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Written by Barry Yarkon
Light weight, nimble and yet gentle, this Advanced Trainer is definitely not your boxy airplane so common to this class.

This is the second review that I have been privileged to write for Sport Aviator ModelAviation.com.

The first, a review of the Thunder Tiger Trainer 40 OBL ARF , was a joint project with Richard Landis. This airplane proved to be an excellent “first airplane” as it was a high-wing, basic trainer suitable for a beginner like myself to learn to fly radio-control.

In my case, it was a step back from earlier unproductive attempts to learn how to fly radio control. A quick read of the first six paragraphs of that review explains those missteps to be avoided. Since that review, I have added 3-inch wheels all around, switched to 4S 3300mAh Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) flight batteries, and upgraded the Electronic Speed Control (ESC) to a Castle Creations 60A unit.

The goal of this review of the Shulman Aviation Super Cessna is to examine Shulman Aviation’s assertion that this advanced trainer aircraft, with its symmetrical airfoil can be a good second airplane for a pilot like myself who has only newly learned flight skills and less than one flying season of “stick time”. The Super Cessna can be built using either a 40-size two-stoke glow engine of electric power. My version will use electrons instead of glow fuel.

As before, I will assemble the Super Cessna with some supervision and report on my assembly experience. Dan Landis, a fellow member of the Rockland County Radio Control Club, volunteered to maiden the Super Cessna.

Dan will test the claim that it is a fully capable intermediate aerobatic design in the hands of an advanced pilot. Dan ranked among the top ten US Precision Aerobatic pilots at the US National Championships (NATS) this year. The NATS are held at the Academy of Model Aeronautics headquarters in Muncie IN.

Then I will fly the now-trimmed Super Cessna as an advanced trainer and we’ll see if it really is tame enough for a new pilot to fly. Remember that this aircraft does not have modifications or devices such as air brakes, wing droops or a pilot assist system. This could get very interesting!

THE PRODUCT

I learned that the Super Cessna is a recent addition to Shulman Aviation’s growing product line. According to Don Shulman, it has been available to the public for about a year; since November 2008.

 

Photo 1

 

Photo 2

I received this Super Cessna in a 33” x 10” x 7” box marked “Red.” The covering scheme is an attractive: red, black and aluminum over white color scheme. The same white airplane is also available in a blue, black and aluminum trim. The pre-built components were neatly packaged in plastic sleeves layered with each sleeve taped to the box sides at three places. Even the preformed, painted cowl had a cardboard spacer in the open end to prevent deformation during transit.

Photo 3

I gently excavated the vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizer and elevator.

 

Photo 4

 

Photo 4a

 

Photo 5

Then, the left and right wing halves, fuselage, pushrods and landing gear appeared.

 

Photo 6

 

Photo 7

The miscellaneous hardware and accessories bags were packed in their own partitions to protect the finished parts. There is a lot of hardware in this airplane kit and all of it was useable.

 

Photo 8

 

Photo 8a

Another bag contained the fuel tank and components for glow power systems; I put these aside as this was going to be an electric powered airplane. The decals were in a plastic sleeve and others come with the Fury ESC. There was no Assembly Manual included in this box, which sometimes happens in early prototypes sent to reviewers. (Ed Note: Actually, I had forgotten to send it along with the kit. Sorry about that!)

 

Photo 9

 

Photo 9a

The balsa and plywood components are laser cut with reinforced hard points Photos 9 and 9a show peeks into the fuselage interior with ample servo and flight battery (or fuel tank) trays. Throttle and nose wheel steering control rod tubes were pre-installed in the fuselage. Although there is a full complement of hardware, I would have liked a parts diagram with parts count and sizes to check off. (Ed. Note: That checklist was in the original manual that I still had.)

 

Photo 10

 

Photo 11

The Assembly Manual shows photos of both a glow and an electrified version. I chose to assemble this aircraft as an electrified version of the Super Cessna using Shulman Aviation’s recommended components (shown in Photos 10 – 12): The motor is a FURY 41/50-570 Brushless Outrunner [SA-40-14S], and the ESC is a FURY-55 SBEC Brushless Motor Controller with Battery Eliminator Circuitry (BEC).

Photo 12

A Thunder Power RC 14.8V Pro Power 30C 4S 3300mAh LiPo flight battery [TP-3300 4SP30] was also provided (Photo 12). The “30C” refers to the batteries ability to safely discharge or take a charge. It means that this battery is able to continuously deliver 30 times its 3.3 Amp capacity or about 90 Amps. This is really a measure of a battery’s internal resistance; the lower the resistance (higher C rating) the more efficiently it can discharge its energy.

