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Old Jul 23, 2012, 02:24 AM
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Hi. My Name Is Aros And I'm A Habuholic...

What is it about this dang bird?

I mean, I have tried to explain my infatuation with her for years but ultimately I can't seem to place a finger on what precisely it is that separates this plane from every other plane.

Is it the menacing look? I've always said that it's the only plane we've ever built that you would think Darth Vader would feel is worthy to fly.

Certainly its exotic airframe is part of the infatuation...The mystery. How does this thing fly again?

Today was a classic reminder...No matter how many complex planes I fly...Composite, foam, jet, scale, warbird, glider...No matter how many hours I have on the sticks, no matter how many tricks I can perform...

Nothing freaks me out like flying the Habu.

I have maidened planes three times her size. With three times the money investment. Yet, I've never, EVER felt the nerves I feel that I feel when I fly the SR-71 Blackbird.

Part of me wonders, "Should I just treat her like any other plane?" If I do, there's a good chance that either door will open. Door number one? She leaves my unshaken hand with authority and the flight is the good kind of boring. Nothing alarming and she lands in one piece.

Door number two? Well, I know that door all-too-well.

Maybe it's a bad or underpowered battery, maybe it's CG, maybe it's dumb thumbs, maybe it's a lack of understanding fundamental aerodynamics, maybe it's a poor hand toss, maybe....

After nine airframes I don't need anyone to tell me what is already painfully obvious. I'm obsessed. Yup, this little block of black foam has me wrapped around her intake cones. I can't quite define the passion but it's there, in spite of me.

My muse. My nemesis. My mistress.

My wife will just have to live with it. At least she gets a warm bed...Mistress Habu is forced to sleep in the garage...

...for now.
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Old Jul 23, 2012, 03:35 PM
Sir-Crash-a-Lot
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United States, IL, Edwardsville
Joined Jun 2011
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awesome plane! Love the jet LEDs. I want to do that to my U2. How did you do the LEDs? Which ones did you use?

Also what brand is the Blackbird? I thought the Habu was E-flites jets?
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Old Jul 23, 2012, 03:45 PM
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The LEDs are called afterburnerz and they are a product from Atomic R/C Workshop...You can get more information here from the owner, Joe 1320.

They are very bright, multi-colored LEDs that gives a more natural-looking afterburner glow, both day and night. Highly recommended!

As for the Habu name, this was taken from Habu.org:

When the A-12s (and later the SR-71s) were first flown to their new remote base at Kadena AFB in Okinawa, the local people thought that this strange and somewhat wicked-looking airplane was shaped like the habu snake. They started calling it the habu airplane, and later just habu. Crews who flew the airplane were also called Habu, and the name came to be recognized with the blackbird program and even incorporated into the insignia worn by the crews on their uniforms.

So I was a bit miffed when Parkzone called their EDF the Habu. There can only be one TRUE Habu and that's the A-12/SR-71s...

Glad you like! Thanks for commenting!
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Old Jul 28, 2012, 06:20 PM
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Here's some reports of the first 10 flights...I will stop reporting after 10 and only report if something significant occurs. This is more for my records and documenting than anything...

Don't worry, it won't hurt my feelings if you don't want to read on...

MAIDEN OF #9

Okay, another maiden tale today!

I noticed a break in the rain so the next thing I know I'm packing Habu #9 up with my Freewing F/A-18E Hornet for a potential maiden at the local school. I arrived at the school and nobody was there. Perfect! I had the whole soccer field to myself. After taking a few snapshots of both of them together (always need photograph evidence to prove they were once in one piece!) I decided I wasn't getting any younger so I plugged the battery in to the Habu and heard the ESC tell me I was ready for business and that's when I started shaking.

I checked the CG (a bit nose heavy but not unusually so) and re-examined the elevon neutral position (Hmm, should I give it a few more clicks of up?). I gripped her in the "Bowling Ball" formation (two cutouts for my middle finger and thumb, one cutout behind both a few inches, center for my index finger), shaking like a leaf, I went into afterburner mode (WOT) and started running and gave her a good toss.

