Coming out of the McCook meet at Muncie (17/18 June), I knew I had some work to do on some models. I had neglected repairs, etc over the winter and it showed when I went to Muncie.
One of the models that needed work was my Caudron C.460. I only fly it in the Races (Greve or Combined) and only on big fields. The last few times I have flown it, it has been first model out of the mass launch, usually flying downward and landing in about 5 seconds after half a circuit, if that much. Frankly, it has been embarrassing. This model won the 2019 AMA Nats FAC Scale event with a max, so it “can” fly – it just hasn’t lately. At 50g on 88squares, it is a little heavier than I like, but when it is well-trimmed it gives a nice flat glide and is a pleasure to watch.
So I decided to “fix” the model before Geneseo. One of the first things I did was to design and 3D-print a new prop. I have been using a carved prop, but have had so much success with printed props recently that I decided to convert this model to a printed prop. Archie Adamisin and I have been trading idea back and forth to create some pretty good props. Two things that I have suggested and we have been able to implement are Larrabee profiles and folding props. I don’t know that Larrabee shapes are “the best” but a) I like them and b) they seem to do as good as other blade shapes. As for the folders, they sure save the nose of the model when landing. The bigger the prop and the heavier the model the more force is exerted on the frame on landing. I am sure we all have had noses torn out on less-than-perfect landings. Well, hinged blades help reduce this damage. Of course, in the FAC, the blades must not fold before landing – and these don’t – there is enough friction between the blade and hinge to keep them open while freewheeling. Also, centrifugal force keeps them open, too.
Here are some images of the prop, spinner backing plate, and spinner that I drew up and printed for the Caudron.
Testing in the back yard showed that my Caudron was out of trim (we knew that from poor performance). I changed several things: tail weight added, decalage reduced, and thrust settings changed. This was before much power could be added since my small(ish) back yard cannot accommodate big flights.
I headed for the Cloudbuster “contest” yesterday even though the wind was supposed to increase to unflyable by mid-day. There was a little wind when I got there, but not terrible. I set my DT to 60 seconds and got to testing the Caudron. My initial setting needed more tweaking as I worked up power. Again, tail weight, decalage, and thrust all needed minor changes, but it was flying again. Winn suggested a small amount of weight on the right wing to flatten the attitude when circling to the left – that worked.
I upped the power again; maybe something like 1200 turns out of a possible 2000? The prop pulled the model up into the wind – not fast, but gradually and purposefully. It seemed to be just enough power to counter the occasional gusts that threatened to destabilize the flight. The tip weight had opened up the circles to big-field size and the model slowly rose while going downwind. It got higher than expected and was very far downrange when it looked like it hit near the top a large tree – I thought I saw a flash of leaves or something indicating it was in the tree rather than behind the tree. Winn couldn’t tell – he lost it in the same tree, but didn’t know if it was in front, in, or behind it.
I went to find the model. I crossed the airport, and then was finally at the tree on the third property, after passing through some rather dense undergrowth. In fact the undergrowth surrounding the tree was about 12-foot high. This would be a difficult search if it had not gone in the tree.
I gave the tree a glance, then moved on past the tree. When planes disappear “in trees” they are usually behind (or in front), so I pressed on. The bushes did open up a little beyond the tree, but still, you couldn’t spot anything anywhere – it was going to be nearly impossible to find the model, especially since it was so high when we lost sight of it – it could be anywhere.
I went back to a vantage point where I could see the tree and where I thought it went in. This tree was something like 80 feet tall – maybe more. I studied the “corner” where I thought the plane was for a time and then I saw some straight lines that looked unnatural for a tree. I got my phone out and zoomed in – yep, there was the model – at an impossible height.
I went back a few hours later, after the wind had really picked up. The model was still wedged into the tree. I even took a video of how much the wind was moving the tree, but the tree wasn’t releasing the Caudron. So that’s where it stays. So much for a respectable flight at Geneseo.