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  Todd's XE285 Build Log - An experiment in "If I can do it, anybody can""
Posted by: kinome79 - 08-24-2018, 08:18 PM - Forum: Build Log - Replies (5)

Hello Mosquito World. Found this build log forum and figured I'd contribute. I've spent a lot of time researching and building... but not enough time networking, so here I am. I also just posted pictures on my build gallery. I'm a year into my build (Purchased after April 2017 flying), and in that time managed to log 210 hrs in my work book... this doesn't include the additional many hours of youtube, research, reading, prep, questions, tool purchase, etc, that's just time actually spent in the presence of the kit actually performing build tasks. Sadly that pace bumps me form a 1-2 year build like I hoped to a 3-4 year build unless I can really step up my game... which I hope to. With my lack of experience and doing it on my own, I'm estimating probably 800 hrs to complete.

Anyway, General information:

KIT:          XE285 - SN: 1308
METHOD:  5 stage build - home garage
OPTIONS: Quick Build
                Customer Pitot
                Large Dash
                Vertical Fin w/ Strobe

BACKGROUND: I'm a 39 year old electrical computer engineer graduate of OSU who got into the hardware maintenance and repair of computer data center equipment. I've been doing that for 13 years. Been following the mosquito since high school, when it was just the Air. My aviation interests began as early as I can remember with non-flying model planes, then ultralights, jets, planes, and helicopters, but remained a dream due to my humble beginnings, no link to the aviation community, and a family that always told me flying was a death wish. I never could shake it though, and at 30 I started taking heli lessons (about 25 hrs towards my PPL currenly), and finally pulled the trigger on the mosquito.

SKILLS: Building skills, almost non-existent. I've never done body work, never painted, never worked with fiberglass, or any resin, never worked with metal, never really built anything much more advanced than plastic models and Ikea furniture, never worked in a factory, never used a drill press, a press, a saw.... what was I thinking. The pro's...  been known to do my own dirtbike and car repairs for small things, carb work, rebuilt top end on a 2 stroke, brake jobs, that kind of thing. I've got a very engineering-based mind, and can understand tech drawings and figure out how things work better than most. A little OCD about some things, so will spend way more time than needed worrying or trying to get things perfect, and will obsess and loose sleep over mistakes. I'm going to have to rely on my neurotic overly obsessed brain and patience to keep me alive on this venture, if it doesn't drive me crazy first.

LOCAL SUPPORT: None currently. I've been an EAA member for a long time, and initially contacted some EAA chapters, followed some meetings, but after 6 months of missing every meeting I intended to go to (work or other schedule issues) I stopped pursuing it. I definitely need to reengage them and start making some friends in the home build industry.

PREP: After placing my order I had to prepare for arrival which meant downsizing my inventory. I sold my daily driver and rusty pickup, and went instead with a new pickup truck for a daily driver. I also sold my old VFR motorcycle which was my first motorcycle I'd had for 15 years, and my MX dirtbike. Got rid of all my older vehicles so I wouldn't have to worry about working on them while trying to build this. Built a spot outside the garage for my recycling/trash bins. Now half my garage was available for the heli. I will have to find a bigger shop before the project is finished, because with the mast on it won't make it out the garage door. Had all my manuals printed up by a print shop, and spend the remainder of time researching the process and what else I might need.

KIT 1 RECEIVED 8/15/2017 - Airframe

Definitely excited and overwhelmed. First I was a little concerned regarding build quality. Some edges didn't line up on the chassis, lots of pits and bubbles in the gel coat edges. Someone was a bit overzealous with a grinder leaving some ground edges I'll have to rebuild and the like. A little more "raw" than I was expecting. I sent pictures off regarding concerning areas (spots where light shined through, or where something seemed crooked), but was reassured everything was fine, and as this is a hand-built item things might not be exact in areas, but that it's all balanced, inspected, and aligned at the factory, and everything else is cosmetic. I guess refining all this body work is half of what the factory paint costs is for. Discussing with the factory at a later fly in I was told it took two people about 2 weeks of solid work to sand/fill the body to make it look nice. Lesson 1 learned.

