The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Isn't that special...

It started as an early, cold, blustery and gloomy day at BMF today. 5-10 mph winds, steady and increasing to around 12 mph. They stayed pretty consistent, no big gusts, as the day went on, shifting from the east to southerly. The damp field dried up, and the rain stayed in the clouds. For a few moments we even had some fairly clear skies, things warmed up and the winds settled, but it was not to last, and within half an hour the cold gloominess returned, the winds picked up, and the conditions for flying weren't optimal. Which is to say we had a ball!

Kenny Chandler flew pretty much every second, switching from his Ugly Stick to his Edge. He was pulling some crazy stunts in the wind with his Stick, upside down Harriers, Hurricanes... crazy stuff, grinning like a teenager in a strip club the whole time!

I brought out my Eflite Stearman which can handle some winds, but conditions got worse and I only took her up for one uneventful flight.

I spent a lot of time flying the HDX 500se heli, as helis can do pretty well in higher winds, and had a blast. After about 6 flights I auto'd her down when Kenny was taking off. As he passed I spun her up again and heard that sound that a heli makes when main gear teeth are shearing off... crap. I still don't really understand why this happens. The blades were still spinning slowly, she was in normal mode which I switched to after landing, and I spun her up slowly... like I had done a dozen times before (I was practicing autorotations). When this happened we'd been flying for at least 6 hours, so no big deal, it was time to stop anyway.

In between heli flights I took the Thunder Tiger eHawk 1500 up for a spin! It was a bit breezy, so I never really got to trim her out. She flew marvelously for the most part, certainly the newly positioned aileron servos proved an excellent solution. I don't know if despite having a nose heavy CG she was still tail heavy, but her elevators with their limited movement proved inadequate for sound pitch control. Did the winds play a role? She didn't like to glide, odd for a glider, but responded well with power, suggesting the elevators need prop wash to cause any pitch changes. I may try flying her again, perhaps with some nose weight, before I decide to remove the servo tray and redesign it to allow the elevator servos to line up so I can put longer control arms on them for more throw. After landing her (I didn't keep her up long with these control issues), we were discussing options for the elevators when something happened mechanically that rendered the left elevator inop. Maybe a sign I need to do the redesign.

The pisser of the day wasn't a crash, but the loss of the canopy from my Sbach, just after I figured out her best configuration. Just plane blew off...Crap.

With everyone of the flights today, despite brisk winds, she always took off sweet! I have to use 30% rates and 30% expo on takeoff, and generally fly her at 50/30, with 100/30 for antics. I had originally set her up with a 10x7 and 3S, but was a bit disappointed in her performance last week. We discussed options and the consensus was I should prop down to a 9x6. I flew her with a 3S and the 9x6 prop, which was met with murky power responses and no vertical. Tried a 8x8 and stopped that idea in taxi when it was clear she was way under powered: the gerbil was screaming on the wheel, but even the pitch couldn't make up the difference in thrust. I changed her back to the original 10x7 and she definitely was finding her giddy-up, but she still seemed a touch underwhelming. Even on high rates her spins and rolls were anemic. Steve Burton had stopped by and watched some of this, and wondered out loud if a 4S would do the trick. I knew the ESC could handle the voltage, but wasn't sure how the motor would tolerate it. I figured if it melted I had a bigger motor I could switch to, and if it didn't, well there it was. So I decided after all these prop swaps to try a 4S with the 10x7 and WOW! Sweet Jesus, she rocked and she rolled! She hauled ass and spins and rolls were snappy! I was grinning from ear to ear as I ripped her around the skies, flipping her over her wing in every axis, trying to throw her cote with snap rolls, high speed verticals with twister rides on the way down!  This is what an Sbach is supposed to fly like! The timer beeped, I slowed her down, took the downwind, turned base and her canopy just jettisoned... Really? After all that and on a lazy base she loses her canopy? I still need to figure out her landing habits, but I turned final and landed her without incident. Kenny thought he had a bead on the canopy's landing spot, and we spent about 30 minutes challenging the snakes and junk in the trees around the landfill, to no avail. It was unlikely we would find it and we didn't... Just when I found her sweet spot.

Hopefully HobbyKing can part with a replacement, but I am not hopeful...

All in all, it was a pretty awesome day of windy flying!

1 comment :

  1. I may be onto something about the sheared main gear teeth, which keeps happening. Google illuminated others who found issues with dirty or failing one-way bearings. I will take a closer look at mine when I replace this latest failed main gear.

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