There are duplicated hard points on both sides of the fuselage that would house a power-off safety switch. I preferred to install a homemade high-current arming switch on this electrified version for extra safety. I also do not charge the Li-Po flight batteries while in the airplane. The cut-off was soldered up using 12-gauge stranded wire and Dean’s connectors then mounted in the starboard fuselage hard-point. More about this later.

ORIGIN OF THE DESIGN

The origin of Ron Parchment’s design for the Super Cessna is an interesting story that goes back a number of years. Regardless of whose recollection I heard, this is an aircraft with an impressive pedigree. Ron Parchment is a commercial pilot and a dedicated RC flyer. He told me that he has been flying full-scale aircraft since the age of 17. Ron learned to fly at Embry-Riddle flight school and has flown many types of full-scale aircraft in his career; from float and hulled seaplanes to corporate aircraft and Airbus 300s and 320s.

The Super Cessna’s airfoil came out of Ron’s earlier collaboration with Tom Stryker (an air traffic controller and an Aeromodeling hobbyist) on the design of the Wild Thing, a late 1980’s radio-control combat airplane. I learned that Ron and Tom wrote part of the rules for R/C Combat competition. The Wild Thing had a unique airfoil with a high point unusually far forward of the CG point. It possessed excellent flight characteristics.

Photo 13

In the mid-90s Ron set out to design a “second airplane,” one for intermediate pilots, based on the full-scale Cessna Cardinal. The Cessna 177 Cardinal is a light, high-wing general aviation aircraft that was intended to replace Cessna's 172 Skyhawk. First announced in 1967, the Cardinal was produced from 1968 to 1978. See Photo 13.

Ron built a prototype for himself powered by an OS .32 that used a pull-pull rudder control system. The Cessna was responsive, not twitchy, and everyone who watched Ron fly the airplane asked to try it – and they enjoyed hot dogging it around in the sky.

For advanced pilots, Ron’s “Cessna” could fly fast and do 3D maneuvers, touch-and-goes on paved runways, loops, rolls, rolling circles, you name it. According to Ron it was widely versatile – he now flies a Shulman Aviation Super Cessna powered by a Saito .30 4-stroke engine.

When David Shulman saw how Ron’s Cessna fly, he wanted one. According to Ron, after David’s persistent “I’ve got to have one” banter, he gifted David with his personal airplane a couple of years ago. David Shulman is a talented RC pilot who fully appreciated Ron’s design. About two years ago the Super Cessna product idea was born: a dual-personality aircraft. A high-wing ARF trainer that was low cost and “gentle as a pussy cat” to fly but could become a fantastic flying machine in the hands of a competent pilot. The idea was to be able to have fun with the Super Cessna and not worry about damaging it as you would with most expensive 3D-capable aircraft.

Photo 13A

With Ron’s blessing, Shulman Aviation reverse-engineered the Super Cessna prototype, refined it and added a similar-to-scale 3-color scheme and covering. [If you know the full-scale Cessna line very well, you may notice that the Shulman Aviation scheme itself is actually based on a T206H Cessna Stationair that Don Shulman photographed on the tarmac at the Cessna facility, Executive Airport, Orlando FL. See Photo 13a. The full-size Cessnas have wheel pants.]

As aero modelers, we can all appreciate the Shulman Family’s philosophy summed up in this statement from the manual: “We at Shulman Aviation hope that you enjoy your Super Cessna as much as we do. Please be safe when flying and always remember to have fun!” Will the Super Cessna ARF live up to its pedigree and dual personality, I wondered? Read on.

PRE-ASSEMBLY THOUGHTS

The Shulman Aviation Super Cessna is a highly pre-fabricated ARF (Almost-Ready-to-Fly) that is aimed at aero modelers who are focused on flying rather than spending their time building. There are only a few major components and systems to assemble. The Super Cessna can be set-up for either glow engines or an electric outrunner power system. Both the laser cut plywood electric motor mount box and the aileron servo bay are factory assembled and pre-drilled. The ailerons, rudder and elevators are pre-hinged and need only be mounted using thin CAA.

The most complex system for me is the pull-pull rudder control system. I’ve never assembled one before. This may become challenging.

Another challenge to me in this assembly was the need to upgrade from my existing 3S Li-Po flight batteries and equipment to 4S equipment. The “S” means how many of the individual 3.7 Volt battery cells are wired in series. A 3S battery pack would be rated at 11.1 Volts. The “4S” battery pack would be rated at 14.8 Volts.

On recommendation, I became an FMA Direct customer [www.fmadirect.com] for the first time when I placed an on-line order for their new Cellpro Multi4 Multi-Chemistry Charger [LC04S04A-MC]. I found it on FMA Direct’s “Specials” page and it included a choice of free adapter (value $9.95) for non-CellPro brand packs. I chose the Thunder Power/PolyQuest adapter [CP4S-TP/PQ4S] in order to be able to charge the Thunder Power flight battery.

