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Mike_Then's blog
Posted by Mike_Then | Dec 26, 2010 @ 09:49 AM | 9,942 Views
The weather was cold and cloudy, but there wasn't a single bit of wind in the air. Why not get some flying in? These are the two planes I flew around my house, and I took video while I was at it. Sorry the quality isn't so good. Happy Holidays everyone!

Christmas Day Flying! (6 min 32 sec)

Posted by Mike_Then | Nov 16, 2010 @ 09:24 PM | 10,117 Views
After a week-long marathon build, I put the maiden flight on my T-Rex 600e this past Sunday. I have a few minor issues to sort out, but it sure does fly good! Bigger definitely is better!
Posted by Mike_Then | Oct 29, 2010 @ 05:47 PM | 10,263 Views
Got my Halloween present today... one most excellently-painted T-Rex 500 canopy from Jacob Horky. I've got a flair for the evil and Jake's blog with a picture of Eddie from Iron Maiden caught my eye. I asked if he did custom paint jobs, and the rest is history. Feast your eyes on his custom airbrush work. The inspiration and images were from the Doom3 game, which still scares the crap out of me every time I play it.

While I can't fly the heli tomorrow at our warbird fly-in, I can sure fly it after it's over. It looks great on the heli. Can't wait.
Posted by Mike_Then | Jun 13, 2010 @ 10:25 AM | 12,714 Views
Hello everyone! My wife and I made our annual pilgrimage to Myrtle Beach, SC yesterday for our week-long vacation. We checked into the Resort yesterday late (they are under new management and have changed the check-in time from from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM.... sigh), got settled, went grocery shopping, grabbed some dinner, and crashed. We'd been at it since 7:00 AM so we were pretty tired!

This morning we are heading to Tanger Outlets to do a little shopping. I should say that my wife is going to do some shopping.... she has a Coach coupon that expires today so she's on the hunt for a bargain. I would say something about her not needing another purse, since she already has 10+, but then she could say something about my 15 airplanes and three helicopters...

Anyway, please enjoy a few pictures from yesterday and this morning. I'll post a little later, as we're hitting the beach this afternoon and a home-made dinner in the room tonight!...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | May 20, 2010 @ 09:51 AM | 10,223 Views
I haven't made a blog entry in a few months, sorry for the lack of updates. Things have been very busy for me personally, and by the time I have free time in the evenings, I'm too tired to go to the workshop to get anything done. I have 15 airplanes and three helicopters, many of which are in need of repairs. I'm thinking of taking a day or two off work to just park my butt in the workshop and get things done. Here's my laundry list of what needs to be done, in no particular order -
  1. Left motor on E-Flite P-38 is loose
  2. Finish installing retracts in E-Flite Airliner (jet fly-in coming soon! Hurry!) **SOLD PLANE 7/1/10**
  3. Replace gears in torque tube on T-Rex 500
  4. Install 35A ESC in Blade 400
  5. Install E-Flite metal head on Blade 400 and set the head up again from scratch
  6. Tighten belt on Blade 400
  7. Minor repairs to scale fuse and re-mount on Blade 400
  8. Install arming switch on 10s biplane
  9. Install new motor and repair front end of Parkzone T-28
  10. Repair ding in LE of right wing on Kyosho T-33
  11. Swap out flight pack for my Big Boy

