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Posted by dgliderguy | Feb 01, 2016 @ 12:29 AM | 1,446 Views
I built two gliders this month, which is a direct result of being smack in the middle of building season, with short, soggy days and long nights. I don't watch TV or go to clubs, so I am able to squeeze in just enough free time after long hours at work to jam together some wood every evening.

This time, it was a couple of kits acquired right here from fellow RCG members, in the classifieds. The first one is an Astro Flight ASW15, which came to me in pristine, factory-new condition. All I had to build was the wings and tails, as the fuselage is a roto-molded polyethylene one-piece structure. The wings attach with joiner wires, and the tails bolt on, so couldn't be much easier! Popular back in the late '70s, these kits are getting really hard to find now, so I feel lucky to finally have one. It is a real sweetheart to fly, too, and it sure looks sexy on the wing, with that classy curvy fuselage and long wings. Build thread here.

The second kit is the old classic Craftaire Drifter II, which was also a simple build, and only a bit more work than the ASW15. It sure came out light, at a mere 19oz, which is what the Drifter II is renowned for. I flew it for the first time today, off a shortie hi-start, and made many hops to trim it out and get the feel of it. Man, what a great little floater! This will be one to have on those days when I don't have all day to set up a winch and fly, and just want to stake out a hundred feet of hi-start and catch the lawn thermals. I am most pleased!
Posted by dgliderguy | Dec 27, 2015 @ 03:10 AM | 2,511 Views
So, I got this model from my good flying buddy Greg Tutmark, and decided that, after three different owners, it needed a full refurb. I spent most of the month of December stripping it down to the bones and going through everything with close scrutiny, to bring it up to "factory reman" quality again. New covering (Hobby King transparent film), and a Saito 56 in the nose, and new bent-wire landing gear, brought it back for another lease on life.

It weighs a mere 7.4lbs, with gobs of wing area, so no surprise it turned out to be quite the floater. Watching this thing motor along is like watching the Goodyear blimp float overhead. What fun! Today was my first day out with it, and everything worked flawlessly. It'll get lots of airtime once the weather warms up a bit and the days get longer.
Posted by dgliderguy | Nov 25, 2015 @ 10:15 PM | 1,950 Views
Here's my newest addition to the fleet; a Dynaflite Butterfly with a Cox TD09 engine, 2 Hitec HS-81 servos and an all-up weight of 49oz. I highly recommend this kit-- good wood, light but strong construction, excellent plans and instructions, and everything fit together the way it was supposed to, with no adjusting or trim-fitting required. Well worth the eighty bucks from Tower.

I built it in October, but only recently had a good weather window for a maiden flight. I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out to be just exactly what I wanted-- a simple machine for launching high and finding thermals. I did a few simple mods, for my own personal preferences. I went with the Butterfly II tail feathers instead of the stock ones shown on the plans, just because I like their funky lines more. I lowered the wing down onto the fuselage longerons to lose the faux cabin/windshield look. And I left off the landing gear and wheels, because my idea here was to have a motorglider, to be used for soaring in thermals, not for shooting touch-n-goes (I have other, better models for that sort of thing).

The Butterfly is a real sweetheart to fly. Stable and predictable, with a low minimum sink rate at slow speeds and excellent controllability in thermal turns. I used to own a Paragon, and this feels and behaves a lot like that one. A slow turkey vulture looking for some vertical puffs.

The engine is strictly a launching device. I have a one ounce fuel tank mounted behind the firewall, which provides a little over two minutes of full power engine run time-- enough to get the Butterfly up to well over 1500 feet or more (i.e., speck height). I will more likely run just enough fuel for a winch-height launch of about 400 feet, which is all I will need for finding thermals.

Can't wait for spring to get here now! I anticipate many long, enjoyable thermalling flights with this one!
Posted by dgliderguy | May 09, 2015 @ 03:34 AM | 3,269 Views
I bought this kit a month ago, in a fit of why-not, what with the free shipping and a $10-off coupon from Tower (those sales gimmicks work!), and seeings how I had an urge to consume some balsa wood and this kit seemed like it had plenty of that. It actually turned out to be a really nice kit, with superb die cutting and good wood all around, and some clever engineering to help make the build a trouble-free pleasure. The whole thing went together in just under 30 days, from open the box to CG checks and programming the radio. Not bad!