I also signed up for FMA’s e-mail notices and, wouldn’t you know, several days later I received an e-mail offer extending N.E.A.T Show (a very large electric powered RC fly-in held each September in NY) pricing for the Multi4, which was less than I had just paid. Curious, I emailed FMA asking what they would be willing to do. I received a quick response with just the answer hobbyists like to hear: Yes, We routinely offer credits to customers that purchase sale items within two weeks prior to the sale announcement. Since no two specials can be combined your total credit will be....

Photo 14

My new charging system, shown in Photo 14, consists of a 14V DC power supply powering the FMA CellPro Multi4 with a TP/PQ adapter connected to the Thunder Power RC 14.8V Pro Power 30C 4S 3300mAh flight battery LiPo [TP-3300 4SP30]. I am very pleased with the Multi4’s ease of use and with all of the useful information it provides about the pack, the cells and the charge.

The adaptor uses the battery pack’s individual cell wiring (the small multi-plug connector) to monitor each of the 4 cells during the charging process. If one cell is charging faster than the others, a small electrical load is placed on that cell so that it does not overcharge. This is called “balanced” charging and is not only the safest charging system for Li-Po batteries but also allows the most capacity to be installed into the battery during each charging session.

ASSEMBLY NOTES

I should mention a word about the instructions before we get started. The Assembly Manual provided is a 13-page Word document with 43 photographs in color. On close inspection it appears to have been created from two early prototypes and shows the original color schemes of Red or Blue. Most of the photos show the Red prototype, which is the electric version. A few photos show the Blue version primarily for the glow engine mounting. The builder may spot a few minor differences, such as where the steering wheel pushrod is mounted.

There is no parts diagram for the hardware and no sizes are specified. It is left to the builder to select the appropriate parts from those supplied. For an experienced builder/flyer this is no problem, but for the less experienced builder who may have selected the Super Cessna as their second airplane, I would recommend that you read carefully through this manual before beginning the assembly. Rehearse in your mind and test fit before cutting or gluing anything. It would be advantageous to seek the assistance of a more experienced club member or visit www.amaflightschool.org

Let’s get started. You may want to go over any wrinkles or bubbles in the covering before beginning, or do so as you handle each major component. The covering requires a low heat setting on your covering iron. If you airplane to use a heat gun, keep the gun’s nozzle further away from the covering than usual; maybe about 8-10 inches.

Join the Wing Halves

 

Photo 15

 

Photo 16

Most Basic Trainers use flat-bottomed airfoils and dihedral. The Super Cessna is actually an advanced trainer that uses a fully symmetrical airfoil (photo 15) and no dihedral; the wing joining spar is straight, not ‘V’-shaped. The wing is joined with a straight hardwood spar and a peg. Trim off excess covering at each wing root to facilitate a good epoxy bond. Mark the center of the joiner spar (about 5-11/16”) (photo 16). Test fit and sand the joiner until it fits snuggly into each wing half.

 

Photo 17

 

Photo 18

Locate the pre-drilled wing bolt holes and remove the covering (see Photo 17). I also screwed on the torque rod horns on each protruding torque rod end as shown. Mix a generous batch of 30-minute epoxy and apply to both sides of half of the joiner spar, slide it into the wing half, to the mark. Then apply epoxy to the exposed sides of the spar and to the wing root. Take care not to leak epoxy into the cutout for the servo box.

Join the wing halves tightly. Refer to Photo 18. Use a rubber band around the torque rod ends, a clamp at the protruding wing tongue, and then use blue painter’s tape at several points across the join, top and bottom. Wipe off any excess epoxy and spills with a paper towel moistened with alcohol and set aside to dry overnight. For complete details on joining an ARF wing, read the Sport Aviator article “Build an ARF Trainer” Part One.

Note: If you are looking at the joined wing, particularly from the trailing edge, you may notice an optical illusion caused by the curved trim scheme – the wing appears to have anhedral (downward pointing wing halves). You can see this illusion in Photo 74, below. Lay a straightedge across the wing to assure yourself that the wing is actually flat (straight).

Install the Servos

Photo 19

I chose to use three (3) Futaba S3010HT standard size servos for this project because I had also used S3010s in an earlier trainer and I could share spare parts between the two airplanes. Insert the metal grommets into the rubber shocks from the bottom as in Photo 19.

 

Photo 20

 

Photo 21

Test fit two of them into the servo tray and mark the mounting holes (Photo 20), drill pilot holes (I used 3/64”), and add a drop of thin CAA to each to toughen the plywood. When dry, insert and mount the servos to the tray as in Photo 21.

The throttle servo bay will be empty because electric power systems accomplish that function using the ESC’s BEC system

Install the Horizontal Stabilizer

Photo 22

Separate the horizontal stabilizer and the one-piece elevator taking care not to shift or damage the elevator hinges (Photo 22).

