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Top Flight P-47 build

Discussion in 'Scale Civillian and WarBirds' started by wfahey415, Jan 18, 2016.

   
  1. Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback – Maiden 1

    Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback – Maiden 1

    Dialing in straight and level flight while tuning for our flying preferences

    Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
    Flight video by Mike Basmajian
    Posted – 2-29-2016
    Maiden day for a new plane can elicit feelings that alternate between excitement and terror. To be sure, the first flight for any plane is high on the danger meter. However, a good inspection prior to the first flight will catch major issues that could actually kill a plane the first time out. I have maidened hundreds of planes and have never lost one, though there have been a few amazing saves. In those cases, “amazing†means that I don’t have a clue how the plane missed the ground/trees or other fatal obstructions. Despite the potential intensity I still like doing maidens.
    With my own planes I consider the maiden to be a series of flights, not just one or two. It takes a while to get everything sorted out on a plane to make it comfortable throughout its flight envelope. We also have to remember that during the maiden process we are learning to fly that particular plane. As we go through the maiden process it is important to remember that a Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback will never fly like anAeroworks 50cc Edge 540 and trying to force any plane outside of its envelope is a great way to shorten the life of that plane dramatically.
    Day One

    The first maiden flight came on a warm but fully cloudy day with little wind initially. Two of my friends looked the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback over and found some minor tweaks I needed to make from securing clevises better and three lock nuts on linkages that needed tightening. Little problems have a way of morphing into big, plane-threatening ones in short order.
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    [TD="class: caption, colspan: 2, align: center"]The first take off (left) should lead to the first landing (right) if all goes well. this is where yo find out if everything is working right or if you have made a big mistake someplace. That's why having others look over your work is a great idea BEFORE the maiden flight.
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    I wasn’t overly happy about putting a camouflaged plane up in a totally gray sky for the maiden flight but knew if I kept it reasonably close I could maintain my orientation. After starting the EME60 and letting it warm up I taxied onto the (grass) runway and noted that the tail wheel was channeling a pogo stick as it passed over the lumpy surface. I think this tippy thing is more the fault of the lumpy runway surface than a deficiency in the Robart Retracts or the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback itself.
    Initial Trims

    As soon as it broke free of the ground I could feel the nose wanting to go downward and the wings rolling slightly to the right. During the first lap around the field I pulled up the retracts, added several clicks of down elevator and a few clicks of left aileron. After that the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback was remarkably stable with very little attitude change in response to throttle positions.
    On a 45-degree up line the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback wanted to nose over towards the ground. I tried the same thing up and down wind with the same results so decided that half of the 6 oz of the weight had added to balance the CG could come out for the next day of flying. I felt this was a reasonable change as the elevator was not feeling sensitive and the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback was holding a decent line once the trims were set.
    I had set the flap deflection to 2 3/8†(34-degrees) as the manual suggests but did not add any elevator change to go with it. On the initial landing passes the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback wanted to nose up slightly as it slowed more than I was comfortable with. It did remain stable but it needed a few points of down elevator when the flaps are deployed to make landings even easier and more predictable. Between flights I added 3-points of down elevator and though the change was not dramatic it did encourage the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback to keep the nose down just slightly which is far more comfortable to me during landing. By end of the first day landings were becoming far more comfortable.
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    [TD="class: caption, colspan: 2, align: center"]Fast passes (left) look cool but you shold be jsut as inerested in how the plane handles a slow "dirty" pass (right) to start learning the models tendancies during landings.
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    Rudder

    If you fly a lot of 3D type aircraft the rudder is going present a small learning curve. With the tail up on landing and take-off the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback listens to the rudder very well. In the air the rudder has less “instant†effect which I suspect is far closer to realistic. In normal turns under reduced throttle the tail can want to drag towards the low wing and adding a bit of rudder will bring the tail up and make the turn look more coordinated.
    I am slowly getting used to the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback rudder due to my less than perfect history of applying too much rudder during landing approaches with other planes over the years. Those low-level, accidental snap rolls get your attention. So far the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback has not done anything bad in response to the rudder I am using right now. But there is much more potential in the rudder that is going to take some experimenting on my part to make full use of.
    My next day at the field will include a bunch of higher than normal landing approaches where I can feel out the rudder with greater safety. I have flown this plane in some wind, nearly always crosswind and in all other respects it is surprisingly stable. I am sure that once I boost my confidence in its rudder my comfortable envelope will expand considerably.
    Landing

