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F117 Night Hawk Stealth PSS Model Kit

Report by: Gary Church & Dave Taylor

Building

Stealth - being stealth like in this photo!The parts count for this kit is very minimal everything being supplied in a large plain box with a photo of the completed model on the front (power version). The instructions, although being a bit sketchy in places, give plenty of information to complete the model and due to the small parts count no problems should be encountered. The only modification we made was to the aileron controls which should be raked back, we put in 2 aileron servos and straight control runs. The nose was built up from plasticard and balsa. The optional additional tailplane support was added after the 1st flight and is definitely required.


Flying

Following an intensive building schedule the model was completed for flying within 2 days (final painting still to be done), as soon as it was finished we rushed over to our nearest open field for a test chuck. The C of G at this point was 31/2 inches in front of the main spar. No balance weight was included at this time. This set our minds at rest as the model had no nasty surprises, however, the glide slope was very steep though not as bad as we had feared. After this it was back to the building board for a full spray finish, then the long wait.


3 Weeks Later

Not having an abundance of slope soaring sites within Essex we have taken to flying with the East Sussex Soaring Association, at their Long Man site just outside Eastbourne (a 200 mile round trip for us - keen huh!).

After a 10 minute climb to the top of the hill and another 10 minutes to get our breath back, time for the big flight. At this point we both bottled out and flew something else. 15 minutes of hacking about with our normal slope models, pressure was mounting from the other fliers present to fly this strange black beasty. Range checks done, control checks done, then to the edge of the slope Gary on the tranny, Dave on the video and Tom Noble with the task of launching. After launch the model seemed very stable but did not want to gain height and after 2 passes the model was departing to the bottom of the hill and was landed. During this first flight it was found that aileron control was a bit marginal unless the speed was kept on.

The next flight the C of G was moved back by 1/4 inch which after launch initially looked to be a big improvement until the model was turned where it went directly into a very slow flat spin which brought the model to earth with a gentle bump.

Various other flights were had with both Gary and Dave taking a share of the tranny time, the best flights were with a C of G position 41/2 inches in front of the main spar with a amount of reflex on the ailerons. Set up like this the model is very safe in the air although the ailerons still need plenty of forward speed to be effective.


More Wind Needed

(This was only about 10 mph) We guess that the next time we take this model out if we have a 15 to 20 mph breeze we will be flying a treat. From these short flights it was noticed by all on the site that the model looks extremely realistic in the air and even members of the general public stopped to talk with us about the model and seemed equally impressed.

Note: Having taken this model to various club displays as a static exhibit it has drawn the most attention of any model present.

To this point 10 minutes total air time 5 x flights each.


Flying Update

After at least 4 trips to the slope without enough wind we decided that we would keep an eye on the weather and make a mad dash to the slope when the wind looked promising, 5 months later and finally a good breeze was forecast for the South Coast. Gale warnings actually but we were getting fed up of no wind.

After an early start and drive through bright sunshine and no wind right through to a howling gale, driving rain and giant hale stones we arrived to see everybody else going home because it was too windy, not deterred (much) we traipsed up the hill complete with model, video, gloves, hat etc.. no flying the sports models this time just a mad dash up the hill to finally fly the Stealth.

The moment of truth would it fly or would it depart to the bottom of the hill again. Turn on, check all controls and point the model over the edge, at this point the wind was gusting to approximately 45 mph, no problem with control, but after a few passes we decided to land and add some ballast, a stationary Stealth just doesn't look right.

6oz of lead later and a re-launch at least we could now make some progress into wind. The model was extremely stable and handled the turbulent conditions remarkably well but it is not the most aerobatic model you could ask for, rolls are quite barrely, probably due to large amounts of aileron differential. Loops were really interesting when we got them right and they looked very realistic but slow them up too much at the top of the loop and it will roll of its own accord. Slow it up even more and it goes into a nice inverted spin, this takes about three turns to come out of, most exciting, (yes I did miss the hill but only just). Landings are a real doddle just line it up into wind low over the slope and you can hover onto the spot you require.


Summary

StealthThe Balsa Cabin Stealth is extremely quick to put together and draws a lot of interest, is very docile to fly but does require at least 20mph wind to remain airborne. Once in the air however it does look realistic tracking up and down the slope. All told a very interesting subject which we could recommend to those who like something that little bit different.

Radio
Futaba FF7 (2 x aileron servos, 1 x elevator).
Covering
Black Profilm, sprayed matt.
Centre of Gravity
41/2 inches in front of the main spar.
Wind Speed
20 mph +


See also: Glider.