 

Photo 23

 

Photo 24

An easy way to visualize the slots in the fuselage is to shine a light through the covering as in Photo 23, then carefully cut away the covering on both sides of the aft fuselage using a sharp #11 blade (Photo 24).

 

Photo 25

 

Photo 26

Locate the two wooden dowels that will pin the horizontal stabilizer in place. Expose two holes beneath the covering on the bottom of the fuselage and test fit the dowels. Expose the pre-drilled holes in the stabilizer as well (Photo 25). Next, slide the stabilizer into the slot in the fuselage and mark the outline of the fuselage on the stabilizer covering with a thin marker (Photo 26). Gently cut away the covering from the stabilizer to expose the balsa. Use 30-minute epoxy on both surfaces of the stabilizer and slide it into the slot.

 

Photo 27

 

Photo 28

Glue the two pegs and push them through the holes in the fuselage bottom and the stabilizer (Photo 27). Leave about 1/16” of peg head exposed inside the fuselage. The remainder of the peg bodies on the outside will be trimmed flush to the fuselage bottom after they have thoroughly dried. At that time you can install the nylon tail skid using three screws as in Photo 28.

Install the Vertical Fin

 

Photo 29

 

Photo 30

Similarly to the horizontal stabilizer, visualize the slots for the three tabs of the vertical fin (see Photo 29), cut away the covering, mark and remove the covering to facilitate the epoxy joint (see Photos 30 and 31). Also remove the covering from the pull-pull exits flanking these slots.

 

Photo 31

 

Photo 32

Apply 30-minute epoxy on the tabs and bottom of the vertical fin. Push into the slots and use a 90-degree device such as a builder’s right triangle (Photo 32) to align the fin exactly perpendicular to the fuselage and horizontal stabilizer. Use a length of blue painter’s tape to hold the fin upright. Put aside to dry thoroughly and check periodically that the fin remains at right angles.

Control Surface Hinges

 

Photo 33

 

Photo 34

This is a good time to complete the wing assembly. Remove the tape, rubber band and clamp from the joined wing. Start by marking the starboard and port ailerons, then separate them from the wing by removing the white tape. Make sure that each torque rod end lays flush to the surface of its mating aileron. If not, deepen the groove in the aileron until it does (Photo 33). Dry install three CAA hinges into each aileron and push a T-pin into each hinge to keep it from shifting (Photo 34). Remove the pins and slide the aileron completely against the wing’s trailing edge before applying the thin CAA adhesive.

 

Photo 35

 

Photo 36

Test fit the hinges into the slots in the wing (Photo 35). If needed, run a #11 blade gently into any slot that binds. Remove the aileron and apply 5-minute epoxy to the rod end and into the hole in the aileron. Then push the hinges firmly into the slots in the wing and adjust the spacing of the aileron in the wing; both centered left and right, and not too tight a gap (Photo 36).

When the torque rods are thoroughly set, remove the T-pins and apply thin CAA to the tops and then to the bottoms of each hinge. Apply enough CAA to wick deeply into the balsa so that the hinges are held securely. Move the aileron repeatedly up and down, griping the torque rod horn, to break any CAA excess and assure free movement of the control surface. Wipe off any excess epoxy and spills with a paper towel moistened with alcohol.

Note: the leading edge of each aileron is well tapered and the fit is sufficient that it is really not necessary to seal the hinge gap. If you must, use covering material or clear vinyl tape to cover the gap from the underside. Make sure the aileron still has full movement in both directions.

 

Photo 37

 

Photo 38

Now, repeat the hinging procedure in the same manner joining the rudder onto the vertical fin (Photo 37) and the elevator onto the horizontal stabilizer (Photo 38).

Aileron Servo and Linkages

Photo 39

Epoxy the pre-built aileron servo box into the bay formed at the wing join – it extends above the wing surface. First, thread the servo lead cable through and out the side of the box. When set, mount the servo into the box and secure with 4 screws. Remove any unused arms from the servo arm cross and attach it to the servo. Attach a threaded nylon clevis to each aileron pushrod. Snap each clevis onto a torque rod horn and secure with a small piece of clear fuel tubing. Slide a nylon clevis keeper onto the pushrod (Photo 39).

Center the servo and temporarily tape the ailerons in their neutral position. Mark and bend (up) a 90-degree angle in each pushrod to align with the outer hole in the servo arm. Clip off the excess rod leaving about 3/8” that goes up through the hole in the servo arm and is secured by the keeper. You may have to enlarge the hole slightly but do not over do this. Remove the tape and test the motion of the ailerons. Adjust for mechanical neutral by releasing the threaded clevis and turning either clockwise or counterclockwise. Maker sure your transmitter trims are in the neutral position when centering all control surfaces.

