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Posted by DuPageJoe | Aug 08, 2016 @ 05:03 PM | 918 Views
I flew in the Free Flight contest run by the Bong Eagles at the Richard I. Bong Recreation Area in Wisconsin yesterday. Conditions were particularly good. The promised rain squall off Lake Michigan didn't even deliver dark clouds until 3 PM. Temperature was in the low 80's and thermals were abundant.

There were 3 entries in FAC Scale. I flew my Cessna 140 from the Dare kit. I had taken some warps out of the elevator, so I had to spend some time readjusting the thrust line. Finally got a fairly nice but short 22 second flight. A Fairchild 24 did somewhat better.

There were quite a few entries in P-30. Mostly I flew my old faithful Peck One Night 28 that I'd adapted to P-30. I was trying to get more turn, but had trouble with launch until I took out most of the modifications. Then I got a great booming launch that ended up going for the clouds. Once it stopped climbing and drifting down wind, it made a wide right circle to a 71 second landing. I'd only put in less than 900 turns, since I wasn't sure of the flight pattern. By then the squall was coming toward the field.

I also made some test flights with a BMJR Kiwi P-30. This version had parts that spent a week in a tree at a local park after an over zealous test flight. Now that its recovered, it flies OK. Needed to make minor changes in the wing saddle position to level out the glide. The version shown in the picture is the one that went OOS in 2014.

Hoping to get to Muncie for the Cloudbusters FAC contest in September.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Mar 23, 2016 @ 06:59 PM | 1,841 Views
I drove to McCook, Illinois, to fly at the McCook Athletic and Exposition Center (MAX) in a fairly industrial area of Cook County south of the Brookfield Zoo. I took my 28 inch wing span Gym Stick (shown in the picture) for its maiden flight. Details of my build are on Gene Bond’s “Gym-Blu Stick” thread in the Foamies (Scratchbuilt) Forum:

McCook is an industrial village in south western Cook County, south of Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. The MAX has a string of indoor soccer fields side by side with about 30 feet of ceiling height. It is open for indoor flying about 6 hours a week. Half of yesterday’s session was on one of the fields, but the next field was opened for the second half, giving everyone room to fly. The floor at the MAX is covered with AstroTurf. This plastic carpet has "blades" about an inch high. I had set my transmitter so the motor would draw no more than 3 amps with the GWS HD 5X3 prop, so I was a bit concerned about take off power. I did fairly well that way. Once I had accelerated the Gym Stick to jogging speed on the carpet, I used elevator to lift it off. I had to wag the rudder to keep tracking straight on the stuff, but I did succeed eventually to get it in the air.

I had to make some adjustments for lateral balance to help rudder control. I was still having trouble getting 3 mistakes high, so finally I made a more drastic mistake and got a cartwheel on the carpet. I was...Continue Reading
Posted by DuPageJoe | Jan 29, 2016 @ 11:52 AM | 2,261 Views
I attended the first meeting of the year of S.O.A.R. , the Chicago model sailplane club, last evening. Besides setting up events for the coming year, a lot of attention was given to the team going to the World Championship in F3J thermal soaring run by the FAI in Slovenia this summer. One of the Junior team members, as well as a Senior alternate, comes from the same family of S.O.A.R. members. There is a team website at and the team was featured in the RC Soaring column in January's Model Aviation magazine.

The club has a new website which will be a great way to keep up with club activities. The club's sod farm field has attracted some new members interested in electric launched soaring, which is a rapidly growing part of the soaring hobby. There is good participation in the winch and bungey cord launched planes as well. Newer light planes in those categories still fly well in the thermals that rise over Illinois farmland.

I have a foam 2 meter wingspan sailplane nearly ready to fly and a couple of electric pushers ready to go, so I'm looking forward to a good summer at the field.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Dec 09, 2015 @ 08:40 PM | 2,554 Views
This Sunday I took my Avro Vulcan model to the Propmasters' field in Naperville, IL, for its maiden flight. It was built from Adams' Readi-board, AKA "Dollar Tree" foam, from plans published in Model Aviation by Larry Kruse. I published the build log in the Foamies(Scratchbuilt) Forum. Temperature was 45 degrees F, but winds were light.

