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DismayingObservation's blog
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 22, 2007 @ 03:50 PM | 2,530 Views
As of exactly noon local time, Project Zero was finally completed! Man, that cowl was work!

In any event, all that's left to do is to fill the fuel tank, check the CG, plug in the receiver and reinstall the battery. I simply couldn't resist bolting on the wing so that I could photograph the plane and share the news.

Oh, and I will of course be rejoining the AMA at my earliest convenience. I really want to take advantage of the local club!

If anyone has the November '06 edition of Model Aviation, the club has a featured article since it hosted a statewide turbine meet. You'll agree it'll be worth the $15 a month to play there.

Enjoy the photos!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 20, 2007 @ 02:41 PM | 2,766 Views
Since all of the airframe repairs were made to my Project Zero some time ago, the rest is comparatively straightforward.

However, I promised pix of the ongoing work and pix there shall be.

I can see why everyone raves about O.S. engines, including the guy at the hobby shop. Using the opportunity to not only rest my sprained ankle but to do some of the easier tasks necessary to finish the job, I soldered up a Sullivan Gold-N-Rod throttle cable and proceeded to do the preliminary break-in.

What a magnificent piece of engineering this .25 FX is!

I broke it in with a 9x6 prop but I'll be flying on a 10x5 since the 9" looks mighty small against the cowl. One of the freebies I was given along with the plane itself was a Master Airscrew 10x5. Lucked out on that one. Even with the 9x6 up front, that fuselage wanted to practically explode off of the field box. This engine is smooth, powerful, easy to start and is built like a Swiss watch.

It's down to only this:
  • Final trimming, painting and filling of extra holes in the cowl

    Drilling the access holes in the cowl for the mixture screw and glow plug

    Mounting the "Fueldot" fuel filler

    Double-checking the CG

I have a feeling this is going to be one fun ride.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 17, 2007 @ 07:14 PM | 2,456 Views
While it's true that those of us who fiddle with R/C models occasionally get bitten by them (and I have scars on my right forearm to prove it), I may be one of the first...if not the first...to twist an ankle because of a model plane.

Thought I'd fly the combat plane one last time before dissecting it in order to add the landing gear. So, I wound up to do a "Hail Mary" throw with the thing...one, two, three steps forward...and my right foot came down wrong on a clump of crabgrass. Might have been the same clump that hung up the P-47 on landing the other day.

Time to do some weeding. Sweet revenge.

I almost forgot: I've mounted the new engine on "Project Zero," but hoo boy, do I still have a lot of work to do.

The engine is mounted on its new nylon mount in exactly the same place that the thing would have been mounted on the wooden mounts, but I had to trim the fuse to clear the muffler and (sadly) had to cut open one whole side of the cowl to accomodate same. After all that work to repair it, too. Thought I was gonna cry. Oh, I knew I'd have to trim that part, but it didn't make it any easier.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 16, 2007 @ 08:38 PM | 2,459 Views
...unless you have to disassemble everything to make it right.

For instance:

The E-flite P-47 just got itself a new wing after three months of waiting. The factory told me that they were backordered. So, I've been tooling hither and yon across the sky with a wing that was damaged on its second flight by one of those dangblasted vinyl servo covers coming loose in flight. P-47 owners, you can no doubt relate.

Yesterday, sure as heck, one new cover popped off the new wing. Lost it in the field, but at least the wing didn't get damaged. Again:

Thankfully, I had a near-new spare with the double-sided tape intact, so on it went with a bit of Zap-a-Dap to help hold it down.

Naturally, the covers will have to come off. The adhesive holding the landing gear blocks are letting go after only two landings. They're impossible to remove when new. A little bit of impact is all it takes to loosen them.

So...why in HECK does that factory insist on doing stuff like that? In their attempt to save building time, the opposite is happening instead since each and every factory adhesive bond in that plane is substandard. The instructions even hint to that fact, suggesting that all hinges and the motor mount stick be checked. Naturally, they come right off in your hand, necessitating a cleanup of the old "gorilla snot" adhesive and reattachment of the part.