Elevator Linkage

Photo 39a

The elevator is actuated by a composite carbon pushrod that connects to the elevator servo in the main bay using a quick connector and exits the fuselage at the very end, below the rudder. Screw a nylon clevis onto the threaded end and secure it with a piece of clear tubing keeper. Guide the other end of the pushrod into the fuselage and forward until it meets the quick connector mounted on the single servo arm of the starboard servo. Any mechanical adjustments will be made at the connector, not the clevis end. Refer to Photo 39a and to Photo 45, below.

Photo 40

The elevator control horn supplied in the box is on the left in Photo 40. If yours looks like this discard it – never use a control horn without a through-and-through screw or without a tightening plate to keep it from ripping out of the soft balsa. I substituted the control horn on the right (Du-Bro D107, 1/2A Nylon). To better fit the 5-sided opening I clipped off the top, losing one hole in height. Mark the mounting position with the forward edge of the horn centered on the hinge line. Snap the clevis onto the horn and then attach the horn to the elevator.

Rudder Pull-Pull Linkage

 

Photo 41

 

Photo 42

The rudder is actuated using a pull-pull cable system. First attach the control horns to the rudder with a common pair of screws and nuts. Carefully position both sides as seen in Photos 41 and 42. The forward edge of each horn is centered on the rudder hinge line. I used a T-pin pushed through the rudder to align the top hole in each horn, and then drilled a pilot hole to secure the horns with a screw and nut. Apply blue thread lock to the screw and tighten. Do the same for the bottom hole.

 

Photo 43

 

Photo 44

Page 8 of the manual shows a detailed end-to-end diagram of the pull-pull components. Study the diagram and Photos 43 and 44 carefully if you’ve never built one before. Gather all of the hardware. You will need: pull wire cable (2 lengths); brass crimp sleeves (4); pull wire ends (4); ball links (2); screws and nuts (2); EZ Connectors with nuts (2).

I was counseled to first mock up the linkage so that I understood the configuration. If you haven’t done a pull-pull before, as I hadn’t, I recommend that you seek the advice of a club member who has done them. For instance, I was advised to start with the interior ends since it is easier to make final adjustments on the external ends by the rudder. (Ed Note: Pull-Pull rudder cables are NEVER CROSSED. They must run straight from the servo arm to the rudder control rod. The distance between the two control horn holes being used should equal the distance on the servo output arm holes. Where the rudder cables exit the fuselage should be the same width as the other two measurements to insure that the cables run in a straight line and are never pinched. Crossing the lines will also reverse the rudder/steering directions.)

I started with the starboard cable. Wire the internal end as shown in Photo 43, crimp the brass sleeve in several places, and clip excess cable wire. Push this end into the exit slot in the top of the fuselage and fish it through the fuselage until it reaches the servo bay.

Photo 45

Mount the cables to the rudder servo. This airplane uses adjustable EZ connectors that make removing the final cable slack very easy.

Next, wire the external ends and attach the ball links to the underside of the starboard control horns (Photo 44). Do NOT crimp until you have connected both ends. Remove as much slack as possible and crimp everything in place. Use the adjusters to remove any slack. Apply a drop of thin CAA to each crimp joint. The cables must be tight but not overly so. Be careful not to snag the cable around the elevator pushrod.

Make sure that the rudder is perfectly neutral and centered. If necessary, adjust the cables until the rudder is centered.

Nose Gear Mounting

Photo 46

Assemble the steerable nose wheel. Test fit a wheel collar onto the nose gear wire axle, then the nose wheel, and then the outer wheel collar. Mark where you need to file a flat in the gear wire where the collars’ set screws will hit.

Photo 46a

If you don’t, you could end up as I did in Photo 46 with the nose wheel coming off during the maiden landing! (I would have sworn I’d done that.) Tighten the wheel collar set screws using removable thread locking compound. Make sure the compound does not get into the wheel hub and that the wheel turns easily.

Photo 46b

Attach the nylon nose block to the pre-drilled plywood spacer on the bottom of the firewall (Photo 46a) with four socket head machine screws; use removable thread locking compound on the screws.

Attach the ‘Z’-bend of the steering control pushrod to the steering control arm and test fit the steering control arm in the nose block. Adjust the position until the nose wheel turns equally to each side. File a flat spot on the nose gear wire at the point that the control arm’s lock screw will meet it. Insert the nose gear wire and tighten the control arm set screw using removable thread locking compound.

Double check that the nose wheel is oriented correctly; right rudder provides for a right turn on the ground.

Install Main Landing Gear

 

Photo 48

 

Photo 48a

I skipped ahead to install the main landing gear. Prepare and mount each of the two main wheels onto the axles of the landing gear wire (the axle is the longer, flat end). Use two collars and removable thread locking compound on the set screws as above (Photo 48). Locate the hard points on the underside of the fuselage beneath the covering.

