The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Friday, July 25, 2014

SNHRCC and Southern NH Flying Eagles

I had an excellent visit with John Hayes and Clarence White, Prez and V-prez of SNHRCC, and got to tour their field. I had brought out the Pulse, but yeah, its always something: the left aileron servo had a seizure and failed, so I didn't get to fly. Bummer as the filed is about 24 miles away and took me 40 min to get to.

What an interesting field! Its literally on top of a landfill dome with a moat of sorts all the way around. It would be a lot of fun. The flyers there were all really wonderfully friendly, and quite skilled. It was really interesting to see a SAB Goblin 550 and 700 fly in expert hands. What an incredible machine, incredibly silent. In my short hour there I was amazed by the talent. Most cool was a solar powered electric power station being upgraded this weekend from 12V to 24V.

In my conversation with John he mentioned that there is a club in Merrimack, the Southern New Hampshire Flying Eagles. Somehow I missed them on the AMA website. Turns out they are about 20 min from my house, and have a Geotex runway. It doesn't seem to have electric power, so I may have to learn how to run a power inverter off the Lexus Hybrid...

I decided to join the Flying Eagles, since the drive has always been an issue (26 miles, 35 min to MCRCC, 40 min to the field in Hudson, NH).  I hate to do that as I really liked everyone I met at SNHRCC. I thought about dual citizenship, but really it all boils down to how easy it is to get from the couch to the field.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Arriving, Manchester-Bedford!

I got her last week, and my RC gear that I shipped arrived a couple of days after I did, just as planned. Everything arrived fine, including the PulseXT 25e I brought with me in the car. My full lab will arrive on saturday, with all of my old planes! My Biloxi planes won't get here until mid to late August with the rest of the family. Today I out the Pulse back together, looks great!

Hope to gain access to the SNHRCC Field soon!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving... again. Last time!

I leave tomorrow for New Hampshire, though my family won't move until the end of the month. So I leave behind a broken 30cc Sbach, and my planes too big to put in my little car. I am taking my EFlite Pulse 25XTe, and of course ALL the LiPOs, since the mover's can't take those pesky things. I think I may take the dismantled Trex 600e as she will be an easy repair. It will be a couple of weeks before my aircraft in storage in NJ reach me in NH.

Well... see you on the other side!

Oh, and if you are looking for a home in the Biloxi area, mine's for sale!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trash day...

It was no way to end my time flying out of MCRCC. I move next week so likely won't get to fly here again. It was a great day right up to the point that it wasn't. Attention to detail, my forte, was no where to be found and I paid grievously for my failings.

This pretzel is my beloved Align Trex 600e Pro. At least it was a spectacular death! I took off and made a turn, there was a pop and she flipped instantly front over back doing a complete 360 degree 3D style flip and slammed into the ground feet first. I hit hold as soon as I saw her flip knowing I did not do that and that 2+2 = impending crash. It was one of the fastest crashes I have ever seen! The damage is to the tail, torque tube assembly and the landing gear, blades. Otherwise she looks at first glance to have come through pretty well, though I don't know what the shafts are like. I don't plan on repairing her until after my move. Oh, almost forgot: the good news is in the flight before this one the tail mods worked perfectly and I had no problems with the tail blades striking!

Not sure what the pop we heard was... maybe the air cracking as the blades suddenly changed pitch? The servo linkages were all displaced by the crash, but the elevator ball link was disconnected from the elevator control. It was NOT stripped and screwed back on nicely. I failed to inspect the airframe prior to flight as I had just rebuilt her. I retrospect I recall during that rebuild noting the elevator link was almost completely unscrewed and meant to screw it back in but didn't. I think it worked loose, the swash dropped back and she flipped as if commanded full elevator. This loss is all from not screwing in a small but significant fitting... Pilot error.

