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Monday, 01 March 2010 13:17

RC Lander MIG 17 - Build and Flying Review

Ever since the demise of my Alfa Mig I've been looking for another, there is something about the MIG and its swept wing that makes it fly ohhh so well. Luckily RC Lander have come up with a beauty. Its taken some time since the fist prototype was unveiled last summer and after much redevelopment by RC Lander the production version is here, http://www.overlander.co.uk is now the UK distributor of RC Lander products so if you like the look of this 90mm EDF then give them a call or ask you local shop to get one in, you won't be disappointed. The large box arrived, RC Lander are minimalist in the art on the front of the box but its what's inside that counts, and a well packed assortment of parts, all in top condition despite traveling over 9,500km !

As with all Lander products construction is modular which allows you to spend time on each EPO component testing along the way before gluing together, I'm not that proficient in building, although I've been in the hobby on and off for 20+ years I'd rather be flying that building but the modular construction suits me as I can test, test and test again before committing to final gluing. The fuselage is made out of EPO which is denser that the standard packing foam, it is however still foam so a mixture of foam safe cyano, epoxy and hot melt glue is recommended. The instructions consist of black and white photos and some text, I often find that the photos don't show you what you need to know but colour photos where you can zoom in on the image to see the direction of the servos etc are available at http://www.rclander.com/Files/%7Bb8fd0141-58b9-4c6f-b06b-a8e13cf20dc4%7D/Mig-17%20Operational%20Manual.pdf I heartily recommend you download these. A really nice touch to this model is that the supplied servos include ready fitted rod stoppers.

First up was to fit the retractable nose wheel, once again I opted for the metal spring Lander retracts as these have held up well to our demanding grass strip. Gone are the convoluted metal bent connectors, these are replaced by straight push rods which make installation and operation consistent. Installing the servos was simple and when checked the system worked flawlessly. I did reinforce the wooden retract seat with epoxy where it joined the foam fuselage.

Next was the installation of the tail, 3 servos operate the tail two for the elevator and one for the rudder, the supplied servos come ready reversed so if not opting for the RC Lander servos then please check the installation orientation ! Little problem was found with putting the tail together, the parts were a tight fit and only a fine shaving of the rudder was required to allow smooth operation. Before fitting the tail to the fuselage please check the operation as once glued up there is really no way back without cutting chunks of foam, also remember to scabble the foam so you are not just gluing the paint (don't ask me how I know) For anyone handy with a soldering iron and using most 9g servos reversing can be done by swapping the + & - wires to the motor and swapping over the two outside leads of the internal pot, otherwise you can purchase a propriety reverser from your local model shop.

Now onto the business end of the model. Lander offer 2 90mm EDF options, 6S and 8S, each shown here side by side, the 6S version is 1600Kv and the 8S 1280KV, I prefer move volts to more amps so opted for the 8S fan unit, specs are attached above. The 8S unit has a slightly different configuration and so a little filing of the wooden bearers is required.

RC Lander have recently developed lighting and afterburner kits for their models, the unit comprises of a controller circuit board the same size as a small receiver with servo pins numbered which are referenced to lights and inputs. Power is derived from the RX power source for the lights but the afterburner ring requires a separate supply and the unit comes with balance board connector utilizing the common JXT-XH connector. There are two inputs from the receiver, one to turn the unit on or off and the other linked to the throttle for pulsing the afterburner, the sensitivity of each input can be adjusted by turning the potentiometer within the control panel. The navigation lights were easy to install in the airframe, the afterburner fits part way between the fan unit and the tail and requires some cutting of the foam to seat, when cutting the foam it is important to create as shallow an angle as possible to the rear so as to make the lights visible.

After the afterburner was installed I decided to make a thrust tube to minimize turbulence, I bought a single A3 sheet of laminating plastic from a local office supplies shop which worked perfectly. The 100A speed controller is located in the duct just in front of the fan unit, its important that all the wires are secured so I used some thick hook and loop tape, securing it with screws as well as epoxy to the bearers, the last thing you want is for the fan to eat the elevator, rudder or speed controller !

Moving onto the wings the first thing to do is to install the retracts, again these utilized straight couplings and the suppled metal geared RC Lander servos great, the only change I made was to epoxy in the wooden bearers (they were factory installed with hot melt glue) and the replace the fixing screws with cupboard screws with a coarser thread.

Installing the flaps, ailerons and lights was straightforward, the lights required some removal of foam but nothing to cause any problems. The wires were secured into the wing with the supplied white paper tape and then painted with black enamel paint to blend in. The servos are installed at quite an angle in the wing and with hindsight I would have amended the recess to make the servo 90 degrees to the ailerons and flaps. The supplied horns simply push into the foam and I scoured and secured them with epoxy. Control horns are often personal preference to modelers so you may wish to fit your own.

Joining the wings was not really an issue everything lined up very well and the carbon guides helped alignment. All that remained was to glue the modules together and connect up, there are a lot of wires, if you go for flaps and lights then you have 6 connectors in the wing, remember again to ensure all the wires are secured as the wing sits just in front of the fan unit, I did this by utilizing the self adhesive cable mounts available from electronics stores and ty wraps. Long term I may opt to use a connector block. I chose 2x 4S 3700 Zippy Rhino packs for the power plant, when fitted these turned out a little too light so had to opt for some lead up front, if you are going down the 8S route I would recommend larger packs (5000) to balance without the need for lead. I opted for C of G to be 10mm behind the manual.

So after a couple of weeks of an hour a night the Mig 17 was built, its a pity that we have had such a cold winter this year as I was waiting for months to get her into the sky, anyway the day finally came at the BMFA Northern Area Fly In at Dishforth on Sunday 14th February 2010. The weather was ideal, a slight cross wind but no rain or snow ! After a range check and taxi testing we set out for the maiden flight, I setup 65% rates for the aileron and elevator and passed the transmitter to El Presidente to do the honors. The throttle was opened and she roared across the runway, she had to be unstuck from the deck as the front nose leg introduces a negative angle of attack but once off she shot into the air. No trim was needed and as you can see from the video the performance was blistering, rolls were no problem, in fact nothing was a problem with her, after some very very low passes she was setup for landing which proved the resilience of the retracts. Our test pilot 'El Presidente' is generally not a fan of foam but he was converted by this model grinning from ear to ear with the experience. RC Lander's got another winner on their hands.....