As she headed for the ground it was instantly obvious that the CG was too nose heavy and "HOLY CRAP I NEED TO APPLY FULL UP TO SAVE HER!!" Within three seconds from her leaving my fingers she slapped down back to earth at full WOT and slid about 10 feet. OH NO! Of course, my first thought was "Down goes yet another airframe!!" then I determined as I got closer that my full up elevator response right at the last second saved her from a certain familiar foam confetti party.

Not a single broken piece of foam. She was intact!

I quickly checked all the control surfaces and used my adrenaline to commit to the re-launch. I gave her about 5 clicks of up, and without thinking (too much thinking and I'll either chicken out or do something really stupid) I grabbed the holes and hit the throttle wide open and chucked her with a little more nose high than before and off she went into the brooding skies!

I immediately assumed "Habu Flight Position" (death grip on the radio, a slight hunch to my back, legs slightly buckled...Looks like I am in need of a serious dump) and kept her in the safe pattern. Throttle was about 80% at first and once I trimmer her out (a click or two of down, a few clicks of right) I gave into what she craves and kicked the juice beyond full military power and into afterburner mode. Oh how my heart dances, hearing Don's motors sing! She flew fantastic! No wind certainly helped but she felt completely stable the entire flight.

About 3 minutes in I set up for the downwind, base and final. I reduced power to about 30%, kept that nose down, maintained a perfect glide slope and she touched down to earth as gently as a little trainer.

I shook my fist into the air triumphantly, laughing like a school girl and pondered on how much of a dork I really am.

No RC airplane has ever made me feel the way I feel flying the Habu. I was shaking like an alcoholic badly in need of a drink (actually I could use a drink) several minutes after.

I drove home and proudly told my wife about my successful mission. She looked at me with that dead stare as if to say "My God, you really are a big dork."

Clearly she doesn't understand me.


MISSION #2

Today was fun.

I met some older gentlemen (fellow club members) at the field today...When one of them saw me bring my Blackbird out of the car he was immediately interested. Turns out he had built a much larger scale version many years ago and he proceeded to tell me about his adventures with her...Boy did they sound familiar! We had some good laughs over our respective follies and he went on to exclaim some true Habu stories from his years working in the military for classified departments.

It was obvious he knew his stuff as he went on to talk about the aerodynamics, materials used, how the chine acts as part of the wing surface, the importance of maximizing pitch and limiting roll, CG, on and on...I told them my story of how this was #9 and the reasons why. They were getting ready to leave but really wanted to see her fly. I said I may as well as I need to get over the anxiety of hand tossing and flying her due to my history.

I first flew my Hobby Lobby F/A-18E Hornet Blue Angel which in itself is a heck of a show. I switched out the stock 6-blade fan for a 12-blade fan and it not only screams, but actually has that turbine/jet sound like the real deal! They were oooh'ing and aaaah'ing that one pretty good. Now it was time for the main attraction.

There was a good head wind, and with that SkyLipo and minus the whale tail mod and afterburnerz, she feels much lighter and more manageable to hand toss. I haven't weighed her but I have to believe she's much closer to the acceptable AUW range than what I was flying with previous versions.

I throttled her up and took a couple running steps and chucked her into the wind and off she went with about as much hoopla as any of my other ho-hum hand chuckers. What a pleasant change of pace!

I quickly banked her and brought her on the downwind for a low, WOT pass...WOW does she ever scream by! My F/A-18 gets around 105-110mph on a fresh charge, downwind WOT pass and I would swear the Habu looks much faster on her first fresh charge pass. Judging by how my audience behind me sounded as she screamed pass I believe they would agree.

I kept her in the pattern for about six or seven spins before setting her up for final. I got her on the glide slope and throttled managed accordingly...Everything looked great. I brought her in with some power and about a foot off the ground (I thought I was in the safe zone) I chopped power and gave her a gentle flare but she bit me. With the lack of power and airflow the nose lifted straight up. This has happened to me about five times before. I jammed the stick down and it landed on it's tail and broke the tail off but luckily the elevons were unharmed and that was the only damage.

I dodged a bullet but as far as the guys thought, it was a success from start to finish!

Next time I will keep some power all the way to the ground. The maiden was pure dead stick on the glide slope from about twenty feet high but I did a better job keeping some down stick to keep the nose from doing what she did today.

