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Grejen's blog
Posted by Grejen | Mar 31, 2014 @ 01:15 PM | 1,152 Views
I've recently learned to fly full scale which has taken me away from RC flying/building. One of the skills a full scale pilot has that is not at all applicable to RC is talking on the radio. Along with that you really should learn the ICAO alphabet. You know... Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta, ...

While talking on the radio was really new to me that alphabet really wasn't. However it did occur to me that new pilots could be helped in both areas with a small 'App'. Learning the speak this alphabet by actually speaking it! Pretty cool eh? OK so not exactly the next Candy crush but it is a unique 'app'.

If you want to speak like a pilot... here you go.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...1.ICAOPhonetic
Posted by Grejen | Mar 22, 2012 @ 05:50 PM | 2,508 Views
Built a steerable retract for the nose gear of a Dyke Delta. Using some GreatPlanes mechanical retracts for the mains but the nose needed something steerable so I messed around and came up with this. Works pretty well, I just tested the 'uplock' with a 40gram load which is 10X the weight of the gear leg/tire/wheel. Downlock is tested to 400grams load which is the projected AUW of the plane. Nose retract is another 4 grams....Continue Reading
Posted by Grejen | May 24, 2011 @ 11:17 AM | 3,505 Views
After some taxiing around on pavement at the school yard I decided it was way to windy to fly so we went over to the park just in case. Still very windy but there is this softball field. It's small and surrounded by tall trees which usually nixes a field as a viable aerodrome but in this case the plane is relatively small and the trees are sheltering it from the wind.

A quick lap around the soft dirt infield confirms that the conditions are flyable. Unlike at the school yard where the tail was just getting blown all over, it stays controlable. Powered up and it rolled along, the tail came up, the bouncing got light and it gently lifted away. . Wow! Probably my most successful first flight ever. I must be learning something. After a couple of careful laps around the field Brendan snags the camera and starts following it around.

It's touchy but direct and responsive. Neutral stable in roll and pitch. Turns very tight if needed. I find myself automatically co-ordinating rudder pretty well which is also something new for me. Didn't attempt anything fancy just lapped the field getting the feel of the plane. Although the taxi and take-off was OK in the dirt I'm sure the landing would be problematic. I slow as much as I dare then it touches. Instantly the gear pulls off (just held up with tape) and it noses into the dust. No damage but there's some dirt in the motor.

Blew out the motor and changed the battery. Taped the gear back on. Switched to the low rates (60%...Continue Reading
Posted by Grejen | Feb 26, 2011 @ 07:57 PM | 3,684 Views
Got this for Xmas. It's got a few ...er.. flights on it, as evidenced by the tape on the fuselage. It's on it's 3rd inner shaft, and I've broken several rotors. The lower head and swash have been replaced with the aluminum bits. Fore/Aft servo (well it's not attached to an elevator and it doesn't really change the pitch much) is one hole out from stock and I've set it for 125% forward movement. This allows me to shove it into a slight breeze.

Finally had my wife take a few shots
Posted by Grejen | Feb 06, 2011 @ 12:58 PM | 4,223 Views
Got out with it yesterday for it's initial shake out. Taxi is great (just a skid on the tail) rudder is very effective. Got everything lined up. I have a small patch of pavement to take-off from at the elementary school next to the highway.

First attempt it twaddled it's way off the ground swinging back and forth and I managed to dump it over it's nose without damage. Figured it was tail heavy a bit so moved the battery forward some and tried again. Nicer but still snapping back and fourth. It gets rolled 90degrees and cartwheels. Battery came loose (just taped down). Motor mount cracked but its still usable just not as tight as it could be. Moved the battery forward some more and reduced the rudder travel to 50%. Checked the movement and notice the tail group is loose. Added some tape and everything is secure again.

Third time's a charm it was airborn easy and quite controlable. It really could use ailerons but the rudder and wing sweep induces enough bank for decent handling as is. Managed to set it down really nice on the well matted grass even. The breeze was coming up making the landings really slow. Second landing it nosed over. Third landing I managed to get it back to the pavement and it rolled out nicely.