Starting the gear I quickly learned accurate measuring and drilling in metal is a talent acquired through practice... which I don't have. I had to send the gear to a welder to fill in a few holes I'd mis-measured and/or mis-drilled in the landing gear, but eventually got it together and seemingly straight. I was also shocked at how non-straight things I used to consider straight actually were (even my wood yard stick has a bend in it I never noticed before). The gear paint job isn't the greatest, but looks pretty sharp and got better as I went. I found some of the manual instructions didn't match what I was working on, such as it said to use one type of bolt, but that's not what came in the kit, etc. Also some areas of fiber glass were thicker in areas requiring longer rivets than were supplied. I thought this whole process would be a little more precise and straight forward... I find myself needing to adjust my mind to the whole "custom build" situation, and not letting these things discourage me. I was surprised how quickly my mind went negative when something didn't line up exactly. I found myself going nuts trying to find the right answer to things, it took me a while and some coaching to realize there is no right answer to most of this.... a million ways to skin a helicopter.

I decided to hone my body work skills on the vertical stabilizer, the thought being if I really screw it up I can just buy another one. The Vert had many pot marks and bubbles all along the seams. I started with Bondo, but that slowed down after a curing issue that had me sitting for hours with a pick, picking uncured putty out of all the tiny holes I was originally so proud of filling. After discussing body work with Mike M, he recommended using fiberglass or epoxy instead of using Bondo as that or other types of putty may result in some cracks in the paint over time, especially at bends. I've got me some Vinyl Ester Resin and milled glass... still getting the hang of that, but the vertical stabilizer is coming along and I recently started on the body.

Cold weather slowed the body work (I don't have a climate controlled garage), and now Hot weather has done the same. I don't remember Ohio being either 15 F or 90 F and nowhere in between but that seems to be mainly what we've had for my first build year. It seems every time it was nice out I was out of town on business. I did manage to get my windshield finished, the fuel tank work done, and a little seam filling complete. After the body work is finished I will paint, then attach my gear.

KIT 2 RECEIVED 3/11/2018 - Controls Kit

I ordered this kit as the body work was progressing. John had warned me that without the drive kit there isn't anything I can really install (as almost everything in the controls kit is mounted to the rotor shaft which I don't have yet), but the kit did have plenty to work on. With the arrival of the Controls kit I'm not weather restricted as I've set up a little shop area in a spare bedroom for the metal work. If it's nice out I work on the body in the garage, if not, work on the metal in the spare room.

Bought a Ryobi drill press and miter saw, and a 6 ton press. I still have some problems getting holes straight (even with the press it might be 1/32 of an inch from where I meant the hole to be). Kit 2 is coming along although I lose a lot of time trying to get over the anxiety of messing something up before I finally start a task (something like a week of worry and procrastinating before finally sitting down to do 1 hr of work) but I'm trying to get past that. Collective lever assy is complete, and got my control tubes started.

KIT 3 ORDERED - Drive Kit

I ordered kit three thinking that by the time it arrives I'll be done with all the little things in Kit 2. Last I talked to John I was advised it should arrive by end of August. Several days later I learned of his accident. With John's passing and the heartache felt in the community right now, I'm in no rush, and figured I'd give the gentleman in charge plenty of time to process the grief and challenges this tragedy has brought on before requesting an update. I have plenty to keep me busy, and I know they'll finish up my kit when it's possible, so I will patiently wait. I will check with them on the kit in Sept if I don't hear anything.

So far this has been a troublesome and exciting journey. I've probably aged 10 years this past year with all these new experiences and challenges and worries and frustrations, but I look forward to completing this project, hopefully sooner than later. I'm torn between paying someone to accelerate this project (like hiring a painter), and the desire to do it all myself, regardless of outcome. I'll keep the community posted, and if you see something in my pictures that might end up getting me into some trouble, please let me know.



