The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

HK EPP Sbach Bebuild

Finally decided I was ready to rebuild the HK EPP Sbach I crashed back in April. She became uncontrollable and she crashed. I have to suspect that it was the HK Orange Reciever-3 axis Stablizer as there really was no other reason for it to fly the way that it did. A few weeks later the Edge 540, also equipped with that receiver-stabilizer combo was delayed responding to an up elevator command and came in a bit hard. I don't know that I will trust these reciever ones anymore, and threw out the one in the Sbach. I will fly it without stablilization for now. I just hate to throw them away, but its not worth the worry.

I collected all the pieces and disassembled the motor box. Looked over what I had and started putting things together. I missed a few pieces that I didnt recognize just where they went in the puzzle, which lead to some sequencing errors, but I was able to get a nice frame together.

The gear hard point after the major pieces were CA'd in place.


Epoxied wood into the front frame of the gear hardpoint to add strength.
The front fuse frame is also drying but thin CA. 

The epoxied wood supports. I laid up a lot of epoxy behind the wood to strengthen the puzzle pieces. There was a center piece I missed. I will look tomorrow at dropping a piece in from the top, but I think this is enough support.

Since the back of the hardpoint wasn't so broken up, I only added support to carry energy from the hardpoint into the fuse. If this comes out again the aircraft will not survive.

Tomorrow I will work on getting the motor box onto the fuse. I am gluing the EPP where its cracked and split, but its going to need some more support, and I am not sure how I am going to paint it. Not sure if EPP can take rattle can paint? I don't have air paint... some research to follow. I am sure I can find some brush paint.

The gear hardpoint went back together better than I expected. I am a little anxious about getting it to fit its tear away points, and know in the end this repair is adding some weight that will affect its CG and flight characteristics.

Either way, we are on our way.

Robart's Customer Service!

I love these 4" Robart tires and wheels! I have had them on the Stik since the beginning, liking oversize for thick grass. These tires look great and are soft rubber, not foam, and feel like a real tire. The spoke covers are snap in, and that rough landing at Misfits apparently tossed one. I didn't notice until much later, so I don't know where it really went. But went it did.

I emailed Robart's to see if I could buy some covers to replace them. Yup! Got two sets. They arrived and I painted them with white primer. Snapped on and voila, done!

Friday, May 26, 2017

It's time.

Phoenix Models Spitfire. I knew her well...  I built her, painstakingly converting it to a 10cc gasser. I flew her, and on her maiden, she struck a tree and died sadly. Every time I think about her, I know I will have another one, but I was, am, still so angry.

But, I think its time. My next plane.

Its time.

That was easy!

I put the new Hobby King Orange 3-axis Stabilization System in place of the bricked Spektrum Alpha 6 system. Took me ten minutes to install and set the jumpers. Done.  That's how its done. And no manual!

I don't think I like the one's with the receiver-3 Axis system, the OrangeRX RX3S DSM2 Receiver/Stabilization system. I think the receiver doesn't function as well as Orange Receivers usually do. I had trouble controlling the HK EPO Sbach and the Edge 340, both with the receiver-stabilizer system installed. The Sbach was really uncontrollable, though in the past she had flown fine, even after turning off the stabilization, and I lost control of her. The Edge failed to respond in a timely fashion to an up elevator command leading to a firm landing that tore off her wheels (anywhere else and it just would have been a firm landing). I will be staying away from those, but I really like these solely stabilization systems though. 

I had thought I might put a Felyutech FY-40 Stabilization System on the Waco, but wasn't too interested in making my way through a new system and Chinglish manual, if there is one. My thought was "it costs more, has a nice hard case, must be better", but I have had such good luck with the Orange systems on both electric and gas planes, that I really saw no reason to pay more. As long as I can turn it off, I have faith in them.

The Waco is by far my most favorite plane. Crashing it will surely end me... I cannot wait to fly her, probably at Misfits as I don't want to ruin the wheel pants.