The last pics before the crash of the 30cc Sbach. More inattention on my part. I always refuel before a flight. Sometimes I refuel and someone else flies so I have to wait. Or I just take a break. This is a bad habit: I should and will always refuel just before takeoff. So I was flying around like crazy and the motor, which has been running fine, quit. I realized as we did the post-mortem with a pretty dry tank that I must have failed to refuel her... I got another 7 minutes after the previous 10 min flight. I was low when the engine quit, but really still had space to get her safely down. I turned downwind, a little too close to the runway, turned out, then turned final, looking good. I brought her around to align with the runway and she suddenly just stopped flying, dropping flat onto the ground from about 10 feet up. And I mean straight down, wings level.  I suspect too much elevator as I came in with a plane that does't tolerate errors on dead stick...

Butcher's Bill: Broken wing tube, wings with minor punctures from the wheel pants but otherwise intact, landing gear are fine but broke clean off with their attachment. The bottom of the plane around the gear is gone, fairly easy fix. The motor pulled the firewall off shattering it; that's gonna take some time. The cowl was crumpled but intact, unrepairable. I just bought a new one to replace it, so no problem there. She basically pancaked from failure to maintain airspeed on deadstick approach: pilot error. Some minor fuse damage but the fuse is otherwise pretty fine. I just don't have the time or energy to fix it before my move...

Helluva day.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Trex 600 Tail Mod

I flew the Trex 600e Pro last week and once again stripped the tail torque tube forward umbrella gear,  the torque tube umbrella gear, and the autorotation gear, and cracked the tail blades when the tail fin buried and the blades struck. I did some research and learned that this is a pretty common problem. I saw that many used a Trex 700 tail fin. Its longer than the 600 fin, and I got a 2mm thick one, so its strong (the one I had was 1 mm and literally flapped in vibration). I also saw someone who put a servo wheel on the end, and I decided instead to use a star as a spur. This keeps the pointed end of the vertical fin from cutting into the ground allowing the blades to strike.

When I was flying it last time we heard some loud rubbing suddenly occur in flight, and I saw evidence that the main gear rubbed the carbon fiber frame (carbon powder on the main gear), but I couldn't reproduce anything rubbing when I landed. Today I replaced the stripped autorotation gear and removed the main shaft. I always clean the main shaft bearings when I change gears and on removing the lower bearing I saw that the top of the autorotation bearing had ground into the bearing block and ground it a bit. I pulled the block (should have took pics, sorry), and Dremel ground the damaged edges. The block and the bearing seat are essentially fine albeit damaged, and the bearing sits clean, straight, and snug. I will need to replace the block at some point, but it functions fine. I gave it a blade-less spin up and it was silent, balanced and vibration free. I'm planning on flying it tomorrow, and bringing it home without stripping the tail assembly!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Moving to New Hampshire!

Things are moving quick with my new job in Manchester, New Hampshire!

I plan to move up there within the next couple of weeks as an advance team with Aidan and am very excited. I've been looking for a new club up there; there are a couple of them to choose from, the closest seeming to be the Southern NH RC Club in Wagner Field, One Landfill Road, Hudson, NH, about 19 miles from my house. Only a little better than the 26 miles I am currently driving. There's another field, about the same difference, with a Geo-tex runway that would be nice too, so I may have to check them both out before I commit.

UPDATE (7/2/14): Recieved a wonderfully friendly and inviting welcome letter from John Hayes, the Secretary of the SNHRCC this morning! He invited me to meet with him, call him, and learn more. Now that's how a good club works! This is exciting. They show a respect for all aspects of our sport, and I especially appreciate the efforts they have made on the behalf of their electric flyers (they have a 12 V, soon to be upgraded to 24V solar powered charging station!). I get a bit anxious joining a new club. I have visited clubs that are inviting, and some where I felt like an outsider even after I joined. I don't like to fly at fly-ins for the same reason I get anxious flying at new fields: I psych myself out that I am not a good enough flyer and I don't enjoy it... This kind of welcome takes that edge off!