When one's hobby is model aviation, wind can be a problem unless one is slope soaring.
Week upon week of windy conditions have pretty much grounded me except for some quadcopter flights in front of the house. I live in a relatively wind-free neighborhood. The club field, meh. Not so calm.
So, what will amount to my final official reviews here on RCGroups are on hold until things calm down. More on that revelation in a future blog.
I'm really looking forward to doing the maiden flight on the new 38" Skywing Laser 260 from Banggood.com, but even though it's been finished for more than a week and going on two, no chance to get it in the air.
Banggood also forwarded two very nice quads, the JYU Hornet S with FPV goggles (fun!!) and the UPair One aerial photography quad with a 4K camera, no less. The Hornet is absolutely amazing! The One is very nice as well, but my gimbal no longer wants to tilt via the transmitter. I've written UPair and I hope to hear back soon.
So, that leaves me with the nearly rebuilt HobbyKing Super-G autogyro and Hitec's new line of Propel multirotor motors with their built-in ESCs. Having issues getting the FC board to recognize the receiver, but I'll be bringing it to the hobby shop in the next day or two to get it operating.
I'll be blogging more after I'm done with these reviews, you lucky readers. See you here on the blogs.
The X6 was a model I was totally unprepared to like when I first got it. The controls are kind of twitchy on medium rates and really twitchy on high rates. Still, this incredibly popular model with its readily available replacement parts has a truly huge discussion thread here on RCGroups and I've linked to it in the first review.
With bright blue LEDs in the front arms and the "eyes" of the shell coupled with red LEDs out back, this logical layout makes flying the X6 a true pleasure at night. One simply has to be careful to land before the LVA kicks in and the lights start to flash.
While touchy for front yard sorties, the X6 comes alive in a wide open space. That upgraded FPV makes a huge difference over the stock camera, but naturally, I wasn't about to use the camera in the dark! Camera or not, the X6 is still a heck of a lot of fun.
I reviewed the Bojiang S1 six months ago almost to the day and when I mentioned that to my friend, he thought it would be a great idea to dust it off as another revisited review subject. He enjoyed the previous blogs I did on old subjects, so I figured what the heck.
Beyond the hilariously mangled English and a not-so-great camera is a genuinely fun, entry level quad. As was the case with my other "re-reviews," the S1 had been mostly idle for a long time.
After charging up the battery and taking it for a spin a few minutes ago, I found myself asking why.
It's a very lightweight and responsive little machine, capable of some surprisingly high speeds. Not only that, it's a blast to toss around on high rates. Sure, it can be flown with a bit of decorum, but the S1 is more fun doing high speed passes and turns along with some beautifully executed automatic flips. However, it didn't take long for me to be reacquainted with the model's weird throttle curve; zero throttle occurs well above the throw limit of the stick.
On top of that, run times are seemingly endless. The S1 makes very good use of its battery.
Ah, but those instructions.
There aren't many instruction sheets which instruct one to attach the camera to the "bit bone anterior cingulate" and the "deduction bit of bone," at least outside of a medical textbook!
If anything, it's gotten windier since this morning, but that didn't stop me from putting up the HobbyKing 450TT Pro helicopter I reviewed a few years ago.
It's been ages since I've flown it and what's kind of fun is that the once-standard flybar head is now a thing of the past! There's a very definite difference between this and the flybarless Skyartec Wasp I wrote about a couple of posts back. That little 250 is actually more stable!
The gyro is a clone which I'd reviewed separately and the tail servo is also a clone which I bought via mail order when the original went blooey. A few parts are genuine Align including the machined main drive gear. Worth the extra few bucks and it really smoothed things out.
What's amazing is that it's still available, only now it's flybarless:
I brought the Durafly Auto-G2 autogyro to the field this morning as a sort of "warm up act" to the big HobbyKing Super-G autogyro.
Still a bit too breezy for my tastes for me to feel comfortable sending up an exotic, strange-flying model like the Super-G for a maiden flight, so I settled for flying the G2.
Perhaps "settled" isn't the right word since it's so much fun and since I've built a lot of confidence since I first started flying it. Besides, the breeze is one's friend for helping spool the main rotor up to speed, with or without the automatic start.
Lots of visitors at the field today and some were really marveling at the unusual little model prior to takeoff.
On went the auto start, up went the autogyro with its usual grace, off went the auto start and onward toward my single greatest flight to date. I was determined to point it in the directions where I wanted it to go instead of letting it seemingly wander off on its own.
By golly, I did it. I flew a few times around the pattern at medium height in order to keep it oriented. It really demands to be flown with a firm hand; no point-and-scoot without a lot of pilot input.
