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Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 20, 2014 @ 08:44 AM | 6,006 Views
when you grow old, more frequently you say 'those were the days' and recall episodes of your life when things were better. as some say, all things past were better. right?
well, now that i have my micro rad and just pick it up and the radio and place it at the back of my car and drive 10 minutes, or when on my way shopping i drive to the park, launch it and have a ball for several minutes, i think, well, these are the days! nothing past can compare with the fun am having now. life is good. enjoy.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 13, 2014 @ 05:51 AM | 6,105 Views
the reason why am happy and have enjoyed life is because am a dreamer.
yes, i live in fantasyland. and the good thing of this is that nothing can reach me.
some1 said that there are 2 things that no1 can take away from you: your memories and your dreams.
others call me mad, because they say that i should see things the way they are, but if you live in reality, just look around.
could you be happy with that?
as Cervantes in "Man of la Mancha" said: 'who is the maddest of all, he who sees things the way they should be, or he who sees things they way they are?'
your choice.
and i think that the way to improve things is seeing them the way they should be. that's the value of daydreaming.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 05, 2014 @ 07:22 AM | 6,461 Views
since i remember, anything that flies has fascinated me. birds, butterflies, any insect, and of course airplanes. full size or models. even watching the clouds go by. from the beginning of time, it has been the wildest dream of humans. that's why all the legends, tales and fantasies. i feel as if i were the plane or bird, or if my spirit were up there with it. from the times when there was only free flight. and now with the magic of radio control, when i can maneuver it, even soaring into thermals, is the realization of my wildest dream. and i believe that many more share this feeling.
be that you design it, or build it, or even now with the ready-to-fly, all leads to the ultimate goal: flying it.
so, let's dream of flying, the most wonderful adventure.
Posted by phil alvirez | May 31, 2014 @ 05:52 AM | 6,817 Views
swan lake
with a title like this, you may think of me as a romantic.
if you do so, you are right.
but there are things that go beyond a logical explanation.
i have been to a park nearby that has a pond where geese and swans make a home during the good weather.
in recent posts i mentioned that 1 morning when i was arriving, a couple of white swans landed. they could arrive before-or after-but why exactly when i was arriving? symbolic, isn't it? silent, majestic creatures. anyway, shortly after that, a flock of geese arrived. all noisy, honking their lungs in happy celebration, even after landed, for several minutes. then another flock. and another. soon the pond was crowded with happy birds.
i have seen the swans several years at the pond. seems that it is their residence for the good weather. but once there, they don't fly anymore, contrary to the geese, that every morning leave noisily, flock after flock. the swans occasionally swim slowly around, but most of the time they just rest.
so, now that am back into micros, and fly at the lake, sharing it with the birds is a great experience.
Posted by phil alvirez | May 26, 2014 @ 10:45 AM | 5,797 Views
am doing field tests to have an idea of how much time we have available for thermaling with the micro radian.
as there are not (yet) means to get figures or warnings in the stock plane, these are estimates based on flights measuring the time of the motor runs and flight times, and then checking how much charge the cell had and the % it had left.
if we run the motor to climb as high as we still can control the plane and see what it is doing, then stop it (and time it), and do this several times (accumulating the time) until it slows down because the cell is reaching the point where it drops, and check the charge left (and its %), and doing other flights with same (or similar capacity) cell but then stopping before this happens, gradually less and less time, and checking charge and %, we can get an idea of when to stop using the motor and still have a reserve of power for thermaling. nothing exact, but a reasonable estimate.
cells used are from stock hobby king, and horizon 25 and 45c.
from these tests i have found that stopping the motor from 4 to 4:30 minutes total time, there is still about 20% charge (3.75v), and this could give a reasonable time for thermaling, considering that it takes little power using just the servos. and if we trim the plane to circle without sinking, there is no need for correcting and the draining the cell is very little. if going to 5-5:30 minutes, the charge drops to 9-10% (3.5v), but this could be considered too low.
how long before the plane runs out of power and goes free flight? hard to say unless getting into thermals and checking the time and then bringing it down and measuring the charge left.
i got some advice regarding this, that can be of good use: Daedalus66 said: One answer is simply to use a little burst of power from time to time. If the motor shuts down or refuses to start, it's time to land. (and i add: that is, if the plane is not so far that you can see this). so there you have it.
