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Red.Sneakers's blog
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Yesterday @ 01:16 PM | 1,312 Views

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Nimbostratus clouds covered the sky, enabling the pilot to enjoy some long power-off glides. Temp 28.7F (-1.83C), pressure 30.15 & falling, average wind 2mph N, potential gusts up to 16mph ENE, elevation: 612ft. Winter gear, hand warmers & Tx glove secured. Timer set for 4 min 40 seconds. E-Flite 150mah 25c batteries could not handle the harsh conditions; they kept cutting out after a few minutes. Landed and refueled with Mini Aviation 220mah 45c Avgas batteries. These batteries performed great in the cold, allowing for two 10 minute sorties.

After being in the hanger for 140 days, Champ Dreamer is back in the air for his first test run with a borrowed set of wings. Dreamer only had 3 hours of air time before his last mission when he got stuck in a thermal and landed with a cracked wing. His permanent wings are at the painters being stenciled with his new name “Stratus”. Stratus, was commissioned due to being fitted with an altitude sensor and touring AGL beyond his size.

Old reliable, Champ Clipper, has also been taken out of the hanger after 84 days and fitted with a new fuselage. Historically, Clipper was originally Champ JTF Clipper, while undergoing certification testing, due to his clipped wings (17.3 inch – 440mm wing span versus stock of 20.3 inch – 515mm). After many test flights, he was fitted with his own fuselage and renamed Champ Clipper. After 16 hours of air time, his electronics where deemed unreliable and he got a new fuselage. Due to his war bird like prowess, he was renamed Champ Snoopy.

Both aero are awaiting a new Sport Cub S2 model motor & prop. While they wait, the pilots are enjoying some relaxing winter sorties.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 17, 2014 @ 11:02 AM | 1,345 Views

A friend on RCG group told me about this method for creating decals for planes. I finally tried it and it works really well. Here are the steps:

- Prepare a sheet of your favorite images

- Print your color image on paper using a color laser printer or find a store that will print laser for around 50 cents
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- For best results, wash hands before starting to remove excess grease & dirt from your fingers.

- Cut the image you want to use, leaving space for handling. Later you will trim to the final size

- Cover with clear packaging tape, overlap tape if needed
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- Using a soft but firm tool, press the tape onto the image, first using a horizontal then a vertical motion
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 16, 2014 @ 09:16 AM | 1,409 Views

Winter flying can be very challenging vs a clear lazy summer’s day. More flight planning should be done for a safe & enjoyable flight.

Flight Planning for this morning. Temperature 38F and warming, Wind Chill: 38F, Pressure: 29.8, Average Wind: 4mph from the North. Winds shifting from North-West to North. Observed, on the internet from a local weather station, sustained wind speeds (in MPH): 4, 0, 6, 4, 0, 4, 2, 1, 0, 3, 0. Starring out the window at live conditions, high clouds are moving like a runaway freight train. Storm front moving in. Prevailing winds mapped on google earth indicate a downwind emergency airport available for emergency landing. Risk is max recorded winds NW 22mph, if encountered, emergency landing & activate rescue crew. Little turbulence expected. Elevator mechanical trim set for windy conditions. Acceptable conditions for my experience with the Sport Cub.

Cleared for low & close test flights of the Sport Cub S with floats, nav streamers & GWS 5x4.3 prop. Video glasses ready, all hanger preflight ok. Off to the park I go. Film on the 10 o’clock news.

= = = = =
10 o’clock news reel

Navigation Streamers HD (3 min 17 sec)

As pilots, we have to fly the weather we encounter not what was forecasted during the flight planning phase. Took off in choppy air. Ok, we have turbulence at low altitude. Then some sustained heavy wind kicked in. Activated emergency landing procedure at alternate airport 400 feet away. It
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Sticky: DX9 Dual Timers
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 06, 2014 @ 05:15 PM | 1,466 Views

On the DX9, I like to set my dual timers. Every sortie is flown under different conditions, so I make my estimations as to the battery capacity based on the style & conditions for the sortie. I then depend on the timers as my co-pilot. Timer 1 is set as a battery count down timer and timer 2 as a flight time timer. I set it to squawk on many events. I don’t like the voice of each timer to step on each other, so timer 1 is set to xxx minutes plus 40 seconds. Not making it an even number gives some separation to the two timers when squawking the events. I find it much more pleasant. The possible combinations are many. Here are the settings I have settled on. Share your experiences with timers.