With the wind picking up and not knowing how many amps it pulls yet I didn't want to push the battery and the wind was coming up so called it a day. This plane could be fun! Time to figure out a good battery mount system/canopy, and get some colour on it!
Posted by Grejen | Apr 27, 2010 @ 04:01 PM | 4,171 Views
Never thought I'd see one of these here! A BC DHC-3 in Malta!
Posted by Grejen | Apr 22, 2010 @ 11:21 PM | 4,140 Views
After a Mediteranean cruise we added a few cities in Europe to our Vacation. The last stop was to have been London for 3 nights. Having stayed in Paris for 2 nights and me having just enough French to translate essential information - such as menus - "Duex Expresso sil vous plait" we'd not watched any news. We had Eurostar 'chunnel' tickets for the leg to London. The train was completely sold out and there were signs and announcements at Gare du Nord (train station in Paris) that it was sold out for the next two days. Of course we had no idea this was abnormal.

Arriving in St. Pancras (train station in London) we headed for the cab line. My first time in a London cab. They sure are unique. And the drivers are extreamly polite, friendly, and professional. The usual conversations - "...where you folks come in from?" lead straight to a mention of the volcanic ash cloud having just that afternoon shut down Heathrow! He figured by Sunday we'd be quite alright. Who knew?

Had a great time on London busses, walking along the Thames, ate fish-n-chips at a pub, etc etc. Sampled the best IPA I've ever drank. We were now watching news and although the situation was bad BA had not canceled our flight so no problem there eh? Two days later the situation was entirely different. Our flight was cancelled and the news was jammed with stories about people's travails getting home to the UK. The hotels were populated with late staying visitors trying to get out....Continue Reading
Posted by Grejen | Jun 09, 2009 @ 04:15 PM | 5,668 Views
it flies! Never a worry really. Finally got everything together and a calm evening begged a test flight. Instant realization was that I was gonna have to throw my delicate handiwork and throw it hard enough to fly. Without much practice at this type of thing my first toss was less than adequate. Too timid and pulled it right a bit. Result - Lawn dart! I heard a 'crack!'

Luckily it makes a very nice lawn dart. The nose buried about 3 cm into the turf and stuck. Those 3cm of dirt absorbed a lot of energy. The motor pulled upward tilting the prop into the fin and it went right through. Thus the cracking noise. Some paint/covering is scraped off the nose. Thank the gods of flight for soft ground. Motor mount is set in silicon so although it let go on one corner a quick power run up showed that it would be stable enough for the moment. Gently squeezing the tail put the balsa back into place well enough to stay straight.

For the next flight I had a friend and long time R/C pilot, and excellent airplane chucker commit the throwing. This time was better but still resulted in a powered glide landing softly sideways in the dry grass. No damage. Dialed in some up and right trim for take off and the third time was a charm. It sank, gathered speed and as I gently pulled back I was rewarded with a strong climb-out.

The next 3 minutes were nervous magic as it carved around the field with the setting sun lighting it up. Tried a couple rolls and it's very quick. Ailerons...Continue Reading
Posted by Grejen | Jun 17, 2008 @ 10:23 PM | 7,159 Views
I'm sure Rick has many flights on it but it's new to me. I've set it up with the Rx from the Spirit of St. Louis which will be a hanger queen for a while I think. It's brushless and has two speed controllers. I may eventually pull the rudder servo and go with differential thrust for yaw control. Research indicates this was a well used feature of the plane enabling Pacific theater fighter pilots to out turn Zeros in a climb. It'll also need the nacell scoops and some representation of the superturbo chargers but it's pretty small and light. Thoughts of doing retracts are quickly banished. The props are too big for one.

Anyway it's all setup Rx installed, nacelle covers and canopy taped in place, RTF. I'm off to the smallish park (a single soccer pitch) where I'm staying weekdays to accomodate my new commute. Hmm an unfamiliar plane and an unfamiliar field. Just a bit nervous.

There's a decent breeze so I can run with the plane to check the trims working up to a few good power off tosses. I add a lot of up and full right aileron trim. I also add about 25% A-R mix though the rudder cable loop has somehow lossened up so the rudders are sloppy. Check power. Wow! This thing pulls! OK it's now or never. Power up to about 75% and give it a level shove. It's off and climbing. I have to keep dabbing the right aileron to correct the roll but it's direct and fast. The speed range is sure wider than the Beaver or NYP!