Today was its first day at the field, and it did not disappoint. The engine started right up (brand-new and fresh out of the box), with a good reliable idle and a screaming top end. Thunder Tiger Pro engines don't get enough praise in my opinion. They are a fine piece of machinery, easily on par with OS. The Contender flew like a Contender, with fast fly-bys, giant loops and small ones, lightning-quick rolls and a good vertical with a long hover at the top of the ascent that looked just like 3D to me. Spins and snaps are a little soft, but the Contender is right at home inverted, and that big belly flap makes every landing a good one. What an enjoyable retro-model this is! I'll have it with me on every trip to the field for quite awhile, I can tell already.
Posted by dgliderguy | Mar 28, 2015 @ 10:35 PM | 3,730 Views
I let this kit languish somewhere in the middle of my kit stack for too many years, so I finally decided to bring it to the surface and build the darn thing. WELL WORTH IT! It's one of those "why didn't I build this sooner" models. Have you ever flown one, or seen one fly? Mine came out to a mere 64oz AUW, and at 69" (one-sixth scale) and 675 squares, it's definitely a floater. With the throttle pulled way back, it motors along at scale speeds in flight. Loops and rolls are part of the fun, and landings happen at a fast walk. What a fun, fun plane! Build thread here.
Posted by dgliderguy | Dec 27, 2014 @ 03:26 AM | 4,511 Views
I got this Bergfalke already built, from a guy I knew from my old glider club days. He told me that some old guy named Wiley built it from the Hegi kit ten years ago, but it hadn't flown since. I decided it needed a new owner and a new life, with a fresh make-over and a power pod for launching to height without the need for a hi-start. Half-A power pods are a nostalgia thing for me, as a lot of my gliders way back in my youth featured them for getting up to thermal height, and this old glider seemed like a perfect candidate. The Cox .09 hauls it up there at a leisurely pace. I can't wait for the thermals to come back this spring... the Bergfalke will be ready! 90" span, 57oz AUW, R/E radio-assist with two Futaba S148 servos and a 1100mah Nimh battery.
Posted by dgliderguy | Dec 01, 2014 @ 03:12 AM | 4,350 Views
My newest build project got its maiden flight today, in the bright, cold sunshine following the first snow of winter. This was a FUN kit to build, I must say. All sheet balsa, with precisely die-cut pieces that all fit together as good as any laser-cut kit. And it flies just fantastic on its little 20 gram Hextronic 2211 outrunner. So glad I finally pulled this one down off the kit stack and gave it a go. Well worth the bench time.

Span 33"
Weight 14oz AUW
Hextronic 2211 2300kV outrunner
Hobby King 12amp ESC
Rhino 460mah 2s lipo
2- Hextronic HXT500 servos
fun factor 4 stars!
Posted by dgliderguy | May 14, 2014 @ 02:08 AM | 6,051 Views
My latest project is a kit-built Stinson 105, with a geared inrunner in the nose. Today was my first outing, and I am very pleased with the delightful way this one flies-- like a big, blimpy jumbo rubber model! Build thread here
Posted by dgliderguy | Jan 19, 2014 @ 03:59 AM | 7,106 Views
I flew my new Stevens Aero Skyboy today for the first time. Fun, fun little plane! It flies like it looks, snappy and tumbly, yet smooth as silk and easy to land at nearly zero airspeed. Suppo 2814/8 1000kV on 3s 2200mah lipos, 44oz AUW, Tower Pro 9gm servos, bolt-down wing.

Hat tip to Mike Gore for turning me on to this little playtoy plane! What a great pick for a day at the park.
Posted by dgliderguy | Dec 26, 2013 @ 07:56 PM | 7,243 Views
Today was the first day out for my Green Models Tiger Moth. I really like this one. It has good scale fidelity and flies wonderfully, and the ASP30 provides adequate power for scale-like flying. 50" span, 4.1lbs AUW, good quality ARF. Dunno if this one is still in production or not, but if you can find one, I highly recommend it.
Posted by dgliderguy | Aug 19, 2013 @ 02:18 PM | 9,753 Views
I maidened my new Great Planes Fokker Dr1 ARF yesterday. Flew great! My old OS FS-61 engine had just enough power for realistic take-offs and a reasonable climb rate. Good plane for goofy stunts like off-round loops and barrelly rolls and weird vertical spins. All my landings were very respectable, down on the mains and no flip-overs or ground loops. What an odd-looking flying machine the Triplane is! But fun. Very fun.

I may go with a new RCG 15cc gasser soon, if they ever come up available at the HK USA warehouse. That would be a good match for this airframe. Bring on the Nieuports, I'm ready!

[EDIT 10/30/13] I put my OS FS-70 Surpass in the Dr1, and the Triplane is so perfect now with that engine that I decided to leave it that way, so the RCG15 will have to find another home. Sometimes you just plain get it right, and don't want to mess up a good thing. The GP Fokker and the OS FS-70 were made for each other.
Posted by dgliderguy | Jun 09, 2013 @ 03:54 AM | 7,330 Views
Today was my first day out with my new Giant Aeromaster tug, built from the Great Planes ARC kit (almost-ready-to-cover). I bought this kit from Tower a few years back, just before they went out of production. I covered it in Ultracote, and mounted my new DLE55 engine in the nose, with a custom cowl cut down from a TF Mustang cowl. This thing really jumps with the DLE55 for power, like ten foot take-offs and straight up climbs and big giant loops. AUW is 17.5lbs. I expect it will have no problem towing up gliders of up to 5m span and 15lbs or so. I hope to do some towing with it at the upcoming aerotow event at our home field, CMAA "Big Birds" field in Monroe WA, and on any weekend when gliders are out at the field.
Posted by dgliderguy | Jun 03, 2013 @ 02:38 AM | 7,649 Views
Just maidened my new Schweizer 1-26E, at the Yakima WA aerotow. It flew great, and I am very satisfied with it! Build thread here.