Result: Double the build time.

I hope that I can get that cover with the contact cement off without much trouble.

Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 15, 2007 @ 05:41 PM | 2,437 Views
No, I'm not predicting the apocalypse. Really.

It's just that I have everything I need to complete "Project Zero!" It's been a long and piecemeal process...a little bit here, a little bit there...but I expect this little sport plane to be back in the air within the next week.

To recap: "Project Zero" is a new "Zero Fighter 25S" ARF. A friend of mine bought it online through, I believe, nitroplanes.com. That's the only online source I could find, by the way. Anyway, he put it together with electric power and proceeded to clip another plane in midair a few seconds into its maiden flight. Rather than repair the exceedingly light damage, he elected to simply order another ARF. He gave me the damaged plane less electronics (but with the brand new, unused fuel tank) this past May. My plans were to rebuild it with glow power since the model can be equipped either way, and so I have. I've been working on it a little bit at a time since then, repairing damage to the wing, the internal structure of the fuselage, the canopy and the engine cowl. There was some damage done to the tail after the crash when something was dropped on it. That may have been the proverbial back-breaking straw. I've also been documenting the progress here on this blog.

So, the countdown has begun! Once this is done, I plan to hit my next project which will be my first kit. A Hobby Lobby Mini Telemaster waits patiently in my closet.

All told, this whole affair has set me back maybe $200, most of which went toward the engine and fuel. Not bad at all.

Stay tuned!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 13, 2007 @ 06:53 PM | 2,563 Views
You know, there's something very satifying in taking a discarded machine and bringing it back to life.

I gotta tell ya: I'm feeling mighty satisfied right about now.

Burned much midnight oil last night without realizing it in my attempt to fully free up the crank and carb of a really old and completely gummed up Veco 19 that a gentleman had given me.

Once assembled with a glow plug, the compression felt like that of a new engine. Lots of bite.

So, I used my .25 combat plane fuselage as a test bench this morning, fueled it up, fired up the glow plug...and darned if it didn't run even without a pressurized tank.

FYI, the tank had to have some sort of ventilation. Woudn't run at all when I plugged off the line I normally use for pressure.

It doesn't like being run lean, it really doesn't like to idle (although it may be because the exhaust port is closing too far) and it's sputtering a bit on the top end. It also wants to flame out after about half a minute; I suspect that the carb gasket is contributing. That missing carb setscrew might be contributing as well. I couldn't really adjust the mixture screw when it was running since it happens to be on the same side as the exhaust port. Owie. I didn't pull the pressure line off of the tank, so the engine might have been "sucking through a straw," as it were.

What I do know is this: An engine that likely dates back to the Kennedy administration (or earlier) and which languished in a box of junk for heaven knows how many years (or decades) is a viable, operating machine once more.

There may very well be a vintage project in that engine's near future.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 13, 2007 @ 12:41 AM | 2,383 Views
I just can't leave well enough alone.

Here I was, all ready to incorporate an old Veco 19 as part of a wallhanging, when I decided to start tinkering with the thing.

Before leaving on vacation, I'd managed to get the crank to turn (albeit not too well) and I also managed to free up the exhaust baffle.

Tonight, I got serious.

Off came the top of the head and off came the carb. Some electric motor spray, WD-40 and VB penetrating lube freed the crank from its sludgy prison. Turns nice and easy.

Best part is, the internals look to be in great shape.

Even with key parts removed, the pop-suck-pop of that little engine was nice and strong. There's no scoring in the cylinder, no play in the crank bushings and the piston looks good as well as viewed through the exhaust baffle. There was a bit of crud on the top of the piston, but only a bit. Maybe someone wanted to upgrade to a .25, so this .19 just got set aside.

So far, the only hangups are the carb and one of the carb's setscrews. The carb has been dissected and is currently in the opening phases of a two-day spa treatment in VB penetrating oil. Like the old O.S. that I just resurrected, the throttle barrel is stuck at WOT. As far as the setscrew is concerned...I lost it! Somewhere between the back of the house and the front yard, one of those original parts was lost. I can easily replace it, but it's the thought of losing an original part that steams my fleckmans.

