Welcome to the October 2000 sojourn through Waynes Indoor World. This month it's more information, hints, tips, tricks, and links to enhance your enjoyment in the wonderful world of small electric R/C and/or F/F aeroplanes.
My apologies for burdening you with some of my problems in the lead off to last months column. As you probably guessed, things very nearly got on top of me! Anyway, I appreciate the emails some of you sent in they sure provided the impetus to keep on with the column!! Now that the 5 ringed circus (the Olympics for the non-sport fans amongst us) has left town, maybe we can get back to some serious modeling!?!
This month there are some more rules discussions, some questions and answers, details on how I turned my Mini-Kolibri into a floatplane, indoor meeting details for our English friends, and details of several models constructed by fellow surfers. There are also details of our very own Editors foray in SlowFly!?! Of course, there is also the obligatory presentation of collective wisdom from fellow SlowFly and ParkFly pilots from around the globe.
Please read on and enjoy!
Now even the Boss is Slow .
During the month, I received an email from our E-Zone Editor, Steven Horney, telling me about his venture into Indoor R/C. Aided and abetted by Pat Mattes, Steve and his son did some indoor driving of R/C models inside a golf dome/indoor driving range (I wonder if flying in a building that size constitutes indoor flying, or is it really outdoor flying under a roof?!?! Sorry Boss ). Anyway, welcome to our "Indoor World" Steve, and thanks for sharing your impressions with us.
You might be interested to find out I had my first "indoor experience" this past Wednesday. Pat Mattes organized an indoor flying meet at our local Golf Dome after our club meeting. We had 11 pilots and a number of spectators. Several pilots flew Firebirds (I think that's correct - a yellow prebuilt V-tail foam electric with rudder and throttle control), some flew LiteStiks, and one flew a Mini-Pleaser. Pat Mattes flew his Ferrias, his Pico Jet, and his converted Lanier U-2 (speed 400, Gunther prop), besides his LiteStik. The U-2 was definitely the largest plane there, but also one of the best indoor fliers - it flew as slowly as the true "indoor" fliers, and very gracefully as well. The Mini-Pleaser was nicely aerobatic, and it - along with the LiteStiks - seemed to just float around. The Firebirds seemed to fly well (and they seemed to be everywhere), but they frequently hit the sides of the dome. It was sort of like listening to insects fly into bug zappers on a summer night. :-) My son and I flew our Miss Bohemia and Miss 2. Both are excellent fliers, and easily capable of 10 minute plus flights (using a geared 280 and 350 mAh cells in the Miss Bohemia, a geared speed 400 and 500AR cells in the Miss 2). I think the Dome was 350 feet long by 250 feet wide. Other than being a little careful about getting disoriented by the ribbed sides (it's an inflatable structure) and watching for the support lines at the far end, it was pretty much unobstructed - and covered with artificial turf! I'll be including pictures in my October column. It was a lot of fun - I can see why this gets addictive!
Rules, the future, and all that stuff (cont.)
Back in the August http://www.ezonemag.com/articles/2000/aug/wiw/wiw.htm edition of WIW, I posed some questions on the need for definitions and rules in the SlowFly/ParkFly arena.
Patrick Wegener <pa.wegener(at)tu-bs.de>, a member of the prolific Team Klaustrophobia, from Braunschweig in Germany has sent in some thoughts on the topic as well as their experiences with several events.
The rules question sounds very interesting to me. First of all, I think, one has to decide which rules one needs after all. I think you need a general rule to answer the question "should this pilot fly this model in this space?" and special rules to define each task for an indoor contest.
Ok, our general rule. About two years ago we said to ourselves that if the FAI Limit for outdoor flying in a special class don´t know any more would be 12 grams/sq dm, this should be the maximum for indoor flying. The practice turned out not this simple. By now, we could build a model with a 15 gram/sq dm wing loading which will fly harmlessly, while we also could make a 10 gram/sq dm model which is too fast to fly indoors. Together with the results once held in the Slow flight mailing list, we came to the point that it is best to have some kind of guy who works as a controller to give a go/no go depending on weight and building quality and - also important point - flying skills of the pilot.
