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DismayingObservation's blog
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 06, 2012 @ 09:36 PM | 5,490 Views
Nothing like waiting a couple of months for a refund from China, but I got my 47 bucks back at long last for the defective LotusRC quadcopter ESC I blogged about in my last entry.

This leaves me with very few choices...and I'm not going to get it from the lone domestic distributor I purchased it from.

Ebay has one listed from a China-based company with just a fraction under 100% positive feedback. They have plenty in stock and I have some other flying projects to keep me occupied, so I'll either get it later...or I'll get some ESCs and an IMU from a third-party source. That's the fun thing about quadcopters; you can mix and match to your heart's content.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 26, 2012 @ 05:45 PM | 5,427 Views
My patience has finally paid off.

Or so I thought.

The replacement ESC for my Rotor Concept HPQ1, aka LotusRC T380 quadcopter arrived after a three-week trip from China.

It arrived in a lightly padded paper envelope and a bit of bubble wrap.

Would you be surprised to learn that the dangblasted thing doesn't work?

It initializes, but it sends no signals back to the control board. So, the quad just sits there, mocking me in its silence.

I now have to ship the board back to China. The company has been very cooperative and I will likely get a refund on my shipping charge.

Xheli.com out of Los Angeles just started carrying that quad, but they've told me that no spare parts are available just yet since they only recently started carrying it.

If they do, that will mean a decent domestic source for parts.

In the meantime, I'll be pulling that board and sending it back to where it came from.

Oh, well. I have other things to fly, but man, is that quad fun when it works.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 31, 2012 @ 02:23 PM | 5,719 Views
There are few models in my "hangar" with which I have a more love/hate relationship than my Rotor Concept HPQ1 quadcopter.

I've had a ball with it, but man, have I had problems, starting with paying twelve bucks for a propeller nut.

No bigger nut than me; that was my last purchase from Rotor Concept, but not my last purchase for the model.

I've been through five sets of props, four motor endbells from Goodluckbuy.com courtesy of trying to overtighten propellers which wouldn't snug up, some motor bearings (thanks, Align) and the discarding of the nightmarishly bad radio system.

All this before I'd even repaid my friend who fronted the dough to buy the thing in the first place!

On this, the day of my final payment, I decided to take it up for a little spin since it had sat idle for quite some time. I'd forgotten that the front counter-rotating motor was acting up.

When it decided to stop working properly this morning, it wasn't hard to see why.

As I picked it up, a small, black thing fell from it.

It was a small eight-pin IC chip from the ESC.

Yup. A chip came loose. I have never seen anything quite like this before.

It turned out that the ESC lost not one but rather two of these chips. The one I was able to recover wasn't burned nor did the board smell overheated. From what I could tell, the chips were the victims of cold solder joints.

They merely vibrated loose.

I imagine that I could simply get a low-wattage soldering iron and a couple of chips (I hate soldering ICs), but that would probably cost nearly as much as a new board and there's no guarantee that other components weren't damaged.

I found it under the LotusRC T380 parts listing at Goodluckbuy.com for the rather odd price of $47.79 with free shipping as opposed to more than 65 bucks plus shipping and tax from Rotor Concept.

Frustration, thy name is Quadrotor.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 29, 2012 @ 06:42 PM | 5,724 Views
Or to put it more accurately, helicopter tails and grass don't mix.

To wit: A few days ago, I had the Skyartec Wasp X3V I'd reviewed with me and I thought it would be fun to do a little bit of flying at the park.

All was A-OK until I went to bring it in. I ran it a bit too long and the battery was dumping, so I eased it into some thick grass not far from me.

Bad move. The brief contact between the tail rotor and the grass was enough to strip the tail rotor shaft. One quick phone call to Max Ettinger at Park RC Models netted me a new shaft. That marvelous little machine is now as good as new.

Max is a straight-up kind of guy; he simply couldn't resist a gentle chiding.

