The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Spring 2018 Begins

Beautiful mostly cloudy changing to sunny weather, no real winds to contend with, perfect condtions for first flights with the 10cc gasser Stik.

The Hobby King Sbach was never a great flier but she was a good and fun, and she only got more persnickity after a couple of crash rebuilds. I was flying her today and tossing her around. She got a little bit ahead of me and was heading over towards the guy cutting the grass, so I dumped her. Meh... i'll replace her with something similar and as fun.

Poorly framed, pre crash shot.

Flew her right to the scene of the crash.

Folded right in half.

Thats pretty much all this frame can take... its not worth rebuilding. I will strip the electronics, and put them in a nice new airframe. And with that, a reset of the crash timer!

I had spent a few days tuning the RCGF 10cc engine here at home, and she was running perfectly. At the field however nothing was right... and I spent over an hour retuning it. High end was easy, but low end was freakishly unstable.  If her run up to full throttle was smooth, her idle was too high. I had to work the low endpoints and the low needle up and down. I kept working one then the other and finally found a sweet point. I still don't think she is perfect, but she she performed quite well. I did see a bit of air in the fuel line to the carb... I hate to do it but think I need to pull the lines. I would hate to have to pull the tank and replace the clunk line...  Lastly the gas is old, last fall but with Stable. I wonder if that's playing a role? Its almost gone, will mix up some fresh soon.

And yet, still smilin'!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

First Gasser Engine Tests

Ran up the 10cc Stik this afternoon. She ran up right away, warmed up she ran fine, idle needed some trim adjustment, transitioned smoothly. Will check out the electronics and wing servos next and snug up the cote. She will be airborne soon!

When I get arou d to it I will be doing the same for the 10cc Sukhoi, the 30cc MSX-R and the 26cc Waco, by far my favorites!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spring Ops Begin

Ah, spring has sprung! Took my season starters up for a spin today.

First cycled some batteries in the Sbach foamie.

As always the season and the thumbs start with the Eflight Alpha 450. I went out to a local park where the grass is too tall but I can fly off the dirt on the ball field. A storm front was coming through so the winds started picking up.  Flew a pack, was pretty impressed with myself with all the funky winds and how the bowl of trees changed them. Took the Sbach up and had a blast. It too got a bit blown around. It was easier and more fun to control in those conditions, but then the rain came and I had to call it a day. I broke the prop in the tall grass when she tipped over on rol out. Fun, but not enough. 

Need to tune up the 10ccs and take them out next week!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Lazy Winter

I haven't flown anything all winter. I really haven't done much at all, all winter. My second 10cc Spitfire sits in its unopened box, where it has sat for months now, its servos sitting on top of it. I could get so much done, but just not interested. I don't think I am burned out... Its just been a rotten winter and its detaching me from being outdoors and flying. I look at the box almost everyday, and it sparks nothing.


Friday, December 15, 2017

My VMU-2 Marine Drone

I decided to paint up a cowl for my HK 500 heli as a Marine VMU-2 Drone. It came out pretty amazing!

I sanded down and repaired an old cowl, and covered it in light gray primer. I printed a set of Marine graphics on waterslide decal, and applied them, then covered the entire thing in clear matte.

VMU-2 is a real United States Marine Unmanned Aircraft Squadron.  The centerline graphic is their logo.

Looking forward to flying her!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New Swash, Tail event

I had noticed that the swash plate on the 500 was loose at the center, so ordered a replacement. I installed it today. It looks and works tight and snug.

I spun the bladeless heli up and there was a vibration, wasn't sure where from and then all hell broke loose. It was the tail. Something went wrong and the end result was that the tail feathering shaft was bent 45 degrees, distorting the stanchion that holds the feathering mechanism that attaches to the tail control rod. It broke the rod, stripped the tail belt power take-off gear at the main gear. I had to replace the tail feathering shaft. I bent the stanchion back and replaced the feathering device (the thing that takes the movement from the control rod to the tail shaft). I had to order a new power take-off gear from I didn't take pics, sorry, but it was impressive. No damage to the tail boom, but I will replace the tail blades.

New swash in place.

New left, old right.

Closer view.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Psyching Myself Out

I had a beautiful day, no wind really, even on top of Mt Hudson. I took the Waco 26cc out, and the HobbyKing HK 500 with its BeastX FBL system. I could not have had better conditions. As is common here, I was all alone.