The geometry on the Aileron Connectors, the rod that connects the lower and upper ailerons, is poorly designed. There is a slight angle and the ailerons on a side don't move the same amount. The stock rods were not long enough, so when I built here I made new ones. One had come out about 8mm short, so I today I lengthened it. She flies just fine with the geometry being off, and will be better now that the port ailerons are aligned.

Horizon Hobby/Spektum is letting me send the two Alpha 6's in for warranty. One was my original, the other the replacement Horizon sent me. While I would like at least one to be returned functional, I think they should fix both since I have had nothing but failure with them... We'll see.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Back to a 3-Blade on the Sukhoi SU-26

I decided to put a 3-blade on the Sukhoi for more thrust, and I have no idea why but I went with a 15 inch this time, instead of stepping down. I think I just wanted a bigger prop, but I think this is a mistake. Maybe should have gone 14...  The RCGF is rated for nothing bigger than 14x6. She had a Master Airscrew Scimitar 14x8 and flies fine. I like the thrust with the 3 blades, the look and the quieter sound.  I put a 13x8x3 Master Airscrew 3-Blade on the Stik, again, same engine, and she runs fine as that's a reliable combo. I believe that is the best size for the 3 blade on these engines. I think I am going to regret the 15 and will want to try a 14. If either works, I'm putting the same thing on the Stik.  I wish Master Airscrew also did spinners for their props, as I always have to open up the Du-Bro 3-blade spinners.

Painted the tips. Wrong red, and the red stripe is a mm too thin. Went wider and darker on the 3-Blade I also painted that is going on the Stick. Hope they are balanced... After lunch I may static test her.

UPDATE:  Waaaay too much prop. Poor little engine that couldn't. The 15x7x3 bogged her down. Lost 200 rpm, and she was wicked slow to accelerate, eventually couldn't. I wasn't able to tune any of that out, but then I knew it was too much. Put the Master Airscrew 13x8x3 back on and she runs perfectly, quietly, and with power. There it is... Now I need to order another one for the Stik.

Tuned the engine back to maximize performance with the 13x8x3.

Cowl back on, ready to fly!

Edge 540 1 meter if better than new!

Joppa Hill Fields once again tore the landing gear off my planes. Well, one set of gear, and the other the wing by way of the gear... I have been plagued with failure for several months now, I'm stating to take it personally. Every time I fly. Sigh.

Well, I got around to fixing the Edge 540. The landing gear box was mostly toothpicks, but I used them to frame out a stronger box. Problem is that if the gear try to come off now, the whole plane is going to be toothpicks, she is solid.

Started with putting the landing gear hard point back together..

Strengthened it with epoxy and plywood. Got it as straight and aligned as I could.

Using the toothpick remains of the hard point supports, I rebuilt the front wall. The back was still int he plane, though it was dislodged. I could not get it true on the starboard side, neither support actually, but a few washers when attaching the gear and all is level. I had to cut one of the stringers to get the parts in. I patched that later.

You can see the thick piece of balsa I epoxied to the forward support. It holds all the toothpicks together nicely.

All better now! Put a 12x6E back on her. She flies fine with it. Toyed with the notion to put a smaller higher pitch prop on her, but she is fast enough. I want the thrust for aerobatics, which is what I use her for.

Sweet machine. Way under built. A good sneeze would break her into pieces, as evidenced by her landing gear folding in tall grass.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When will I learn?

Every time I fly at Joppa Hill something gets torn off a plane. Today I went out to fly at Joppa, and things got torn off a plane. Two planes.

Took the Twinstar, the Edge 540 and the 30cc MXS-R out today. The winds were calm with reasonable gusts from the south.

Today's Brood.


And this happened...

Twisted the gear right out of the fuse.

The Twinstar, a sweet flier! You can see how tall the grass is, even though it was freshly cut. 
She always get grass stains on her from the props cutting through the grass. I had to walk around to find a patch of grass worn enough to let her get off the ground. Landed her in the grass the first time just fine. On the second time everything seemed fine.

