New Products Flash Sale
Condor84's blog View Details
Posted by Condor84 | Jun 02, 2015 @ 03:28 PM | 1,726 Views
I just finished putting together and super detailing a Maxford Nieuport 17 with a mock spinning rotary (pics and small write up to follow here soon), and needed a more relaxing build not so high on scale detail, but high on fun factor. I can't stand not having an airplane on the build table, but also wanted to take some time away from my scroll saw for awhile, hence I didn't feel like going back to my scratch built 1/6 scale EAA Headwind quite yet.

Well, on my monthly pilgrimage to Barnes and Noble for my monthly issue of R/C Model Aeroplane (the US rebranded version of RCM&E ), I saw this model was the April 2015 free plan, as presented by Mr. Nigel Hawes, and designed by Mr. Ron Evans in the U.K. I just knew I needed to build one! So, I did.

It's constructed from all 1/4 balsa. I chose the lightest but firmest grades I could find locally. The article and plans also make note that it can be made with Depron or other foams, or combinations of a little of everything. But, being an all balsa guy, that's what I chose. I did the KF2 wing version (but it can also be built as an all sheet wing), and used a Rimfire .10, 8X8 APC prop, and Hobby People 3s2200mah from my dearly departed Cosmic Wind pylon plane. It turned out exceedingly light, but also built out to be extremely strong owing to my wood choices. My wood supply was nothing special either.

I just carefully hand selected the stock from the local Michael's and Hobby Lobby craft stores, since there...Continue Reading
Posted by Condor84 | Mar 06, 2015 @ 12:20 PM | 4,723 Views
This is one of the latest projects to come off the line. I just got done resurrecting a JR XF 631 I bought (with the generous help of ivanc, requiring a simple reset and a replacement of a diode in the RF deck) from edbu1. I have to say that Ed is a great trader to deal with, and I very much recommend him. As well, ivanc is extremely knowledgeable about most things transmitter, and was extremely helpful, directing me towards the reset jumper, as I've never owned or worked on a JR before. So my humbled thanks to both gentlemen.

Well, the opportunity came up to purchase this old Tower System 500 from the same lot of transmitters I bought the JR from. It had some battery leakage stains on the front and no crystal, so I felt bad for this one, as no one else seemed interested. I also do have a love affair with vintage transmitters, especially anything in a gold box. Normally, I would have left the gold anodizing alone, however since the finish on the front was ruined with the ancient battery acid stains, I decided to go a different route.

When I received the transmitter (the next day I may add, but to be fair, Ed also lives in Florida a mere 60 miles down the road), I opened it up, and found that although the cells had been compromised and the case stained as a result, the PC board was fine. Miraculously, the cells actually still had a pretty good charge in them, although being the old Sanyo 700mah NiCd variety, and probably at least 25-20 years old and leaking, they would...Continue Reading
Posted by Condor84 | Jan 23, 2015 @ 02:12 AM | 3,561 Views
Well, about a week ago, whilst browsing the classifieds, I came across this very neat vintage radio and having done several 2.4 ghz conversions of older radios already, I decided to jump on it. The price was absolutely right ( a princely sum of $10 plus shipping), and I must say that the seller, birddogs2, was an absolute pleasure to deal with. Before you knew it, the radio was at my door a mere 2 business days after shipping from Oklahoma to Florida. It arrived unharmed, and after a mild cleaning, looked as though it had rarely been used, if ever at all. This little guy was at very least, very well taken care of over the last three and a half decades.

So, a little info on the transmitter. It's a Tower Hobbies TH-6, which as the name denotes, has six channels (5 proportional and 1 switched), and was made in the U.S.A. by Kraft for Tower Hobbies in the 1970's, and based on their Sport series of radios. It has partial metal, bushed gimbals, and an all aluminum housing. It's just absolutely cool! Plus, I had never seen one quite like it.

It even arrived with four vintage servos (a yet unknown brand to me, but they're three wire, with metal housings.. built like tanks), vintage switch, and a Consumer Hobby Corporation Model VI receiver, also with a metal case. These things are heavy, and constructed solid! I can't imagine the weight penalty that this gear would have imposed on even a .40 size bird! Surprisingly enough, once fired up, the servos and receiver still worked!

