Unlike other projects, this report was issued way before getting fifty flights on it as the author just didn’t feel enthusiastic about the DogFighter, and a loss of orientation on flight twenty four resulted in writing off the airframe. Thanks to Elapor’s original use as an impact absorbing packing crate material, with the exception of the propeller, motor shaft and battery the components were reusable. This one and I just never did hit it off right, I won’t be getting a second one.
I haven’t ever flow anything from World War II,
as close as I’ve come was a ride in a racing T-28 Trojan in exchange for a couple of days TIG welding back about 1990. Think of hitting two hundred miles an hour at just above retracting the landing gear altitude followed by flying straight up for a couple of thousand feet and then straight back down. Since I didn’t puke the pilot decided I was ok. I have seen full size warbirds flown at air shows. The Germans have a competition, kind of like the control line combat I flew in my teens, only with RC, I haven’t seen it though. On my Real Flight 5.5 simulator there is nothing quite like the Dog Fighter. So if the averaged Jak/Spitfire/Messerschmitt like Multiplex, new for 2011, foam Dog Fighter airplane is anything like them in the air, I can’t confirm it.
We had been seeing the advertisements in all the media for months,
the friend that I fly with here in Wiesbaden had been enjoying having gotten the hang of RC flying and, after a few brushes with lesser quality stuff, was enjoying exploring the simple, durable Multiplex airplanes. For Euro200/$300 he bought the complete, ready built Multiplex DogFighter as soon as they became available. That deal, three Nano-S servos (HiTeck HS-55s like with longer leads and maybe better quality control), a decent HiMax motor and a adjustable timing with up to 6s controller on an aluminum motor mount and a fixed APC propeller was so good I was considering buying one myself. I detoured to a Fun Jet Lite instead.
We shut the world out for a couple of hours that unreasonably warm sunny fall afternoon, the two of us were as excited as teenagers as I finished the assembly. One thing was quickly clear, the standard issue fixed APC propeller wouldn’t likely survive even the first landing on our grassy farm field, and didn’t fit either. I arrived with a suitable Aero-Naut folding propeller, after some selection we fit it with 9X6.5 blades, with which the motor drew (37) amps on a 3S 2200 mAh LiPo. A little too narrow for this airframe, at (30) degrees it folded enough for the grass plus molehills landing field, but not flat. The set screws for the control surfaces were factory installed, too tight to adjust, we took advantage of the six channel transmitters ability to correctly zero the ailerons. Using the differential function the up travel of the ailerons were set at (1.25).
A decent shove, it flew, half fast and straight, rolls were axial. But too much thrill to fly, it was a nervous little beast.
When you read things you lose the calibration of physical reality and the relationship of the pilot to his equipment. I’ve seen enough equipment in the hands of beginners that I would be very hesitant to diagnose problems without at least photographs. See my report on The Blizzard, where due to a simple gluing error and casting flash the tail was angled up enough to ruin the flight characteristics, for a assembler/pilot that belonged with slow airplanes and modern ARFs. I followed one text thread where somebody tried to diagnose somebody’s problems with a Multiplex Fun Jet Ultra, it wasn’t until the fifth exchange where the pilot reported having flown F5B (those now seven horse power rockets) before the other pilot realized that maybe his expectations were off, after you’ve flown F5B ANYTHING else is sluggish and slow.
But pylon racers are stable airplanes, the pilot only needs provide guidance. The DogFighter can withstand our Mission Bay landing conditions, however the pilot had better have quite a bit of experience, and the reaction times of a twenty to thirty something year old as they are going to be constantly put the test. With ordinary equipment The Dog Fighter is affordable.
Somewhere around flight twenty, the original owner realizing that what he enjoyed flying most was his nearly indoor light Depron Event 3D (on no wind days) and the Multiplex Parkmaster and Gemini. For windy days or when the weather has left us with marginal landing conditions he has a Brushless Twin Star II. When the radio lost contact with the DogFighter for a few seconds, he transferred it to me. On reflection, his radio may in fact have been fine.
There was another one in our flying group, also fitted with a folding propeller. The best, if maybe only application of this airplane is combat as it is neither blazing fast or acrobatic. One thing that cut speed down, that blunt front end from propellers that didn’t fair in as planned. That and running on 3S with only moderately effective motors.