In March this year, we held indoor meeting in Königslutter, a small town near Braunschweig. It was a nice meeting, because it is hard to get the gym of the university for a weekend, we have about 60 other sports groups in the university sports in Braunschweig. So we divided the work to make the Team K members the flying organization, and let the Königslutter guys organize the gym questions.
We decided to do three contests at this meet - a pylon race, a trial cup and probably the first indoor aerobatics cup ever. We tried to keep the rules simple :
- Pylon race : two poles hanging from the basketball baskets, 3 minutes race, 3 pilots/race, 300 gram maximum. If the plane touches something besides a pylon or another plane, the race is over. No restarts. The pilots were standing next to the first pylon, at the other there were one helper per pilot carrying a small sign of a characteristic color. So you have to fly straight until for example you see the red sign, then turn left. Helper counts the laps. Worked fine so far, but next time we´ll fly with 4 persons, because it happens too fast that in the end theres only one pilot left to fly the last 10 laps.
- Trial cup : There are different obstacles in the gym, poles to fly against, gates to fly through, mattress to do a touch and go and so on. For each passed obstacle there will be a certain amount of points. These will be counted and - the time needed in seconds will be subtracted from this sum. So you have to poker which difficulty level you will fly, because it is even possible to get in the negative range :) Restart only from the circle under the basketball baskets.
- Aerobatics : Flown in two parts, one for the standard patterns, one for freestyle. Standard patterns : Each pilot makes a list of patterns which count special points, 10 patterns all together. The Moderator says the patterns - better for the spectators, easier for not this experiences pilots, minimizes the risk of forgetting the order. A Jury gives points for each pattern. Freestyle : Youve got two minutes, do what you want and try to impress the jury which will give between 1 and 10 points.
We made a web page of this meet, this could be found at
If someone is interested in the detailed rules, I could send the via mail.
I hope for nice discussions,
Team Klaustrophobia, Braunschweig, Germany - http://www.unisport.tu-bs.de/~modellflug
Thanks for sharing your Team-K experiences Patrick. I particularly agree with the idea of "..some kind of guy who works as a controller..". My own recent experiences at indoor meets (see August WIW) confirms such a need.
Places to Go
The South Leicester AeroNutz have been mentioned in this column many times before. Their pages are worth checking out, as is their newsletter, available at http://www.aeronutz.free-online.co.uk/NL56.html
If you are in England and are wondering where to go for some indoor flying, have a look at http://www.aeronutz.free-online.co.uk/where.htm
Birds of a feather ..
Last month I mentioned some feathered "near misses" Id recently experienced. I managed to snap off a picture while flying my mini-Kolibri (not easy to fly your aeroplane while looking at the LCD on the back of a camera dont try it at low altitude!!). At certain angles with that colour scheme, it really does resemble a brightly coloured butterfly or moth a nice tasty morsel for a hungry near sighted Australian bird!!
Fellow Aussie Darren Wood "<d_twood(at)powerup.com.au> passed on details of his similar experiences (I wonder if its an "Aussie bird" thing?!?)
Thought I'd drop you a line about my "bird incident". I live on the south side of Brisbane. At the local aero club, while under the watchful eyes of all and sundry, I launched my 1-meter-trainer-style-battery-lofter during a lull in the 'traffic' . When the silent brick got to about 20 meters, out of thin air, a young hawk (half as big as my flying solarfilm bag) appeared. The day was warm and only a slight breeze was blowing, consequently the ground speed of the aircraft was literally only a few kilometers an hour. While I had my hands clapped together ( a friend of mine was flying) and I was mumbling "Please Mr. Bird don't rip my 'plane to shreds" the raptor was eyeing my bird. Anyway, because of the low speed of my plane the hawk was having a hard time having-a-look! The plane was going too fast for the bird to 'hover' and too slow for the bird glide next to. After a few 'go-arounds' the hawk was satisfied that my plane wasn't a competitor, and flew off, just as quickly as it had arrived!