Here's where you Veco...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 10, 2007 @ 02:13 AM | 2,408 Views
Tell you all what: Ten days in Hawaii is enough to mellow even the most messed-up mind. Kinda like mine was before I left. I may post a picture or two. First time there; it won't be the last.

Still, it was nice to return to the toys.

I went to the indie hobby shop today to order up a new O.S. .25 FX for "Project Zero" and I bought a few small items it needs in order to be finished.

Now, when they say to "measure twice and cut once," they aren't kidding.

I bought a beautiful combination power switch and battery charger receptacle made by JR. It may be beautiful, but it sure as heck is big. No place to mount it on the inside where it won't be seen and it'll ruin the scale effect on the outside. On top of all that, it would have made that small space in the fuselage even smaller. The factory cutout is for a very small switch. The JR goes back tomorrow and I'll apply the store credit toward the engine.

I also discovered that the wooden engine/motor mounts from the factory are too wide for a .25 engine. I'm glad that I had the foresight to remove the old O.S. Max FP .25 from the homebuilt combat plane I was given to use as a mock-up. Looks like I'll be adding an off-the-shelf nylon mount after all. The plane's instruction manual is downright useless as more than a basic guide for mounting the engine. I just need to get 105mm between the firewall and the back of the prop and all should be well. The slots on the firewall for the...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 26, 2007 @ 06:16 PM | 2,531 Views
Well, I can take another project off my to-do list.

The RC10GT went back together last night and got driven this afternoon. It started with a couple of tugs of the pull start and only needed some minor adjustments of the idle and throttle trim. It went screaming down the street faster than I recall it ever having run, trailing that wonderful nitro exhaust flume behind it. Ran a tank of fuel through it and I was smiling the whole time. I thought it best to run it without the body for testing purposes, but that's a small gripe.

That was a nice feeling; it made up for a minor mishap with my P-47.

It caught a clump of crabgrass upon landing out at the field this morning which yanked off the right landing gear wheel. When the tail slammed back down, it broke the elevator.

Oh, well. A bit of glue and the elevator's good as new. I had a spare wheel spacer on hand from my crashed P-47 (I'd lost the original at the field) and I installed a couple of proper metal wheel retainers while I was at it. Lost the little black plastic wheel retainer, too. This isn't a biggie since I'd been meaning to lose the plastic retainers anyway.

Taking things easy for a couple of weeks. "Project Zero" will be completed soon afterwards and the old combat plane will be wearing landing gear from an E-flite Mini Brio plus a DU-BRO tail skid since I'm tired of having to restart the engine after every landing. I'm also picking up a couple of 7.2v ni-cad packs and a machine-wound modified motor for my old and long-unused Team Losi LX-T truck which had been modified for onroad before I even bought it. In fact, it was a record holder at the track it used to race at and it drives like it's on rails. See you all soon!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 24, 2007 @ 06:22 PM | 2,599 Views
Ah, what a wonder this internet thing is.

A bit of research regarding the starting and running problems an RC10GT RTR has been suffering turned up some interesting causes.

Chief among those is fuel tubing.

Now, I know that the stuff doesn't last forever. Just look at my last post; I seemed to know it then. To reiterate, it doesn't last that long and all it takes are a couple of microscopic pinholes to develop while running to cause the whole schmutz to come to a screeching halt. Who'd a-thunk that?

New fuel tubing: Check.

Nitro guy at the local hobby shop pointed out a little something on that engine that I hadn't noticed, specifically a bit of grunge around the base of the carb which escaped the blast of cleaning spray. Bad o-ring? Possibly.

New o-rings throughout dissected carb: Check.

I'm taking no chances with that old fuel tank. I don't know if the fuel residue that was in it means either a leak or a deteriorated filler cap seal, but I figure a new tank is cheap insurance.

New tank: Out of stock at local hobby shop; checking franchised shop on the morrow.

