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RoryG's blog
Posted by RoryG | Mar 21, 2014 @ 11:44 AM | 1,067 Views
Introduction
Until recently the seven models in my hangar consisted of two foam and one composite glider, four electric prop aircraft including a 1700mm warbird and a scale J3 Cub on floats. I’m not taken with helicopters or quads, but an EDF was notably missing from the fleet.

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Side view shows a very pretty model

I’ve now rectified the situation two-fold in the shape of a Max-Thrust Vortex 400 sports jet (known as the Concept-X Pro in the US) and a Durafly de Havilland Vampire Mk6 (more on the latter in a separate blog entry). I chose the Vortex 400 after reading Graham Ashby’s review in the August 2011 issue of RCM&E, plus several threads here on RC Groups. It sounded a well-made model with reasonable components at a reasonable price, and the flight envelope looked to be suitable for someone with plenty of stick time on conventional models but new to EDFs.

The model spans 750mm with an overall length of 940mm. It's all EPO foam construction and available in two versions and three colours: as a PNP which includes six pre fitted servos, a 45A ESC with BEC, 64mm 5 blade EDF and motor combo with a 2200mAh 4S LiPo recommended, or a kit which has the EDF fan installed but no servos, ESC or motor. It's available in red, green or yellow, although the red seems to be the most popular choice.

I ordered the PNP version of the Vortex from Wheelspin Models as they had them in stock and at the best price I could find; I’ve dealt with Wheelspin before...Continue Reading
Posted by RoryG | Mar 09, 2014 @ 09:35 AM | 1,402 Views
A few more pics of detail on the Cub. The pilot (still nameless) now has a seatbelt which is fitted into anchors through the seat. He's also acquired a furry passenger on the parcel shelf! There's also a few pics of the prop and the great little HobbyKing power meter / battery tester. I use this little gadget all the time and it's always in my flight bag. That's the motor running just above idle, prop is turning around 1200rpm. At full power on fresh LiPo's she pulls over 2000W at 7800rpm.
Posted by RoryG | Feb 25, 2014 @ 03:34 AM | 1,434 Views
My Hangar 9 1/4 J-3 Cub on floats is ready for her water maiden. I've been finishing off some final details in the cockpit, added an air exit vent to the cowl and applied aluminium tip protectors to the prop. She's looking great, and the weather forecast for this weekend, especially Sunday 02 March is looking great for her first flight off water.

She's powered by a Purple Power 5065 320KV 2100W outrunner turning a 17x8 JXF wooden prop, PPHV Opto 100A ESC and 8S LiPo. On static tests I can achieve 2050W on a full battery, and with the Cub weighing in at 9.9Kg this gives her a power to weight ratio of 100W/Lb, a very respectable figure.

I've set the CoG to 105mm, slightly forward of the 115mm I used on land. I only had to add 20g of lead to the inside front of each float to achieve this, and I can easily remove the weights if required.

The photo below shows the 5000mAh 25C batteries (8S made up of two 4S in series). I have a 6000mAh 35C set which sits further back into the cockpit but the CoG remains the same from the location of the battery box.

The ESC, Rx and UBEC have all been treated with CorrosionX. The ESC is mounted at the front of the firewall to ensure the best cooling, airflow with the addition of the large air exit vent is very good through the cowl providing cooling for both the ESC and motor. In the event of a tip over in water the ESC will be submerged but the CorrosionX coating will protect it.

The pilot now has a stick and a throttle, and I've...Continue Reading
Posted by RoryG | Feb 20, 2014 @ 08:58 AM | 1,591 Views
Introduction
Part 2 of the Luna build covers the completion of the build, the radio settings and control throw setup, and the maiden flight. The installation of the wing servos, wiring loom, pushrod guide, motor mount reinforcement and balancing was carried out by Tony Fu at Sloperacer. I can highly recommend Sloperacer's build services, Tony did a fantastic job and the turn around was very quick.