Posted by phil alvirez | May 21, 2014 @ 10:49 AM | 6,030 Views
i like small planes. the smaller the better. i have been doing that for the past years, starting with the 6400 receiver, then smaller with the brick from the sukhoi, so i could fly these planes at a gym or at my backyard. the thing is, they fly only with no wind.
then i got into 2 meters sailplanes, 1 reason was that i can fly them in windy weather, so i have more chances to fly, especially with the deteriorating of the weather.
then came the micro planes with gyros. and finally, the radian.
with it i can fly not only in small places nearby, but in windy weather too.
parking lots, parks nearby. before, i had to drive 30 minutes to the club's field. now i go to the park nearby (10 minutes) and have a ball.
today, when i arrived, 2 swans made the approach to the pond nearby and landed. majestic creatures they are. didn't care about my plane. there was some wind; enough to keep me from flying if i had another plane instead of the rad. but with it i could fly as long as i wanted. it is as if i were into another dimension. if it were not for the gyros, i wouldn't be flying. yes, the plane shakes, but self-stabilizes and responds to my commands so i can fly it as if there were no wind. at landing it is a little bit more tricky, as the turbulence near the ground is way more than up there, but still is manageable.
science-fiction technology that allows us to do things we didn't even think of before.
Posted by phil alvirez | May 20, 2014 @ 06:24 AM | 6,041 Views
if you dig into my 7 pages blog, you will see that i have been deep into tiny planes. from that, and my previous experience in free flight, i have learned that there are layers (even indoors in large hangers) that, like blankets, separate the air and sometimes behave different-and therefore drag the plane into that. especially the small 1s.
and with the micro radian, that is indeed a sailplane, this is more noticeable. with it, you will see that for instance, it climbs at different angle depending at which height it is: typically at launch it climbs at 30 degrees at half throttle, then at 10 meters (33 ft) it increases its angle, and then at some 20 meters (66 ft) it increases it again. and when gliding down, the angle changes too, and when approaching the land it sinks even faster and becomes buoyant, like if floating in boiling water, to the point that even stalls. not only that, frequently the wind changes direction from layer to layer, even dramatically, like at 1 layer you see it blowing from the north and next blows from the southeast. this is more noticeable with fog, that sometimes is seen as a blanket covering a field-or at certain height-and little bit beyond suddenly disappears.
just keep this in mind and try to adjust-and enjoy the vagaries of the weather!
Posted by phil alvirez | May 17, 2014 @ 05:26 AM | 18,800 Views
you have to live it to believe it.
i have flown in COWT (cloudy/overcast/windy/turbulent) with other planes, way larger than this, but never imagined trying this 1-but i just did it, and it flies even better than larger 1s. the gyros just handle it. and this brings us to another dimension, because with this plane we not only can fly in almost any kind of weather-that other planes can't handle, but in smaller fields near home. even backyards large enough. streets, driveways.
win-win for all. the users, because it allows us to fly in conditions and places in which we could not even think of before, so we can fly more. manufacturers, because they sell many more affordable planes, that are compact, and need less space for storage, even without disassembling.
edit: now i have been able to thermal it and it does it too-and in smaller spaces.
designed with attention to detail, it flies out of your hand so comfortably, so effortlessly as if you were in a dream.
and all that i have to carry is this: 1 case for the tx:, the tx inside (i have the orange whenever available ). this hanging from my wrist, and the plane in my hand. that's all. the cost: plane: $90; case: $10; tx: $65. and a few cells (and s&h).
