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Posted by Red.Sneakers | May 15, 2016 @ 06:49 PM | 1,255 Views

On May 14, 2016 I attended the "Power in the Pines" Open House and Air Show at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in southern New Jersey. Took 475 photos, deleted almost 300. So what to show on the blog you may enjoy? I decided to showcase the photos that best represent the Pride, Power & Precision showcased. Hope you enjoy them.

The Power of the Pines is presented about every other year, so check back on 2018 for the next show.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | May 10, 2016 @ 02:18 PM | 1,113 Views
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It has been a very wet & windy Spring in Northern Jew Jersey. No flying for a long time. Today was the first good day so we met up at the Club. Winds light & variable, sunny morning with Altocumulus Floccus clouds moving in. First up was the Beaver. Oh man, what a beautiful morning. Sun behind us, clean air, no turbulence. Watched a few guys fly while I enjoyed a breakfast snack al fresco. Then two guys started talking about gliders. So I got my glider ready, settled into my camping chair & launched. Thinking I would just fly around. At around 12 minutes, I told the guys to look up as I was in a thermal bubble, center stage. At times the fuselage would disappear but I could clearly see the two wing tips that are black. One member asked: “how do you get down”, hum, oh yea, spiral. Spiral I did & lost some good altitude, then settled down & up I went. Two more spirals before I lost the bubble. Could feel the temperature cool down as sink was ever present. Flew around for about 1 minute at low throttle to let the sink move on. Ding, ding, another small thermal, up we went. Followed by sink, cool breeze, fly around & another thermal. Pilot asked “what’s your record?”. I answered about 29-30 minutes (actually it was Nov 13, 2014 ~ 32 min flight). So they challenged me to break my record. At 30 minutes I was going to land when a newly arrived member said, “keep going”. So I did. Final battle with sink & no battery life left to go back up, so I landed. My friend rushed over to read the timer on the Tx when it landed. A little early in the season to call it the best day but just may be.

Total flight time 44 minutes & 2 seconds, a personal best. Plane you ask? umx Radian with a 220 mAh mini-aviation battery. (mic drop)

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Mar 11, 2016 @ 07:54 AM | 2,131 Views

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I have written a blog on the A3 Super II gyro. It is very lengthy so I thought I would archive a blog of a few of the most common questions so folks can reference them without having to read the entire document. All videos can be found at the bottom of this blog

What is Gain?

RCG member [mapes12 ] comments “Keep it simple. Gain = Sensitivity. That's it.”

Let me expand on the concept. First let’s start by saying once you introduce a gyro (like the A3 Super II), you now have a “Fly-by-Wire” system. In the early years of aviation, the control surfaces of a plane were connected by a wire to the stick or pedals. If was up to the Pilot in Command (PIC) to know the limits of the plane and not exceed those limits. To me, Fly-by-Wire is an oxymoron term. It is the opposite of what it describes; it is actually a fly with computer assisted controls system.

So what is Gain? Gain refers to the amount of travel the servo is allowed to deflect when the gyro is issuing the commands. So if the gyro is set to 100% gain and all other systems are normal, the gyro will issue a command to the receiver (Rx) to allow the servo to travel 100%.

Why is Gain such a challenging concept? Because with a fly-by-wire system, there are multiple setting that ultimately control how far the gyro allows the servo movement to travel.

Let’s look at some of the settings available with the A3:

Gyro Gain wire attached to the
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 22, 2016 @ 10:04 AM | 1,828 Views
Video Gallery 2016
& links to the build logs
see vimeo for comments on the video

HiTec Zipper Weekender
Zipper Final Approach & Lanind in Slow Mo (1 min 6 sec)

HiTec Zipper Weekender
Zipper second maiden z (2 min 17 sec)
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 20, 2016 @ 09:10 AM | 2,672 Views
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> Introduction <

