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Red.Sneakers's blog
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 14, 2015 @ 11:23 PM | 1,579 Views

I am a fixed wing RC pilot. Have tried my hand at some small helis & quads. The transition from fixed wing requires a learning curve. Most importantly, controlling a heli requires minor & constant stick input. Once the heli starts to get out of control, pilot corrective oscillation can quickly lead to a crash. I have watched folks just sit there and practice hovering. While I know a clean hover takes skill, I wondered why? Once you master the hover you can then advance to practicing controlled ‘flight’.

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by Dave Scott Lessons in proactive vs. reactive flying Helping new helicopter pilots learn to hover with greater efficiency and fewer mistakes. Featured in the December 2014 issue of Model Aviation.

I was catching up on my AMA Model Aviation magazine and read the article by Dave Scott. These are great articles and worth reading for beginners and as a refresher after a long winter. Checked on the internet and noticed the articles are available on pdf. Here are the articles:

- Hover Training: Part 1. Ground School => http://www.rcflightschool.com/60helihover.pdf

- Hover Training: Part 2. Crawl-walk-run => http://www.rcflightschool.com/61HoverPractice.pdf

- Hover Training: Part 3. Maneuvering => http://www.rcflightschool.com/HeliHoverManeuver.pdf

You may also want to review the blog "Ya you, the Drone Operator"
=> http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2339555

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 07, 2015 @ 02:21 PM | 3,864 Views

This is my first year flying in cold temperatures. It all started when a friend from Australia felt bad I was not flying in the winter & gifted me a Tx glove to keep my hands & Tx warm. Thought all I had to worry about was staying warm, acquired all the gear I needed for my area. Great, I got it now. Wait, there is still an unsolved mystery behind door # 3.

Cold temperature increases the internal resistance of a battery, effectively lowering the discharge “C” rating. While using a 45C battery is better than using a 25C battery, it may not be enough to give you long flight times. So what is the answer? Keep the Lipo batteries warm “at The Core” until you are ready to use. It also helps to keep the motor running at all times so the heat generated by the battery helps keep the core warm while in flight. For extreme conditions, you may want to consider installing the battery in a ‘blanket’ of sorts to slow down any cooling effect the wind / temps may have. There are many ways to keeping a battery warm until you go use it. In my search for a “battery warmer”, I found the HK Battery Warmer.

Here is what was on my mind (click on picture to view larger):

- I need to control the temperature of the batteries. The Warmer gives settings between 77F ~ 25C to 113F ~ 45C. It will cycle on /off based on the temperature you set.
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- I need to keep the unused batteries warm until use. A Lipo battery at 50F at the core can lose as
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 03, 2015 @ 06:13 PM | 3,452 Views

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Please note, a Drone = any unmanned aircraft system! Heli, Plane, Balloon, Rocket, etc.

"Know Before You Fly is an education campaign founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Small UAV Coalition in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)."

Ya, that's right, You! If you fly anything outdoors, this applies to you & your 'drone'.

So best check it out => www.knowbeforeyoufly.org

Get timely alerts on NOTAM/TFRs affecting Model Aviation on the Web
=> http://www.modelaircraft.org/members...bs/notams.aspx

There are other websites you should be aware of:

No Fly Zone "NoFlyZone will be a trusted source of aeronautical data for the unmanned aircraft community"
=> https://www.noflyzone.org

RC Fly Maps "Our purpose is to connect people with safe places to fly their RC aircraft."
=> http://www.rcflymaps.com

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 19, 2015 @ 04:08 PM | 2,080 Views

I commonly relocate the tail wheel of my ultra-micros from the rudder to the fuselage to prevent damage to the rudder when landing on the grass or doing near vertical landings. However, a fixed tail wheel is not friendly to taxing on a hard surface. You can always learn to drive with the tail up. A simpler solution was needed, one that would not add any discernable weight to the tail. Original weight 0.2 grams, Finished mod weight 0.2 grams.

RCG Member teflon97239 challenged the umx Sport Cub S2 forum to come up with a rotating tail wheel for the ultra-micros. Looked at some of the larger models for ideas. Off I went to the LHS to see what I could find. Here is one solution.

Still a work in progress. Feel free to post your ideas.

