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Aros's blog
Posted by Aros | Mar 21, 2015 @ 07:14 PM | 1,512 Views
I borrowed the booms back from Daviac today so I can work on the radiators. It's another attempt to bring this model closer to scale wherever possible and practical. I attempt to shoot for cosmetic mods that aren't terribly difficult to do, but the payoff is worth it for the added visual detail (especially from a few feet away, heh).

After studying up-close photos of the real radiators, I was ready to attempt the mod. Basically what it involves is cutting out the front section and the back section. I used a hobby knife to start the carving process and the dremel finished the job.

The back area to cut out is thicker than the front. The front you can use a sharp hobby knife to cut out the half circle perimeter. Don't cut too much of the edge of course. Leave a bit of room. Then when happy with the primary cut, go in and use sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

There's a hidden surprise waiting anyone who bothers with this mod. Behind the half circle, approximately 1/2" aft, is a wall. This is awesome because the radiator mesh is recessed back from the front of the radiator in the same general area. Since I wanted some air to pass through, I cut out an opening in this wall, leaving a healthy edge to apply my screen mesh to.

I picked up the mesh from my local hardware store and it was perfect. After some measuring I cut out the half circle shapes and the back of the mesh had adhesive so it was a simple matter of aligning the mesh to the wall edges I...Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Feb 28, 2015 @ 10:14 PM | 2,376 Views
This is for those of you who own the Legend Models (used to be the VQ) 83" P-38 Lightning, or for those of you who simply enjoy reading about scale modifications to RC model warbirds.

When I purchased the LM P-38, I was like a kid in a candy store unveiling such a beautiful model. I've flown every foam P-38 on the market (I LOVE me some P-38!) and while they were all fun and nice in their own way, it was time to move into the bigger arena and class. I don't have the space nor the funds for a Yellow Aircraft or Ziroli P-38 unfortunately, maybe someday.

Until then, this 83" wing P-38 was the next best thing. Recently, the model was modified for electric conversion. This is the model I purchased. It comes in both silver (Putt Putt Maru) and OD (Skidoo). I went with the silver as it gives me many options to explore different liveries with a silver base.

Since I was stepping up into the next class level, I wanted to make sure she looked the part as much as possible. While this model is pretty scale looking overall (comes with full fowler flaps!), there are some serious deficits in regards to attention to detail. The cockpit and turbochargers are the main offenders.

The mold of the turbochargers was like an afterthought. Void of any true scale detail. Flat, uninspiring and resembled a "blob". That was not going to cut it. The turbochargers on the P-38 Lightning are such a cool and unique aspect of the plane, it made no sense to me to...Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Jan 13, 2015 @ 10:22 PM | 2,414 Views
The maiden was for the most part a success. Unfortunately, not long after the takeoff, I suffered what I assume is a brown out. I had no throttle for about 8 seconds (power loss occurs at the 48 second mark in the video, and I get power back 57 seconds in), and set the stick to idle and back to full and that seemed to do the trick. Because of the time of day and distance, I wasn't certain I had lost power at all, otherwise I would have landed immediately.

Luckily, the rest of the flight went without a hitch. Still need to fine tune the trim and the elevator mixing on flaps (not enough down mix, she ballooned pretty bad especially on the full flap test)...I decided to land at half flaps and manage the elevator down manually. Due to my high approach over the trees, I chopped the throttle and flew the approach dead stick.

The landing was the best part!

When I approached the plane, the ESC was beeping twice, pause two seconds, beep twice, pause two seconds and repeat. I have the Castle Phoenix Edge 100A in her so if anyone who is very familiar with that ESC can help me figure out what it was trying to tell me (my assumption is that it was signifying signal loss by the rx at some point?) I would appreciate it. The manual key doesn't quite match.

. . __ (two short beeps and one long beep. That was the closest I could find in the troubleshoot section, not quite a match to what I was hearing.)

I was certainly fortunate the brown out occurred well after rotation or there was a chain link fence approaching very fast that would not have been friendly.

Well, she's in one piece, so that's all the matters. Will be running some diagnostics soon to help shine a light on the cause.

Top Flite Gold Edition Cessna 182 Skylane Maiden (5 min 19 sec)

Posted by Aros | Jan 11, 2015 @ 10:15 PM | 3,073 Views
We all have that one plane we never got over losing in a crash. For me, that was the Top Flight Cessna 182 Skylane Gold Edition. I had many, many rewarding flights with that wonderful plane. Such a great quality plane and flyer, so scale and satisfying to fly. One hot Summer day I hit LVC at the worst possible time and she death spiraled in to her early demise.

