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Ensign Jimmy's blog
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Dec 16, 2009 @ 10:06 PM | 6,625 Views
I like scale aircraft, and I like scale speeds. If it doesn't have a full fuselage, and doesn't bear a passing resemblance to something scale, I don't want to fly it.

Which was why, when I heard the Parkzone Corsair prop would work on the T-28 Trojan, I went out, and bought the 9x7.5 Corsair 3-blade prop for the Trojan. Broke a few of 'em, because they tend to be kind of weak at the hub, but I was generally happy with the prop.

Then, last weekend, I was told to try the Master Airscrew 3-blade 10x7 prop on the Trojan. I was allowed to fly a Trojan that was so-equipped and I found it to be a real fire-breather, and it got the wheels turning. I wasn't sure what that heavy glow prop would do to my stock power setup, so I decided that the only way to be sure was to get my trusty wattmeter and all three 3-blade props and try them all out.

To get my amp numbers, I used a fresh E-Flite 3200 mAH 3S lipo. Able to push more current for longer than the Parkzone 1800 mAH 3S LiPos, or even my 2200 mAH cells. When I ran my static tests, I encountered an unpleasant surprise:

The Parkzone Corsair prop is an amp hog. It pulled 20.3 amps and has only modestly better performance than the MA 9x7 3-blade prop, and comes nowhere near matching the performance of a MA 10x7 3-blade prop.

Next up was the Master Airscrew 10x7 3-blade prop. I was half-expecting bad things, but . . . surprisingly, the 10x7 3-blade prop only pulls about 19.5 amps. On the stock motor and old 25A E-...Continue Reading
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Oct 30, 2009 @ 10:57 AM | 3,053 Views
I've started experimenting with the video editing software that's on my computer. And what better way to do it than with video of a free-flight kit converted to R/C. Lacking a cameraman, the camera was set up on a short tripod at ground level. Being 6:20 AM, I had my choice between a properly lit sky, and a properly lit ground, which would make it impossible to see anything up in the sky.

I'd stuffed the Musketeer the evening before, trying to land it too slowly in too much wind. Everything forward of the cockpit firewall was a bag of wood, and a wing had snapped off at the root. Fortunately, these small free-flight kits are easy to quickly fix.

Guillows Kit #308 (Beechcraft Musketeer) converted to R/C. (4 min 9 sec)


Sorry for the lack of aerobatics. It was 45 degrees out, and it's quite busy on that side of the school field. In retrospect, I should've pointed the camera south, away from all the light poles.
Build thread here.
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Apr 07, 2009 @ 03:41 PM | 3,070 Views
That is, I've achieved my first full hour of heli flight-time without breaking anything in a crash. The heli in question is a HeliMax Axe CPv3. I was sold on it by the RealFlight simulator, which portrayed it as being much more stable than other 370/400-class helis. Which is due, in part, to the Axe weighing in at a hefty 16 ounces. Compared to a Blade CP, it's a beefy monster.

The mechanical bits are excellent, and parts aren't too hard to find . . . though at the beginning I was getting the feeling that I was putting the children of Tower Hobbies employees through college. A heli with only a rate gyro and an inexpensive 72 MHz 5ch radio is much harder to fly than it looks.

The electronics . . . not so excellent. The 3-in-1 mixer board on these helis has a reputation for being . . . fragile. Mine committed suicide while I was making an adjustment inside my house. There was a spark, some magic smoke, and the heli did the Funky Chicken Dance of Doom, cut short only when the flopping heli sent the lipo right into the rotor blades . . . chopping the lipo out of the heli and sending it across the kitchen, where it promptly shorted and caught fire!

I went separates after that. Brushless to boot. A 3900 kV 100W inrunner (available from HC) powered by an E-Flite 10A ESC. The gyro is a TeleBee heading-hold (also available from HC.) The receiver got an upgrade too . . . to an AR6100e that I happened to have laying around, bound to my DX7se.

The difference is...Continue Reading
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Feb 02, 2009 @ 09:25 AM | 3,061 Views
Now with more hot RC action! I mean pictures. Seriously, I have a lot of pictures.

