Multiplex Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter

Multiplex Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter

Current Power Setup

  • Motor: Included Permax BL-O 3530-1100, 1100Kv, 78g
  • ESC: Included Mpx MULTI cont BL-40 40A
  • Prop: Graupner 12×6 e-prop
  • Spinner: Great Planes 1.75″ white nylon w/aluminum backplate
  • Batteries: Zippy Compact 3S 2200mAh 25C, 155g

Previous Power Setup

  • Prop: Included 11×5.5 (APC-like)
  • Spinner: Included 1-3/4″ (junk!)

Current Radio Gear

  • Transmitter: Spektrum DX18 G1 (Jumplink to Programming)
  • Receiver: Spektrum AR9020 Rx with 2 remotes
  • Servos: Included Mpx MS-12016 (HS-55 equiv per Tanner of Hitec)

Current Specs

  • Wingspan: 49.2″ or 1250mm
  • AUW: TBD
  • CG: 2-1/4″ or 58mm
  • Flight Time: 7.5 minutes (to 3.5-3.8V/cell)

PDF Manuals, Specs and Instructions

Prebuild
I went through everything with a fine tooth comb, as I do with all new planes. I cut slots in the foam in front of each servo horn screw and removed the horns, rods and (E-Z) connectors. I found several loose screws with no thread-lock. One of the flap hinge rods was glued in at an angle so the flap stuck up above the wing. Both flaps and ailerons touched each other and had clear tape over the surface between them and was just cut with no clearance. All wing control surfaces rubbed at the inner hinge joint. The flap servo pockets required additional clearance for horns/rods at full flaps.

Battery Hatch Mod
Placement of the flight battery in the Multiplex Pilatus is somewhat of a pain because the battery compartment is set back in the fuselage and under the cockpit windshield. Some folks have installed an aftermarket plywood battery sled or tray system but the Multiplex Pilatus is already a porker with weight. I modified the fuselage and made a larger removable battery hatch.

Click for: Battery Hatch Mod on Multiplex Pilatus

Misc Mods
I went with an ESC pocket as shown by some in the Pilatus thread. I used a short servo extension on the throttle lead with the Rx on the shelf forward of the rear hatch (see Receiver section below for photos). I created a scale antenna mast out of plastic from a Q-Tip swab. Windscreen support is just a strip of white tape/decal. I painted the flat black in front of the windscreen for a more scale look. Being that I don’t need to disassemble the Pilatus for transport, I replaced the wing strut R-pins with the same bolts as the other end. I plan on painting or covering the dark CF wing struts with white.

1. Misc Mods - ESC pocket
1. Misc Mods – ESC pocket
2. Misc Mods - ESC glued in pocket
2. Misc Mods – ESC glued in pocket
3. Misc Mods - Graupner 12x6 e-prop and Great Planes spinner
3. Misc Mods – Graupner 12×6 e-prop and Great Planes spinner

New: Fixed Slats or Slots Mod
I’ve had my eye on the Eflite Timber 1.5m fixed slats ever since it was announced. So I purchased a set and installed them on the Mpx Pilatus. Installation was fairly straightforward, just lined them up on the leading edge of each wing after trimming to length and glued them down.

As far as the Timber slats fitting the shape of the Mpx Pilatus wing, it appears the Timber has a more aggressive airfoil so the slat leading edge is slightly higher on the Pilatus. Though this may affect overall lift coefficient, there did not appear to be any negative affects.

Re-maiden with Fixed Slats
Fixed slats was definitely noticeable on the Mpx Pilatus. On the first, the Pilatus ballooned right after liftoff just like it does in the air at a good speed while dropping the flaps with no elevator compensation. I had to retrim the elevator 5 to 6 clicks. I would equate the Pilatus with fixed slats to lowering the flaps halfway but without the tail surfaces being affected by less airflow from being blocked by the flaps. The tail surfaces retain all authority, unlike with flaps. I didn’t notice much difference on the ground and takeoff with the slats. Flaps still work and make it leap off the ground quicker and still help in landing short. The only drawback I have found so far is the Pilatus drops considerably while inverted and requires much more elevator.

Still thinking about modifying the underside of the wing tips to create Horner style wing tips. All of these mods in a much lighter balsa Pilatus would be incredible… or better yet, if someone produced a balsa version of the Chris Heintz-designed Zenith Air STOL CH 750!

Tundra Wheels
Flyzone Beaver “Island Wings” Tundra Wheels are perfect for the Multiplex Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. No mods required, same size axles, no interference, and still plenty of room for the locking collar. My stock Mpx wheels weigh 10g each and the Flyzone Beaver Tundra wheels weigh 22g each. Note: Tower’s description may say 2.5″ but they are actually 3.5″ or 90mm in diameter per the Flyzone Beaver “Island Wings” manual.

1. Tundra Wheels - Flyzone tundra wheel (overexposed to show detail)
1. Tundra Wheels – Flyzone tundra wheel (overexposed to show detail)
2. Tundra Wheels - Flyzone wheel and stock wheel
2. Tundra Wheels – Flyzone wheel and stock wheel
3. Tundra Wheels - Stock wheel and Flyzone wheel on LG
3. Tundra Wheels – Stock wheel and Flyzone wheel on LG
4. Tundra Wheels - Flyzone wheel clearance
4. Tundra Wheels – Flyzone wheel clearance

Landing Gear Mods
The landing gear spring struts required major deburring. The top part of the strut wouldn’t slide up and down, and was like a press-fit. I’ve read all about the landing gear problems and wonder if it’s because of this. With my maiden (and no flaps), I learned this plane lands fairly smooth. The park that I fly at mostly has tough Bermuda grass and is somewhat bumpy. The big tundra wheels help smooth it out. Time will tell but I do have a stock of CF rods and tubes if needed.