There was nothing I could do.

Years later, I decided to purchase her again and have my good friend build her for me. He did a fantastic job (engineers tend to pay attention to detail) and I am looking forward to the maiden. Unlike last time, I put the cockpit kit in and added a fantastic scale civilian pilot from warbirdpilots.com.

I'll post the video of the maiden next weekend....Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Jan 08, 2015 @ 01:59 PM | 3,078 Views
For years I've been wanting a large scale P-38 Lightning. Thus far I've only had foamies. I loved each for differing reasons but always loved seeing the P-38 profile in the air. I was frustrated that none of the foam manufacturers would build a large scale P-38. 40-55" was never enough. I don't have the funds, space or runway for a Yellow or Ziroli P-38 so this 83" scale wood/glass P-38 was the perfect compromise.

My friend Chris will be building her for me in the next couple of months. I will update this blog with the progress and photos as we go. I'm still not sure what motors/ESCs/Servos and retracts/struts/wheels I will be going with but I do plan on going as scale as possible.

For now, here's what she looked like when she arrived today. She's huge and beautiful!

Posted by Aros | Jun 29, 2014 @ 08:40 PM | 2,938 Views
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...LOL.

The good news is the maiden was a success! The bad news is I flew her horribly. At least the rotation. I was flying without any expo or dual rates and to top it off I had waaaaaay too much roll authority. Lift off was an adventure and I almost dumped her but I regained control and eased back on the sticks. Major trim was needed for pitch and roll...I was fighting the sticks/trim through most of the flight.

I have video so you can see for yourself I spent most the flight trying to tame the girl.

Hey, she's in one piece and she's FAST and sounds AMAZING!

test flight (3 min 19 sec)

Posted by Aros | Jun 28, 2014 @ 07:00 PM | 3,096 Views
Just got mine the other day from Motion RC. V1 was my favorite foam EDF jet and I'm sure this will be no exception. As has been tradition, I always paint my F/A-18's in the Blue Angel livery. Since this will be my 4th one (don't ask), she'll adorn the number "4" on the tail.

Maiden is planned for tomorrow. I won't be done with the paint job but I need to take advantage of the good weather coming our way tomorrow. I will post the video in the evening.

This one comes with the 12-blade fan and 7 pounds of thrust! Man on the taxi it sounded like a turbine! Can't wait!
Posted by Aros | May 10, 2014 @ 03:41 PM | 2,886 Views
We've all heard it before.

Every plane has an expiration date. It's not a matter of if, but when.

Today was the expiration date of my latest (#11, yes I've had 11) SR-71 Blackbird.

I was just about to bring her in after a fun sortie, flying at the school. Unfortunately I ended up clipping one of the light poles right before final approach. I saw part of the wing fall off and that's all she wrote. She spiraled into some trees at a good clip. The photo below is a good illustration of the final outcome.

Luckily, I can salvage the guts so I will simply purchase a kit from that fruit stand (barfing icon here) and she will live to see 12 incarnations.


The good of the hobby was evident though in the fact that I had two great young kids come up to me with the wonder and curiosity that is only found in unbridled youth. They had seen me fly a couple of my FMS Corsairs just moments before and they were enthralled. As we know, one of the most rewarding aspects of this hobby is helping introduce kids to the hobby, especially when they show real interest.

I showed them my planes and they were so excited, it was great fun. When I showed off my SR-71 I felt like their heads were about to explode. Soon after, their father walked up and he was just as intrigued. I told them I was about to fly the Blackbird so I would be happy to show them how it flies.

So yes, it ended not the way that I wanted, but they got to see her fly for the duration of the sortie. The majestic presence, the sound, the afterburner LEDs...It was all there for them to take in.

Even with the crash they were still so impressed. It was also a powerful lesson as to why we don't fly these jets with people in their flight path. The father took my information and he's going to give me a call so I can help guide him into the hobby the right way. I told them about RC simulators, training aircraft, etc. He's open and excited to share this with his great kids.

So, crash aside, a great day!
Posted by Aros | Apr 12, 2014 @ 04:35 PM | 3,550 Views
I was anxious to take my Baron out for her second flight. My friend isn't in town and although I am having an issue with the aileron throws (up travels just barely above the wingtip TE while down has full travel, same with both ailerons), I felt it should be manageable.

