The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Super Cub Crunch

It was a good day at BMF! The winds were persnickety, calm one moment, blustery the next, from the east one moment, the south the next.

I flew the Stearman and and Cornell, and even got the new Super Cub to fly. The rightish thrust vector solved the loop and roll problem, but she proved a twitchy flyer. As I flew her I found she still had a left roll tendency and had to trim in full right to compensate. Once I did that she flew well. I took her up again later and she threw herself nose in from 3 ft. Changed the prop and fixed the gear, she was otherwise fine. Took her up again later and she was super twitchy. Dropped to lower rates and she was hard to control. Took her back to full rates and toodled around a bit more, and she was still twitchy in the wind, but flew fine. I tried lower rates again and she became uncontrollable in the wind. I switched back to high rate but it was too late and she slammed nose in... She's repairable, but its going to take awhile.

I enjoyed the company of Ray, Jerry, Ron, Joe and the newly wed Kenny, with whom I had a cigar to celebrate! The weather is going to deteriorate over the next few days, so I don't expect much flying. I will likely work on the Super Cub again!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pirate Squadron on a Piratey day!


Getting more comfortable with the Cornell and the Stearman. Flew them both several times today and landed sweet every time. I realized I have been flying 3S 3300 mAh batteries in the Cornell, when the stock setup calls for around 2200 mAh. I have had no problem with the 3300s, but flying 2200s would free up the 3 (soon to be 5) 3300s for the Stearman, and I have 5 of the 2200s (one is actually a 2650) batteries for the Cornell. So I flew the Cornell exclusively on the 2200's today with no issues! Great! Time tested today; on landing after 10 minutes of flight, she ran another 7 minutes on the ground at a bit more than half throttle, where I fly her, on the 2200s. So I bumped her timer to 15 minutes. Later flights that worked just fine, coming in with plenty of bingo amps. I remain amazed at how beautifully the Eflte PT-19 flies, from graceful liftoff, through flight, to landing on rails... why did they ever discontinue her?

Almost lost the Cornell today. Doing touch and goes, when taking off a strong crosswind gust lifted her right wing. I compensated, but she started a hard left turn and was flying right at me. Stayed cool, she passed to my right by a good margin and struggled in what was now a strong tailwind. Structures coming up, stayed with her, got her up past them, waffling, and powered through over the trees. Regained full control (was just trying to keep up at this point) and she flew the rest of the pack fine! Damn near pissed myself... but proud my skills stayed with me and I remembered to fly the plane through this pucker.

Everything flew well today, though I lost my mind flying the Trojan and busted the wing. I was screwing around right over the runway when she was flying weird to begin with. Controllable, but I had full left trim in because of that already thrice repaired wing. When I got in this evening I put the new one on. In that crash I cremated the last of the 3 blade stock props, so I have to wait for the Master Airscrew ones I ordered last week to come in,.

Flew the Piratey flag over the field today to give the curmudgeons something to complain about. It actually looks pretty rad!

UPDATE 8/29/11 @ 2200hrs: Hoping its not a stock mistake! I found a new Elite PT-19 Cornell at SRI Hobbies in Louisville at the $70 closeout price. They charged me $31 oversize fee an $11 for Priority shipping, but hey, if I have it coming for real its a bargain!!!
UPDATE UPDATE 9/1/11@1612hrs: Crap... of course it was an inventory joy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So, you're mad...

A friend posted this on Facebook, and while its got nothing to do with RC it bears posting after how bent out of shape some constantly angry people had gotten over what they percieve as my calling them out in my post 12 Angry Men.  This cartoon was originally posted here and is way too apropo to pass up! I got off at Level 2...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Toolin' about

It started a a vid of me doing elevator's with my Alpha Sport 450, but the best ones were too high to be seen well, as to elevator a trainer there has to be a good headwind and that's where the wind was. After editing out what wasn't really clear due to the altitude, here's what's left. A couple minutes of me having fun toolin' about! Can you recognize the soundtrack (until Youtube pulls the audio)? Enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

4 outta 5 ain't bad!

Today I started early, flying the Trojan, the Sopwith, the Stearman, the Cornell, and tried to maiden the Super Cub. They all flew marvelously, except the Super Cub.

