New Products Flash Sale
MAP123's blog
Posted by MAP123 | Jul 28, 2013 @ 10:22 PM | 3,826 Views
I finished my Dream Flight Alula Evo recently, and I was able to trim it out and get in a few flights today on it. I was going for a light build, but I came out at 178 grams. It's heavier than I wanted, but I opted for some extra reinforcements that I think will be worth the weight penalty.

I love the way it flies so far. I think I will be able to dial it in even better tomorrow. I'm still learning with it, but I managed to get in a few decent flights today, and caught a little bit of lift with it today. Not a huge boomer yet, but I managed a decent extended flight on a few different tosses. There are some different challenges with flying the Alula as compared to my other DLG, my TopSky Super Mini. The stall is a lot more abrupt, and I did have one spiral stall today that caught me off-guard. I added more expo on the elevator and reduced my elevator trim steps so I get a finer trim adjustment. This is definitely the most pitch-sensitive airplane I've flown, but I'm getting the hang of it....Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | Aug 29, 2012 @ 11:29 AM | 2,855 Views
Well, my Super Mini is still grounded, but I had some great thermalling this morning. The air was almost dead, just barely a 1-3 mph shifting breeze, but it was sunny, so there was some very light lift. And, what better to thermal in very light lift, but a very light aircraft?

Parkzone Vapor to the rescue! I took it out because I love to fly it outdoors, and it can only reasonbly be done when the air is basically dead, and it was a perfect morning for that. Then, I had about a ten or fifteen minute flight with power off almost the whole flight. I found that it will thermal quite well in a full glide, but it's best with just a touch of power to help overcome the drag of the airframe.

The Vapor flew with all of the classic lift indicators of a sailplane. It was beautiful. It would get buffeted by the edges of a thermal, then, when in lift, the tail would come up and it would rise up nicely. If it fell out on the upwind side, it would get tossed around by the turbulent sink. All this in air that's barely moving enough for you to feel a breeze.

It had to end, though. There are now gusty winds that are way too powerful for the Vapor. It would just get torn apart, or end up high up in a tree forever. I mean, it must be gusting to well over 5 mph out there! Maybe as high as 8 mph! Practically a tornado!

Of course, it would be perfect for the TopSky Super Mini, if it weren't still grounded. Oh well, it will be back up soon enough.
Posted by MAP123 | Aug 28, 2012 @ 02:17 PM | 3,306 Views
OK, I've long since fixed the servo problem I was having before. Turns out, the plug harness was fine, but where the signal wire of the left flaperon servo was soldered onto the receiver was bad. So, I replaced the receiver with an AR6200 since I have the Spektrum module for my JR 8103 now, and I haven't had a problem like that since.

The problem came while flying in the wind today. There are maybe 10-15 mph gusts out there, and while the TS Super Mini will cut through the wind just fine, especially when ballasted, you sometimes can stall out when the wind shifts direction and you are low or have too little airspeed. I had a few rough landings, then on the last, it came almost straight down from about 15 feet up. The rear anchor point for the wing bolt broke out of the pod. I made it with hard balsa, so this will be a good opportunity to replace it and the front one with plywood or hardwood, since I'm not sure I have any plywood here.

Yesterday was a good flying day for the Super Mini. In fact, I'm a little sore today from launching so much yesterday. I put about two full 350 mAh packs through it. It was the first time I've ever had to change battery packs in the middle of a flying session. Usually, it either gets too dark, or starts to rain, or much more likely, I have a problem with the plane.
Posted by MAP123 | Jun 15, 2012 @ 12:03 PM | 3,499 Views

OK, so I have the same problem with my left flaperon servo. The weather is perfect today for flying, too. What can I say, but !

Luckily, I have my 42" Blue Baby here to fly. I also have my UM Stryker as well, but I can't get that thing to fly for either. I don't know what the problem is. I have it balanced where they suggest, which for Parkzone tends to be on the nose-heavy side, but I just can't get it to be stable. Maybe I just don't know how to fly it yet. I don't know. I had it flying well before at my brother's place, but I only had one battery pack for it then, so I didn't get a lot of stick time on it to really feel comfortable wth it.