I had the club field to myself even though it was a nice day, but the wind sock would fly sideways once in awhile so I'm sure it was the winds that kept other members away. Weighing at over 16 pounds AUW, winds aren't that much of a concern for this bird.

The rotation on takeoff was a bit drastic due to hitting a bump in the runway which popped her up at a bit of an extreme AOA but that quickly was relaxed. You will see in the video there are times when there is an extreme bank on the roll axis. This is not my inputs. I don't think it is a wind gust. You can see it at 2:16 and especially 2:52. It may be the travel discrepancy with the ailerons. I need to fix this as it is quite disconcerting during the flight.

Even though I flew for less than 3 minutes, I feel like the batteries (two 5S 4400s) lose power quicker than they should as I had to come in to land earlier than I expected because I had the throttle pegged at WOT just to keep her flying.

Landing was not as clean as a good wind gust came up and dang near put her at stall speed right over the threshold...If these were not the robust gear that they are, the retracts/struts would have likely folded. I was lucky.

So I have to still get her figured out. The flights feel too labored right now and that's not all on me. CG may be off a bit, throws need to be adjusted and I've been too busy keeping her in the air to take my thumbs off the sticks to trim.

She'll get there!

Beechcraft Baron G58 Second Flight (4 min 10 sec)

Posted by Aros | Apr 06, 2014 @ 06:27 PM | 3,700 Views
Every SR-71 Blackbird I've ever owned I changed the livery. Most were much more unlucky than others. Not that there was anything wrong with the way she looked when I bought it, but I do like to make them my own. I went for the 17974 "Ichi Ban". It's one I haven't had before. Callie Graphics created the decal set and as always she does a fantastic job.

I added the little protuberance to the already hyper-cool functional pitot tube that the original owner put on her to gauge the speed (the LED read out is in the RSO window so you can see what the top IAS was after each sortie) just to add even more scale realism.

Unfortunately I've found the gear to be extremely lacking in quality and robustness. Not any fault of the original owner, in fact he did a nice job adding the extra wheels to the mains and nose light, it's just that the stock gear was never that decent to begin with.

One of the mains collapsed on one of my landings (I have it on video, it wasn't even that hard of a landing) breaking the plastic trunion to bits. I tried epoxy but to no avail. The nose gear had been giving me all kinds of problems and now the micro servo said "I'm done" and is stripped. The strut spins pretty freely (as evidence of my taxi test, see below...I had to negotiate rudder like nobody's business just on a simple taxi!) so it's time to move on from the stock gear/retract setup and consider alternatives.

I've had much success in recent years turning my...Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Apr 02, 2014 @ 01:04 AM | 3,463 Views
Looking at the weather, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week looked great. The problem we were having now was trying to find a school field that wasn't filled with soccer and baseball practice. My buddy Chris (the builder of my RC Aerodyne Baron G58) spotted a school not too far from us that from Google Maps at least, looked like a prime candidate.

So we packed her in and off we went. When we got there we were pleased to find no sports activities. Both the track and the soccer fields were clear. Outside of a few folks walking their dogs on the track, we had the area pretty much to ourselves. We flew a couple of our smaller planes just to get a feel for the airspace and then it was time to take the Baron out and get her ready for the maiden. The RE-maiden that is.

We decided to scrub the track for the takeoff. With the people walking that was a no-go. The soccer field could have worked in a pinch but we decided to go with a long walking path running parallel to the soccer field. The pebbles comprising the path were small enough and compact enough which was good but the sheer length of the path made it a no-brainer. That was to be the runway. Outside of the three light poles on the left side of the pathway, it was a pretty wide open space and I felt confident to use it.

Chris had his nice camcorder to film the flight and I had my keychain cam that I had taped to the port-side horizontal stab. Of course, I was so nervous and so hyper-focused on making...Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Mar 19, 2014 @ 07:28 PM | 3,753 Views
My friend and builder of the Baron and I found an opportunity and decided to maiden the Baron yesterday. The field is HUGE open space but not maintained in any way. It's actually the run-off parking lot for a racing track in our area.

After preflight checks (well what I thought was a good preflight check), it was time to kick the tires and light the fires. I had picked a fairly smooth initial runway where I estimated it wouldn't get too bumpy until past V1/rotate.

Once I hit V1 I placed a normal amount of back pressure and she acted like she didn't want to take off! It felt nose heavy or just really, really heavy! It floated as I fought to keep her in the air and establish a steady rate of climb when I had to abort. She landed okay but bounced and ended up in a rock pit of sorts. These rocks were about the size of very large potatoes. The front nose gear collapsed as did the port side retract housing area. The nose flew off and sustained cosmetic damage.