Today, I took the HK 450TT Pro for a spin at - you guessed it - a park. I've flown from that soccer field countless times without an issue, but today was a bit on the windy side. Instead of my usual gentle spot landing, I bounced it on the skids, catching the tail rotor in the grass.

Not a good thing with a torque tube tail. The resulting crunch was a sure sign that I'd stripped the umbrella gear, only the second time I'd ever done so.

Off to the hobby shop tomorrow for an Align brand replacement and some fairly involved dissection to set things right.

UPDATE: Taking that tail drive apart was easier than I remembered. It only took me 20 minutes to do this morning. My wallet is ten bucks lighter, but I have the parts and they'll go in tonight after work. A good thing to be sure, but the weather is lousy! I hope to be able to test it tomorrow morning.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 28, 2012 @ 02:04 PM | 5,371 Views
Thanks to a minimal infusion of cash, my honked-up SkyFly 2 returns to the fleet in glory!

My little experiment did in fact work well. Almost too well. The CG seems to be fine, but it almost doesn't want to come down. Climbs great, though. Takeoffs are darn near vertical and if you've never seen a SkyFly 2 go vertical as it lifts off, you're in for a treat when you do. It's hilariously funny. I'll try some ballast or a heavier battery, but space being limited, I used a Turnigy Nano-Tech 1000mAh 3S for the maiden which fit perfectly. All that power makes it one heck of a powered glider; I almost didn't have to run the motor once I got it up a couple of hundred feet or so.

Best of all, I had an entire radio system I could devote to the project, one which I'd forgotten. It's the Spring RC TG661A six-channel 2.4GHz "el cheapo" I pulled from my Rotor Concept quadcopter when I updated it with a Spektrum AR660 receiver. It may have worked poorly in the quad, but it works to sheer perfection in this project. It not only cost zilch, it no longer collects dust.

Also no longer collecting dust is the ExceedRC 40A ESC I'd pulled from my second-hand The World Models P-51 electric when I updated it to a SuperTigre .10 outrunner. The timing was all wrong, so I bought a SuperTigre ESC and shelved the ExceedRC for just such an occasion. I was going to use an old Sonix 18A controller, but I figured that the cushion I'd get with the 40A was worth it since it's spinning...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 21, 2012 @ 08:16 PM | 5,412 Views
Well, I did it. I broke down and coughed up 30 bucks for a blow-molded plastic fuselage for the stalled Flyzone SkyFly 2 brushless conversion.

Now all I have to do is to take the bits and pieces off of the old, damaged fuselage, put them on the new fuselage and - with any luck - I'll have a fun, flyable three-channel thermal chaser.

As I learned on these boards and pointed out in a recent entry, misalignment of the boom with the pod results in a model plane which will not fly. Really. It scooted nicely across the ground, but no takeoff. The somewhat weak original power system contributed to a few rather bumpy meetings twixt model and ground. It did in fact fly and fly well prior to the fuselage failure.

This new part should take care of all of that and I'll have what is essentially a new plane.

I guess the thing which made me tumble was an article in Model Aviation in which a contributor made several unusual airplanes out of some clearance sale-priced Flyzone Sky Hawk parts.

Still deciding on a receiver. I have a presently unused Airtronics 92254 2.4GHz six-channel, but it's slated for a future review project. I may go the 72MHz route with a four-channel Berg Microstamp and dust off my trusty old Hitec Laser 4 in the meantime. If this monstrosity refuses to fly, I'd rather stuff it in with a tiny little Berg than a pricey Airtronics.

This should be fun!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 15, 2012 @ 11:58 PM | 5,236 Views
There is certainly nothing like the sounds, smells and sights of a nitro engine. I remember the first time I flew nitro in a .25 combat plane and from there, I was hooked.

However, I also have a newfound love of modern electrics.