OK, rant over. I guess I have an electrical problem to track down.
Posted by MAP123 | Jun 13, 2012 @ 11:07 PM | 3,570 Views
I re-soldered the connection of the signal lead from my left flaperon servo to the plug harness. I don't know for sure that that was definitely the problem, but I haven't had any problems with it since. The servo started working again after I stripped the shrink tube and the CA off of that connection before I even picked up the soldering iron, but I think there was a cold solder joint there, so hopefully, that problem is solved. Edit: see above post.

The only other thing that will need attention are the wing bolt threads in the fuse. I think I might have to install T-nuts in the fuse. The CA soaked balsa block doesn't seem to be holding up well enough. Maybe I should have used plywood instead. I guess I know for next time.

I haven't had a whole lot of time the last couple of days since I'm babysitting my two-year-old niece, but I did manage to get that servo lead re-soldered and I got out to fly for about 45 minutes in the wind today. It was windier than the last few days, with an average of about 10 mph, gusting to maybe 15 or 20 mph at times, but I think the flying was actually much better. The air was much more unstable, and there was much more variance in the wind direction and strength, which made reading the air a little easier, I think. There was a lot of lift coming through, although it moved through much faster with the greater wind speeds. I had a few flights where I caught some definite lift. The best I have done before was to find some...Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | Jun 11, 2012 @ 02:28 PM | 3,381 Views
So the Super Mini is temporarily grounded while I figure out why one flaperon servo isn't working. I must have a loose connection somewhere, hopefully just in the plug that is soldered onto the servo wires. Otherwise, it's a broken connection somewhere in the servo wire, which would make me fear the other wires.

Luckily, though, this didn't cause a crash. The last throw, I just ended up with very little aileron authority, mostly for turning left.

I don't mind being stuck inside for a bit, though. It's about 90 degrees outside right now.
Posted by MAP123 | Jun 09, 2012 @ 09:51 PM | 3,345 Views
I finally got in a first few flings on my TopSky Super Mini this evening. It was hot and humid with totally dead air and the mosquitos were out, but I had a blast. I think it's going to be a good week here flying.

I still have some trimming out to do. I think I have the the glide trimmed well enough, but now I have to adjust the elevator to flap ratio and the launch presets. I started with way too much up elevator. The first real launch where I used the presets, it went way up over my head. It was a little surprising, but I recovered OK.

I think I might drill a new hole in the elevator control horn to give me a bit more throw. I already have the pushrod in the outermost hole on the elevator servo horn and the travel maxed out at 150%, but I think I need to be able to pitch up and down a little quicker. The other controls seem to be working well enough, but I think I need a little more up-down.

I can't wait until I have good air to fly in. I think if I catch some thermals, I might be really hooked on this glider thing.

I made some ballast slugs and added some balsa in the fuse under the CG to hold them in. I have three slugs that total about 24 grams. It's about 15%, not a lot, but I think it should make a difference in the flight,especially if it gets windy here this week. I might be able to get some sloping in if the wind is right. According to Peytr here on RCG, this mini DLG should float in a minimum of wind from a minimum slope, so I might be able to find a suitable sight around here after all.

