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Retracts on Freewing or Flightline sold by Motion RC

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  • Retracts on Freewing or Flightline sold by Motion RC

    This post is about Freewing retracts that are installed on Flightline P-38L and Flightline Tigercat. This post is NOT about retracts on Corsair or Spitfire (1.6 m) as they are bigger retracts. Technically speaking P-38L and Tigercat are FlightLine, but as far as I know Freewing and Flightline are the same company. Do any of you have the issue that when you land one retract will not go down, but when you check the retract afterwards it works fine. I will land on 2 instead of 3 wheels, and after scraping my airplane, I will take it to the bench in the club and the retracts work. It happens to me often enough that I decided to write this post. I accidently discovered what probably causes them to fail randomly. I reported it to Motion RC, but I was told I am the only one who has this issue, and no one else reported any issues with these retracts. Here is a link to YouTube video that I made for Motion RC ( At the end of the video it shows that the shaft moves up and down inside of the rectangular nut. This much movement is not normal on a new airplane that was flown only twice. This explains why the retract will sometimes work and sometimes will not work. With this much movement there is hardly any thread to catch inside of the nut. Put a regular nut on a screw and see how much movement you will get. Retracts on my airplanes from Motion RC many times failed to go down and I had to land with 2 instead of 3 wheels, damaging my airplane. I am an engineer in case it matters.

    Is anyone else having similar problems with this retracts.

  • #2
    As far as I can tell, "Flightline" are all prop jobs and "Freewing" are, on the most part, jets (with the exception of a couple of prop planes). I highly doubt that your retract problem has anything to do with the plane being a Freewing or Flightline as I think there will be cases where the same retract unit could be used in both their prop planes and jets. If and when those Freewing prop jobs get a new revised version, I think they'll also likely become Flightline.
    I got my FL P-38 over 4 years ago when it first came out. Although the issue to do with the retracts have not been reported for quite some time (years), in the early days, it was a fairly common thing. At that time, I made a video of this particular "idiosyncrasy". Since I discovered why mine would act in this strange way and implemented what I did in the video, I never had another retract deployment failure. (I kept the plane for another couple of seasons and then sold it.) I'm not sure if this applies to you but you can at least check to see if after a couple of flights, especially if you roll on a bumpy surface, if the tires are pressing hard into the top of the wheels wells. Next time this happens, test it by throwing the switch and pushing down on the strut so as to help the worm drive can get that last mm of travel to trip the end stop sensor. If that makes it work, then that is likely your problem as well. The "problem" appeared to be only when trying to lower the gear and not when trying to retract the gear since there isn't really anything to apply constant pressure on the strut when it's lowered.


    • #3
      Xviper is 100% correct that the most common reason for a retract to not extend is the strut being bent back and causing the traveler (square nut thing on the jack screw) to stop short of hitting the limit switch on the board when retracted. #2 would be some type of excessive friction or force holding the retract back from extension so it over currents and stops.

      Check that your struts are not bent and bend them back straight if they are and clean and apply a bit of white lithium grease on the jack screw now and then and it should greatly reduce gear problems.


      • #4
        FYI…For what it is worth. I just got in my new P-38. I see the factory has placed a washer under the rear tabs of the main servos. This will help prevent what is discussed above….to a degree, anyway.



        • #5
          How do you think raking the gear forward will help with gear not extending?


          • #6
            As discussed above….the problem can be caused by the wheel binding in the well socket. I am assuming that adding washers under the rear tabs will help prevent the wheel from seating too far into the wheel well and getting stuck.

            And/or…The limit switch being missed due to the wheel bottoming out in the well. Raking forward would lower the possibility of bottoming out.

            Like I said…for what it is worth. Just something I noticed.



            • #7