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  What a good day today was!
Posted by: Casey - 08-24-2018, 02:54 AM - Forum: General Discussion - Replies (17)

Hasn't been too much activity lately so I just though I'd hop on and talk about how exciting today was! I took a make-up flight lesson since I had to miss Saturday's due to an emergency at work, and I'm finally feeling like I'm actually becoming a heli pilot! Today I was able to fly both legs of our trip from the heliport we fly from to Gulf Coast Regional where we did some training without my instructor having to take the controls to keep us from dying!  Tongue

The correlation between the throttle and the collective was kicking my butt when trying to adjust altitude. He would hand me controls and while I do just fine keeping us straight and level, I couldn't maintain altitude, I would roll on throttle and feel like I was pulling up the collective at the same time, but since I still didn't understand how far I needed to pull it up to get the effect I needed I would just end up running the RPM up too high while still losing altitude and my instructor would have to take over and get us back to 500' again haha.

But today I think I finally got the hang of how much throttle to roll as well as how far up to pull the collective to adjust my altitude so I finally felt like I was in full command over the aircraft! It was an amazing feeling!

Of course it was short lived when we got to our destination and he told me to land on the taxi-way and well...still haven't fully mastered the collective yet...I'm still making too small of changes lol, we're overshooting our landing point and I'm still grandma-walking down my power and collective trying to get into a decent glide angle haha, so I still have plenty of work ahead of me, but I was just so happy to at least keep us in the air without assistance for once  Wink

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  xe 285 coolant temp
Posted by: Eblezien - 08-23-2018, 04:34 PM - Forum: Fuel and Engine - Replies (5)

Has anyone had issues with their xe285 (inntec 800) overheating?  If so, what were the weather conditions and coolant temps you had?

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  Replying to messages
Posted by: Daryl - 08-22-2018, 03:58 PM - Forum: General Discussion - Replies (1)

Hi all,

I have seen several complaints about how hard it is to read message threads when the previous messages(s) get included with the response.  By the time three people respond, its a visual nightmare and hard to follow.  The best advice for reducing that clutter is to use the "Quick Reply" feature at the bottom of the page.  Alternatively, the "New Reply" button will also work.  Hitting the "Reply" button at the bottom of the message will cause that message to be included in your response.  There a times when including the message might be useful, but generally it is not needed. 

For reference, here is an image of a message with the "Quick Reply" box and "New Reply" button marked.

I hope this helps.  I do not use Tappatalk, but if anyone would like help with using replies on that app, let me know and I can give it a shot.



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  Setting up your profile
Posted by: Daryl - 08-22-2018, 03:38 PM - Forum: General Discussion - Replies (1)

It was mentioned that it might be nice to have some instructions for setting up your user profile so others will know a little more about you when reading your posts.  You do not have to do this of course, and I recommend you don't provide too much personal information (no phone numbers or addresses).  For me, I use a pseudo birthday when online (identity theft is everywhere, unfortunately).

To get started, open your web browser in your computer and navigate to the Mosquito Forum - http://forum.mosquito-helicopter.info/  if you are not already logged in, please do that now.   Sorry, the images don't show full size so you'll have to click on them to see them better.

You should land on your Portal Page, which look something like this.  To edit your profile, click on the "User CP" link found in the upper left corner (circled here)  

You should now have a screen similar to this. Click on the "Edit Profile" link to access your personal information page:

Here you can enter your birthday (or close approximation) and choose to show the date or just your age, If you own a Mosquito, you can enter your machine's details.  Please enter your location so others will know where are are located.  There's also a place to write a short narrative about yourself - include the who-what-when-where-why of your connection to the Mosquito.  Be sure to click on the "Update Profile" button at the bottom of the page to save your changes

You can also add your Avatar, the little photo icon next to your User name by clicking the "Change Avatar" link

Let me know if you have any questions.


