The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Flew the recently repaired Sbach today.
Crashed the recently repaired Sbach today.
This plane is small, a 1 meter thin profile wing. Its designed for a 450 sized motor and a 3S 2200mAh battery. I am flying it with a Power 15 Sport from HeadsUpRC on a 4S setup. Where I screwed up is I have a 10x5 prop on it, what the HURC site recommended for 4S. She flew okay with this setup, a bit piggish today though. She flew better last time. Long roll out, little vertical, mush through turns, struggle in a cross wind, needs to land hot even with flaps. Too much wing loading, not enough prop. Jim Farned was watching, and he agreed (see, what happens is his fault, just so you know... ). We thought maybe putting a 3S 2200 mAh battery might be better, being significanlty lighter. Well, wouldn't you know, its not...
She took off, same long roll out, but climbed sluggishly. She flew sluggishly, wouldn't power through a loop from level flight. So when I did get her to loop, she came out of it slow, and stalled when climbing out, rolled and landed hard on her belly, ripping her gear off and significantly damaging the cowl and the airframe.
So... I am rebuilding her, again. Spoke to Kenny and Jason (visited Jason at his Hobby Shop, Orange Grove Hobbies). Realized that this prop is way small. The wing loading may be high, but she got nothing from the prop. Jason suggested an 11 inch, but didn't have any in stock. I am going to try a 12x6, which the Power 15 is rated for, and keep her heavier 4S setup for power. Just keep in mind she glides with a fast sink rate, even with flaps, and needs to come in hot.
Why I didn't prop up when I motored up I will never know.
For the rcord, I also flew the Ultimate today. She seemed sluggish to me too. There were good crosswinds, but she usually handles them well. I noticed her rudder servo started having centering seizures, so grounded her until I can replace that. Nice to get the rust off.

Wingmasters, Dayton, Ohio

I am moving to Dayton, Ohio, to take a position as a neonatologist at Chirldren's Medical Center of Dayton! I have been looking for a new flying field, and didn't see much on the AMA field finder, so imagine my surprise when surfing through the Radical RC website and their Workbench Blog I ran across a link to the field they use, in a discussion about the recent FAA rules. I found out it was the Dayton Wingmasters field, and wow, what a field!
Very excited to see that they have electrifed their club, since I am an all electric flyer. They have a huge heli group too, so I can finally learn how to master those bugs!
This is a great find! I saw several rules that limited the utility of flying at the Wright Patterson AFB field near the USAF Museum, such as no flying weekdays before 1700 hrs... no electric power, and no club strucutres that I could see. I found another field in Byron that looks nice, but the field in Dayton used by Wingmasters is exceptional, and with the addition of electric power, its totally where I want to fly!
Its a chartered club, so I don't know why I didn't see it on the AMA Club Finder...
Hope to get out to MCRCC today. Its been a dry spell for flying what with the job search travel and work eating into my flying time. Now I can get my priorities straight and fly, dammit!
Exciting stuff!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The end of the Edge

Kenny head wedged his beautiful Seagull Edge into the ground smartly. Knife edge, turned in towards himself, "righted" her about 20 feet AGL, pulled back on the stick, and... well, you know.
He's still sobbing. Like a little girl.
Kenny and his Seagull Edge during better times.
The Edge at home.
The site of the murder, I mean, crash...
All the kings horses, all the kings men, couldn't put the Edge back together again...
(Talk about turning a plane into dust).
All that could be salvaged.
Where he put the rest.
And now there's room for the new Ultrasport!
All teasing aside, sorry for your loss, Kenny! You are still one of our best pilots!

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Shiney!

I was having trouble securing the white plastic cone to the ultimate and getting it centered. Its held on by a couple of screws into the plastic back plate. It was always likely to be off kilter. I ordered a nice inexpensive aluminum Electrlfly nose cone from Tower Hobbies a couple of days ago, and like always, fast shipping! Put the puppy on today. Nice and shiney, perfectly true!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kenny's Strega Mustang

Kenny Chandler's Strega Mustang from Phoenix Models! It has an OS-55, Futaba S-3010 servo's, and a AR6210 receiver by Spektrum.

Nicely done, Kenny!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ultimate Cowl

The other day I tipped the Ultimate on landing and knocked the motor mount, cracking the cowl. Yesterday I sanded it, did the Bondo thing, and this morning sanded it down, primed it and painted it. Came out pretty nice

The prop and spinner off. Motor is loose, cracked cowl.