The weather report for the week looks pretty good. It will be a bit warm, but about 4-8 mph winds and partly cloudy for the most part. Chance of rain Tuesday, but that should be all of the precipitation. The last time I was here for a week of flying, it rained almost every day. I had to fly in bits and pieces within the few small breaks we had in the weather. This time, however, I made sure I brought sunblock, and I know I'll need it.
Posted by MAP123 | Jun 03, 2012 @ 10:15 PM | 3,606 Views
I recently completed a DLG build. I put together the TopSky Super Mini. It will be my first DLG as well as the first pure glider to enter my lineup. Should be interesting. I have learned a lot in this build. If I had it to do over again, I would probably be able to save maybe 15-20 grams or so, at least. The first thing I would do would be to throw away those steel-in-teflon-tube pushrods that are provided in the kit. I don't know exactly what material those tubes are made from, but I had a really hard time getting any glue to stick to them. Maybe epoxy would have worked, but I really didn't want to add the weight. CA certainly didn't stick worth a damn! I probably should have gone with some others that I had on hand, but I used them anyway. I had some other steel-in-teflon-tube pushrods, as well as carbon fiber-in-teflon-tube pushrods, but the ones in the kit felt lighter. I'm sure I added a few grams too much glue to make up for that, though. I ended up wrapping bits of Kevlar thread at a few points down the boom to secure them, as well as bits of packing tape. Maybe when I get more time, I will sand off all that glue and redo that mess with other pushrods, or maybe use pull-spring controls on the tail. That should be the lightest solution, although I don't like the idea of a constant power draw on the tail servos. Maybe I could do a pull-pull system. I already want to buy another kit and start again, although I should probably fly this bird first to make...Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | Jul 25, 2011 @ 01:42 PM | 4,952 Views
The next plane that I'm building as a night flyer is based on John Tanzer's Square Yard, a 3D flying wing featured in Flying Models Magazine in August 2004. This version is 50% of the original, at 18" in wingspan and chord, so I think this will be called the Quarter Yard. The structure is 2 or 3 mm Depron and is skinned with 1 mm Depron. This technique of building and lighting was inspired by this build:

My plane will also have hollow-build control surfaces that are lit as well.

It is lit with the standard LED strips, but the checkerboard pattern requires a lot more cutting and soldering than just sticking a strip of LEDs to the inside or outside of a plane. I use servo wire to link the LED strips together. I bought about 30 yards of the Futaba servo wire (red, black, and white) and I just peel off the white wire, and use the red and black for the positive and negative leads. Then, the white wire can be used for either positive or negative. Plus, it can be colored with Sharpies: red, black, or any other color that might be needed to color code with.

I'm not terribly pleased with the way the lights look. I think I should have used different colors. I may tear them out and redo them, or I might just use different colors on the next one I build, since everything is more or less glued in. I already want to build a full-sized one (3 feet square), where the area is divided up with an extra spar or two, as well as split lengthwise along the chord so that the top and bottom can each have a different lighting scheme. Jeez, I have to get more foam and lights! I love how addictive this hobby is.
Posted by MAP123 | Jul 19, 2011 @ 09:22 AM | 5,095 Views
I'm happy to report that the NiteSlab flies pretty well, although I have scrapped those landing gear, and am planning to make a skid out of EPP for the front to protect the prop. (I broke all the props I had just landing normally.)

Here's the first flight with the lights on. Although it was a bit darker out than it appears in the video, those trees were clearly visible. I guess they were just a little closer than I thought. Luckily, the plane wasn't too high or tangled up, and we got it back easily.

NiteSlab - 7-15-11 - First Flight - Dusk Tree Landing.MOV (0 min 19 sec)

This video is of a later flight. I'm not sure why the servos are that twitchy, but it seems to smooth out in flight, and if you just pick up the plane so that the weight of the elevons isn't on the servos. I don't know why the rudder would also twitch, though, if it was just from the load. Oh well, enjoy.

NiteSlab - 7-16-11 - Twitchy.MOV (1 min 52 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | Jul 10, 2011 @ 11:52 PM | 4,467 Views
Introducing the NiteSlab:

So I built a night flyer. Actually, it's a fold-up night flyer. Well, I haven't yet established that it's capable of flight, so, technically, it's not yet a night flyer, but it is a night glower. I'm not too worried about it flying, though, since it is way overpowered, just slightly concerned with being able to control it. No, really, it should be fine. That's what I keep telling myself: "It will be fine. It will fly just fine. Don't worry."