Timer 1

Page 1
-------> Mode: Count Down
-------> Time: xxx min 40 seconds
-------> Start: Thr Stick
-------> Over: 5%
-------> Ont Time: Inhibit

Page 2
-------> Every Minute (Down): Voice
-------> 1 Minute: Voice
-------> 30 Seconds: Inh
-------> 10sec to 1sec: Voice
-------> Expiration: Voice
-------> Every Minute (Up): Voice

Page 3
-------> Timer Start: Voice
-------> Timer Stop: Voice
-------> Time Reset: Voice

Timer 2

Page 1
-------> Mode: Stopwatch
-------> Start: Thr Stick
-------> Over: 5%
-------> One Time: Active

Page 2
-------> Every Minute (Down): Inh
-------> 1 Minute: Voice
-------> 30 Seconds: Inh
-------> 10sec to 1sec: Inh
-------> Expiration: Inh
-------> Every Minute (Up): Voice

Page 3
-------> Timer Start: Inh
-------> Timer Stop: Inh
-------> Time Reset: Inh

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 03, 2014 @ 05:01 PM | 1,481 Views
Some of the new Spectrum Rx are sending out telemetry data without any additional modules installed. This data is “Frame Losses & Holds”. I have encountered one that in addition sends out the Rx voltage. All you need is an Rx that will send the data and a Tx capable of receiving the data. I have not found a list documenting which ones send telemetry data, so with limited research & contributions from others, here is a list. Let me know of other Rx that you have confirmed send data and I’ll add them to the list.

See attached picture

Also see “Frame Loss & Holds Telemetry ~ DSMX” How to program your DX8 or like Tx
=> http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2217400

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Dec 01, 2014 @ 10:55 AM | 1,759 Views

Spring Snow ~ Low & Slow HD (3 min 15 sec)

Music: Winter Wonderland ~ Holy & Ivy. So get your popcorn, sit back & enjoy a relaxing flight.

to see 6 more vids, click on Continue Reading

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 21, 2014 @ 10:07 AM | 1,542 Views

It’s a beautiful day at the park, clear blue skies, light and variable winds with a few cumulus clouds. Thinking if only I can get under one of the cumulus clouds that are slowly building, I should be able to ride a nice thermal. Tx turned on, umx Radian placed in the trunk of the car upside down, away from the wind, battery connected, plane kept perfectly still for 5 seconds until the gyros initialize. Picked up the plane and secured the battery. Walked to the launch site ready for some fun. Flicked the throttle on/off to activate the AS3x. Pre-flight check confirms all systems are operating correctly. Assured take off area was clear and off we went with a power climb to 200 feet. Leveled off, slowly cut power and it started to porpoise. Hum, wonder if I leveled off and gained the proper amount of speed before cutting the power. Short power climb across the field, nice level off, slowly cut power and bam, she is gliding very nicely.

I turn into the wind and she catches a small gust of wind, oh boy, here we go again, porpoise starts. The gust created extra lift causing it to stall and start the dance. So when she pitches up, I tap a little down elevator to gain speed. Great, she levels off to a great glide.

As she is embracing the sky, I get some porpoise every once in a while. Conclude I have not found the sweet spot for today’s flying conditions. Land & move the battery position a little. Up we go again and yes, she is gliding much better.

Oh, what a
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 18, 2014 @ 09:08 AM | 1,908 Views
Beaufort Scale for Wind Speed Estimation

The Beaufort Wind Scale is named after Sir Francis Beaufort, an admiral in the British Navy. He developed the scale in 1805 in order to estimate wind speed by noting how sails move in the wind. It turned out to be a great help and was later adapted for use on land.

