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Old Jul 20, 2011, 11:14 AM
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Dudley Dufort's Avatar
Rio Linda, CA
Joined Feb 2010
119 Posts
Thanks to everyone who took an interest in this dialog. I've seen a lot of good ideas.

Everyone seems to agree that an immediate and aggressive response to a lost plane is crucial. Time is of the essence, as they say.

I like Dean's crow idea. Flaps down and ailerons up would reduce air speed which is, most often, the nemesis of lost planes. That makes sense to me.

Most of us only use flaps for landings. The problem with the flap stick is that we have down elevator programmed as compensation for the additional lift generated. When the plane is haulin' ass in a dive, the flap stick is often the nail in the coffin. Excessive air speed prevents the flaps from deploying but the elevator still works. The down elevator compensation exacerbates an ugly situation.

Dean also suggested full up elevator and full rudder deflection. I'm going to start with crow, then introduce the rudder and elevation into the mix during flight testing at our club field.

It would be nice to be able to put a "Lost Plane" configuration into a "flight mode". A fool proof spring switch on the transmitter would prevent inadvertent activation. Does anyone know if the "Trainer" button on the JR 9xxx series can be assigned to a "Flight Mode?

To those who've flown both the SBXC and MXC, do you think the same "Lost Plane" configuration would work for both?

Dudley
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Old Jul 20, 2011, 01:07 PM
Happy on 72
USA, CA, Santa Clarita
Joined Jul 2005
494 Posts
I assume if the 9303 can be programmed for a handlaunch preset using the trainer button, you should be able to create an "emergency" preset as well. Check out this thread for ideas:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...+launch+preset

Mike
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Old Jul 20, 2011, 02:06 PM
slope'n the Colombian Andes
ShredAir's Avatar
Colombia, Antioquia, Girardota
Joined Mar 2001
4,679 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudley Dufort View Post
Excessive air speed prevents the flaps from deploying but the elevator still works.
Yikes! I was assuming we use servos which are up to the task in these airframes. But I forgot, that on the MXC, flaps move down only about 40 degrees, so full-crow deployment may not slow the plane all that much.

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 11:53 AM
Registered User
Canada, NS, Yarmouth
Joined Jan 2008
119 Posts
full crow with rudder :)

I program full crow with some rudder as my failsafe and it seemed to work well.

I am always worried about a fly away and then you end up with a projectile that weighs a few pounds and can travel at well over a 100km/h.

I was never sure how well it would work, but had a 3meter glider go into failsafe and it just settled into a nice slow decent while turning to the left. After 30seconds connection was re-established and I landed ASAP. Turned out to be a problem with my Tx module. If it worked for a 3m it should work for the larger XC planes too.

Has anybody tried using an autopilot like the guys who do FPV flying?



Frans
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 04:28 AM
launch high, go fast
luvF3b's Avatar
Australia, TAS, Devonport
Joined May 2008
152 Posts
I don't fly XC, I fly F3b, but on more than one occasion I have lost my model too. I thought I would share at least one story.

The most memorable experience was flying in Switzerland at the F3b WC's, with a heavy storm cell approaching. In thermal, we try to maximise the climb rate...big mistake this time. The micro burst from the storm was blowing wind away from the cell, and up the alps. In 30 seconds of circling I had gained about 1200m, with the model starting to disappear in cloud

I dumped the thermal camber on the wing and tried to fly out of the lift. I couldn't...it was everywhere! On penetrating 750m across the sky I made a small course correction with ailerons- the model rolled 720 in half a second

I commented to my callers - "I need to slow this thing down - I need to come down! Perhaps I need to pull crow?" Immediate advice was NO, You'll rip the flaps off. I pulled up into cloud base, counted 8 seconds, pulled up for half a second then pulled crow. With the model just visible amongst the murkiness of the cloud base, I pushed into a vertical dive with crow out. The model was going BACKWARDS into the cloud

Figured I could get rid of crow, and dive for around 8 seconds before the model reached VNE. That burned around 4-500m of height and brought it comfortably below cloud base.

All of this happened within the first 2 minutes of a 10 minute thermal duration task. It took the next 8 minutes to get down!

The final approach on landing I got hit with hail from the storm cell, and could hear it rattling off the wings. Drove the model into the spot, got my 1m landing and exactly 10:00 minutes and ran off the field saturated (Not sure if it was rain or sweat!)