Engine is ready to go back in. Report forthcoming!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 23, 2007 @ 06:08 PM | 2,503 Views
In my last post, I mentioned that the videocassette shipped with my son's Team Associated RC10GT RTR said that the engine could be started from underneath with an airplane starter against the flywheel.

Owner of the local hobby shop said he tried that routine. Doesn't work.

On the other hand, I'm inclined to take a closer look at a Sullivan Tiger Drive starter. Since my son has a rather powerful Dewalt cordless drill that would spin that little engine rather nicely, I think that might be the economical way to go as opposed to a starter box, but we'll see.

This doesn't immediately solve my starting and running problems, though.

Last night, I pulled the engine and set everything exactly to the factory recommendations. Once I either tighten up or replace the flywheel and put everything back together, I'll at least have a baseline reference to go by.

As a result of all this nitro noodling, I did some R/C Zen this morning. Found my center with some electric flight. Banged sticks with the Blade CP and then I put the P-47 Thunderbolt through its paces. I even managed to loop the chopper...but ain't no way I'll try that again anytime soon without symmetrical blades. Very, um, dramatic. Fun, though. Nice and clean as well. Not as fast as that little .25 combat plane, but nice and clean.

Oh, and after doing a bit more research, the problem might be ridiculously simple: Silicone fuel tubing has a tendency to develop pinholes, sometimes really tiny ones. Engine temp goes up, fuel level goes down, bye bye pressure.

Cheap fix and I was going to buy some anyway since I wasn't too happy with the condition of the tubing that was on the truck when I started in.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 23, 2007 @ 01:22 AM | 2,399 Views
With all the fun I've had as of late bringing two long-neglected nitro models back to roaring and thunderous life, I decided to roll up my sleeves and attack yet another nitro project that got kicked to the corner a long time ago...and it isn't even mine.

In today's spotlight, one out-of-production Team Associated RC10GT RTR, complete with blister-inducing pull start.

Now, before I continue, if you ever wish to see the most amateurish video production ever produced for enclosure with a world-class product, get hold of the videocassette of Cliff Lett and Gene Husting explaining how to tune the engine. The jump cuts alone are worth the price of admission. I endured it last night before attempting to play with the truck today.

My wife and I gave this to our son about three Christmases ago as a way of making up for the fiasco he'd endured trying to get his Savage 25 running properly (see an earlier post to learn of its fate). He's since moved out but has expressed no real desire for me to send the RC10 his way. In fact, he'd like me to keep it here since he has no room in his new place.

Wonderful. Another orphan.

The issue with this little monster is typical: It starts, it runs, it stalls and becomes impossible to restart even though it doesn't appear to be overheating. As a result, this truck has logged very little runtime.

So, off came the fuel tank with its old, stale fuel sloshing at the bottom and out came the nitro car spray cleaner. Truck is...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 22, 2007 @ 04:07 PM | 2,180 Views
I just got back from the usual Sunday fly-in. Not a huge turnout since a few folks are on vacation, but I did meet a couple of new "members" of our little "club."

This was a tattooed and very friendly father and son duo who were given a well-used and crashed Global Hobbies Right Flyer .40 trainer with accessories. They did an admirable job of getting it back together, but oh, what a strange looking little bird it was in its spray-painted blue and silver livery. With hand-drawn flames at the nose, yet.

Poor guys were trying to get the engine started but to no avail. They claimed that it ran fine at home, but not even so much as a sputter at the field.

The electric drill they were using to spin the prop was rather low on juice as were all of their glow ignitors. I gave the prop a spin and I have to tell you, there wasn't a whole heck of a lot of compression biting back.

Keep in mind that they brought the plane to the field in pretty much the condition they got it. This wouldn't be so alarming if not for the fact that the radio wasn't hooked up properly. I noticed this when working the throttle...and it was working backwards. "Do you prefer to fly with the throttle lever reversed like this," asked I.

"No, that's the way we got it," was the reply.

Twiddling other levers revealed that the ailerons were on channel four and the rudder on channel one. Only the elevator was responding properly.