I look forward to E-Zone every month (or so) and you articles in particular, keep up the good work.
I havent been able to do too much flying this last month the weather has been very poor it rained 19 days straight then blew near gale force winds for 7 of the next 10 days! Just as well I was travelling away with work I didnt waste good flying time on work!!
Coming up in a few weeks we have a large weekend long sea plane rally down the road at Albury. Spurred on by the desire to do something different, I decided to turn my mini-Kolibri into a float plane. I manufactured the floats out of 25mm thick polystyrene foam, and used scraps of 1mm carbon rod for the crosspieces and struts.
The pictures detail the techniques I employed.
The carbon cross pieces are attached to the foam with small amounts of glass cloth and 5 minute epoxy. The assembly is done upside down on a sheet of plastic over a level surface. That way, the glass gets a smooth finish and the floats are set up parallel and true.
The rear carbon cross piece is attached to two struts which cross over each other at the top where they are glued and bound with thread to form a small cradle. The Fuse boom fits in the cradle and is then attached with a rubber band. The normal undercarriage is rubber banded to the front cross piece. This way, the whole float assembly is removable.
Yes it does fly!! Actually, I cannot notice any decrease in the flying performance. The battery pack is a 3 cell x 430mAh Tadiran pack.
The irony of it all is that I have not flown it off water yet. After all the rain, the park across the road was a small lake ideal for testing the beastie. However, after the wind stopped blowing, all the water was gone! I have floated it in the bath, and the buoyancy and sit in the water is excellent.
On the Saturday night, the Albury guys have organized some indoor flying, but I dont intend removing the floats after all, if I can fly an indoor R/C plane outside, why cant I fly a R/C float plane indoors?? Ill have some photos of the Albury float fly in next months column.
What is happening out there in Internet land??
This month, I have more great information and pictures from fellow SlowFlyers thanks for sharing folks, keep it up!!
Mat Litke <mlitke(at)usa.net> wrote in with details of his version of the mini/micro Kolibri shown in last months column.
I saw you posted some pictures of me and my Micro Kolibri that Fred Bronk Jr. submitted from the fly-in at Moffet.
I just wanted to give a little more info about the plane:
- Wing span: 19.3in
- Wing cord: 6.7in
- Wing loading: 1.7 oz/sq.ft
- Fuse length: 11.7in (w/o tails)
- Control: 3 channels (v-tail and throttle)
- Construction materials: carbon, Mylar and Reynolds
- Ready to fly weight: 39.0g (1.38oz)
- Radio and motor
- Rx: SkyHooks&Rigging 4 ch 2.7g
- Servos: 2 @ WES LS-24 2x2.9g
- ESC: Pixie-Lite 1.5g
- Battery Pack: 4-cell 50mAh NiCd 14.6g
- Propulsion: KP00 and U-80 prop 6.0g
This is all at my web site, which he mentions, but no address,
I am still at:
Fly small, fly light,
Kelly Nixon <KellyNixon(at)aol.com> wrote in about his ParkFlying experiences. Although his airplanes are a little larger than we normally talk about, the ParkFly theme still applies!! I like the idea of a pusher and have had started for some months an indoor pusher design of my own (youll have to wait for more on that one!!)
I've attached a few photos of my parkflyers. I got tired of smashing up expensive ARFs or kits I grew attached to the month it took to build them. I decided to buy some sheet balsa and wheels, etc., and make some cheap fast built planes around foam wings till I could fly with some confidence.
I learned from my Wingo that you can really eat it and the motor always comes out unscathed, so I like pushers. The orange winged one is a speed 400 (geared Wingo motor) with ailerons. I gave it a rudder channel but only use it for take off. It has a 52 inch span. It takes a little longer than I would like to lift off, but flies stable, and lands easily.
