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Jim T. Graham's blog
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Aug 30, 2008 @ 07:50 PM | 26,697 Views
If you have recieved this Month's "Model Aviation" magazine (Sept. 2008, page 76) you might have read my interview with Jim Bourke. We were at Joe Nall and I thought it was a good time for all of us to get some inside info on his new bird. Jim purchased the only flying full scale Yak 54 in the country...maybe in the world. Now lets let Jim B. talk about it...

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Posted by Jim T. Graham | May 05, 2008 @ 04:22 PM | 28,137 Views
There we were, myself and Robert Harrington (senior tech for Hobby Lobby) rolling down the road headed for SEFF. We had the 27 foot 7,000 pound Hell Wagon in tow with everything you need to have a good time at SEFF. We had BBQ grills, beef to cook, guitars to play, planes to fly, cameras to catch the action and more. We also had the newly finished RCGroups.com golf cart gleaming in all of it's glory.

As soon as we got on the highway, literally out of nowhere a piece of truck tire the size of my head (pretty big!) flew up and smacked the side of my newly acquired all black 7.3 diesel Ford Excursion. OHHHHHH NOOOOO! I pulled over happy to find no dents but also startled to see that only 4 more inches up and it would have gone through the windshield. Yikes!

After that experience Robert and I were going over different blow out scenarios - right rear tire blowout, front tire blowout and the dreaded trailer tire blowout. About an hour later we were able to not only speculate but live through an actual blowout while towing a 7,000 pound trailer at 70 mph! I think it was me that said, "do you hear that?" and then BOOOOOSH the back end sank down and I tried to hustle off the road before my pretty rim was ruined. I have to say the Ford Excrusion handled it well and did not kill us. Thankfully it also had a spare tire that was E rated and that meant I didn't have to spend Saturday at a tire store. Thanks to my Pioneer GPS head unit we were able to call someone to help us...Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Feb 21, 2008 @ 08:13 PM | 29,233 Views
Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine two kids, one 4 and one 6. Can you see them running? Yelling? Just being kids? Now imagine that they both come down with punemonia at almost the same time. Imagine one of them has just had ear tube surgery and his adenoids out. Now keep the young folks home for two weeks straight. Add in multiple trips to the doctor, hospital visits for xrays. What do you get when you add all of that up? INSANITY! The kids are going stir crazy, we are going crazy as well. Heck, even the cat and dogs don't seem too happy about it.
What does all this have to with RC? Well yesterday we got an email from a few of the RCGroups reviewers. Those are the group of guys that do all those reviews every month for RCGroups.com. The email basically said, "we know you guys have had a rough two weeks and we would like to do something." Tonight the doorbell rang and there was a pizza man with 4 hot (and literally steaming) pizzas. It was not a moment too soon. The kids didn't sleep most of the prior night and we were all about to loose it. I type this with our bellies full, no plates in the sink, the kids tucked away in their beds and the cat is sleeping soundly on one of the empty pizza boxes. I have said it before and I'll say it again, this hobby is about flying but it is as much, if not more so, about the people. A big thanks to Napo, Jon, Jeff and Ronnie. You guys ROCK!
Jim T. and Ang
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Nov 30, 2007 @ 09:20 AM | 26,993 Views
To stay true to my recurring theme of beach videos, I forced my family to all meet at an Alabama beach house. We picked the house because it could hold all of the adults and kids, but it turned out to be a great place for a plane junkie like me. While my wife and I were driving around, we noticed 4 jets in formation. They made pass, after pass, after pass. When we made it back to the beach house they were making passes over the beach. My wife jumped on the internet and discovered that the Blue Angels used our strip of water and beach to practice over daily. That's right! So every day at 8:30am the show would start.
The other cool part about where we stayed was that Fort Morgan was just down the road. Fort Morgan is at the tip of Mobile Point, which, together with Dauphin Island upon which Fort Gaines is situated, encloses Mobile Bay. This fort was built around 1833 and was full of cannons. One thing that I thought was interesting was that they used a technique of heating the cannon balls so that when they hit a wooden ship, the ship would catch on fire. I really wanted to fly over the fort, but by the time we visited it the wind was kicking up too much and never let up the rest of the week.
I did get a decent beach video at sunset (pretty gusty) and some great footage the day before. The only drag about the great footage is that I must have moved the camera, and there is a black bar at the top from the mirror. They are both pretty interesting videos though and one ends in...Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Oct 30, 2007 @ 10:01 PM | 24,626 Views
You guys know the story, each year you try to carve a better pumpkin than before. When the kids got old enough to have input we created a new tradition. They draw the face of their pumpkin on a piece of paper and I take a giant butcher knife and carve it to the best of my ability.