The completed Luna E-V after her maiden flight

Sloperacer Build
I chose to have the completion of the build done professionally as I am currently on treatment for myeloma, a cancer of the blood. The chemo I am receiving can cause a condition called peripheral neuropathy, basically pain, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. Although I'm not badly affected I find it difficult to manipulate small objects and installing the wing servos proved to be too much of a challenge!

The Luna was packaged up with all the hardware and sent off to Sloperacer in Leeds. When Tony received it he provided me with a quote for the build and additional hardware, and several options including Fu-Fix external bearings on the wing servos and a very lightweight RFM spinner. I went for all the options and I was very happy with the price quoted.

The wing servos were installed with optimal geometry, and with the external bearings, high quality pushrods and clevises the linkages are perfect with no slop at all. The flaps are set up with a considerable offset, giving a small amount of upward travel...Continue Reading
Posted by RoryG | Feb 10, 2014 @ 10:42 AM | 1,429 Views
It's been a busy few weeks in the RoryG workshop but well worth it as my entire fleet is now in flyable condition and ready for the 2014 flying season! Asides from the Luna E-V build (which is now complete, blog entry to follow) I've done some upgrade work on the 1700mm P-51 "Ferocious Frankie", and finally fitted floats to my big 1/4 scale Hangar 9 J-3 Cub to take advantage of the plethora of scenic lochs and inlets on the isles.

Cub Float Conversion
I've been after a set of floats for the big cub for ages now. We have literally thousands of lochs and inlets in Shetland that are ideal for flying, and I've spent many enjoyable hours flying my Icon A5 from quite a few of them. Flying locations for the cub on wheels are limited, football and sports grounds being the most common but usually only early in the morning when there's no one around. Floats open up so many more flying sites accessible any time of day, and with beautiful scenery as an added advantage.

I happened to be browsing the Sussex Model Centre website from the hospital waiting room the other day and the 1/4 scale floats were showing as in stock. A quick email to confirm, order placed and finally they were on their way to Shetland! The floats are very well finished and with the aluminium struts and wire bracing look very scale, even down to the rivets of the fibreglass skin.

It took me the bulk of Saturday to complete the floats and fit to the cub. I used two high torque New Power (distributed...Continue Reading
Posted by RoryG | Nov 27, 2013 @ 07:02 AM | 2,284 Views
Introduction
Part 1 of the Luna E-V performance glider build (also know as the HK Riot) covers the motor, tail servos and tail installation. As this kit comes with no instructions I'm indebted to Brendan (Mustflynow2) on the High Performance Electric Airplane forum for his help and advice/photos on his build log.

The Luna E-V is a high performance moulded composite hotliner from Launchmodels, sold by HK as the Riot. It's a 2m e-glider based on the original Luna sloper (also known as the Makis or Lunar), with an electric fuselage and v-tail. The build quality is very good with an excellent finish on the gel coat, and my model fitted up pretty well with only slight relief needed on the wing joiner and wing bolts.


Sales photo of the Luna E-V or Riot

The supplied hardware package is of reasonable quality and provides nearly everything to complete the control surface linkages, including colour matched servo/control rod covers. Strangely, although carbon pushrods and ball joints for the tail linkages are provided, there's no threaded rod or clevis included. The supplied tail servo tray is for the slope model, and would leave little room for motor electrics and battery if installed under the canopy.


Contents of the ARTF kit

Space for the motor in the nose is tight, and probably better suited to an inrunner. I wanted to keep the nose quite light and use a maximum efficiency motor for warmliner performance, so I chose the excellent Hyperion GS3014-16. Although an outrunner,...Continue Reading
Posted by RoryG | Nov 18, 2013 @ 07:15 AM | 1,929 Views
I've been looking to take my gliding to the next level with a model that can handle our wind, be good fun on the slope and still happy to motor around the field on those rare calm days. Basically I wanted a general purpose / slope soarer around the size of my Radian Pro, but strong enough to throw around in a force 5 and handle landing into heather and scrub.