Slit the covering and use a covering iron to tack it down into the groove in the fuselage sheeting. If you are using glow or gas, lightly coat the exposed balsa with thin CAA and let it set for protection. Test fit the ends of the two main landing gear wires and mark the location of the two nylon mounting straps. Drill pilot holes. Put a drop of CAA into each hole and allow to dry. Screw the mounting straps to the bottom of the fuselage as in Photo 48a.

Electric Motor (or Glow Engine) Installation

 

Photo 49

 

Photo 50

I chose to use an electric outrunner motor and electric power system. I put aside the glow engine fuel tank, motor mounts and throttle pushrod. The motor mount box was pre-assembled and drilled at the factory (Photo 49). Locate and test fit the four machine screws, washers and blind nuts that will attach the motor mount to the firewall (Photo 50).

 

Photo 51

 

Photo 52

You will need to first drill four holes in the firewall at the ends of the “X” burned into the plywood, see Photo 51. Then enlarge the holes to accommodate the machine screws you chose. Align a self-setting blind nut with one of the holes on the interior side of the firewall – you may use a small screwdriver to guide the blind nut from the front as in Photo 52 then hold the blind nut in position with your fingertip as you tighten the screw until the blind nut bites into the plywood. Remove the screw and repeat, setting each of the remaining three blind nuts.

 

Photo 53

 

Photo 54

Now, align the motor box with the flat side against the firewall, insert the machine screws and, using removable thread locking compound on the screws, drive them into each blind nut. I used a Du-Bro 2.5mm Metric Ball Wrench as shown in Photo 53.  

Aside : When I purchased this tool I learned that the size on the handle correlates to the hex socket in the machine screw, which is a different from the size of the screw itself. For instance, my ball wrench is marked 2.5 mm but it drives a 3.0mm socket head machine screw. If I hadn’t tested it at the local hobby store, I would have bought the wrong size wrench. Other common sizes are: 1.5 mm wrench drives a 2.0 mm screw; 2.0 mm wrench/2.5 mm screw; 3.0 mm wrench/4.0 mm screw; and a 4.0 mm wrench drives a 5.0 mm screw. Go figure! Photo 54 shows the motor box installed.

 

Photo 55

 

Photo 56

Mount the ‘X’-mount to the Fury outrunner using the four flat head machine screws that fit into depressions machined in the ‘X’-mount (Photo 55). Then mount the ‘X’-mounted motor assembly to the front of the motor mount box using four machine screws, washers and lock nuts. Be sure to use blue removable thread locking compound on all screws. You will need a very small box wrench, or other tool, that fits the lock nuts and also fits into the tight space inside the motor mount box. Tuck the three motor power leads into the mount box and through the firewall. See Photo 56 which also shows the prop adapter screwed onto the front of the motor casing.

Photo 57

The FURY-55 SBEC electronic speed control mounts to the port sidewall of the fuselage with a length of self-adhesive hook and loop tape. The rougher, hook side adheres to the fuselage, the soft, loop side on the ESC. (Photo 57).

I connected the three leads of the motor to the ESC by matching the colors: red, blue, white. During the final post-assembly check, if you observe that the outrunner motor does not spin in the correct, counterclockwise direction there are two options. Any two of these three wires can be swapped, or, if your ESC is programmable, the direction of rotation can be changed through programming.

Install Cowl

 

Photo 58

 

Photo 59

The factory painted cowl is nicely finished, see Photo 58. For a glow/gas mount, extensive cutting is required to fit the protruding engine. The manual provides an actual size cutout template. However, there is very little needed to fit my outrunner electric motor. Align the cowl and mark the bottom to make the cutout for the nose wheel gear. I used a high-speed motor tool cutter for that and to make a lozenge-shaped breather hole below the circular aperture for the propeller adapter as shown in Photo 59.

 

Photo 60

 

Photo 60a

Test fit the cowl over the motor as in Photo 60 and align the side stripe. Keep the prop adapter centered as shown in Photo 60a.

Photo 61

Using blue painter’s tape to hold the cowl in place, mark and drill four pilot holes for the screws that fasten the cowl to the fuselage as shown in Photo 61. Place a drop of thin CAA into each hole to toughen it and when dry, screw in the four screws.

 

Photo 62

 

Photo 63

Slip the back plate of a 1-1/2” white spinner (not included) over the prop adapter’s shaft, place the propeller, the washer and nut onto the shaft and tighten. Then snap the spinner cone over the prop to mate with the back plate and use a small Phillips driver to tighten the two screws that secure the cone. Photos 62 and 63 show a side and front view. Shulman Aviation suggests using an APC C-2 12” x 10” Thin electric propeller.