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- Start with the normal tail wheel removed from the rudder, 0.2g
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- Cut the wire
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- Get a piece of Carbon Fiber Square Tube (I like the stiffness) 2.5mm OD x 1mm ID and some old micro wheel hubcaps (wrong cut, to be revised)
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 19, 2015 @ 10:57 AM | 2,071 Views

I like to standardize my DX9 Tx settings, just makes it easier to add new models & remember what’s what. Here are some of my standard settings for all my umx aero & some other models. Setting may not apply to some aero. As every model is different, please bench test all your settings using the monitor & during a pre-flight check. I will tweak these settings for each model & after some flight tests.

I have also included a copy of the DX Custom Voice Alerts as reference, see footer for pdf file. Suggest you print it and highlight those you normally use. By knowing the sequence number, you can find them faster once you know how many positions you travel with one roller roll, like a dance: fast, fast, slow.

Wireless Trainer = Master has All controls (co-pilot controls assigned at the field)
-------> Switch = A
-------> Master Over-Ride = Inhibit
Trainer Alerts
-------> Instructor = Voice = Instructor Control
-------> Student = Voice = Student Control
-------> No Signal = Voice = No Student Signal

Servo Setup
-------> Ail = 98 / 98%
-------> Ele = 98 / 98%
-------> Rud = 98 / 98%

D/R (default High / Mid / Low) & Expo (not used)
-------> Ail = 100 / 85 / 70% Switch = F
-------> Ele = 100 / 85 / 70% Switch = G
-------> Rud = 100 / 85 / 70% Switch = C
Note the switches are those located closest to the corresponding stick

Throttle Cut (default for Cut = switch up)
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 07, 2015 @ 12:54 PM | 2,125 Views

Many times when flying some touring sorties, I or onlookers ask, “how high was it?” So I decided to permanently install an altitude sensor on the umx Sport Cub S2 aka Taz. I have a Champ with an altitude sensor and have found you can hone in your altitude estimate by comparing to the reading.

Follow the pictures for a step-by-step guide and weight penalty. Stock unit was 5.8g, mod unit is 3.6g. As shown in the blog “Champ Dreamer w/ streamer & sensor”, the altitude sensor consumes very little power.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 06, 2015 @ 12:53 PM | 1,862 Views

Spring is around the corner bringing us calmer winds & fair weather. From time to time, I run into a youth and / or adult that expresses serious curiosity about RC Flying. The AMA insurance covers members when we take up a new pilot for the first time while using a buddy-box system. My new DX9 allows for a wireless setup which is much more convenient.

I have always struggled on how to give those interested more information while respecting my own privacy & their own. Today I came up with a new card that links newcomers to the AMA & RCG websites, allowing them to get both a free youth membership & contact me anonymously via RCG.

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Here is a sample of my script for the adult:
“For more information on the hobby, visit the AMA website. Youth get free membership & insurance. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me anonymously at RC Groups. My insurance covers me only for the first time I take someone up, if you run into me again and want to fly one of my planes, you’ll need to show me your AMA Card.”

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 05, 2015 @ 03:48 PM | 1,952 Views

After some discussion on the Tx value for Throttle Cut, GooberSB posted some excellent comments that I want to preserve in my blog. May be interesting reading for some.

by RCG Member GooberSB

“The sign of the value depends on the transmitter being used. Some have a range of 0 to 100 but most now seem to have a range of -100 to +100 (or even -150 to +150) So, on many new transmitters the throttle cut value should be negative.

What that value should be depends on the throttle value saved by the ESC during calibration or the value hardcoded into the ESC firmware (if it doesn't allow calibration). This is entirely for safety purposes but can cause serious harm if not used carefully.

When calibrating an ESC the lowest throttle value in the high-low range is remembered and treated as "0" throttle by the ESC. Any value above this minimum is throttle input. This is why calibrating an ESC with throttle trim set to the lowest value or using the throttle hold/cut switch can be very dangerous. If the model is ever powered up with a higher throttle value (due to trim tab centered or throttle hold/cut in the "off" position) the motor will turn.

Some ESCs require a calibration sequence, some do it automatically when they initialize, and some do not let you change the throttle range at all.

