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mercsim

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The photos posted by MaxQ of the UHS Shuttle over in the nose cone thread came from my website. I’m glad he posted them. We have listened to stories about our project for 15 years now and no matter where one originates, there is always disbelief or misleading “opinions” about what we built and flew. Maybe its time to set some things straight…

I’m sorry George finds it “incredulous” now but you said the same thing we when called you 15 years ago to ask for help. You said it was impossible to make the model fly without the fins. “ Many years ago I would have said that was not even possible. But a high School Group in Florida got one to fly without fins.” You also said some other things I won’t repeat here.
The Sport Rocketry article was thrown together in a matter of hours by one of the team members without the benefit of being proofed by the others. That said, it was a good article and was very informative. In Engineering talk, its static stability not aerodynamic stability and we usually describe flight through “stability and control”.

“1. The shuttle stack is designed so most of the weight is located toward the nose of the vehicle”. This made the model stable with a positive static margin negating the use of additional fins.
“2. The aero-surfaces of the orbiter can be used to make corrections as required during ascent. The orbiter's aero-surfaces also allow the shuttle stack to be maneuvered during its rocket powered flight.” Read the words. The sentence’s are a little redundant but only address control. It was not implied that this made up for a lack of stability. This merely satisfied the second part of our controlled flight, stability and control…The article was written by an Electrical Engineer but he understood the basics enough to include the important information.

The CG was right to make it stable. The control was required to keep it from ‘looping’ off the rod, which could be mistaken for an instability. George does a good job describing the CG’s of the components and the stack. However, this is for a static condition. As soon as the stack starts flying, aerodynamic forces will affect the vehicle. We don’t notice this on axisymetric rockets but it starts to show up on boost gliders and really shows up on a vehicle such as the shuttle. Its trim, especially in the pitch axis, will change with speed.
“I find a bit of it incredulous now. The 250 foot altitude thing, I think that was trying to paint the best face on somewhat under-performance.” There was NO lack of performance. We flew 31 successful rocket test flights at the High school in a very cramped area. The motor selection was the ideal one for the location, audience, variable weather conditions, etc. I can’t believe the “Shuttle Expert” forgot what the specs were. I can’t believe the “Shuttle Expert” didn’t keep that magazine article. It was detailed and informative. It was the cover article for a major rocket magazine, it ran on CNN news all day, was a headline story for the largest Orlando newspaper, and Bob Crippen pushed the button. Come on….

To refresh everyone else’s memory, the stack weighed around 6-7 lbs depending on which version and what equipment was on that particular flight. It was flown on G, H, and I motors. We built and flew 3 different stacks. The press flights used the Aerotech H70 single use motor. We had flown it higher but liked the lower flights. It could have gone 300-400 feet on the H motor but we always flew a profile to mimic a shuttle flight and keep the model in a confined area.

The thrust line was not at the vehicle CG so it needed to be flow ‘up’ to keep it on track. I started off with lots of elevator to keep it straight off the rod and tapered it off as the speed bled off. I rolled 180 degrees as soon as we cleared the tower and then pitched the model onto its back. The roll trim was dependent on speed (construction trim) so it also changed during the flight. It just needed to be flown! We wanted the burnout to happen around 30-45 degrees nose up from the horizon and inverted. The stack slowed quickly once it burned out and things happened fast. I always placed the stack exactly where we wanted it in the sky based on winds so I could perform one turn between 180 and 360 degrees and then land in front of the crowd next to the pad. This also worked well for the 2 successful flights I made at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center surrounded by 10,000 people. Yes, I did fly it surrounded (completely) by 10,000 people (according to the Disney numbers).

George has done a great job promoting our hobby through Space Shuttle Model rocketry. He is an excellent modeler. And he is just that, a modeler. He always points out flaws in others work and compares it to his own. He always questions why anyone would want to do it different than him. I have seen this trait in many great scale modelers. Its interesting that a large percentage of scale modelers spend too much time building and not enough learning how to fly. I won’t fault George for this. He is after all, an excellent scale modeler.

He has always made flying an orbiter out to be some big complicated thing. I have probably let hundreds of airplane modelers fly one of my orbiters from an airplane. I usually take two to any local fun fly and pass the transmitter around. I think there is 20 or 30 modelers that can say they have flown an RC space shuttle inside the Cardinals football stadium (EFExpo). We always make the pilot do 3 flights so they are ‘current’. We just use elevons mixed in the radio and people are amazed how simple it really is and how easy it is to fly. Everyone has a great time and laughs a lot. I have taught hundreds of people to fly R/C. I am always happy to help with whatever R/C project someone is working on and am glad to help with flying lessons anytime. No model required. I have plenty for you to fly….