Posted by phil alvirez | May 05, 2014 @ 04:11 PM | 6,746 Views
improving the looks-umx radian
i noticed that the line of the canopy is interrupted at the wing's leading edge, so stretching it beyond, looks more streamlined.
at least, i like it better. anyway, in case any1 consider doing the same, i used gloss black acrylic tamiya paint x-1, applied with a small soft hair brush.
Posted by phil alvirez | May 05, 2014 @ 04:10 PM | 6,652 Views
maverick 2
finished the balsa fuselage version of maverick. it weighs 65 grams more, but has more room for the components. with the original, that uses a foam fuselage of the dynamic hotliner, it is so tight that i have to press on to fit.
also built a new wing that is covered with a stronger covering in order to make it stiffer. with the original wing, as the motor is so powerful, if i go beyond 50% throttle sometimes the wing flutters. and the gain in weight was only 15 grams.
Posted by phil alvirez | May 05, 2014 @ 04:03 PM | 6,482 Views
details on mod of DX6-DSM2 with orange module
here are some details and pics on the mod of the DX6 to take DSM2.
1st cut the wires that go to the original module (soldered an extension of about 1 ft) and removed it to make room for the orange module inside. removed the orange module from its case, and glued 2 pieces of 1/32" plywood to its back. (see pic) once dried, glued them to the back cover of the tx. used the existing opening of the bind button, just enlarged it a little bit to accommodate it, so binding is done at same spot. drilled a hole to the side for the antenna. left part of the original housing of the antenna so i can grab the support of the quanum telemetry, otherwise i would remove it too. 1st i installed the module outside, but was too bulky. ( you still can see the hole at the bottom left that was for the wires).
Posted by phil alvirez | May 03, 2014 @ 08:30 AM | 5,513 Views
1.-let's start with 2.4: DX6. it was the 1st on 2.4, and did great for me. programmable, with many features that didn't exist in the previous generation, fulfilled all my needs. it had a weak antenna hinge, that when broke i fixed it with a paper clip and a sleeve made of aluminum sheet, and has been doing fine since.
still, nicad cells didn't last very much, but at the time some1 released a 3 cells lipo and i got it and we lived happily thereafter. i was not aware how good that decision was, until several years later.
2.-so i used the DX6 for some time without flaws. but then i became interested in trying more sophisticated things, that my DX6 couldn't do, so i went to what seemed the next step: the DX6i. but it was very different. even the manual had a completely different approach. not easy to read. and i had to re-learn everything. and everything broke: antenna, roller, trims. and as there was no room for a large lipo, i kept using individual cells. but then the cells had false contacts (with the consequences that you can imagine). eventually i found a small (610mah) 2 cells pack that solved the problem, but still the usable time is short. and then the switch that does the bind went out. not a rewarding experience, after the reliable DX6.
3.-so i decided to explore other brands. got the 9x, that has another different manual, and even if can do many more things than the DX6i, was not as clear as the DX6's manual. that discouraged me and kept it in storage for a...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | May 01, 2014 @ 04:24 AM | 5,573 Views
when DX6 started the 2.4 revolution, it was DSM. later, came DSM2, where we can get an assortment of high quality-low cost receivers, but they can't be used with the DX6 as it is.
then, some1 came with a way to do so:
for this, you need to add a module:
i already did the mod and it works. it is an interesting subject that will bring new life to an old reliable programmable radio that, even if not as sophisticated as the new wave, satisfies the needs of many modelers. (i among them).
Posted by phil alvirez | Apr 26, 2014 @ 10:58 PM | 5,594 Views
i have been able to fly the plane several times, but not into thermals yet. still, i have reached the following conclusions:
1.-the plane flies superb. congrats to the designer(s). very stable and predictable.
the proportions are great, and with the AS3X gyros, it behaves like its big brother rad. absolutely amazing.
(i own a big rad, so i can tell you this).