Charge up, plug in and fly. This is especially helpful at one of the places where I fly. That field allows anything and everything electric, but no nitros. My guess is the noise level given the field's proximity to a housing tract.

I can fly anything at that grass field from a simple park flyer up to a high-performance FunJET or 450-class helicopter and not have to mess with pumping in fuel, hooking up the ignitor, starting the engine and tweaking the needle, fun as those tasks may be.

Problem is, all my nitros now need receiver batteries due to lack of use!

On top of that, I don't know what kind of condition my fuel is in.

No matter. As cool as the new electrics are, the nitro birds are going to get some receiver batteries one at a time, starting with my Great Planes Spitfire .25 and going from there. On top of that, I have two nearly completed nitro projects in the wings (no pun intended) and I picked up a good used K&B .45 for a third project simply in need of a new engine. Got that engine from the same fellow I got the project from in the first place and it's one of the sweetest flying birds of any kind in my "hangar."

One thing is for sure: I won't be wiping castor oil off of the FunJET anytime soon.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 11, 2012 @ 08:11 PM | 4,880 Views
All is now well with the Blade 400 after some nurgling around with the throttle curve. In fact, it's never been better. It's now running the HobbyKing HK401 gyro that was originally in the HK 450TT Pro review heli. The 450 in turn now has a terrific Hobbymate gyro I'm in the process of reviewing. The great folks at Horizon Hobby determined that nothing was wrong with the E-flite gyro that an expert heli pilot friend of mine said was working improperly, so they sent it back. I'm torn whether or not to reinstall it on the 400, but for now, I have the HK401 dialed in. Personally, I never had problems with the E-flite gyro, but I like that little 401. It seems to hold the 400's tail better than it did that of the 450.

My friend who sold me the 400 in the first place has a stash of parts and rarely if ever flies his 400, so I asked if he had a set of carbon fiber blades he'd like to sell.

He did. Brand new, still packaged. He also had an aftermarket CF vertical tail fin and a new tail boom.

Which he gave me. The whole megillah. He insisted.

I in turn now owe him lunch, which I hope to do this week. Maybe I'll actually fly it with the CF's before then. For now, I've merely installed them and they look terrific with the blue flame canopy. I'm kind of sorry to see this marvelous helicopter stricken from the Blade lineup, but based on the good stuff I've been reading about the 450 and 450X, Horizon Hobby has made some definite progress.

Lots of busy time with some upcoming reviews of some really great helicopters, not to mention the gyro. Some high-discharge batteries might be coming as well to aid in that review.

Would you believe a 65C discharge rate?

This promises to be good, so stay tuned.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 01, 2012 @ 05:53 PM | 4,818 Views
The E-flite Blade 400 is -or was - a really great helicopter, bumped off its perch of prominence by the Blade 450 and now, the insane Blade 500.

People have been lamenting the stock servos for years; they don't even respond as well as the very affordable, metal-geared Turnigy servos in my HK 450TT Pro.

The forward cyclic servo decided it was going to go blooey a couple of weeks ago. I have more stick time on that 400 than almost anything else I own and I knew soon after liftoff that something wasn't right.

The inevitable crash which was only the fourth one in its history was relatively low speed and from a low altitude, but it wasn't until I started dissecting the thing that I realized there was hidden damage, things like a slightly bent tail boom and a main drive gear with a couple of teeth knocked out.

Money heals all crashes and after a reasonably priced cash infusion, it's back.

Sort of.

I upgraded the firmware in the Castle Creations Phoenix-35 while I was putting everything back together.

So, the ESC has the very latest firmware...and now the throttle curve is completely weirded out. It lifted off just fine, but the head speed wasn't nearly as fast as it should have been. Changing the governor setting helped a bit, but it still lacks that marvelous head speed that an E-flite 440 helicopter motor can generate and has generated in the very recent past.

Tweaking the throttle curve on a DX6i is no big deal, but I have a friend who is, quite...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 18, 2012 @ 06:44 PM | 5,081 Views
Aw, nuts.

