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Mike_Then's blog
Posted by Mike_Then | Nov 10, 2014 @ 10:02 PM | 968 Views
November 11th is Veteran's Day. Please take a moment to thank the veterans, both past and present, for their service to our country. Especially the vets that have given the ultimate sacrifice for YOUR freedom.

As I like to say... enjoying your freedom? You are? Thank a vet.

Thank you, veterans, for your service. Words cannot describe the deep appreciation I have for each and every one of you.
Posted by Mike_Then | Oct 22, 2014 @ 08:47 AM | 1,633 Views
So I dorked in my PZ T-28... again... this past weekend. Good news is that I only required a new cowl. Everything else survived it appears. While I've got it apart, I decided to change the motor. I had a HobbyParts Monster Power 15 on the front. It was very large, very heavy, and required cutting the cowl to get it to fit. Not sure why I went with that motor originally. It was a bit of a lower kV, and since I had the weight of the larger motor along with the weight of retracts, it never really flew as well as I'd like.

So I dug through my spare parts and found a smaller motor with a slightly higher kV. I guess it's the same physical dimensions as the stock motor? It should fit in the cowl without modifications, and it spins the stock T-28 prop with no problem. However, my amps will go up from ~16 to ~24, which means less flight time. The T-28 should, however, have more oomph when flying.
Posted by Mike_Then | Oct 11, 2014 @ 10:18 AM | 1,529 Views
If anyone thinks the FAA doesn't have a hard-on to regulate model aviation, this will dispel that line of thinking. Yesterday (October 10th), the Federal Aviation Administration put in a request to formally cancel the document under which model aircraft have legally operated since 1981. The document is called AC 91-57 - Model Aircraft Operating Standards. The actual cancellation memo is here.

"This AC is superseded by statutory language in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Section 336," the memo, written by a member of the agency's Airspace Policy and Regulations Group, said. "The guidance in [AC 91-57] is no longer applicable."

That part is key—earlier this summer, the FAA put out an "interpretation" of that FAA Modernization law that the agency says gives it wider latitude to restrict certain very popular types of drone activity, such as first person view flights. The latest interpretation is much more restrictive than AC 91-57. Viewed through that lens, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the agency wants to kill off the document that explicitly says all its FPV rules are voluntary.

The memo also states that a "new advisory circular is under development," which suggests that, rather than putting out a notice for public comment and standard rulemaking, as the agency was ordered to do by Congress, it's thinking about putting out yet another document that's not legally binding.

The discussion for this on RCGroups.com can be found here and here. The article that much of this information comes from can be found here on Motherboard.com (the author is a huge fan of RCGroups.com).

While it seems that the FAA is gunning for FPV flying, this has the potential to negatively affects every aspect of our beloved hobby... this is only the beginning. Support the AMA; they are the only thing standing between us and FAA regulation.
Posted by Mike_Then | Sep 23, 2014 @ 04:43 PM | 1,763 Views
Have you had your voice heard? The comment period ends today. If you haven't done it yet, stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and let your voice be heard. This has the potential to affect us all, and you have your head in the sand if you think "I don't fly FPV and I don't fly for money so this doesn't affect me." Do it now.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2248711
Posted by Mike_Then | Jul 05, 2014 @ 12:59 PM | 2,920 Views
The comment period to the FAA is fast-approaching its end, which is July 25th. If you are waiting to comment - don't. If you feel your part of the hobby is unaffected by the FAA's interpretation (i.e. "I don't fly FPV so this doesn't apply to me"), you are sorely mistaken. This has the potential to affect ALL of us, and we need to unite as one and let the FAA know to keep their rulemaking and regulations out of our hobby.

Don't wait - do it now.
Posted by Mike_Then | Mar 26, 2014 @ 02:49 PM | 3,336 Views
When the SAB Goblin first came out, my jaw dropped like many other heli pilots. I am a big fan of the mechanical beauty that is the R/C helicopter; all those parts working in perfect harmony to put a big smile on my face. The Goblin was unlike anything anyone has ever seen, with it's mechanical simplicity and big, beefy belts to handle all that power. I always wanted to have one but figured it would be wasted on me as I'm not a 3D pilot. I admire the skills it takes to fly 3D but violently throwing a helicopter around the sky making it look like a praying mantis that just cooked up a speedball isn't my particular bottle of beer.

