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Harv's blog
Posted by Harv | Apr 06, 2008 @ 04:23 PM | 2,371 Views
Hmmm, I can't think of anything that starts with Eighth for the title. Ah well, on to the 8th blog entry we go...

It's now been just over three years since I started this whole endeavor with the purchase of that little Bladerunner, and what a trip it's been so far. I've amassed a nice little fleet that covers the gamut of flying things that interest me, amd am quite certain that what I have will keep me entertained for many months and years to come.

Which just means that something new will be announced tomorrow that I'll just have to have.

But in any case I'm more than happy with each model in the family, and have taken a group photo of them all just in case any don't survive the summer flying season. Now to enlist a camera person to have some video footage of them in their natural element. Maybe I could call that entry Nine Lives...?
Posted by Harv | Feb 03, 2008 @ 10:46 AM | 3,044 Views
I've done it! I have discovered Nirvana. I was always under the impression you had to strive to reach it, but apparently you can just drive there.

To start at the beginning, my parents winter in the Palm Springs area and my wife and I usually travel down from the frigid wastelands for a week during Jan/Feb. Last year I'd started flying outside with a Slo-V down there, and this year I planned on picking up a Parkzone Trojan to cruise the desert with. So after a couple of false starts, a schedule change, crappy weather and a bus(!) ride from LAX to Palm Springs airport I finally ended up at a nice little LHS called Uncle Don's Hobbies. One of the fellows there knew my father, and suggested that I head out to their field some morning as it wasn't too far away.

And that's how I found Nirvana. The Coachella Valley RC Club is as sweet as it gets. And by sweet I mean totally cool. Great layout, shaded pits, huge runway, big heli pad, fantastic view of the valley, no wind and really nice folks have pretty much sold me on retiring somewhere near there. Assuming I can ever actually retire of course. And if you're ever in the area, the Palm Springs Air Museum is great also, with a nice layout, lots of displays and some very nice (most flying) full scale warbirds to see.

So between finding a flat spot in the desert and flying at the CVRC Club I put about 25 flights on the Trojan, and am more than impressed with it. It was the RTF version that I added a ParkBec and Spektrum...Continue Reading
Posted by Harv | Nov 18, 2007 @ 06:58 PM | 2,738 Views
Life is (currently) good...

Wow! Four months since I last added anything here...time really flies when you're ...errr... flying. And that's pretty much all that I've been doing, with just a little bit of buying mixed in.

The flying has been pretty much uneventful for the most part, although the crash of my second Beaufighter was a significant emotional event. I really haven't worked on diversifying my skill set beyond normal upright flight, and I'm thinking some serious time on the sim this winter should be devoted to learning to fly inverted comfortably.

All has been pretty quiet on the buying front also, with two new additions. The first is a Parkzone Micro Cessna, which is a fantastic little indoor/backyard flier that I would recommend to anyone and everyone that has any interest in a scale looking model in this size. Equally at home in a gym, gold dome or calm air ouside, this little fellow travels with me pretty much wherever I go. The second new item is an Alfa F-86 Sabre, which was another of my favorite aircraft from the day I saw a model of one that my father had built. It flies in the typical Alfa fashion, which is to say that it's great, and is a beauty to see both in the air and on display.

In the interests of taking advantage of the high Canuck buck (and kicking the crap out of the moratorium again), I also currently have on order a couple of different aircraft...a vectored thrust Mig-29 from rcsuperpowers.com and a nice looking Phase3/EMI P-38 Lightning. Both have good reports here on RCGroups, and I'll be looking forward to taking them up once the frigid wastelands become somewhat less frigid next spring.
Posted by Harv | Jul 07, 2007 @ 11:06 AM | 3,026 Views
My new best friend...EPP...

Heh, moratorium. Who was I trying to kid? But I'd better finish up what I'd started in my last post...

I filled out my little Alfa warbird fleet with the Beaufighter, Wildcat and Spitfire, and have had a ball with them. All are fantastic lookers and flyers, and thankfully will even handle a bit of wind. The first Beau now resemble a 3D jigsaw puzzle after a sloppy hand launch ended with a cartwheel, but bellyflopping #2 is just as nice in the air. I'll wait until winter to install retracts in it and the Spitfire, and next spring I'll be able to roll on the runway instead of sliding down it.

Which brings up the beginning of the end of this moratorium. Tiring of digging dirt, straw and weeds out of aircraft from bellying in on my field out back, I found out about Pro-Pex/Geotex materials and made a nice little 30'x100' runway to the north of the yard. It's just about perfect for electrics, and aside from mowing around it it is totally maintenance free. It cost a little more than sanity should allow, but the convenience of having my personal all weather strip is almost priceless.

So anyways, back to airplanes...Despite having almost too much fun flying my Alfa warbirds, I kept checking out a funny looking little piece of EPP foam called the Bug by Lightflite.com. It wasn't the looks, or the way it flew, or the price that drew me back time and time again...it was the words tough and durable that I kept seeing. Because as much as I love the...Continue Reading
Posted by Harv | Apr 07, 2007 @ 04:51 PM | 3,512 Views
The warbirds, and the end...