The refitted P-51 went up yesterday and for all intents and purposes, the flight was a success.

I was afraid that it would be underpowered, but hoo boy, was I wrong.

She lifted the tail and was off like a rocket. The ailerons were a bit twitchy, but not bad.

It ripped through the sky at 3/4 throttle; full throttle blasts made it nearly ballistic.

Nothing but fun.

I bounced it a bit on the rather springy mains when I touched down and I knew I could do better.

Since the flight was only about two minutes long, up it went once more for a quick trip around the pattern. I was absolutely ecstatic at the results.

Turning from base to final would be the last time that poor little bird would fly.

I suspect the old Zippy battery I used for the test may have given up the ghost with the combination of the 1400Kv motor and 9" prop because it, well, simply kept turning left, augering itself into the clubs helicopter/control line pad. No evidence of any failed servos or control linkages at all.

I had far more time than money into the project, but it was a shame to see what was a castoff return to the air in such a spectacular manner only to fail just as spectacularly.

That leaves the World Models P-51 EP and the brushless Sky Fly 2, both of which are just fine.

I'm going to be phasing out all of my remaining 2200mAh off-brand packs for some 2100mAh Venom packs. Great reviews, multiple plug choices through supplied adapters...and only $20 a pop.

On to the Great Planes Ultimate bipe...
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 12, 2012 @ 05:30 PM | 4,702 Views
...consider putting the stuff over at the classified ad section.

I gave that reborn Blade CP helicopter project my best shot, but alas, it wouldn't fly right. The tail simply wouldn't hold and the instructions with that cheapie little Assan MEMS gyro were useless.

Flew like the proverbial bat on idle up, but again, there were times that the tail wanted to do its own thing.

It finally up and just quit in midair. I don't know if the 2-in-1 blew out, if it just lost the radio signal or what.

All I could do was to watch it slap the ground.

I'm honestly considering putting it up on the classifieds for a few bucks as is less the receiver.

Or, if you're interested in parts for your CP, hey, drop me a PM. I'm looking for an old .46 two-stroke for another project (it was an old but perfectly good plane which blew its Evolution .46), so let's talk.

In better news, the electric conversion of the old .15 P-51 continues. I'm pretty much down to installing a shelf for the battery, hooking up the servos and doing the aileron pushrods.

So, all is not lost after all. Smiley face!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 09, 2012 @ 07:31 PM | 4,411 Views
If you happened to catch my last entry, you may have noticed that my rebuilt The World Models P-51 EP was suffering from motor timing problems.

No mo', Joe.

It went up on Saturday with the new SuperTigre ESC working in perfect harmony with a SuperTigre .10 outrunner and man, was it fun! It's a smoking fast little thing, but no bad habits other than a tendency to climb under power. No biggie. I'll double-check the trim and CG next time out. That motor is the same as in the much larger and heavier Flyzone Switch and it has no trouble whatsoever motivating the little P-51. I used the 1650mAh li-po from my late, lamented Escale A6M5 Zero. Plenty of oomph, but lighter than my E-flite and Flightmax 1800s which I used to set the intial CG on the maiden flight.

The newly brushless Flyzone SkyFly 2 was an oddity. It literally would not take off despite being plenty fast enough to do so.

I remembered a thread over here that discussed the wing's poor angle of attack. Up went the LE of the wing with the aid of a stick between it and the fuselage and sure enough, up went the SF 2! The lighter weight and extra power turned it from a model that wanted to drop like a rock when not under power to a thermal-chasing little monster.

Might have been a bit too much of a stick since it almost didn't want to come down, but I'm about to do a more permanent and less extreme fix thanks to some rectangular basswood stock. So far, I only have $15 into the thing, but it flies so...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 23, 2012 @ 04:47 PM | 4,849 Views
The reborn World Models P-51 is Daddy's new little pumpkin! She flies great, but the timing on the original ESC didn't match up at high throttle. I tried a Castle Creations Phoenix-25 from another model...worked fine. I put the no-name ESC back in that other model...timing issues with that other motor as well. Back went the Castle and off I went to the hobby shop to part with dough.