I love my Horizon Hobby umx Sport Cub S2. Why? Because some engineers & designers took the time to program the gyro with all the correct settings with 3 flight modes: Stabilized [Beginner Mode], Agility [Intermediate Mode], Unrestricted [Experienced Mode]. So all I had to do is take the plane out of the box, charge the battery, do a preflight check, learn how to initialize & activate the gyro & off we went. I love this plane so much, I have 6 of them, 2 are RIP & the other 4 are commissioned for specific missions. I have learned a lot about how the pilot needs to interact with the gyro & weather conditions. Some folks are stick & rudder pilots and wouldn’t consider a gyro. It’s OK. Once you fly a plane with a gyro in wind that exceeds its specifications of the model or with heavy turbulence, where the plane is being tossed vertically up to 5 feet in a split second, you will have a higher respect for a fly-by-wire system.

The Hobby Eagle A3 Super II is a good value gyro, with company support, documentation & enhancements. As a visual guy, I love the WYSIWYG [What You See Is What You Get] app. The challenge is all this flexibility comes with an investment = more knowledge required (call it ground school learning). You need to understand what each setting does & determine if the default setting meets your needs for your specific application. Failure to do so may result in injury or property damage (like your
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 17, 2016 @ 01:47 PM | 2,035 Views

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I have wanted a HiTec Zipper Weekender for some time. It looks like they will be discontinued when the stock runs out. In the mean time, they have been discounted with free shipping at Tower Hobbies. I have no facility nor expertise spray painting but was able to convince a friend to paint one for me. Maiden today only to crash it upon takeoff. Not enough thrust. Either I did not set the throttle setting correctly on the Rx/ESC or gyro. There will be another day.

Wingspan: 23.6" (599mm)
Length: 21.3" (541mm)
Weight: 5.3oz (150g)
Wing Area: 93 sq in (6 sq dm)

Build log:

--> Convinced a friend to spray paint one for me.

--> Added skids on the belly as I may land on rough surfaces.

--> Added an A3 Supper 2 gyro to get more practice installing & programming them. Maiden crash was with the gyro off.

--> After the crash I glued the wings on with Foam-Tac.

--> Now looking to mod the plane with a bigger prop, see below.

--> RCG member [Hugo Flynow] suggests to "add a hole in the bottom of the fuselage for ventilation. Rule of thumb is the exit hole needs to be 3X larger than the inlet. Being the inlet is just behind the nosecone, this hole is plenty big. I like to make oval holes to get the most out of the fuselage shape.”
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--> The plane is under the USA FAA registration weight limit of 0.55 lbs (250 grams) - No FAA registration required to fly it. Caution: Some folks have
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Sticky: Jumpers Away
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 12, 2016 @ 07:37 AM | 1,901 Views

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Photo by RCG member Robert Stinson

I have been looking for small parachute guys for some time. HK has a Candy Dropper available that will release the jumpers. I posted a request for links in the HK Tundra forum & the response was great. Decided to archive the choices for future reference.

RCG member [eihoward] commented “Put some weight to these soldiers or they will fly away... Yes I have lost four...”

RCG member [Pilot_MM] commented “Thinking out loud here but you could also put a few holes in the chute. It will do the same without adding weight.”

RCG member [MX48] commented “I taped a 1oz. fishing sinker to my paratroopers and now no more trying to float overseas. Yet they still float down nicely in the wind.”

> Kids Children Tangle Free Toy Hand Throwing Parachute Kite Outdoor Play Game Toy [by RCG member dabrandt22].

> Fun Express Vinyl Paratroopers Assortment Action Figure (6 Dozen) [by RCG member nevenelestate]

> Base Jumpers Parachute Men Red, Blue & Green Gift Set Bundle - 3 Pack [by RCG member MX48]

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 28, 2016 @ 07:49 AM | 2,282 Views

I had some old Lipo batteries that needed replacing. One got out of balance & the other the wire on the balance plug broke due to usage. Discovered the Admiral batteries. Here is why I like what I see.

