Archives for March 2015

Back in Training!

I returned to Phoenix and am continuing my ground training to become a First Officer flying the CRJ-700 regional jet with Mesa Airlines.

CRJ-900 regional jet at Phoenix Airport

CRJ-900 regional jet at Phoenix Airport

Happily, my fingerprints cleared the mandatory TSA review and I am cleared to start simulator training.  Sadly, however, not much for me to report in the way of radio control modeling until I am complete with training.  I should finish up by the middle of May, we’ll see how the schedules work out.  Always a lot of last minute changes in the world of airline training.

Another bit of good news is that I did get my first choice for a domicile (home airport with Mesa) at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Checklist procedures trainer for the CRJ-700 regional jet

Checklist procedures trainer for the CRJ-700 regional jet

I recently started simulator training for the CRJ-700.  The flight training simulators are a FAA Level D (essentially the highest in terms of fidelity) which means that I can take my actual check ride in the sim.  In other words, the sim is good enough that a flight is not required to obtain a CRJ-700 type rating on my pilot license.

The sims offer full motion so the sense of flight and motion inside the sim, with a full set of visual computer graphics displayed through the windshield, is complete.  You can even feel the bumps in the taxi way as you head towards the runway, simply amazing.

I’ll head to Toronto on April 4th for the majority of my simulator sessions.  More to follow as I get started with this most challenging phase towards becoming a regional airline pilot.

Completing the Carte Postale

The Stevens Aero Carte Postale wing went together without any problems. There are no surprises if you follow the instructions. The wing is dry fit then glued together as done with the fuselage. The CAD plans are used to ensure the wing is square before applying the CA glue. Mount plates are installed to allow for later installation of the fuselage cabane and wing strut braces that hold the wing in place.

Front view of the completed Carte Postale

Front view of the completed Carte Postale

The wing frame, when complete, is not a robust structure. This is all in keeping with a design philosophy of making the plane as light as possible and using the heat shrink covering to add a good amount of strength to the final assembly. So, do not be alarmed if the bare wood wing assembly seems a bit “flimsy.”

Balsa framework for the Carte Postal, ready for covering

Balsa framework for the Carte Postal, ready for covering

The tail surfaces are lightweight balsa sheet and go together without any challenges.

I used the recommended AeroLITE covering for the entire model. An interesting aspect is to cover just the upper surface of the wing. This is part of the model’s design, as this introduces a small amount of dihedral and washout as the covering shrinks.

I have never encountered this approach before. It would be just about impossible to cover the lower wing surface due to an unusual under-camber scheme with the wing ribs, I went ahead and followed this portion of the instructions and covered just the wing upper surface. If nothing else, this will save a bit of weight.

Front view of completed Carte Postal RC model aircraft

Front view of completed Carte Postal RC model aircraft

I used the graphics offered by SA. They were very easy to apply using a dry transfer scheme. The lettering adds a lot to the look of the finished model.

Stevens Aero recommends a somewhat complicated method of using small rubber band retainers and magnets glued to the struts to allow for a removable wing. I think this is a bit of overkill for a small model such as this one, and I elected to glue the wing in place.

Bottom view of Carte Postale fuselage under construction

Bottom view of Carte Postale fuselage under construction

I have followed this approach with all of my Stevens Aero models and this has worked fine. By gluing the wing in place you are assured that the incidence remains set and correct, and will not vary between flights. The models are so compact and lightweight that the glued in place wing has worked fine for me. There are no issues with damage during a hard landing as the models fly at a slow speed.

Carte Postale fuselage under construction

Carte Postale fuselage under construction

I painted the cockpit, struts and wheels with acrylic paint with good results. The installation of the music wire control rods from the Parkzone servo arms to the control surfaces is a bit tricky. Carefully read the directions and think through your installation actions. I removed a bit of covering from the fuselage bottom to get a better view of the installation holes in the fuselage former. The technique of using two pieces of adjustment music wire held together with heat-shrink tubing is a superb method for any of these small models, and a method I use on my own designs.

The motor is a bit tricky to fit into the nose section. In future builds of Stevens Aero kits, I believe that I will epoxy the motor in the nose mount prior to gluing the cowl rings in place. Following this method I will be assured the motor is securely glued in place with the correct right thrust and that the gear clears the interior of the cowl.

All in all, the Carte Postale is a well thought out kit with a comprehensive set of plans, building instructions and photo illustrated construction guide. This is my fourth Stevens Aero indoor flyer built to date, and I look forward to completing other building projects from SA. They are wonderful additions to your flying fleet.

Front top view of the Carte Postale

Front top view of the Carte Postale

 

Top view showing large wing chord of the Carte Postale

Top view showing large wing chord of the Carte Postale