So my friend and flying buddy got himself a great deal on a used red Goblin 700. I again lamented that I'd love to have one but it would be wasted on my flying style (at the time I had 2 x 600-sized helis and 2 x 500 helis, with one of each class being in scale military fuselages). He said, "So what? I'm not a stick-banger either but I'm gonna have a blast just putting this thing around the sky." I was almost convinced at that point but still resisted. Finally one day I saw him fly his and couldn't believe how beautiful it was... how smoothly it flew... how awesome it's in-air presence. So, I was hooked - I needed one.

Since moving a few months ago, I (gladly) gave up the "mad money" PC repair business I had been doing on the side in some shape or fashion since the late 90's. Since that was my one and only source...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Feb 15, 2014 @ 04:24 PM | 3,351 Views
The fan in my T-33 let go last October at our Warbird Fly-In. It was the original Kyosho 75mm fan so it lasted a lot longer than it should have, especially since it was not designed for the kind of wattage I was putting through it. I bought a Wemotec 70mm fan from Don's RC and send them the motor (HET 2W-20) for mounting and balancing.

I finally got around to installing the fan today. I had to slide the fan about 3.5" back from the original fan's location as it is 5mm smaller than the stock fan. That threw the balance off quite a bit so I had to add 2.3 oz. to the nose for balance. It's still a little tail heavy but this plane is so stable I don't suspect the balance to be an issue.

The plane is ready for a re-maiden; just waiting for the right weather.
Posted by Mike_Then | Jan 30, 2014 @ 05:10 PM | 3,940 Views
My job and my wife's school took us to Garner, NC. We've been wanting to move for quite some time and the opportunity finally presented itself. One of the great features of our new house... at least for me... was the finished space above the garage. Wife agreed that it would be perfect as my hobby room, as our yard is small and doesn't have the room for a workshop like in our old house. So, while it's a work in progress still... I present to you...

The Man Cave....Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Mar 31, 2013 @ 10:21 PM | 5,484 Views
For whatever reason, I decided I needed another 600-class heli. I'm an Align snob and have been very happy with my T-Rex 500 and my 600 ESP. I had a 600 EFL/Pro and didn't like it so I sold it. I thought I was done but something told me I needed another one. Align doesn't make the ESP kit anymore and they are very hard to find, as well as expensive. So I turned to RC Aerodyne, makers of the Chaos line of helis.

The Chaos helis are Align clones. They are supposed to be the best Align clones available but the real advantage is not only the price (hundreds less than Align) but also the most excellent support you get from Robert and Cliff at RC Aerodyne. Check out my build log here on RCGroups.com as well as the one I'm doing on Chaos Crew Lounge (my pics and updates start on Page 4).

This heli will be flown in a sport manner until the 700-class scale fuselage I'm pining away for comes back in stock.
Posted by Mike_Then | Jan 27, 2013 @ 06:59 PM | 5,532 Views
Our club is having a blast with flying full-contact combat with the TechOne/Nitroplanes Popwings. They are inexpensive, easy to repair, and surprisingly durable. My first combat wing took too much damage to continue combat (we are flying the wings stock out of the box for combat) so I decided to turn it into a night flier.

The Popwings fly very well with the stock motor, ESC, and prop. As such, weight of the lights is negligible and their positioning doesn't seem to affect the flight characteristics. Sorry for the quality of the pics; I did the best I could with the Night setting on my camera. Enjoy!...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Dec 22, 2012 @ 11:56 PM | 5,922 Views
I can understand why my wife will roll her eyes at me when it comes to the hobby. She doesn't give me grief but she also doesn't understand what makes us tick when it comes to the hobby. Just like I don't understand the 35+ pots of eyeliner in her vanity.