I have initiated contact with Sport Rocketry magazine to see if I can post the original article. I will also post some personal photos and I will try to get a video up. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I was responsible for building and flying the model and know more about it than anyone else. The entire project was done in a matter of a few weeks by lots of hard work from students and some great volunteers. The model now hangs in my living room.

Scott Todd
 
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ben_ullman

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Just a note of clarrification, this was flown on one motor in the ET right? Not a cluster of anything? Just wondering for informational purpose. And MaxQ showed me the Sprocketry article. he is getting me the copy to read. Sounds interesting!

Ben
 

georgegassaway

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For those TRF readers who wonder where the heck this came from, see this thread in its entirety:

http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?t=7318

Scott, I moved last year and my magazine collection is in disarray (you did not even say the month/year of the issue).

Sorry to disappoint you that I do not have burned into memory every detail of that shuttle and all the other shuttle models everybody else has done thru the years. I tried Googling for info but no direct hits for "florida university high school shuttle".

I do not recall, was the Boost CG shown in a Drawing in the article?

Please post a drawing with the boost CG, here.

If a person were to build one with that CG and thrustlines and such, would a Free Flight one fly safely, or does it need a pilot to control the boost by R/C?

And thanks for letting me know that when I have tried to help people, that ultimately it will come back to bite one in the posterior.

So, I never told you that a shuttle it would have to at least have a heck of a forward CG to fly finless? I would have thought I would have said that, but I guess if I did indeed, I get no credit for ANY advice I gave that DID help, because some of the advice was not what you wanted to hear.

Apparently my greatest fault was never having built a finless shuttle before, in which case why did you even contact me then?

Maybe you should have contacted Rob Justis, who is a better scale builder than me. He entered a shuttle (1/100 IIRC) at the 1983 WSMC. No fins. Do you know what happened? Well, you ought to know, coverage of the 1983 WSMC was in an issue of the NAR’s magazine (probably early 1984, magazine was named American Spacemodeling at the time). Well, you expect me to remember every detail of someone else’s shuttle model, so I’m returning the favor.

Should you not remember, or not have the issue, his was... FINLESS.

And it went - UNSTABLE.

I do not recall if I mentioned Rob Justis’ model to you or not when you contacted me. Of course, Rob’s model had another couple of issues in trying to fly, but you would probably consider that pointing out “flaws” if I said what those were.

I never tried to make a 1/72 Monogram Plastic Model orbiter glide by R/C either, but thru the years I got contacted by at least three people who just insisted they COULD get a plastic orbiter that heavy to glide, with R/C. I kept asking those guys to let me know if it ever worked. I presumed they never did since I never heard back (and this was typical of the other people who contacted me for advice over the years too, I never heard back from them either way). But, hey, maybe one of them succeeded and like you is lurking out there to chew me a new one for NOT trying to be his personal cheerleader to encourage him to use that plastic model as an R/C gliding orbiter.

Apparently I am not enough of a cheerleader for high-risk shuttle projects that for 90% of people are going to fail because they are in over their heads and/or do not understand all of the issues involved.

Tell you what Scott, since you volunteered to stick your foot into this. Please take over giving Ben Ullman advice for his shuttle. He wants to do it finless, as well as with many big motors in the back, and build it really heavy as with a typical HPR rocket. So now the stability of his whole shuttle project is yours to advise on since I’m not good enough to advise people in doing shuttle models as you are.

After all, 100% of your posts on TRF are positive, right? Oh, look this thread you started which takes personal shots at me is the only time you have ever posted on TRF, seeing your post count is 1 as I reply to this (OK, so there is one reason to keep post counts...).

Ben, Scott’ is “your guy” from here on out on advising on how to get your massive HPR shuttle model to work. He knows how to get a finless shuttle to fly, and obviously he will not discourage you from making your shuttle as heavy as you want and using any engine set-up you want.

- George Gassaway
 
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jadebox

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Just a note of clarrification, this was flown on one motor in the ET right? Not a cluster of anything? Just wondering for informational purpose. And MaxQ showed me the Sprocketry article. he is getting me the copy to read. Sounds interesting!
They had motors in the SRBs just for effect, but it really used just the main motor in the ET.

Shortly after moving to Orlando, I picked up the rocketry magazine that had the UHS shuttle on the cover. After realizing that the school where it was built was just around the corner, I called the school and ended up being invited to visit with the teacher, Rob Catto.

He showed me some parts of the shuttle which were very impressive. It was made using construction techniques more like an RC airplane - a balsa framework covered with tissue and dope. I held one of the SRBs which weighed just a few ounces.