After the flight, a well known German pilot commented - "Yah, it is easy to get 10 minutes in those conditions, no?"

Definately the most amazing thermal flight I have had in 28 years of flying.

Lessons - when loosing sight of the model, trust your instincts. When flying at extreme speed be VERY careful about control deflections. Dont apply crow unless safe to do so. Probably more important - don't get into that situation in the first place.

It took 2 hours for my heart beat to settle down.

Respect the power of the atmosphere!!!!

John
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Old Sep 01, 2011, 02:43 PM
Thermaholic Homoslopian
fuzzchucker's Avatar
Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa
Joined Dec 2003
41 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by flystoolow View Post
I think these $2000+ birds need a switch activated 4' droque chute on a releaseable tether...for the times when 30 seconds pass without a sighting.

Of course that would add an extra 6 oz and cost an extra $4...but hey, insurance isn't cheap.
Your drogue chute idea got me thinking I've attended a couple of high power rocket launch days as a spectator and been amazed at the heights these babies attain

When the rocket reaches it's apex a mercury switch triggers the drogue chute with a small explosive charge which gives the rocket a controlled decent to a pre-programmed height where the main chute is then deployed to bring the rocket down safely and without damage.

Problem is these drogue chutes are fairly small and difficult to spot when the rocket is already out of sight before it reaches it's apex. To overcome this they put about a cup of talcum powder in the same section the chute is housed in so when it is deployed you get a big puff of "smoke" to help you pinpoint the rocket.

Surely this can be safely adapted (without the use of the drogue of course) to work on a "panic" switch from your TX The trick is where to put the charge and the talcum powder container (small plastic bag?) that it doesn't stick out in the airflow on your nice clean model....

Hmmm, what about using one of those smoke cannisters they use in model airshows or even a home made smoke bomb....

If someone can develop any of these ideas into a viable solution I'll share patent rights with them....

Cheers,
Izak
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Old Sep 01, 2011, 08:37 PM
Happy on 72
USA, CA, Santa Clarita
Joined Jul 2005
494 Posts
I've been thinking about a drogue chute for quite some time as well. I don't think you would need powder for sighting since the chute area would be large enough to spot if it was sufficient for a 3m glider. I was thinking of a spring loaded hatch that would eject the chute in case of emergency. The other question would be to decide when to activate it. A switch based activation assumes you have radio contact. An automatic system would have to be designed so it didn't deploy automatically on launch. Ideally, you might have a system that would know when your tx has lost contact AND when your plane reached a critical speed. Another way would be to have an out-of-band failsafe switch (ie one that transmits separately to a separate chute deployment receiver).

Mike
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Old Sep 02, 2011, 02:36 AM
Thermaholic Homoslopian
fuzzchucker's Avatar
Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa
Joined Dec 2003
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Hi Mike

I don't have a lot of experience with XC soaring and don't have a proper deep bodied XC plane (like most the specialist planes seem to have). I interpreted Dudley's original question being a matter of losing sight of your model, not radio contact. Two different scenarios

On the last XC I flew an old SA F3J design Eish that has quite a slender body, i.e. no space for a huge chute let alone a small one. I lost sight of the plane for a couple of seconds but just kept it in the bank I had it in the thermal at the time and managed to spot it again in time. On this plane you should be able to strap a small flat payload on top of the wing on the CG.

I would like to experiment with the idea, so will approach a buddy who is into rocketry. Hey, if it doesn't work for spotting the lost model at least I can use it as a neat "party trick" at our thermal flying field

Nothing beats a second pair of eyes though!!. Even at thermal contests when you quite often have to follow a thermal far and low downwind. My second attempt at XC was with a Sagitta 900 crunchie Worked OK except, directly after launch, I was following a fast thermal in the opposite direction to the first 1km leg out of the starting gates. You can guess what happened.... The model and the chase vehicle departed in two different directions at a rate of knots and within a matter of seconds I had lost sight of the plane

My driver/spotter managed to eyeball the plane before I could and had to talk me through the return journey (quite hilarious) until I could spot the plane as I was perched in the sun roof of his VW Kombi and couldn't hand him the TX!!! "LEFT!! No the other LEFT!!! PULL UP!! Not that much.....!!!" Quite entertaining for the other people to watch

Only made a 9km that day (when the nerves calmed down enough for another attempt) but at least the Sagitta made it home in one piece. Only due to the second pair of eyes that day.