I haven't seen a UM brick yet that allows calibration so that takes the worry of setting the minimum throttle too low with trim and throttle cut out of the picture.
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 20, 2014 @ 01:16 PM | 2,500 Views

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Nimbostratus clouds covered the sky, enabling the pilot to enjoy some long power-off glides. Temp 28.7F (-1.83C), pressure 30.15 & falling, average wind 2mph N, potential gusts up to 16mph ENE, elevation: 612ft. Winter gear, hand warmers & Tx glove secured. Timer set for 4 min 40 seconds. E-Flite 150mah 25c batteries could not handle the harsh conditions; they kept cutting out after a few minutes. Landed and refueled with Mini Aviation 220mah 45c Avgas batteries. These batteries performed great in the cold, allowing for two 10 minute sorties.

After being in the hanger for 140 days, Champ Dreamer is back in the air for his first test run with a borrowed set of wings. Dreamer only had 3 hours of air time before his last mission when he got stuck in a thermal and landed with a cracked wing. His permanent wings are at the painters being stenciled with his new name “Stratus”. Stratus, was commissioned due to being fitted with an altitude sensor and touring AGL beyond his size.

Old reliable, Champ Clipper, has also been taken out of the hanger after 84 days and fitted with a new fuselage. Historically, Clipper was originally Champ JTF Clipper, while undergoing certification testing, due to his clipped wings (17.3 inch – 440mm wing span versus stock of 20.3 inch – 515mm). After many test flights, he was fitted with his own fuselage and renamed Champ Clipper. After 16 hours of air time, his electronics where deemed unreliable and he got a new fuselage. Due to his war bird like prowess, he was renamed Champ Snoopy.

Both aero are awaiting a new Sport Cub S2 model motor & prop. While they wait, the pilots are enjoying some relaxing winter sorties.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 17, 2014 @ 11:02 AM | 2,318 Views

A friend on RCG group told me about this method for creating decals for planes. I finally tried it and it works really well. Here are the steps:

- Prepare a sheet of your favorite images

- Print your color image on paper using a color laser printer or find a store that will print laser for around 50 cents
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- For best results, wash hands before starting to remove excess grease & dirt from your fingers.

- Cut the image you want to use, leaving space for handling. Later you will trim to the final size

- Cover with clear packaging tape, overlap tape if needed
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- Using a soft but firm tool, press the tape onto the image, first using a horizontal then a vertical motion
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 16, 2014 @ 09:16 AM | 2,357 Views

Winter flying can be very challenging vs a clear lazy summer’s day. More flight planning should be done for a safe & enjoyable flight.

Flight Planning for this morning. Temperature 38F and warming, Wind Chill: 38F, Pressure: 29.8, Average Wind: 4mph from the North. Winds shifting from North-West to North. Observed, on the internet from a local weather station, sustained wind speeds (in MPH): 4, 0, 6, 4, 0, 4, 2, 1, 0, 3, 0. Starring out the window at live conditions, high clouds are moving like a runaway freight train. Storm front moving in. Prevailing winds mapped on google earth indicate a downwind emergency airport available for emergency landing. Risk is max recorded winds NW 22mph, if encountered, emergency landing & activate rescue crew. Little turbulence expected. Elevator mechanical trim set for windy conditions. Acceptable conditions for my experience with the Sport Cub.

Cleared for low & close test flights of the Sport Cub S with floats, nav streamers & GWS 5x4.3 prop. Video glasses ready, all hanger preflight ok. Off to the park I go. Film on the 10 o’clock news.

= = = = =
10 o’clock news reel

Navigation Streamers HD (3 min 17 sec)

As pilots, we have to fly the weather we encounter not what was forecasted during the flight planning phase. Took off in choppy air. Ok, we have turbulence at low altitude. Then some sustained heavy wind kicked in. Activated emergency landing procedure at alternate airport 400 feet
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Sticky: DX9 Dual Timers
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 06, 2014 @ 05:15 PM | 2,361 Views

On the DX9, I like to set my dual timers. Every sortie is flown under different conditions, so I make my estimations as to the battery capacity based on the style & conditions for the sortie. I then depend on the timers as my co-pilot. Timer 1 is set as a battery count down timer and timer 2 as a flight time timer. I set it to squawk on many events. I don’t like the voice of each timer to step on each other, so timer 1 is set to xxx minutes plus 40 seconds. Not making it an even number gives some separation to the two timers when squawking the events. I find it much more pleasant. The possible combinations are many. Here are the settings I have settled on. Share your experiences with timers.