The timing glitch been solved with a new SuperTigre 30A unit which, of course, matches perfectly with the SuperTigre .10 outrunner. Hasn't flown yet with the new ESC. It will soon.

The E-flite Blade CP/CP Pro/SR hybrid heli shows promise! It wouldn't lift off properly during a test in my garage, resulting in a slightly nicked main blade tip when it made light contact with the sidewall of my car's tire. I had the darn things mounted backwards. The receiver and 2-in-1 weren't tacked down and I had a too-small 500mAh li-po slung under the thing with masking tape, but once the blade issue was fixed, I got it to lift off in my living room! First time in at least two years, too. Twitchy to be sure, but I had it on high rates without realizing it. I'll report back when everything is tacked down and adjusted.

The dusty, musty old .15-powered P-51 electric conversion should be done soon. I'm getting the motor mount and some assorted hardware later today. The motor for the SkyFly2 project is on its way from HobbyKing.

I think I'll post a rogue's gallery photo of these little beasts when they're finished.

UPDATE: The helicopter lives! I hovered it in my front yard a couple of nights ago and fast forward flight is next. Hovering is definitely twitchy with a transmitter lacking expo, but hover it does and it wants to fly! Problem is, the HobbyKing Orange Rx receiver is too large to fit under the canopy, so I'll be going to a spare Spektrum AR6110 soon. I'd hoped to avoid using it, but oh well.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 16, 2012 @ 08:45 PM | 4,641 Views
Things are looking promising for Project Blade CP. The used E-flite 2-in-1 and Blade SR transmitter I got off of eBay work perfectly. It took some nurgling with the DIP switches on the transmitter to get the servos to react properly, but react they do. Still waiting for the gyro, but HobbyKing e-mailed me to say it's on its way. Nine bucks for a MEMS gyro is almost too good to be true. Here's hoping it isn't!

Today marked the return of a rebuilt The World Models P-51 EP electric. I used it in the review of the Airtronics SD-6G radio...and I swapped the Airtronics receiver for another brand.

An intermittent failing elevator pot splashed the P-51 a few months ago; I blamed the problem on a faulty receiver. I didn't know the pot was failing until my beautiful EScale A6M5c Zero, reviewed at Ezonemag.com last year, crashed in much the same way. It, like the P-51, went full down elevator only a week ago. Total loss. That transmitter is now in the shop for a new pot.

Incredibly, the P-51 survived other than the fuselage. The fiberglass cowl suffered some minor damage, but it was still perfectly useable. I broke down and ordered a fuselage, decals and pilot figure from AirBorne Models who were kind enough to send a few other necessary parts as well later at no cost. The reborn version has a SuperTigre .10 outrunner mounted to a modified World Models outrunner-style firewall. It flew perfectly earlier today on a Futaba T6EX and full-range receiver. Only...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 08, 2012 @ 08:30 PM | 4,738 Views
It would seem that I was born with a bit of an ornery streak.

When I was a kid, I remember my teachers complaining about how I wouldn't follow directions. Drove my folks nuts, too.

Time, maturity and wisdom have made me a much better Do-Bee, thanks.

Or not.

I am, against all professional advice from a team-sponsored R/C helicopter pilot, resurrecting a real monstrosity.

I learned to fly helis on an E-flite Blade CP, one of the first ever. I still have what was a dusty, unused carcass now being converted back to a helicopter. Blade CP's don't stay factory original for long. There isn't an original part left on the thing except for two of the S75 analog servos.

A couple of years ago, I tried a conversion I'd found online, namely that of a GWS tail motor to replace the geared micro motor. Think of it as a poor man's CP Pro.