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  Request to members
Posted by: FlyGuy - 08-19-2018, 03:16 AM - Forum: General Discussion - Replies (11)

Mosquito Nation,

Over the past few months we have noticed and seen a few things that have been lacking in the forum. We have seen too many folks join our forum and proceed to post "spam" threads throughout all forum topics except owner/builder specific topics. I have also noticed that there are  a number of owners that do not have the wing by there name which would give owner/builders access to Owners Manuals, ADs, and other owner privileges that can not be accessed without them. I believe this is the reason for the rash of questions that every owner/builder should know but may not have the access that they need. 

I would like to request a few things from you members that will help the Admin. of this Forum to get things ironed out, make it easier to get rid of the spammers more quickly, and help members with questions:

  1. Put information in your profile.
      In many cases there is no information in this area. This lets them and other members know your name, where you are located, and thus makes it easier to find support in your area or even get a chance to see a Mosquito in person. I so dislike calling someone "sdveck25". There is also a Mosquito Owners Map but because very few of our membership supply name, location, and serial number the information is incomplete and that is what all of you want, incomplete information! That serial number is very important. By including it in your profile the wing can be added to your name when all this recent chaos settles.

  2. Lack of participation by many members has come to an all time high. I look at some posts and see that it has been viewed   47 times and yet no one replies to it! Try to help members with questions. I remember when I joined the forum and asked a question. I was great to get a response with information that was usable. But lately many members want information bout will not help others. I have tried to spread information that I have learned but I am starting to draw the like on questions that already have threads or ones that members haven't tried to research at all (did you take training, how much fuel does it hold, or any other question that can easily be answered with the slightest amount of effort). If a person is too lazy to do any research I don't know if I want them flying around in a machine that can kill them or others.

I hope you will help to keep the forum on track and moving forward. Be safe.


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  Space X Parker Solar Probe lift off
Posted by: NatureRecycleFlorida - 08-12-2018, 09:21 PM - Forum: Abstract (not related to Mosquito) - Replies (2)

audio had to be muted some screaming kids destroyed audio Angry but enjoy


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  bent landing gear
Posted by: johngheli - 08-09-2018, 09:19 PM - Forum: General Discussion - Replies (8)

First post! Pulled the trigger and bought a 60 hour XE, went out and got it, trailered to its new home late July.  So heli had just had it's annual done, but I have discovered a few things I need to address.  Like, well the previous owner had one or two rough landings and bent the landing support struts.  Heli now leans to the left 2 or 3 degrees. It was bad enough to require repairs. The repair looks like a downgrade from original design.  Support cables were replaced with like a local hardware fix.  Wire rope wrapped around post eyelets and clamped down without any protection from abrasion at eyelet. The mounting posts are seriously bent.  Also, when airborne one cable becomes loose and has major oscillation.  It's flexing like 6 or 8 inches in the middle.  Bad news.

So, I decided to do the right thing and replace entire assembly. Built the assembly jig.  E-mailed Composite FX with order, going on 2 weeks now, and haven't gotten a response.  Made a couple of calls and (I think it was Dwight I talked to), said to copy him and he'd check on it.  Well so far no response. 

So here's the question, has anyone tried to straighten these tubes?  I can get hardware from Wicks or somewhere, but not the strut tubes.  If they were straightened would they be strong enough?  

Really wanting to fly.  Didn't expect such poor customer support.

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  Highest Hour Mosquito (Any Model)
Posted by: yz125 - 08-09-2018, 12:54 AM - Forum: General Discussion - Replies (4)

If you think your machine has a lot of time on it post the figure here.

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  PAW-CR Servo Gearbox | 90 Degree Gearbox Manufacturer - TQG
Posted by: tahmeddd - 08-08-2018, 12:14 PM - Forum: General Discussion - No Replies

What’s the output torque you need? Or pls tell us the power and the nominated speed of motor.
*The output torque (N.M)=9550x motor power(kw)/ motor speed (rpm)
*1 HP=0.75kw

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