I volunteered any help I could give to the teacher and his classes, but, at the time, the largest motor I'd ever flown was an Estes D12-3. :)

-- Roger
 
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JRThro

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It may be worth noting that George didn't even remember the specifics of all of his *own* shuttle models, so it's not surprising that he doesn't remember the specifics of someone else's model.

Ask me what I worked on a year ago, or two, or fifteen, or twenty, either in model rocketry or at my actual job, and I won't be able to tell you. Ask me questions about a specific project, and I'll probably remember working on it, and I might even remember details. So I have no problem with anyone not remembering things in detail. Having the documentation more than makes up for an imperfect memory, and George clearly has the documentation and is willing to share it.

Personally, I appreciate all of the clarifications that both George and mercsim have posted, since the facts of what flew and how it worked are what I'm interested in.
 

mercsim

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Relax George. How many times did I mention you are an excellent modeler? I may be biased but your entire response supports the "my way or no way" postulate I stated. I volunteered to stick my foot in it to defend my project. I just want people to know he facts surrounding the shuttles I have flown.

I don't expect you to remember every detail about every shuttle model built but you should get your facts straight before you start bashing someone else's work. You did remember the details around another shuttle flown in 1983...I'll get the article posted as soon as I get a response from Sport Rocketry. I would also be willing to e-mail it directly to someone. It was Oct '94.

Having not built a finless shuttle is not a fault. However, you were brash and quite firm that if we didn't follow your advice exactly, it wouldn't work. Your advice was to add fins. You really were not interested in offering any other advice. We asked if you could provide any drawings and your response was basically whats the point if your not going to add fins and do it my way". Please take it as constructive criticism and nothing else.

I won't banter back and forth but I have been approached by many people about many projects in the past. When approached about something like the plastic shuttle, I think a more friendly response be:

Sure I'll help. I'll give you an estimate of where the CG should be and what the control throws should be. Then I would ask if they have experience landing a 20 inch model airplane at 60 MPH. If so, then they might have some luck converting that plastic shuttle. It seems a little more friendly than just saying "It won't work!" Again, just constructive criticism...

Enough of that! George is a valuable asset to Space Modeling. I wish I could spend a weekend flying with him but we live on different sides of the country. Maybe its a good excuse to visit Alabama! But how do I drag all my toys there...Dang...Wait, I am an organizer of the large indoor model airplane event that takes place in the Cardinals football stadium each March. Maybe I can talk George into coming out as my guest. If you cover transportation, I'll pick up the Hotel by the stadium for a few nights. Its an Invite! You'll have a blast! (No pun intended)

In support of George's ideas, I think it would be difficult to get a finless one to fly without control. George points out how complicated the CG thing is. When you add in any minor (however small) discrepencies and then vary the speed of the model, the trim is bound to be a change. I suppose if you could get it up to speed before it leaves the rod, it may stay straight for a while. We built 3 or 4 Estes shuttles and monkeyed with the CG until it flew fairly straight off the rod without the fins. This was our starting point for the 1/40 scale.

We used one motor in the ET. There are some thinned down drawings on my website. Try

http://www.spacecraftreplicas.com/Plans/index.html

Google won't turn up anything. No one really ever took the time to post anything but I keep meaning to. I'll get on it. Ben, as George keeps pointing out, WEIGHT IS EVERYTHING. Did I mention that the 1/40 scale model weighed around 6 pounds. That was ready to fly with 2 complete R/C set-ups using 6 full size servos. Orbiter had Receiver, 500 mah battery, and three servos. ET had exactly the same equipment. Servos drove SRB release and micro switches for parachute ejection.

George keep up the good work! its only my intention to clarify points about my shuttles.

Scott Todd
 

mercsim

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Forgot to answer one of George's questions about our CG. We had glide tested the orbiter many times (by many pilots) and knew where that was. Our wings were slightly oversize so the CG could be slightly different than George's. We were not looking for the scale points in a contest.

For the stack, we just built it. We planned the equipment at the top of course. When it was done, we built a plug for the motor tube and hung the entire stack from the motor plug. Then we just re-arranged equipment to get the CG exactly through the thrust line. The Heavy R/C gear in the nose did the trick. We got away without any ballast. We built a simple balance fixture to get the 'lateral' or fore and aft CG where we wanted it based on calculations and the Estes trials. Iterating between the twoo balance methods got us where we wanted. Then we tweaked it during the first dozen or so rocket flights to get the best performance. Hope that helps...