The Vulcan flew well, but I had difficulty with the motor so I only made one flight.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Nov 08, 2015 @ 03:25 PM | 3,433 Views
It's Fall again, and the Woodland Aeromodelers are flying in the gym in Burr Ridge, Illinois. All the planes that flew this last Thursday were rubber band powered free flight ones. I brought the Wright Stuff rules plane I was trying out at Rantoul, and got a flight of over 2 minutes, after I had made sure the wing incidence was no more than 3 mm. It didn't take much more than that for a slow, draggy flight, with the nose bobbing up and down. I used the Ikara 225 mm prop and a 14 inch loop of 3/32 Tan rubber weighing about 1.8 grams, At 11 25 turns, I was hitting the ceiling. Too bad I hadn't gotten that sort of climb at Rantoul.

I also flew both the Dayton Wright Racer and Aeronca Champ No-Cals. I put some right thrust into the nose block and tightened the right turn, maybe a little too much. I had repaired a broken strut in the Champ, and got it flying again. I also made a few tune up flights with my indoor Delta Dart using a short 3/32 loop of Tan.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Oct 25, 2015 @ 05:35 PM | 2,849 Views
I finally flew the Hobby Zone Duet I got at a swap meet. It had been repaired, but the previous owner did a good job. Winds were supposed to be light today (for Chicago) so I gave it a try. This is a twin with differential thrust doing the steering. I was able to get altitude and adjust it with throttle alone. I flew at the weedy edge of the DuPage County field at Stearns Road. The Prairie plants were about 3 feet high, I made the first flight to about 15 feet up and got a couple of circles after hand launching at 3/4 throttle on the RTF transmitter. After I throttled back at the edge of the weeds, it landed, or rather hung up, just fine. The next time I gave it more throttle and got up to about 50 feet but the wind was close to 5 mph and started to take control. I got it turned back toward the field and slowed it down to drop into the weeds again. The wind sock was lifting a bit, so no use putting in another battery. If it weren't such a busy Sunday at the Field I could have gone out to the center, and had all the room I wanted. The Duet flew level at altitude, and I never touched the elevator, Flew like a well adjusted free flight. Just needs a little trim to turn it.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Oct 20, 2015 @ 04:42 PM | 3,540 Views
Many thanks to Mike and Jeff of the Bong Eagles for setting up an indoor free flight flying session at Rantoul IL last Saturday. There were 10 registered flyers, nearly all, except me, with NATS rated skills. The Hangar at the former Chanute AFB has a ceiling over 40-feet high and quite a large floor. It was a bit cool in the AM, since there had been a frost outside the night before, but sun shine warmed it fast. I had little trouble with the few ceiling obstructions, some sprinkler pipes and lights within a foot or so of the flat ceiling. Only my Dayton-Wright Racer No-Cal, from Mike Welshans' plans, would go that high. I saw a lot of good flying from the other folks with F1L's and the like scraping the ceiling for what looked to me like long flights. I’ve attached two pictures of other fliers’ planes which give a good view of the ceiling. The 140 mile ride from Wheaton, IL, for me was worth it.

My main reason to go to Rantoul was to fly my 2015 Science Olympiad Wright Stuff plane in a Category II site with a ceiling height of over 40 feet. I started with the 238 mm diameter prop I made with plastic Deli tub blades, but I had trouble getting enough torque for climb out of a loop of 3/32 inch rubber. At 1500 turns I got only a few feet of climb and a 43 second fairly level flight with lots of winds left. Boosting turns to 1600, about 100 turns per inch of loop, increased the time to 93 seconds with a bit more climb. Adding more turns made the motor...Continue Reading
Posted by DuPageJoe | Sep 28, 2015 @ 09:10 PM | 3,092 Views
I passed by my modified Guillow's Strato Streak in the basement and remembered I hadn't made a post when I flew it last year. I used Bill Warner's " Hey Kid" series in Model Builder to make the modifications.

I had posted the results in a Sleak Streak thread

Wingspan is 16.5 inches and airframe weight is 18 grams, Wing area is 41 sq inches, so wing loading is a bit heavier than for a good F.A.C. Embryo rules plane. Best time so far has been 29 seconds for 600 turns in motor made up of 4 strands of 3/32 inch super sport rubber to 11 inches loop length. The motor weight is 2.7 grams, about 13% of the takeoff weight.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Aug 11, 2015 @ 07:50 PM | 3,601 Views
Enjoyed another Free Flight meet with the Bong Eagles at the MAJ Richard Bong Recreation area in Wisconsin this past Sunday despite a shower about noon just as I was getting ready to wind my Cessna 140. The high light of the afternoon for me was the P-30 contest. I flew my modified Peck One Nite 28. Winds were light, and I got in three flights after the shower, each over a minute, and fairly easily recovered. After the last one, I walked past the plane which was stuck vertically in a patch of prairie wildflowers, but I spotted it on the way back. I made one test flight with the Cessna after the grass dried a bit. I increased motor length but needed to add a little nose clay to bring it back in trim. No other scale contestants stayed after the shower.