All-in-all, I will consider sortie #2 a success!


MISSION #3

Made it to sortie #3!

Normally that's one fat big whoop, but there's nothing normal about me and this bird so I feel like celebrating, lol...

No wind, near dusk, without question the best total flight I've ever had with the SR-71 Blackbird. Hand toss was non-eventful, flew her for several spins in the pattern, mostly at WOT the entire 3 minutes and change. Brought her in on a good glide slope UNDER POWER thank you very much...Kept some throttle on all the way to the landing (a little hotter than I would prefer) where she slid a few feet and that was that with that!

FINALLY I feel I have the best blend of knowledge and setup that I see no reason (careful Todd) for any major malignant events...The battery is perfect, the motors sound tremendous and she is flying magnificently.

Thanks again to everyone who have given me the wisdom I need to fly her like she is meant to be flown.

MISSION #4

Just got back from Mission #4. Another excellent flight. There were some kids going ape-crap over it and pounding me with questions as I'm trying to fly her. Of course this made me even more nervous as I need all the focus I have to keep her in one piece.

There were kids strewn all over the "runway" at the soccer field so I opted to dead stick her in. I knew as long as I kept some down stick all the way to the ground she would be okay, and she was! I actually prefer that method to keeping some throttle. Less of a walk and really no issue as long as I don't treat her like my warbirds and flare her at the last moment.

MISSION #5

Mission #5 was another complete success! Hand toss was perfection. Grabbed the bowling ball holes, chucked her with good force and she didn't even wobble out of my hands...Just straight into the skies. Landed with a bit of power...

I can't remember the last time I had 5 flights with one air frame...LOL...

Here's to another 100!

MISSION #6

Well, I went for another flight! Mission #6 (don't worry folks, I will stop posting every single flight after #10 unless there's some significance...) was another great flight. Hand toss was a bit more wobbly than I wanted but I think it's because I'm experimenting trying to toss by standing still. I have better success when I take a few small running steps and then launch.

Even still, as long as I don't slip on the stick while I'm tossing her and force her in a really bad situation, it appears that the old "Keystone Cop" hand launches are in the rear view mirror. I wish I would have figured everything out five or six air frames ago! Oh well, better late than never they say.

I was WOT about 95% of the 3:55 flight and the battery was hotter than before. Still, no puffing at all. Landed dead stick from about 25 feet up...Giving her just a tiny bit of down stick the whole way and she lands without incident. Starting to feel routine now.

The key, which I wish I really grasped in the past:

NEVER FLARE. Fly her all the way to the ground whether with power or not with the nose forward. (if not, you better have that down stick working).

MISSION #7

I got back from Mission #7. Hand toss got a little away from me but I was able to quickly recover and off she went to the races. I'm afraid to try rolling her since I'm having so much fun and luck without trying to push it. I'm sure it would be no problem but why fix what isn't broken, right? lol...

Came in with some power and plopped her down nice and easy. Now that I'm past the habit of flaring, it's becoming routine. Can't wait for those other "Skypos" to arrive so I can have more than one flight with her at a time!

MISSION #8

Mission #8 was great last night, especially since my buddy (a professional photographer) surprised me by bringing his camera with him! So I should have some sweet shots to show off as soon as he can send me the photos. I never thought that I would see the day that flying the SR-71 doesn't make me break out into a cold sweat the entire flight. I'm getting comfortable with her (but not complacent). I know she - more than ANY other RC plane or jet I've ever owned - can bite at any moment you let down your guard or focus.

I still fly her with a heightened since of focus more than any other in my hangar, but I don't feel as intimidated as I used to. As long as my release is smooth and purposeful on the hand toss, and I keep her nose and the throttle stick where it should be, it's very predictable.

I've already broken my own record. I've never flown one single SR-71 airframe 8 times in a row.

MISSION #9

Flew her without any problems...A couple guys (Steve and Brian) from my club watched the flight. Ho hum. LOL! But I have to say, it will NEVER get old flying her!

MISSION #10

Another fantastic flight. Easy hand toss into the dusk skies, and the usual 8-10 cycles in the pattern. Landings are dead stick with a touch of down. Non-events now.