Scott Todd
 

georgegassaway

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Forgot to answer one of George's questions about our CG. We had glide tested the orbiter many times (by many pilots) and knew where that was. Our wings were slightly oversize so the CG could be slightly different than George's. We were not looking for the scale points in a contest.

For the stack, we just built it. We planned the equipment at the top of course. When it was done, we built a plug for the motor tube and hung the entire stack from the motor plug. Then we just re-arranged equipment to get the CG exactly through the thrust line. The Heavy R/C gear in the nose did the trick. We got away without any ballast. We built a simple balance fixture to get the 'lateral' or fore and aft CG where we wanted it based on calculations and the Estes trials. Iterating between the twoo balance methods got us where we wanted. Then we tweaked it during the first dozen or so rocket flights to get the best performance.
So, no drawing showing the CG fore-aft location for making a finless shuttle fly? That is the biggest key to the whole thing, and you’re the only one to do this, and after getting on my case for suggesting it would not work, it surprises me that you didn’t post a CG drawing.

Do I read right that apparently you are saying that a finless shuttle cannot fly safely without a good R/C pilot to correct it on boost?

As you described it, the thrustline was apparently in-line with the 3-D CG laterally, so that ignoring random factors like wind and such, it should have lifted off without any pitch due to thrust, so only aerodynamics came into play.

When it took off, which way did it pitch such that the pilot had to make a correction in the opposite way? Were the elevons flat for liftoff and boost, other than as-needed for corrections, or up at liftoff as would be needed later for the glide?

If there a video of a flight on Youtube?

- George Gassaway
 

MaxQ

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The photos posted by MaxQ of the UHS Shuttle over in the nose cone thread came from my website. I’m glad he posted them. We have listened to stories about our project for 15 years now and no matter where one originates, there is always disbelief or misleading “opinions” about what we built and flew. Maybe its time to set some things straight…

I’m sorry George finds it “incredulous” now but you said the same thing we when called you 15 years ago to ask for help. You said it was impossible to make the model fly without the fins. “ Many years ago I would have said that was not even possible. But a high School Group in Florida got one to fly without fins.” You also said some other things I won’t repeat here.
The Sport Rocketry article was thrown together in a matter of hours by one of the team members without the benefit of being proofed by the others. That said, it was a good article and was very informative. In Engineering talk, its static stability not aerodynamic stability and we usually describe flight through “stability and control”.

“1. The shuttle stack is designed so most of the weight is located toward the nose of the vehicle”. This made the model stable with a positive static margin negating the use of additional fins.
“2. The aero-surfaces of the orbiter can be used to make corrections as required during ascent. The orbiter's aero-surfaces also allow the shuttle stack to be maneuvered during its rocket powered flight.” Read the words. The sentence’s are a little redundant but only address control. It was not implied that this made up for a lack of stability. This merely satisfied the second part of our controlled flight, stability and control…The article was written by an Electrical Engineer but he understood the basics enough to include the important information.

The CG was right to make it stable. The control was required to keep it from ‘looping’ off the rod, which could be mistaken for an instability. George does a good job describing the CG’s of the components and the stack. However, this is for a static condition. As soon as the stack starts flying, aerodynamic forces will affect the vehicle. We don’t notice this on axisymetric rockets but it starts to show up on boost gliders and really shows up on a vehicle such as the shuttle. Its trim, especially in the pitch axis, will change with speed.
“I find a bit of it incredulous now. The 250 foot altitude thing, I think that was trying to paint the best face on somewhat under-performance.” There was NO lack of performance. We flew 31 successful rocket test flights at the High school in a very cramped area. The motor selection was the ideal one for the location, audience, variable weather conditions, etc. I can’t believe the “Shuttle Expert” forgot what the specs were. I can’t believe the “Shuttle Expert” didn’t keep that magazine article. It was detailed and informative. It was the cover article for a major rocket magazine, it ran on CNN news all day, was a headline story for the largest Orlando newspaper, and Bob Crippen pushed the button. Come on….

To refresh everyone else’s memory, the stack weighed around 6-7 lbs depending on which version and what equipment was on that particular flight. It was flown on G, H, and I motors. We built and flew 3 different stacks. The press flights used the Aerotech H70 single use motor. We had flown it higher but liked the lower flights. It could have gone 300-400 feet on the H motor but we always flew a profile to mimic a shuttle flight and keep the model in a confined area.

