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V-Man's blog
Posted by V-Man | Jul 12, 2014 @ 08:55 PM | 1,269 Views
Just a reminder for people to check out my YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/CallSignVMan

Granted, I don't always have the most exciting videos, but it's neat R/C stuff nonetheless. And now that my group is trying to get some formation flying going, you can bet you're going to have fun footage. Mid-airs if anything else.
Posted by V-Man | Jun 29, 2014 @ 12:34 PM | 1,039 Views
This close!

Maybe I can offer a service where I inspect people's planes in the air. You know, in case you're wondering if the gear is down, or if you lost a hatch or something.

(Camera was in the nose of my plane, pointing downward.)
Posted by V-Man | Jun 03, 2014 @ 07:53 PM | 1,656 Views
I'm usually a flyer, but my group's been hit with a combination of crappy weather and the loss of our largest field recently. I thought that acquiring an off-road buggy would let me take in some quality RC time no matter the wind speed!

I just picked it up at the post office. It's a 1/10 Quanum Vandal 4WD electric buggy. Inexpensive, got decent reviews, and spares are available. I'm not intending to do any serious racing, just general bashing around, so I didn't feel the need to go whole hog on expensive brand names.

But of course the battery for it is still in transit, and I don't have any HXT 4mm plugs to make an adapter for my existing 2S batteries. Doh!
Posted by V-Man | May 25, 2014 @ 12:16 PM | 1,670 Views
Formation flying is hard! One of the two F-27 Stryker flanking my camera plane got too close during a turn and bounced off the top of my wing. No damage to either plane, thanks to quick thinking by the Stryker pilot.
Posted by V-Man | Apr 12, 2014 @ 06:49 PM | 1,798 Views
Some wind and gusts, but I took a chance anyway. I've waited long enough, gotta scratch the flight itch.

A bit rusty but it's coming back fast. Four batteries and came home with the plane in one piece. Sweet!
Posted by V-Man | Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:41 PM | 1,721 Views
Went to the field at the end of the street yesterday to check the conditions. Still soggy -- will be another week or two before I can fly there.

So close...
Posted by V-Man | Feb 20, 2014 @ 05:26 PM | 2,274 Views
Two things to take away from tonight's R/C power system test:

1) Racing propellers need to be balanced before use, no matter how you're looking forward to check the power output of the system.

2) Threadlocker is your friend. Use it.

The motor vibrated itself loose from the mount when I hit 180 Watts. No damage, thankfully.
Posted by V-Man | Feb 19, 2014 @ 09:39 PM | 2,307 Views
What are the odds? Got a new Turnigy Thrust 70A for the jet, and a 40A for another plane, and neither work properly (I've tested every other components of the power system and they all work flawlessly). The 70A complains once plugged in, and make the motor stutter slowly, and the 40A beeps once and then does nothing.

I'm pretty sure it's just a programming issue and a matter of finding the right combination of throttle position and beep timing. Still, it's aggravating -- I need them to get the planes ready.

UPDATE: got the 40A working. As I thought, it was a programming issue. Will try the same trick on the 70A, see if it works.
Posted by V-Man | Jan 26, 2014 @ 01:47 PM | 1,912 Views
I've brought the Albatros DII on the board to finish it, as I need the room! You can follow the construction here.
Posted by V-Man | Dec 16, 2013 @ 08:30 PM | 2,173 Views
A coworker used to be with a company that dealt with LiPo batteries for electronic equipment. When they closed, he bought hundreds of 1S cells for cents on the dollar. Knowing I have electric planes, he gave me three 1S, 2000 mAh cells today.

Not entirely sure what to do with them -- the individual cells are small but fairly fat, and assembling them into a flight battery wouldn't fit any of my planes. Plus I'm not entirely sure of where to put the balance leads and so on...

I'll have to weight them -- maybe I can fit a cell into a small quad or heli.
Posted by V-Man | Nov 30, 2013 @ 03:00 PM | 1,861 Views
Well, I'm an idiot. A lucky idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

I was testing some racing props for next season and using the opportunity to bring my Lithium-Polymer batteries down to storage voltage for the winter. The speed controller I had on hand was too small for the amperage drawn, so I took the 55A one I had prepared last year for my 450 heli. Plug everything in, that's weird, no contact... wait... smoke? OH CRAP. RUN!

