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Archive for October, 2012
Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 31, 2012 @ 03:51 PM | 3,720 Views

Well, not THAT big... Just pulled pins and ordered a Yak-55M model from Hobby King. pics from their site below. This sport/3D plane is supposedly one of their best for build quality and flying characteristics (many have said its a dandy F3A machine) in its size class...

We'll see. I LOVE the color scheme, and wish more of their similarly sized and priced models had this type of very zippy color pattern .

Pix below... I'll begin the build log as soon as the goodies arrive! At $63 it's a steal! <I hope> Wingspan is 44.4", and overall AUW is around 930g (~2lb.).
I am planning on using a MAS 3-blade on her, with a 500W class motor. It should go VERY nicely on 3S (2200s). Also, first time using digital MG servos, and I also will be putting in a i86 3-axis stabizing system on this to test out for sport Aerobatics.

That i86 is currently on backorder, so I grabbed everything else I needed. If I borrow my AR500 out of my Lancair for now, I am at around $160 all built, maybe a bit less. Not too bad if its a mean 3D machine!!! Stay tuned!

Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 28, 2012 @ 06:09 PM | 3,637 Views
Just came in from flying in... snow!

Yes, we finally got some of the white stuff - not enough to merit skis yet, but a system moved in the past few days, and we finally got our share. About 1/2".

I flew my decathlon with ORX 3AS system on it, tweaked up a bit from last setting. Almost what it was, just a touch back from my original settings. Loops are larger than nominal and snap rolls JUST complete on aerobatic (105%) throws.

Light 10km/h wind, plane flew on rails. When I was coming in for a landing, I was sort of nervous, only due to the fact that the snow might catch th eplane and flip it over. However, the approach profile with the 3AS on there really is nice! It holds flare perfectly for a 3-point even in those kind of adverse conditions.

My buddy was supposed to make it with this hat-cam so we could video the plane but he got delayed, and I did not wish to let too much more white stuff come down before testing.

During my 11 minute flight, the snow started to come back and fell as almost corn-flake like snowflakes... So, only one flight for now. The plane landed in the grass perfectly without even looking as if it was going to nose up. The tail stayed nicely down during rollout.

I think that for now I'll leave these settings as they are. Very stable, nice flying profile. When winter finally hits here, I'll have skis on this plane, and aerobatics are not the main thing to do - touch and gos are!!! So, having the stability will be nice.

It's due to warm up over freezing the next few days, and then I can shoot some vids with the plane in action.

Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 27, 2012 @ 01:22 PM | 3,498 Views
HI all!

I was able to fly a couple of times yesterday and today in slightly higher wind.

Wind yesterday was ~10km/h today 20-22km/h. During the first flight, I noticed VERY smooth control responses, and the plane flew well, esp. on TD where flares could be held really nicely.

However, the aeorbatic performance of the plane suffered a bit, esp. on snap rolls. They widened out to the point where they were no long snap rolls, more like a "half-barrel" roll. Loops were fine, but slightly wider than without the 3AS in there. I dropped the gains down slightly, about 1/2 of what they were.

Today, I could do snap rolls (slower than nominal but still about 75% of full rate) and they weren't bad. Loops fine. The wind definitely affected the plane still, esp. on pitching. So, I tweaked the elevator channel and gave it a touch more rudder. Approaches still had some rolling behavior this morning although MUCH dampened.

I think I'll have to relegate myself on THIS unit to the fact that if I want full stability, sport aerobatics are not fully possible, unless I tune the gains down significantly. Sort of makes sense, but at the same time, the AS3X system in my Beast micro 3D seems to handle aerobatics and stability VERY well. Maybe a more expensive rate gyro system might be better suited to this application. I rarely do aerobatics with skis on during winter months, so I am not too worried. Maybe a touch more playing will find that true sweet spot.

So far, I am reasonably impressed with the unit, except for the VERY non-linear potentiometer trim behavior. Gains go up a LOT after 1-o'clock...

Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 26, 2012 @ 03:30 AM | 3,788 Views
I have below the test video of my newly-installed Orange RX 3-axis rate servo stabilization system (ORX 3AS for short!).

The unit in this case was installed under the wing facing down (upside down technically), and thi srequired me to reverse the aileron channel behavior to allow for opposite correction. I also had to reverse my elevator channel as well. No big deal.

The idea here is to be able to run the servos as normal, but with opposing movement upon a non-input change in orientation. In the case of this plane, being a 3-channel model, the ailerons are running the rudder. This model also has a LOT of rudder authority, and as such, roll was the better option to correct for. I see this when flying in wind, where the plane may roll suddenly a bit during gusts.