--> Great attention to detail by the designer. If they pay that much attention to the components you can see, I surmise the same attention to detail has been placed on the internal chemistry & design. Time will tell.

--> The Dean T plug is long, no attempt to save money noted.

--> They have a very unique protective cover on the balance plug to prevent premature wire breakage.

--> Nicely labeled. Would prefer if they had added the word "Lipo" as I also use Nimh batteries that 'look' similar.

--> The 2200mah is skinny & long & the 1300mah is short & fatter - exactly what I need for my applications.

--> Standard industry balance plug connector.

--> I include a picture of the battery with added shrink for stress relief & the tool I use to disconnect the battery without pulling on the wires.

2016 will be the year I try out the Admiral batteries. My expectation is they will perform well.

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 25, 2016 @ 05:28 PM | 2,392 Views
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I fly several models that already come programmed with AS3x. AS3x reduces the effect of any force, like wind, that displaces the model while in flight . It will make quick adjustments to act as a damper. But now I am starting to program my own gyros. Spektrum has made a series of 15 videos to explain this process. So do I really want to continue along this path? I think the benefits will come as we learn more of the terms used & what they mean. It gives me a new appreciation for models like the umx Sports Cub S2 that already comes programmed with AS3x. Surely, all the work someone else did is worth something.

In the meantime, if any of you have a death wish to learn more about AS3x & how to program it, here is the entire series

Spektrum RC products related to this and all other AS3X video's in this playlist include: SPM-AR636 ; SPM-AR6335 ; SPM-AR7350 ; SPM-AR9350

Spektrum AS3X Step 1: Transmitter Setup (Initial Setup) (2 min 17 sec)

Spektrum AS3X Step 2: Receiver Installation (Initial Setup) (6 min 19 sec)
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 22, 2016 @ 10:32 PM | 2,375 Views
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2015 was a lite year for flying my Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, due to one thing or another. In 2015 I only flew 505 flights vs 606 in 2014. I was short 101 flights. Knew it by midyear, no way to catch up. The 101 flights cost me 17.9 hours of lost airtime. To make it worse, my average flight time per flight for 2015 was 9.58 minutes. This means I lost another 9.1 hours of flight time due to the mix of aerial systems I flew. So in total, I flew 80.63 hours in 2015 versus 107.7 hours in 2014, for a deficit of 27 hours.

On the brighter side, in 2015 I met some very nice hobbyist at the Club, the Park & RC Groups. At the Park, I helped put a smile on a few youth new to the hobby. I let one fly my night vapor without a buddy box. The other was a persistent young man that was only achieving about 15 second flights before crashing. I was observing him & when the light went off in his head – “do I push the stick forward to make it go up?”. I gave him a quick lesson and when I left he had been airborne for over 1 minute. To this day I still smile when I think about those times.

I had the privilege of mentoring an 11 year old new pilot. Put her through a rigorous boot camp so she could solo before school started. She accepted every challenge with flying colors. She got written tests, verbal quizzes, practice sessions & a solo assessment. She earned her wings a few days before school started.

Overall it was a fun & exciting year
The Best Day of the 2015 Season =>
The Best Day of the 2014 Season =>

Wishing you all fair weather for 2016.

Straighten up and fly right my friend!

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 05, 2016 @ 12:22 PM | 2,404 Views

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I am so confused Is it a Drone or a UAS. The media is responsible for providing the facts, yet whenever they report on the FAA & the public’s concern for Drones, they always show a quad multi-rotor copter. The AMA is responsible for educating the public & it’s members, they too show quad multi-rotor copter in their educational media. Know Before You Fly is an education campaign founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) & they too show a quad. The FAA said one of the reasons for the rules requiring registration is so they can educate the owners of unmanned aircraft. They also, exclusively use pictures of a quad multi-rotor copter.

If I were a new owner of unmanned aircraft, I would assume the FAA rules only apply to multi-rotor copter. When John Public goes to buy a rocket, fixed wing, glider, helicopter, EDF jet or other non-multi-rotor aircraft, he/she would naturally assume the FAA rules do Not apply to them.