It was a total walk of shame and I was devastated. Not just for me, but for my friend who has 30+ hours of build time in her. After we brought her back, I noticed the elevator was at a large amount of down. Could have been from the impact but I checked photos we took right before the maiden and the elevator shows the same amount of down!

Could it be in my haste to maiden while checking control surfaces, I forgot to double check the trim/neutral position? It seems that this was the cause...Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Mar 11, 2014 @ 04:27 PM | 4,371 Views
We finally have some sun here in the Pacific Northwest so I had to take advantage and get some pre-maiden shots. She's just missing the Hartzell logo on the props which Callie Graphics will be providing this week. Still waiting for a decent weather forecast for the weekend to maiden. Stay tuned!...Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Mar 08, 2014 @ 09:08 PM | 3,425 Views
I want to start off by thanking my friend Chris who quite simply did a masterful job with the build of my RC Aerodyne Baron G58. I honestly couldn't have asked for someone more detail-oriented and meticulous. I'm afraid to ask him how many total build hours went into it but I've already promised him my next born on top of the payment I plan on giving him post-maiden (his insistence).

Unfortunately the rain is relentless this time of year in the Pacific Northwest. Our second taxi test looked much like our first: Soaked.

We weighed the girl and she's a bit, shall we say, "hefty". With the two 5S Admiral 4000 60Cs she weighed over 16 pounds!

So Chris is going to run the numbers and help determine if we maiden as planned at this setup, or if we go a single 6S. Another static test today and she was just over 70A, 1400 Watts, 20V at WOT. In other words, the 100A ESCs and Hyperion motors are barely yawning during the tests. Being a heavier girl, she's going to require some power and power she has. We may want to use the extra voltage to compensate for the weight.

The cockpit kit was added and scale detail to the props. Scale landing lights were added on the nacelles and he also added a nose wheel landing light that while not true scale, it looks fantastic! The landing lights are sequenced with the retracting gear so they turn off when in the up position and turn on when down. The lights throughout really sets her off.

All that is left (besides finding the perfect maiden location and weather) is getting the CG and throws dialed before final taxi and range checking. From there, it's just the time and place.

As you can see in one of the photos, she fits perfectly in my Ford Escape with the back seats folded down. Perfect fit!

Is it June yet???
Posted by Aros | Feb 25, 2014 @ 02:01 PM | 3,662 Views
Today, I received a very special SR-71 from bighead93. He reluctantly sold me his baby as he's getting into FPV. She arrived today FedEx...The packaging job was masterful! Here's some information from the sale thread...

Here is a custom LX SR-71 with every bell and whistle almost like the real one! Has a speed sensor from Eagle Tree with digital readout in the rear window. Has eight servo's, a Castle BEC provides power/AR7000 receiver. Don's Wicked motors/balanced fans with 60AMP ESC's.

Also activated all the flight control surfaces, the kit only uses the elevons, mine uses the rudders and the 'whale tail' as well as the elevons. Thrust tubes as per Don's directions with 156 LED's (78 LED's per engine) that activate based off of throttle input (change color as throttle is increased and decrease).

Scale landing gear with landing lights and rotating beacons that activate when landing gear is lowered. Flycam2 is included for true spy flight missions (also balances the plane perfect). Two Pro-Lite V2 2100 Lipo's with about 30 cycles.

Stored properly and rock solid. I have over 75 perfect flights with lots of video to prove it! I have loved flying her but my obsession with FPV is the reason for the sale. This is not for a beginner and does take skill to have successful flights. Flies in the mid 80's but have hit 91MPH!

So this will be my 11th 64mm SR-71 EDF. 11. Yep, you read that right. Never had one this nice so there will be some serious knee knockin' on the maiden. Wish me luck!
Posted by Aros | Feb 22, 2014 @ 07:25 PM | 3,801 Views
This is my Beechcraft Baron G58 ARF from RC Aerodyne. She is a real beauty! Even though it was raining, we weren't going to let a little rain dampen our excitement just to see her out for her first taxi test. My buddy Chris has done a complete masterful job building her for me. I don't make a lot of great decisions in my life but having an aeronautical engineer with a meticulous penchant for attention to detail be the one to build her for me was certainly one of my more astute moves.

I definitely have her overpowered but that's quite okay. I would rather her be overpowered than the alternative.