    One of the things that most surprised me about the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback is its low-speed stability and response. I can leave the nose down right to where I need to level the plane to avoid dorking the gear into the ground. The Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback does this very well and will surprise you with the amount of lift the wing is making when it is slow and low. I have been landing on the mains and have yet to have a major bounce. On one of the rollouts after setting the wheels down yesterday I was confident the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback was slowing so I started adding a bit of elevator to get the tail wheel down. Instead, the plane lifted off the ground again but I caught it with the wheels just a few inches off the surface so I held it level and let is settle back to the ground.
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    [TD="class: caption, colspan: 2, align: center"]This P47 has 5"-tall wheels (left) giving you an idea of how tall the grass is. that is certainly causing part of the tippy tendency. This is the first take-off of what wold have been Maiden day two (right).I must have missed the one set screw and the main wheel came off. I ws able to fix the P47 by the following Saturday. It now has several flights on the repair with no issues.
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    The landing speeds can vary considerably with the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback because of its expansive flight envelope. Though it can bounce around some in response to wind, when it gets close to the ground it seems to smooth out and the response of the ailerons and elevator remains crisp. I have not felt like the controls were going mushy even when I had the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback going slower than intended. It’s probably still not smart to fly this warbird in high winds but I am certain it will handle a good bit more wind than many of the competing warbirds in this size.
    Day Two

    The day after Maiden day I returned to the field on a sunny, windless day that promised to be perfect for shaking out a new plane. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As I rolled on the gas for takeoff the tail came up and right about then the right main wheel came off. The retract strut stabbed into the grass, the retract was jerked out of the wing and the brand new Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback flopped right-wing-down and did a partial spin. As crashes go this one was fairly smooth. The right side retract was torn out of the wing but later when I started looking at the damage I found that it was fully repairable. I did a story on that repair in part because it illustrates how well this plane was designed and built. Click Here to see Fixing a Ripped-Out Retract.
    More Research

    Another segment of the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback “trials†will come in a couple weeks. I need to get more used to the rudder to be sure we understand its capabilities. It would be easy to make an educated guess and say that the rudder on the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorbackworks fine. I would rather invest the time and make sure I understand any deficiencies (if there even are any) and what we can do about them. I am not hampered by editorial deadlines or advertising considerations so taking the time to know for sure so neither you nor I go astray just makes sense.
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    [TD="align: center"]Video Tour
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    Stay Tuned

    There will be one (I think) more segment in this review that will focus once again on flying the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback. I don’t want to give the impression that this is a beginner’s plane because it absolutely is not. I can’t think of a warbird this side of a simple foamy that would be a good choice for a beginner. However, in the world of warbirds the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorbackis one of the best flying on the market and with qualified help many sport fliers should be able to learn how to handle this plane.

     
  2. Very nice [MENTION=4417]thintz[/MENTION] congratulations on a successful maiden flight!! This has been a very interesting read!! Thank you very much!!
     
  3. wfahey415

    wfahey415 3DRCF Moderator

    I've really enjoyed following this build Tom and look forward to more stories!
     