Timer 1

Page 1
-------> Mode: Count Down
-------> Time: xxx min 40 seconds
-------> Start: Thr Stick
-------> Over: 5%
-------> One Time: Inhibit

Page 2
-------> Every Minute (Down): Voice
-------> 1 Minute: Voice
-------> 30 Seconds: Inh
-------> 10sec to 1sec: Voice
-------> Expiration: Voice
-------> Every Minute (Up): Voice

Page 3
-------> Timer Start: Voice
-------> Timer Stop: Voice
-------> Time Reset: Voice

Timer 2

Page 1
-------> Mode: Stopwatch
-------> Start: Thr Stick
-------> Over: 5%
-------> One Time: Active

Page 2
-------> Every Minute (Down): Inh
-------> 1 Minute: Voice
-------> 30 Seconds: Inh
-------> 10sec to 1sec: Inh
-------> Expiration: Inh
-------> Every Minute (Up): Voice

Page 3
-------> Timer Start: Inh
-------> Timer Stop: Inh
-------> Time Reset: Inh

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 03, 2014 @ 05:01 PM | 2,314 Views
Some of the new Spectrum Rx are sending out telemetry data without any additional modules installed. This data is “Frame Losses & Holds”. I have encountered one that in addition sends out the Rx voltage. All you need is an Rx that will send the data and a Tx capable of receiving the data. I have not found a list documenting which ones send telemetry data, so with limited research & contributions from others, here is a list. Let me know of other Rx that you have confirmed send data and I’ll add them to the list.

See attached picture

Also see “Frame Loss & Holds Telemetry ~ DSMX” How to program your DX8 or like Tx
=> http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2217400

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 01, 2014 @ 10:55 AM | 2,685 Views

umx Sport Cub S2 Flight School HD (5 min 43 sec)

Spring Snow ~ Low & Slow. Sport Cub S2. Music: Winter Wonderland ~ Holy & Ivy. Get your popcorn, sit back & enjoy a relaxing flight.
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 21, 2014 @ 10:07 AM | 2,474 Views

It’s a beautiful day at the park, clear blue skies, light and variable winds with a few cumulus clouds. Thinking if only I can get under one of the cumulus clouds that are slowly building, I should be able to ride a nice thermal. Tx turned on, umx Radian placed in the trunk of the car upside down, away from the wind, battery connected, plane kept perfectly still for 5 seconds until the gyros initialize. Picked up the plane and secured the battery. Walked to the launch site ready for some fun. Flicked the throttle on/off to activate the AS3x. Pre-flight check confirms all systems are operating correctly. Assured take off area was clear and off we went with a power climb to 200 feet. Leveled off, slowly cut power and it started to porpoise. Hum, wonder if I leveled off and gained the proper amount of speed before cutting the power. Short power climb across the field, nice level off, slowly cut power and bam, she is gliding very nicely.

I turn into the wind and she catches a small gust of wind, oh boy, here we go again, porpoise starts. The gust created extra lift causing it to stall and start the dance. So when she pitches up, I tap a little down elevator to gain speed. Great, she levels off to a great glide.

As she is embracing the sky, I get some porpoise every once in a while. Conclude I have not found the sweet spot for today’s flying conditions. Land & move the battery position a little. Up we go again and yes, she is gliding much better.

Oh, what a
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 18, 2014 @ 09:08 AM | 2,798 Views
Beaufort Scale for Wind Speed Estimation

The Beaufort Wind Scale is named after Sir Francis Beaufort, an admiral in the British Navy. He developed the scale in 1805 in order to estimate wind speed by noting how sails move in the wind. It turned out to be a great help and was later adapted for use on land.

Force 0
Strength: Calm
Speed: Less than 1 mile per hour (mph), less than 2 kilometers per hour (kph)
Observations: Tree leaves don't move, smoke rises vertically

Force 1
Strength: Light Air
Speed: 1-3 mph, 2-6 kph
Observations: Tree leaves don't move, smoke drifts slowly

Force 2
Strength: Slight Breeze
Speed: 4-7 mph, 7-11 kph
Observations: Tree leaves rustle, flags wave slightly

Force 3
Strength: Gentle Breeze
Speed: 8-12 mph, 12-19 kph
Observations: Leaves and twigs in constant motion, small flags extended

Force 4
Strength: Moderate Breeze
Speed: 13-18 mph, 20-29 kph
Observations: Small branches move, flags flap

