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BAF23's blog
Posted by BAF23 | Dec 07, 2014 @ 03:18 PM | 2,072 Views
When I started flying indoor during the winter of 2013 I had no envy to buy the traditional aerobatic generic Depron models that are so popular. My penchant for scale led me to buy a micro Spitfire from Parkzone. Changing the delivered UK colored model into the Belgian markings MH434 like it flew during summer 1991, added much more weight and caused the minimum airspeed to increase so much that it became difficult to fly in our limited dimension sports hall, its small size also made it difficult for me to estimate its real distance from the walls. An internet search for a more suitable model made me search for a larger biplane. It thus became the E-flite Nieuport 17 which I ever dreamed of building as a full-size replica and for which I ordered the Redfern plans in 1983. I never realized that dream (due to the lack of suitable engine at a reasonable price) but decided to at least fly a model of it in my chosen finish of a Nieuport 23 flown by the famous pilot Edmond Thieffry during the first world war. Removal of the colors and decorations on the original model caused so much damage that I had to use too much filler on the tail, necessitating additional weight in the nose, and the additional paint coats and decorations didn’t help keep the weight down.
Nieuport 23-2
Being a rudder-only model, it didn’t turn well despite the much increased dihedral. Rolling out of even moderate turns required much anticipation, and I also experimented with different incident...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Nov 07, 2014 @ 06:06 AM | 4,423 Views
When a wing of my ¼ scale Multiplex Ka6e structurally failed just after releasing from too fast a tow during an event in Wey (Germany) during spring 2014, my scale marvel came down vertically from 400meter and was only good for the scrapheap. Either I had to build another model, but that would leave me without large-glider scale-weekends during summer, or I had to buy a ready-to-fly secondhand scale model. I opted for the latter, and after missing a 5m Lunak by a matter of hours (sold by a German to another Belgian), I choose for a rarely used ¼ scale Heiko Baumgärtner Blanik that had been for sale for a while in Switzerland, but not advertised much on popular web places. After a few mails with the seller, I borrowed my dad’s new station wagon, and left early for a 1400km non-stop up and down trip (in one day) to pick it up. I found his house just after noon of the third of July, and after a coffee and chat whilst I ate my sandwiches, we went to the garage where he assembled the Blanik for me. Although similar in wingspan to my Ka6e, it looked twice as big, and was highly detailed and in superb condition.

The Swiss owner demonstrated me that everything worked, and just a look at his garage convinced me that with such a meticulous workplace, the glider must have been assembled with the precision of a Swiss watch. We dismantled the model and stowed it in the back of my car, I paid him close to 1000 euro, and set course North...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Oct 07, 2014 @ 06:09 PM | 3,491 Views
After tasting slope-gliding in Henri Chapelle, a common name for about 6 different slopes (each with own orientation) in the extreme north-east of Belgium, I found this an interesting alternative for regular little wind R/C flying. As soon as the wind force increases to 3 Beaufort, flying with scale models out of a fixed orientation hard runway becomes problematic. On windy days, slope glider-flying becomes a better option, but the glider models I had were either too light (foamies) or too heavy ( 4m+ scale gliders). I therefore started looking for 2-3 meter second hand gliders with solid wings and sufficient weight to be steady against the pulsing slope-winds, and capable to resist the harsh of multiple landings on the unprepared surfaces along tilted slopes. Autumn 2014 I saw an advertisement of a 175cm-span glider with plastic fuselage and Abachi surfaces. I still don’t know what brand it is or its model name , but it fulfilled my desires as a slope trainer. With a Breitling sticker applied on the wing center section, I’ll refer to it with that name as from now.