After researching various models over the last few weeks, and discounting the Razor (too small) it came down to choosing between the Vladimir's Models Mini Graphite-E and the Luna EV (AKA Riot / Lunar / Makis). They are both very similar in appearance, design and airfoil, but the build quality and strength of the Mini Graphite-E is far superior to the Luna. The Mini Graphite-E airframe was available for 399, but a HK "one time only" offer bagged me the Luna EV for 211, slightly over half the price! My fully rigged Luna will end up costing not much more than the Mini Gs airframe alone, so as a first venture into composite territory it certainly makes financial sense.

For power I've chosen the Hyperion Gs3014-16 glider outrunner driving a 13x8 Aeronaut CAM Carbon prop on 3S. I'm not looking for hotliner performance but this setup should provide great climb performance and decent run time, while remaining light and relatively cool. Power will be via a 60A ESC and 2200mAh 25C LiPo..

For servos I'm fitting TGY-MG778 high torque low profile digital units on the wing, and 16g high torque metal gear digitals for the tail. She'll have a 8A UBEC driving the servos at 6V, and my Futaba R7008SB Rx.

Total cost to get this bird into the air will be around 470 which is excellent value for an all composite warmliner with quality components!

More to follow when the build commences...
Posted by RoryG | Nov 15, 2013 @ 07:12 AM | 1,827 Views
They say that choosing a radio brand is a subjective decision, influenced by many factors including cost, features, reliability and of course manufacturer. When I returned to the hobby in 2008 after a sabbatical of more than 25 years I knew I wanted a Futaba radio before I even started researching it properly. Why? Because back in the late 70s and early 80s it was the only brand I was familiar with, and my 27MHz FP-T4FN (I think that was the model) had excellent range and unrivalled (at the time) reliability.

So I plumped for the 2.4GHz T7C, Futaba's workhorse low to mid range radio of the time. I was amazed that it still used a NiCd battery, but otherwise things had come a long way in the intervening years. It came with the excellent R617FS receiver that was to be installed in my H9 1/4 scale J-3 Cub.

The idea of a computer radio was new to me in 2008, but I soon appreciated the flexibility it gave you, even when setting up the simple four channel cub. It allowed me (with some limitations) to put my dual elevator and aileron servos on separate channels, so I could sub trim each servo individually, and even add a bit of aileron reflex to the big wing at the flick of a switch.

But even with this simple setup I soon hit some of the limitations - my dual channel elevator would only trim on one side, I couldn't slave the trim to the other channel. This may have been fine once the model was flown and mechanically trimmed, but there was no way I was going to maiden her with...Continue Reading
Posted by RoryG | Nov 14, 2013 @ 07:43 AM | 1,516 Views
A very short video flight last weekend after setting up my Radian Pro full house on my new Futaba T14SG.

Radian Pro at East Voe (4 min 59 sec)


The wind had shifted so there was no lift, but in a westerly you can expect to stay up all day here!
Posted by RoryG | Nov 14, 2013 @ 07:34 AM | 1,454 Views
...and a short history of my R/c experiences

I live on a group of islands that lie at 60 north, 125 miles north of John o' Groats on the northern tip of the Scottish mainland. On the west coast is the Atlantic Ocean and on the east the North Sea. I can never be more than three miles from either coast, and at the narrowest point you can throw a stone from the Atlantic into the North Sea! If I was to walk the entire coastline of all 100 or so islands that make up Shetland I would have covered nearly 1,700 miles.

The average year-round wind speed on the islands is force 4, or around 15mph. In the winter the wind rarely drops below force 5 or 6, and force 9 or more gales are a regular occurrence. A hot summer day rarely exceeds 15C (59F) and the winter average is around 5C (41F). Although I have flyable daylight for over 19 hours in the summer months this drops to less than 5 in the winter. There are no thermals... are you starting to see just some of the challenges we face up here?

I love flying in all it's guises, from real aircraft to flight simulation, radio controlled aircraft and gliders to delta wing sport kites. I flew home built control line and radio control (Futaba) aircraft powered by glow engines back in the late 70s and early 80s when I lived on the Scottish mainland, and re-entered this wonderful hobby in early 2008 with a Futaba T7C and a H9 1/4 scale J-3 Cub.

The cub was my aircraft of choice because of her size and weight. With that force 4 I...Continue Reading