The design is entirely my own. I based it a little bit off a slab foamie that I built a couple of years ago that was based loosely off the Lite Flite Bug. That plane (which I called my Bug...ish) flew really well, and I've had so much fun with it that I wanted to try and improve upon that design. Like the Bug...ish, the NiteSlab is all Depron construction, with elevon and rudder control. Also, like that plane, on this one, the rudder utilizes a pull-pull control with a plywood Y-shaped control horn in the rudder, and upholstery thread connecting it to the servo horn. It is entirely outlined with Hobby King LED strips facing into the foam, with the LEDs set into a groove cut into the edge of the Depron to allow the strips to sit flush. The LED strips are held on with transparent iron-on covering (I think Coverite Microlite Clear) rather than tape because I think it's easier to work with. The covering doesn't stick until you heat it, you can cut it into any width that you need,...Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | May 19, 2011 @ 08:38 AM | 4,455 Views
I went out this morning to get a couple of flights in on the Radian Pro before the wind picks up, and had a much more successful flying day than yesterday. I launched and landed several times, and only once did I have a landing that was less than perfect. The last was a bit rough, but the wind was starting to pick up, and it does get pretty turbulent in my landing area, as evidenced by my loss of control (almost loss of airplane) yesterday.

The weatherman said "windy" for today, so I don't think I'll be out again. It looks mild out there now, but it's starting to get gusty. I'd probably be OK with one of my park flyers, actually, but I don't want to take the risk again with the Radian Pro. My parkflyers I can bring in and land short and have no problem aborting a landing to come around again or turning sharp to change directions on a landing, but the Radian requires much more set up and aborting a landing is a lot more risky. I just don't yet have the confidence with that airframe (and the sailplane radio setup) to take the chance.

However, later that same day...

I went out to fly later in the morning, but the sky looked like something was brewing, and I figured I would much rather be down here wishing I was up there than up there wishing I was down here. You know, take-offs are optional, landings are mandatory, etc. It turnued out to be the right decision because, within a half hour of coming back in with a fully charged pack, the skies opened up....Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | May 18, 2011 @ 11:23 AM | 5,943 Views
OK, so I didn't exactly have a flyaway, but the Radian Pro got away from me, none-the-less. I've just reviewed the black box forensic video from my keychain cam, and it's not pretty. All in all, I was very lucky. I always seem to be lucky when it comes to out-of-control accidents. I have been lucky in cars (been lucky, not gotten lucky, although that has happened a bit, as well ), and the luck seems to carry over into model airplanes, or at least it has so far.

The weather was much nicer today than yesterday, or at least it seemed to be, anyway. Little did I know that the sun and light breeze were lying in wait to ambush my airplane and knock it out of the sky. OK, that's probably over dramatic, and it really comes down to my fault in letting the Radian get away from me, I know.

It was sunny, partly cloudy this morning, and a bit breezy. The sky looked like it would be full of lift, as the wind direction seemed to be changing regularly, so I was excited to get flying. I headed out the door with two fully charged flight packs, optimistic that I would flying for a long time. (Of course, if there was plenty of lift, one pack would be plenty, and as it turned out, one pack was plenty.)

There are lots of turbulence genereators around here. Trees, houses, my parents' greenhouses (it's a greenhouse business), all generating loads of turbulence. Experienced glider guiders know to stay up away from these things to stay out of the turbulent air, and when you come...Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | May 18, 2011 @ 10:29 AM | 6,128 Views
So I went out to fly my Radian Pro yesterday and didn't have a very good flying day. Not as bad as today, but I'll get to that.

The first launch, I gave it a toss and caught a tiny gust of wind, but, rather than just glide it in and pick it up for a relaunch, I decided to throttle it into the ground just to see what would happen. Turns out what happens is you break your prop and then hit full flaps because that's what's on the left stick, then after a few seconds of a horrible noise, you remember to hit the throttle switch. I guess I'm still getting used to the sailplane setup on my radio.