Am I the only one that thinks all these organizations continue to fail horribly in their mission to educate the public?

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:29 AM | 3,208 Views

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The FAA has issued its "Law Enforcement Officer Guidance for Unmanned Aircraft Systems" - see attached

February 16 update by the AMA: As a reminder, the FAA UAS registration deadline is February 19. All model pilots who use a ground-control system with a communications link such as an RC transmitter, that is over 0.55 pounds (or 250 grams) and less than 55 pounds, are required to register. This includes operators who fly fixed-wing RC aircraft and helicopters, not just multirotors or drones. Please make sure to visit to register. Several fake registration websites have been set up online to attempt to steal personal and credit card information. Many of these fake sites look credible or appear to belong to the FAA. The FAA has warned pilots to avoid sites that offer paid services assisting model pilots in the registration process.

February 11, 2016 update: "The Aviation Innovation, Reform, And Reauthorization Act Of 2016" ... is one offered by Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) that would create a new class of 'Micro UAS' that would be subject to fewer restrictions than larger unmanned aircraft."

January 22, 2016 update: The AMA says it's ok to fly above 400 feet, FPV as long as members adhere to the AMA Safety Code. Is the FAA ok with that? Let's find out

January 11, 2016 update: Good news, the AMA has reported:
• AMA and the FAA are
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 14, 2015 @ 06:36 AM | 3,458 Views
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I have been looking for a brushless micro park flyer, with SAFE & AS3x equivalent, to compliment my umx Sport Cub S2 fleet. I found the XK DHC-2 A600 Brushless Beaver. Current street price under $79 delivered in the USA (I paid $100)

For best price, try
Banggood the price keeps changing between $78.99 free shipping & $89.99 with up to $36.20 shipping to the USA (when you click it, wait a few seconds for the US Direct link to dispaly.

also look at the price at Banggood US Direct, sometimes lower than from the above link

If you want a Bind-n-Fly version ~ Transmitter (Not Included)

Banggood must have several drop-shipment sites in North America, hense the use of the words "US Direct" & not US Warehouse. My part came from a generic name in Canada but a member's plane from the US. Either way, if it gets to us faster, all the better.

Note: Gearbest is on Back order "Dispatch: Ships after Mar 13"
Gearbest the price keeps changing between $49.71 (+/-33 GBP) free shipping & $82.15 free shipping to the UK. Reasonable shipping to the rest of the European region.

IMHO, the true market price is $79 for the RTF with free shipping to the USA. At this price point, this plane will be bought by many fans,
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 13, 2015 @ 09:42 PM | 3,149 Views

A friend wanted to learn to manage multiple Flight Modes on his DX9. He found this excellent 3 part video. While this example is for a 350 QX quad, the lessons learned can be applied to any aero.

DX9 FLIGHT MODES 350 QX PART 1 VID (12 min 52 sec)

DX9 FLIGHT MODES 350 QX PART 2 VID (16 min 57 sec)
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 10, 2015 @ 09:04 PM | 3,694 Views

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I have been looking for a brushless park flyer to compliment my Horizon Hobby umx Sport Cub S2 fleet. Now that Horizon has announced the umx J-3 Cub with a brushless motor & AS3x, I will try that plane next Spring. I found the NICESKY Model DHC-2 Beaver w/Float Set on-sale for a $59 street price. Prices range as high as $146. Take $59, add an Rx + Gyro and you have a $170 brushless BNF Basic plane with stabilization, Spectrum 6 channel Rx & floats.

Before I comment on the plane, first the disclaimer: Due to mechanic / pilot error, this plane crashed 3 out of 4 sorties. The last sortie was going great until the battery disconnected & it crashed while in fail safe.

The plane has a very powerful motor & prop, so the second you add full power, the tail will lift up. The problem is that it is also heavy so it requires airspeed to fly. Until it starts to fly, anything that “grabs” the wheels or floats prior to flight will cause the plane to tip forward & break the prop. So either assure you have an ultra-smooth takeoff platform or give it a good hand toss for takeoff. Arrive with some power to force the tail down & cut power.