Further inquiry revealed that the person selling it had only flown it about ten times in the years he owned it. He was a club member who sold his stuff because he now concentrated on U-control flying. He had bought the model from another club member who remembers it to be a very good model which he had bought second hand from … etc. They all reported it flew well, but lost interest and therefore sold it. With...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Oct 06, 2014 @ 06:44 PM | 4,133 Views
For reasons I still am unable to pinpoint or identify, the B25 Mitchel bomber has always been an absolute favorite of mine. After becoming proficient in R/C flying in the mid-seventies, I ordered the then nec-plus-ultra Royal B25 kit and 2 K&B40 engines. Unfortunately a partner and building a house caused me to sell it before I even started assembling it. Just before the turn of the centuries I had the incredible luck of captaining the real B25 N320SQ during a display season. A decade after I quit real flying, I resumed R/C and it didn’t take long for me to acquire a couple of FMS foamie 1m40 B25 Mitchels, which I painted as Lotys II and Sarinah, the two schemes I flew. After finding out the correct mix between throttle and elevator, I happily flew them for 3 years because they were practicable, stable and forgiving, even in moderate winds.

Here is an onboard video of the model flying the identical display as I flew it with the real B25 of the DBAF anno 2000.
B25 routine 010814 (6 min 37 sec)

All that time I was dreaming of a larger size B25 model, but it had to be electrically powered and affordable, and preferably second hand with electric retracts. New ones were unavailable because the Hangar 9 ceased production of it. During the summer of 2014 I saw a Hangar 9 model advertised in almost new condition for a more than reasonable price. After a few weeks of bidding, I got it and collected it at the second owner’s place. Seeing his other models I...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Oct 05, 2014 @ 03:21 PM | 4,477 Views
Bought as an end of series during a sale at Schweighofer (for a mere 109 euro), this 2m ARF motorglider seemed to be too good to be true. It filled a void in my collection, either for hang gliding with just too little unsteady wind, or gliding at our field when no towship was available. The Hype foam DG1001M comes equipped with a retractable top engine, with the benefit of keeping the glider fully clean when retracted, but allowing the comfort of climbing back out of the valley if unsuccessful with the hang along the ridge. While this is not the only motorglider in its category, it is one of the rare ones that comes with an optional scale wheel, and in combination with the retractable engine, allows scale like takeoffs from the ground without using a trolley or hand launching. The wheel is mounted externally between a clever system of open gear doors, and is affixed by two screws in lieu of a cooling grille for the ESC. Swapping between both is a matter of seconds, and allows me to fly with the wheel on our hard runway, or with the flat bottom on the slopes.

After unpacking I noticed that although the model was very nice and required but a few minutes of assembly, there were too many protruding rests of demoulding on the bottom of the t-tail and wings, gaps of reinforcement carbon rods that had not been filled flush, and the bottom wing insert (for the servo cables etc) extended out more than a millimeter over almost the complete width of the wing, both close to the...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Apr 24, 2014 @ 08:03 AM | 5,701 Views

Model as advertised and bought second-hand in April 2014

A week after getting a secondhand rare 30 year old WIK Twin Astir II glider, I stumbled on an advertisement for a quarter-scale Flair Ka8, fully assembled with servo’s and towhook, and advertised as “in good condition”. It was expensive, but a few hours after a half price bid I jokingly made, I got a mail that I could come and collect it. A few hours later, after having flown my Parkzone 2m25 Ka8b foamy to regain currency after the winter, I arrived at the seller’s home and spotted the assembled burgundy Ka8b in his open garage. It was love at first sight, the shape of that Ka8 nose was exactly scale, as was the front skid and the rear rubber skid. The wing had spoilers that extended on top and below the wing, as on the real glider. This model was still of traditional build, made of no less than 600 balsa parts (Flair manual predicts 400 assembly hours), and covered with fabric. Negative points were an atrocious outside towhook, a very roughly applied paintjob, and numerous “patchwork” repairs with inconsistent materials and colors all over the model.

I had been lounging for a nice Ka8b but was not happy with the looks of the 3m seagull nose, the lack of spoilers on the Phoenix 3,5m and 6m models, and none of them being in the practical (for size and detail) ¼ scale. I heard about the Flair model but knew they stopped production around 2008, and so far not many ended-up for sale in good condition within driving...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Apr 06, 2014 @ 10:37 AM | 6,328 Views
A few weeks after the last post concerning my unrestored Multiplex Ka6e adjustment flights (with the pictures of the windhose mishap to the real glider), I got in touch with the photographer and the owner of the glider at the time of that mishap (2010). I got a good selection of more detailed pictures and was surprised about the extent of the damage. The detailed cockpit interior pictures proved an invaluable source of necessary data, and I also got the word the glider is lingering around “as is” in a hangar at St Hubert airfield, in the hands of a well-known Belgian restorer with no progress having been made at the end of 2013.

