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Old 07-15-2014, 01:01 PM
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Rebuilding and recovering an Extreme Flight 104" Extra 300

So, I took possession of an Extreme Flight 104" Extra after it had an unfortunate incident with a tree in Redding, CA. The damage wasn't horrible, but of course, every part of the airplane has some sort of cosmetic damage... Thank you for the airplane Dad! Since we both started flying IMAC and giants with this airplane, I couldn't see it sitting in a trash can somewhere.

The motor box is destroyed. The verticle fin was ripped off and the counter-balance on the rudder destroyed. Both wings have leading edge damage. Cowl is trash, the stabs and elevators have damage. The landing gear is cracked (repairable), and the fuselage has various cracks and minor surprises that I keep finding. It looks like any of the tree damage ripped through the balsa and plywood, but stopped as soon as it hit carbon fiber.

I've had a similar experience when I crashed an Extreme Flight 48" Extra 300. I added too much elevator in the bottom of a loop and 'high speed stalled' the wing. The plane smashed straight in to concrete like it was doing a belly flop. I thought the plane was toast. When I got to the plane, the landing gear was smashed and some wood where it mounted, but the strength of the carbon and the airframe prevented any other damage. I'm totally sold on Extreme Flight airplanes. Especially after tearing the covering off of this 104".
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:08 PM
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Here are some 'before' pictures. I'm not really sure how to upload pics best here...
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:11 PM
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The start of surveying the damage...

Here are a couple of pics after taking the covering off. I didn't take a bunch of pictures at this stage because cracked and smashed balsa is super depressing. I'm kind of wishing that I had a fully assembled skeleton pic of the airframe without covering...

We don't see the inside of ARFs all that much.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:22 PM
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Starting the process

I knew that I wanted to make a couple of minor changes to the airframe, like rounded wingtips, strengthening some parts, and adding balsa where there would be seams in the Monokote. I tried doing it without the balsa below the seams, and decided against it. I'll get into why later but it was mainly a time thing. There were also spots where I would need to add wood to make sure the covering had something to stick to. One of these spots was behind the control horns on the ailerons. You can see in the picture that it would have been fine if the horns were installed after covering, but I wasn't about to remove them and replace them just so I could get a flat covering surface. I took the easy route and just added balsa in behind them.

In this process, I know there are probably 100 better ways to do it. If anyone has some ideas for working with Monokote, tips for making covering easier, ideas or tips for the Extreme Flight 104" or anything else that might help, please let me know!!
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:33 PM
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One wing panel done

I'll get more into the process and how all of the templates came together, but here is a finished wing panel. I really like Monokote versus Ultracote but thats just my preference. I know a lot of ARF's come with Ultracote and a lot of people are familiar with it. I've just worked with Monokote more and like how it reacts to heat and corners.
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:39 PM
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I'm basing the scheme loosely on the 125" Extreme Flight Extra, but switching the blue to pink...
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:51 PM
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Good that your losing the blue, hate blue. Putting wood behind seams is only way I can make it work. Would love to know how the arf folks do it without.
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:31 AM
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Thanks. I tried cutting out all of the Monokote from templates and sealing the seams together on a glass door, but it took so long to get the covering to adhere to itself that I gave up after doing the bottom of the wing. The Monokote on the bottom will probably rip off on my first flight now. Well, if it ends up in a pile of sticks, at least I'll have covering practice.

Yeah, I don't like the blue very much either but there aren't a lot of great color schemes out there and I'm not great on designing my own
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:40 AM
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MonoKote needs a tad more heat than UltraCote, from my experience. On solid surfaces, I don't stretch the covering. I let the iron stretch and work the gas and air out. Open bays are a much different tactic. Stretching and cussing are necessary!

But prep work is essential, regardless of surfaces. I use hairspray to seal the wood, and then 220 it down to take off the fibers. Tack rag it down, and start laying covering down.
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:53 AM
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So does the hairspray get the monokote to stick better? Or is it more to get all of the loose wood fibers smooth? I think I might be doing my final sanding with too rough of sandpaper. Seems like the monokote would stick better to a really smooth surface.

Any tips from anyone on how to best stick Monokote to the lite-ply fuselage? It sticks, but I'd really like it to stick better. Will add some more pics here soon.
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:56 AM
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more progress

Here's a couple for starting the stabs. Didn't realize how long it takes to cover so much area! Big planes definitely take a lot longer...
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:57 AM
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Patched together

What's left to cover...
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:58 AM
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Painting the canopy

This took way more time than I expected. I used 2 different brands for the paint and clear coat and they didn't agree with each other so I had to sand it all off and start over. Nightmare...
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Old 05-24-2015, 11:01 AM
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Finally covering the fuse...

This has taken so much work just to find any and all loose glue joints. It's amazing that these planes don't shred in the air with all of the wood joints that pop loose! Covering a fuselage this big is actually pretty fun. The curves aren't really sharp like smaller planes and Monokote shrinks up great!
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:40 PM
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Nice work.........it's going to look great!
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