13 March, 2006

Trim flights

The wind was blowing well today, so I took out the Tern for a couple of trim tosses on the soccer field. It took well to the air, and the Cg was obviously pretty well on the nose. No hard landings or other flight problems.

One design problem reared its head. The shaft that I used for the tailboom didn't have anywhere near enough torsional resistance. When I hit the rudder, the v-tail would try to roll the tail, and it would spin the shaft instead of the plane.

After a few tosses, I went to the hobby shop and picked up a super light aluminum helicopter shaft and installed it. I think that will do the trick just fine. Should be able to finish up with that tomorrow and be back for some trim flights later in the week. I was tipped off to a sight where they sell composite tailbooms (at pretty good rates too). It is at www.tailboom.com, and they have many booms designed for aircraft from Mark Drela.

The tailboom that I got was weight neutral with my existing tail. I ended up adding about 0.5 to 1 oz of glass to reinforce it at the stab and at the fuse. I think that I may be able to take an ounce of ballast out of the nose because I shifted the overall weight of the plane forward with a bigger boom but less of a stab mounting plate. We'll see.

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