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Posted by mnuetzmann | Mar 25, 2007 @ 09:31 PM | 3,140 Views
Mar 25, 2007

Flight #1: Swift 16, 10:11 (with camera & mount, 3500mah)

Today was my first AP flight using my Century Swift. I flew till my timer started beeping then landed. My throttle was never more than just a little over 1/2 throttle so I thought for sure that I would have plenty left in the battery when I recharged it. I was wrong. I ended up putting back over 3500mah. Not good. That means the motor was just about ready to cut out. That would have been bad. I think I am going to look into getting a little larger packs. I am currently running the 4000mah TrueRC packs. When I landed the battery was just a little warm. The motor and ESC were just fine. I can't wait till I get the video downlink installed so I can see what the camera is looking at. That will result in much better pictures faster since I won't have to waste time taking shots and wondering what the images will be. The only thing I will need to look into will be the focusing of the shots. Right now I have the Canon A640 10MP camera. Great camera for AP use. Not too big not too small... I am either having a problem with focus or a problem with vibration.
Posted by Jack Crossfire | Mar 25, 2007 @ 08:39 PM | 5,170 Views
So the magnetometers, gyros, and GPS are all finally sending data to the Gumstix. The LIS3LV02DQ was a real winner.

I2C for the LIS3LV02DQ was a fiasco. It constantly locked up. With no reset mechanism and no way to underclock it, it was just too
unreliable. I2C is good for consumer electronics, but for aerospace, this Dutch disaster is going in the closet.

Using SPI required running it at 5V because the PIC only runs at 5V and buffering would be heavy. So far the LIS3LV02DQ has been running many hours on 5V without problems. It couldn't do 16 bit reads at all. It has significant Y offset in both 3V and 5V and can't run in 2g mode without reconfiguration, but 2g is unlikely to be enough range on a copter.

GPS consumes a sick amount of power and is heavy. Though older than the inertial sensors, we consider GPS the most advanced because it uses spaceships. It's our first direct interaction with a satellite.

TX and RX were reversed on the Gumstix BT-1 serial port. GPS generates 1 reading every second. For relative positioning, GPS is 200ft off when using 3-5 satellites. Altitude is 50m off. Can't measure absolute positioning because google satellite may be off.

SPI implementation for the Micromag3 was surprisingly easy and the Micromag3 is working despite running on 5V and being bent.

Yaw gyro continues to fail high occasionally. May just swap it with the one spare.

Had 1 erased firmware on the PIC. Took it out of the socket for a while and...Continue Reading
Posted by Arecer | Mar 25, 2007 @ 08:08 PM | 8,175 Views
The Alfa Mustang made five flights today!

The first four were with a PolyQuest "Twenty" 1800 mAh 3-cell LiPo and the fifth flight was with a Thunder Power 2100 mAh 3-cell LiPo pack. Motor run time on the 1800 pack was well over ten minutes. Very nice little plane!
Posted by veritus | Mar 25, 2007 @ 05:14 PM | 4,817 Views
Yesterday I finally got my ASH-25mi into the air ! As some of you know, this model is a self launching type with a 23 foot wingspan. For those of you who may build the model with an SLS; a Self Launching System, I have a few observations. First when I applied power, the sailplane did nose over-as a few of you had said it would, although I later found out that mine was due to a too forward CG and some errors in control inputs. As a result; the take off roll was initially nose down for a while resulting in a longer than normal T/O run, and the initial climb took a good deal of up elevator. Now, just so you know, I CG'd this aircraft at the recommended CG, in fact I put it at the less conservative 95mm; I recommend you put the CG at 100mm. If not, be prepared to fly as I did; I trimmed it back as far as the trim would go, and held in a bit of up elevator. When I let go of the up stick, the sailplane would dive very significantly. The wings are super strong and this thing can fly fast!!!

The plane flew very well, although a bit faster than expected, which I attribute to the forward CG and the extra weight of the unnecessary lead causing the aforementioned forward CG. The approach was a thrill and a bit fast as it zoomed overhead wings wistling in the wind. With spoilers and flaps( Thank God I had enough up elevator throw) I was able to cut some altitude on the approach and landed gently and within a safe distance.

One blunder I made on landing cost me...Continue Reading
Posted by lslewis | Mar 25, 2007 @ 04:54 PM | 2,918 Views
By this time anyone reading this Blog knows I am a conservative and about as Republican as one can get. I was disappointed with the last election and concerned for our country as a result. However Republicans have been doing a lousy job and deserve the consequences.