2.-but it is important to consider that a micro is a micro. a very different kind of plane. 1st of all, the way you handle it: you don't feel it (41 grams). it is like as if it comes from another dimension. you have to re-think all-or you may break it.
3.-some want to make it so the wing can be removed for carrying it in its box, but for that, you have the option of dealing with 2 microscopic screws, or modding it for magnets. i rather keep the wing permanently attached.
4.- some propose to make all kinds of mod, but to me, adding any kind of weight will impair its performance. think about it before you try. just fly it as it is (i just added a hatch to protect the cell from dirt-but that weighs less than a gram).
5.- the plane handles wind as if were a big plane. eventually i tested in windy weather (see below), and you can see these comments all over the place, including videos, to confirm this.
6.-so, there is room for it, and for the big brother too. it's just that they belong to 2 very different worlds and you have to become accustomed to each 1.
it's being discussed here:
may 9:>>>>>an update: just came back from the field. it was not only windy, but turbulent.
it was the 1st time i flew it in this kind of weather.
it was shaking and bouncing, but all went well. flies like a 2 meters sailplane!
and i don't think i could be able to survive the ordeal without the gyros.
wonderful things they make.
and in the previous flights that i made in calm weather, it also behaved much better with the gyros.
Posted by phil alvirez | Apr 18, 2014 @ 06:31 PM | 5,360 Views
just when i thought that i was going to be away, they released the lil radian, an ultra micro that has been an instant hit, and me being an enthusiast of micros i had to have 1. i decided to 'canadice' it, removing the decals that come with it and sticking some maple leaves instead.
so here you have the canadian version.
this is the forum where it is being discussed:
details on the hatch: i just couldn't live having that large opening not only allowing dirt and water into the batt, but creating so much drag and turbulence, so got to think of an easy way to solve the puzzle. i fly at a field that is covered with wet grass, so it makes this mandatory for me.
i made a cover from clear plastic, just as i did to the large radian-and that has been working fine, by the way.
i had handy a piece of clear plastic of .016" (anything around that size seems fine), so i cut a rectangle of 3/4" x 1-1/8" and bent to fit. how well fits depends on your patience, so it's up to you. i bent the front edge inside so it does not scoop dirt if dragging at landing.
it is attached to 1 side with clear tape that acts as a hinge, and holds at the other side with clear tape too, that has a fold at the end so it is easy to lift to replace the batt , and adds only about 1 gram.
Posted by phil alvirez | Nov 26, 2013 @ 10:33 AM | 5,648 Views
human is the technological animal. still, some of us have that inclination for art. i like both, but early in my life opted for aviation, and spent many years into it. models and full size. but had that secret desire of art, so went to art shows and museums and admired all, although never dreamed of participating in it. late in my life suddenly all changed, found myself free of restrictions, and went to the local school of fine arts and spent 5 years learning to paint oil on canvas. but then i got the call for airplanes and came back for 8 years-and no art-until i realized i had all the planes i needed to fly when the weather was good, so no need to build more (see my blog). but what do i do with my time? so i decided to get back into art! recently my health is declining fast, and i hope there will be a cure for that, as i have so many ideas that would keep me busy for a long time, dreaming with my paintings and flying my planes.
anyway, i still will be able to soar with wings of eagles-in this world, or the other sooner or later. in the meantime, let's enjoy what we have. we don't know how long we will have it.
and i also want to thank you all folks for your help and encouragement in my endeavors.
your friend,
december 2013-good news: found the problem with my health and am taking the medication that is helping me to feel better and enjoy life.