I swear there's a few more things that need to be done but that's all I can think of now. Need a fire lit under me and get the work done.
Posted by Mike_Then | Mar 05, 2010 @ 01:37 PM | 10,553 Views
Crashed my new Blade SR yesterday... flew it after work and simply lost orientation when it got too far away from me. Had already saved it a few times before so I know it wasn't dumb-thumbs. I simply couldn't tell which way it was facing and it did The Chicken Dance upon impact. A long list of parts were ordered shortly after returning home... man it was flying good too.
Posted by Mike_Then | Feb 21, 2010 @ 07:29 PM | 9,882 Views
Woo! Flew my new T-Rex 500 for the first time yesterday and today. Hovered it in the yard yesterday and flew some FF this afternoon. Man this thing flies good! No wonder people like it so much!
Posted by Mike_Then | Feb 13, 2010 @ 05:10 PM | 10,629 Views
I'm really enjoying the build/assembly process of my T-Rex 500. Just like when I used to race R/C cars, I find something very relaxing about assembling a box of parts. Not stressful like trying to glue an airplane together. Maybe it's because the parts line up and you can't screw up. Who knows? Anyway, it's been fun so far and I've made a HUGE amount of progress in just a few days. The head is finished and so is the frame and tail.
Posted by Mike_Then | Feb 11, 2010 @ 09:33 PM | 9,446 Views
The only thing that didn't survive the water maiden of my Gemini was the right aileron servo. Picked up another one the other day and installed it last night. I made a few more mods to the battery compartment so the battery fits better and now I'm satisfied with the way the hatch closes. The winds are supposed to me 5-10 MPH tomorrow so I'll try it again at City Lake. Brandon is going to meet me there with a little hovercraft that can hopefully get me back to shore should it flip over again. The big change was adding a 1/2 oz. of weight to the tail which now puts the balance at slightly tail heavy. It was pretty nose-heave before so this should prevent me from flipping over again... going to make sure the nose is as high as it can be for landing!
Posted by Mike_Then | Feb 10, 2010 @ 09:07 PM | 9,105 Views
I sold my Ember 2 and Blade mSR to make room in my fleet for a Blade SR. The Blade mSR just didn't get flown and neither did the Ember 2. We had an indoor fly-in last year which is the reason why I got those aircraft in the first place. There hasn't been one since, so in the workshop they sat. Wouldn't you know it, we've got an indoor event coming up soon. As long as Horizon holds true to their word about the release date of the Blade SR, I should be good. However, I wanted something to fall back on just in case.

Not wanting to spend a lot of money, the search for a cheap micro began. Just when I thought all hope was lost, I happened upon a "trade-in" Micro Mustang at my LHS while buying parts. Slight chip in the wing, a little beat up but nothing major. BNF Mustang, charger, three 130 mAh batteries, and a spare prop/spinner to boot. $60 was too good to pass up (and he told me to bring it back if it didn't bind or fly) so I figured, what the heck? Now, if the winds outside would just settle down from the gusts of 50+ MPH I'll put the maiden on it.
Posted by Mike_Then | Jan 31, 2010 @ 10:03 AM | 8,628 Views
All week I said, "I'll believe it when I see it", but it actually snowed here in NC! We got about 4-5 inches here in Rocky Mount. That's not a lot of snow, considering I'm from NJ, but that's a lot for down here. The problem is that it gets above freezing during the day but drops to the low teens at night, so the roads are a sheet of ice, literally. This will go on for several days until everything is melted. I have yet to see a snow plow... the city of Rocky Mount knew about this upcoming storm for a week, yet the only thing they have done is put down a salt brine solution on the road. As you will see, it did absolutely nothing to prevent things from sticking. Driving to work tomorrow will be treacherous.

At any rate, enjoy the pics! It's beautiful outside!...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike_Then | Jan 30, 2010 @ 12:02 PM | 8,363 Views
So I bought a Robbe Gemini from another RCGroups.com member. Flew it for the first time last weekend at my field. Flew OK but needed a few adjustments. Took it home and made a few adjustment and then took it to City Lake here in Rocky Mount. It flew fine, but on the last landing I think one of the sponsons dug into the water as the Gemini ended up upside-down! I called Parks and Rec and they were very nice... they sent a crew out in a little John boat to retrieve my poor Gemini.

Looks like the ESC, motor, and battery survived. The receiver and right aileron servo is another story! It's snowing like crazy here and I wish it was flyable as this sure would be fun in the snow!
Posted by Mike_Then | Jan 09, 2010 @ 08:52 AM | 9,263 Views
I recently purchased a Hughes MD500 'Defender" heli fuselage from Darth's web site and finally got a chance to install it. I flew it for the first time on New Year's Day at our club's Chiliy-Chili fly. It's a little tail-heavy but it sure looks good! A fellow club member and heli enthusiast flew with me and while we didn't get any in-flight action shots, here are a couple of us together after the flight.
Posted by Mike_Then | Aug 13, 2009 @ 03:56 PM | 9,116 Views
In February of this year, I purchased a new Blade 400 RTF. I have been slowly but surely working my way up to forward flight by posting on forums, watching videos, buying e-books, and practicing on a simulator. Oh yeah, and practicing on the real heli, too. I had finally worked my way up to forward flight when on the 3rd day of flying forward, I had my first major crash.