The Waco was as charming as ever. Turns out up high there was a bit of a crosswind, so I working on my approaches and landings, I had to contend with a crosswind behind me that clears as I got closer to the ground, no muss, no fuss and it was fun. On my last roll out she tipped a bit forward and caught her prop, tipped over on to her back, and knocked her rudder loose, ending the day (already fixed). But what fun!

LOVE that sound! She ran perfectly.

Aw, I love my HK 500! I have worked hard and finally had her perfect. The setting were spot on in the programming, the gyro tight, the tracking perfect. I have been practicing on the Phoenix Flight Sim and have confidence there. IRL is the trick... Nice pre-flight photo!

I took a moment before lighting the fires and chanted to myself, "Just fly the little fucker... Just fly her!" My hands stopped shaking, and I felt in control. Pushed the throttle and as she spun up put her into Flight Mode (my normal is zero pitch all across), lifted up into hover, and she was rock solid, just like the big boys. I inched forward, and then started to fly her! I took her out in circles, figure 8, see-saw back and forth, tail in, tail out, and had her in perfect control! After 4 minutes, with another 2 left in the tank, I landed her perfectly, exactly where I wanted her, and shouted out! I jumped up and down! I have done it!  I have done this before, but was always on the edge of who-is-flying-who, but this time I was in complete control. It felt awesome!

Big Smiles! Happiness!

I felt wonderful, and having wanted to focus on getting my basic flight heli skills, have been working on it. I was moving forward! I put another battery in and did it all over again! As I was coming in from my left and began to bring her nose in, she rolled a little to her right and I corrected, my subconscious moving her left, a little gust rolled her a bit more, and I corrected thinking... in my conscious thought she is nose in, in my subconscious thought she is not. Conflict arises, panic rises, conscious thought wins and I roll to correct INCREASING HER ROLL! Subconscious hits HOLD knowing I have lost her, conscious starts the lamenting wails of all the hours and perfect setup about to pretzel into more hours! Anger and bitterness!

I am so mad I can't see straight, and the sun blinds me from seeing the screen, so I barely catch the scene of the crash, and forget to scour for cast off parts.

On the bench. Tail is pretzeled, the belt is cut in two places and I had to walk back out to find the tail rotor. The main shaft is slightly bent so will be replaced, and will check the main feathering shaft. The blades are completely delaminated. HOLD protected the main gear, and luck is mine as the servos are all fine. Not so bad after all, but will take a lot of time to set up again.

Not so happy face...

So that ended the day, as I had only brought the two. In accordance with my agreement with myself I don't count heli crashes now, as every flight is a crash and I would never make progress. I am not counting the tip over of the Waco as she is fine, just a little epoxy on the rudder hinge.

I have ordered the belt, and deconstructed the wreck. Later I will take the main shaft out, rebuild the feathering shaft, and put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

Today I cleaned up, lubed and lit up the ancient Hirobo HDX 500se. I love this heli, but parts are getting harder and harder to get, nothing left from HeliDirect. She was my first non-450 sized heli and I got her for a steal many years ago. She is a flybarred 4S heli. She flew great for years, but over the past couple I have had a problem where she electrically twitches. I think not just in power up, but also at rest, all of her servos are quiet then a sudden destabilizing twitch. It comes in quick irregular succession. For years I have tried isolating it, from grounding the frame, to oiling the crap out of the tail belt (decrease the charge build up). Nothing. The only thing I haven't changed is the motor. I have set her aside because this makes her unflyable, and since I wasn't looking to invest anything in her now, I have a cheap Assan GA 250 MEMS AVCS gyro on her. It doesn't hold her tail well at all now, though she used to (and it has on my other previous flybarred helis, perfectly). My only other Flybarred heli now is an Align Trex 600. It has a Quark gyro, which I love (I used to use Align gyros, but haven't had much luck with them).

She is a beauty.

Her CCPM mechanism is WAY Rube Goldberg in design. Its leverage system allows smaller swash servos to drive the flybar. They are all micro Hitec HS-81MGs. Pretty ingenious, but complex. 

I lit her up today, she tracks perfectly, all the settings have stayed put. She is super responsive, I had her swash pitch set to 12 degrees, and had to turn it down to ~10. Her tail drifts, and oscillates... mixed messages. She doesn't have any slop in her tail. I ran her for a bit and I think she only twitched once! Maybe that gremlin has departed. I will keep running her and see it this twitch thing comes back, and if it doesn't will pick up a new high quality tail gyro.  I fear crashing her since parts replacement is a problem, but my policy is no hanger queens... We'll see how this goes. Too windy today to do much else.