I introduce this years twin duo - Mr. Scary and Happy Kitty.
I'll let you guys figure out which is which.
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Oct 15, 2007 @ 04:22 PM | 25,781 Views
I have traveled all over the country covering RC events. For the past two years I have lived out of a 27 foot travel trailer will all the comforts of home (including internet access). The sad part of this story is that my family has never gone camping in the trailer. We decided to change that last weekend and we drove a grueling 1.2 hours to Songbird Marina in Camden, TN. We were able to get a spot right on the water. The extra benefit to that is that my truck was full of water planes. I had a Graupner Hydro Plane 3D, the new Reach water plane and an RC boat. In between teaching our daughter how to ride a bike and keeping the 4 year old out of the lake I had some time to fly off the lake. I have to say that putting an airplane on water and pushing it out is not a natural thing to do. I really didn't expect to get anything back dry but that is what these planes were made for so I fought back my instincts and sent them out.

The first plane I flew was the Reach. I realized quickly that if I wanted to turn this plane back towards shore I better apply some rudder. I would call this one a "scale" like flyer.

I was really anxious to fly the Graupner Hydro Plane 3D. I have to say I loved this plane. Once I had it trimmed out it was fun and precise. It did want to fly in a slight nose up attitude. Rollings were quick (as you can see in the video) and it hovered and harriered well.

I'm extremely proud and happy to say both these planes came home in one piece. I was least...Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:55 PM | 25,659 Views
This is not totally RC related but it is my blog so here I go...
Caddy Story
My Dad bought this 1976 Caddy in 1978. It had 10,000 miles on it. He never let me drive this car. After college I spent about 8 years in LA and didn't see my Dad much. He called me one day and I could tell I needed to hop a plane ASAP and see my Dad. The day I flew in my Dad got up and told my Mom he was going to get the Caddy ready for me to drive while I was in town. That was a big deal. While they were installing a starter in the car my Dad had a heart attack. I raced into town from the airport. I was there to hold his hand when he died that night. I was completely out of my tree. The guys had left the car at the hospital and my Mom told me to drive it home. He had left the top down and I just sat in the car for a while. When I turned the car on I was startled by the Mariachi music my Dad had left on turned up to 10. It sort of snapped me out it. It made me feel good that my Dad had been in the Caddy with the roof down and tunes cranked up.
My Mom had that car sold within the week. As soon as I found out I took the car and drove back to LA. I called her when I got back and told her she could have the car when I was dead.
The car started out as white on white. It was then used in a Dolly Pardon movie and was redone as a blue on blue. It needed some TLC so now I'm turning it into a black on white. It looks the best with this combo I think. I'm not done but I wanted to show her off a little.
How is this even remotely RC related you ask? The trunk is so large I can fit a 46 inch wing span plane and my field box. This was my air field car back in the day.
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Sep 18, 2007 @ 10:57 AM | 25,331 Views
I was working on RCGroups stuff and my wife walked in and announced we were going to have a picnic for lunch. "Where", I asked. "At the RC field", she proclaimed. Pretty cool wife huh? My 4 year old son Truman was home from school so off we went to the field. They are still finishing up the new field so we went to the back parking lot with the other club members. Some of these guys are the people that helped me build my first plane. Truman asked a lot of plane questions and got to see a few fly. It was a nice way to spend an hour for lunch. Thanks to the wife for thinking of it and thanks to cell phone for having a great camera to catch these photos.
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Aug 26, 2007 @ 08:30 AM | 24,965 Views
This month in Model Aviation magazine (September 07) is my interview with Jerry L. Smith, 9 time national funfly champion (page 92). Attached here is the full length video of the interview with Jerry's demos included. Thanks to Jerry for doing the interview and being such a good friend over the years.

Click here for low-res version.

Click here for hi-res video.
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Aug 10, 2007 @ 10:01 PM | 23,895 Views
I'm a lucky guy. Just a few miles away from my house is one of the oldest RC fields in the country. The story has it is that people have been flying one thing or another off this field since 1928. One day I noticed stakes in the ground and being a surveyor in my youth I knew something was about to happen and I assumed something bad. Our field was situated on top of a hill. This made for interesting landings but was something I think we all enjoyed. The bulldozers and land movers made quick work of the hill and in no time it was FLAT! I'm happy to say that after the dust settled we do have a new runway. In fact we have a really nice wide runway. I also hear we are going to have a pavilion with power as well.
In the mean time all the guys from the local club, the Edwin Warner Model Aviators link have taken up residence under some big trees on the back parking lot. I just happened to show up the other day at a historic moment. Doc Bradford was the first to take off from the new runway but also garnered the dubious title of being the first to crash from the new runway. I raced out to the new runway to be the first to land on it. Success! Now when I'm 80 I'll have something to brag about to all the RC youngsters.
I went back out today to get pictures of the guys that helped teach me about RC and shoot some video of our new facility. Enjoy!!