She would roll hard right, and nose up in a loop immediately after takeoff. I think its a bad torque roll. Every single time, 'cause you see, if you keep doing the same thing over and over again things don't change... I ended up spending a couple of hours rebuilding the wing and firewall as she isn't very sturdy. She did it one last time, broke her prop. I accidentally throttled up and the motor shook itself free of the airplane. Damn. I'll rebuild the broken parts, including resetting the wing (a cracked spar). I think I'll try a right cant to the thust vector and see if that exorcises this recent voodoo. She is soooo pretty... I know once I solve this problem she will be sweet!

 I flew the Trojan several times, on the last flight I flipped her inverse a little low, which would have been fine if she climbed well inverted. She doesn't, and she dips when I roll her back up, this time right into the ground. Cracked wing (the old one, already beat up) and trashed her prop. That was it! Sturdy little bugger. Found her gear down, cockpit ejected, sitting pretty.

I also flew the Sopwith a couple of flights. She is so dainty. She struggles on the ground but once she breaks free she flies so gracefully and with such beauty! She lands like a child doing somersaults as she just can't deal with the terrain. At least she handles it well!

The Stearman flew marvelously! The first flight my heart was pounding and I held my breath in turns as that would be when she would spin the spin of death. But she never even hinted departing stable flight, and I just had a ball after that first nervous flight! She makes a wicked cool sound in the air, and is something else to see flying. I even managed to land perfectly every time! Wicked fun!

It was with a little apprehension, but a heckuva lot of determination that I rolled out the Cornell to the flightline. She kept getting tripped up with the turf. I got her running off and pulled back a bit more on the stick, and she lifted gracefully into the air! On rails! I took her to altitude and trimmed her a bit, and she was like the dream I have had again and again. She flew perfectly with excellent manners, predictable and stable, fast, slow, glides forever and stalls only with difficulty! On landing she comes in sweet to a nice controlled flare, even with a cross wind, and sets right down. I was thrilled! She flew consistently again and again, and finally I set her aside and counted myself very lucky. I need to tighten up her cote on the wing a little, but other than that she is primo. I am glad that Bobby got to see her fly today, after the craziness of Cornell #3.

I'll be away from flying this weekend doin' family stuff! Can't wait until I can get back and fly some more!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PowerlineHobbies-Green RC Models Super Cub

After completing the Cornell this morning, I set about building the Powerline Hobbies-Green RC Models Super Cub. There was no manual, really, just a build video. I did the best I could. It was rather straight forward, really, just not sure which screws went where.  I made one mistake, missing putting the tail wheel assembly together before I put the tail feathers on, but it worked out. I did change the aileron servo to a spare EXI D213f as the stock one didn't center well. The red wing struts didn't fit, being too long, and one side broke (the black shrink wrap over CA repair. I decided not to cote over it).  I took an AR6100 from one of my heli's and installed it. The quality of the kit is good, very good for the price I got it for all up! The pics aren't so good... it was a bit dark for pics in the workshop. I had fun adding stickers!

She looks really, really good! She is very light weight, but the landing gear are sturdy.

Check out the very cool articulated and spring levered tail gear.

I'm looking forward to flying her tomorrow!

Well, that's a pleasant surprise!

After breakfast (and some couch napping) this morning, I waddled up to my workshop and this happened...

The new fuse had arrived over a week ago, I think, and I had repaired the minor damage to the wing. I started with recoting the wing section, and before I realized what was happening, Cornell #4 appeared over a couple of hours! The tail feathers are from Cornell #1, the cowl from Cornells #2 and 3, the wing from Cornell #3, the motor and ESC from Cornell #1, as is one of the servos, the rudder one. I changed the elevator servo to an EXI D213f metal gear servo, as the rudder servo is. The TP SG90 that was on the elevator was fine, but I still don't know what happened to Cornell #3. I found that the elevator rubbed hard on the new fuse and had to grind out some clearance, and there is a little more friction in the control rod tube than I would like, but I slipped some silicone lube down both tubes and loosened things up a bit. I did what I could to straighten out the control rod to control horn geometry a bit. For all intents and purposes, she is essentially a new Cornell! All in all I think she'll be okay this time. In these pics I have an APC 10x6e prop. I decided to change it to one of the stock 10x7e props. I moved the pilot to the front cockpit, to take some of the bad karma off her. You should know I did all this while in my boxers!