Force 0
Strength: Calm
Speed: Less than 1 mile per hour (mph), less than 2 kilometers per hour (kph)
Observations: Tree leaves don't move, smoke rises vertically

Force 1
Strength: Light Air
Speed: 1-3 mph, 2-6 kph
Observations: Tree leaves don't move, smoke drifts slowly

Force 2
Strength: Slight Breeze
Speed: 4-7 mph, 7-11 kph
Observations: Tree leaves rustle, flags wave slightly

Force 3
Strength: Gentle Breeze
Speed: 8-12 mph, 12-19 kph
Observations: Leaves and twigs in constant motion, small flags extended

Force 4
Strength: Moderate Breeze
Speed: 13-18 mph, 20-29 kph
Observations: Small branches move, flags flap

Force 5
Strength: Fresh Breeze
Speed: 19-24 mph, 30-39 kph
Observations: Small trees sway, flags flap and ripple

Force 6
Strength: Strong Breeze
Speed: 25-31 mph, 40-50 kph
Observations: Large branches sway, flags beat and pop

Force 7
Strength: Moderate Gale
Speed: 32-38 mph, 51-61 kph
Observations: Whole trees sway

Force 8 - Force 12
RC Operations grounded
Also see Flying RC Planes in the Wind, click here

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 14, 2014 @ 12:43 PM | 1,888 Views

Yesterday I broke my previous record with my umx Radian aka umx RAD II by posting a 32 min flight. Maybe not a big deal but I failed to understand why I got such long gentle glide slope on a totally overcast day. I will need to study air density & clouds during this winter. In the meantime here are my observations based on post flight research.

On a good day, a 150mAh 25C battery will yield a 15 – 20 min flight, so a 220 mAh 45C Mini Aviation battery should yield 22 – 29 min flight. The 32 min was a result of a “little help” in the form of the cloud structure. What I was failing to understand was why the excellent glide slopes for the entire flight with no sun to heat the earth to give me a thermal. Nimbostratus clouds covered the entire sky, with a homogenous gray appearance. Nimbostratus occurs along a warm front where a slowly rising warm air mass is present. “slowly rising warm air mass” explains why I had a good glide slope on the entire field, also helpful was some extra energy I was able to harness off the trees on every third glide or so.

“the ideal atmosphere temp is 15C = 59F > cold is good for flying > good air density” did not know this, helps explain why earlier this year during the cooler temps of the Spring I observed I was getting longer glide times than during the warmer summer days. Will have to watch & fly the glider more during these days next Spring.

“barometric pressure: 29.9"
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 05, 2014 @ 07:39 AM | 2,169 Views

Logger of altitude over time & temperature
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This is Part I “The Bench Test” of a multi-part review of the HK Altimeter. I will be using the sensor with my micro glider (umx Radian) to my HZ Champ to my 2 meter Radian. Will build a “Y” connector to allow power by the plane’s micro 1s battery, where weight is a consideration, like the umx Radian and for power from a separate 60mah 1s battery for the Radian. This way I can move it around from plane to plane without having to touch the Rx.

In summary, happy with the accuracy. The ground test (see below) showed Route A north was a mirror image of Route A south. It does seem to have a little ‘oscillation’ while standing still, maybe due to pressure or temperature changes, but acceptable for the price / performance.

Key Specifications:
Price: under us$30
Dimensions: 21x13x5mm
Weight: 1.3g ~ 1.4g (sensor Only)
Working Current: ~ 7mA
Operating Voltage: 3.7 ~ 8.4v
Sampling Frequency: up to 8hz (sampled 8 times a second)

To complete the bench test, I made a harness to be able to attach a 1s battery for power.

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Then I did a timed bench test to see how much power it consumed. Power consumption is negligible.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Nov 02, 2014 @ 09:50 AM | 2,015 Views

I was using the X4 Port 1s Charger when all of a sudden its alarm went off & I heard my cat jump off the counter. Ran to see what had happened and one battery was smoking. I grabbed it & tossed it out the garage door. It smoked for a while and then stopped. Quarantined in a Lipo bag for observation.

Lessons learned.
[…] Keep Lipo batteries securely away from pets & animals
[…] ALWAYS charge in a Lipo Bag or other containment vessel

Decided now may be a good time to make an extension so I can charge the 1s batteries, 4 at a time, inside a Lipo bag. It may be over engineered but I used parts I had or were easy to acquire. The build sequence is: Adaptor / JST / 20 awg Silicone Wire / JST / Connector, with some shrink for good measure.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Oct 27, 2014 @ 05:01 PM | 2,117 Views

Even the Night Vapor, with an AUW / Flying Weight of 16.4 g (0.6 oz) designed for Indoor flight, deserves to fly free!