I set both channels around the 2-o'clock position, which was enough movement to do SOME correction, but hopefully not too much to prevent more serious aerobatics with the model. I may have to tweak these settings, but we'll see...

Video below, showing the action I set for my first trials:

SuperDBL ORX3AS (0 min 0 sec)


Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 26, 2012 @ 12:18 AM | 3,576 Views
I just finished installing my ORX 3AS unit tonight.

Install was pretty easy. I took the cover off my unit to save some weight, it was too difficult to remove the board out of the unit. Since I am trying this first on my 3-channel Super Decathlon BL, I ran the aileron and elevtaor channels only. Gain on the rudder is set to lowest. I set the two other axes for around the "2-oclock" position approximately, and set a medium low compensation throw for both axes, to not overly correct flying.

This model is especially authoritative on the rudder, so I had to make sur ethe plane is not going to overly correct that axis.

I think that I have gotten them just right, but maidening with the system running tomorrow (day off - YAY!) may tell the story. I wil post results when they arrive... FYI - the unit just slightly runs the servos under idle on mid-mid high gain.

Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 25, 2012 @ 01:42 PM | 4,294 Views
Hi gang!

Well, HobbyKing has offered this little unit for the very affordable price of $14.99/ea.

The unit looks well made; however, I feel that the 15g weight may be an issue for smaller planes below 20oz. (15g is 1/2oz. afterall!). The board itself is only 5.5g or so. I plan to remove my case and coat the board with either heat shrink, or mount it on a small thin piece of 1/32" ply to make it more secure.

9.5g of dead weight is not what I want for my test plane, the Super Decathlon BL. It flies now VERY smooth and balanced well. This board will mount near the CG currently setup, and will be running with the aileron and elevator channels, and I'll tweak the gains until I feel that they are enough to be flight-worthy. Picture of the unit below. I hope that this unit, once configured and set properly, will allow for better wind handling and more adverse air current stability. Stay tuned!

Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 20, 2012 @ 12:44 AM | 3,622 Views
I had a great few dusk flights with my Beast AS3X this evening.

I mentioned this in the beast 3d thread as well. Anyone ever had a dogfight with a Raven and a micro? Well, I did tonight! My beast almost got snipped at the tail by the black menace, and in a fit of fury, my beast went animal!!!

I did a fast reverse at WOT and shocked the Raven, thinking it was an easy mark! ~30s of fast switchbacks, some tight turns, and the Raven knew he'd made a mistake!

I let him go, but the beast was showing all tonight that it was king of the clouds!

This little micro just amazes me in how absolutely manoeuverable and controllable it is. What a great offering by Eflite!

I hope everyone is enjoying good fall flying conditions. We MAY be in for... snow... this evening, but I am hoping not yet. I'd like to get in a weekend or two of decent flying before that sticky white stuff forces me to finally don skis on my planes.

Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 08, 2012 @ 10:45 AM | 4,044 Views
I won't normally be commenting on every flight I have here on this blog, but I thought that this information may be of use to some of you who are considering or who own already an AS3X-capable 2S micro.

This is the 6th flight of the new Turnigy NT 260mAh 2S batteries (HK# 9210000083) that I recently received for use in the Beast UMX.

These are fabulous batteries! I get totally unlimited vertical with this plane over the duration of the flight, even closer to 8 minutes of moderate to high throttle use (55-70%). Even in 20km/h wind, this plane just rockets upward with no issue at all, despite my mods adding about ~5-6g or so of extra weight altogether (Dubro wheels, whiteglue coating, tray mod, and the 260s).

My two flights at 3C with a 10-18km/h wind this morning went no problem to 8.5 minutes, and the plane handled everything as expected. Landings were nice on the short, dry grass, with a tiny hop and I was down. My second flight, in which mid flight on a low pass over a knoll I accidently cut throttle about 2 feet up, bounced off the nose and gear and the plane was fine. Not even a scratch! Given the temperature, I was expecting something. Nada.

The Deans 3MCs are superb for connecting and disconnecting these batteries to the plane. Any 2S micro system I get will probably use these from now on. They are foolproof, work well, and hold well. The pins are much larger than those on the stock system, which should translate to better current delivery and lower...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 06, 2012 @ 09:45 PM | 3,556 Views
I flew the beast UMX 3x today, all close to 9 minutes each. The first flight was in almost 20mph wind - WOW! The AS3X does a dandy job at keeping the plane flying depite being tossled about by gusts!

The other two were less windy, maybe 10km/h at the time - better! The new Turnigy NT 260s really did fine in the plane. 9 minutes gave around 165mAh consumed of the available ~200. 60% throttle most of the time, some vertical climbs, rolls loops, a stall turn or two and just plain fun.

