Electrifly Reactor Biplane

I managed to smash up my FPV (First Person View) plane, the Reactor Biplane a couple of weeks ago.  I had just remounted the motor after I broke the mount on a previous FPV Flight(Video (new window)). So once I had the motor remounted I went to test fly the airplane. I didn’t want to fly FPV the first flight after a repair so I let one of the other club members wear the video goggles while I flew LOS (Line of Sight).  Unfortunately I accidentally grabbed a partially discharged pack from the battery containment unit.  Since I wasn’t wearing the goggles I couldn’t see the voltage and the pack died, the plane ended up crashing and getting destroyed.   After the crash I looked over at the guy wearing the goggles and he had both fists clenched like he was holding a flight control yoke.  I’m not sure if it broke him experiencing his first FPV crash.  I mean.. with FPV it looks like you really just fell out of the sky and crashed, but there is less physical damage to the pilot/co-pilot 😀   Here’s the flight video including the FPV Crash.

Well! That was fun 🙂  Now it’s time to pick a new FPV aircraft.  I like the larger balsa planes. They have plenty of lift, power and the capability of carrying excess payload without suffering too much. Of course using a built up model for FPV means that crashing your plane generally causes damage that takes a bit more time to repair, etc. but that’s how it goes. There always seems to be a trade-off.

And now I present: The Great Planes Spirit 100 a 100″ wingspan glider kit manufactured by Great Planes.   There are two versions of this plane, the built up model that comes in the puzzle box, requires assembly, sanding, covering and finishing and the other is an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) with a fiberglass fuselage. The non-ARF form of this model was thrust into my possession about a month ago at a local club meet.  People were apparently giving away planes that they didn’t want/need/plane to use so I got this.  It turns out the guy I got it from had purchased it as part of a larger collection but never flew it so now it makes it into my hands, no assembly needed.

As I mentioned the model has a 100″ wingspan, I can’t even fit the wing standing upright in my living room. There’s 3 servos in the wing, 2 for aileron and 1 controls the flaps. I had some HS-65MGs from the Reactor Bipe so I used those on the ailerons and I had an old wing servo, now missing it’s label (I think it is a Futaba) which I used for the flaps. I used normal sized servos for the elevator and rudder. A high torque Hitec for the elevator and a Futaba 3009 for the rudder.

The receiver is a Spektrum AR7000 with the satellite receiver.  I’ve had bad experience with my Airtronics 2.4 Ghz radio in FPV aircraft so I stick to the Spektrum for that purpose. Which is unfortunate, the Airtronics SD-10G is an awesome glider radio!

The Spirit 100 was originally set up for a hi-start type launching system but this isn’t quite my speed so on Friday and Saturday I built a ‘power pod’ for the glider.  I used the brushless motor from the Reactor Biplane and using some light ply I assembled a pod that sits atop of the wing. You can see the pod in the photos below.  The glider has plenty of room inside of the fuselage for an ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) and the Li-Poly battery which powers the motor.  Now I’ll be able to launch the glider by turning on the motor and throwing it rather than messing around with 200 feet of rubber surgical tubing as a giant rubber band!  The motor, mount, ESC and battery does add weight to the plane of course but not too much. As it was the plane had 160 grams of lead weight in the nose as this particular model always comes out tail heavy.

If the plane tests successfully without the FPV equipment I will mount all of the FPV equipment into the canopy and do some FPV gliding with it and the prop won’t interfere with the camera either.  It should be nice, IF all goes well 🙂

Here are a few photo’s of the Spirit 100 in my living room, hopefully this week I will have some photos of the plane assembled and possibly some flight video. This thing should float, though I don’t know if it will be able to thermal with the extra weight.

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