Mid October I decided to ground my secondhand model after a total of 10 adjustment flights so I could start the restoration. After elaborated searches I had obtained pieces of yellow vinyl, fire-orange and cub-yellow Oracover, which all seemed to match the original colors rather well. The owner of the real Ka6e running a van modification shop, just mixed colors till they looked good, but didn’t take notes so getting them off the shelf with RAL numbers was not an option. Oracover also exists in the so called “scale” variety, which is completely opaque, but the catalogue warns this was obtained by a thin layer of aluminum which incidentally also tends to block RF signals towards internally mounted antennas.

I first experimented with the Oracover and vinyl to see how opaque these would be, and how much they stretched or could be shrunk to...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Sep 23, 2013 @ 06:06 PM | 8,292 Views
While initially for sentimental reasons I was tempted to buy a new 3m multiplex anniversary limited edition Ka8b or 3,5m Phoenix Ka8b, our club secretary gave me a hint about a second hand Multiplex Ka6E on the internet. It had been advertised for 9 months and although 2 serious bids had been placed the model still was available. A club member knew the seller and apparently it was an older honest guy who was selling his R/C stuff because he lately spent more time flying real gliders. I felt obliged to help him deliver that 9 month pregnancy and got in touch. Here is the picture of the advertisement on a popular Belgian second hand trade site.

We soon exchanged data and within 24 hours I drove to his place. When I arrived I saw he lived in a small house, which probably was the reason at the rendezvous time he was standing next to the fully assembled Ka6E on his front lawn. He still had his receiver and battery in and after I had the chance to check the proper operation of the 3 old slow “Simprop electronic contest” fuselage servo's and 3 recent faster hidden wing servo's (no clue about the brand or type), we concluded a deal and he removed his receiver and battery. He pointed out all non-standard things like a different but sturdy wing joiner, and the old but simple Multiplex tow hook release, after which I drove home without information booklet nor CG position (except it apparently flew fine with just NiMh batteries in the nose). I'm satisfied of the...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Aug 09, 2013 @ 05:59 PM | 9,565 Views
After reading and seeing some posts about finished Boeing 737 models from Windrider, I decided even if it didn’t fit exactly in my collection (I never was an airline buff), I had to have that model and finish it in some Belgian colors. I kind of liked the winglets and being a -700 I opted for a model of the well documented OO-JAR of the Belgian tour operator Jetair in its delivery configuration. Here you see a picture of the aircraft landing back at the Seattle Boeing factory after its maiden flight. Being christened with the Enjoy name on its nose seemed appropriate for an RC airliner.

I purchased the model “all in” during a sale of the Austrian dealer Lindinger, it was cheaper as the glider version! but from the start I discarded the engines, ECS’s, fans and retract system because I wanted more robust units. The RC group pages about that model contained valuable information which I thoroughly analyzed during months before deciding the configuration and modifications to my model. Getting all the necessary parts and trims also took months because most had to be imported from China, USA and various European suppliers. My choice felt on 5S fed HK2155-2100 engines powering CS10 fans with aluminum nosecone through 80A ESC’s. Gears had to be metal trunion 4mm hardened shaft with scale wheels on dampened springs, geardoors on all 3 legs and single slotted Fowler flaps. Realistic sequenced lightning set all around the vinyl covered airframe with...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jul 27, 2013 @ 01:51 PM | 7,905 Views
Not feeling much confident to maiden my heavy 3,7kg highly modified one, I bought a second hand stock 2,7kg V1 Trojan via internet. Although it had flown about 40 times from a grass field, that model was unscratched except for glued together broken main geardoor. The previous owner had kept it stock except for a reinforced nosegear and installation of a quality 60Amp ESC, and the addition of some weight in the tail. As we used the same batteries, and his Spectrum AR600 remained in the airframe, I couldn’t come any closer to a bind and fly model for a reasonable price, and according to his experiences, the CG was ok with the 4S4000 battery fully at the back of the tray. That Navy aircraft looked much more attractive as a stock one, due to detailed realistic weathering painstakingly applied by the previous owner.

