Everything went very well. Kids and parents had fun. I had fun too! I’m really enjoying this project since they fly nicely and is so easy to make. It’s easy to direct others to make as well.
I made a Dayton just before the workshop so I could show the kids what they were making and demo it while they were working. I find this is necessary in a workshop environment if the kids are new at it.
The revision 5 Dayton performed extremely well. By the way, that’s laser revision 5. There were four or five non laser prototypes before I started doing batches on the laser.
Here are a few points on the technical side:
My favorite thing was the flexibility of the flying surfaces. The planes were able to tolerate a fair amount of bumping and rough handling. The wing and tail surfaces would just wobble and bounce around and the integrity of the structure stayed intact. I think I found a sweet spot for the right amount of flex and rigidity.
The round corners of the winglets and tailplanes didn’t catch on things so I believe that contributed to survival of the planes with children.
Some of the kids forgot to cap the toothpick (rear motor hangar). I noticed it but made a conscious decision to not correct it and see what happened. No problems came forward despite short glue dry time and high humidity. So I may drop the step. Even without the cap it is considerably stronger than the Squirrel since it is supported on three sides (vs. two sides for the Squirrel).
I forgot to add the motor stick triplers where the tape holds the wing. Again I noticed this later and decided to proceed without it. No problems came forward so I will look at dropping this. The challenge here is that a narrower motor stick means a narrower wing mount. So this needs to be studied.
In this revision the wing is a little further back. I think it could be even further back and will try that. In this position a slight amount of down elevator is required and it’s very floaty and slow.
This batch of Daytons was made from heavier wood. That seemed to be okay as far as wing loading.
The planes were able to rise of ground (ROG).
Out of the box they stall a bit and recover instantaneously. I rather like this as the default behavior. Some of the kids put the wing further back. This works well if the elevator is adjusted.
Can’t wait to try the next revision! Pretty soon it’s time to finish the printed instructions.
Soon we’ll be ready for the 20 units going out mail order for testing and review!
I just finished a revision with a collection of improvements for the Dayton project.
There is an improvement missing (slanted toothpick from Richard). That should be in revision 6. This was initially in the Squirrel project but it was rejected since it made the instructions more complex. But with Dayton that may not apply since the parts are laser cut. I suspect the slanted toothpick may make it through testing so watch for revision 6 to see how it gels in the test environment.
Tomorrow I’m mainly testing a new version of the motorstick and the wing. Some issues with the wing come forward in high humidity. That’s still in the works so if we have high humidity I’ll use an alternate wing so we won’t disrupt the motor stick test.
There are eight 12 year old kids in the test tomorrow.
I met with Richard Lyle Barlow yesterday. He’s very active in the model airplane community and I had the opportunity to snag a meeting with him when he was in town.
He’s a bit of a fan of the Squirrel project and we discussed the project a bit. I also showed him the new Dayton design. He had a couple of great suggestions. one was to slant the toothpick. I think that’s a great idea. It will make it easier to assemble too. It will make it easier to install the part that goes right behind the toothpick since it’s orientation will be more clear due to the angle.
Another thing that came up was the small parts. I used some shards of balsa to widen the motorstick to accommodate the wing mounting technique I learned from Lloyd Shales. This produces 4 small shards of balsa. I will look further in to the wing mount system. I really enjoy the stability and ease of the system so I will see if I can simplify it without using too much wood and avoiding the small parts.
I was able to construct an entire Dayton during this meeting. I must admit it goes together faster than a Squirrel.
I returned to the same venue later for another meeting to help somebody with a Web site. During that meeting I flew the Dayton off the bar a couple of times. In one case it took off from the bar, circled the room and landed right back on the bar. I wish I’d taken video. 🙂
This evening I finished another revision of the Dayton. I made the motor stick thicker and moved the thin part further back. I made the tailplane spar thinner. Few other small things. If all goes well, tomorrow (Thursday) I will make one at the pub!