The thrust line was not at the vehicle CG so it needed to be flow ‘up’ to keep it on track. I started off with lots of elevator to keep it straight off the rod and tapered it off as the speed bled off. I rolled 180 degrees as soon as we cleared the tower and then pitched the model onto its back. The roll trim was dependent on speed (construction trim) so it also changed during the flight. It just needed to be flown! We wanted the burnout to happen around 30-45 degrees nose up from the horizon and inverted. The stack slowed quickly once it burned out and things happened fast. I always placed the stack exactly where we wanted it in the sky based on winds so I could perform one turn between 180 and 360 degrees and then land in front of the crowd next to the pad. This also worked well for the 2 successful flights I made at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center surrounded by 10,000 people. Yes, I did fly it surrounded (completely) by 10,000 people (according to the Disney numbers).

George has done a great job promoting our hobby through Space Shuttle Model rocketry. He is an excellent modeler. And he is just that, a modeler. He always points out flaws in others work and compares it to his own. He always questions why anyone would want to do it different than him. I have seen this trait in many great scale modelers. Its interesting that a large percentage of scale modelers spend too much time building and not enough learning how to fly. I won’t fault George for this. He is after all, an excellent scale modeler.

He has always made flying an orbiter out to be some big complicated thing. I have probably let hundreds of airplane modelers fly one of my orbiters from an airplane. I usually take two to any local fun fly and pass the transmitter around. I think there is 20 or 30 modelers that can say they have flown an RC space shuttle inside the Cardinals football stadium (EFExpo). We always make the pilot do 3 flights so they are ‘current’. We just use elevons mixed in the radio and people are amazed how simple it really is and how easy it is to fly. Everyone has a great time and laughs a lot. I have taught hundreds of people to fly R/C. I am always happy to help with whatever R/C project someone is working on and am glad to help with flying lessons anytime. No model required. I have plenty for you to fly….

I have initiated contact with Sport Rocketry magazine to see if I can post the original article. I will also post some personal photos and I will try to get a video up. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I was responsible for building and flying the model and know more about it than anyone else. The entire project was done in a matter of a few weeks by lots of hard work from students and some great volunteers. The model now hangs in my living room.

Scott Todd
Scott:
good to speak with you again...(and thanks for not minding me posting the pictures...I was impressed with the project back then, and still am even to this day).
I have that old article and remember discussing with you the team project and even th epossibility of buying the kit and parts that your group had produced.
Any chance you still have any molds or parts? LOL
 
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ben_ullman

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Scott:
good to speak with you again...(and thanks for not minding me posting the pictures...I was impressed with the project back then, and still am even to this day).
I have that old article and remember discussing with you the team project and even buying the kit and parts that your group had produced.
If youd stop posting we wouldn't have all these max'ed out posts ;)

Ben
 

ben_ullman

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I thought we were done....guess not.


Now if only Andy Woerner would chime in, my life would be complete.
You better hope they double archive this stuff!!! Every scale shuttle made all in the scale section on TRF :roll:

Ben
 

mercsim

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MaxQ, I still have all the molds for the vacuum formed parts. I have made this deal with several people in the past....Come to my house and learn the process to make the orbiter plastic parts. Then learn the process to make the foam wing cores. They use 3 fixtures each to get them all correct. You can take all the parts home for free. This will take about 2 hours with the education part. Once you send me video of you successfully flying the orbiter, I'll send you the rest of the parts, for free...So you need to decide if it is worth a trip to the Grand Canyon, Scottsdale to go shopping, to Tuscon to visit the Pima Air and Space museum, and end up with $2 worth of free plastic and foam parts. LOL...It would be a good weekend trip. Advance plane tickets to Phoenix run about $300 R/T. Oh, while your here, we'll go out and fly some serious R/C stuff and let you fly one of my shuttles as much as you want.

Same deal holds for George. If someone planned it the weekend of the EFExpo, you'll get to go to the largest indoor R/C event in the country, as a VIP guest of course.

Other question...The current CG was given to the buyers of the kits (we gave the money to the High School program) Remember I said we moved it after every flight. I actually have no idea where it is. If someone was serious about flying one again, I would take mine off he ceiling, put all the junk back in it, and measure it. I found that everyone I sold one to wanted to modify in some way. I tried to take their modifications into account when helping them. Remember George, It wasn't contest scale. The four or five orbiters that were built were always slightly different than our for whatever reason. In fact, our three were all slightly different. We ran a slightly different CG for each one. Our static margin was VERY small. We could have increased it with ballast but didn't see the point. I recommended everyone move their CG forward 1/4-1/2 inch from ours. Again, these were always recommendations.

The only person that i knew of that ever tried to fly the full stack was Steve Eves (1/10 Saturn V Dude) He modified the crap out of it, put a larger motor in it, and had limited success. He always laughed about it and said he enjoyed the project but would stick to axisymetric rockets in the future.