Anyway, I swap the prop and, after the rain clears again, I go back out to fly. The rain has stopped, but there's a little wind now, but not much, maybe gusting to 10-15 mph tops. I throttle up first then launch and right away, it feels unstable. I had moved my CG back slightly after the good flying day I had on Monday, since it seems to require a lot up up elevator trim and felt a little sluggish, so I adjusted it forward again to maybe help stabilize in the wind (breeze, really). I launch a third time that day, and nose seems to want to pop up. The nose pops up, I push it back down, then when I go to apply up elevator again, it pops up. Anyway, I manage to get it back down in one piece somehow after a very hairy flight including an unsheduled, low-altitude, very short loop (basically a stall falling over backwards from about 30 feet up; luckily I was facing the wind and...Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | May 17, 2011 @ 11:23 AM | 5,018 Views
I've got the Radian Pro all set to go for another flight session. It was clearing up this morning and the sun actually came out. There also seems to be a little breeze, maybe 5 mph or so, so that's a good sign for maybe some thermals. Anyway, I got my battery charged up, strapped my keychain cams to the Radian, and walked out the door only to find that it's raining again.

Of course, I could fly it in the rain, but I haven't sealed up my receiver, and I don't really want to soak the keychain cams. The rain delay worked out OK, though, as I discovered that I never recharged the batteries in the cams. So, now I'm charging my other flight pack, and my cams, and waiting for the rain to abate.
Posted by MAP123 | May 16, 2011 @ 05:37 PM | 4,747 Views
Well, I flew the Radian Pro a bit today for the breif time that it wasn't raining. I climbed out about 7 or 8 times, for about 10- or 15-second motor runs. I tried out flaps, crow, and flaps-only camber. I think I might be a little on the heavy side, but it flew pretty well, just a little quick. It wanted to balance a little tail heavy, so my 2200 mAh pack is up about an inch and a half behind the motor. Must be the home-made stab and the glue to hold in the gold-n-rods in the tail. I don't have a scale with me, so I don't know how heavy the Radian Pro is, but it seems to be very well behaved, and I managed to bring it back in one piece; always a good thing.
Posted by MAP123 | May 15, 2011 @ 03:50 PM | 5,082 Views
We'll, I finally have my Radian Pro that I got for Christmas ready to maiden. Now, if this rain would just clear up, I'll be able to fly. Lucky me, I took my vacation this week, travelled to my parents' house in upstate New York to fly, and it's supposed to rain almost all week. As they say, !!

My full list of mods is as follows:
-replaced tail pushrods with gold-n-rods
-replaced prop with EMP Neodym 10x8 electric folding prop
-covered wings, tail, and fuse with Econocoat black, Insignia blue and red covering, as well as florescent red, florescent orange, yellow and black checks, and chrome trim sheeting.
-painted plastic cowling and radio compartment cover with glossy black spray paint, and spinner with florescent orange.
-rehinged rudder with pinned Dubro pinned hinges
-made a whole new stab and elevator from3 layers of 1 mm Depron layered with carbon tow reinforement in between (I did this because I warped the original stab either when I covered it, or it might have had something sitting on it on my work bench while I was working on the rest of the airplane. )
-added a set of clear servo covers from Morgan Mill. These I trimmed down significantly. I left only a bit of the horizontal plane on the front of the covers, and I attached them with packing tape.
-added 4-pin Dean's connectors for wing servos. I also trimmed out quite a bit of foam from the radio compartment in order to fit all of the additional wires from all of the extensions. I may go back...Continue Reading
Posted by MAP123 | Feb 09, 2011 @ 10:20 AM | 4,765 Views
I got the Parkzone Radian Pro for Christmas this year , and am finally getting around to posting some pics here.

I have not had the chance to maiden her yet, but I have begun to rework the pushrods (straightening the path and loosening up the rods within the outer casings) and plan to add servo covers for the wings. I also want to swap out the prop and spinner for the EMP Scimitar 10x8 and aluminum hub/spinner, and will probably do the four pin deans connector mod for the wing servos to make assembly/disassembly easier and quicker.

Now, I just have to wait for some decent weather to get in a maiden. I don't mind the cold, but I'd rather not trudge through a foot of wet snow to get to the field to fly her. Can't wait!