Landing is a simple matter of comming towards me with...Continue Reading
Posted by Grejen | Aug 13, 2007 @ 01:00 PM | 7,554 Views
Finally flew my new mostly GWS DC3. Here's the 'build' thread.. Met Jan at the school field. Winds were light but variable. Mostly we were using three six left.

After several runs down the pavement a couple of things became evident. It was not going to roll straight without enough speed to get the rudder working. ie. I was going to have to give it some power and 'commit' it to the air. The differential power works but is not usable other than for some cool factor. Any amount of sideways pressure on the gear will cause the mains to fold up. If the props are not spinning this is not a problem as the wheels still spin free when the gear is up. The gear servo is not installed so nothing internal is getting dammaged. Sooo...

I gave it some power and hoped all would go well once it was airborne. It didn't at first. It kept veering but quick stabs of full rudder got it pointed straight then the rudder became effective. The tail lifted and a few meters later the mains were clear with no input at all. It just assumed and attitude and flew off the runway. Then the troubles started.

Since it was airborn I figured I'd better stay that way and bumped the left stick forward some more. The nose immediately pointed up. Having read about this issue I jumped on the right stick to hold it down which worked but resulted in some porpoising. Then I tried to turn. Having only limited 4 channel experience and being nervous I forgot about the rudder so it rolled without turning much. After...Continue Reading
Posted by Grejen | May 15, 2006 @ 04:11 PM | 9,157 Views
I decided the NYP Spirit of St. Louis needed some airtime before I take it to the Chilliwack flying in a couple weeks. I wanted to switch it to my Spektrum Rx and get the radio setup for it. It requries Rudder-Aileron mixing and I need to reduce the rate on the elevators quite a bit. Got the Rx positioned and checked the range. One antenna hangs out under the left wing and the other is buried into the fuse. To get the Rx forward it ends up under the aluminum cowl. A successfull range check quelled my worries about burying the antennas under all that aluminum paint. It's also now using a real GWS 8X6 prop instead of a cut down 10X47. Gotta paint that sucker aluminum B4 showing it.

All set I took it to the field. Even with it's relatively large scale wheels it would not T.O. from the rough field. The tail kept bouncing up and nosing it over or a wheel would get stuck. Huh! The Beaver takes off from this field on smaller dia but fatter tires. Oh well off to the dirt road right at the edge of the field. T.O. will be along the trees and a large steel truck trailer along the left side. No problem just keep it straight. I need some 'runway' practice for Chilliwack anyway.

After several squirly attempts including nosing it into the tall weeds at the base of the trailer 3 times it finally came off the ground, cleared the trailer and headed for the sky - er - trees. ahhh. Almost no rudder responce and it's mixed 30%! UP, no not that much, woah UP, no.. arrgh. The...Continue Reading
Posted by Grejen | Apr 11, 2006 @ 11:50 PM | 7,390 Views
It seemed like a good idea at the time so off I go over to the school yard practicaly next door to me, Tx and Parkflyer Pete in hand freshly charged battery installed all ready to fly. My 'Pete has many flights on it and has recently undergone some extensive repair work. The motor is showing some slight left thrust line which is not right but its not so bad. Its just before dusk so I should keep it close I think to myself and in the east sky where I can see it. I also notice a bit of breeze but again not too bad. The field is bordered by trees on three sides and the school on the fourth.

Antenna up, power up, give a toss (no gear) and it's off like a champ. A few clicks of right to overcome that left thrust and I'm zooming around. Wow, the battery is putting out well tonight. It's amazing what 24 hours at 50mAh will do for 7 tired AAA Ray-o-vacs. This is a very good thing because the slight breeze in this field always causes turbulance. Thoughts of rolls and inverted flight evaporate and I think - let's just keep it in the park and in sight. For a Pete it's a heavy handfull. Fun, but not a lazy flyer. Ailerons and Elevator (no rudder) servos are getting a workout as it gets tossed and twisted around.

