Monday, June 11, 2012

Godfrey Extra 300

Whoa! I'm back! Wow, has it been almost two months since I updated this thing? Dang. Well, if you've been wondering where I've been, I haven't gone anywhere, however I have been completing a new project: A Godfrey 27% Extra 300, with an electric motor. This plane is the third best plane I've ever flown (only because the Godfrey 40% Extra and the Godfrey 35% Laser beat it), and it's completely awesome! Incredibly neutral, this plane flies like I would expect any other Godfrey aircraft to fly: smooth, neutral, and true. Even for an airframe that has been around for years, it's still holding true and still flies like a dream, and I still find myself correcting when I don't need to. Now I see why the saying back in the days of the TOC was "Go Godfrey or Go Home."

Powered by the Hacker Q80-7M with a Castle ICE-2 160 HV ESC, it has insane power. The Mejzlik 24x10TH Carbon Fiber propeller spins up past 6500 RPMs and pulls over 32 pounds of static thrust with a fish scale, i.e. this power combo is a MONSTER! The 160 Amp ESC is a little bit overkill because the system only pulls almost 120 amps on the ground, but being the first time we ever set up an electric aircraft this big, we figured it may be good to provide a little headroom on the first try.

At the moment, we're using two Sky LiPo 5S 5000mAh packs in series for a power setup that peaks at 42 volts. We also have some Venom 5S 5000mAh packs I'm excited to try as well. I'll report back with the results of those packs. On all our batteries we're using 6.5mm bullet connectors to handle the high volt and amp draws, and we made sure to cut one battery lead shorter than the other to prevent shorting it out. Also, as a preventative measure during non-use, we bought a box of  "carburetor caps" from the LHS, and a certain size fits right over the female bullet connector nice and snug. If anything, it makes me feel better about wrapping them up and putting them into a box with a half dozen more.

The Extra is guided by JR DSM2 technology from an X9303 transmitter... yeah, I haven't gotten the upgrade to the 9503 yet, but this works fine for now. Also, on the other end we have an AR9100 Spektrum 9 channel receiver with three satellites. It's powered by two 2300mAh A123 batteries from Wrong Way RC, providing enough juice for a safe hour of flight time, the ability to charge extremely fast thanks to the A123 nano-phosphate technology, and battery redundancy thanks to the AR9100's dual battery ports just in case one should decide to go bleh mid-flight.

For the video, it's not that great. This was the second flight I had with the plane and power system, so I'm still feeling it out... plus the gusty 20+ mph crosswind wasn't doing me any favors. My dad's still getting used to the camera (I had to mute his complaining about not seeing it in the LCD screen) but he did okay. I'm thankful he has the patience and generosity to aim the dang thing at the plane for 6 minutes at a time... just bear with him for the first 30 seconds or so, it eventually smooths out.

So, dim the lights, cue the music, and... Enjoy!

--Tom K.

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