Now comes this contrived flap about the firing of Attorney Generals around the country. They are appointed and serve at the pleasure of the President and if he does not like them for any reason he can fire them! Political, performance or bad breath. But what does our number one AG Alberto R. Gonzales do he gets on TV and says, “I don’t know nothing, not me…. Crying.. etc.” He is the headman that is in charge! Dam it he should have stood up and said Yes I fired them at the pleasure of the President. It is his right and duty. Period end of conversation. NO GUTS! An inept Leader. Fire Him George!

Now it comes out he was involved, of course if he did not fire them he was not doing his job!

Fire Him George
Posted by k4kjf | Mar 25, 2007 @ 04:15 PM | 4,561 Views
Spring is in the air. Anticipating endless sunny summer weekends ahead, I joined the local sailplane club and hope to learn all I possibly can about sailplanes in general and Thermal Duration flying in particular.

However my Electra project still has a way to go. I don't want to rush finishing it, but because I enjoy building, I'd like to continue to take my time, savoring each milestone, and let it get done when it gets done. But….. I need something to learn TD and how to fly off a high start or a winch – and the weather is nice already! What to do?

I indicated interest in a Spirit or Gentle Lady for this purpose in club email and the result was a generous offer by one of the club members of his Gentle Lady which he had built from a kit some years ago, but no longer flew. It had seen some use, but was still very much air worthy, and having it meant my Electra build could continue at the same sedate pace.

I took the Lady to the field two weekends ago and more experienced club members advised for my skill level (slow stick experience only) moving the CG and tow hook forward before I made any serious attempts to fly it would be a good idea. So, I brought it back home, made the modifications and took it back to the field yesterday. Had a great day with a total of seven flights with the Lady. All were launched off the club winch. One of the experienced club members did the first flight all by himself. On the second and third, he handled the launch till the...Continue Reading
Posted by crash test dummy | Mar 25, 2007 @ 01:27 PM | 3,880 Views
Twin Jet Brushed stock motors on a 5,5X4,5 prop 3S.
Posted by Mark786 | Mar 25, 2007 @ 01:15 PM | 2,237 Views
Thought I had the fuel problem fixed but I hit the fuel line against a former while installing and cut another fuel hose. I thought I had tested it but I did not catch it until I got to the field and I had fuel running out of the wing while fueling.
Managed to get it squared away at the field and got in three flights. Wind had picked up but I had no problem flying or landing in 10-15 mph of wind. My take-offs were the problem today as becuase it was nose diving before I got used to full up elevator while doing the runout. Last take off got better as I had no problems with nosing in now that I have bent the landing gear forward.
Plane seemd allfully jumpy. Some of it due to my piloting skills but alot was the wind aloft.
Great day flying.
Posted by jnjloo | Mar 25, 2007 @ 01:33 AM | 3,853 Views
Hey all,
Just a quick note as to what I'm doing here.....

(original entry)
Flew gas and elec planes for a few years (5 or 6) and then moved to flagstaff AZ, at about 7000 feet not much wanted to fly!! I kept messing with them, and my buddy kept telling me we needed to try his glider. I said NO I want my engine, gotta have it (silly me). Finally he talked me into trying it and it was GREAT. I did more that first day flying for about 3-4 hours than I had in the previous 5-6 years cause i could just stay up and practice instead of having to keep thinking about traffic patterns and landing!!!

So, after selling off all my other planes I bought some zagi's and flew around the sky merrily.

Then I moved to montana with the high winds (we average about 25mph here) and my planes didn't want to fly very well and I didn't really find a good spot for them. So I just put em in the garage (refused to sell em as I knew how much fun they were). 2-3 years go by and I keep talking to this guy at work and telling him about the gliders. He says he owns a good spot to fly em and we always talk about going out. I always say I don't have them charged/put together/ect. ect. Then I get interested again looking around for spots. A few weeks later, the guy dies in a plane crash (I'm a heli pilot for a local hospital) at work and I think DAMN, life is short, I love to fly gliders, I'm gunna do some research and get back into it and do it!!

The zagi's have now been...Continue Reading
Posted by mnuetzmann | Mar 24, 2007 @ 10:56 PM | 2,986 Views
March 24, 2007

Location: Nothern Knights Field

Conditions: Windy (when is it not...)

Flight #1: Swift, 9:52 (used 2551mah)
Flight #2: Raptor 50, 10:56
Flight #3: Swift 10:01 (used 2076mah)
Flight #4: Raptor 50, 14:37 (1 1/3 tanks)
Flight #5: Swift, 10:30 (used 2179mah)


Also, as I am in the process of making the Swift into an AP heli platform it has been like Christmas as the components arrive. This past week the camera interface, Z30A-800 motor, 3 TrueRC 8S1P batteries, Hyperion charger and balancer, and the Canon A640 camera all arrived. MAN....