Install Flight Battery and Electronics

 

Photo 64

 

Photo 65

The FURY-55 SBEC Brushless Motor Controller has a battery elimination circuit (BEC) that powers the receiver without a separate receiver battery pack. All that needs to be done here is set-up the ample plywood battery tray to keep the Thunder Power RC 14.8V Pro Power 30C 4S 3300mAh LiPo flight battery firmly in place and to allow for easy removal to exchange batteries between flights.

There are a few ways to do this. Due to the aerobatic capability of the Super Cessna, I chose to mount a strip of hook and loop tape cut to the length of the battery tray (rough, hook-side) and two 1-inch lengths of soft, loop-side material to the bottom face of each flight battery. And then I added two hook & loop straps that encircle the battery tray and the battery – this holds the battery securely in place but is easily removable when changing flight batteries. See the top of Photo 64.

Cutoff Switch. Photo 64 also shows a homemade high-current cutoff switch that I soldered up using Deans connectors and 12-gauge wire. It connects on one end to the power IN leads of the FURY-55 SBEC controller and at the other to the flight battery’s leads. One wire of that circuit is interrupted with a receiving Dean’s connector in series that is mounted to the port side wall of the fuselage. A fourth Deans connector (protruding type) has the poles “shorted” by a short length of 12-gauge wire and acts as the key. See Photo 65. When the key is inserted the electrical circuit is armed or ON. I remove the key as soon as the flight is over to totally disarm the electronics and assure that the electric motor cannot suddenly start.

Photo 66

I mounted my Futaba R606FS 2.4Ghz FASST receiver to the servo tray using hook and loop strips and used clear vinyl tape to affix the two short antenna leads to the starboard side wall with the tips at 90-degrees to each other. See Photo 66.

Next, plug the elevator and rudder servo leads into the receiver, then the power lead from the FURY SBRC controller. The wires in that cable are colored Yellow-Red-Brown which correspond to White-Red-Black of the Futaba servo leads, so align the Yellow with the other Whites (or color the Brown wire at the connector with black permanent marker). For convenience I leave a 6-inch servo extender in Channel 1 that connects to the aileron servo each time the wing is attached.

At this point the Super Cessna assembly is completed.

POST ASSEMBLY ADJUSTMENTS

There are two critical steps left to accomplish before it can be flown: setting the control surface throws and balancing at the CG point. This is also a good time to go over your assembly and check every join, hinge and screw.

Safety Note : To set the control throws requires powering up the Super Cessna. Be very careful when applying power for the first time to any electric powered airplane. It is best to remove the propeller first for three reasons: (1) the throttle channel may need to be reversed, which means the motor will suddenly spring to life with the throttle stick in the off/down position; (2) the throttle trim may not be at zero; and, (3) the motor may spin in the wrong direction until two of the three motor/ESC leads are reversed. Better safe than sorry.

Set Control Throws

Photo 67

The Assembly Manual recommends certain settings as a starting point. It is convenient to use a computer radio with dual rates and exponential capability. I used my Futaba 6EX 2.4Ghx FASST transmitter, which fits the bill (Photo 67). The Low Rate throw for all surfaces is 20 degrees and the High Rate is 45 degrees. To get a soft-center feel on the sticks, use 40% exponential. Also check the direction of the control surfaces and reverse any servo that requires it. Re-center any controls surfaces that required reversing directions using the sub-trim feature on your transmitter.

Balance at CG point

The Assembly Manual places the recommended center of gravity (CG) at 2.25” back from the leading edge of the wing at the root. I placed a tick mark with a felt marker on both sides of the fuselage as a visual reference, inserted the flight battery and attached the wing by slipping the leading edge tongue into the slot in the fuselage and tightening the two wing hold-down bolts and washers. The manual suggests placing a “tiny” drop of removable thread locking compound in the wing bolt holes for the first fit just to minimize bolt vibration later.

Carefully place the Super Cessna on a balancing device, or lift it by placing one finger at each CG tick mark, and note the airplane’s attitude. We found that it balanced on the first try with the flight battery where we had placed it.

If yours is nose heavy, try moving the flight battery more aft before resorting to adding weights. And if it is tail heavy, try moving the flight battery forward. When you achieve balance, mark the position of the flight battery on the battery tray in colored marker as your alignment reference when swapping batteries in the field.

When building for a review, it is difficult to accurately predict the number of hours the Shulman Aviation Super Cessna would take others to build. That’s because of all the notes and photographs that are taken during the assembly. I’ve seen very experienced club members glance at assembly instructions and then put them aside to build from instinct – they often prefer to substitute hardware and skip around the steps. And, they have advanced building tools. At my level of experience and equipment, which closely matches my beginner status for flying, I’d estimate 10-12 hours.