Here's what I'm running:

2x Hyperion HP-ZS4020-12's
2x Castle Light 100A ESCs
2x 11" x 8.5" 3 blade EMS props
2x TT-2503-B Tru-Turn aluminum spinners
2x 5S 4000 60C lipo batteries in parallel
1x Spektrum DX9 tx
1x Spektrum AR9010 DSMX rx
1x Castle 10A BEC

We don't have AUW yet but we think she's going to be somewhere in the 14 pound ballpark. Going with two Admiral 5S 4000 60C batteries in parallel. The electric retracts and wheels are fantastic and from RC Aerodyne. Precision-machined, and the oleos are extremely functional.

Chris is finishing up on the elevator and the nose wheel gear doors, I am working on the cockpit kit getting ready to install that plus the windows and doors.

Here's some pictures of the taxi test from earlier today. More to follow.
Posted by Aros | Jun 23, 2013 @ 08:25 PM | 4,673 Views
Dedicated to all my fellow RC pilots who understand the heartache and triumph of this hobby we love.

My Soul Is In The Sky: For The Love of Flight (4 min 37 sec)

Posted by Aros | Feb 08, 2013 @ 01:42 AM | 9,885 Views
It turns out I couldn't wait after all. I decided to unbox and build her tonight since my time is limited tomorrow and I wanted to make sure I could squeeze in the maiden.

Plus my impatience is legendary.

So let's take a look!


The plane came extremely well packaged as per the FMS standard. The individual plastic wrapping has zip-lock seals, gone are the days of tearing into the vacuum-sealed bags by hand or knife or scissor with the risk of inadvertent puncturing of the foam parts. Just don't ask me how I know about that.

Uninstalled ESC?

I was surprised that the ESC came uninstalled. Not a big deal for me as I always take mine to the LHS to have them soder a Deans connector on them but I was surprised all the same. It will be interesting to see if other's have the same issue or if it was just mine for whatever reason. I installed an old Eflite 60A ESC I had lying around since it already had a Deans and I could test everything. I may maiden with it tomorrow after I run a static amp test with the wattmeter and everything checks out okay. The stock ESC is a 65A so we'll see how the test goes before I decide what to maiden with.

Thy Static Tailwheel, Why Thou Ye Spite Thee?

Well here she is. As you can see the doors are molded into the body of the fuselage and there is nothing retractable about the tail wheel. I know this is a major source of contention with many, and quite frankly I'm still completely...Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Feb 01, 2013 @ 05:09 PM | 7,334 Views
My Flight Review of the New FMS 1450MM P-51B Mustang

I've been so used to flying my 1700's lately I almost forgot the difference between the 1400 and 1700 which is everything related to less weight versus more weight, etc. Winds were about 5-10mph...After checking CG (it was a smidgen tail heavy but nothing worth messing with), control throws, she was ready to go.

The takeoff run was smooth and predictable. Once in the air she was smooth with dead center tracking. Gear retracted perfectly. Rolls were axial and crisp on high rates. She didn't need much trim. A couple clicks of right and that was it. Full power is crisp. Very scale low passes at WOT. Performs all the usuals (Barrel rolls, Immelmans, Cubans, etc...) with authority. I flew with a 4S 3300 for about 6 minutes not wanting to push too much on the maiden.

I set up for final, hit the flaps (no ballooning) and brought her down to a perfect 2-point landing (on the bumping grass no less!) to the satisfaction of everyone watching. All I did was keep a little power on and guided the nose accordingly.

There is absolutely no bad habits, no bad tendencies. She tracks superbly with plenty of power to perform any of the usual aerobatics. Low, WOT passes are a blast. 75-80mph easy on a fresh charge. Motor and prop wash makes a nice sound at WOT as well.

For my 4S 3300, I had to push the battery forward so the aft end was sitting just a bit off the battery tray. I had to move one of the straps...Continue Reading
Posted by Aros | Jan 31, 2013 @ 06:33 PM | 11,267 Views
My Build Review of the FMS 1450MM P-51B Mustang "Dallas Darling"

She arrived today in pristine condition. Not even the obligatory puncture hole in the outer shipping box could be found. I got lucky this time. The EMS elves left my box alone.

Box Love

Allow me a shameless plug for a moment. Here's the print package design for the P-51B Mustang I did for FMS. I think it turned out rather nice! I like bold, punchy colors and graphics to capture the eye. I hope other folks like the new FMS boxes as well.

...Continue Reading