Worked great...for about fifteen seconds. Motor went blooey, helicopter pirouetted in. So, I bought a Blade SR tail motor, prop and assorted hardware.

Nope. That motor spun too fast for the old 4-in-1 module and I think I may have burned out the module during the attempt.

What I was left with was an airframe with a lot of new parts, lightly flown parts and aftermarket upgrades, including a new canopy, a rebuilt Bell-Hiller head, a brushless main motor operated through an interface hooked into the stock 4-in-1 and one of the first ever sets of SuperSkids. I even upgraded it with an aluminum swashplate along the way.

This little Walkera-...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 10, 2012 @ 07:41 PM | 4,772 Views
It took a bit of doing via different internet vendors and a bit of shopping at the local hobby shop, but the 450TT is back together and, I daresay, better than ever.

Oddly enough, a genuine Align tail boom fit poorly - it was too tight a fit - and didn't look as good as the original. Hobby King was sold out of the "Mighty Morphin Power Ranger" canopies, hardly surprising at less than three bucks a pop compared to $23 for a fiberglass Align unit...which also didn't seem to fit as well.

I found a domestic source for the parts including the canopy, namely Xheli.com. They had the the EXI brand parts for just a little more than Hobby King. OK, so the tail boom now says "EXI-HOBBY." Whee.

So, my little clone is now sporting some Align goodies, namely the torque tube, mainshaft, feathering shaft, feathering shaft dampers and skids, which are now white instead of black. Makes a BIG difference in the air. Looks classy, too.

All else is well, except overtightening the the prop retainer nuts on the quadcopter after losing one (nearly $20 to replace it with tax and shipping) caused two of the the props to fail as I was taking off. Solution: APC slow-flyer props! Normal rotation, reverse rotation.

I have some quad props from another mail order source on the way, but for now, the quad flies great on the APC's with a little bit of help from the brass bushings on the original props.

Until next time...have fun flying!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 24, 2012 @ 08:20 PM | 4,443 Views
I really need to blog more often.

When last we met last summer, I told you of a couple of projects. Status: Unchanged. I've been busy hobby-wise helping out around here with reviews of some really fine hobby products. That little Cessna is trimmed out and flying right as well.

I had to put the brakes on my flying for awhile due to cataracts which snuck up on me. At age 50, yet. Those may have been what cost me my wonderful World Models P-40 Warhawk. I mentioned that a few posts back. Anyway, the eyeballs are nicely rebuilt and my distance vision is darn near bionic. The implants don't focus like natural lenses, so I have to use dollar store "cheater" reading glasses up close. Small price to pay, believe me. I must have put a good thirty flights on the HK450TT Pro I reviewed but couldn't fly because of the cataracts. Had its first crash a couple of weeks ago.

It's going back together with a combination of Align and Hobby King parts, but certain key parts from HK remain on backorder.

Thanks to a rather well-heeled friend, I and several others in the group we got together to descend upon the AMA walked out with shiny new quadcopters! What a fascinating branch of the hobby! You haven't seen anything until you see an autonomous quad fly itself via GPS. My new quad isn't one of those, but I fear seeing that GPS and R/C machine may have sparked a real interest.

Talk to you sooner than later!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 15, 2011 @ 06:43 PM | 5,719 Views
One thing I discovered about the souped-up Flyzone Cessna I last blogged about is that the thing is most assuredly not an aerobat.

I discovered that banking it too far will send it straight into the ground. Ouch.

However, I liked the overall results so well that I went ahead and bought the new fuselage, cowl, decals and prop needed to get it airborne again. It flies even better on a smaller 1000mAh pack a opposed to the 1300...and besides, I had no other real use for the 1000's I had on hand. They now have a nice, new home in the Cessna.

I continue to have an absolute blast with the E-flite Blade mSR micro heli I got last Christmas, so much so that I've already worn out two batteries! I can even fly it outdoors if it's calm enough.

