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I had one those interesting landings back in October of 2011 and destroyed my Twist. Well when I got home I resisted the urge to just toss everything, well all the broken bits anyway, in the trash. I usually let a re-kitted model sit for a few days so I don’t feel so bad about losing it before salvaging it for parts. A few days later, I went back and began going through the wreckage. The wing and tail feathers looked perfect, but the fuselage had exploded on impact. I began to remove; perhaps salvage is a better word, all of the usable components like engine, electronics and such from the carnage. I cut the tail section from the fuselage just at the point where the tail and stab meet. I thought about making a plaque with just the tail, sort of like a trophy. I saved the tail section from my Tiger 400 with the same intention. It’s still hanging from a peg on the wall in my shop since March of 2008 when I crashed it, (another uncompleted project). Too many projects, not enough time? Just getting old and lazy? Too attached to things? Take your pick. After salvaging the parts I placed the debris in a garbage bag and waited for “Garbage Pick-Up Day”.

When salvaging parts, don’t forget to have the receiver checked out by the manufacturer. I checked out my Airtronics 92824 receiver and it looked OK to me. But for a small fee and the shipping charges I sent it back to Airtronics with a note saying that the receiver was in a model that had crashed. About a week later the receiver was returned with a note saying that everything checked out OK.

A few days later I was surfing the net. I checked the Horizon Hobbies website; you know just to look at what was available. After all, I had all of those leftover Twist parts. I knew that there was a new Twist on the market but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend $150+ for another one since, there are so many models and just not enough time. That’s when I saw that the fuselage and canopy for the ‘old’ Twist were still available. For about $40 I could have a “new” ”old” Twist so I ordered a new fuselage and canopy. Then I ran out to the garage and rescued the remains before it went to the curb for pickup. After all, you never know what you might need.

The first step was to carefully remove the stab and elevator and the fin and rudder from the piece of fuselage they were still attached to. I was able to accomplish this with a minimum of damage. When the new fuselage arrived and I saw my first challenge, the slot in the fuselage tail is only large enough for the stab, and not the stab with the elevator attached in order to slide it through. Some thought would be needed here. I could either cut and re-hinge the stab and elevator and not alter the fuselage, or elongate the slot in the fuselage and not alter the stab and elevator. If I elongated the slot I could just slide the stab and elevator in as a single assembly into the fuselage, without having to re-hinge them. Further investigation revealed that the elevator originally was in two halves and it was now linked together by a metal joiner. Decision made, elongate the slot and go from there. I carefully elongated the slot and saved the pieces.

I epoxyed the “old” stab and elevator into place after measuring to be sure everything was square and even. Once that assembly was dry I added the fin and rudder. Finally I glued in the two pieces I saved when I enlarged the slot for the stab and elevator back in place. When that dried I masked off the area around the slots with, what else, masking tape. That way I wouldn’t scratch the existing covering. I added some balsa strips to fill in any gaps and sanded them to match with emery board, (you know those little sandpaper sticks your wife uses on her nails). When that was done I applied some putty and sanded again. Then it was just a matter of recovering the area. For that I used the covering I stripped from some of the other parts I saved. Fuselage complete!

I did make two upgrades to my Twist while in the shop. You might want to look into making this first upgrade if you own a Twist. The control rod going from the servo to the rudder was bent; I’ve replaced this rod several times because it was bending. Each time I attributed the bend to a rough landing, but now I wasn’t so sure. Before the crash I had made several very smooth landings. So, just to be on the safe side, I decided to replace the supplied control rods for both the rudder and elevator with 4-40 rods threaded at one end. I think the rods supplied with the kit were metric but they were more like 2-56 rods in diameter than 4-40. This also required getting some 4-40 threaded clevises and making an “L” bend in the rods. More on how to make an “L” bend in a later article.

The second upgrade was even easier. Having a model with a clear or smoke canopy like the Twist just screams for a pilot in the cockpit. I should have had a pilot when I first built the Twist. So the second upgrade was adding a pilot figure. I used a Hangear-9 Sport Pilot figure. I did have to “shave” him down a bit, about ¾ of an inch, to get him to fit under the canopy; he was just too tall and too wide. Perhaps if I had him in my original Twist, he would have kept me from crashing?

Now it was just a matter of putting everything back together. I reinstalled the engine and throttle servo slightly different this time. Next came, the fuel tank, switch charging jack, receiver, battery and finally the landing gear. The Twist will fly again.

Fly Smart, Fly Safe, Larry Dudkowski