FLIGHT TESTING

The fourth Thursday in October 2009 was a nice morning to fly. I packed my car and brought the Super Cessna to RCRCC’s (Rockland County Radio Control Club - http://www.rcrcc.com/) Clarkstown Model Aerodrome. RCRCC’s runway is a neatly manicured grass flying field.

Photo 68

The Super Cessna fit neatly into my wife’s Infinity G35x – the fuselage cross-wise in the trunk and the wing across the back seat (Photo 68).

 

Photo 69

 

Photo 70

It was neat to finally see the Super Cessna on a set-up table being prep’d to fly (Photo 69). Call it superstition, I had to take my photo with this airplane before anything might have happened to it (Photo 70) – nothing did.

 

Photo 71

 

Photo 72

Well, one photo begat several more on the table (Photos 71 and 72). The N-number decal is a custom fantasy, from part of my AMA number (888074) and initials (N807BY). All of these custom vinyl decals were supplied by Alan M. Mostek Designs, Albany, NY.

 

Photo 73

 

Photo 74

And, time for two glamour shots on the grass before the maiden flight (Photos 73 and 74). The sun was low and there was a moderate, but steady, wind. This is a great looking airplane as is its inspiration, the full-size Cessna Cardinal. It also stands out from the crowd of the usual same-looking ARF’s that are always at every flying field. This one is different.

 

Photo 75

 

Photo 76

I had the good fortune to have Dan Landis volunteer to pilot the maiden flight. Dan tested the control surfaces for direction and throw. He performed a picture perfect take off (Photos 75 and 76). The Super Cessna seemed to burst into the pattern. A few clicks of trim and Dan had the airplane flying hands off. Then Dan put the airplane through its paces.

 

Photo 77

 

Photo 78

Does the Super Cessna live up to Shulman’s claims? A definite Yes. According to Dan it flew very well. I jotted down some of his comments as Dan tore up the sky (Photos 77 and 78): Nice fast and slow speeds; good loops and rolls; easy inverted flight; snaps are easily accomplished and exactly as predicted; at slow speed and low rates it’s “trainer-esque”. (Think Dan made up that word?)

 

Photo 79

 

Photo 80

With a new battery inserted, it was time to test the Trainer mode. Dan, on the right in Photo 79, took off again and then handed me the transmitter in Low Rates. I flew the pattern a bit nervously as this was my first flight with this airplane and there were other airplanes in the pattern (Photo 80).

Photo 81

Not to worry, at low rates the Super Cessna was calm yet responsive. It seemed to groove through the air nicely and felt stable, no surprises (Photo 81). Even at reduced throttle it felt faster than my first trainer. Now on the third battery Dan let me try a loop – it felt really good. I am looking forward to logging more stick time with this airplane. I came away with the feeling that the Super Cessna and I have a rewarding future together.

Of course, Dan did the harder parts. He commented that the landing approaches and touchdowns were as expected with no unwanted tendencies. At high rates the Super Cessna could do most anything an advanced pilot needed. Yet when flown as a trainer it was a hand’s-off aircraft that had no bad stall characteristics. The light wing loading allowed it to land at 12 -15 mph. The symmetrical airfoil eliminated any tendency to balloon or dive with airspeed changes.

Dan felt that if the Super Cessna was set-up with a 6S Li-Po battery pack, rather than the 4S we were flying it with, it could hover. And, yes, it sure was fun to fly.

CONCLUSION

Photo 82

I can heartily recommend the Shulman Aviation Super Cessna as a “second airplane” choice for aspiring/intermediate flyers and advanced flyers of all skill levels. For more information on this versatile, dual personality airplane, go to: http://www.shulmanaviation.com/products/cessna.asp


Additional Aircraft Specifications

Manufacturer: Shulman Aviation         Length:           39.5 in.                       

Cost: $160.00                                     Wingspan:       51 in.

Radio: Futaba 6EX FASST 2.4 GHz   Wing Area:     472 sq. in.

Servos: 3 x Futaba S3010 HT                Wing Loading: 24.9 oz./sq. ft.

Motor: Fury 41/50-570 outrunner           Weight:           5.1 lb.

Airfoil: Fully Symmetrical                   Battery: 4S 3300 mAh Li-Poly

Special Airframe Features: Fully-Symmetrical Wing, Not a box-like trainer, Can be electric or glow powered.

Notable Positives

Straight forward assembly

Attractive trim scheme

Pull-Pull Rudder Control

Glow or Electric Power

Symmetrical airfoil

Excellent aerobatic capability

No bad characteristics

Notable Negatives

Lack of battery access hatch

No parts diagram

Improper Elevator Horn supplied

1 comments

Could you tell me what % I need to enter in my radio ( DX6I ) when you say 20% for low rates ?
Thanks
ddincler@cinci.rr.com

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