It looks like the 3rd and 4th sections of my R/C addiction have some overlap, as all of my warbirds are exclusively outdoor aircraft. In any case, I now have an Alfa Wildcat and Beaufighter assembled and ready, and an Alfa Spitfire w/retracts on order. The Beau has a few flights on her now, and is a fantastic machine! It was my first aileron/warbird/twin (a lot of firsts in one package), and everything else I own simply pales in comparison. The others still have their pros and will get flown regularly I'm sure, but the Beau does absolutely everything I want, and it does it perfectly and with style to boot. If the Wildcat and Spit fly anything at all like the Beaufighter I'll have my dream fleet scattered around the living room.

Which will be great, as there will be no more. After taking pics of all the planes I've acquired in the last few months, I did some quick math and have declared a moratorium on R/C purchases (spare parts not included of course) for at least a year and probably two. So now I can finish building my little airstrip and concentrate on flying instead of buying.

Or so I'm telling myself now...
Posted by Harv | Mar 11, 2007 @ 04:22 PM | 3,721 Views
The great outdoors...

Around Xmas time during a fit of boredom I clicked on the Hobby Lobby banner at the top of the page for the first time. Yes, in two years I had never clicked there, simply because I figured airplanes were too much hassle what with balsa, covering, construction time and the like. They also needed nice grass to flop on, or a good runway if they had wheels. I browsed around a bit without much interest until I clicked on something called Alfa, and saw a picture of a Wildcat on the page.

And the rest, as they say (who are they anyways?), is history. I have more than a few shelves stuffed full of various hardcover books on WWII, and most of those center on air power, and most of those focus on the Pacific theater. Over years of reading I've had a few "favorite" aircraft, either due to their design, looks or place in history. The Wildcat was an early favorite for a number of reasons, and seeing that it was made from foam and could be flown in a couple of hours really grabbed my interest. However, as it was still an airplane that needed a landing area I didn't do much more than read the review and discover the Electric Warbirds and Parkflyer forums here. The airplane seed had been planted though, and it didn't take long to germinate.

While down in Palm Springs visiting my parents I picked up an ungainly looking RTF called a Slo-V. Seeing as it is rarely windy there it was a good way to learn about takeoffs and landings, and being waaaay...Continue Reading
Posted by Harv | Mar 11, 2007 @ 03:02 PM | 3,657 Views
The indoor times...

Once fall 06 arrived I re inflated the Micro Blimp for a bit of indoor entertainment. Wondering if Plantraco had come out with a newer version over the last couple of years I typed their name into Firefox and hit the enter key.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Seeming to leap out of my monitor was the coolest looking little airplane I'd ever seen. It wasn't scale, it wasn't cute, it was just cool and it was the Carbon butterfly living room flyer. I then found the appropriate forum for these planes on RCGroups, and started devouring threads about these planes and Plantraco equipment. Before I knew it I had a Carbon Butterfly, MicroScout and a couple of MicroRacers from Plantraco. An Okie Bipe and scale looking (I love scale aircraft) Christen Eagle from BSD Micro followed soon after. I then made arrangements to rent time in an old high school gym to fly in, and have flown the wings off of all these great little models all winter.

I figured that R/C couldn't get any better than this, what with having helicopters to fly outside in the summer, and micro airplanes for indoor flight during the winter.

And then I made the mistake of clicking the Hobby Lobby banner at the top of RCGroups, and the third phase was upon me...
Posted by Harv | Mar 11, 2007 @ 01:45 PM | 3,707 Views
Hmmm, a blog. Never done a blog before. Is this where I tell about how I got started in R/C, where I'm going, and how many rubles I've dropped along the way? If so, let's start with the first phase...

The helicopter era...

It all began with a trip to the West Edmonton Mall in January of 2005. Bored to tears from wandering amongst all of the clothing type stores with Management, I wandered into a Radio Shack and saw a funny looking helicopter called the Bladerunner. Having always dreamed of flying an R/C helo I figured for a hundred bucks it was worth a try, so I begged off more clothes & shoe shopping and took it up to the hotel room to try out.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Not only did it fly, it flew well, and I was immediately hooked on R/C flight. Shortly after I discovered RC Groups, and started doing some serious reading, which led me to ordering a Hirobo XRB, which was a huge step up in quality and flight experience. Now addicted to indoor flight I also picked up a Plantraco MicroBlimp for something different, (although this purchase would come back to haunt my wallet in about 18 months).

Once spring arrived and I found the XRB wasn't going to cut it outside, much reading was done to choose a suitable summer chopper. The fixed pitch Corona was popular here as an excellent starter unit, and after building and flying mine for the summer months I was in total agreement. I added a Co-pilot stabilization system and a nice scale Jet Ranger...Continue Reading