[EDIT] I flew the Schweizer again this last weekend in Othello WA, and got a 45-min flight with it, at one point I was going to land, but managed to scratch out from base leg in a low-level thermal and got back up to release height. What an expression session that flight was!
Posted by dgliderguy | May 12, 2013 @ 02:57 AM | 10,435 Views
I built my first one of these years ago, and never flew it before I sold it! So this was a nostalgia build for me, and a chance to make right the wrong of so many years ago, and find out (finally!) how the little Velie Monocoupe flies. What a great little plane! I couldn't be more pleased. Build thread here.
Posted by dgliderguy | Apr 15, 2013 @ 01:59 PM | 8,252 Views
My newest baby is the little Pitts Special from Black Horse. An ARF kit, it went together very well, and flies just great! I put my DLE20 in the nose, and it fit in there like it was made to be there. Plenty of power for this little airframe (1/3.5-scale, 12.2lbs AUW). Handling is quick and energetic, but the Pitts is fairly tame if you respect it. I am practicing keeping it on a good line in the verticals (dadgum shortcoupled airplane!), but outside snaps at the top of the climb are outrageous fun, and big giant loops with an avalanche snap at the top are a real gas!

Too bad this one is no longer available. It is a fine model airplane in every way.
Posted by dgliderguy | Dec 31, 2012 @ 11:53 PM | 8,301 Views
Today was my first day out with my new Global (aka, Sportsman Aviation) Corby Starlet, a quarter-scale rendition of one of my favorite homebuilt airplanes. It flew GREAT!! SO sad this one is no longer in production; it really is a keeper.

The OS FS-70 proved to be a perfect choice for power. The Corby jumped off the sod straight as an arrow and headed skyward, with little need for any trim adjustments. It wasn't but a minute or two of "getting used to it", and I was tumbling it all over the sky, doing avalanches and snap rolls and inverted circles and Cuban Eights. This thing is FUN! And the landings were all greasers, too. Made me look good! I took the advice of some other guys and used dual rate on the elevators, to smooth out the pitch movements, but I left the ailerons at full throw for maximum excitement. Heck, this thing is fun when it's just tooling along overhead, looking like a homebuilt in search of an airshow. I'm definitely glad I finally got around to putting this one together.
Posted by dgliderguy | Dec 29, 2012 @ 03:46 AM | 8,084 Views
I maidened my new Tiger Kitten today. The OS FS-20 was a perfect choice for a powerplant, and the Tiger Kitten flew superbly. It will make a good sport model for small field flying.
Posted by dgliderguy | Oct 20, 2012 @ 08:30 PM | 8,691 Views
Well, I maidened my new Pilot 1 1/8th-scale Stinson 108A today, after having started it only last weekend.

I am truly impressed with the overall quality of this ARF, especially the better-than-average scale fidelity. Everything fit together just like it was supposed to, and I found no reason to modify anything. With a 3s 3200mah lipo, I hit the prescribed CG with no need to add lead anywhere. Big kudos to Pilot 1 for this kit (equal in quality to their 1/8th-scale Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, which I built as a glow conversion a couple of years ago).

The real pleasant surprise was with my first outing to the flying field today. The conditions were not optimal, to say the least, with switchy winds up to 15kts and light sprinkles, but good enough for the Stinson. It lifted off the runway as smooth as silk, and climbed out spiritedly to a good trimming altitude. A few clicks of trim here and there and it was on its way. I did some rolls and loops and spins and stuff, and immediately felt completely comfortable with it. My first landing, in a slight crosswind, was smooth and solid, with a fairly straight rollout.

Subsequent flights revealed a couple of weak points. I kinda slammed it down on one landing, when the lift dropped out from under me on approach in the windy conditions, and the right gear leg got bent. I bent it back, and flew some more, but it's obvious that the gear legs are chrome-plated peanut butter and will not hold up over time. I may have to add some cross-bracing in the future, we'll see. Also the wing strut broke loose at the lower attach, where the 'hingeline' is. I had to take it home and stitch it up with nylon fishing line.

Other that those little nigglies, it is a really nice scale ARF, and I'm looking forward to lots of good flying with it.

E-RC BL20 outrunner (21amps, 220 watts)
3s 11.1v 3200mah lipo
E-flite 40a ESC
APC 10x7E prop
48oz AUW

[EDIT 4/10/13-- made new gear legs out of harder aluminum. Problem solved!]
Posted by dgliderguy | Jun 08, 2012 @ 02:37 AM | 9,733 Views
Made a trip out to the MOF with my family today. It's been awhile, and I had forgotten how much cool stuff there is to see. If I were alone, I would have spent hours poring over all the neat reading material under each aircraft. You can't see it all--- not enough time in one day.

Man, I love air museums! And we are lucky here in Seattle to have such a fine one right here in our own backyard....Continue Reading
Posted by dgliderguy | May 21, 2012 @ 02:56 PM | 9,285 Views
Beautiful day yesterday for horsing around with my Monocoupe. The SPE26 is running strong, and the M'coupe is ripping up the sky as sprightly as ever. Fun toy.