Closer analysis back home revealed the flaps could be bent up slightly under high load factors, only being limited by the servo being stressed. I had encountered that phenomena in a previous FMS P51 and that had led to uncommanded roll inputs during loops or steep turns, and pullout of dives. On the mustang I corrected that with just two small almost invisible strips of carbon where the flaps met the fuselage, resulting in a kind of mechanical uplock point. On my training T28 I choose another solution, and just epoxied small scrap plates of hardwood resting against recesses cutout in the wing blend part of the fuselage. I later painted that white, together...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jul 18, 2013 @ 01:53 PM | 8,988 Views
On the 13th of October 1969 when I got towed the by a Stampe SV4, for unknown reasons the cable snapped at the towship side about 100ft high. I released the remaining cable and landed with full spoilers after a sidestep onto the hard runway, just short of the field end. My logbook shows it was with PL54 and I flew the same airframe a month later during my precision landing tests to obtain my glider pilot license. PL54 also had extra orange colored ailerons so the choice as a model was a no brainer.

Picture of the real Ka8 around the turn of the century at Weelde airfield

The 3,5m span Phoenix model was tempting but maybe too big a step so when Parkzone announced the release of their 2m25 foamy I ordered one at my LHS. It is a very nice ARF kit that will satisfy most flyers as coming out of the box. After analyzing the contents I quickly made up my mind about some changes. Luckily only the nose and tail had been factory painted, the rest of the lines and wingtips were adhesives which could be carefully removed. The z-foam fuselage has been factory coated and care must be taken during the peel off of the adhesives because it is easy to tear complete little foam balls out of their pressings. The wing leading edges needed sanding to get rid of unaerodynamic mold lines, and I didn’t like the mold stars sticking out all over the wings, the many mold hole openings on the bottom where the spars and other reinforcements were, the tape over the too deeply pushed aileron...Continue Reading
Sticky: Stampe SV4b
Posted by BAF23 | Jun 03, 2013 @ 05:17 AM | 9,092 Views
Since I had my first real aircraft ride during an open door in 1967, as passenger in a Belgian Air Force primary trainer Stampe and Vertongen SV4bis tail number V41, I had a strong penchant for that charismatic biplane. In 1972 those trainers were obsolete and got replaced by sleekly SF260M Marchetti trainers, and most were acquired by civilians. In 1982 V41 flew occasionally from the civilian airfield I used during weekends. It remained completely original except for sporting an additional civilian registration OO-LUK. I flew it many times over the years, and lately (2013) is in the hands of a former air force colleague pilot, having been restored to its former glory and being kept immaculate.

No wonder I wanted to have a model of it, but unfortunately the few kits on the market were either too large or out of production (Svenson), and all were for heavy petrol engines. In 2011 a fellow club member bought a second hand Stampe on the internet. It had a two stroke engine that had soaked the front, was missing struts and parts of wing covering, and most essential fittings were either unglued or poorly repaired (after a crash?). The landing gear obviously had absorbed serious hits and was pointing anywhere but straight. The cockpit and interior had the looks of a battered toy. But I wanted it so much I was able to persuade the new owner to electrify it, produce the missing bits and selling it to me so I could further finish it to my desires. It wasn’t cheap, but getting a...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | May 21, 2013 @ 04:47 PM | 8,052 Views
As you might have read on my modeler history dedicated (and now illustrated) blog page the number of models exploded in recent years. Living in a 100 square meter apartment and driving the smallest Mercedes (A-Klasse) required ingenuity to combine space available and my rediscovered hobby.

Unwilling to permanently sacrifice the cozy and neutral aspect of my living space, during spring 2011 I opted to change the guestroom into a hobby room. The bed went to my parents and I bought a strong but folding 185x75cm worktable to fill one wall. The other long wall being already completely filled by pullout clothing and shoe racks, and one short side being a front window, the other the hall door, only left 4m60 by 2m20 to build and stock my model aircraft collection. Between the table and window I was able to securely fasten a shelf rail construction from the top to the bottom of the room, using adjustable and different length arms to support a variety of aircraft on a minimal space. The rest of that wall still had a wide wooden plank on which I could hang other models.