The firewall removed (over to the right being CA'd). One third broke off, the rest was loose.


CA'd a few popsicle stick pieces over cracked parts.


Repaired and installed the firewall.


Coated the entire motor box with epoxy thinned with alcohol for strength, then installed the motor.


Back to the cowl...


Bondo. Love the stuff.


Sanded the following morning. Masked for paint. Applied a coat of gray primer, forgetting I have white primer... did a coat of that. Sanded the remaining spots and touched up the white primer.


The white cowl is off white... so there will be a paint line...


On top I masked to the edge of the silver, so it looks clean. Tonight I will put a coat of clear coat on it, allow that to dry overnight and reinstall the cowl in the morning, ready to fly!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oops... my bad.

I described earlier the issues I had with my Spektrum AR600X reciever, how I thought the reciever was the problem and sent it to Spektrum for evaluation. They kindly sent me a new one. I installed it in the Sbach today with a new ESC/BEC, and the problem remained. Oh... now I don't think its the receiver at all. I should have swapped out the receiver before when I thought it was the problem, before sending it off to Spektrum. My bad. But something is shorting the system out. I unplugged everything from the receiver and removed the ferrite ring extension from the ESC/BEC, plugging the ESC/BEC directly, eliminating the ferrite and its extension as the source of the issue. No problem! Stayed on. I replaced the ferrite ring extension, still good. I plugged in each channel one by one, everything was fine, even under input load. Then I plugged in the right aileron, and the failure returned immediately. I unplugged that lead, and finished the last ones, no problems. I put a new servo on the right aileron channel, no problem, worked fine. Put the old one back in, failure. Eureka... it was a bad servo all along. Sorry, Spekturm, this problem isn't yours! But I am still wondering about the bind loss that cost me two planes...

Here's what the bad servo looks like on the servo tester. It should light up in one mode and sit there until I do something, instead it has a disco seizure. Its providing really bad feedback. It is now living in the circular file under my workbench.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


Travelling a lot lately, and whenever I can I'd like to stop by local RC clubs for a visit. I have never been to a club that was not welcoming and fun, even before they know I'm a pilot. Its a fun part of our hobby!

Today I stopped in Evansville, Indiana, and checked out ERCMAC. What a great visit! Its an awesome facility. You are greeted by a beautifully done sign announcing the airfield. A nicely graveled lot brings you to the clubhouse, and adjoining covered pits. The metal flight gates line conrcrete taxi ways that lead to a concrete RC runway, and an adjacent grass strip. The surrounding grounds are well cared for, with well maintained pits. There's plenty of electricity for us e-fliers. The field is off the highway (but you can't get here from there...), and abuts a ginormous farm field with plenty of flight area. A very nice field as is, and I'm told they are getting plumbing for a restroom soon! They were setting up for their Heli invasion, which starts tomorrow (alas, I will be returning to Biloxi, tomorrow...) and were busy with preparations.

Several members spent time with me and my friend Ken Hermann during our visit. We really appreciated it! Thanks, guys, for taking the time to share our wonderful hobby with my friend Ken, and hopefully biting him with the RC flight bug!


Klaus Kracke and his Gentle Lady power glider. So well built he took her to altitude, put down his transmitter and she flew herself rising on thermals, turning gently on their edges, climbing, crusing, all on her own for 15 minutes! A class guy, a pleasure to chat with. Klaus let me fly his glider, a three channel rudder/elevator/power setup which I always have trouble flying as my three channel is a jet without rudder, so I was all dumb thumbs. It was still a great time! Thanks Klaus!

Jeff Knight and his Hangar 9 Frenzy. Friendly and engaging, I enjoyed chatting with Jeff about RC flight. We discovered we have had similar bind loss issues with Spektrum that our Futuaba friends don't experience. The issues he described sound a lot like the ones we have seen at MCRCC. Makes me think that Spektrum has problems they are not talking about? Maybe I need to become a Futaba guy...

Mike Zaborowski, a skilled scale heli and RC speedboat driver for Team Futaba was visiting from Champaign, IL, with several of his helis for ERCMAC Heli Invasion. He shared some tips with us, and flew his Bell for us. Beautiful flying skills! Thanks for sharing, Mike!

Thanks to all the other folks at ERCMAC who stepped up to welcome us, especially Jamie Dumanksi, who showed us some beautiful heli's. Only sorry we didn't get a chance to see his 6yo son Mason fly. Yup, he's a 6yo 3D phenom with a half dozen pro sponors!