As it turned out,...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 21, 2007 @ 01:55 AM | 2,588 Views
Good news: I replaced the firewall on my old homebuilt .25 combat plane. Some 1/2" basswood, some dope and I'm good to go. Best of all, I still have plenty of wood to make plenty of firewalls!

Bad news: I briefly succumbed to the siren song of Wikipedia.

Morbid curiosity got the better of me the other day so I swung by my old user page and talk page, both locked out from editing by anyone other than an administrator, which I no longer am.

Trouble is, bots can edit protected pages.

Not three days prior to my arrival, a bot left a message on the talk page regarding an image I'd uploaded ages ago. For the record, it was of a ParkZone Fw-190 park flyer. At one time, a promotional photo was considered fair use. Nowadays, only the site's lawyers know for sure.

The only way for me to have that notice removed was to contact the person responsible for the bot.

Since I removed my e-mail from my profile, the only way I could do it was to leave message on the user's talk page.

Sweet mother, I was about to edit Wikipedia.

Thankfully, the user in question was an old online acquaintance and he happily agreed to remove the bot notice. Since one good turn deserved another, I actually fixed a couple of errors on a couple of articles and told him so.

Felt pretty good to do so.

Oops. Mistake number one.

Earlier today, I went to the site and made mistake number two, namely looking at the new pages entries.

One particularly idiotic tome caught...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 19, 2007 @ 09:50 PM | 2,197 Views
I hope you can relate when I say that I really enjoy my R/C goodies. After an absence of close to ten years, it took a HobbyZone Firebird Commander to reignite the flame and to lead me to the incomparable thrill of putting a model in the air instead of just along the ground.

Yup, I'm hooked. But good.

Only one thing is missing in all of this.

Building a plane.

From a kit or from scratch.

Everything I've had until now has been an ARF or an RTF. So, I bought a brand-new Hobby Lobby Mini Telemaster off one of the guys at the field.

It'll be a nice little three-channel when it's through and it'll give me an opportunity to put a couple of 1500mAh 3S lipos back in the air.

Better still, I'll finally immerse myself into what's probably the most important and oft-neglected facet of the hobby as of late.

My $30 (what he paid less the shipping charge) got me a narrow cardboard box full of balsa sticks and sheets. Yup, I paid $30 for a pre-crashed model airplane, I did.

I can't wait to break out the glue.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 19, 2007 @ 03:38 PM | 2,279 Views
Wow, what a difference eleven short days make.

Eleven days ago, I posted a blog entry regarding a long-unused HPI Savage 25 which suffered from one engine problem after another both from HPI and Team Orion.

The new Wasp 28 is finally tuned and ready. I may have to experiment a bit with the idle speed, but I'm not complaining.

I could have, though.

The young gentleman at the hobby shop who dialed it in called to tell me of yet another bad one-way bearing in the Roto-Start. He offered to remove the engine, clean it up and hopefully get it running.

It was slipping when I got it back this past weekend and boy, am I glad it was.

If that engine actually ran, it probably would have gone flying off the chassis. All four hold-down bolts were loose and sans Loctite. So were the bolts holding the Roto-Start. Apologies and store credit from the store owner and all is now well.

Picked up a new one-way yesterday; bolted the engine back in last night and drove it this morning out in front of the house. An entire tank's worth of driving. Success!!!

The tech may have been a bit lax in reattaching the engine, but boy, he sure did get it running.

Today, for the first time ever, I actually took the thing out to an open area (namely the same abandoned turf farm I fly my planes and chopper at) and turned it loose. I had the Blade CP with me...and I never once flew it.

I was having too much fun flying all over the desert with the Savage.

About time,...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 18, 2007 @ 06:53 PM | 2,138 Views
Thank goodness that at least one of the two hobby shops in my area has a full-time airplane guy behind the counter, namely the owner.

Don't get me wrong; I spread my limited wealth among both. It's just that one store has guys who are more oriented toward cars than aircraft, save for a part-timer who also happens to be president of the area's lone R/C flying club.