From the national German magazines “Foamie” (z. Deutsch die Schaumwaffel) and FMT, the now available even hotter motor setup substitutes, at the same (135) grams weight, a HiMax 3516-1350 with a simple motor controller is replaced with a same size HiMax 3516-1130, a bigger (70) amp controller instead of the (54) amp one and, at APC 9X6, a smaller diameter propeller. Unfortunately, although the author did publicize his in the air logged ampere (peaked at fifty amps with the battery fully charged) and voltage measurements, he had to estimate the top speed as (170) km/h, or about one hundred five miles an hour. He also published a flight data log that demonstrated that at an average of (5) amps at (11.4) volts that a so equipped DogFighter can just stay airborne for twenty minutes. They forgot to mention how nerve wracking flying this airplane can be, even after software limiting the aileron travel to about (70) % of factory assembly (aileron rods hung on the middle of the three control arm holes) and using (35)% exponential. Rolls are what ever comes, it has almost no self righting in that axis, pitch stability isn’t all that good, yaw is about average. It’s very easy to lose the orientation of the DogFighter at distances over fifty meters, which at fifty to a hundred miles an hour comes very quickly.
So, the DogFighter is bigger and more agile then a Speed 400 pylon racer, with much more duration and, if you don’t slam it into the ground, vastly better durability, but it’s not much faster and if anything too maneuverable. Hmm, what to do?
Just this once,
I have an idea what the airplane can do from having watched thirty flights. We were landing on (then) soft grass, but winter is already here.
The fiberglassing began. The canopy, beacuse I suffer from greasy fingers, it was treated with a coating of (20) grams per square meter fiberglass secured with hardwood flooring paint, except for a little thicker right at the finger grips and the “tong” which received resin, the weight gain of (3) grams bringing it to (18) grams. Although there are spinner cones for folding props as big in diameter as the nose, they cost Euro40/$52- and weigh a bunch, the top was initially narrowed to match what I have. As I started the fuselage, with one, from the factory installed Nano-S servo, weighs (162) grams before the reinforcement began, it weighed (175) grams afterwards.
The wing has two from the factory installed Nano-S servos, before working it over it weighed (152) grams. Wing tips take it hard, the outside (30 cm was treated with fiberglass held with resin, after taping the leading edge of the wing with heat shrunk on packing tape the wing outside of the servos was treated with (20) gram per square meter fiberglass with paint. Although the scale like panel lines probably make no difference, I need a surface hardening to the bottom, the lines were filled with lightweight spachtel. After which it weighed (157) grams.
The nose was rounded to better clear folding propellers. It’s too large a diameter to really get them to fold without taking a lot of material off. The underside was treated with fiberglass/resin, the rest fiberglass/hardwood flooring paint.
The vertical stabilizator was painted a bright red as where the underside of both wings, the top sides of the wings was a bright yellow. Dull, as all of my airplanes have the same paint scheme, but effective.
As expected, the contact area of the latest style control horns is too small, One tore lose after twenty one flights, so all three were treated with fiberglass reinforcement from the control horn to the control surface.
Those HiMax motors are a good value,
which isn’t apparent from the first flights as durability and resistance to overheating have to be flown to be realized. But, the airplane is only fast, I wanted to explore what it could do at a lighter weight.
The “cowl” was cut back from (3) cm from the front after profiling it to accept a folding propeller a little better, for (7) cm. That leaves (3) mm both at the front and back of that long nose. The “hump” was removed with a knife, so that the battery may be installed right behind a lighter then stock motor. Being Elapor everything could be set back the way it was if the modifications don’t work out.
The first disappointment was that the hoped for combination of a (45) gram motor with a folding 7.5X4 prop and a 4S 1100 mAh (120) gram battery wouldn’t make balance. It took a 4S 2200 mAh (220) gram NeuMotors battery. This combination drew (17) amps at (14) volts at (720) grams. As expected with an estimated (190) watts-out performance was just ok. The first flight the prop threw which disappeared in the frozen long grass on that under breezy wind out of Siberia day. Just the same I slope soared it for a while. Despite the light armor on the nose, it took a dent on landing in a frozen field.