The folks at ECRMAC are wonderful ambassadors for our hobby with an awesome field and a friendly attitude! Thanks, guys, and have a great time with your fly-in!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Monday found Kenny Chandler and me alone at Bob Miller Field on a beautiful afternoon burning holes in the sky flight after flight after flight. Kenny had his foamy Edge and his Ugly Stick, I had my A-10, Eflite PulseXT, and Eflite Ultimate, along with my EXI 450 BeastX FBL heli. We flew for over 5 hours non-stop! The field was perfect, low cut and dried out, the winds light and variable with not a cloud in the sky. It was wierd... only Al showed up to visit, and Vinsen stopped by to toss his big Yak in the air between clients. A gorgeous afternoon and no crowd? Especialy since winds and weather have kept us grounded for many, many days.

Kenny programmed some spoilers into his Stick, about 35% and 50%. The performance on landing at 35% was pretty remarkable. She sank smooth and sharp, down at the tail, very controllable and perfect 3 point touchdowns without a bounce. I had been toying with the idea and decided to put spoilers into my DX8 on the PulseXT, 45% and 80%. It was impressive! So much better than flaps! I thought for sure it would stall the wing and create havok, which is why I had been reluctant to try it, but the spoilers did exactly what they should do. She settled quickly, cleanly and much more stably with the spoilers. Cean landings, tail down, no bounce on roll out, very stable and predictable on final with stable charateristisc spoilers deployed in flight. Spoilers... the future for all my dual aileron planes!

The Ultimate finally had a flight mishap after nearly a hundred flights. Coming around with a nice crosswind, I realized too late she was on high rates and I over controlled on final when a gust lifted her wing. Having done some stunning aerobatics on high rates I failed to drop down to low rates on approach. She caught a wing and her prop struck. She looked undamaged, surfaces worked, motor ran fine, so I took her around again. I could hear something wrong as the sound changed when I leveld out of climb. Landed her clean and saw the motor drop down. The motor was free in the cowl! Surprised she had flown at all. This wasn't evident at takeoff, so I think it was cracked and this last flight broke it free. The cowl is chipped and cracked, so I have some minor Bondo work ahead of me, and will need to rebuild the firewall. Toying with the idea of making more room to put a 3300mAh in there, but honestly she flies so awesome as built, and the added couple of minutes of flight probably aren't worth to trouble and changes in flight characteristics. Pics with the repairs to follow.

The EXI flew well, but I think there are some issues with the setup of the heli, and balance. On startup she wobbles a little like she is trying to find her balance. Once airborne she needs some right rudder (I have her set up with the tail rotor with Finless Bob's Trailing Edge control so this definitely should not be happening, let alone the gyro should not allow it). I flew her a bit, did not crash her, but she tipped over after a nice sideways landing and I input the wrong aileron having stopped paying attention as I was hitting Hold, pushing her to the right and suffered a blade strike. Stripped the elevator servo, no other damage. I am not sure I like the EXI D213f servos on her, for no particular reason than I wonder about centering and persistent movement since the BeastX and the heli are setup well. I ordered some Solar digital MG servos from Hobbypartz, 11g instead of 9g as they measure the same size, with about 1.7 kg torque, 0.11 sec at 4.6V. The EXI are frequently NIS, so I think they want to move people to the Solar. They are being sold by Hobbypartz with the point the recenter very precisely suggesting they also move precisely. More on that when I change them out.

Speaking of changing them out... I have had the Hitec HS-82MG servos for my 500 heli for a couple of weeks, but have been very distracted of late and haven't swapped them on to the 500. I need to do that... she is my favorite heli (though the Align 600 FBL I have NIB is likely going to be my go to heli when I build her). The EXI is my fun trainer, easy to crash, easy to fix, stable fun flier. I can't love her or I would never advance my skills...

As I noted in the previous post, the AR600x for the Sbach is here, having been sent a new one. The tech said there was nothing wrong with my original, but to keep me happy they were sending me a new one. Really? I am pretty sure the original one had issues as you can see in the vid... I have replaced the ESC/BEC with a 40A from HeadsUPRC. I wonder if its enough? I really need to get an inline wattmeter... I will get the ESC and receiver installed and get her up as soon as the weather and my schedule allows. The SBach is easily one of my favorite planes!

Closing this post with my pirateyness! Had my pirate sandals and one of my piratey T-shirts on! Get your inner pirate on!