  4. Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback – Maiden Day 2

    [h=1]Finding the edges of an already great flight envelope[/h][TABLE="width: 200, align: right"]
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    [TD="class: caption, align: center"]Very often problems with a plane will appear during the maiden process. I would come up against a potentially destructive problem before this day ended. See it in the video below.
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    Text photos and video by Tom Hintz
    Flight video by Mike Basmajian and Clark Ponthier
    Posted – 3-14-2016
    The second day of Maidening the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback lasted about twenty feet when the right wheel came off and the retract was pulled from the wing. You can see the full story on that crash/repair by Clicking Here.
    With the retract damage repaired I got back to tweaking the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback. We use these early flights to dial the plane in so it flies correctly and predictably. One of the first things I work on is getting the trim tabs back in the center using the mechanical linkage adjustments and perhaps small changes in the radio itself using the sub trim and travel adjustments. This will be an ongoing process until I get comfortable with the plane in normal conditions.
    [h=2]New CG[/h][TABLE="width: 404, align: left"]
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    [TD="class: caption, colspan: 2, align: center"]The EME60 hauls this 21-lb plane around easily (let) but more aggressive take offs (right) are possible if you like.
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    Since the first day of maiden flights I have removed 3 ounces of lead that had been mounted on the top of the motor box to correct the CG as indicated by the plane during the first test flights. I get the plane flying straight and level at about ¾ throttle then put the plane on an inverted, 45-degree up line. The Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback’s nose wanted to pull downward indicating a nose heavy condition. Since it had no other bad habits and there was no sensitivity at the elevator or other controls. I felt safe in removing the 3-oz strip, half of the added weight to achieve the factory CG point.
    Having removed 3 ounces of lead there was a chance that the elevator could be very sensitive if the CG moved too far towards the back of the plane. But, as soon as I got the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback in the air after the change it was clear that the controls remained responsive but not at all sensitive. I put the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback on an inverted, 45-degree up line again and let go of the sticks. The plane went into a very gentle arc dropping the nose towards the ground but at a much slower rate than during the first days flying. I could not detect any unwanted flight characteristics so will leave the CG alone at least for the time being. As I get more familiar with the plane being set up I might make another small CG change but will always go in small steps if I make any further changes at all.
    [h=2]Flaps and Landing[/h]As with most flap-equipped planes, a bit of down elevator needs to be added when the flaps are deployed to counter the tendency of the plane to balloon. Each plane is going to react a little differently to the flap deployment so this is a setting that is developed during several “maiden†flights. I like having enough down elevator so that the plane is slightly nose down when it reaches landing speeds. I like having to hold just a bit of up elevator so when the plane reaches the ground I can pull just a little more so the plane settles to the ground smoothly. Different planes will “like†different settings so make these changes in small increments to sneak up on what feels the most comfortable for you.
    [h=2]Rudder[/h][TABLE="width: 411, align: right"]
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    [TD="class: caption, colspan: 2, align: center"]ear the end of what wold be the last flight one of the retracts (left) decided o be stubborn. I eventually worked the wheel down by repeated cycling the retract switch several times but I had no idea if the retracts was locked. This had to be a "greaser" landing (right) and the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback handling helped me a lot there.
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    I have heard plenty of war bird/rudder stories so I have been gentle in my exploration of the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback rudder. This kind of testing is always done up where I am confident that I can catch the plane if it should go out of control. I am happy to report that the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback rudder is predictable and does not cause sudden snaps, rolls or stalls. I am not just jamming the rudder all the way over like I do with my 3D planes but I am not afraid to use considerable rudder in most situations.
    In low speed situations such as landing I am always more careful with applying udder. Making corrections for cross winds is not hard with the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback as long as you remain reasonable with its application. Like many planes holding a small amount of rudder will help keep the plane aligned with the runway.
    During takeoff runs the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback responds well to the rudder once the tail is up and flying. When the tail wheel is on the ground it does a good job of steering though I have the amount of steering reduced to prevent over correcting. Overall the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback rudder is not hyper active and when used reasonably has no bad habits.
    [h=2]Stalls[/h]One test all planes should be put through is intentional stalls. It is important to know what the plane is likely to do if you get too slow and the plane “falls throughâ€. Here again I can report that the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback is very predictable in a stall. I did several power-off stalls and it simply fell through, dropping the nose downward. You do have to give it some power to regain full control but it is not bad at all. For a warbird I think that the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback is head and shoulders above the pack in its resistance to stalls and recovering from them.
    [h=2]Landings[/h][TABLE="width: 404, align: right"]
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    [TD="width: 94, align: center"]Video coming shortly[/TD]
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    [TD="class: caption, colspan: 2, align: center"]Though not a 3D plane by any description the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback is surprisingly nimble for a 21-lb warbird!
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    Warbirds in general have a lousy reputation when it comes to landing. Here again the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback stands out from the crowd. Its generous wing provides lots of low speed lift that keeps the plane steady at landing speeds. I always use the flaps at the recommended angle. To date there have been no surprises or near disasters during landing.
    During the last “maiden†day I had a retract failure in that one side of the mains refused to come down right away. I knew I had plenty of fuel left so I worked on the problem and found that putting the retract switch in the UP position for a couple seconds and then leaving it in the down mode the offending wheel came down a little more. The Robart electric retracts have a special “amp out†motor that shuts that retract down if it encounters an obstacle so this is one area that will be investigated back in the shop.
    Once I got the wheel down I had no way to know if it was actually locked so a gentle landing was mandatory. The Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback’s gentle nature on landing helped me “grease it in†and the retract stayed up. You can see this sequence in the accompanying video.
    I am considering the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback “maidened†and will now focus on getting familiar with flying it. I want to explore its limitations some but I also just want to fly it in a relatively scale manner. My trademark snap roll on takeoff just will not happen with a Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback but I expect that it will do some things that we are accustomed to seeing from a plane like this.

    If you have been shying away from a warbird because of their ill-handling reputations take a hard look at the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback. These folks have this warbird figured out and that translates to an easy flying plane that anyone with solid moderate flying skills can learn to fly, perhaps with some help along the way just to be safe.
    See the previous Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback build and maiden stories​
    See the Top-Flite Giant Scale P47 Razorback product page – Click Here​
    Have a comment on this Review? –Email Me!
     
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