AMR Trainer 26

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Awaiting building season

I had done plenty of modifications and repairs on my airplanes but this was my first kit. I came across this AMR Trainer 26 for sale on a local forum; it had been started (most of the fuselage was complete), which was not ideal. But it was a reasonable price, is made in Canada by a reputable company, and was a straightforward first build - all positives. It was my 2014/2015 winter hobby project; now it's all done and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Upper Canada Fun Fly @ ARCC 2015 - 06

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Flight statistics

Flight time: 2h 04m
Takeoffs: 14
Landings: 14

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Wingspan: 2146 mm (84.5")
Length: 1676 mm (66")
Weight: TBD (5.5 to 5.9 kg (12 to 13 lbs) specified)
Powerplant: DLE 30*
Receiver: R617FS
Receiver battery: 6.6V 2500 mAH A123
Ignition battery: 6.6V 2500 mAH A123
Aileron servos: Hitec 645MS
Elevator servos: Hitec 225BB
Throttle servo: Hitec 425BB
Rudder servo (pull/pull): Hitec 645MS

The engine went to my RC Guys Cessna 150 Aerobat in 2015. The DLE 20 will go in this airframe.

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Flight experiences

2015-04-19 Maiden flight. The best way to summarize it is, "All's well that ends well."

The plane taxied well and responded well to rudder-controlled steering on the ground. In position facing into a mild headwind it took off in 50 to 75 feet at about half throttle in a nice level attitude - just floated off the ground.

In the air, things started to get hairy. When banking for the first turn, the low rates I had selected based on the manual didn't give me enough aileron authority... so I switched to high rate. The tail tended to drop - a lot - in turns. And even though the plane is perfectly balanced according to spec it flew like it was tail-heavy. I was flying a downwind leg on the third circuit working on the trim with a buddy at about 3 mistakes high when a small shiny object detached itself from the front of the plane - the spinner. As high as it was I decided to bring the plane in. On the crosswind leg there was a change in the engine note - a kind of rattling started. And on final, still descending and moving much too fast, the engine quit and I saw that the prop had gone too.

I ran out of runway but managed to set it down in the muddy outfield in one piece - from what I can see there is no damage to the airframe (that's the "ends well" part but I will be going over it thoroughly). But the single bolt prop adapter I had installed on this engine sheared all four of its bolts and disappeared. We walked the field but did not find it.

After a lot of research I found the cause - I had cut the crankshaft nut too long, preventing the prop adapter from mating flush with the hub. Valley View RC very kindly sent me another adapter.
2015-07-23 Yes, it took a while before I had the time to fix the plane up, but today was the re-maiden flight. I needed 38 clicks of left aileron to keep the plane from banking to the right and luckily a fellow club member was handy to help with the trim; after we got that dialed in the flights were pretty good, except for the plane's disconcerting habit of tilting up onto the starboard main wheel before lifting off. And the DLE-30 was 4-stroking a bit too.
2015-07-25 Four flights today, dialing in the throws and the throttle curve. Really enjoying this plane.
2015-08-28 I found the cause of at least PART of the excessive aileron trim - a few days ago I taped long sticks to the wingtips and saw that the port wing does not have nearly the washout that the starboard wing does. My wife and I straightened it out; I stood at the port wingtip and twisted it counter-clockwise until wrinkles appeared and she tightened up the wrinkles with the heat gun.

Back to the field today, and the 38 clicks of aileron are now only (!) 27 clicks. But the right-wheel takeoffs are gone and the plane is flying well. I closed the low needle 1/16 of a turn and most of the 4-stroking is gone.

I noticed that the ground steering was not responding as I had hoped; turns out that one of the springs had stretched. While I was attempting to tighten the spring it broke, so I decided to try a castering tailwheel. A few taxi tests showed a big improvement in ground handling.
2015-08-30 Back at the field for a few flights. Very slow passes several mistakes high - this plane has no nasty tendencies at low speeds and will happily mush along nose-high.

The landings are coming together. Reduce speed on the downwind leg and begin to lose a little altitude. On final, drop the throttle to two or three clicks above idle. When over the runway and low enough, cut the throttle and flair. And when the main gear touches, release the elevator.

The castering tailwheel is working well. Bursts of throttle work well at low speed; at mid to high ground speed, airflow over the rudder is plenty. The only difference I find is that when entering the pits at the end of a flight, I have to start my turn a little sooner.
2015-09-20 First flights with castering tailwheel in crosswind (10-15 km/h). Handled with no problems.

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All photos

Vendor page

Airplane manual (dated 2010-01-10, this is the most accurate electronic copy available for my version of the kit)

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