You ever buy something in this hobby and regret buying it? You try and try to make it work and it just doesn't do it for you? Read on...

I bought an Align T-Rex 600e Pro/EFL as I wanted to do another scale project. After I bought the 600e Pro, I found out that it wasn't compatible with the fuselage I was planning to buy. Apparently Align redesigned the head in the Pro versions and they won't fit any of RC Aerodyne's fuselages. I was pretty bummed but glad the guy gave me a heads up. I tried turning the 600e Pro into an FPV ship with the help of a friend, clubmate, and very skilled heli pilot but it was way too risky. It was much more difficult than we anticipated and I felt the risk far outweighed the reward. Ditched the FPV project and just tried flying the 600e Pro around, which didn't do anything for me. I sold it to said friend for a very good price and took most of those funds and bought a used Align T-Rex 500 ESP.

"But Mike, you just sold a 600 heli, why the hell did you turn around and buy a SMALLER heli?!" you may be asking? Well, I have a 500 ESP and it's mounted in a Blackhawk fuse. Before that, I paid a fellow RCGrouper named Jake Horky to custom-paint a canopy for me. I only...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Dec 18, 2012 @ 01:48 PM | 6,916 Views
Like many other R/C pilots, I bought a ParkZone T-28 when they first came out and fell in love with the airplane. Decent electronics, tough as nails, long flight times, and easy to repair. What's not to like? I've had a few of them... one was a night flyer decked out with so many LEDs it actually changed the flight characteristics, and another with floats to be flown off water.

Last year during a night fly, my friend Brandon and I were trying to fly "formation" (and I use that term loosely) and we inevitably collided. I definitely took the worst of the collision this time as we both watched a ball of light fall out of the sky... all while laughing hysterically. This was definitely not the first time him and I intentionally bashed each other around, but when examining the wreckage it was obvious that no amount of epoxy or packing tape was bringing this T-28 back form the dead. It had been broken in half and fixed so many times it probably weighed 1/2 lb. more just in epoxy alone. I put the wreckage in a portable rack in my shop to inventory at a later date.

A few weeks later, another friend and fellow club member was cleaning out his trailer and gave me a T-28 airframe. No electronics, not even the landing gear... just the airframe and pushrods. It had seen better days but free is free, right? And it was sure in better shape than mine. He insisted he didn't want any money for it.

Both airframes sat in my shop all spring, summer, and fall,...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Nov 13, 2012 @ 12:01 PM | 6,159 Views
A few weeks before Halloween, my friend sent me a YouTube video of a "Ghost Quad". It was a quadcopter dressed up as a ghost. It appears to have been a "Scream" mask with some long flowing robes and arms. I thought it was extremely cool and my friend asked if I could mock up something like that for his Halloween gathering for the kids. I collaborated with my creative wife and the Spook Quad was born.

The frame is a DJI F450 kit. Completely stock with the included motors, ESCs, and 10" props. Power was provided by a 3s 2600 mAh battery. The spook part was a $5 skull from Target. It was surprisingly lightweight which is why I chose it. It was attached to some floral foam and I hot-glued the entire thing to the top of the frame. The hood for the skull was fashioned out of an old t-shirt and the robe underneath was some black and grey gauze from Target. Total invested was less than $20. I wired up some red LEDs for the eyes but you really can't see them in the daylight.

It wouldn't fly at first because we had a lot more t-shirt on there and we tried to cover the arms as much as possible. The quad lifted off but barely flew. So the day we shot the video - which was Halloween of course (nothing like waiting until the last minute) - we had performed emergency surgery on our lunch hour. We removed a lot of the extra t-shirt as well as cinched it down to the frame better to clear the props. The result was the video below - it flew much...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Oct 10, 2012 @ 10:36 AM | 6,131 Views
In R/C, there are many kinds of modelers. I'm not sure if my "kind" is well-known, but I find myself turning over my entire fleet every few years. Expensive, yes, but I'll buy something that's new/hot/dersirable, fly it a few times, decide it's not for me, and get rid of it to make room for the next item. There's only 2-3 aircraft in my fleet of 15 airplanes, three helicopters, and two multirotors that I would probaby never get rid of. That's just the way I'm wired. The wife doesn't understand it but she accepts it and doesn't give me grief. I'm a lucky guy, what can I say?