I try for more altitude. That helps but, woops it's nosing up and stalling just over the alders on the east side. I know there's nothing for it but sit tight and wait for the nose to come down. I decide it'll be banked toward me and add some left to level wings....Continue Reading
Posted by Grejen | Mar 01, 2006 @ 12:31 PM | 8,819 Views
I like to watch birds just to practice my R/C vision. I've seen gangs of two or more seagulls harrassing eagles and occaisionaly the eagles chase the seagulls. Both avians are opportunists so I've always assumed they were chasing each other away from nests or whatever was washed up on the beach.

From our car parked on the ferryboat a familiar movement out over the beach caught my eye. A bald eagle and a seagull involved in aerial combat. I watched the gull dive and twist easily out maneuvering the larger bird. The eagle could out climb the gull and stay above it but when it dove the gull would simply turn. As they were 'on-the-deck' this forced the eagle to pull up hard and climb again giving the gull some more manuvering room. The battle progressed out over the water away from the beach and I thought the gull would simply land. I was amazed at the amount of energy the eagle was expending to rid itself of a pest. A moment later I discovered this was not the case at all.

The gull made a break running in a straight line away from the beach, it's wing tips touching the tops of the waves. The eagle, from about 100 meters back, was instantly after it about a wingspan above the water. The speed difference was amazing. The gull did not get another 100 yards and the eagle was on it. Tallons reached and gulls fate was sealed. The next instant the eagle was struggling for some altitude with it's payload before winging back to the beach. It perched on a piece of driftwood high on the tideline then I saw it's head dip quickly in a swiping motion. Eagle 1, Seagull 0. No second chance.
Posted by Grejen | Feb 23, 2006 @ 06:31 PM | 7,778 Views
After sitting on the shelf above my work bench for just over a year I finnaly tossed it. It had been badly augered in during an outside loop attempt and really was beyond repair. I'd long since removed the gear for other projects and a couple weeks ago I was clearing the bench and needed some space so stood on the stool reached up and took it down. I held it for a moment, pieces dangling from my hand, and reconsidered repair. One wing cracked at the root, the cabanes ripped through the mounts, fuselage crushed to the leading edge, gear struts shattered, etc. I'd only kept it because I couldn't bring myself to toss it right away.

The little Meattray SE5 had been tons of fun to fly but had been very finicky to put together. The entire airplane was built from free materials - meattrays, egg cartons, foam cups, soda straws, bamboo skewers, and a tiny bit of scrap plywood - there was only time and emotion invested. Not even the linkage was worth saving and I'm a real pack-rat. My better half had been helping me decide I had been spending too much time on model airplanes lately so it seemed I'd have no time to even think about repairing it. I jammed it into the bin under the bench and continued clearing.

Last night was the night before garbage pick-up so I transfered it, uncerimoniously, to the big 'can' and lid down that was the last I saw of it.

I think I feel better now. Thank you.
Posted by Grejen | Feb 11, 2006 @ 09:44 PM | 11,668 Views
Well got out flying today so it's time for a new entry. This is a thread so I'll make it a thread about my Beaver. Subsequent entries are posted as replies (comments) to this post. View the last entry here


OK I was out at the big ball field with Sam around 10AM. It's warm (for Feb) and sunny and not too breezy. He's zooming around with his brushless SlowStick while I prepped the Beaver. The motor stick was a bit squishy up front so I added some tape and bolted it all back together. Today I was hoping to work out some trim kinks. Sam tossed and away it went. I got up high and started a cycle of cutting power then slamming it back up to check the thust line. Seems I have a LOT of right thrust.
Chopped throttle once over the chain link backstop and I breifly lost control. This is a surprize because I'm useing my new Spektrum DX6 ! I think it was a combination of the chainlink and the fact that the Tx battery was at 9.2 volts. way to test it eh? - information from rcgroups is that chain link can cause reflections and interference patterns at 2.4ghz - It came down way out in the field between some big holes being dug in the infield at the bases and control returned just in time for me to recover and get it safely on the ground between the holes.

Retrieved the plane and Sam tossed it again but now the plane battery was not putting out and it dove for the grass. I Mannage to not crash it but the left rear float strut broke anyway. Dang those things are fragile.

This was flight number 300 on this plane which now has about 2615minutes on it. I've been logging this stuff on paper but now I have blogs.