The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hobby King ASK 2100 Glider

Clearly its not my Art Tech Diamond 2500... I killed that, the first plane I have ever demolished. Today I maidened my Hobby King ASK 2100. Its smaller, 2M power glider. The power is adequate using a 25 amp ESC and a 3S 2200 battery. She arrived in an unmarked box from Hobby King's USA warehouse. Unboxing I found there are no instructions, and like everyone else's, the rudder was broken off the airframe. I used CA hinges with foam safe CA, no problem. Despite the lack of instructions she went together quite easily. I like the wing setup, very easy to install and easy to dismantle for portage. In flight I found the aft part canted out from the airframe. I used packing tape to keep it snug. There were two ginormous lead weights, not sure what they are for, but they weren't needed. She has an aluminum spar that is rather heavy. replacing it is a goal, but it has a dihedral that makes using CF tube difficult. The airframe is slightly torqued so that the vertical stabilizer is a smidge off to the left of center. The elevator piece installs snugly with one screw and two posts. The connection to the elevator control wire is very thin, and it is lead into the elevator control horn and stays quite secure.

The conditions were cold, gusty with light winds. She powered up and flew easily out of my hand stable into a brisk gust. She climbed easily. Her frame is not very strong so she twisted out of control from time to time. I can see her wings twist on the fuse as she spins into un-commanded turns in a good wind. the wing tips flex a lot, a problem because that's where the ailerons are. In glide she is heavy, despite good CG she needs to nose down or she stalls. She also tip stalls very suddenly and hard, and takes a lot of altitude to recover, as some others have reported. She doesn't like to fly slow and she won't stay up long. I think its all because she is too heavy, and that damn aluminum spar is a big part. I think too she needs more chord. Despite all of this she was a pleasure to fly, I just spent a lot more time climbing to altitude than I did with the 2500.

I set her up with spoilerons, instead of my usual flaperons. This was really a good technique. She made her approaches floating like most gilders, even with a brisk head wind. I pulled out the spoilerons and her descent rate increased in a sweet and controlled manner. She landed flawlessly. I did stall her a couple times at altitude, not enough to recover completely, so she landed hard. No damage, pretty tough plane.

The 2500 is a big, big plane, but the price came down to about $159 at Nitroplanes... I would recommend it over this plane. I kept wishing the ASK 2100 was my Art Tech 2500.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flying Wind

As in, my Great Planes Cosmic Wind being maidened on a windy day at BMF. I took her out to the field, and finally put in a battery and checked CG. It seemed really forward so I put an ounce aft to balance it. First flight was pretty tame for a maiden, some quick trimming. She flew fantastic! She needed a little left trim, a bit of P-factor compensation. It turned out she didn't need so much weight and on the second flight I flew her with only 1/2 oz a bit more forward. This time she was magic! Fast, extremely agile (ended up tuning the rates down to 40, 60 and 100% with 25 expo all across, flew her entirely on low rates and she still danced). She floats on landing, and has tame stall characteristics. With the 350 watt motor with the 8x8 prop, she screams, has really good vertical, and even with low rates she is very acrobatic. On landing she will float, and settles cleanly. I flew her in 10-15 mph winds with some brisk intermittent cross winds, and she handled them fine. The white decals look great and contrast well with the all red bottom. Visibility would increase if I put more on, especially the other wing, but I love the slick clean red fuse. I will be shiny-ing her up with some car wax, and she will be sweeter! What a great pleasure to fly, she is now one of my favs and will likely be with me on every trip out! Pics with my Eflite Pulse XT 25e. Awesome day of windy flying!

Kenny's "New" Stryker

Kenny had a few Stryker frames, and this last one was painted by our club prez, Dickie Ober. Kenny maidened it today, and it flew great!

A boy and his plane...

Kenny landing his Seagull Edge 540 this afternoon. It was a beautiful but really windy day. We had BMF all to ourselves.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cosmic Wind

1947, the Goodyear races, a new airplane, the Cosmic Wind.  The Great Planes Cosmic Wind is a remarkable reproduction, and boy, is she sweet. I put mine together last week! I changed the graphics a bit. I will be adding a "435" to the other wing later, and keep the bottom all red. She has Gens ACE Mars Brushless   98P-Mars-BL3738-1300KVmotor and a Gens Ace Mars-BL45A ESC (a combo from Hobbypartz) for her powerplant, for 350 watts (the stock recommended motor is 330 watts). She has a APC 8x8 prop, as recommended for the stock motor, and will be using 3S 2200 -2650 mAh batteries. She should SCREAM! Using Hitec HSG 82mg micro servos (single aileron, rudder and elevator).

The 435 will appear along the wings outer edge.

Looking forward to a maiden flight!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It was one of those days...

It was one of those days, beautiful conditions, great flying, awesome company at BMF. And it sucked...