Force 5
Strength: Fresh Breeze
Speed: 19-24 mph, 30-39 kph
Observations: Small trees sway, flags flap and ripple

Force 6
Strength: Strong Breeze
Speed: 25-31 mph, 40-50 kph
Observations: Large branches sway, flags beat and pop

Force 7
Strength: Moderate Gale
Speed: 32-38 mph, 51-61 kph
Observations: Whole trees sway

Force 8 - Force 12
RC Operations grounded
Also see Flying RC Planes in the Wind, click here

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 14, 2014 @ 12:43 PM | 2,792 Views

Yesterday I broke my previous record with my umx Radian aka umx RAD II by posting a 32 min flight. Maybe not a big deal but I failed to understand why I got such long gentle glide slope on a totally overcast day. I will need to study air density & clouds during this winter. In the meantime here are my observations based on post flight debrief.

On a good warm day, a 150mAh 25C battery will yield a 15 – 20 min flight, so a 220 mAh 45C Mini Aviation battery should yield 22 – 29 min flight. The 32 min was a result of a “little help” in the form of the cloud structure. What I was failing to understand was why the excellent glide slopes for the entire flight with no sun to heat the earth to give me a thermal. Nimbostratus clouds covered the entire sky, with a homogenous gray appearance. Nimbostratus occurs along a warm front where a slowly rising warm air mass is present. “slowly rising warm air mass” explains why I had a good glide slope on the entire field, also helpful was some extra energy I was able to harness off the trees on every third glide or so.

“the ideal atmosphere temp is 15C = 59F > cold is good for flying > good air density” did not know this, helps explain why earlier this year during the cooler temps of the Spring I observed I was getting longer glide times than during the warmer summer days. Will have to watch & fly the glider more during these days next Spring.

“barometric pressure: 29.9&
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 05, 2014 @ 07:39 AM | 3,045 Views

Logger of altitude over time & temperature
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This is Part I “The Bench Test” of a multi-part review of the HK Altimeter. I will be using the sensor with my micro glider (umx Radian) to my HZ Champ to my 2 meter Radian. Will build a “Y” connector to allow power by the plane’s micro 1s battery, where weight is a consideration, like the umx Radian and for power from a separate 60mah 1s battery for the Radian. This way I can move it around from plane to plane without having to touch the Rx.

In summary, happy with the accuracy. The ground test (see below) showed Route A north was a mirror image of Route A south. It does seem to have a little ‘oscillation’ while standing still, maybe due to pressure or temperature changes, but acceptable for the price / performance.

Key Specifications:
Price: under us$30
Dimensions: 21x13x5mm
Weight: 1.3g ~ 1.4g (sensor Only)
Working Current: ~ 7mA
Operating Voltage: 3.7 ~ 8.4v
Sampling Frequency: up to 8hz (sampled 8 times a second)

To complete the bench test, I made a harness to be able to attach a 1s battery for power.

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Then I did a timed bench test to see how much power it consumed. Power consumption is negligible.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 02, 2014 @ 09:50 AM | 3,442 Views
Alert: DO NOT plug your E-flite 150mAh 1S 3.7V batteries (or others with the same Molex PicoBlade connector) directly into the MX port as they may be damaged. Use an adaptor with the proper battery connector.

(Update: January 30, 2015: I love my x4, use it almost every day & would repurchase it. However, I would never again plug an E-Flite 150mah type-of-battery into the MX port. I would use the connectors noted below. Why? As observed by RCG member prillernut "It appears to me the MX charging ports are actually JST-SH JST-ZH connectors. I don't know why they chose to use those; I would think the vast majority of users will have E-flite type batteries which use the Molex PicoBlade connector. The JST-SH uses round pins with a 1.00mm pitch JST-ZH uses round pins with a 1.50mm pitch, and the PicoBlade uses rectangular pins (hence the "blade" nomenclature) with a 1.25mm pitch. Close, but not the same. Hitec has apparently recognized this, because my charger came with a JST-SH JST-ZH to PicoBlade adapter cable." This issue was first reported by RCG member jl33fr33 - see comment below). Also may want to look at "JST" connector confusion - the real story!

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Oct 27, 2014 @ 05:01 PM | 2,971 Views

Even the Night Vapor, with an AUW / Flying Weight of 16.4 g (0.6 oz) designed for Indoor flight, deserves to fly free!

Born Free, Night Vapor HD (2 min 29 sec)