The other one is a speed 500 with a 3.5 to 1 gearbox (Lazy Bee) and a more standard tail assembly. It seems heavy but the 63 inch wing (685 sq. inch) makes it fly like a sailplane. Again, sufficient parking lot space is required for takeoff.
They both fit in my car (wings off) and I will be at the park early tomorrow to continue their fly/crash/redesign evolution.
Ive published details before on several different ways of making wheels for our SlowFlyers. Here is another variation from Canada for manufacturing foam scale like wheels
My name is Roger from Canada. I would like to share and idea with you and your fellow modelers. I was trying to find out a way to make light scale manner wheels so I can land in a scale manner too! Here is what I found - I do not know if you still can get in USA the replacement foam for pocket radio headset in your country but here they sell them 4 off for a $1cdn - enough for 2 sets of wheels
The rest is as usual : small alum tubing for the axle, a round off of balsa and these for the tire. I am telling you - not only do they look great, they are spongy, they absorb, they look scale, and they are cheap
until next time
Roger B <rodair_1999(at)yahoo.com>
Thank you to everybody who emailed me. I appreciate your input and feedback.
Questions and (hopefully!?!) Answers
I havent done a Q&A for a while. Then I received several emails, so I thought Id share them and my responses with you. If they help you, then great!! If You disagree with my answers, then great!! (just make sure you write me and tell me why)
Adam Carlson <adam.carlson(at)worldnet.att.net> wrote in about small prop operating ranges.
Thanks for providing such great info on this small niche in rc/freeflight world. I am just getting started in small electrics. Me being the cheapskate that I am, I am always looking for ways to save money. I have been looking at pager motors as a possible solution to getting cheep power plants. My only problem is that I don't know what the rpm and torque range is for these small props to run efficiently. Any info that you could point me to would be much appreciated. Why reinvent the wheel if you don't have to.
Adam M Carlson
Adam, generally fast revving props and slow flying aeroplanes dont go together efficiently. That is why 99.99% of the models you see in this column utilize gear reduction units to drive larger slower revving props, more suited to slow flying aeroplanes. Without seeing the pager motors you are talking about or any specs for them, I would suspect that they are relatively low torque motors more suited to a gear reduction unit. They are probably set up for a low cell count, so if you run them on 5,6 or 7 cells, they will rev very hard running them direct drive will surely overload them. Better, I think, to let them rev and unload through a gearbox. As a starting point, I would suggest a reduction of somewhere between 6:1 and 8:1. Check the voltage and wattage rating of the motor you should be able to safely increase the operating voltage by 1.5 (too high leads to premature brush failure) and double the wattage for short periods of time (say 5 minutes). Propeller diameter affects rpm and pitch affects current draw. Run some bench tests while checking with a multi-meter and also, monitor the temperature of the motor (use the back of your finger tip) anymore then warm, and it will not last. Get a small selection of commercially available plastic props in the 5" to 6" diameter range and start experimenting. Increase the reduction ratio to reduce the current draw, or if you cannot fit a larger gear, trim the blade chord at the TE a few mm at a time over the outer half of the blade. Dont reduce the chord by any more than 20% - start then trimming the tips a few mm at a time.
Let me know how you get on.
Brian Sheppard <Brian.Sheppard(at)ogilvy.com> has some questions about electric F/F.
I was surfing for info on converting an Guillows Nieuport to electric and I came across your column. You seem like just the man to ask about what to do.
I recently built the Guillows Fokker Triplane, and had a lot of fun flying it on rubber power. As I embark on building the Nieuport, I'm planning on making it free flight electric - no r/c or control strings. I've got a great field nearby that's just begging to be flown in. I've never done any powered flying before, so here are my questions:
- Is this even possible? (free-flight electric in this kit, I mean.)
- If so, can you suggest a simple engine/battery/recharger combination?
- Is there a way I can recharge the battery without removing it from the plane, or do I have to build some sort of access to remove the battery and engine on a regular basis?