Aerial video of the our new air field and more......Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Jul 28, 2007 @ 09:07 AM | 24,682 Views
Santa Rosa Beach, FL

At the very last minute the family decided that we should go to the beach. I have been going to the same beach area for the last 10 years and the kids are finally old enough to enjoy it. We loaded up all the stuff you have to load up and at the last minute I threw my Easy Star and a cam from Hobby Lobby called the FlyCamOne . I figured the Easy Star would be good because there wasn't much room in the truck and the wings slide out for travel. It is also the perfect beach plane, hard to break and easy to fix. I had not really had a chance to use the FlyCamOne so after we got to the beach I checked out the new review on RCG about the cam and learned how to use it.
I put a 4200 3 cell lipo in the nose of the Easy Star. I figured that would give it some good weight to fly in the beach wind and also allow me to fly as long as I wanted. Before hitting the beach I had to figure out how to mount the cam. I didn't have my tool boxes with me and had to "McGyver" something up. What I did have was a pharmacy so two combs and 4 hair ties later I was ready for my "brushless" cam rig. Below are pictures of my hi-tech mounting solution.
The Easy Star did great in the wind. I used a Wingo prop and then switched to a prop adapter and thinner bladed APC prop. The Wingo prop made a lot more power BUT the APC prop did not make the video get wavy when I was at full throttle. Both did fine in the high winds.
Flying over the ocean was pretty cool....Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Jul 14, 2007 @ 08:54 AM | 22,723 Views
I wanted to let everyone know that we have a new addition here at RCGroups.com. The "Chit Chat " forum is for general off topic discussion. The twist is that no political or religious posts are allowed. You can save those for the "Life, The Universe, and Politics" " forum. Hopefully this will fill a need for those that want to just talk to other RCGroups users. Enjoy!
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Jun 15, 2007 @ 01:23 PM | 23,157 Views
We are on the ground in Muncie covering the XFC. We have never had a connection in the field that really worked but the AMA said they would come through and they did! We have a live broadcast blasting out to everyone as well as image uploads throughout each day. More to come!
If you aren't here you can pretend like you are...
http://ads.rcgroups.com/adclick.php?...fc-2007-457%2F...Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Jun 02, 2007 @ 10:11 PM | 21,247 Views
My favorite little town of Leipers Fork, TN had an open fly today. This was a simple get together for all the local pilots to hang out and fly. Hobby Lobby showed up with a tent full of planes as well as a lot of locals from the Edwin Warner club. I also met some pilots from the surrounding areas I have not met before. The weather was good to us until the end of the day when a light rain came. It ended the days flying but it sure did cool things off. Thanks Bryce and Liz of Leipers Fork for making this happen!
(There are more pictures here )...Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | May 25, 2007 @ 08:14 PM | 22,346 Views
The Memphis Pro Bro is always fun and this year was a real blast. We have had weather issues in the past but this year the weather was great. I also enjoyed the fact that Memphis is only a 3 hour drive for me. This year I went "old skool" and brought all my profiles from 2003. It was cool to get them going again and flying them in the mass hover but it also reminded me how far 3D designs have come. I was in the Hell wagon so it was even better (Dr. Pepper, Full Throttle, guitars, peanuts and sausage biscuits any time I wanted ).

I got in Friday afternoon in time to do some flying before the sun went down. I pitted next to the SEMNET crew and they made sure I had the right attitude for the event. After a BBQ at Jack01's house some of us hustled back to the field for night flying. Since we were in the middle of nowhere I thought it was the perfect time to try something I have always wanted to do...get a guitar amp out, turn it up to 11 and play loud while everyone flew. I don't know how everyone else liked it but I LOVED it!

Saturday was just about perfect, warm and no wind. I think we had 32 planes in the mass hover. I had the Knife profile out for this one. The first crash the Knife ever had was at this same field in 2003 and this was the last field the Knife crashed in. Very appropriate and fitting for the Knife. She is officially retired now. All the Bros had time to fly as well as move around and talk to other Bros.

Sunday everyone got a flight or 4...Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | May 03, 2007 @ 11:31 AM | 21,782 Views
There is nothing like a fun RC event to make you appreciate the hobby. I went to SEFF in years past with my friends from Hobby Lobby. That was back in the day when electrifying a .40 size 3D plane was weird and expensive. At this years SEFF full tilt 35% 3D ships were no big deal. Things have changed fast for the electric RC pilot.