As usual build tables quickly fill up, especially when working on relatively long models as the Lander Hawker Hunter. And that was before I permanently established the left side of the table to a vertical drilling station, a Dremel with accessories, separate electrical and butane gas solder stations, lightened magnifying glass, mini table saw, and other...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | May 12, 2013 @ 03:54 PM | 10,986 Views
Experiences with Orange RX3 flight stabilizers (V1 and V2)

After reading the RC group thread in 2012 I ordered 3 stabilizers before V2 came on the market. As you might be aware of through my other blog pages on this forum, I mostly fly enhanced foam scale models which are often critical under anything but very smooth calm air. Those systems had been intended to test on my Funcub, and install in an FMS Spitfire and Art-Tech T6 Texan. A few weeks later, winter came, I got a good bid for my Funcub, and the Version 2 stabilizers became available. Whilst the V1 is always active and sensitive to adjust, V2 can be switched on or off in the air and is less sensitive to adjust.

I quickly decided to mount a V2 in the vast accessible bay of the 1400mm FMS P51 to check the system.

Spring 1013 I took her in the air and assigned switch G (for Gyro) on my Specrtrum DX10t to enable the operation at altitude. I choose that knob because it was far enough from my other controls not to be actuated by accident, yet easily recognizable by feel for actuation with my left hand. I fly mode 2 so wanted my right hand on elevator and aileron during the switch, with my left hand on the G switch ready to disconnect the system in a fraction of a second if things got out of hand. System setup had been straightforward after reading the RC thread experiences of others, but final adjustments were more delicate as anticipated.

After trimming out...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 25, 2013 @ 10:55 AM | 8,932 Views
FMS Stearman PT17

Having had the chance to give airrides during a couple of years in the 3 different 220hp Antwerp based Stearmans at the end of previous century, I wanted to fly this charismatic icon in model form as well.

The existing rather expensive wooden E-flite model often got criticized for having bad flying qualities, but when FMS commercialized it as a foam 1 meter span ARF, I jumped at the occasion and soon started to cosmetically change the kit appearance to conform to one of the aircraft I had flown. After opening the box and spreading everything on the table it became clear this model had all the good foundations to further detailing it into a charming little flyer.

I was glad to see FMS finally inserted an extensive spare parts list in the manual, but later orders I placed for reserve spinner shaft etc, took more than half a year to get delivered through the Belgian FMS representative, and wore another number (for common use with 5 other models). That is the reason why when I purchase any kit, I immediately order propblades , propholder, motor shaft and spinner. This is especially important with taildraggers because chances are high it will ever tip over causing damage to the drive train, and then waiting half a year for a part or discovering it cannot be obtained anymore is not what I like. With only a small serial number decal on the nose it became easy to turn that model over to 309, the British registered G-IIIG still operated from Belgium....Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 24, 2013 @ 11:24 AM | 10,731 Views
Model collection chronology

I made this page to show how I progressed from early age till present in model aviation. For past models the words are final, for current and future models amendments and complements will be added as the situation evolves.
Latest published updates:
25/1/2013 : inserted links in text to dedicated build logs where available
21/5/2013 : inserted appropriate pictures to the text portions
23/7/2013 : added new end after changes in the fleet
11/9/2013 : added video movies of B25, Spitfire and F16 flights
31/7/2013: added winter 2013-2014 message
31/7/2014: added summer 2014 message

It all started early sixties when my dad offered me 0,8cm3 Cox powered plastic Curtiss Helldiver. With neither of us knowing how to fly, and his perseverance of self-teaching on an abandoned parking lot, led to many short hops all terminating in catastrophe. I hardly had the occasion to try the handle on this control line aircraft, but it triggered an interest in aviation and model flying, that would never disappear throughout the rest of my life.