I flew the Jenny this weekend. It was a very beautiful weekend, with temperatures in the sixties, clear skies, and very light winds. In other words, perfect flying weather. This time, I've decided to let the pictures tell the story.

So, without further ado:
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Jan 22, 2009 @ 07:30 PM | 2,888 Views
For the weekend of 17-18 January:

Finally got out to the flying field again, and I had one of those moments. I had the Spitfire, and my Funtana out on the flight-line this weekend, and flew two batteries through the Funtana, on what I thought were my usual very tame low-rates. I was cruising around the sky in an easy, lazy manner, just like I was expecting. I checked out if the amount of aileron differential I'd programmed into the TX was helping with my rolls. Downline rolls were all axial, and I was pleased. I tried to determine how much KE coupling I needed to mix out. I flipped my high-rate switch to do some, and found that I just couldn't get clean KEs.

And then I landed, after the second battery had been spent. And then I realized that I'd done all my flying on high-rates . . . except for my KE testing, which I had inadvertently been doing on low-rates.

Cool, neh?
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Jan 12, 2009 @ 04:50 PM | 3,139 Views
I left sunny southern AZ for a couple of weeks over Christmastime. The only two birds that went with me were my PZ Micro Cessna, and my Blade MCX. Both suffered during the trip. The MCX . . . needs a new inner shaft with head, and I've not been able to find any in the LHSes I've looked in so far. The Cessna's problems were fixed with a Vapor prop-shaft.

I gave the gift of RC for Christmas. A new Ember2 + a handy nearby park = A new RC addict. I'm so proud.

I can now say I've bought planes from LHSes in three states now. Arizona, New Mexico, and Delaware. From the East Coast comes a Dumas Waco ARE kit . . . which will eventually get shipped back to me from my relatives. From New Mexico, a GWS Spitfire, which I picked up for $100. It was receiver-ready, and the previous owner had converted it to brushless. I'd initially passed it by until I picked up the Dumas kit. Then I did some quick mental math, and realized there were probably $150 worth of parts (2 HS-81 servos, an HS-65 servo, a 1000 mAH LiPo, plus an inexpensive brushless motor and ESC) in the Spitfire. Soooo . . . I decided to buy the Spitfire . . . as a donor plane for the Dumas. Since the Spitfire was meant to live a short life, I scrounged up the cheapest receiver I could for it (Free! It was the 72 MHz RX that originally came with my Art-Tech P51D.) This leads us to:

Logbook of a Weekend Flyer 3 - The Weekend of 10 and 11 January
After stuffing in the RX, trying to figure out which...Continue Reading
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Dec 19, 2008 @ 04:20 PM | 3,591 Views
This morning, it was 37 degrees at 10 AM. A bit cold for flying outside. Yesterday, there was wind and rain and more wind. Definitely build season, and indoor flying season. I've got a Blade MCX, which I've been flying around the house at night. It's helped me learn how to better control helis, as I don't crash them in the sim nearly as much anymore. Might there be a single-rotor heli in my future?

But, on to the building goodies.

First on my build queue is a Cessna 206 from Park Scale Models. (parkscalemodels.com) I've been working on it since about Thanksgiving, and have been impressed by how quickly it's going together. Especially since this is the first box 'o wood kit I've built by myself. As soon as I get the aileron and flap controls installed in the wing, and pushrod guides in the fuse, it'll be time to cover. That should be an adventure, as the most covering I've done lately are repairs to my Taylorcraft.

The power system will be an E-Flite Park 300 driven by a CC Thunderbird 9 ESC turning a 6" prop . . . three-blade for added scale. The aileron, rudder, and elevator controls are no-brainers, but I'm not sure how I'm going to work the flaps. I'm thinking torque rods, but I'm not sure yet.