There were 10 registered pilots, most of whom brought P-30 planes.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Jul 13, 2015 @ 12:20 PM | 3,319 Views
It was a great day to fly free flight planes at the MAJ Richard Bong Recreation Area in Wisconsin yesterday. The Bong Eagles had a dozen registered pilots for their Old Timer Meet and a few spectators, besides the swarm of dog owners who showed up for retriever trials in the same parking lot. Winding while a curious Labrador noses over your flight box was a new experience for me.

Thermals were booming. A catapult glider made a flight of over two minutes. Winds were fairly light, recorded at 6 mph or less at the nearby airport, and temperatures were moderate, despite possible thunderstorms.

I brought out the Comet Phantom Fury with a new forward section of the fuselage, built with 3/32 square balsa instead of 1/16 square. Last year I couldn't get it to climb, and same thing happened on the first attempt. So I added a shim under the wing spar, and it took off OK. The 6 stand X 1/8 inch tan motor was fairly short at 6.8 grams. With 630 turns I got a 25 second flight. Altitude was OK but glide was poor, so the flight was not much longer than the motor run. I'll try adding a rubber band keeper to the nose block that might allow the prop to free wheel. It was still a lot more fun to fly than when it wouldn't climb.

The light winds made a good opportunity to get my Cessna 140 from a Dare Kit (about 26 inches span) out of the box. It's now flown at meets sponsored by 3 Midwestern clubs. The best flight lasted 55 seconds with a nice, level cruise at about 100 feet. I was advised to add more down thrust to tame the launch at higher turns , and it helped. I put about 950 turns in the 4 strand by 1/8 tan motor weighing 5 grams, The Cessna is a good consistent flyer. Now if I could make my launches a bit more consistent I could break a minute.

Hop the weather is as good for the next Bong Eagles meet on August 9. See their website for details.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Mar 30, 2015 @ 12:51 PM | 4,028 Views
I enjoyed this Spring's Indoor Free Flight meet that the Bong Eagles held at Racine on 3/22. I flew the Dayton-Wright No-Cal in my last post to a Third place with a 83 second flight. A Brewster Buffalo was First with 121 seconds, and a Chambermaid came in second at 91 seconds. I had some trouble with consistency because of bending in the prop bearing support. When it was adjusted right, the Dayton-Wright climbed to a nice wide circle about 30 feet above the floor. I used a 15 inch loop, about 2 grams, of 3/32 rubber to turn the Peck 7 inch prop. I put in about 1400 turns to get climb.

I got a second place in the Mass Launch contest for my Phantom Flash, staying in for three rounds. Rubber was provided, and this time was a little lighter than for past Eagles' contests, about 1.4 grams for a 14 inch loop instead of 1.7 grams as in the past. I needed to put in about 1800 turns to get good climb with this rubber, but when I did, I got an 83 second flight, My Phantom Flash was from the Peck kit and has a 6 inch Peck plastic prop,

While the new rubber seemed right for the Phantom Flash, I wasn't as lucky with the Double Whammy in the Cash Bash contest, getting eliminated after a 48 second flight with 1800 turns in the same sized motor. The Double Whammy has a Delta Dart prop.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Mar 17, 2015 @ 06:49 PM | 4,484 Views
I recently posted pictures of a No-Cal indoor free flight plane, a Dayton-Wright Racer, built according to Mike Welshans' plan posted in the Flying Aces Club Newsletter, in the Free Flight pictures sticky thread.

Last week I tried it out at the Woodland Aeromodellers' weekly Indoor flying session in Burr Ridge, IL. After a little adjusting of the thrust line, I got a nice shallow climb to the 20 foot ceiling. I also needed to add a rudder tab for right turn to keep the flight in the middle of the room. When I put about 1000 turns in the 12 inch loop of 3/32 Tan Sport rubber, I got a flight time of 58 seconds. I couldn't put many more turns in the motor because, at the torque I was using, the Racer was touching the ceiling trusses. The Prop is a 7 inch Peck, which also gave just enough nose weight to balance 2 inches back of the wing leading edge, about 53% of chord. I'm hoping to get a bit longer flights when I take the Dayton-Wright to Memorial Hall in Racine, where the ceiling is 40 feet high.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Jan 23, 2015 @ 10:12 PM | 4,805 Views
This week. I went back to the Woodland Aeromodeler's Indoor flying session in Burr Ridge, IL. for a fun night of flying. I tried out a new rubber powered plane built to the rules for the 2015 Wright Stuff competition for Science Olympiad. I tried out two propeller variations and got flights of 80-90 seconds duration. With a 225 mm Ikara prop, the plane was dancing along the ceiling trusses, even with fairly low starting torque in the 1/8 inch wide rubber motor. I'm putting the results on a Science Olympiad thread.