I didn't say it wouldn't fly without help but it makes sense. What are the odds the CP doesn't change with speed and that the CG thrusts exactly through it? I think physics answers the question more than my pinion.

We tried to get the thrust line as close to the 3-D CG as possible. At liftoff, there was probably no tendancy to diverge. However, it was moving fast off the top of the rod (visible through the smoke). I don't remember exactly (15years) but it was something like 'leave the rod with about half down and transition to half up through the roll program.

Ignore the bragging here...Both of us that flew rockets flights were above average R/C pilots We competed in Pattern (precision aerobatics), Pylon Racing, Heli's, and what is now called 3-D. During shuttle work days, we would often entertain the spectator crowds (parents, press ,astronauts, teachers, NASA personel, etc) doing touch and go's off cars, having spot landing contests with shuttle orbiters, or seeing who would loop and roll their heli's closet to the ground. Flying the stack was never an issue with us. We just flew it...

The elevons were not 'up' for glide. They were in a normal trim position for a delta wing airplane. This is shown on the plans I linked to.

No video on Youtube that I know of. I have a ton of video on VHS I need to convert so I can share it

Scott Todd
 

ben_ullman

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The only person that i knew of that ever tried to fly the full stack was Steve Eves (1/10 Saturn V Dude) He modified the crap out of it, put a larger motor in it, and had limited success. He always laughed about it and said he enjoyed the project but would stick to axisymetric rockets in the future.

Scott Todd
Steve Eves? Steve Eves? I recognize that name.....hmmm.... oh yeah, he has his signiture on an N case :p

Anyways, sounds like all of you have done alot of research. I am soaking it all in and me and MaxQ will come out with an awesome shuttle! Or another one of my projects will make a rockets magazine centerfold :p

Ben
 
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MaxQ

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Steve Eves? Steve Eves? I recognize that name.....hmmm.... oh yeah, he has his signiture on an N case :p

Anyways, sounds like all of you have done alot of research. I am soaking it all in and me and MaxQ will come out with an awesome shuttle! Or another one of my projects will make a rockets magazine centerfold :p

Ben
<oh yeah, he has his signiture on an N case>


Weeeellllll...a slightly shorter N case...
 

georgegassaway

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Other question...The current CG was given to the buyers of the kits (we gave the money to the High School program) Remember I said we moved it after every flight. I actually have no idea where it is. If someone was serious about flying one again, I would take mine off he ceiling, put all the junk back in it, and measure it. I found that everyone I sold one to wanted to modify in some way. I tried to take their modifications into account when helping them. Remember George, It wasn't contest scale.
I’ve made some orbiters with oversized wings to help them glide better. Indeed only the “serious” boilerplates had scale-size wing areas and I only built one model for contest purposes in 1999 when everything finally all came together . In theory the 1984 boilerplate which did not sep SRB’s was sufficient for doing a NARAM scale model, but my scale skills were not up to the task. Well, actually the weight limit also got in the way, it was barely possible for that bare-nekkid 1984 boilerplate to make it under the 453 gram weight limit that existed back then (before “Large Model Rockets” and the 1500 gram weight limit came along).

In any case, even knowing where the CG was on your finless shuttle would be notable regardless of whether the wing area was oversized or not.

The elevons were not 'up' for glide. They were in a normal trim position for a delta wing airplane. This is shown on the plans I linked to.
Well, this may be why it needed pilot control for “stability”, then. A standard method for flying R/C Rocket Boosted Gliders is to have the elevator set for zero pitch on boost, which in this case would be elevons flat for boost (if the airfoil is reflexed as for example Luther Hux’s orbiter plans, then take out the correct amount of reflex for boost and restore it for glide by elevon trim). Then for glide, change the trim for some “up trim” for glide. Otherwise if the elevons (or elevator) is up for liftoff, the model will want to pitch nose-up on boost. That is not “my way”, that is the way that lots of people do their R/C RBG’s, like Bob Parks, Phil Barnes, and so on. Yes, it can be done any way that does not crash, but any other way is doing it the hard way, and the riskier way.

- George Gassaway
 

MaxQ

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MaxQ, I still have all the molds for the vacuum formed parts. I have made this deal with several people in the past....Come to my house and learn the process to make the orbiter plastic parts. Then learn the process to make the foam wing cores. They use 3 fixtures each to get them all correct. You can take all the parts home for free. This will take about 2 hours with the education part. Once you send me video of you successfully flying the orbiter, I'll send you the rest of the parts, for free...So you need to decide if it is worth a trip to the Grand Canyon, Scottsdale to go shopping, to Tuscon to visit the Pima Air and Space museum, and end up with $2 worth of free plastic and foam parts. LOL...It would be a good weekend trip.