The (45) gram Graupner was then fitted with an Aero-Naut 6X5.5 fixed propeller, with which it drew (12.5) amps at (15) volts peaked in the basement at (60) F. After deducting one and a half amps for just past the peak that works out to (165) watts-in. Affordable (Euro32/$43-) it has “flip right through magnets” which should put the P-Calk efficiency in the 0.8- range for (130) watts-out. Although the motor can probably sustain a little higher current, the diameter of the fixed propeller sets the limit. Those Aero-Naut propellers are stronger then APCs, all of them are high pitched. On grass landings it’s a guess if the pilot can coordinate getting the propeller horizontal of risk landing in the grass with it vertical. Performance was just sort of ho hum, if that inexpensive controler can be programmed for a brake isn’t known, the prop didn’t stop in glide. But I just didn’t like the Dog Fighter. The difficulty being that I’m not into ruining my RC airplanes trying to cut other airplanes streamers, so I don’t have any requirement for something that unstably nimble. I haven’t had anything like it since a combat flying wing with a too sharp leading edge.
The first Lite try was a NeuMotors 1105 with the chancy combination of a folding 6X3 on (3)mm hinges with a 3S (185) gram 220 mAh battery. Chancy as the NeuMotors revs up way higher then either the hub itself or the 3mm hinge Aero-Naut blades are rated for. So sort of ok for a couple of flights, just don’t get complacent and continue using them. All up weight was (700) grams, it drew (37) amps on the bench at 10.7 volts. The combination took the DogFighter straight up. Interestingly, that is the same current draw at the heavier ((135) grams verses (70) grams for the motor with the same battery) HiMax combination. That works out to about (300) watts-out. Where the NeuMotors combination losses it’s edge here, despite the better efficiency of a racing motor, is that it took a much smaller propeller that is probably not as good a match to the airframes requirements. It flew, but nervously. Any comparison to the stock combination was excluded, I was flying at freezing and have no direct way to quantify speed. As far as weight goes, it was slightly lighter, and so slightly better handling. A count of ten climb resulted in count of sixty to seventy on the way down, which isn’t a valid comparison with a battery operating at more effective temperatures. That and establishing the best angle of glide takes some practice. Just the same a count of ten climb sent the (300) watts-out DogFighter “way up there” at least twice as high as the height restrictions of Mission Bay. The noise was a plastic “first generation” motor mount plate (acquired with a Gemini kit, it saw seventy flights in a Fun Cub including a crash so bad that the output shaft of a smallish motor bent, despite the folding prop) that had warped so that the motor, already turning higher then the propeller blades or hub were rated for, vibrated. The latest aluminum motor mount plates as well as the issue plastic ones for the HiMax 11XX series (135 gram motors have a bolt circle too large to mount either the 11xx series NeuMotors or 28mm common sport motors. Subjectively a little easier to handle then the original specification propulsion, but it wasn’t necessarily fun to fly.
Repairs would have meant a complete new nose. The wing was repairable, but dinged up. The motor output shaft was broken, the rest of the motor with a replacement shaft was ok, how the bearings were remains to be determined by use. With these inexpensive motors the bearings aren’t all that good to begin with and quickly get used up. The receiver and motor controller seem to have no damage. The 4S battery has at least one cell so dented that it will at a minimum have to be converted to 3S. Although the fuselage rails were ruined, the motor mount plate doesn’t look any more warped then before the crash.
After thinking it over, the banged up airframe was cut up and discarded. I just didn’t have any use for an RC airplane so squirrelly that it had to be flow in still air. It’s a hundred Euros for just the airframe kit. Another hundred gets the prop and collet, a worthwhile motor, a better then before motor controller, and three servos, all installed in a well built straight airplane. Multiplex threw in the assembly and the parts to fit it out for less then just what the parts cost individually. That being built straight isn’t automatic, if you misuse the glue and don’t have a straight line for the fuselage halves they can easily be warped when gluing in the stiffeners.
Flight 4/20 Under Igstadt 01 February 2012 (We.) Cold but clear, with some wind out of the east. My diesel van wouldn’t start, so I drove my car instead. Some warning about the temperature, my hands went partly numb before the heater kicked in. It’s only a little below freezing, when it comes to cold I’ve become a softie. If you see me down at Mission Bay in a wet suit I’m not being weird, I’m just still so under cooled from hunting in the ocean (55 to 57 degrees F on the surface, colder at lobster depth) on the to take the rubber suite off until I warm back up.
The start of the flight went well, although with it’s nasty tendency to roll in this gusty wind I stayed high. Lining up for a couple of practice landings it was hard to tell when the rocking was from the gusts, or nearing a stall, the nose has to angle down to glide this thing. It’s six weeks past winter solstice, at 10 am the sun is only about twenty degrees above the horizon. Out there about a hundred and fifty meters not far off from the sun, the wind rocked it, I couldn’t tell which way as against the sun at a hundred and fifty meters all I could discern is the outline, after half an hours flight it hit straight in from about twenty meters up. From “I have a problem” through “oh no” to the impact was about two to three seconds.
