Trex500 Airwolf Build

After putting around 75 flights on my Trex 500 I decided it was time to make the move to scale. The heli flies very nice and should be a good scale platform. I picked the Airwolf fuselage because
I think it looks cool, and I enjoyed the TV series when it was around. So I ordered one from my local hobby store. I always try to support them when I can.
 
Even though I built my Blade 400 Jet Ranger first, this is really my first semi scale build. I did buy a pre-painted fuselage for this build as my painting skills are poor. So after opening the box you
will find everything pretty well packed. Mine did have a couple lose parts running around, but everything was there so I continued on. Take everything out and look at the parts for hours. Seems like
more parts than I thought there would be, and this thing is supposed to fly around, wow!!!
 
 
 
 
 
The very first steps are assembling the working landing gear. Nose gear and mains pivot on a carbon fiber rod. The gear itself is metal, which I am pleased to see. The first negative thing I found
is the control arms for the rotating the landing gear. They seem too small, and are made out of plastic. I already cracked one while tightning it's set screw. This will not do so I am going to use
some steering arms for airplanes. They have a metal insert, and they are longer for more rotational torque. The other thing I don't like is the mount for the landing gear servo. It's made for a micro
sized servo which I think will not have enough power to operate the gear. So I enlarged the opening to fit a mini servo. Hopefully this will prove better in the long run.
 
      Nose gear assembled                            Nose gear installed                             Main gear installed                               All gear installed with linkages            Retract servo installed w/linkages
 
 
 
 
 
 
After you mount the retract servo you need to remove it for the next step, installing the mechanics. I tried to leave it in but there is no way you can. It gets in the way. You must also disassemble
part of the tail rotor housing for this step. The first time I did this I made the mistake of taking the entire tail rotor housing off, oppss!! No way to secure it after the boom is inside the fuselage. This
fuslage is also made for a belt driven tail. I have a torque tube so I had to do some mods to make it fit correctly. These were as follows: The foam ring the boom goes through had to be cut different
in order to fit around the tail housing. Also the plywood used on the tail cover had to be cut in order to fit the torque tube housing. I also tweaked on the control rod a little to stop it from hitting
the fuselage. Knowing what I know now, I might have switched to the belt drive and saved myself some work.
 
     Trex500 mostly disassebled                 Mechanics first test fit in fuselage        First issue, motor wires rubbing 
 
 
 
 
Next I wanted to put some kind of screen over all the open vent holes to prevent grass and bigger bugs from getting inside the fuse. I ended up using a flat food strainer. Painted it black, cut to
shape, and glued in. The end result is pretty nice I think, and it has already stopped one bug from being sucked inside.
 
 Original fuselage with no screen on sides or cockpit top panels                       My screen mods in place on sides and cockpit top shown below                   Screen kept bug out of fuselage
 
 
 
 
 
 Cockpit without, and with screens installed
 
 
 
 
Next was the tail fin and horizontal & vertical stabilizers. I did not do any mods to these. Just installed as per instructions. This went pretty smooth.

 
 
 
Navigation lights are next. After looking around the internet I found a company called Dimension Engineering. They make many things for the RC market, and one of those things is a lighting
control that works off a receiver channel. I bought the designer kit as it comes with the programmer you need to set up the light the way you need. The LEDs that come with the kit are surface
mount that are mounted to a tiny pc board. They are too big for what I want so I bought my own 3mm diameter LEDs and some pretty small lens caps that I hope are close to the correct scale
size.
 
I used masking tape to prevent scratching the fuselage and drilled holes where I wanted the lights to be. I am just using four, top & bottom strobes, port & stbd nav lights. The lens caps and
LEDs are glued in using hot glue which seems to work pretty good. The wires are also tacked down with hot glue. In one photo you can see how a pair of magnets helped to hold wires in place
while glue dried.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I flew most of the summer without the rocket tubes and machine guns attached. I figured if I had a mishap there was no sense in wrecking everything. I now have a couple dozen flights on my
Airwolf and have sinse installed the rocket tubes and machine guns (after doing a little painting on them). I am not really sure what they should look like so I just did something I thought would
look good. I can always redo them down the road if need be.
 
     Guns ready for painting                         Guns mounted for test fit and look. Going to stay with this for now.
 
 
 
 
 
I also want my Airwolf to be flybarless as was the real thing. I have the FBL control and a FBL head for it. The next phase will be to get that installed and tested in the pod-n-boom format first.
Then I will stick it all back into the fuselage and enjoy.
 
 
 
 
      Here's a few photos of my Airwolf in it's current state of completion.
 
 
 
 
 
This heli has been sitting most of the summer of 2011 while I worked on my other projects. Well I finally got back to it later this summer. I did install the Turnigy V-Bar 600 as shown
above. This did not turn out so well. It crashed in about 30 seconds. Not sure why, but I'm sure I had something setup wrong after trying to figure out the bad instructions for the Turnigy V0Bar 600. Thought I had it working correctly on the bench, but I guess not. Anyway, I sold the Turnigy and bought a Microbeast for it. I installed it and put eight flights in the pod-n-boom state (one weekend for me). Then I stuck it back into the fuselage. It now has a small wobble and I don't know why yet. I have one test hover and two fast forward flights on it now. I will keep working on it until I fing the source of the wobble. Below are a few photos of it now as of Oct 29, 2011.
 
 
 
Date 12/25/2013:
Been a long time since I had an update here. Well I have been flying the crap out of this thing. The wobble was just some gain settings in the FBL unit. Just me needing to learn how to tune them. Anyway, I fly this heli all the time, except on real cloudy days. Too hard to see for me. I now fly it in windy conditions and don't even give it a thought. Something I would never do when it was flybarred. This was my first microbeast heli setup, and I must say I love it. It made this heli super fun to fly. I now have two other helis setup with the microbeast.