Landing Gear Update: On less-than-perfect landings, the Multiplex Pilatus bounces around a lot. If you’re not lined up straight and slacking on the rudder, the suspension allows the Pilatus to rock side-to-side, sometimes scraping the wing tips. So I installed suspension limiting devices on the struts which cured the excessive rocking.

Receiver
I mounted the AR9020 Rx flat on the rear floor just forward of the opening in front of the servos. Only the throttle required a short extension. When the Rx is mounted flat, you can only see the pins through the hatch so I printed a pin-out sheet and taped it to the back of the hatch for reference when needed. Since the rear hatch magnets were pilfered for the new battery hatch, I just put a small dab of Stik-n-Seal in the rear seam of the hatch. A swipe of an Exacto blade will open ‘er up easily enough.

1. Receiver - Spektrum AR9020 Rx and pinout
1. Receiver – Spektrum AR9020 Rx and pinout
2. Receiver - Spektrum remote Rx, front
2. Receiver – Spektrum remote Rx, front
3. Receiver - Spektrum remote Rx, rear
3. Receiver – Spektrum remote Rx, rear

DX18 Tx Programming
I have the recommended elevator compensation mix plus two additional “trim” mixes; one to adjust elevator compensation in each flap position, and another to adjust elevator compensation in each flap position relative to throttle.

Flap Setup

  • FM1: -35% Flaps(No Flaps), 0% Elev
  • FM2: 50% Flaps, 40% Elev
  • FM3: 100% Flaps, 65% Elev

Note: Elev percentages don’t include Trim Mixes of 0-10%.

ELEV>Flap Trim Mix: I have my flaps setup with a small amount of down elevator mix to compensate for unwanted ballooning. This is the typical mix in Flap Settings but I’m using FMode as the switch. While in flap position 1, I have a mix on FM2 that adds the left trimmer to the elevator so I can “trim” it up or down. And while in flap position 2, I have a second mix that does the same thing but on FM3 so the adjustments are independent.

THR>ELEV Trim Mix: I also have a throttle-to-elevator Curve mix setup on a separate switch, which when turned on increases flap mix elevator compensation in relation to the throttle. This reduces ballooning primarily with full flaps. Reference: PZ Sport Cub S2 Flap Setup – Part 2 Radio Setup & Part 3 Flying

Battery
After much deliberation on battery size, I ended up going with three Zippy Compact 2200mAh 3S 25C at a only 155g each with connectors and wires, which is the same weight or less than most 1800mAh 3S batteries. With maiden of both plane and batteries, I got roughly 8 minutes of easy flying. I usually auto-cycle new batteries 3 times on my iCharger 308Duo but didn’t with these Zippy’s. After the batteries get broken-in and I get my chops with the plane, I’m guessing I’ll get something closer to 7-minutes. So far I haven’t noticed any issues with the low 25C rating but I’ll be keeping an eye out for sag, high temp, puffing, etc.

1. Battery - Zippy Compact LiPo in tray
1. Battery – Zippy Compact LiPo in tray

Where these batteries sit in the fuse, even with my extended battery hatch, I decided to make pull tabs on the batteries for easier removal. The battery tabs are just light high-strength tape attached to the battery under the velcro. I’ve done this before and it works well. Strapping or fiber-reinforced tape also works well.

2. Battery - Pull tab
2. Battery – Pull tab
3. Battery - Pull tab close up
3. Battery – Pull tab close up

Close-ups, Feedback and Reviews
To be more mobile friendly, photos on TazRC are limited in size. I would be happy to post any close-up photos on request. Just leave a comment below. Also, feel free to leave your feedback or personal review on the Multiplex Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. Registration not required.

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6 Comments on “Multiplex Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter

  1. I just broke a lg upper, will check for smoothness (I heard about them breaking and ordered a pair) and may put some Vaseline on them too -it probably wont rot the plastic- I fly on/off grass and haven’t had the side to side tipping, maybe the male/female lg parts are a somewhat interference fit to slow that down -$20 a pop for a bag of lg parts , I hope to not break stuff often

  2. Fortunately I haven’t broken a strut since opening up the bore to allow freer movement.

  3. I am about to start building my PC-6.
    What did you use to limit the travel on the landing gear? It looks like some thin tubing.

  4. Hi Richard. On the struts over the springs, I used expandable braided sleeving–the kind that looks like cloth. It was probably from an old tube type television or some other older electronics that I took apart years ago. Good luck with your build!

  5. Hi there. I have taken on board all comments on the landing gear. I replaced the plastic piston with a 450 heli main shaft cut 8mm longer. Increased the depth of the bore on the lower strut by about the same. I then attached a light brass tube over the lower strut then rebuilt. Very strong and looks great. The front can opt mod is on the cards now.

    Your article is great so many thanks
    Regards
    David Priday (Scotland)

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