The new charging harness is superb. The battery tray and connectors worked just fine also! I am going to have fun with this plane now!!!

The plane flies very nicely, and balance (CG) is bang on for this aircraft now. I did a superb TD or two on the BBall court proximal to the park. Almost a high alpha 3-pointer... very cool.

I highly recommend these Turnigy Batteries - the NanoTechs deliver a good performance on these micros and perform well.

Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 06, 2012 @ 09:22 AM | 3,493 Views
I recently got my Turnigy NanoTech 260mAh 2S cells for my beast from Hobby King.

Upon test-fitting them in the plane, I realized quickly that they'll be tight in there. So I took out the stock battery tray, and made one using 1/32" hard plywood. I made it a bit shorter than the stock unit as I lowered the whole tray by about 10mm - nearly 1/2". I did this by cutting the foam down on the plane to accomodate the tray.

Some weldbond white glue (undiluted) on the foam where the tray sits, and also on top where the tray needs to be held, and it was good to go after an overnight cure. Some thin velcro on the rear of the tray (~3/8 wide in the middle) and on the batteries, and I am set!

Some of you may have followed my earlier blog re: the micro Deans 3-pin connectors I replaced the stock battery clip for. I used female 3-pin DMCs (Deans Micro Connectors) on the batteries and then made a proper balancing/charging harness with a male 3DMC and some surplus JST connectors and balance leads from older 2S batteries I got rid of. Always save the goodies!!!

This way, I can connect the batteries to my chargers as a standard 2S cell. I have been running them at 0.3A charge rate for now. Seems to be just fine, as my 1S multicharger runs 0.3A rate as well. At 260mAh, I should get about 9-10 minutes of flight time with the Beast. I am looking forward to trying it this weekend! Balance for the plane sits at ~19mm aft of the bottom wing leading edge, per the manual - I position these batteries such that they sit flush with the top of the battery compartment when positioned to get the proper CG.

Pictures of the mod of the battery tray, the new 3DMCs and the charge harness (made two of these for both my chargers) shown below...

Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 04, 2012 @ 06:52 PM | 3,743 Views

I thought it might be a good idea to feature the systems I have used successfully in several of my aircraft. Power systems can have a huge impact on the performance of an RC aircraft; it is always nice when someone has sort of put all the pieces of the puzzle together, so I thought I'd share mine...

Below are some pictures and specifications of the RC Timer motors I use in my models. I started trying these out two seasons ago - they are similar to the Turnigy gold series, but they have different power ratings and some have different Kv values as well. I suspect that RC Timer sources (or is the source of) these motors out of China.

For models in the 15-19oz. range, I suggest the RCT 1400Kv motor OR the 2200Kv motor. Both offer significant power available over many stock motors on ARF types. (including E-Flites) The 1400Kv has more torque, but the 2200Kv can offer more "power at the prop" for those wanting a bit more aggressive flight envelope. Both weigh in at 50g, and are ideal for the 1lb. class models and are able to deliver in the 80-130W/lb. regime. I run either a MAS 8x6x3 blade, or 8x6 Eflite slowflier prop, or a GP Powerflow type 2-blade with these motors. Running 2S, the 2200 will draw into the 18-22Ap regime, dep. on prop type. The 1400 sits in the 14-16Ap range. Turnigy 30A ESCs are recommended to be certain you have lots of coverage! 2S, 1200mAh batteries can easily deliver over 11-12 minutes of flight time on general cruise, and aggressive...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | Oct 01, 2012 @ 10:23 AM | 3,590 Views
Well, the conditions weren't perfect, except for Sunday evening. You could cut the cool fall air with a knife!

Saturday after 2pm and up to 5pm Sunday, winds were variable, gusting to ~45km/h - no flying then! So, I kept myself busy with a little Sunday afternoon field project. (Portable wind sock blog entry below)

I was able to finalize the thrust angle and CG on my replacement (old) new Super Decathlon BL, and flew it several times this past weekend. It flies almost like the one I had with ~700 flights on it, but its even better in some ways.

Also took the Pitts out for a stroll! A really nice landing - 3 pointer, and 20' rollout. Sweet.

My flying group had their foamy Cubs and Micro champs out as well. A good time had by all. Upper winds were really nice to provide excellent lift all weekend, when the wind was more favorable.

On another note: I am getting a couple of Orange 3 3-axis stabilization system for my Pitts as a winter project, and will initially try it out on either my Lancair ES or Super Dec. I have heard great things about these units, so I hope they work decently. It would be nice to have an "AS3X" type of system on my Pitts 12!