...Continue Reading
Posted by Condor84 | Jan 18, 2015 @ 06:23 PM | 2,191 Views
The Extra is no more. Spun in from 100 ft, and even full opposite control inputs wouldn't bring it out. Carbon prop is trashed, and fuselage is shattered from firewall to tail. To make matters worse, even if I could rebuild it, I can't afford too because the government is raping us for another 600+ dollars this year just so my wife of three years can continue to stay here. This is getting stupid every year. No matter what you feel about immigration, fact is, we love each other, and she immigrated here legally because she wanted a better life, yet illegals get to take the ride for free nowadays, while those who worked for it continually get raped. They can all go scratch. It's bad enough when you make next to nothing, and then have most of it taken by a government that can't seem to file simple paperwork for anything less than 600-1200 dollars, and then they have the nerve to ask for a repeat EVERY year to two years. Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a rant about that. Fact is, the plane has been discontinued, and being a builder first and foremost, I can honestly say that this one is done. Maybe I can use the wings and tail group to build a franken plane, but who knows; understandably I'm not thinking about that too much right now. It was my favorite plane, so right now, anything else just seems, well, bleh. And, right now I'm just a little too weary to fly anything I do have, since every kit/ARF I have ready to fly (which isn't even a handful at this point) have either been...Continue Reading
Posted by Condor84 | Jan 16, 2015 @ 05:26 PM | 6,224 Views
Interesting little story. Today was a beautiful day, so around 4pm I decided to go out to the local park/baseball field to get some practice in with the little Extra 300S. I was about 5 minutes into my flight pulling into a vertical line and roll off the apogee, when during an obligatory check for other air traffic (there's quite a bit of un-authorized low traffic in the area at times as the farmers scout their fields) I first heard, then saw a huge, lumbering, beast coming parallel to my position. The sound of two large Wright 1820's filled the sky, and the next thing I know, I was in the presence of a Grumman Albatross, done up in blue and white, trailing a little bit of water from it's underside. WHAT A BEAST. I had only ever seen one other at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, NAS Pensacola, but to see one in the air was a treat! It's really a lot larger looking in the air then it ever looked to me on the ground. He was proceeding about 800-1000ft MSL, and I was at about 600ft, so I quickly lost some altitude and put myself into a holding pattern so I could watch this old bird sail majestically over my head, and then disappear to the horizon. He was pretty low, so I'm guessing that he had just taken off from the St. Johns River, which is only about two miles away, and the largest body of water in the area to support such a large seaplane. It made my day, and soiled my undies a bit, but what fun! I must say it threw me off my game a little bit, because I was only on final when I realized that I had forgotten to put on my glasses; landing with no depth perception was the second interesting experience of the day.
Posted by Condor84 | Jan 06, 2015 @ 11:17 PM | 2,942 Views
I just thought that I'd give everyone a preview of one of my latest projects. I've been converting a Dumas Walnut Scale (17") Eindecker E.III to 3 channel micro R/C for the 100th anniversary of the "Fokker Scourge". It's typical balsa built-up construction, covered in tissue and matte acrylic. Very few modifications to the stock kit were required, such as removing some of the unnecessary cross bracing from the rear fuselage to lighten up the rear end. Since there is no rubber motor, there is no need for the extra support against a heavily tensioned length of rubber. Further, a healthy amount of washout was added to the wings to combat against tip stalling at low airspeed. Also, the rotary engine is made from Model Magic and actually spins, ala the real thing, when the motor is run up. It simply slips over the motor shaft and when the motor is spooled, the little bit of friction between the shaft and rotary, as well as the airflow, causes it to spin. However, it is free wheeling as not to put any strain on the electric motor. It's quite a sight to see, as most R/C Eindeckers lack this very unique and defining feature. I utilized almost all of the stock hardware and electronics from a donor Flyzone SE5a. However, the motor has proven to be underpowered, and will only fly the airplane for short hops, so I'm going to have to remove the cowl and install a Parkzone P-51 motor or similar. The little Eindecker really does need the nose weight anyhow, so it's not a big issue. The battery slips into the instrument panel, and the rear tail surfaces are full flying and to scale proportions. Furthermore, the entire model is rigged to scale. I plan to write a construction article for submission to one (or several) of the big R/C magazines once I get the motor issues sorted out, so I'm crossing my fingers, and we'll see what happens. Until then, here's some teaser pics of the completed model. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Posted by Condor84 | Jan 06, 2015 @ 01:06 AM | 2,754 Views
Well, I added a cheapy HK 401B gyro to the aileron channel and have been slowly increasing the gain to just about the right point. With 50% on my radio (Hitec Aurora 9) being off, 30% in rate mode seems to do the job nicely, and keeps it stable in moderate wind with no wing rock at high speed. It does harriers rather well, both upright and inverted, and without any wing rock to be noted, can even be landed at extremely low airspeed/high alpha without so much as dropping a wing. I flew it with this set-up in gusty 25-30 knot winds yesterday, and it handled admirably.