I brought a Syma X1 small Quadcopter I got for Christmas 2013 out of the closet, because I finally bought a decent Transmitter for it. The Syma X1 uses the FlySky protocol for frequency hopping control on 2.4 GHz. That limits the transmitters available for it. I found a FlySky FS-T6 6 channel transmitter at HobbyPartz that would bind to the X1. It was a lot cheaper than the more advanced transmitters that take a FlySky protocol module, and it came with a receiver besides. I found a thread that described the programming needs for the XI, and an online manual for the Transmitter, and did the binding and programming I needed. The "elevator" stick channel needed reversing so the X1 would go forward.

The handling of the X1 was much improved by the new transmitter. The throttle control made keeping altitude a whole lot easier. Directional control was also a lot smoother. I don't know how to program the "Flip" function, but no great loss, since that looked like a "crash" function.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Nov 17, 2014 @ 08:59 AM | 4,771 Views
I flew at the Bong Eagles' Indoor free flight contest in Racine, WI. yesterday at Memorial Hall, a Class II site with 40 ft ceiling. About a dozen fliers came, despite the 3 inches of snow on the ground at Racine. The "light" people flew before noon. Jeff Annis' mini-stick loitered at the ceiling for an 8 minute flight

I flew in 3 mass launches, starting with the "Cash Bash" for Markos' "Double Whammy". My new one is in the picture. I wound the provided motor to 1500 turns for the second heat to get 78 seconds and Third place among 5 competitors. My Phantom Flash from the Peck kit flew well, reaching the ceiling, but dropped out at 51 seconds, after bad hits with the ceiling and wall broke the motor stick. My Delta Dart had a stable flight, but I shortened the motor by over winding. After retying, I was eliminated in the first round.

I also flew No-Cal scale with my R.D. Hawes' Aeronca Champ, and got flights around 40 seconds on a 9 inch loop of 0.125 inch rubber with about 800 turns. A No Cal Wildcat and an Aeronca Sedan made longer flights

There were a fair number of scale planes, from peanut size and larger. One peanut scale P-51 flew in perfectly steady circuits about 20 feet up.

More pictures should be coming to the Bong Eagles new web site.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Oct 12, 2014 @ 01:55 PM | 4,518 Views
Thanks to the Woodland Aeromodelers, I have an opportunity to fly in a school gym on Thursday evenings. I took advantage the last two Thursdays.

The first Thursday I sorted out some repaired Delta Darts. There were three other fliers with a variety of rubber band powered planes from sort of Penny planes to Peanut Scale.

I built an R.O.G. from Peck parts and my own wing and tail, and flew it lastThursday. It literally jumped from the floor to the ceiling at 450 winds on the fresh rubber so I had to cut back to 375 to avoid hitting the ceiling.

After I went to the Hobby expo in Schaumburg last weekend I stopped at a HobbyTown and picked up an Ares Nano-Micro Stick 75 in British colors. I was also able to fly it last Thursday, mostly using rudder trim and throttle in a semi free flight mode. It took off from the floor and at a little over half throttle it climbed in a spiral. Throttle back to land.

There is a review and flying video of the Ares plane at another thread
Posted by DuPageJoe | Sep 17, 2014 @ 03:00 PM | 4,705 Views
This weekend I tested the modified Prairie Bird at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio, where the Cleveland Free Flight Society was having a contest. The field was large and winds light but unsettled until a lake breeze from Lake Erie started to blow from the north. With about 900 turns in the 4 strand X 3/32 motor, about 14 inches long (3.6 grams), I was getting flights of about 40 seconds long. One flight wound a bit tighter lasted 63 seconds. The climb out from the card table R.O.G. was about 40 degrees and steady to a couple hundred feet. There was no evidence of overspeeding, like barrel rolls. The new 7 inch prop was working out fairly well, but at 24 grams including rubber the Prairie Bird was a bit overweight.