I'll continue to document each flight with my Habu #9 now that she appears to be the lucky one that can actually live a long life. Hopefully I can get over 100 sorties with her. That is the goal.
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 12:23 AM
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MISSION #11

Another dusk sortie...This time I didn't take any steps before hand-tossing. She clearly has enough UMMPH to get on plane and go at the release point. The added running steps and then toss was more my nervousness than anything. Now after a whole whopping 11 flights with her without any damage to the airframe, I'm a real pro. NOT!! LMAO!!

The landing was dead stick from 30 feet up...Started slowing a bit too much, flirting with stall speed and I quickly forced some down stick to get that nose back below the horizon line and keep that air moving over those tiny delta wings. Once I did that she regained a good glide slope and landed without excitement.
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Old Aug 08, 2012, 06:37 PM
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MISSION #12

Overcast day, my daughter's at a day camp...My client project's are caught up...Time to head to the school and get her back in the air. It has been six days since my last flight so the hand toss was a little wobbly but nothing she can't handle with all those watts she pushes. A few of the ground keepers stopped working to watch her fly. "YEAH!!!" One of them screamed my direction as I flew a low pass by them. It was fun. It's nice to have three "Skypos" now instead of just one so if I want to fly a few times at the field I can. Landing was great, into the slight headwind.

It's astounding to me that it's taken 9 airframes and 8 years to get to 12 flights on a single airframe without any damage.
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Old Aug 09, 2012, 03:18 PM
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MISSION #13

Lucky #13 is in the books! I had a friend and his family out to watch. Hand toss was good, flight was great and the landing was cake. Wow. I never thought I would see the day that these elements would all be in perfect synchronicity on a regular basis. The sound of the twins screaming at WOT echoes in the woods and sounds SO cool!!
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Old Aug 12, 2012, 02:41 PM
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MISSIONS #14 & #15

Took her to the school today. Had a small crowd watching. First flight was perfect. Second flight the hand toss got a bit away from me and she dipped fairly low but nothing too crazy. Love this bird!
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 01:32 AM
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MISSION #16

My buddy Wayne was back from being out to Sea for a few months and he's always kind enough to film some of my flights. So lucky for me he filmed Mission #16. Here's some still shots as well.

SR-71 Blackbird (#9, Mission #16) (2 min 31 sec)
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Old Aug 18, 2012, 07:49 PM
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MISSION #17

Took my drummer (I sing in a cover rock band) to the school since he wanted to see my fly. The soccer field was taken so I went over to the track. The winds were from the West so I had to throw her facing the short side of the track towards the trees. Not my favorite hand toss spot but she took off without a problem and off she went. I landed her with the cross wind but it wasn't much wind at that point so she landed without issue.
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Old Aug 20, 2012, 03:11 AM
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MISSION #18

Had the school all to myself today. A cloudy affair. Hand toss was bliss. She broke from my hand without a hint of drop...Straight forward, no bank...It wasn't until I applied up elevon that she halted course.

Kept WOT for the entire flight. I don't like to push my batteries (see: Lifeline) so I flew for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Dead stick for the glide slope, kept a touch of down all the way to the earth...Perfect.

18 just so happens to be my favorite number.
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Old Aug 20, 2012, 03:28 PM
Sir-Crash-a-Lot
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United States, IL, Edwardsville
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Awesome!
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Old Aug 20, 2012, 03:44 PM
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Yeah I thought I would keep a running journal of my flights with this one Blackbird since it's taken me years to fly one airframe successfully. We'll see how far it goes!
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Old Aug 25, 2012, 05:29 PM
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MISSION #19

Met some nice older fellas at my club's field today. Told them my story of this being my lucky #9! Mission #19 was another success. The hand toss was a little hairy though. Drooped down too low for my comfort so gave her some up elevon and she shot off into the skies with dramatic flare.

The rest of the flight was the usual pattern flying, WOT most the time...Dead stick landing, keeping down stick all the way to the ground to keep that nose pointed straight ahead.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 05:22 AM
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MISSION #20

My friend Wayne who takes great video for me was back in town and took video of my 20th flight. Why describe it when you can see it?

SR-71 Blackbird (Mission #20) (2 min 39 sec)
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