But I noticed the wing was coming off, and when I flipped her over, I found that the wing hard point had ripped through the fuse. The wheels in the gras pulled the wing off.

The balsa isn't thin, but the grain is not cross so it popped though. I glued this, and used a popsicle spar across it also CA'd in place, and covered it with white cote (don't have the blue). Looks great.

The repair.

After flying the MXS-R a couple of times, some people came out to walk their dog and jog around the field. I won't fly the gassers with anyone on the field, so I just hung out a while, then left. Took a short video of the field.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sunset Scurry

I had a crazy busy day. It was beautiful, almost no winds, Misfits had its field day, so I planned to get out to the Misfits field to help out and fly. One honey-do lead to another, and I was lazy, so... I did get to visit my new house being built in Chester, and since some wingnut left the back door unlocked, Maria and I did a walk through. A few more chores... Finally got home late in the afternoon. After a short break, I decided I wanted to take a plane out, the Alpha 450. I wasn't willing to invest a lot of time, so I drove out to Joppa Hill Fields and found no one there, so took the Alpha up.

Its always something.

Can't even see the 3 inch wheels...
The first plug in of the battery and the rudder/front gear went hard right. This has happened before, I wonder if its the receiver? Hmm... I have an Orange Stabilized receiver that needs an airplane. I replugged it and it went hard left. Jeez. I redid it again and it functioned normally. It would for the rest of the day. I have had it do that in flight before... First time I flew it out at Merrimack, in fact. Impressed the members there by not killing them when I over-flew the pits and parking lot. Once that was solved, the grass was so thick that she wouldn't take off, wouldn't roll more than an inch. Walked around until I found a barer patch that gave me enough runout to get her off.

Some guy showed up flying a foamy, and another guy a drone, then later a dad and son brought out a drone. The latter was novice. I stayed on my end of the field. Dodging Lacrosse and Soccer Goals, and a field net when low, made for a lot of fun! Flew with the sun to my back. Got off 5 packs! It was simply basic flying fun!

She's never been a great aerobat, but she let me put her through some moves. She really hates to aileron roll left, in fact, won't. But right was sweet. She loops great though, and handles the occasional gusts fine.

Great sunset scurry!

5 packs!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Deceiving Winds

Its a calm day, today, except when its not. Beautiful skies, hot temps, calm but the gusts are fast and variable. One moment nothing, then a huge gust. The calm periods are long, but sometimes so were the gusts.

I went out to Joppa Hill today because I just wanted to fly, and I didn't want to drive half an hour just to find out its too windy on Hudson Hill or no body else was present at Misfits. The grass was fine, a bit thick making the lumps less to deal with, hard on the wheels still, but I was okay with that. I took her up in a calm spell and immediately she got beat up. Worked her around, but she was getting tossed, which is a lot for a big 30cc plane. I landed her with some effort as the gusts shifted South headwind-North tailwind-West crosswind, and no damage was done. That was it, no fun, didn't want to persist. I was thinking of going out to Misfits as I've learned a few guys will be out there, but I am not sure the winds will be any better. We'll see. Its already 3:15p.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

AWESOME day! First flight at Misfits

Headed out to Misfits in Auburn for my first day flying there. Made my way over from Bedford, GPS said 20 min, and that was about right. Off-roaded the last mile over sandy dirt and the bottom of my low slung car slammed into some ginormous rocks, threatening to gouge the oil pan. The field was worth it. I met several guys from the club, including David (the Pres), Doug, Lenny, Rich, and a couple of others. I was welcomed, more warmly than at any other club since MRCC! This is going to be a fun club.

The field is nice and wide open. You have to stay clear of the scale runway, but there is plenty of room all around. The Geotex is getting old, and they plan to roller it soon, which will make a huge difference. Its still great to fly off of but its wrinkly.