That’s three propellers lost (equipment broke) and three crashes in the last two weeks (two repairable, none due to equipment failure) after flying the last two years with no significant losses. Thinking back on it I have lost a couple of airplanes to getting bored and flying them too hard, lost a couple of Easy Stars when the wings separated in the air and a few more airplanes to equipment failure. This is the first time I’ve trashed an RC airplane because it was too hot for me.
Flight 3/20 Across from Sonnenburger Turm 31 January 2012 (Tu.) With the 11.1 volt (45) gram Graupner motor and 7.5X4 Graupner 3mm pivots folding prop. Kind of breezy, the prop flew off after just a couple of climbs. That was disappointing as it was slope soaring ok. That prop is the latest to get lost.
The vibration was mostly due to the motor not sitting square against the warped motor mount plate. That plastic is hard stuff, it took twenty minutes and a thousand strokes to sand the motor side back to flat.
Flight 2/20 Sonnenberger Turm Last Monday of January 2012
Way too noisy, indications that the motor wasn’t harmonizing right, it was landed early. After finding no apparent reason for the vibration the battery was changed, an aileron connector had torn lose despite the perfect landing on half long frozen grass. No second flight was made
The ailerons were balanced neutral with sub-trim
The aileron throws were cut back to 70%.
Exponential of 30% was added to the ailerons.
UHU Poor was used to lock the motor mount screws.
Flight 1/20 Under Igstadt The last Monday of January 2012 with a NeuMotors 1105 on 3S and a 6X3 folding prop, best available Aero-Naut blades that still aren’t rated for that high an rpm.
Noisy and half fast, climb can be vertical, but very nervous to fly. First flights are always nerve wracking, but this doesn’t seem like it’s going to lead to a fun to fly RC airplane. After ten minutes as the sound indicated motor mount screws working lose it was landed early.
Drones, quad copters and FPV situation. Chuck Grim discussed his views on FPV and quad copters. Discussed different views on how to make sure operations are safe. Frank suggested that larger helicopters that want to perform 3D flight operate from the main flight line at stations 5 and 6. Hovering flight should not be done over the runway for extended. Chuck will review the wording and pass around to BOD members.
Frank discussed Justin Cunningham’s request regarding “drones” and their possible operations. Chuck will work on changes to address FPV /Drone issues at SEFSD.
Tim Attaway discussed the moving of Heli pad carpets done by Jim Bonnaradel.
Safety report…same old issues at SEFSD. Frank reported some radio issues at last indoor flying session. Seems as if some people have issues with some spectrum rx/tx combinations.
Field report—condition is good.
Treasures report by Paul Guidice. Paid 750 for web site upgrade. Still need to pay yearly fee soon. We still have money in the bank. Discussed putting pudget together for 2013. Discussed what is needed — Paul will present a budget proposal next month.
Membership report from Mike Eberle. We have 261paid members now. Mike discussed the fact that some people are joining as PARK pilots. He discussed the fact that we need to have a way to identify them.
Paul Guidice says we now have PayPal and need to see if this make sense for paying club dues. Jim B will present a case to the BOD next meeting.
Tim discussed fun fly event for the 23rd of March at SEFSD.
Future events at Alliant by Frank. Discussed e-fest for later this year in August 24 and 25th. Event is in need of a name. Suggestions welcomed.
Discussed Heli fun fly stuff for Oct this year. Will invite Ray Nemovi to next
meeting to present ideas.
Next meeting March 20
Meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm
“No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.
He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately–no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.
“While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.
“We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, New Foundland to have it checked out.
“We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM! …. that’s 11:00 AM EST.
“There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S. After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.” Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.
“The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.
“Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada. Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.
“Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.
“We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.
“Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.
“About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.
“After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander! We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the U.S. airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.
“We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.
“Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.
“Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible.
“Gander and all the surrounding communities (within MATCHabout a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high )schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.
“ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the “guests.” Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together.
All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.
“Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.
“Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered “Excursion” trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.
Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.
“Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.
It was absolutely incredible.
“When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name.
They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.
Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.
“And then a very unusual thing happened.
One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.
“He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!
“The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.
As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.
“I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a far away place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.
It reminds me how much good there is in the world.”
“In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good and Godly people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.
“God Bless America…and God Bless the Canadians.”