The new batteries come today too! 3000 mAh 3S 30C Sky Lipo's from Hobbypartz. This brings me back up to 3 for the Stearman and the Cornell!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sopwith Rocks! Stearman Rolls!

I took the newly built Tiny Sopwith up today, after some hemming and hawing trying to work up the courage.

She had power, but struggled with the terrain. She had trouble getting around, and would twist left, ground looping. I finally found some flatter ground and a good headwind and she took off easily! She is very touchy. I quickly found, however, that I had too much expo (35%) and too little rate. I clicked to high rates and regained some control, but marginally, and I ended up in bringing her down in a controlled crash. Her landing gear popped off, but that was it! Took her to the bench, reattached the gear, changed the rates and dropped the expo. Took off again sweet and she flew wonderfully in a light breeze. She is very easy to fly but can be unforgiving if my attention wanders. I landed her like I land the Stearman: gear touched in a flare, but her gear stuck and she went ass over tea kettle! Not wanting to push my luck I put her away for the day, but I am very happy with her!

I also took the Stearman up twice. On the first flight I had to trim in a lot of nose up; the mechanical nose down I had in seemed unnecessary. Once I had her tuned up, she flew marvelously! Brought her in for her carthwheel landing. Took out the mechanical nose down in the elevator, and took off again. Holy crap! She flew severely tail heavy! Got her under control and trimmed in a lot of nose down, and got her under control. Landed her once with another carthwheel, and took off again. This time I landed spot on! Back in love with her again! I did find that in one of the cartwheels I broke a wing securing tab again, but that's and easy fix! Can't wait for the 2 extra 3S 3000 mAh batteries I ordered to come in.

I will take tomorrow off and work on that tab, rebuild the Cornell with her "new" wing, and new fuse. She should fly like she did when I first flew her! I also want to build the PowerlineHobbies-Green RC Models Piper Cub!

Kenny Chandler's Seagull Edge 540

Kenny Chandler has been biting at the bit to fly his Seagull Edge 540, and today he and Greg spent time tuning it up. Greg took it up first, then Kenny flew it several time. He did an awesome job with the build and the flying!

Kenny and Greg working it up.

Kenny after his first flight today!

Sweet plane, proud pilot!

Unfortunately, and much to his chagrin, he was trouble shooting motor problems when it struck again at the worst possible moment. As he was finishing his downwind leg and about to turn to base the motor quit. This plane does not do well without power and tip stalls in turns fast. He was trapped. The trees were coming up, he could not climb, and it would be a sharp turn. The plane chose for him and started to turn left, away from the runway. Running out of altitude, she stalled. He got the nose up and got her leveled out so she hit the ground flat, but hard. Her gear sheared off and her wings bounced down hard enough to bend the wing tube and crack the fuse along the wing slots. All repairable, but Kenny was dying... You saved her, Kenny, and she is fixable! 

PowerlineHobbies-Green RC Models Tiny Sopwith

Last night I put the Green RC Tiny Sopwith together. I had expected this to be a "bolt the wheels on, install the receiver and be done with it" build, but the scale control surface "ropes" were a challenge, and in figuring it out I screwed it up. I managed to solve the problems I created and solved other problems in doing so, but she exhausted me.

In general she is a thing of beauty, hands down my most beautiful airplane for all her scale parts. She is quite small, and since her wing does not detach once installed, getting to the innards proved very challenging. God forbid I should ever have to change a servo... they are buried inside and I am not sure how I would get to them. I don't know why they made to wing a permanent attachment. The underside wing bolt suggests it isn't but I could remove that bolt and nothing would change. That wing isn't going anywhere...

