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Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 10, 2014 @ 10:01 AM | 5,645 Views
the 1st time i flew in a full size airplane was in 1952, in a piper cub j3. it was at 6am because we were at 7,000 feet above sea level and at that altitude the air is so thin that it is better to start early, when the air has more density. when the instructor began to tell me: "this is the ground, this the air, this is the airplane", i told him that i was a student of aeronautical enginnering but had never flown before, and he stopped that. we had to fill the tank by hand, with car gasoline (in those days there was no high octanes-what was that?), neither airplane gas available. and we had to start by hand. but it was so much fun! the instructor was a short fellow, that had to add 3 cushions for him to see above the nose of the plane, and hardly could reach the pedals for the rudder. and no radio, so the control tower had to send a green light signaling that we were cleared for take-off. once we were flying, i began to familiarize with the controls. although i had a good idea of all, being there is another story. and then you get seasick. but was an unforgettable experience after all. we climbed and did whatever the instructor said, and after he saw that i was doing fine, we began the approach for landing, with me at the controls. as we were getting closer and he didn't took over i told him that i had no experience in landing, but he let me do it. what i did was throttling it down gradually and also pulling the elevator up slowly until i did a 3-...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 09, 2014 @ 08:12 AM | 5,567 Views
a silly question? but if asked 'are you left handed'? sounds right, isn't it?
we learn to use both feet the same. why not the hands?
i was born left handed (got that from my father) and when i got to school they forced me to learn to use the right hand. that was the way in those days. so i learned to use it. my writting was-is-awful, so they say, and also they say that it is due to having been lefty and pushed to be righty. but my writting with the left is as bad. but when i broke my right arm, again i had to write with my left. after that, i decided to learn to use both hands, and became ambidextrous. but, why not? using 1 hand we use only 1 half of the brain, so why not teach the other half? there is room there for this. we do this with our legs, otherwise when we walk we would limp all the time. now, that sounds silly, isn't it?
so, are you left-footed? think about it.
Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 01, 2014 @ 10:04 AM | 5,435 Views
conclusions on ap vs no ap-my view.
1.-i am pleased with the rad as is, with the autopilot (ap), and from what i read, many others too.
and still there are some who think it is better without it. i think that with ap in windy weather (for which it was intended) it does much better.
2.-anyway, as the brick of 1 of my rads went south and don't have another of the same ap, i replaced it with 1 that has no ap (AR6400), so will try and compare in no wind days. some say that without ap it thermals better.
3.-well, there was a window in the weather and had the chance to evaluate the conversion.
the plane flies fine in calm, although behaves different, as could be expected. problem was, that could not evaluate it completely because the prop does not stop, even if stalling the plane.
4.- i added the esc that helps to stop the prop. it is done, so only i have to wait until next window again.
5.-now i was able to try it: with little wind it is a lively plane: sensitive, responsive, but still controllable, so it behaves just as any other plane of its size. and in no wind it is a lively nice little plane. still i have to try it in no wind thermals to see how it behaves.
so in some wind with no ap, it needs frequent commands, as any other plane its size.
and another identical plane with ap is way more stable, self-compensating for the drafts.
big difference. but it's up to each 1 which way you like it.
it confirms that only with ap it can be flown in windy weather that otherwise only larger planes can do, and in smaller places.
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 27, 2014 @ 11:52 PM | 6,395 Views
some say that the early years were their happiest. i wonder...
i recall being told what to do and what not to do. then being taken to a place full of rascals that were doing their best to make my life miserable, and a grownup telling me what to do. things that i already knew, or i didn't care. that was called school. sometimes the grownups brought me with my cousins (a bunch of wild beasts) to a large tent, smelling heavily of manure, full of people, where there were some huge grey animals that looked like rocks (called elephants), some horses and fellows doing wild stunts, and other hanging from swings. the only thing i liked were the beautiful girls that did stunts on swings. the place was called the circus. other times they brought me to a sunny place where a fellow dressed like a clown entertained a bull with a piece of canvas. later a fellow on a horse pierced the back of the bull with a pike, and another challenged the bull with some sticks that managed to place on the back of the bull. then the clown killed the bull with a sword and 2 horses dragged the carcass away. that was called bullfighting. i also heard that my father was an amateur boxer, and he sometimes went to exchange punches with another 1. that was called boxing, but i was lucky enough not to be taken there because that happened too late in the evening for me. and grownups always so full of themselves, and making practical jokes on me.
and some wondered why i liked to be by myself!
Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 20, 2014 @ 10:05 AM | 6,769 Views
right of way
1 of the great things of living in places like the grey wild north is that we have frequent encounters with wild life, be in large cities or in the middle of nowhere.
1 episode that i just lived happened on my way from the park where i fly my lil radian:

when i was driving back home i noticed that the cars had stopped-both ways of the road- and didn't see any reason why, until got closer: it was a single goose that was on the road, but not walking. it was at the edge of the park, where a pond is located, and seemed like hesitating; looking towards the pond and the other way. then i noticed that there was a flock of about 20 geese near him, still on the grass, looking at him, that also were hesitating. they were trying to cross the road to reach the pond nearby. then i saw what was the reason of their hesitation: there was a girl with a dog walking around the pond, in the direction where they were aiming at. it was not until she went far that the goose started walking towards the pond. slowly, no hurry. calling the others. and then the others followed. it was until all were safe at the grass, that we started driving. it is amazing to see how they know that they have the right of way-and we have to accept that.
but after all, they were here before, isn't it?
Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 18, 2014 @ 09:28 AM | 5,439 Views
july 17: at 5:30 am took the lil rad (umx radian) to the nearby park (the pond). some wind, but great time anyway. then came back at 8:00. more flying. even got into a thermal. then went to my son's nearby for a while. then we were going shopping, but as i had the planes with me, i asked him to get the camera and film me flying at the street. but when i tried to land, the plane was overshooting, as the glide was too flat and didn't want to come down. i realized it was sloping at the houses roofs. so i had to overshoot instead of catching it. landed a little bit ahead on the street. this thing can fly almost anywhere!
Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 04, 2014 @ 08:01 PM | 5,873 Views
today i had the pleasure to get my micro radian into a thermal for the 1st time.
i fly usually at dawn, as it is when i find a window in the wind, but today at 8:00 pm i looked into the window and noticed that all the trees were still, so got my rad and radio and ran to the pond nearby (10 minutes/6 km), and launched the plane. after several uneventful but pleasant flights in a blue sky without clouds, when i had done 4 minutes of motor, on the last run, noticed that it was not coming down. as usual, i was turning, so kept doing it, but after some time it was getting too high and small and drifting too far, so i brought it back. but it was a wonderful experience!
i had flown the rad consistently, but at dawn there are no thermals-at last i have been unable to detect 1-and also have flown many planes of all kinds into thermals, but with this little wonder i have the oportunity to try it at places nearby, even with some wind, so it expands my horizons enormously.
to all of you who already have got your lil rads into thermals, you understand the feeling.
and to all of you who still haven't, i dedicate this, with the best wishes that some time you will also enjoy the feeling.
it's a wonderful life.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 30, 2014 @ 07:37 AM | 6,000 Views
biking in vancouver, british columbia.
in the 80's i lived in vancouver-and had a hobby shop at kingsway street-and also got a motorcycle (a yamaha vision with touring fairing, shaft drive and water cooled). when the weather was good, i toured around. with so many beautiful places nearby, it was a most rewarding experience. as there are many rivers that have no bridges, there are ferries to cross, and boarding them with the bike was thrilling, to say the least. just entering and exiting the ferry was exhilarating, riding through any of the 2 narrow ramps and seeing the water below.
even just going downtown and watching the sunset at english bay and eating a souvlaki at davie and denman street. and all were so watchful on bikes.
we flew r/c at kitsilano, with the sailplanes flying over the sea most of the time. and stanley park: the beavers taking off right there (i mean, the de havilland airplanes) on their way to victoria island... also going to victoria by ferry with the bike. i still have the bike in my living room, but don't ride anymore. am sending it to my son's garage soon to make room for my toys (model airplanes and painting). so many memories....
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 20, 2014 @ 08:44 AM | 6,079 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 | 6,193 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 | 6,549 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 | 6,907 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 | 5,889 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 | 6,097 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 | 6,115 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 | 18,866 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 | 6,797 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 | 6,702 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 | 6,531 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 | 5,563 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