I rebuilt the heli and despite the repair costs, it was a good thing. It taught me how to program throttle and pitch curves, set proper pitch on the main blades, balance the blades, etc. I hovered the heli what seemed to be a million times until it was tuned just right and I tried forward flight again. It was in the air a grand total of 5 seconds and it crashed again. Not as bad as the first time but a major blow to my confidence, which was already weakened.

Trying to find someone local to train me on a buddy box didn't yield much results. I was seriously considering giving up - was thinking what I could do with the money I could get from the sale of the Blade 400 - and I randomly came across the FMA Direct Co-Pilot II. I zealously read all about it and after I saw a video of a heli automatically righting itself into a hover from the top part of a loop, I knew I had to have one. This would be the perfect way to train - let it correct my mistakes and put the Blade 400 back into a hover. As I get more confident and comfortable, I can reduce the gain on the heli until I don't need it at all.

I bought a used one off a fellow RCGroups.com member for a great price. It, and the replacement parts, are on the way. I'm excited about heli flight all over again. This is the shot in the arm I needed!
Posted by Mike_Then | Jul 31, 2009 @ 10:20 AM | 8,874 Views
I wanted to replace my poor Phantom with another airplane but was unsure as to which plane I wanted. I was communicating to another member about an A-10 he was repairing for someone else, but communications seemed to have ceased (it's been over a week since I've received a response; I understand that things come up and maybe he's on vacation of course) and it was a bit more money than I was prepared to spend. I came across an E-Flite Super Airliner that was receiver-ready. I didn't really need another warbird - with 7 total (P-51, P-40, Mosquito, AMX, L-39, T-33, T-28), I'm pretty well-covered in that area. I love things that are different and the fact that this is receiver-ready certainly appeals to me. We struck a deal and I'm picking it up tomorrow. The other battery to fly it will be here either today or tomorrow, and weather-permitting, she flies on Sunday. Pics and possibly a video to follow!
Posted by Mike_Then | Jul 22, 2009 @ 09:31 AM | 9,396 Views
I, like most others, acquired a ParkZone SU-26m. It's definitely not a 3D plane and anyone buying it with the expectation that it's a 3D plane is going to be very disappointed. What it is, is a great-flying sport plane for your front yard.... with a few modifications. I'm of the opinion, along with a lot of other Sukhoi pilots, that the plane is very nose-heavy right out of the box. I am in the process of minor modifications to shift the balance back, such as removing the spinner, removing some of the glue slopped on the gearbox holding it in place, and moving the battery back. I plan to move the battery back just a little further to get the balance point at the recommended 30mm and I'm sure it will be a sweet little flyer...
Posted by Mike_Then | Jul 14, 2009 @ 09:10 AM | 7,271 Views
This is a heckuva way to start my blog here on RCGroups.com.... thought I would post that my beloved VMAR Phantom II, which my wife gave to me at Christmas a few years ago, is no more. It was a sad day at the flying field. It's probably repairable by someone much more skilled than I (they don't call me Arf Man for nothing), but to me, this bird isn't worth fixing. I posted about it in the Glow to Electric forum, and here is a shortened re-post of the story.

I few years ago, my wife gave me a VMAR F-4 Phantom II ARF for Christmas, after much whining from me. I converted it to electric of course, and according to VMAR, I was the first to do so. I was flying it with a Hacker A50-14L, Jeti 77A opto, 15.2 x 12 VarioProp, and 8s 4000 mAh pack. I added Robart mechanical retracts and Robostruts. The plane was pretty heavy when it was all said and done, 11.75 lbs. if memory serves me correctly. I encountered and overcame many challenged during my time with this plane, such as the proper amp draw, cooling to the batteries, mounting the motor in that slender cowl, etc.

Sunday was to be the first flight with my 9s Hyperion G3 4200 VX pack. I had tried 10s on the plane and it had too much speed and not enough thrust. I decided to go with 9s, and I adjusted the pitch of the prop to 15.2 x 9. The amps dropped to 60 and it still felt like it had a snotload of power. I gave it one final check, taxiied out, and took off. It lifted off the ground on its own and got on step very...Continue Reading