They used string for the control rods to keep things scale. I wish they had used the same plastic coated rove wire they used for the guy wires... The design requires string  attached to tiny springs attached to snap hooks which then attache to balsa control horns (yes, I broke one trying to get the snap hook off). The string was just a touch short for me when I tried to weave the string through the spring and snap hook as shown in the video build manual, and then it wasn't snug enough. I could also tell getting the pull-pull system snug was going to be next to impossible. I ended up with too much play in the rudder and too little string. I ended up replacing the string in the rudder pull-pull system with floral wire, into which I did manage to incorporate the spring. Snug, balanced and effective! In the photo above you can see the string as I fished the wire through. The snap hooks inside the fuse connected to the servos were buried inside. I used the string to pull it up, attached the wire, and pulled the wire back down, then cut the string. In doing this I accidentally pulled one of the elevator strings out... acutally all of them... and ended up having to use the wire to fish the strings back through. I didn't want to spend hours trying to set the whole thing up with wires... In the end I used double half-hitch sliding knots on the string for the elevators and was able to get everything balanced, centered and snug, then CA'd the knots and string to secure it in place. Works great! No spring on the elevator, though, which is good, as I lost one somehow.

Guy wires for the horizontal and vertical stabs and the rudder control wires.

Under and side view.

Top view. The elevator strings came out nice!

The cowl is made of a soft rubbery foam material that seems indestructible, except for the plastic mock cylinders. I suspect I will break it.

The scale wheels and guy wires.

A thing of beauty, which I am now totally scared to fly...

Trusty Trojan

Simply fun! Lots and lots of fun!

I took my Airfield 800mm T28 Trojan out to BMF yesterday with her "new" wheels, and wow, what a blast. I figured a couple of things out.

She wants to roll left on takeoff. Now that I expect that ain't no thing.

She wants 11.1V 3S, not a 2S battery. She still struggled with takeoff using the 2S, and those batteries came back just drained. I created an adapter for the JST to EC3 connector and used Cubby's 3S 1000 mAh batteries and she took off like the great airplane she is. The batteries came back warm, but not hot. She flew very stable and with enough power to go vertical! I had a spell of voodoo where instead of looping she would start a loop then roll like a football. All of the sudden that went away. Since then she had flown marvelously, and boy is she fast! Last night I changed the ESC connectors to EC3.

The ESC wasn't getting quite enough ventilation so I cut a ventilation hole in the underside of the aft fuse to draw air through, and that cooled things down considerably.

The larger wheels and the slightly nose up attitude are working quite well. With the extra power she takes off at about half throttle and lifts off with a much shorter roll out.

Once up she cruises fast at half throttle!

She is now one of my favorites!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Big Wheel for Little Boy

The small wheels on the Airfield T-28 Trojan created issues that I tried to overcome with a foam runway. They were teeny and the prop had only 1/4" clearance. The foam runway would work, but it takes time to deploy it and I would need more of it. I thought I would try putting the old Eflite Alpha 450 wheels on it. I purchased a Parkzone Trojan nose wheel, not because it was a Trojan, but because it's what the hobby shop had up in Meridian and I needed the wire. I cut the wire to shorten it and bent it to take the wheel. I drilled out the nose gear holder in the fuse and the steering horn to fit. Its a touch tall, but I sort of wanted a little nose up. The main gear are the original wire, but the tires are from the Alpha, and they barely fit. I won't be surprised if I lose one! Can't wait to see if this helps. I checked the CG and its fine, and I don't think I've added much weight overall.

Out with the old tiny wheels, in with the new big wheels!

With these bigger wheels I may be able to take off from the grass, especially now that the prop clears the ground quite well.

Lookin' good! A little nose up attitude.

Trying to take off from the foam runway lead to a stall which lead to a broken wing... It looks horrible. It broke clean across the wing and aileron as if someone took scissors to it.

Hopefully she will fly fine with her big wheels, and get off the ground without too much drama!

The UPS Man Cameth

Here's what the UPS Man brought me! I will be working on these this week!

The new Cornell fuse, the JR MN48 servo I need for the rudder on the Stearman (I think I stripped the servo on the Stearman putting it in the car last time...), the Powerline Hobbies Tiny Sopwith and Piper Cub!

Nice big box.

Geez, any more ARF and the prop would have been spinning!

Very scale!

The Piper Cub

Nice looking plane. Very simple design and build. It has some nice chubby tires! I think she will be fun!

More to follow!