This is whats left of my Diamond 2500 Power Glider. This plane has a wing that is a pain in the ass to put together. The servo wire connections snag or come undone, the two halves sandwich together, but never quite meet well. I spent about 20 minutes getting her together, powered her up and checked the servos, walked to the flightline and checked again, and the left aileron wasn't working. Set it down, took it apart and spent another 10 minutes putting it back together. Checked control surfaces, powered her up and launched. She rolled a bit right, climbed level, I input a left roll and she rolled right. I realized the ailerons were reversed and input a right roll to roll left, and she rolled even harder to the right, and slammed HARD into the ground. She shred herself completely. The motor sheared off and landed 10 yards away. Post crash I confirmed the ailerons were reversed. I looked but I did not see...

The nose is gone...

The force of the crash sheared off the ailerons, and warped the flaps. The tail snapped clean off. I have never demolished a plane so thoroughly (heli's yes, example below). She is unrepairable...

My beloved C-47 also crashed on her fourth flight of the day. She was in level flight about 50 feet up, when she did an uncommanded right roll and spun into the ground. She was near the Bermuda triangle of our field where many a plane has mysteriously gone haywire... My DX8 had 4.6V (NiCAD) which should have been fine, but we wonder if there is something over there that interferes with our signals. She was the second plane of the day to do this, both of us accomplished pilots. She should be in bits, but she only smashed her nose, cracked the left wing near tthe root, broke both cowls and damaged both motor shafts. Fixable, but damn...

This is what happens when you try to nose in hover because tail in got too easy... and you lose control. It reminded me why I love-hate helis. She flew awesome, got her perfectly tracking, flew several packs in hover and moved her around with great control. On her fifth pack I decided to turn her nose in, and she started to get away from me... BAM... have to start all over again. At least the servos survived...  Need to replace the tail boom...

and replace the main shaft, feathering shaft, and rebuild and reset up the CCPM, set up a set of new main blades. One mistake, hours of work... Its like golf: one awesome drive makes you forget all the pain and keeps you in the game. Nothing like flying a perfectly tuned heli to make you forget the Groundhog Day feeling of rebuilding her yet again. 

The day didn't completely suck... I flew the Sabre jet, the Ultimate and the Pulse a half dozen times each and had a rockin' time! No more flying until after Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Erazor hovers

In the past couple of days I went through several packs on the Erazor 450. I can't hover her high enough in the garage to get the tracking set, so that will have to wait until I get out to the field. She hovers wonderfully. Not sure there's a big diff with the Align GP 780, but then I haven't flown her per se. I did manage to burn out the Hitec HSG 5084 mg tail servo today. I know the gyro is set for the right digital frame, so that wasn't it. Swapped it out from the one on Frankenheli, since I plan on concentraing on one heli at a time. Looking forward to flying her!

I'll be working on the HDX500 next. I have the replacement servos, and I think I can figure out a replacement for the missing anti-rotation pin. I have never powered her up, but she came with a 4S battery, and I wonder if she would do better with 6S? I can series together a couple 3S batteries... lookig forward to flying her too!

Hovering the Erazor in the garage reminded me how much I enjoy getting the engineering spot on, and seeing the control I have improve with each hover. Exciting stuff!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Erazor Reborn

I finished rebuilding and setting up the CCPM on my Erazor 450 this evening. I had to replace the canopy with a Tacon, but I think it looks much sleeker! New is the Align GP780 gyro, top of the line. A little fine tuning and she will be ready to fly! Need to spend a lot more time on the sim first since I have gotten very rusty!

UPDATE (11/16/11): Practiced hovers in the garage today, flew great! I need to work ln tracking a bit, but otherwise the CCPM setup and gyro functioned perfectly.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keeping the baby, tossing the bath water.

Following my 60mph landing the other day, one of the JR MN48 aileron servo's (possible two, not sure yet) on my Eflite Pulse XT 25e went bad, partially stripped gear. Its a $25 servo, not too expensive, but seeing that replacement gears were available at Horizon Hobby for a bit less than $5, I decided had nothing to lose by trying a gear replacement, though I did buy a backup servo. It went pretty well!

The bad servo removed from the aircraft.

4 screws, one in each corner, easily removed.

The bottom comes loose... close it.. we want the top.

The top comes off easily.

Take a pic of the gear set. You will need it later.

Especially this view.

The gear set. Can you spot the bad gear? Hint: its the one to the right of the bearing.

I had to remove the gear with the bearing, which was well attached and came off suddenly, taking the second gear and third gears with it as they are interlaced. I replaced the bad gear, and reinstalled the other gears. The gear on the bench is the stripped one. A touch of white lithium grease. Compared with the side view pic taken earlier to make sure I had everyone in the right place. Put the top back on, and replaced the screws. Put the servo on my tester and she ran clear and smoothly, centered perfectly! Reinstalled the servo in the aircraft, and will test it in situ later. Very easy, and from now on a option I will take whenever replacement gears are available. Much better than throwing out an otherwise perfectly good servo. New skills rock!