I broke the prop on my first maiden attempt. Replaced it with a GWS EP 7035 (7x3.5). While changing the prop, I removed the Cowl & what did I find, an 11.6 gram loose dead weight. I hate dead weights. So I removed it. With the floats on, I did not see a noticeable change in the CG, go figure, but then I added some
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 04, 2015 @ 10:56 AM | 3,055 Views

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At this time of year I like to have a plane or two ready for when it snows. But why wait, just mission it with floats & hanger in the dining room No need to worry, no water? no snow? no worries mate. Just name it “no worries” & go have fun.

The umx Sport Cub S2 is a great & fun plane for the park & club. When adding floats & flying in cold weather, it has two issues that need to be addressed. First, the wire for the floats extends beyond the foam causing a challenge for placing the battery flat against the fuselage. Second, cold weather can significantly cut down on flight times if the battery is cold. So to solve both problems with one solution, I made a shrink tube for the battery. It attaches to the fuselage with velcro, lifts the battery connector to clear the wire & helps keep the battery from cooling of in flight.

We will have to see if this stock motor makes the cut. When I opened the box, you could smell the paint, so I will assume it is fresh batch & by now HH has heard our plight and fixed their production problem with the motors. Time will tell.

Other typical mods for this plane can be found on my blog “Sport Cub Motor ground school” =>

Here are my fav video from last years model

Spring Snow ~ Low & Slow HD (3 min 15 sec)

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 07, 2015 @ 08:20 AM | 3,509 Views

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I recently wrote a series of blogs about the motors used in the umx Sport Cub S2. Many folks have appreciated the data & information presented. Here are the links to blogs & forum posts that relate to the umx Sport Cub.

Does a 25C battery outperform a 45C =>

Sport Cub Stock Motor Benchmarks =>

My Micro Motor Warehouse Story =>

Micro Motor Benchmarks for Sport Cub =>

Micro Motor Battle: HH versus MMW =>

Good Bye Horizon Hobby =>

umx Sport Cub S2 ground school =>

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 02, 2015 @ 07:57 AM | 3,409 Views

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Lipo battery safety is one topic that can never get too much press. We all need a Lipo Safety reminder every year. The Academy of Model Aeronautics has written a series of Lipo safety bulletins. Since everyone on RCG is not a member of the AMA, I thought I would share a quick reference summary & links on my blog.

The Articles

LiPo Battery Basics 1 – Safe Use =>

LiPo Battery Basics 2 – Transporting =>

LiPo Battery Basics 3 – Charging =>

LiPo Battery Basics – Disposal =>

AMA Emergency Safety Alert - Lithium Battery Fires =>

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 01, 2015 @ 05:50 PM | 5,060 Views

AMA Members Speak Up

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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration =>

It is estimated the registration system will initially cost $56 million to run through 2020. So if my calculations are correct, they will need 2.2 million registered Pilots, every year, to break even. The AMA only has 140,000 + members & 75 years of experience and track record.

* * * * * The section below is now a legacy of the RC Hobby * * * * *
December 14, 2015

The AMA should only deal with what is good for its members; therefore, they should only address section 336 as it relates to the new initiative to register Unmanned Aerial Systems UAS. AMA members operating a model aircraft within section 336 need to be separated from those operating outside section 336. Given that, they must demand the DOT/FAA recognize their status as a nationwide community-based organizations and specifically EXEMPT its members from any registration rule or regulation.

Only 4,436 comments have been sent to the FAA (aka DOT) as of 11:59 PM November 6. We need over 100,000 comments, so let’s get to work. Deadline is November 6 - it's over folks. Click here to submit your comment (leave your name & email blank and the comment will be posted on the public register as Anonymous)

Full exemption from registration of our UAS,
when operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines,
is the
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