Scott Todd

Thanks for the invite Scott...LOVE to do it.

Right now I have a number of home and family issues to deal with...I have an elderly mother with vision problems and dementia that I need to transition to an assisted living facility, and if that wasn't enough, last night a domestic water line broke outside my foundation wall - flooding my basement...

Just now finished getting the 6 inches of water pumped out of the basement after calling 911 at 1:00AM and having the Fire Dept. shut off the main valve in the street...

City couldn't get here - apparently had other flooding issues to deal with after the heavy rains.

So........ I won't be doing much hobby activity for awhile.....
 
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ben_ullman

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Thanks for the invite Scott...LOVE to do it.

Right now I have a number of home and family issues to deal with...I have an elderly mother with vision problems and dementia that I need to transition to an assisted living facility, and if that wasn't enough, last night a domestic water line broke outside my foundation wall - flooding my basement...

Just now finished getting the 6 inches of water pumped out of the basement after calling 911 at 1:00AM and having the Fire Dept. shut off the main valve in the street...

City couldn't get here - apparently had other flooding issues to deal with after the heavy rains.

So........ I won't be doing much hobby activity for awhile.....

Let me know if you need some help or hobby stuff stored here.

Ben
 

lw_hughes

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Hello, i have converted my estes shuttle to RC using the vapor brick and a 10mah lipoly cell. Test glides have gone well but im wondering if anyone has tried to control a shuttle with rudder and elevator instead of elevons. I have another estes shuttle converted to powered flight and elevons are too sensitive in roll but not effective enough in pitch. Playing with rates and travels hasnted helped. Ive also thought about elevator and a single tip aileron for roll control. Any insight is welcome. Ive heard that in deltas rudder acts like fin on a rocket and works more like a vertical aileron thus causing a roll in the oppposite direction desired by rudder input? I guess some test glides across the living room my answer this.
 

MaxQ

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Hello, i have converted my estes shuttle to RC using the vapor brick and a 10mah lipoly cell. Test glides have gone well but im wondering if anyone has tried to control a shuttle with rudder and elevator instead of elevons. I have another estes shuttle converted to powered flight and elevons are too sensitive in roll but not effective enough in pitch. Playing with rates and travels hasnted helped. Ive also thought about elevator and a single tip aileron for roll control. Any insight is welcome. Ive heard that in deltas rudder acts like fin on a rocket and works more like a vertical aileron thus causing a roll in the oppposite direction desired by rudder input? I guess some test glides across the living room my answer this.
Exactly what George was saying earlier.
See the thread....
 

georgegassaway

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For rudder-elevator control of an orbiter, see message #110 in this thread:

http://www.rocketryforum.com/showpost.php?p=62548&postcount=110

One thing I left out was that when I flew my first piggyback R/C orbiter in 1982, with the mixed elevons, that when I went to bank it to turn a bit for the first time.... it did a 360 degree roll during glide. I was totally unable to control it and let it glide free-flight (roll anyway) the rest of the way down. I reduced the throws to be very little in roll (like about 1/32&#8221; each way) but was always very sensitive in roll until I made the change to the half-rudder (making way easier to "steer") and made the elevons elevator only.

For the lower rudder throw , 30 degrees each way is a good starting point. Depending on how the bird responds you might want to give it more throw, or give it less. Maybe low rates (15-20 deg.) for flight 1 & go to higher rates if low rate is too sluggish.

The way it works is like this. The sweepback of the leading edges, plus another phenomena of very high rudders (and the fuselage too in this case), causes the orbiter to have a very significant natural built in dihedral effect, even though the wing is flat. When the rudder deflects to one side, it first makes the orbiter yaw in a side slip, and then the dihedral effect acts with the sideslip to make it roll gently into the turn much like any &#8220;normal&#8221; R/C model with dihedral does when rudder is applied.

- George Gassaway
 
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lw_hughes

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Thats interesting, my little shuttle is...well "little" and high power/highwing loading. I could control it with half size inboard elevons but was a handful. Ill try the split rudder and see how that goes. Thanks
 

lw_hughes

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Did a few days flying with the split rudder, it sure was exciting as banks take forever to turn out of and pitch angle sure does effect turning. I have experimented with a single small tip aileron, seems to work good. So now i have a a pretty large moving elevator with a small tip aileron on just one side, good results and prevents all the hassle of elevon mixing.
 

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"...prevents all the hassle of elevon mixing."