Two more orphaned "el freebos" have taken up residence in my garage. One is a new-old, assembled but unflown Global Hobby Raven .61 with an extra wing! The manual has a copyright date of 1995, no servos have ever been mounted and the cowl remains uncut. I just happen to have everything I need to complete it and get it flying. Ditto the Great Planes Ultimate .46 which has been on again-off again for awhile.

The other is a big .91 Kato sport flyer that looks like a Super Sportster. The tail section is damaged but easily fixed, the canopy is damaged and the pilot figure is definitely in need of replacement. Its a cut-down Rambo action figure complete with machete. It has some ancient Futaba servos I've yet to test, but no engine. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to use for a canopy; perhaps a cut-down Sig or service part from Hangar 9 or a similar brand. Still deciding what to do with this big ol' thing.

Not much else to yak about, but I'll try and blog again sooner than later. See ya!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 02, 2011 @ 01:35 AM | 6,673 Views
Some years back, I picked up a ready-to-fly Flyzone Cessna Skylane 182 foamie.

Nice scale looks, ready to fly, what could be better?

Unfortunately, it suffered from being a bit too heavy and prone to tip stalling. After replacing such things as the nose gear straps on the non-steerable nose gear as well as most of the airframe over time, the brushed 380 motor and Ni-Mh batteries kinda called it quits. Ditto a gimbal on the transmitter.

So, the poor thing languished in the garage for quite a long time after that. I didn't really want to part with a complete four-channel airframe, even one which had seen better days.

My idea was to eventually update the power system with a brushless outrunner and li-po battery.

The 2011 AMA would help with the Cessna's rebirth. It was there I found a booth selling inexpensive, no-name power systems. The young man who ran the booth was rather knowledgeable about his product and sold me a 1450Kv outrunner, 18-amp ESC, an APC-style prop and prop collet, all for twenty bucks.

Later that week, out came the rubber band-secured 380 and its cradle (and the dry-rotted rubber band itself) and in went the outrunner with the aid of an E-flite stick mount and firewall stick adapter trimmed to allow the cowl to fit. A Du-Bro 1/2A steerable nosewheel went in as well. A 1300mAh 30C 3S li-po I already had fit just fine with Velcro once I removed the bottom of the battery tray as viewed from underneath. That mount and firewall was a...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 03, 2011 @ 08:41 PM | 6,211 Views
...ask for help.

Case in point: Two young gentlemen whom I met with some recently acquired Christmas presents, namely a couple of RTF foamies.

I was out getting video for a review I'm doing for "E Zone" when these two fellows walked by on their way to an alternate field next to where I was flying and asked (and properly so) about what frequency I was on. I was on spread spectrum, they were on 27 MHz and 72 MHz.

In any event, they'd explained that they had just gotten the models and that they were looking forward to trying them out. Ah, says I. Had you flown them yet? Well...not really. We're kinda sorta expecting to crash them.

Uh-oh. Would they like a bit of help?

No, thanks.

After finishing up the video and doing a bit of flying with the review subject, I decided to check on my new friends.

Sure as heck, both rudder-steered models had been augered in from too much rudder input. Making things interesting was the fact that one of the models had its wing mounted facing the wrong way. Somehow, it actually managed to fly with a reversed airfoil.

I took the opportunity to tell them about the full-time local club and the informal club which meets Saturdays at the field we were at; help, as I told them, would be abundant no matter where they chose to fly. To me, a lot of the fun is in helping new flyers. Heaven knows I got the same kind of assistance when I was learning and I'm just passing on the experience.

So, as we begin the new year with innumerable new electric RTFs taking to the skies, I'd like to take this moment to encourage you new flyers to seek help (which will save you some serious bread on replacement parts) and you grizzled vets to make yourselves available for a brain picking session or two.

Sharing is what makes any hobby great, after all.

Happy New Year.