Born Free, Night Vapor HD (2 min 29 sec)

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Oct 16, 2014 @ 07:59 PM | 2,151 Views

Debrief Report
October 16, 2014

I went flying with the Sport Cub S2 today. Four other planes in the car, none were cleared to start their engines as the pilots were not certified for the weather conditions. I received a waiver after much to-do.

Here is the Debrief Report, may I suggest you view the video first, and then read the full report. Video takes a glimpse of 42 min of flight time. Showing off some practice runs, a cross wind landing, and bloopers.

Sport Cub Practice (3 min 9 sec)

Lessons Learned: Set the mechanical trim to match the flying conditions & your style of flying. Use ‘Bailout’ button to temporarily stabilize the plane if flying in Intermediate or Experienced mode. Practice, Practice, Practice.

The motor will pulse when the battery is losing power. The no-load battery reading was 3.68v (at 3.6v you are running on fumes). So if you hear the motor pulsing, I would suggest a quick landing to assure you have power reserved for finals. If it gets to an ESC Low Voltage Cutoff (LVC), try to land with a glide, set the throttle to zero until you need it, and you may have a small burst of energy reserved for the touchdown, if needed.

Report filed at: 13:21 hr
Location: Sparta, New Jersey, USA
Aero: Sport Cub S2 with AS3x & SAFE activated
Local Conditions: In between storms, partly cloudy, winds 3 mph [5 kph] gusting to 20 mph [32 kph]
Flight Plan: Bring it home in one piece; mission accomplished with a high Fun Factor.
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Sticky: umx Spacewalker
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Oct 12, 2014 @ 06:04 PM | 2,086 Views

I present my umx Spacewalker. Cute little Intermediate ultra micro flyer. What I like about this plane is it: comes nicely painted; includes a pilot with windshield; includes a registration number; comes with a DSMx Rx, battery & field charger; and hangers in a box. This little fella will compliment my calm-wind flying fleet for home / park which includes the Night Vapor & LED Quad. Spectators love the scale look. In summary, once you get it dialed to your style of flying, it delivers a high Fun Factor.

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Basic Specs:
Wingspan: 16.5 in (418mm)
Overall Length: 11.6 in (295mm)
Flying Weight: 0.78 oz (22g)

Today I was at the Park. Jack & his G-pa came over to look at the planes. Little Jack (say 9 yrs) asked a lot of questions. So I asked if he wanted to see a little show. Took out umx Spacewalker. Asked if he knew how to throw a paper airplane. OK Jack, then I need you to help me by launching the umx Spacewalker. Asked for clearance to launch, noted the motor was 'hot', turned on the motor, asked him to launch. Release was perfect. Slow low flights, then I made a mistake, I asked Jack what he wanted to see. OK, got it, loops, high speed banked turns, low flight over the grass, low high speed banked turns over the grass, inverted flight, spiral, etc. Then I had to decline his further requests, he asked for a spin (by name), then for barrel rolls & hammer head, like this, he was showing me with his hands. I
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Sticky: Sport Cub S2
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Oct 10, 2014 @ 02:05 PM | 2,969 Views

I present my Sport Cub S2. As a Champ lover (I have 5 in active duty), this has many of the features I wanted to add to a Champ. The Sport Cub S2 comes with ailerons installed, dual aileron servos, aileron differential & aileron / rudder mix already programmed, three flight modes for different flying experiences, uses my 1S battery collection (from 150mAh to 220mAh), is FPV ready, is float ready, has a nice wing dark color leading edge, and comes with nice registration numbers. I will investigate floats, snow skies & LED lights later. In summary, I still love my Champs but the Sport Cub S2 has a place in my hanger for the added features & learning experience. Overall a nice plane for the price.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Oct 08, 2014 @ 10:24 AM | 2,355 Views
updated Dec 11, 2014
Folks typically ask me “How many planes do you have?” Guess the question helps them understand how committed I am to the hobby. While my situation is not unique, my modus operandi has been to stay healthy, experience, learn, share and grow as much as possible in a short period of time. I restarted the hobby 3 years ago. I do report ‘mission accomplished’, all with the unwavering encouragement of my wife, family & friends.