There were about a dozen contestants in Embryo. I didn't expect to place very high, but I enjoyed the flying and as always the hospitality of CFFS.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Sep 07, 2014 @ 05:19 PM | 5,712 Views
I've been flying my Peck Prairie Bird, built to compete in FAC Embryo contests, for some years with the original Peck 6 inch diam. prop. I used 4 strands of 3/32 tan rubber to drive the prop. The motor length has been 48 inches total, made up 12 inches from prop drive hook to rear peg. Since the actual peg to hook length in the plane is 9.5 inches, this motor is a bit shorter than the preferred 1.5 X. Also when I put full torque, by feel, into the motor, the plane seems to go too fast.

When I flew the Prairie Bird in May at the Plum Creek Play Meadow of the Cook County Forest Preserve in May I saw this when I put about 900 turns in the motor. One of the members of the Calumet Escadrille I was flying with suggested I might try a 7 inch prop. I have an Anna Jr. Embryo from BMJR that came with a 7 inch prop, and I've flown it successfully, so I thought I'd try changing props on the Prairie Bird.

Trouble is, when you put on a bigger prop you add nose weight, so you need to rebalance the airplane. The Peck grey plastic 7 inch prop I got from their final sale weighs 1.2 grams more than the 6 inch one and is 4 inches ahead of the CG, so I needed to add a 5 gramXinch moment (pardon the units) back of the CG to counter it. The rear end of the fuselage is 10 inches back of the CG, so if I add clay back there, I'd only need about 0.5 grams to give the opposing moment. To start with, I added a bit of clay that ended up weighing 0.8 grams. So far, the modifications made my Prairie...Continue Reading
Posted by DuPageJoe | Sep 06, 2014 @ 06:32 PM | 5,008 Views
I've finally finished the Peck Nesmith Cougar Peanut. I posted pictures on the "Post your Free Flight pictures" thread.

I was going to try the Cougar at the Plum Creek Playfield in the Cook County Forest Preserves which I visited today. A Calumet Escadrille (FAC North West Indiana Squadron) contest was scheduled for today there, Unfortunately, the wind was too strong out of the North, blowing toward woods at the southern border of the field, so the contest was cancelled.

That play field is almost on the Indiana border, amid cornfields and horse boarding stables, and not typical of the south side of Chicago. Twice I've been there on Saturday when horse trailers pull up to start a trail ride.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Mar 20, 2014 @ 11:25 AM | 6,182 Views
I got a warm welcome from the Bong Eagles on a cold day in Racine, Wisconsin last Sunday. There were about 16 fliers in quite a few more classes than the five I entered. I was down early in the “Cash Bash” mass launch of Markos’ Double Whammy’s, because of a head on mid air collision. I made a 65 second flight later, but three fliers had flights between 90 and 121 seconds with these beginner planes. My Phantom Flash was flying pretty well but was hitting the ceiling, 40 feet up, too much for long times. It flies pretty fast with a 6 inch Peck Prop. I trimmed my Delta Dart for a shorter, lighter motor by removing nose clay, but only got 34 seconds out of 900 turns in the 8 inch loop motor, with no luck in the mass launch. Best Dart flight was nearly 2 minutes.

There were quite a few No-Cal scale planes, including the Dornier Falke and Aeronca Champ I brought, and best times were over 100 seconds a flight for a Taylorcaft and a Wildcat.. My Champ was flying well on a fairly short 8 ˝ inch loop of 1/8 inch Tan Super Sport, making 52 seconds on a flight with 750 turns. The Falke was climbing smoothly to near the ceiling on 1400 turns in a 13 inch loop of 3/32 inch Tan Sport, but times were just under a minute.

There were three Bostonians entered, but none were the light, pancake style. One new Bostonian Beancraft Bonanza (Model Builder July ’86) was entered. It flew pretty well, with flight times just under a minute. I had tried that design, but had trouble...Continue Reading
Posted by DuPageJoe | Feb 25, 2014 @ 07:27 AM | 5,765 Views
I'm finishing another 1.5 meter span pusher for electric powered RC flying. It's called a Dragonfly, and the big difference from my other pushers is ailerons. This should make it more suitable for flying at my club field. The details are in a build log over at Foamies (Kits).

This quest for a nice flying pusher trainer started with the Push Panther I built from a Steelhead Products PS foam kit I built in 2011, It was the last build documented on the Push Panther thread. I covered the foam with colored packing tape. The tail is built up from balsa and covered with Ultracote transparent film.