However, the Turnigy 2830 1000kv spinning a 10X4.7 prop has proven to be woefully underpowered after the initial couple shakedown flights, now that I've become more comfortable with the airframe. It turns out that the motor isn't a true 28-30 as I know it, and it is really more of a 22-12 size motor, although the 10X4.7 propeller is the optimum prop for this motor. It will fly the aircraft, but the vertical performance leaves a lot to be desired, and without a good run-up, loops tend to buck and stutter near the top due to low airspeed. It does knife edge flight very well, however it requires more than a healthy amount of throttle to do so.

Last night, I decided to install a .10 size outrunner from a donor Tower Hobbies P-51 (I've had very good luck and performance with these no-name $20 "SuperTigre" motors), but the added nose weight required the fabrication of a new battery mount over and behind...Continue Reading
Posted by Condor84 | Dec 01, 2014 @ 02:04 AM | 3,073 Views
Well, today I finally got out to the field, and although the winds were a little gusty, I gave the little Extra a go. I mainly fly scale/sport airplanes (though sometimes not fly them so scale) and come to think of it, have never owned a dedicated scale aerobatic aircraft in the last 20 years, so it was a real change of place.

The takeoff roll was fine, and once airborne required only a few clicks of right aileron and a few of up elevator. It's a pretty twitchy rather short coupled airplane (which isn't this kind of the point for an aerobatic machine?) which makes it quite a different challenge from my usual, but will smooth out if treated like a lady. I like it!
The only adverse flying quality I noticed was that a high speed stall is induced when too much stick is pulled back and it therefore drops a left wing. So, either my CG needs to be moved forward some, or the throws on my elevator toned down a bit, or both. Alternatively, I may need to tweak the elevator a little, as there was initially a very slight twist in it. So, that may need to be further adjusted.

It doesn't have the fastest roll rate, but is still quite lively. The rudder seems to have enough authority that I may just be able to coax a knife edge loop from it, although I haven't tried yet.

Furthermore, when a stall is induced, it doesn't break too cleanly and tends to drop a wing. It may require some more lateral balancing, or perhaps it's just symptomatic of the design, but I...Continue Reading
Posted by Condor84 | Nov 29, 2014 @ 05:37 AM | 2,991 Views
Well, about a month ago, I crashed my Tower Hobbies P-51 while practicing flat spins. It ended up in a nearly 45 foot tall tree, so I taped together several bamboo poles, and got a ladder. I actually enlisted the help of my mom to help me retrieve it since neither my wife, nor father were around and I desperately needed someone to spot me as I tried fishing it out. Thanks mom! Well, as anyone who lives in Florida can attest to, trees aren't merely trees, but really just vessel on which to hold vines. Now, imagine when a plane gets caught up in this vine-y, tree-ee mess. After about an hour, and with my mom's help, we actually got it out, but it was pretty messed up. That'll teach me to practice flat spins over a wooded area.

Anyhow, I sent in some pictures to Hobby King's Crash Cash contest, and actually won! Well, I've never ordered anything except batteries from HK before, so I figured I'd give it a go, and order a plane. I settled on their balsa 944mm Extra 300L ARF. They assemble the full scale ones literally down the highway from where I live as they come off the boat from Germany, so I figured that I should have a miniature of my own. Also ordered a Turnigy Aerodrive 28/30 1000kv motor, two Turnigy micro metal gear servos, two 5 gram micro servos (for another project), 30cm servo extensions, a 3s1000mah Zippy Compact, a 4 pack of 10X4.5 props and a 30 amp blue HK speed control; all for a little over a $100 not including shipping. And since the contest awarded me $100,...Continue Reading
Posted by Condor84 | Sep 30, 2014 @ 06:18 PM | 3,509 Views
Well, I got the sailplane bug after not having flown an R/C or even full scale one for nearly 10 years. Well, I really didn't have the time to build from a kit or scratch, so I put together an Advantage Hobby Mini Sailmaster, which is really just a Guppy sailplane copy (rip-off) with a fiberglass fuse. It was on sale, so I figured, what the hell. It went together alright, and so for my first test flight, I brought it down to St. Augustine Beach because they have some good dunes there, and the condos on the beach front help add to the lift. I parked right on the beach, and gave it a go. Well, compared to the Sophisticated Lady I flew as my first sailplane (and second RC plane), it was a rocket ship. The lift on the beach was good, with 25 knot winds blowing in from the sea. Well, after trimming, it actually flew pretty alright for a 61inch ship. It did, require however, lots of aileron differential, and of course lots of rudder in the turns (the first thing you learn flying full scale ships). After three flights that day, I was happy. Even brought it to the local park and thermaled it a few times, which was nice, but I just wish it's glide ratio was a tad better. It's not bad, just not spectacular. I then brought it to the beach again, and on the second flight, had some motor pulsating problems right after launch, and at 100 feet, it tip stalled and went nose in right into the beach and surf. NO time to recover from that one. My wife was nice enough to retrieve it immediately....Continue Reading