Made it outside with the battery, threw it in the emergency ceramic pots (I'm well prepared) and so no damage other than one heck of a fright. I went to see what happened, and yes, I'm an idiot. Soldered the battery plug in reverse (doh!). Burned a $10 battery and a $25 controller, but learned a good lesson: always assume that the equipment was prepared by a fool, even if it was you. Especially if it was you!
Posted by V-Man | Nov 03, 2013 @ 08:20 PM | 2,400 Views


That's it for 2013, folks. After just three flights I couldn't feel my fingers anymore. Best of luck to the brave souls who will try to fly off snow!

(Image is my Mini-Beaver on close approach - picture by Mario Galvan)
Posted by V-Man | Oct 06, 2013 @ 10:13 PM | 2,482 Views
Well, the weather was nice yesterday but this morning we were positively freezing. The wind was also very strong (my Mini-Beaver did a VTOL flight!). I guess we only have one or two weekends left before retiring to the workshop for the winter.

Now I have to make some hard decisions. I have several airframes (mostly foamies) that are pretty beat-up but still airworthy. But there are many projects on the board, and only so much room available for storage. I've already stripped my delta and banished it to the garage, others may follow. I hate to do so but I can't justify spending more money on motors and servos when there are some just sitting there... (You can only fly so many models in a weekend, and some haven't been flown in a while anyway.)
Posted by V-Man | Sep 22, 2013 @ 02:45 PM | 2,540 Views
Apparently it will have four to five times the energy density of a lithium battery. That means we will finally be able to fly as long as the gas guys!

http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/09/mol...-class-of.html
Posted by V-Man | Sep 01, 2013 @ 11:04 AM | 3,149 Views
A great start to the day!

Big thanks to Antoine Z for letting me fly his brand new Corsair. My first time with retracting landing gear, I was afraid to forget to lower them on the way back... After four landings it was easier.
Posted by V-Man | Aug 11, 2013 @ 09:05 PM | 2,634 Views
I've updated my radio-controlled planes' Fleet Status page. As you can see I've got a couple of birds parked for repair. I've also decided to strip and retire a couple of damaged/worn airframes, both to save space (the workshop is getting crowded) and to put some idle equipment back in circulation. How many dozens of servos and motors does a man need, anyway?
Posted by V-Man | Jun 15, 2013 @ 04:22 PM | 2,545 Views
So it’s proven — while I can “fly” in 50-60kph gusts of wind, even a careful landing will break something. Then Bob almost lost his plane (”up, up, and awaaayyy!”) and so we packed it up early for the day.

On the plus side, I left home with four planes, I came back with five! Bob gave me a balsa kit he didn’t want. It’s a nice laser-cut StevensAero motoglider, should look very good…
Posted by V-Man | May 21, 2013 @ 11:16 AM | 2,770 Views
Turned out to be a pretty good long weekend (Monday was a holiday for us Canucks - Victoria Day). I flew on Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, and Monday afternoon. Best of all, I only crashed other people's planes, not mine!
Posted by V-Man | May 05, 2013 @ 12:06 PM | 3,488 Views
Flight line this morning. The big Beaver on the right didn't fly today, there's still work to do on the power system. The Cub lying on its back is waiting for the glue on the landing gear to dry!
Posted by V-Man | Apr 21, 2013 @ 04:23 PM | 3,058 Views
No matter how hot a pilot you think you are, this plane does not fly in 40kph winds, especially not when it's gusting.

I was climbing against the wind and all was going relatively well, though there was a lot of wing flutter and I needed to control the rate of climb. Disaster struck when I turned with the wind -- there was a sudden powerful gust behind the plane and the effective air speed of the airfoil fell to zero. The model immediately stalled and fell out of the sky. I tried to get some speed by diving (I was high enough), but the G forces from the pullout, combined with the wind, bent the wings back so much that it didn't work. The aircraft impacted nose-first into soft earth, destroying the fuselage but leaving the wings and tails pretty much intact. Luckily for me, I was carrying the dummy payload and not the camera, and the forward fuse acted as a crumple zone that saved the electronics.

Will make a new fuselage this week and the plane should fly again next weekend. As long as there is little or no wind, of course...