Bad generic ESC from eBay

I have had a lot of luck purchasing parts on eBay. Sometimes they fail, but the sellers make up for it. Purchased this 30 amp generic ESC (unmarked, hope its a 30 amp), and it doesn't work. Bummer, was hoping to get her up with the extra power... Hope the seller replaces it. Will let you know.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sopwith Motor Shafted

Yesterday I took the Hangar 9 Sopwith out to maiden, but was unable to fly due to a problem I thought I had solved. Now I have, definitively! The motor casing would pull forward under the thrust of the prop as the C-clamp holding the housing in place kept coming loose. I had pushed it back into its slot, or so I thought, but preflight inspection found the housing pulling again. I removed the motor this morning and reset the C-clamp, this time clearly in place. As a added safety I Dremeled a flat spot in the axle and put s 5mm wheel collar in place with a set screw. Note that this is actually the rear of the motor (it has a bolt on prop adapter forward and this shaft protrudes from the back. As the prop applies thrust it pulls the black can off the motor. The can is connected to the shaft. Just between the collar and the motor is the C-clamp).That sucker ain't goin' nowhere.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Art Tech Diamond 2500 Glider

Recently purchased this 2500mm EPO glider from Nitroplanes. This is one awesome aircraft! I maidened her today, and she flew sweetly for 20 minutes before my neck got tired and I landed. She took of from my hand, all I had to do was let go! I flew her first with a 3S 3300mAh 30C, but found she flew better and glided better with a 4S 3300 mAh 30C.

I had set her up with flaps (they say it comes with servos for the flaps, but it didn't. I set it up with TowerPro SG90MGs). I haven't figured out how to set up the spoilerons with the flaps for CROW landings, but I plan to call Horizon Hobby and have them walk me through it. I'm assuming I can do it with a DX8 and a 6 channel receiver. I did add 1/2 oz of weight to the tail and the CG still came out forward of the design 80-90mm. A lot of pilots have noted the CG comes out around 65-70mm. She is trimmed for gliding, and when under power I need to give her a bit of down elevator. She flies fine with the 3S, but she can get around really well with the 4S. Power on she can loop and roll easily, power off she has one heckuva glide ratio and sweet stall characteristics, but the balance between glide hover and stall is pretty thin. All in all, I am really pleased with her and she is quite a crowd pleaser! I can only fly her when I can steal my wife's SUV, she is so ginormous. I do transport her with the wings off, all 8 foot wingspan.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cornell Cowl is FAB!

I described earlier how I lost control of the Cornell practicing spins, and crunched the front end. The motor/battery box turned into wood chips, literally, and the cowl was a shattered eggshell of its former self. today I completed the refurbishing of the cowl, installed it and now the Cornell is flight ready!

The eggshell...

CA and epoxied the unstable parts and breaks.

Bondo on...

Bondo off...

Sanded clean, ready for primer!

Primer gray.

First coat of dark blue, being warmed to fast dry in front of the fireplace.

Black top painted in, and a coat of clear acrylic enamel! I like shiny!

Installed, all done! She looks great again!

Field Cold Weather Gear

Just like there's "Field Monokote", one can come up with Field Weather Gear! A cold front moved through when we thought it was going to be hot and humid.Windy, cold and raining! We were freezing! Pulled out a ginormous plastic bag and voila! Cold Windy Weather Gear!

Kenny's Cowl cleaning up nicely!

Kenny put some red and yellow cote on the cowl I rebuilt for him, now it looks really great! He plans to put some more yellow underneath.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Steel Chin

The other day I lost control of my Eflite PT-19 Cornell in a spin and nosed it in hard. It turned the cowl into shattered egg shell, and the motor mount/battery box into wood chips. Today I began the process of rebuilding the nose. I decided to use a metal electric motor mount similar to this one, instead of rebuilding a wooden mount. Kenny Chandler had given me this mount several months ago for just this purpose. One problem now may be that instead of absorbing the impact by turning into chips, the energy may go back to the fuse and destroy it if it crashes again...

I removed what was left of the original motor box, and installed a header piece across the top.

I built a mount out of sandwiched popsicle stick wood. Trimmed it to fit.

You can see the top of the sandwich mount just over the battery. I installed the metal mount upside down to allow the back of the frame to let the battery pass through. This keeps the battery mobile for CG management.

Side view. I had to set the motor attachment part above the midline of the mount to keep the motor aligned with the cowl.

The ESC is installed below the motor mount. You can see the bolts into the frame I made (the sandwich frame above).

Lucky me, it lined up spot on! I really mean lucky... I guessed at where the mount should go on the front of the fuse!

This is the shattered cowl before repairs begin.

The top...

It was so badly shattered that I first had to CA and epoxy the breaks and cracks to stabilize it enough to sand it. I will let it cure overnight and tomorrow sand it down, Bondo it and if time permits, prime it and paint it over the next day or so. I think with what I learned working on Kenny's cowl this one can be resurrected too!

UPDATE (11/13/11): Checked CG today and I did have to pull the battery back all the way, and add 1 oz to the tail... Hate adding tail weight so I checked, rechecked and checked again. Put the weights as far back as I could.