That was a segue into the point of this blog update... besides not having one in a long time. Reently I've gotten into multirotors, something I've wanted to do for quite some time. I bought a Blade mQX in March as that was my "congratulations on finding a new job" present to myself. I was one of the approximately 1,000 people that was "displaced" when PNC Bank bought RBC Bank USA late last year. I was lucky in that I found a comparable job right away with comparable pay and the little quad was a way to celebrate. I've flown planes for many years and been flying helis for 3+ years so I was able to pick it up quickly. I finally made the jump into larger quads and bought a DJI F450 with all the trimmings.

While I read the manual - printed it out, too - the manual is the worst case of Chinglish I have ever seen. With no hesitation I turned to the Internet and...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Feb 21, 2012 @ 09:37 PM | 7,570 Views
I've been having a lot of fun with Adobe Premiere Elements 9.0 lately, so I thought I'd post links to a few videos I created/edited this weekend. I can't wait to get an upgraded computer as Adobe PE 9.0 requires A LOT of horsepower to run correctly.

Anyway, one is my 600-sized Eurocopter Fennec AS-550, the other is a friend's Bill Hempel 40% clipped wing Cub, and the other is another friend's Ziroli P-38. I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I had making them!

RC Aerodyne Eurocopter Fennec AS-550 (4 min 6 sec)


...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Sep 20, 2011 @ 11:38 PM | 8,750 Views
This past weekend, the RDRC club (Raleigh Durham Radio Control) hosted their Fly For Tots annual fundraiser fly-in. RDRC has been doing this since 1991 and for the past four years, their charity of choice has been Victory Junction. Victory Junction is a charity organization here in NC, founded in memory of Adam Petty by his mother Pattie and father Kyle. What is Victory Junction? Simply put, it's a camp for chronically-ill children that allows them to forget their troubles for a little while, and just live life and have fun! 100% of the proceeds from Fly For Tots goes to Victory Junction.... RDRC has raised a WHOPPING $100,000 in the past four years! It's truly an amazing fly-in to where all kinds of model aviation comes together to raise money for a good cause as well as having a blast enjoying our hobby. Big planes, small planes, foamies, plyon racers, turbine jets, EDFs, 3D aerobats, IMAC giant-scale, helicopters, warbirds... you name it, it's there!

The big draw for this event is the raffle. I have never seen more generosity from R/C product vendors than at FFT. The amount of prizes at this year's event was unlike anything I've ever seen. Check out the sponsors:



The grand prize this year was a Hangar 9 33% Piper Pawnee with all the trimmings: DA-100L engine with mufflers, DX8 radio, Duralite flight system with integrated Spektrum receiver, Vess CF prop, Tru-Turn aluminum spinner, etc., etc. The build thread is here, for those that are interested....Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Apr 11, 2011 @ 08:56 AM | 10,001 Views
I know, I know... I change things around too much. I can't keep still is the problem, I guess. Just a few months after getting that beautifully-painted T-Rex 500 canopy from Jake Horky, I decided to mount the 500 mechanics in a scale fuselage. I picked the RC Aerodyne Blackhawk, mostly because it comes with everything needed to complete the build. The raised tail mecahnics, landing gear, etc. As my build log states, the instructions are more than a bit lacking but I should be able to muddle my way through it.

After getting a T-Rex 600e, I knew I'd better do something to the 500 or I'd never fly it again. Blackhawk and scale flight, here we come!

I'll post pics a little later.
Posted by Mike_Then | Jan 19, 2011 @ 09:33 PM | 10,357 Views
Here are a few pics of my RC Aerodyne EC-135 fuselage. The mechanics in the pics is an E-Flite Blade 400 but that has since been sold and I plan to mount my newly-acquired T-Rex 450 Sport in it. I'm very, very impressed with the quality and it sure looks good in the air.