After restarting the hobby, in 3 seasons I have logged a total of 211 flight hours over 1208 flights, acquired 61 planes, helo’s & quads, attended 2 full scales airshows, sponsored an RC fun fly, buddy boxed children & adults (including 89 year old G-ma) on their first RC flight, presented static displays, gave a brief moment of joy to spectators , made new friends and blogged numerous times.

I have three flight venues: The AMA Club 25 miles from home, a local Park 5 miles from home & Home. I only go to the Club when conditions are expected to be conducive to having fun for 1 to 3+ hours. For short term weather conditions, I go to the Park. Home is usually reserved for those times where “I just need to fly”, usually indoors in the winter & dawn to dusk.

2014 has been the Year-of-the-Champ. I have logged 227 flights & 40 Champ flight hours.

OK, without further delay, here are the numbers to answer the question “How many planes do you have?” Data is sum total for 3 years. Planes range in size from ultra micro to 2 meter wing span.

Total Planes, Helo’s & Quad’s
61 Aero Acquired
-08 Gifted
-02 Mothballed
-06 Never flown / disposed
-14 Retired
31 in Hanger

I think that’s 1 too many in the hanger.

Sticky: Why I do it
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Oct 07, 2014 @ 09:02 AM | 2,310 Views

If you love it, share it. Originally posted by DWA in 2007. Here is a copy of the original work of art.

“My method of operation on RC Groups & Why I do it.

1. Share my thoughts with humility.
"Don't try to act important but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all "
Romans 12:16 (NLV)
"Never let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others "
Philippians 2:3-4 (NCV)
2. Respect others ideas with courtesy.
"We must bear the burden of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others..." Romans 15:2 (LB)
3. Share others problems with sympathy.
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. "
Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
4. Encourage each other with accountability.
"Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. "
Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
5. Always be motivated by love. Not by ego, pride, or materialism.
You must be motivated by love or you will treat people as projects. Treat them as people, as friends.
"Everything you do must be done with love. "
1 Corinthians 16:14 (NLT)
"Let love be your highest goal."
1 Corinthians 14:1 (NLT)

Why I do it.......because I like to help people.
And because I enjoy sharing my hobby with other people that enjoy this hobby.”

by DWA [Dave] Jul 12, 2007, 03:27 AM

Sticky: umx RAD II
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Sep 24, 2014 @ 04:07 PM | 2,445 Views

Retired my first umx Radian on August 3, 2014 after 18+ hours of flight time & many happy memories. Could not wait until next year, so I present my 'umx RAD II' placed into service on Sept 24, 2014.

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Basic Specs:
Wingspan: 28.7 in (730mm)
Overall Length: 16.5 in (418mm)
Flying Weight: 1.50 oz (43g)

If you are interested in the umx Radian, you may want to check out my first blog.
It includes a series of links to forum contributions by others & myself.
=> http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2163964

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Sep 04, 2014 @ 05:23 PM | 3,384 Views

I love my HiTec X4 Port 1s Charger. It has saved me many hours of babysitting my 1s batteries. I typically use 4 to 8 batteries on any given flying session. Used to charge them on my larger charger, 1 cell at a time. I wanted the peace-of-mind of having individual battery monitoring. For longer cell life, I charge them at a 1C rate. Enter a new heli that uses a 1s – 500mAh battery with a JST plug not covered by the X4. Not doing this one battery at a time business again plus I wanted to charge it inside a Lipo bag.

So I bought an Ultra Micro MX plug to JST, made an extension of the JST wire & now I can charge multiple batteries inside the Lipo bag. Simple solution.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Sep 01, 2014 @ 05:55 PM | 2,340 Views

Pilots of Summer Operations Crew HD (2 min 10 sec)

As background, an AMA Club member called my small Hobbyzone Champ plane a POS & tried to kick me out of the club for flying it 400+ feet AGL. Funny, last year many of us had a great time flying the Champ during our lunch break or after the big planes were done for the day. Many club members have a Champ & or have flown full scale Champs. So my wife & I thought, hum, what can we do with this? Thus was born the Pilots of Summer aka POS Team. Such a fine fleet deserves a theme song, operations crew, new planes & pilots.

Just want to take a minute to give credit to the artist who contributed to this video:
Announcer: banjoman15 => www.fiverr.com/banjoman15

For those shaking their heads, here’s a footnote: “Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to a study by cardiologists at the UMMC.”