I brought out the Alpha 450, always the first plane at a new field, and she flew fine for 3 batteries, but then I grounded the prop in a cross wind save, and that peeled off the outer 1 cm. That was done. I flew the Stik a couple of times. When I put the wing on I noticed that the cote was torn on the end of the right wing, but a piece of duct tape solved that for the day. I later also grounded the prop, snapping that puppy clean off. And that was the end of that. The plane has no other issues, and it gave me the opportunity to put a 3-blade on her again! The winds were light and variable, until I flew the Cornell, and then the crosswind picked up. She still flew fine, though she got carried away a couple of times. Glad the stabilization system is onboard! She came home unscathed.

I watched the boys fly, especially enjoying watching Doug "maiden" his rebuilt Hanger 9 Sopwith with a 4-stroke Saito, I think 140. I had this same plane, built electric, until it bought the big one.

Some of David's motley crew.

David and Doug, with David's Quad. David is a pretty darn good pilot, handling the planks, the tiny drone and a 450 heli in 3D.

Das Stik with duct tape.

Das stik with the broken prop and dirt all up in her dress.

Doug with his Sopwith. Some quite puckering moments figuring her out, but this one is a winner.

I stopped for lunch at Goldenrod on the way home. Ordered a cheeseburger and large fries, ended up with large onion rings. Barely made a dent in it. All good, but I prefer the fries.

I went home, and changed the prop on the Stik to the Master Airscrew 3-blade, with a white 3-blade spinner. While she recharged her packs, I finished up the Cubby as the Cub Yellow Cote came in today. 

This morning I had epoxied the motor box back together. It had come off clean, so this was easy.

Coted the wing, installed the struts and put everyone where they are supposed to be.

The leading edge looks as good as new!

Meanwhile, the Stik charging the packs.

I just wanted to fly. I figured the kids would be off Joppa Hill fields after 3 pm, and I was right. I hate the grass here, so clumpy, its very hard on landing gear, but this plane is especially rugged, and the 3-blade is a half inch smaller all around, so ground clearance is better. I pulled in as the last coaches were leaving. Setup and spent a bit more than an hour flying 2-1/2 tanks! It was wonderful! She flew perfectly. I did take the weights off the tail. The CG requires the weights, but she flew tail heavy, so I took them off and she flew much better.

All this flying made me a goofy happy! I have to work a lot this week, so I won't get to fly again until next weekend. I think it will be time to fly the Waco!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hobby King Orange 3-Axis Stabilization in the Eflite Cornell

I tried the Spektrum Alpha 6 system in the Eflite PT-19 Cornell. I turned on and let me set it up just fine, again would not see the Knob on the DX8, so put it on the Flight Mode switch. Got it set up just fine, but when I tried to turn it on again, time and again it just would not come on. So its not the Waco, or the DX8, its the unit.

I realized that I had an Orange 3-Axis Stabilization system, so I installed that. Took 15 min, including programming, gain setting, and it works just fine, including the remote Off via the Gear channel. If there was ever a plane that needed a stabilization system, this tiny light bird is one.

I realized that I had pirated the receiver for some other project, but had a Spektrum 6 channel (simple, old one I have had forever) laying around, so that's in there too.

I haven't flown her much. I have her because it was the second Cox 0.049 U control plane I owned as a kid. I am kinda excited to fly her off the Geotex at Misfits in Auburn. The picture below (from the interwebs) will bring back some memories! Thin plastic held together with rubber bands and flown with a wimpy simple handle. (The first plane was that Cox odd colored Sopwith Camel, and the third was the Stuka Dive Bomber).

Phoenix Waco 26cc Spring Start Up!

I have written about my issues with the Spektrum Alpha 6 Stabilization system, which I have finally removed from the Phoenix Waco. Today I took her out to the garage to run up the RCGF 26cc engine, and she ran perfect. Can't wait to get her in the air!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sweet 30!

Got the DLE 30cc Breitling MSX-R out from under the winter dust to start her up. Fueled up, a couple of choked turns and she sputtered. Pulled out the choke and she started right up! Its so nice when things just work! She went full throttle just fine, idles sweet, and transitions the throttle smoothly and quickly. Made some adjustments to the wheels, gave her a bath. She's ready to go! I love this plane.

Spektrum Alpha 6 Sucks.