Izak
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Old Sep 02, 2011, 11:48 AM
Happy on 72
USA, CA, Santa Clarita
Joined Jul 2005
494 Posts
Hi Izak-
In the case of losing sight of the plane, there might several options that would be smaller than deploying a chute: 1. high powered strobe mounted on the plane; 2. a smoke trail that can be remotely activated.

What would be really cool is to have GPS telemetry which is now available; the Hitec Aurora 9 can receive GPS data from a GPS unit mounted in the plane. If you could couple that telemetry data with binoculars that indicated which direction and angle to aim them, that could be a useful tool.

Mike
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Old Sep 07, 2011, 03:41 AM
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Russian Federation, Sakha, Yakutsk
Joined May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhitman View Post
Hi Izak-
In the case of losing sight of the plane, there might several options that would be smaller than deploying a chute: 1. high powered strobe mounted on the plane; 2. a smoke trail that can be remotely activated.

What would be really cool is to have GPS telemetry which is now available; the Hitec Aurora 9 can receive GPS data from a GPS unit mounted in the plane. If you could couple that telemetry data with binoculars that indicated which direction and angle to aim them, that could be a useful tool.

Mike
I was just about to say the same thing. Purchase a rescue strobe and install it in the belly of the aircraft. Have it able to be turned on by a spare channel. So when you start getting WAAAAY up there and far away, trip the strobe for enhanced situational awareness.

It probably wouldn't take much to disassemble it from it's case and simply install the 'guts' into the airplane, saving weight. The switch could be as simple as a micro servo throwing a toggle switch.

http://www.boatersland.com/acr3995-3.html

The ACR Firefly 3 uses 2 AA batteries, a manual switch and a low-profile light housing. Looks easily hackable.

AND, it's visible for 3 miles.
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Old Sep 07, 2011, 01:19 PM
Happy on 72
USA, CA, Santa Clarita
Joined Jul 2005
494 Posts
The Pico Switch can be used to turn on the strobe:
http://www.dimensionengineering.com/PicoSwitch.htm
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Old Sep 09, 2011, 02:18 AM
Thermaholic Homoslopian
fuzzchucker's Avatar
Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa
Joined Dec 2003
41 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhitman View Post
The Pico Switch can be used to turn on the strobe:
http://www.dimensionengineering.com/PicoSwitch.htm
Cool gadget! Can think of a couple of applications for this little gem...

Question on the strobe. Where do you stick it on the plane to be visible at all/most angles?

Cheers,
Izak
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Old Sep 09, 2011, 02:25 AM
Happy on 72
USA, CA, Santa Clarita
Joined Jul 2005
494 Posts
Izak,
I don't think there is one place on the plane that will be visible to the pilot all of the time and be easy to install a strobe. My first choice would be to install it on top of the fin - that would have the greatest visibility but you would have to at least run a wire to the battery pack up in the nose. It's possible but difficult.

The next choice would be to install two small strobes; one on the side and one on bottom. I think that could be made to work with minimal weight if I can find the right strobe.

mike
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Old Sep 12, 2011, 04:49 AM
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Russian Federation, Sakha, Yakutsk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhitman View Post
Izak,
I don't think there is one place on the plane that will be visible to the pilot all of the time and be easy to install a strobe. My first choice would be to install it on top of the fin - that would have the greatest visibility but you would have to at least run a wire to the battery pack up in the nose. It's possible but difficult.

The next choice would be to install two small strobes; one on the side and one on bottom. I think that could be made to work with minimal weight if I can find the right strobe.

mike

Why not in the belly of the plane? Put a Ply Skid on for protection.
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Old Nov 01, 2011, 12:41 PM
Registered User
Michigan
Joined Jan 2010
20 Posts
Pardon my delay in responding - maybe this will help:

The Glitter Bomb (TM) (C) (R) (Pat Pend) (joking but it could be cool) - smallish container on floor of fuse with sliding door controlled by mirco servo. Fill container with metallic glitter (cheap) and pop the switch and you get thousands of reflection points in a cloud streaming out of the plane sucked out on their own with a gravity assist. No charges, strobe power and weight issues, no chutes to full or cut away and no "significant" environmental issues. Cheap simple and while I have not tested it - I'm betting 100% effective....

Seeing full size birds do a ballast dump is similar but the sparkly glitter would serve the same purpose and is infinitely lighter. If anyone does use this - just reference it as the "R.P. Glitter Bomb R/C Sailplane Detection System"....

R.P.
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