. I was told later that while black looks quite good it is not all that sensible for Australian summers - obvious really. The chunky standard servos came from my ill-fated Aries. I have not as yet converted it to electric power, although this has been done succesfully by others, but instead use the wing on my Phoenix.

GWS Pico Stick

Fun but undernourished park flyer but showed the way for the current crop of "stick" based foamies. I got around to strapping a variety of depron wings onto the basic stick. Most flew.

Zagi

John Bird's Zagi on loan and fitted with a Zagi 400 motor setup and FMA Co-Pilot

This was probably Prof John Bird's first Zagi and the start of his long attachment to flying wings which I share. He loaned the Zagi to me to practice slope soaring which I did, as well as temporarily adding a Zagi 400 motor tray. I found myself flying John's other Zagi only once at Kilcunda while the one I was supposed to be flying missed the dam on the downwind side of the slope - just. I recall wondering what John was doing as "his" Zagi flashed by downwind while at the same time admiring how well I seemed to be flying for a beginner!
Returned to John intact after a year of happy flying.

My son Sean and I flying the electrified Zagi at Kirwan's Port Welshpool 7 March 2002
Sean found it too easy
Photo: J. Bird

Aeroflyte Aries


Aeroflyte© Aries Box Top
All that's left!
I built the Aeroflyte Aries probably in the early 1980's from memory. The Aries could be fitted with a pylon glow-plug but I did not bother with this. It flew a couple of times and was retired to the loft until around 2001. Over enthusiastic bungee use saw the glue and one wing "let go" spectacularly at VARMS but only after several succesful flights. I did not know then that the entire aircraft could be "repaired" from what was left. The dihedral is a little bit high in my view, half would do, and it would go quite well with an electric conversion along the lines of the Coyote; I still have the plans and fragment of the rudder.

Where I Fly

I fly at:

Who I Fly With


Tools

I use Motocalc routinely and performance predictions for many of my aircraft are given below. My experience has been that it gives a good indication of actual performance. Pusher aircraft seem to do fractionally better than predicted. I lean more to endurance than blasting around the skies and so some of my aircraft may appear to be over-propped in terms of pitch.
There are a number of other useful tools I also use regularly.
All videos are Copyright © G.K. Egan. All photos are variously Copyright © G.K. Egan, J. Bird, R.Naughton and R. Coooper unless otherwise noted.
G.K. Egan

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Copyright © G.K. & S.P. Egan - All rights reserved. Last updated March, 2016.