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Michael Powell's blog
Posted by Michael Powell | Jun 27, 2013 @ 12:29 AM | 1,227 Views
I've been flying the Flymentor and HK450 back to back with a plain HK450 for three months. Both are built with cheap analogue servos, and both get the same flight routines, lots of circuits and hovering.

Flymentor certainly helps. I can confidently place the helicopter accurately and disregard wind that would stop my fling fixed wing. The HK450 with just a tail gyro is also good in mild wind, but the precision is not there, and more stick movements are required just to keep the helicopter in place.

In a circuit there is nothing to choose between the two, but the Flymentor will level and stop the helicopter when the controls are release, so I have to drive it forward. The plain 450 doesn't need this, and it's a little more pleasant and faster.

After the initial programming, it's not been necessary to retrim the Flymentor for many weeks despite changing blades and main gear, and sother components around the frame. It needs to have the tail adjusted now because a little oscilliation has crept in, but that's the same with the other helicopter with a gyro. As you fly, kick up gravel and grass, the tail gets damaged, so the settings alter.

The Flymentor tail gyro gives people problems and they often don't use it. I do use it and found it was fine. I am using very cheap analog servos, and had a very solid tail that has gradually loosened up with use. I've no doubt a bit of adjustment will have it fine again.

Flymentor steadies the helicopter when the transmitter...Continue Reading
Posted by Michael Powell | Apr 15, 2013 @ 04:26 PM | 1,158 Views
The MicroJet is fantastic fun when it's airborne, but twinkle rolls abruptly on launch, so you suffer four of the latter for one of the former. In the chase to improve the odds I am working on some new launching techniques that don't involve a mighty heave-ho since I have already put my shoulder out.

Technique One - Use a gyroscope on aileron to react quickly to the roll. I have used it successfully on other foam jets, so it's worth trying

technique Two - A wooden ramp and bungee. It's been proven elsewhere, but it's not certain since the strength of rubber and number of lengths is so variable.

TEchniue Three - A vertical launch at full,power so the thing spins to great height before falling into a normal flight. With 220watts on tap,,it's worked.

echnique Four - Add momentum by placing some lead on each wing tip to give the torque in the motor some resistencia. It worked. But one launch does not classify as success, so more tests are needed. I used 5 gm on each wing.
Posted by Michael Powell | Oct 29, 2012 @ 03:43 AM | 1,560 Views
I managed to get airborne twice on Thursday, no mean achievement, with a normal javelin throw rather than use a bungee assist. The wind was too strong for anything else to fly other than at full throttle, but the wind helped give the MicroJet some take off speed, so it was useful.

Once airborne, the MicroJet ignored the wind, and skimmed about in wide sweeping arcs from one end of visibility to another. I reached for my glasses but failed, which should have been a message to land and put them on. It was a low-cloud day and eventually the plane, all white of course, clipped into the corner of a cloud.

It soon disappeared altogether, flashing a few times, but not giving me much idea which was up, and which down. Eventually I could see nothing, so powered down and waited. I should have put in full up elevator and waited for something to flutter out of the cloud.

Instead there was a brief flash of plane zipping earthwards between the cloud and the edge of the ridge. I just had time to line it up with a bush before locking up the van and marching off along the line to the bush and beyond.

I failed. There were lots of trees, bushes, heather and bracken below the ridge, and the speedy almost vertical descent would have meant the plane was out of sight below the canopy of foliage.

But I was looking too near to where I had been standing. I went back on the next day and walked straight out along my sight line for about thirty minutes. It was steep, there were fences and...Continue Reading