In part 1, I discussed my road to my first 3D printed RC airplane… The Wolf from Eclipson. It’s their “free download” which, I’m sure, is meant to lead to a good experience and influence a future purchase. The printing part of the project went well, but I still had to get through the assembly and flying part before I would call this a success. Part 2 will cover some of the assembly process and part 3 the flying and results of that part of the adventure… so onto part 3!??
Ok, so I’m skipping over the gathering of supplies, painting, assembly, etc… Thus why I titled this Chapter 3 when I haven’t posted a chapter 2, but I just have to get to the flying part so here we go!
Spring has been cold, wet, and breezy with only a couple of days of warmer weather with anything like a reasonable wind speed… so I just finally decided to fly it anyway! It was a stiff crosswind but the temperature was at least reasonable so after a long journey of learning and more than a little trepidation, I had my friend Steve give it a toss for me.
So first, I’ll comment on the actual flying characteristics. In a word, excellent! The Wolf seemed to have plenty of power and only required some elevator trim to have it fly hands off. It flew really nice with maybe 1/3rd to 1/2 throttle and was capable of a wider flight envelope than I had expected even to the point of seemingly doing well as a power glider. I forgot to do a lot of real test flying as the airplane was just fun to fly! I did regret that the designer had opted not to include a rudder and I’m already thinking I might try my hand at some design work to add that feature but otherwise its hard to complain about how nicely it tracks and soars.
On the more technical side of things… while it flew great, it had a few issues. For reasons I’m still figuring out, the skin of the airplane seems a bit on the fragile side. My launch catapult (also my flying buddy), Steve, cracked a layer line just by gripping the airplane.
For reasons unexplainable by mortal man, my elevator linkage had come off the control arm by the time I went to make the maiden flight and I had to steal a wheel collar from the axle to make a field repair. This caused my first landing to be “wheel-less” and on the skid which caused a chunk out of the skin to crack and break loose on what I thought was a fairly smooth landing in the grass.
On the second flight the prop collet exited the airplane and I had to make an unpowered landing, I managed to bust the Wolf at/or near the glue joint… so maybe that was just a bad glue joint or are the layer lines just a bit weak?? I’m still figuring that out. The collet issue is also being addressed in order to stay with the folding prop, which I think was a great choice. It seems to be sized appropriately for great performance and allows for some true gliding without the drag a fixed prop would cause.
Those issues aside, everything worked well and I’m looking forward to some more flights in the future.