Posted by phil alvirez | Oct 16, 2013 @ 02:18 PM | 5,901 Views
when having a crash-for any reason-it is interesting to analyze the parts and try to reach some conclusions. you may learn some things that help you in the future, be the plane a foamy or scratch-built, as is mine.
when i lost-and recovered-the Thermalis (see page 2 of this blog for details on the plane), i studied the wreckage, that happened as a consequence of loosing it in the fog. then i put it into a dive to minimize the distance from me. still, it fell at about 1 kilometer (.6 mile) and was spotted by a farmer recently, after more than 2 months, so it was pretty well weatherized. it fell at about 60 degrees so it hit hard. the firewall mounting was designed to be strong enough to handle normal situations, even including hard landings without damage, but in case of a crash it would came loose, as it did, so the motor/spinner/prop were not damaged. even the aluminum spinner came out without a scratch, mainly due to landing in farm soil. the wing is held in place with rubber bands, and wires running along the fuselage so in case of a crash it slides forward. so it did, and also came out undamaged. with some rain, and very high humidity, it was soaking wet, and i had to remove the bottom covering of the wing and let everything dry for several days.
the horizontal tail fell and water soaked it through the bare wood exposed at the center where it was glued, so was badly warped and softened, so i had to replace it, but was an easy task. the canopy, that is installed so it...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | Oct 15, 2013 @ 04:49 PM | 5,382 Views
cowt: whatsthat?
just as there is cavu and snafu, today i found myself at the field deep in cowt.
that is, Cold, Overcast, Windy, and Turbulent.
the forecast was telling that, but early in the morning it showed no wind, so i fell for it and ran to the field. the wind was not too much, and with a positive mind i tried to see it as sort of a challenge and flew my planes for practice.
planes shook, rattled and rolled, and landing was quite a challenge, and not easy to land on the runway.
but after all, flying is an adventure, isn't it?
Posted by phil alvirez | Oct 13, 2013 @ 01:28 PM | 4,716 Views
in the past few days i have been involved in the most fantastic experience. somehow, zillions of birds (literally, hundreds of thousands, believe me) have chosen the area where i fly to make their stage for that extraordinary performance that some times they do early in the morning and in the evening around sunset. i can see the dark cloud from 1 end of the horizon to the other. usually from west to east, suddenly changing direction like a wave, passing right over my head. and they are not scared of my plane, so i have to shy away to avoid a collision.
why they do this, just to enjoy flying together, doing that sudden change of direction; how they synchronize their movements to perfection, is something that escapes my comprehension (and we think we are superior!).
even yesterday on my way back home, they decided to land on an area around the road, so some just landed on the road, for about 1 kilometer, and i had to slow down to a crawl to avoid rolling over them, as they were not afraid of me.
amazing how they feel confident of you, like innocent children trusting you fully.
wonderful times to treasure in the chest of remembrances.
and add this to the joy of flying model airplanes!
Posted by phil alvirez | Oct 12, 2013 @ 04:15 PM | 4,569 Views
telemetry with screen
i got a system that am using with a screen, and i have been testing at the field, with great results. and it is for long range (4 miles).
before, i tried another with goggles, so i have been able to do a comparison.
at this time am flying with the plane in direct sight (LOS), so this 1 has the advantage that if i turn my eyes from the screen i can see the plane at any moment, and this gives me peace of mind. with the goggles i couldn't be sure where the plane was or was heading.
the system i have is from Alex Greve so you can email him at: or , includes all that is needed, including the screen, except for the connectors to match your batteries, and the only thing it needs is you to solder the connectors that fit your charger. it performs excellent, and the assistance by Alex is the best. he also has several videos (tutorials) where he explains all about it. see: and he is the 1 who runs the forum at where you can ask all the questions.
and here you will find some interesting points of view comparing goggles with screens:
the components i have, and got from him, are shown in this manual:
these are: in the plane:
1.3 transmitter; camera; filter; antenna.
on the ground: receiver; antenna.
according to Alex, all these can be purchased from Graves-RC:
and from HeliHobby:
but i also got from Alex the screen and the tripod, that can be purchased from other sources. ask him.
you also will need the packs for the transmitter (it is the same as the 1 you use for the radio), and the receiver.
in another post i will bring more details on the instal and the plane am using.