While the flight was terrific - and the sounds even more so - what I really wanted to do was land it and keep it upright.
Bingo. Perfect, gentle touchdown which elicited a lot of heartfelt applause from everyone watching and a whoop and a fist pump from yours truly.
The Super-G is going up on Wednesday morning, scheduling and weather permitting. Stay tuned to the electric flight page for the full review!
I have to admit: I'm actually having fun with the Durafly Auto-G2!
I took the G2 for not one ride today but three rides up and around the pattern.
Flying an autogyro is, to put it mildly, weird. It's a joy on takeoff and flies well, but it doesn't seem to go quite where it's pointed.
Breezy conditions on landing tipped the model to its side each time, but thankfully, no damage. I ordered some of the more vulnerable parts from HobbyKing and, joy of joys, I scored a set of used parts for free from my local hobby shop! They were all that was left of a crashed Auto-G (same as the G2 less the automatic main rotor start system) and they would have either languished in the back for all time or would have been discarded.
Having spare blades, rotor hubs and props on hand both from HK and the hobby shop is a big confidence builder. I also now have a motor, ESC, servos, assorted hardware and even a battery hatch cover.
Landings are what I need to work on and despite the challenge, it's fun to try and land it while remaining upright. Most of the problem may have stemmed from the wind and the fact that the main rotor acts as a sort of parachute while it's rotating.
I might be grounded until a week from Sunday because of Easter, but if I can get it in the air once more, I'll do so.
The photo below was taken back in November before the maiden flight. I'm pleased to report that it still looks the same despite some minor mishaps.
Since then, serial number WHV00005 (yes, it's only the fifth model off of the assembly line) has been flown only sporadically due to increased professional commitments and lots of other RCG reviews. I'd recently got to thinking about older review subjects and a blog I'd posted about revisiting them at some point, so I'll take up the slack right now.
That review has also garnered nearly 115,000 hits and 119 pages of comments. That's a heck of a nice feeling!
It was a beautiful morning, so after I charged a battery, I took it out of its case today for a flight up and down my street and I couldn't help but wonder how much has changed in that time.
My wife and I have been very blessed. We now have our own home instead of a rental. Both the laptop computer and point-and-shoot camera I used for that review have been replaced with a desktop computer and a DSLR, both necessary for what I do both here on this site and for other work.
Took me a moment or two to remember how to arm it, but once I did, I was rewarded with the same great flying characteristics I enjoyed in the summer of 2012. In fact, I've been flying a lot of multirotors since then which only helped to sharpen my helicopter skills.
Will Wasp Number Five be languishing in its case for months to come? Nope. It's just too much fun.
Another blast from the past will be posted just as soon as I can find a bit of time!
By the way, those photos are new and yup, I took them with the DSLR. Enjoy!
The A2826-M 1100Kv motor and stick mount from the Gorilla Bob's store at the AMA expo are ready to rock at the front of the little Thunder Tiger Bearcat foamie. The motor, mount and my temporary 40A ESC are in place, I've installed a receiver and once I do up the control throws and expo and install the 8x6E APC prop, I'm ready.
I've spent a bit more money on it than I might have otherwise done, but the initial tests with brushless power were very encouraging.
The wing is very stiff, but it isn't reinforced. Once I'm satisfied that it flies well, I'll run a carbon fiber spar underneath.
Once this little project is complete, I want to finish up a project which has long been dormant. It's a kit built Great Planes .46 Ultimate biplane given to me a few years ago. I blogged about it at the time. It was done as an electric, suffered slight damage in a crash and the owner gave it to a friend of mine who gave it to me. The airframe has long since been repaired, but no power or electronics are installed.
This brings up some interesting possibilities. I can either use the O.S. or K&B engines I have in mind or follow suit and go electric.
OK, so it's almost a week late in coming, but I have to say that my grandson and I had a marvelous time at the AMA last week. Always fun to see fellow hobbyists and to reconnect with many of the vendors.
Visiting the Pegasus Hobbies booth reminded me of the little Thunder Tiger Bearcat park flyer I bought last year and about which I've blogged on and off since. Easy to see why; they were offering more of those little RTFs for sale once more!
So, thought I, why not get mine flying once and for all? I think it had all of three flights to its credit and not all of them successful.
Found an 1100Kv motor, stick mount and APC prop for the proverbial song right there at the expo from the Gorilla Bob's stand. The 18A ESC I was using is too small for this combo, but I'm going to give it a go with a 40A unit. If all goes well, I'll put a 30A control in the little booger. Should've picked up an inexpensive ESC at the time, but oh well.
