SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A LITESTIK
By JOHN CURTIS
In early December I received a Litestik from Jim with its accompanying electronics. I am a stick and tissue type builder with a couple of R/C gliders to my credit. I really didn’t think I would have too many problems due to the simplicity of the model and my “experience”. Also quite a few people have built them already. Soooo one morning in early January I opened the box, pulled out the instructions (I was going to do it right this time) and read them for about an hour, checked to see that all the parts were there and then commenced construction/assembly.
The first problem I encountered was that the dimensions were in metric and I had to hunt all over the house trying to find a metric scale. Having found one about 6 inches long--- whoops I mean 15.2+ cm, I went to page 4, Step 1. of the instructions:
STEP 1. Straightening the boom if necessary. I found this necessary. I believe you soak a boom of this size for more than a few seconds ( ½ hour would be more like it) per instructions.
STEP 2. Only put the centerline on the horizontal stabilizer and not the elevator (moving part) unless you always want to look at this line. The 70-mm measurement should be 700 mm or 7 cm. Simply put, have the boom end at the hinge line of the horizontal stabilizer/elevator.
The sketches show the control horn of the elevator on the right hand side of the boom. Hold it, go to page 8, it’s on the left. No, not really, the labels for rudder and elevator are reversed on page 8. Now, it really doesn’t make any difference, IFFF you put the rudder horn on the opposite side from the elevator and make sure your elevator servo is the lower one and on the correct side of the boom. So govern yourselves accordingly.
STEP 3. The vertical rudder was my next task. The sketches on page 4 show the hinge line of the rudder lining up with the hinge line of the stab/elevator and also lining up with the leading edge of the stabilizer. Can’t happen – it’s not long enough to do both. I lined up the hinge lines.
HINTS: I got this next idea from the Internet. Cut stabilizer and rudder apart at the hinge lines, space them apart with a 1/8 in. (3 mm) dowel and then put vinyl tape on one side the full length of the hinge line. Turn the parts over, remove the dowel and then put tape the full length of the hinge line on this side. Now put the dowel under the tape seams and drag a similar size tool down the opposite side to seal the tapes together. This will make an easier moving hinge joint and won’t strain your servos as much. I did this after I had already glued the parts to the boom. It would be much simpler to do it before you glued them on. Also, I put a piece of tape on each side of the cutouts for the control horns to reinforce the area. Don’t install the control horns yet.
The glue that comes with this kit bonds real well but works slowly. Paul Johnson suggested that I let it set overnight. I did this and the joints are well bonded. If you want to have faster reaction time, use 5-minute epoxy (Internet suggestion). Make sure you note the pre-drilled hole and adjacent groove in the boom. This determines which end of the boom you glue the stabilizer and rudder to. I didn’t and had to drill and groove another hole.
Plastic Parts Frame “A” AND “B”
STEP1. OK. Save the sprues and any extra parts. Internet Hint: Sprues can be used as material to weld broken parts back together with a clean soldering iron.
STEP 2. The 55mm dimension should be 550mm or 5.5cm. IPS means Indoor Power System. I installed the parts as shown on the drawings, BUT this is where some decisions have to be made.
The battery holder is very difficult to use if you are going to remove your battery for charging or install another one. Tim Accord and others, myself included have modified this installation as follows: Cut the battery holder just forward of its rear support. This should leave you with a support to slide onto the boom, which should include the front servo mounting lugs. I tried cutting this plastic with side cutting “nippers” and it shattered, so I recommend using an Xacto saw or Dremel cutting tool. I will describe how the battery was installed later on.
Another item you may want to address right now is “Wing Dihedral”. The one bad flaw in this kit is that there is not enough dihedral for good maneuverability. It should be about 2-½ in. for each wing. I didn’t make this modification but I probably will in the near future. An Internet suggestion is to take two pieces of 1/8in ID Aluminum tubing 1 1/2in long and cut a slot halfway through the tubing at the midpoint. Now put a bend of 20 degrees opposite the cut. Cut off the wing mount wing retainer tubes and tie on and epoxy the aluminum tubes in their place. This will give you the 2 ½ in dihedral that is recommended.
INDOOR POWER SYSTEM (IPS) AND LANDING GEARS
STEP 1. All I did was check the IPS for fit and then removed it. Hint: Coating the boom with Superglue (cya) in the areas that support components will help with the wear and tear.
STEP 2. If anyone has a sure-fire idea for straightening and adjusting music wire landing gears, let me know. Anyway, I finally got them to look pretty good but found out later on that when you hang the weight of the battery on the boom, they spread out and the prop is going hit. My fix was to install a piece of wire about 2 in. down from the boom connecting the right side of the gear to the left side. The wheel track should be about 5 to 5 ½ in. Pictures on the Internet show this being done with Duct Tape in lieu of the wire, but this will increase the drag. After I drilled a new hole I installed my tailhook.
I marked the bamboo sticks 15mm (5/8in) from one end and glued the rest in place, holding them temporarily with pieces of drafting tape. After the glue set I put on a second coat of glue, let that set and then installed the transparent tape. I cut the rear tapes so that they stopped at the beginning of the first scallop. I put the decals on with the center of them in the dip between the ribs and I couldn’t keep them from wrinkling. The next time I may try centering on the rib. Anyway, mine don’t look good.
RADIO GEAR INSTALLATIONThis installation depends on what you are going to install for gear. In my case I installed the GWS package for an old type Airtronics Xmtr. What I ended up with was as follows: The red wire is positive (+). The black wire of the motor, battery and speed control is negative (-). The brown wire is negative (-) on the receiver plugs and is the outermost pin on the receiver. That leaves the orange wire as the signal. When I plugged these into the receiver, the S+- connection became the rudder (aileron), 1 became the elevator and 2 became the throttle. The chart didn’t do me much So you want to build a Litestik good. I hate figuring this out every time and it has already cost me a speed control on a different airplane setup.
This is where I deviated from the instructions and installation a little bit. First, I marked the center of gravity point (C.G) 16.4 cm from the front of the boom. Next I set the plane up with all components installed in a flying condition. You can mount the servos permanently. The lower servo should be for the elevator and the rudder will be the upper one. With the plane balanced at the CG you can install the control linkages and control horns per instructions on page 8. The servos should be located halfway between the battery pack and the rear wing mount. I got mine a little too far back, but was able to move the battery forward enough to compensate.
The last part of the installation involves mounting “popsicle” sticks or 1/32 in plywood on the bottom of the boom for the battery. I used a “popsicle” stick about 3 in long and shimmed it down with 3 crosspieces of popsicle stick to clear the forward wing mount in case you have to move the battery. Use the glue furnished in the kit to secure it. Now you install “Velcro” on the mount and battery so that the battery can be easily removed when necessary. I mounted the receiver and speed controller on one piece of stick, in a similar fashion, on top of the boom between the wing mounts, the exact position is governed by the length of the servo leads.Page 9.
No comment, except I am waiting for the right day to try out this creation. Antenna – I didn’t see anything in the instructions regarding positioning the antenna. I plan to stream it back over the rudder for the first couple of flights. Internet sites give various ideas including cutting it to a shorter length but I am uncomfortable with that.
1. If you have access to the Internet try this website: www.nyblimp.com/litestick.htm. It has a lot of comments and pictures regarding Litestiks.
2. The ideal flying weight with battery should be between 7-7 ½ ounces.