Not that it has to be done my way, but if you go to any local model airplane field, an average modeler will show you how to set up those elevons in about 30 seconds. I like people trying unique solutions to unique problems but this is far from that. Thousands of modelers fly airplanes with elevons every week. The model that revolutionized electric airplanes was called a Zagi and it used elevons. Many companies came out with elevon mixers so you could use an old style radio. Some people that still insist on using old equipment still use them. I have a few lying around and would be glad to send one to a modeler in need (see photo).

Here is also a photo of one of the dozens of shuttle models I have flown through the years. Its one of the little Guillows gliders that I converted years ago. It has probably been flown by 30 different people for well over 200 flights.

Its pretty simple. One servo to each side and your done! The aileron travel is usually about half the elevator on Deltas. On this one, I have ailerons at 80% with 50% expo. Elevator is 100% with no expo. The total throw is about the thickness of the elevon trailing edge or 3/16 (roughly).

I hope this helps. Don't shy away from what the rest of the wold has perfected. It really does work well...

Scott

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Wow! That was easy posting the photos. I thought I would add a few more. This might not be the right forum but at least one of them is rocket powered and they are all models of a rocket. Hopefully George won't freak out because of my lack of scale detail....

The first one is the 1/40 scale model that was on the cover of the Oct '94 of Sport Rocketry.

The second one is a 1:45 I did in 1989. It flew off the back of a .60 size trainer. It has retracts and on its last flight (in about 1990) a friend had a hard landing and knocked one of the main gear loose. I thought I would get around to fixing it one day but that day hasn't come...It is all balsa. Sheeted wings, carved blocks, and monokoted.

The third one I did about 6 years ago when electric ducted fans (GWS) were just coming around. I call it cartoon scale. The 747 is roughly 57 inches long and the orbiter is 25. The orbiter has retracts.

The last one is REALLY cartoon scale. Its a blast to fly and the 747 probably has 200 flights. The orbiter is another of the Guillows gliders (different than the one above but same set-up). I always take two in case we prang one but we have never broken one that couldn't be fixed in a few minutes.

I'm glad to answer any further question. Even though they may not be appropriate here, hopefully they are entertaining photos...

Scott

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Re elevon mixing. Sorry yes ive had tons of models with elevons over the years. I guess i was meaning in the application of what im doing now. Im using the parkzone brick and a dx6i. The elevon features give you less travel and you have to mount the brick in a certain orientation of have your pushrods cross. I guess my main case is that these models of mine are so small that even with full expo and EPA i found model was pretty twitcy. Also less issues fighting for perfect center return. I had a micro f-104 where i learned the trick of a single tip aileron. For these micro shuttles i just want precision control instead of response or aerobatics. I was using elevons with just inboard surfaces moving ( outboard for permament trim) but i found she was still way too sensitive on roll and marginal authority for pitch control.
 

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What size is your model? The Guillows glider is 12 inches long with about a 10 inch wingspan. It flys at 1.5 oz. Several people with basic trainer experience have flown it with little trouble so it surprises me you can't get the control authority you want.

I'll grab a parkzone brick and a DX6i tomorrow and see what it takes to get the mixing right. If yours is significantly smaller, I'll scratch one together real quick to check out the flying qualities.

So I think you are trying to fly an Estes Shuttle. I also saw you are hand tossing it. I find it hard to toss one of the Guillows and really learn much. It takes a descent flight to get the trims right and get a feel for flying it. Someone tossing it off a roof might be better but there is nothing like flying it off an airplane.

I have an Estes shuttle kit I will start on tommorow and get a brick in and fly it. I'll borrow a 6i to do the set-up on. (I have a DX7 and 9303) I'll report back ASAP with some photos...Any chance of some photos of yours?

Scott
 
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lw_hughes

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yes its the small plastic estes shuttle ( i think its 7 inch span) remade with a depron wings and other depron parts. Its powered by 2x6mm motors in parallel off a pixie7 using a 2 series cell 120mah pack. Ive been doing this lots and have a pile of micro elevon jets. Ive heard the x7 is far better as far as elevons go, as in more travel and better mixing. Main problem is you cant reverse the channels in elevon mode. I have two of these shuttles now, one is all depron and weighs in at 24 grams, also a slightly hacked original shuttle that is over 30 grams and a real leadsled. For the lighter shuttle the power set up gives near vertical climb performance so the hand launching isnt an issue. My next step is to use scale wing area as i think it will work. I can save a few grams here and there. Im planing to make a pure scale shuttle for the estes stack. All in all its nice to see these micro shuttles up as a speck, very long realistic nose high landings too.

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