Will be blogging once more once I get it flying. There's just something about the challenge this little foamie has presented which makes me want to keep on keeping on with it.
Just sitting by the computer waiting for the new year to arrive. When I saw that I might be one of the first to blog this new year - or one of the last to blog in the old - I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone in the RCGroups.com family a happy, prosperous and blessed new year. Some great reviews are coming down the pike and I invite everyone to keep checking in over at the electric flight page.
I received one of these entry level brushless quads today as an official RCGroups.com review sample. It must have either been a demo unit or it was tested before being shipped from China. In any event, it came with no manual.
Binding the transmitter and the model isn't an issue, but I can't figure out how to arm it. Anyone else have one of these and who would be kind enough to please tell me how to arm it?
Yup, one of this site's biggest sponsors is getting a head start with some incredible deals on already low priced hobby goodies. Since I was asked if I'd be kind enough to share this good news both here and other social media, heck, who am I to say no?
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here in the US and yes, Merry Christmas to the rest of the world!
Trouble is, I wadded it in due to pilot error, hence the bit about "the first part." HobbyKing, a major sponsor of this site and a great bunch of guys to boot, sent me a new Super-G to use in the second part of the review and even a Durafly Auto-G2 for practice!
So, practice I did. The president of the R/C club did the honors of the maiden flight of the Auto-G2 and got it trimmed. I flew the second flight.
Tell you what: Autogyros are definitely not airplanes nor are they helicopters, but let me say that I really learned my lesson with the Super-G. This unusual, exotic model was fun to fly!
Here's the funny thing: The club president had never flown an autogyro prior to yesterday! Still, he did a fantastic job of getting the Auto-G2 dialed in.
I'll be putting in a lot of stick time before proceeding with the assembly and flight of the replacement Super-G. I'm definitely going to add some fluorescent orange and green tape to the fuselage to make it easier to see, even with 20/15 distance vision.
Part two of the review will concentrate on the flight characteristics of the Super-G.
I've been doing official reviews for this site for a long time, but one upcoming review in particular has been a big undertaking, so much so that I split the reviews of both an airframe and engine in two parts.
The airframe is the large scale Nitroplanes Pitts Model 12 biplane with a 20cc gas engine, J'tec Pitts muffler and 17x6 prop from Valley View RC up front, held in place by most of an Aeroworks mounting kit. Guidance is via an Airtronics SD-10GS radio and the Pitts Python graphics are from none other than Callie Soden at Callie Graphics.
The second parts of each review should be ready within a couple of weeks; I wasn't able to get video of the maiden flight earlier today. My club's president did the honors of the maiden flight and yours truly snapped some pictures.
All I can say is, this combo simply rocks. Full details soon to come here at RCGroups and Flyinggiants.com.
Half the fun of this site is meeting new users. Case in point: Joe Kwok, aka "Hansondiandian" who is the "Joe" half of Joe-Hanson Aircraft Co. in Texas. Joe is a twelfth-grader who has been designing and building model aircraft for the last several years.
I'd contacted Joe via a private message soon after he'd blogged about his new hand-cut foam sheet kits. As a result, I received a kit to assemble and test for an upcoming RCGroups.com review. It wasn't until later that I'd learned just how young this model's designer really is.
I couldn't send this sample photo via a private message, so I'm sharing it here on the blogs. I had intended to fly it today, but two things got in the way. One, it was kind of windy. Two, I left my radio at home.
This was shot on the back of a flatbed utility trailer parked at a nondenominational church which allows electric flight over its parade grounds. It's a site I often use as part of testing models for the review process.
So, please welcome the loftily named Joe-Hanson Aircraft Company JH-21A Vesper II utility airplane. Designed to haul a small camera or FPV system aloft, I'll be flying this (hopefully tomorrow) as a fun flyer. All of the electrics are courtesy of Global Hobby Distributors.
Keep an eye on the electric flight page for all the details!
After a few emails to and from my contact at Gearbest.com, I have a couple of RTF quads which are about to be officially reviewed for RCG.
One is just too darn cute.
It's the Floureon FX-10, the world's smallest quadcopter. It's so tiny that it's actually stored in the transmitter!
No pix yet, but I'll have a bunch in the review.
Looking at the other end of the size scale, my Nitroplanes Pitts Model 12 biplane with its Valley View RC 20cc gas engine is nearly ready for its first flights. I've already written reviews of my initial impressions of both the airframe and engine with the latter currently showcased both here and at Flyinggiants.com.
How tiny is the FX-10, you might ask?
Its diameter is just a bit larger than that of the prop retaining washer on the 20cc engine.
Large and small, indeed. Stay tuned to the electric flight, large scale and gas power pages here at RCG!