- This is a biplane with a 24" span. What should my maximum weight be, approximately?
- This is stick and tissue construction. Will doped tissue be strong enough, or should I use something like Monokote to skin the plane?
- I have the kit. As for the hardware, what should I expect to pay to make this all happen?
- Can you suggest any dihedral/rudder/aileron changes or settings I should make? Or should I just follow the kit instructions?
Dying to get started, so I'd love to hear from. You seem to have a very cool site. If I can make this all happen, I'll scan some photos and send them to you when I get the plane in the air. Might want to do a Fokker DVII next - can you suggest a set of plans in the same scale as the Nieuport and a source for lozenge fabric covering?
Thanks, and I hope you can help.
Wow Brian, lots of questions!! You have beaten me by a month on details of some electric F/F experiments I have been undertaking. Fellow local modeler, George Car has also been campaigning an electric F/F airplane successfully. Next month, Ill have more details on both. In the meantime, lets deal with your questions.
Electric F/F is definitely feasible, and indeed, has a lot going for it in this application. I have been very impressed with test results I have achieved with a simple cheap Mabuchi N20 motor running on 3 cells driving a 7" or 8" plastic prop (meant for rubber power) through about a 6:1 reduction unit. The motor came out of one of those small clip together car models that run off one or two pen cells, available for a few dollars from the local discount toy stores or mini-marts. This combination would be more than ample for your Nieuport. Use 3 x 220mah NiMH cells or 3 x 50 mAh NiCads, as the current draw will be about 1.5 - 2 amps. A commercial alternative would be one of the KP units.
You can make a cheap charger out of 4 carbon D cells they cannot deliver much current as a charging source, so they tend to self regulate. Time the charge start with about 1.5 minutes, and see how full the pack gets. Increase the time to balance motor run time against cell temperature. The cells and motor can be mounted semi-permanently in the airplane run two short leads out the bottom of the cowl to clip your charging leads to. A 10% increase on the recommended mass of the rubber version would be acceptable for the electric version, but I would be surprised if you couldnt get it much closer to the original target mass. Dont use Monokote stick with the tissue and dope - Its lighter and stiffer. Generally, I would follow the kit recommendations. If you increase the dihedral too much with such a small fin, you could induce spiral instability. Mount the battery pack at the bottom of the fuselage, as the mass of the pack mounted low will induce a little extra stability.
Send us some pictures when its finished.
Roy Farrens electric F/F Lacey in action at the Aussie Nat's earlier this year it flew delightfully. This model is slightly smaller than the Nieuport discussed above, and from memory used a KP-00 and 3 or 4 cells.
Dont forget to email me whadkins(at)ezonemag.com with all the SlowFly or ParkFly or electric free flight happenings in your part of the world. Next month, Ill have some pictures and a follow-up on the float fly and more details on our electric F/F experiments. As for the rest, its a surprise, so I guess youll just have to wait with baited breath, friends!!
Thats your SlowFly lot for this month - Thank you for joining me for this months tour of Waynes Indoor World. Until next month, wherever you may be on this SlowFly planet of ours, enjoy your aviation, do it low and slow, and most of all, HAVE FUN!!
See you all again next month - Take care friends.
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|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|Article Wayne's Indoor World - December 2000||Wayne Hadkins||Electric Plane Talk||0||Dec 19, 2000 12:00 AM|
|Article Wayne's Indoor World - September 2000||Wayne Hadkins||Electric Plane Talk||0||Sep 13, 2000 12:00 AM|
|Article Wayne's Indoor World - August 2000||Wayne Hadkins||Electric Plane Talk||0||Aug 16, 2000 12:00 AM|
|Article Wayne's Indoor World - June 2000||Wayne Hadkins||Electric Plane Talk||0||Jun 13, 2000 12:00 AM|
|Article Wayne's Indoor World - May 2000||Wayne Hadkins||Electric Plane Talk||0||May 22, 2000 12:00 AM|