This is the Spektrum Alpha 6 Stabilization system, using their AS3X technology, installed in my 26cc Waco. I hate this thing. I hated the first one, that malfunctioned right out of the box. I hated it when it turned out only one guy at Spektrum knows this thing, the manual is useless, and you have to connect it to a computer to set the gains, which requires you buy a separate cable (they gave me one free as we were trying to fix the first bad one). They sent me a free replacement which worked with a bit of tweaking. I hated it when no one could tell me when I would want to fly Rate Mode or Heading Hold Mode (best I could find was that in Rate the response deflection is momentary, in Heading Hold it stays on until ??. I fly my helis in HH, but am not sure how this applies to a stabilization system). Spektrum said I would want to fly in Rate. Or was it HH? I hate this thing.

I hated it today when I turned on the receiver  for the first time since the fall and it all seemed to work just fine, thought he gains seemed kinda massive. Went to dinner, turned it on again and now it won't even turn on (the receiver is on), nor let control commands pass through. I saw a YouTube post from Spektrum about the 1.2 Update, and tried to install it, but it says its not for my device. I hate this thing. I tried just resetting it up without using the computer, and it won't turn on, though I see a momentary flash as I power up. I planned on trying to use the Aux Knob instead of the 3-position Flight Mode Switch, because the Horizon guy suggested that the gains could be set using the knob. He didn't recommend Rate versus HH. I hate this thing.

I hated it when I tried to connect it to the cable and the computer. The Spektrum software would indicate "Cable Connected, No Device", no matter how I turned on what. Then it would, but then it wasn't. 

I hate this thing.  I am going to spend a little time trying to get it to work again, then when it doesn't, I am removing it and throwing it into the woods as far as I can. I am recharging the batteries and will try again later.

I hate this thing. 

I really, really, hate this thing.

UPDATE (5/12/2017):  This morning after charging the batteries, I had the same result. I videoed my attempt to get the Alpha 6 to turn on, and it did once out of all the tries, about half way through the video. I also tried changing the switch to the Knob on my DX8, but when it did turn on, it wouldn't respond to the knob, only the 3 way.I have removed it from my Waco and will send it and the other brick, back to Spektrum to see if they can get it to work. I really think its just bad luck... I hope Horizon will make good on these.

Horizon Hobby replied to my review and shared the difference between Rate and Heading Hold. Rate will make adjustments for turbulence, Heading Hold will hold position. In HH, if I put the plane into a knife edge, the unit will keep it there. For most flying, as I think they told me once before, Rate Mode will be the choice. 

I may try to install it on another plane. If I recall, when I was trouble shooting this last year, changing the model on the DX8 fixed the problem.

ADDENDUM: Put it on the Cornell and it still didn't work...  Put an Orange one in and it works fine.

Eflite Cubby Wing Update

I did some more work on the Eflite Cubby wing today. I ordered the Cub Yellow cote from Horizon Hobby through Amazon, and it doesn't come Prime (2 day), but will take about a week. The whole point was to order it from Amazon for the Prime shipping instead of direct form Horizon as I usually do. Meh.

I sanded down the epoxy, and afterwards filled the slight imperfections with Hobby-Lite. Smooth as a baby's bottom. Sweetly straight.

I decided to drill out the old spar. It was about 1.5 cm on each side. This is the wing side.

This is the center piece side.

Melted a hole in my brand new Batman Hoodie with a hot drill bit. Awesome...

The new wing spar. Ridiculously small. Cut it from plywood and sanded to fit.

15 min epoxy, filled the slots where the spar goes and the joining sides. 
Came together nicely.

Nice and straight!

The plastic connectors that were originally on the damaged right wing snapped in the crash. I moved the remaining ones around so that there are 4 of the original white ones on both wing strut ends, and used control arm snap links from my HDX 500 heli repair kit to replace the damaged ones where the struts attache to the fuse. Perfect.

Waiting for the cote to come in, which will let the epoxy set well. Once the cote is in, install the wing and back to flying condition!