SEFF is more than just about the planes though, it is about the people. Everyone was in a good mood and ready to have a good time. You could feel it in the air and that is what will entice us all to drive 8 hours after working all week. It was a great time

John Seaton and I did our best to cover as much as we could with the video camera. I have been putting up videos all week and there are still more to come. I want to thank Hobby Lobby in a big way. It was great to hang out with my old friends and the photo coverage they provided was great. I think Kevin got the "vibe" of the event.

The demos are always exciting. Chris from Extreme Flight was pulling off some "heart attacks" that had the crowd cheering but the real show was Team JR. They had over 40 planes in their demo. The choreographing it took to get all those planes in the air was just as entertaining as the demo and lucky for you guys we video taped the whole thing.

I drove around Americus and saw the tornado damage. It looked more like someone came in and leveled parts of the town. It was really hard to imagine the destruction. Over $13,000 was raised at...Continue Reading
Sticky: Do Toledo!
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Apr 16, 2007 @ 11:49 AM | 20,069 Views
What a ride it was!
The Weak Signals show is an event that allows everyone to see what is new in the industry. It also is a great chance to see all the people in the hobby that you talk to on the phone all year long. The show takes place in the Seagate Centre but it also is experienced through lunches with old friends, long talks in the lobby and crazy nights in the bar. There are a lot of nuances to the Toledo show that can be missed if you don't know where to look. This year, as usual, was great.
I spent most of my time with the RCGroups.com crew. This year RCGroups.com took on a new challenge and put together an indoor open-fly for the people attending the Toledo Weak Signals show. When you do something like that you don't really know what to expect. I'm here to tell you it was a great success. We had around 600 participants total and almost 150 pilots. The system that was worked out by the Flying Tigers club kept people in the air and mid-airs to a minimum. I had the trusty John Seaton with me shooting photos and video of all the action. Jim Bourke officiated the event and did his best to keep the RCG foamies in the air (who needs a rudder?). The lovely Annette S. was the hostess of the indoor and awed the crowd with her graceful raffle ticket choosing skill set. Ryan, from Knife Edge Software, was on hand to keep us grounded. He is the RC zen guru that speaks little but says much. The RCGroups.com models were also on hand passing out flyers and flashing quick smiles....Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Apr 10, 2007 @ 12:25 PM | 16,987 Views
The RCGroups.com Indoor is getting close. I wanted to personally thank Wayne and Rick for the great attitudes and all the help they have given. It was really a pleasant experience. Now we can't wait to get the to the show!


Weak Signals Site
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Apr 02, 2007 @ 04:27 PM | 16,435 Views
I have known Jim Bourke for many years. We worked a lot together during my Hobby Lobby years and we cover RC events across the country. I have always wanted to visit the offices of RCGroups and RealFlight but Corvallis, Oregon seemed pretty far away. Well I'm here to tell you it is actually twice as far as that! I booked a flight and the total trip out took close to 10 hours (lay over in Denver). I will also say that Oregon is worth the trip. I have never visited that part of the country and really didn't know what to expect. It is beautiful.

Highlights of Corvallis
1. Home of RCGroups.com and RealFlight
2. Full service gas stations (you can't pump your own gas)
3. No traffic...ever!
4. Nice people
5. Hippies everywhere on bikes
6. The trees along the main drag were taller than the signs. This may not sound like much until you see it yourself. I think the point is that the trees are more important than the McDonald's signs.
7. Great views of the mountains everywhere you go
8. Clean air
9. 3 nice guitar stores
10. 1 great RC store

Jim gave me a tour of the office and I met some of the people I usually correspond with in emails. I also got to see the RealFlight team hard at work. Now let me tell you all the secrets I found out while at the RealFlight office.

NEW FOR REALFLIGHT
1. (*&^*(&(**$ Bl9998&(*888
2. %&%&&^&^&&^(II**9987
3.^%^*%&%^%^%*%&775757
Looks like Jim B. has the RealFlight jammer on, so I...Continue Reading
Posted by Jim T. Graham | Oct 11, 2006 @ 09:29 AM | 17,498 Views
What is better than a thread about that involves crashes? A thread that has crashes and a prize!

This just in from Jason Cole of Hobb Lobby:

And here it is guys. We had several favorites picked out, so the winner was selected by random drawing and E-MO came up on top with post 199. That crash was something else. At least no one was hurt. I hope you guys had as much fun watching these as we did. Thanks for playing.
E-MO - I sent you a PM about your prize.

Jason Cole
Hobby Lobby