Looks as if my answer to my disintegrated wood firewall will be in the form of 1/2" basswood which I'll cut and drill to fit and then paint with the dope I used on the cowl of "Project Zero."

I have to admit now that I have tasted the nectar of nitro, I have found it to be good.

Flew the E-flite Thunderbolt today for the first time since I first started playing with the .25-powered homebuilt combat plane. Plenty of power, plenty of fun...but it just didn't have the punch of my "flying fencepost."

No prob. Once I make that new firewall, the nitro madness will resume, presumably unabated!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 17, 2007 @ 08:38 PM | 2,210 Views


The combat plane is really showing its age. The fuselage, being made of PVC, will likely last until the crack of doom. The coroplast wing has some cracks in the corrugation, but those were already there when I got the plane. Need to figure out how to fix 'em.

The firewall, however, is somewhat more organic being made out of plywood.

Old, fuel-soaked, desert-dried-in-a-garage-for-years plywood.

Out in the field, the firewall almost popped out during a routine landing earlier today. Man, I had that plane dialed in. Way too much fun.

However, the firewall wasn't cooperating no matter what I did with the screwdriver.

Got it home, took it off the fuse and the firewall immediately began delaminating and crumbling in my hand.

This would normally be no big thing. Trouble is, I have no woodworking tools to speak of.

I shall improvise. That little plane is too much fun and I'm resisting the urge to sacrifice the engine for "Project Zero." I want to put a fresh engine in that plane. It turned out way too nice!

BTW, if there are any combat fighters out there with a similar setup (see the photos a few posts below), I'm open for suggestions.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 12, 2007 @ 09:26 PM | 2,081 Views
Things are moving fast, so I thought I'd update my last update, as it were. So, grab a cold one and relax.

I really should have left well enough alone with the Savage. Three tuning screws are proving to be troublesome, even for someone with more experience than I have. I've been asked to rest assured that it'll be running OK by tomorrow. I suspect a bad exhaust manifold gasket m'self. It's the same one that was on the old engine. I've asked him to change it out.

Ah, but the combat plane...

I stayed up last night setting up the radio. Off to the field I went early this morning, not knowing quite what to expect. For a small plane, it looks kind of cumbersome with its plywood firewall and three full-sized servos.

I assure you, it's anything but.

Once I got a troublesome fuel pump to, well, pump, I fired up that old O.S., pointed it into the wind and gave it a toss.

It may have well been shot from a cannon despite the fact it was running rich with a really old glow plug.

I've only been involved with electric aircraft until now; my second gas plane was the first in the air, beating out "Project Zero."

The fun factor of this plane was off the scale. It was considerably faster than my full-house E-flite P-47D Thunderbolt despite weighing probably five times as much. It also did some really outrageous and insanely tight manuevers the P-47 could only dream of. I did an accidental snap roll about six feet off the ground but a bit of...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 11, 2007 @ 06:39 PM | 2,147 Views
Well, all is not wine and roses with the Savage and its Orion heart transplant, at least not yet. I knew that this engine would be a bit difficult to tune and my pal at the hobby shop agrees. Thankfully, he's had more experience than I with Orion engines, so he's promised to dial it in for me. Man, when that engine's running reasonably good on the top end and that transmission shifts to high, that truck is genuinely frightening. Anything that'll squeeze its tires with centrifugal/centripetal force just like a full-scale top fuel dragster is worthy of respect while in operation.

Which leads me to this musing: Why can't this engine be as easy to run as an O.S. Max?

That little Max FP .25 engine was started today for the first time in literally years. This is the one that was given to me along with the homebuilt combat plane it was mounted to (see photos in an earlier post). Since the muffler gaskets did in fact come in yesterday, I figured what the heck. In went the new fuel tank, on went the lines.

It started and ran to near perfection with one brief blip of the starter. On an old glow plug, yet. A few minor tweaks of the air bleed screw and it really does run perfectly. I am genuinely impressed.

One thing's for sure: I am definitely putting an O.S. in "Project Zero."