History of my microlight journey
This project was a great journey..
A long journey due to having other projects on the go aswell and having too many hobbies!
Also being on untrodden ground meant i had no one to help me with questions i may have,
The answer was always to go online or read books to find out how the real ones did it and how i was going to get the same result but in minature using different materials and to make it take crashes well.
After a lazy first kite wing test and a backflip on takeoff i ditched that idea straight away and went to a custom made wing,
My early wing was very baggy and after 3 or 4 test flights it highlighted that fact,
Even though it flew and on some of the flights it was actually controllable till the engine cut out and i realised it had a 1:20 glide ratio 1ft forward to 20ft down lol 😂
I tightened the sail and shorted the chord and tried again,
The sail still flapped and had a delay in the steering due to no cables, the wing couldnt hold a stable shape, also the carbon was twisting so the steering movements were being delayed and alot of the force taken out.
Id then decided that although there had been a fair few crashes the idea of a scale weightshift microlight was definately a possibility,
Seing alot of videos of microlights out there that had rudders or wingwarping (ailerons) to get them to turn i was determined to go the weighshift route,
A few years went by and i was working on the wing on and off and designing brackets to hold the parts together,
Alot of these brackets are titanium, i chose this due to its huge strength and low weight,
Not as light as alloy size for size but can be made much more slimline than alloy or even plastic so you end up with brackets as light as plastic with many times the strength,
Ive never broken or even bent a connnector to this day so they work :)
Eventually i had a wing that looked how id wanted it to so after a few running tests holding it above my head and letting go it proved to be really stable.
i fitted it back on the trike and did a few taxi tests down the road, believe it or not it didnt even have any wing steering servos fitted at this point so i strapped the base bar to the front strut and went up and down the road,
being tied to the front strut meant the big angle of attack of the wing caused a stall as soon as it lifted off,
I untied that and added a piece of elastic from one corner of the aframe under the trike to the other aframe corner and tested it again,
It was now dark and was on my own so didnt get any video of this but it would lift off to a few ft and then land again with no steering input! Now if that isnt a sign of stability i dont know what is lol
I was massively enthusiastic to finish it now so the next day i made the servo holders and got the servos fitted in and connected up,
Another test down the carpark showed nice responsive steering and was allowing me to takeoff, steer left and right and land it consitantly! I was over the moon 😄
The first 'proper' flight was down my local field infront of my friends and some family so no pressure then!
Added to that it was a quite windy day too 😣
I was confident that it would fly but the wind was causing me abit of a worry,
The flight went better than i could of imagined though and got it down in one piece, successful maiden ☺👍
The next morning was freezing cold but a very still morning so i gave it another test,
It flew amazingly well and perfectly controllable but did have one problem..it wouldnt climb very quick at all!?
After abit of talk about maybe needing more power to solve it i eventually found this not to be the case and tracked it down to the trike being abit too far back and the springs holding the wing backwards so was 'mushing' when climbing,
It went up so well after this modification!
Even allowing me to do wingovers and loops! (Another first for an rc weighshift microlight)
Over the years ive modified it in certain areas either to make it fly better or make it look more scale,
A turning head which uses a 9g servo in the pilots chest was added to make the onboard videos more realistic, this seems to of caught on in the rc microlight world now aswell :)
Great to see so many things i add to mine being used on other makers microlights to make theirs more realistic ☺
The hangpoint had a bush making to prevent the alloy hole rounding off.
Larger mg mini servos replaced the micro mg servos on the original as although they did the job for a while they started to get old and strain abit,
I dropped the servos lower to tuck them out of view behind the sideskirts and added longer springs to allow a more free movement of the trike to give more stability, better climb rate, better turbulance handling, less critical spring positioning and as a bonus more servo protection!
To overcome the longer springs i had to make some servo arm extensions.
I added the bend in the monopole as the trike looked too far forward compared to the wing, this allowed the same hang point but bought the trike backwards, this also helped get the basebar in the right place for even movement fore and aft
The wing has now got a double surface and a shorter chord for less drag and better glide,
The tips have been bent in slightly to tension the trailing edge of the wing.
I even learnt to sew so my new wing is completely sewn instead of taped like the old test one,
Dacron has been used to reinforce the wing trailing edge and has been now used for the leading edge to produce a nice smooth airfoil shape which should increase the efficiency massively And has upped the strength of the sail with very little weight added.
Rear test undercarriage was replaced with fiberglass spars and custom titanium brackets and suspension was added to the front wheel,
The rear undercarriage was designed with suspension in mind so all the brackets pivot ,
i just have to add a shock to make it work which i will be doing soon.
Hope you guys have enjoyed the videos and reading about the project as much as ive enjoyed doing it,
Keep checking back to the home of rc microlights as ive got many more ideas in the pipeline