There was a model club at our school and I joined them. That’s how I learned to fly on the schoolgrounds (with the permission of the director), and build balsa wood models in a hobby room in the school cellar. With the little money we had purchasing kits was more of an exception, and we often copied designs we saw pictures of in catalogues. Quality of build was very poor, and repairs rudimental, but getting those things...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 22, 2013 @ 05:34 AM | 9,515 Views
Multiplex Funcub

Summer 2010 while attending the annual Pampa Model Flyer jet show I stumbled along a German vendor who sold an infrared coax helicopter for a mere 25 euro. Back home flying it around the kitchen and living room it bought back memories from the seventies when I sold all my rc airplanes to invest in a house. After a week I realized the shortcomings of that heli and ordered a Nine Eagles solo pro, with proper tail rotor, more challenging to fly but more rewarding. A month later I discovered an rc club in my town, became member and told them I wanted to pick up my old hobby. The club president sold me his used Graupner electro junior powered glider modified with flaps, but after just a couple of flights I got the hang of it and decided I wanted a real aircraft again to practice takeoff and landings instead of hand launches. My choice felt on the Multiplex Funcub, a design sufficiently benign to pardon my beginners mistakes, but with ailerons and flaps offering me a range of flight maneuvers from basic till aerobatic, with precision landing capabilities as a bonus. I also felt a strong connection with the Cub, having spent many hours instructing in a local aeroblub’s aircraft during the seventies. My choice of colors was rapidly made.

At that time the Multiplex Funcub could only be bought as a kit, and I was seriously surprised the basic aircraft price tripled with the purchase of (quality) servo’s and a Multiplex power set (consisting in an extremely...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 20, 2013 @ 05:53 PM | 8,562 Views
Lander Hawker Hunter 68mm EDF

During a sale by the Austrian Schweighofer dealer I purchased an attractive 1/12th scale (86cm span) Hawker Hunter model produced by Lander. This well finished foam model was a kit without electronics (no servo’s either) but with an excellent a 68mm Lander aluminum alloy fan EDF with a 3575kv engine turning at 48000rpm. The kit included mechanical metal retracts, each needing a dedicated servo. Split wing flaps were already cut out in the wing. I thought this EDF would be an ideal continuation after having flown a hand launched nano Robbe F86 Sabre, and a fixed gear 80mm Robbe F16 EDF. I choose for the red and white version because of its good visibility, plus the fact I had a ride in two-seater XL600 during the mid eighties. I certainly plan to convert this model with the side by side wider nose and cockpit after getting the hang of it. The fact the particular aircraft I flew is still very active in the airshow circuit as G-VETA (some jokingly refer to it as Very Expensive Toy Aircraft) in a black and gold livery is a tribute to its sturdiness. When I got my ride it sported this attractive color sheme and operated from Laarbruch (RAFG) in support of 15sqn (flying Blackburn Buccaneers).

The airplane required the purchase of a staggering 9 servo’s. Elevator, rudder, two ailerons, two flaps, 3 landing gear retracts. Because of that I choose a 70Amp Red Brick ESC on a 4S battery for the engine, and a separate BEC with dedicated...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 20, 2013 @ 03:11 AM | 8,359 Views
Part 1: fundamental cosmetic changes

Summer 2012 a stock reduction took place at the Austrian Schweichofer dealer and an FMS 140mm PNP T28 for less than 200 Euro Lipo included, was irresistible to me. An attractive full size T28 had been teasing my mind this season by operating during the weekends less than 100ft from our r/c club parking. Because I had in mind to decorate my model as the real one I choose to order the white navy version, figuring it would be the easiest one to adapt.

When the box arrived it looked like it had been exposed to the sun for too long, a wing was more yellowish as white, and the cockpit interior looked very faded. Everything was still packed in the original plastic and the box carton sealed as usual. I just could make up that this kit was an early production and had been stocked for a long time. Even not exposed to sunlight the foam and decoration just faded by age. I took everything out and assembled it in my garden for pictures of the standard original product. It was obvious the cockpit was a disaster. It didn’t fit well and protruded above the front fuselage. The interior was anything but representative of the real thing, both in shape as for decoration, and the dashboard stickers with 10 times landing mentioned on the checklist placards were just too gross to stay in there.

I had seen many T28 models fly in the various stock deliveries and knew it was a honest stable flier. I thus started reading the RCGroups thread concerning this (...Continue Reading