Speaking of coating and trimming, I experimented with a possible trim scheme for the new kit-built Cessna by doing some work on a micro Cessna. My old Micro Cessna, I decided, had finally collected just a few too many repairs. That, and I finally...Continue Reading
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Dec 08, 2008 @ 12:00 AM | 3,622 Views
For the Weekend of 6 - 7 December

Saturday featured the Funtana 300 and my Micro Cessna 210 at the local school. I wound up flying the Funtana to LVC (as I'd forgotten to flip the timer switch on my DX6i. It was a real pretty landing, though,) and the Cessna crashed from inverted flight. Snapped the motor mount clean off the pegs that hold it in the foam. However, I have a spare gearbox (complete with shaft broken at the prop threads,) so some careful pulling of the bearing, and the good shaft was swapped between gearboxes, and the good gearbox was carefully glued into the plane. The Cessna flies much better now.

Between all this plank-flying, I bought a Blade MCx heli. BNF, so I could use it with my Spektrum radios. It flies very nicely around the house, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with a flying itch to scratch and some indoor room.

Sunday featured the Jenny, the Funtana, my PZ T-28 Trojan, and the Franken-Trainer from my last blog entry. Sunday sucked, more or less, being a prime example of why I believe weather forecasters pick their forecasts out of a hat.

PROTIP: It's astonishing how fast an all-white airplane disappears against an all-white sky. Add in a bit of wind, and you get the dreaded flyaway. This happened to my poor Trojan, where I lost orientation and couldn't bring it back. So I planted it, and started walking. A mile through the scrub, and one hopped fence later, I found it. The damage wasn't too bad. The prop, cowl,...Continue Reading
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Dec 06, 2008 @ 03:41 AM | 3,479 Views
Fifteen years ago, I was a young lad starting out in the RC hobby. And by that, I mean that it was mostly my father starting out in the RC hobby whilst using me as an excuse. Our first airplane was the old standby, the two-meter Gentle Lady. Which had a short and ignominious life that ended nose-first into the ground.

The second plane was a Great Planes PT-Electric. The PT-Electric is still manufactured by Great Planes, and the basic design has been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. From my recollection, it actually flew pretty well. Unfortunately, various factors caused my father to lose interest. Which meant no more flying for me.

This meant that the poor old PT-Electric was consigned to the garage. It collected dust. Mice gnawed on bits of it and used it as a restroom. I wanted to eventually come back and reclaim it, but work got in the way, and I lived in a 900 sf. condo, so it wasn't like I had any room to spare. I then moved to southern AZ, and had run out of room to try to take the plane with me.

An interesting thing happened. I got back into RC via park flyers. And I got to thinking how I might "modernize" that old electric plane sitting in my mom's garage. Fast forward to Thanksgiving of this year. This time, I had enough room in the back of the wagon, and the old plane came back with me, and the mental wheels started turning.

Thus, the idea for the Franken-Trainer was born.

The trainer, in its stock configuration...Continue Reading
Posted by Ensign Jimmy | Nov 23, 2008 @ 09:53 PM | 3,558 Views
I just thought I'd share some of my flying experiences in blog format. Trust me, it's better than reading me trying to do int in haiku format. Much better. Seriously.

Anyway, for the first entry:

Weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of November.

I'm an AMA member in the Park Flyer class, which means, at AMA fields, all I can fly are so-called 'parkflyers,' i.e. anything quiet and 32 oz. or less AUW. This means I have to be picky about my weather . . . fortunately, as I fly out of southern AZ, flying season lasts till halfway through December, so I've got a lot of weather to pick from. And I've got a lot of planes to tailor to whichever field I'm at (either a local school, or down at TIMPA.)

Enough data-dump, the NOAA told me Saturday wasn't a good day for small electrics down at TIMPA, so I packed up my E-Flite JN-4 Jenny Slow Flyer, and my Funtana 300 and went to the local school field.

It would be a bad day for the Funtana. Upon taking off, I dumb-thumbed it into a knife-edge (at an altitude equal to half my wingspan . . . ) and crashed it a little harder than foam-safe CA would safely fix. (Did I mention it went in wing first at WOT?) Picking up the bits, I gutted the electronics and brought out the Jenny.

The Jenny's a lovely flier in fields the size of ballfields. With a 730 mAH 2S lipo, a fifteen minute flight takes out maybe half the battery. If it gets windy enough, I've got a 1200 mAH 2S to give her some good wind penetration. Sure, these...Continue Reading