I am only waiting on the video downlink to complete the setup from BlackWidow. I mounted the Askman camera mount to the Swift while it still had the 600+ motor and Electron 80 ESC still on. I was able to lift the mount with enough ease but only got about 4 minutes of hovering before whe quit. I have now mounted the Z30A-800 and Phoenix 85HV with the TrueRC 8S1P battery onto the heli and will see how this setup does. It better do MUCH better.

From the above flight times I am using about 1/2 the capacity of the battery for just normal sport flying. I will not be switching to idle up as the additional head speed will not be of much benefit with the camera mount on. I was fairly pleased with how the new batteries performed. These are 10C packs and so do not expect out of this world crazy 3D performance from them cause you just aint gonna get it. But... I do seem to be getting fairly long duration flights. I am REALLY hoping to get a full 10 minutes with the camera mount and camera equipment in place. Time will tell. If not, I may be forced to upgrade to a 5000mah pack. I have to get a few more packs anyway as the three I have will not be enough to get much work done. I figure 6 packs will be enough, I hope.
Posted by BD Flyer | Mar 24, 2007 @ 10:32 PM | 19,823 Views
You will always be remembered Wayne, always...........
Posted by mnuetzmann | Mar 24, 2007 @ 10:07 PM | 2,472 Views
When I first bought my Century Swift I decided to go with the Century 600+ motor (1100kv) the Electron 80/100 ESC and the Century Electron 4000mah battery. This setup was ok for 6 minutes of sport flying. I was going to upgrade the battery to use 6S1P. However I decided I wanted to make my Swift into an AP heli. Since I was going to have the added weight of the mount and camera I knew that I was going to need more than a 6S battery. Since the 600+ motor and the Electron 80 are only good up to 6S I ended up getting the Z30A-800 motor and the Phoenix 85HV ESC.

So now I have the 600+ motor, Electron 80/100 ESC and Century 4000mah battery up for sale as I will probably never use them again. They are like new with only 6 flights total on the components.

I am hoping to get $250 shipped (anywhere in US).

If anyone is interested please email me at

Thanks, Mark
Posted by Mark786 | Mar 24, 2007 @ 07:51 PM | 2,259 Views
Maiden flight last saturday. This was my first plank flight as all my previous RC experience has been a Blade CP Pro. A small micro Helicopter.
I had a friend buddy box me but he never let go of his switch.
Second landing was was rather hard but no damage.
Today I got in five flights all solo.
I had a problem with the balance of the plane on it's landing gear. When I tried to taxi even with full up elevator it qwould nose dive. This also happened on a few landings. I had an experienced pilot tell me to bend the Z-bend landing gear a little forward to get the fulcrum balance furhter forward. Because of a hard landing I found that the gear was already a little rear (probably part of the problem). Therefore I just swapped sides rather that bending them back. This brought the wheels forward about two inches. Hopefully that is enough to make a difference.
Also had the fuel tank mount break allowing the tank to move forward an cut the fuel line causing a leak.
I have cleaned up the mess and rebuilt the support and am now ready to fly again.
Posted by k8sv | Mar 24, 2007 @ 05:31 PM | 2,176 Views
After nearly 10 years away from RC planes, I elected to get back into the fray. My other passion, GA (general aviation) has become too expensive to continue, hence my return to what has always a been a blast of a hobby as well as rewarding.
Posted by dwreel | Mar 24, 2007 @ 12:58 PM | 2,419 Views
Got the Hooker up yesterday. Total disaster. It acted like it was very tail heavy. All over the sky, big time. Sometime during the short flight the muffler fell of and things really got bad. One aborted landing attempt and on the second, the wing tip clipped a tree limb.The fuselage ended up in two pieces.

The plans called for 5* down thrust on the engine. I thought that was too much and changed it to 2*. Won't do that again.
Posted by Liquidity | Mar 24, 2007 @ 12:47 PM | 4,506 Views
My buddy and I decided to head to the field this morning and get a few flights in before the wind had a chance to roll in. I brought my Begin-Air again to log more flight time on it. He brought a his modified Challenger, which was really cool. He left the brushed motor in, but put in a Electrfily ESC, AR6000 Rx, and 2 micro servos with pushrods. He also has a coroplast tail.

Well we decided to dog fight. Before you state the obvious that it was not fair, my 4 channel more powerful more agile plane vs a 3 channel challenger, let me tell you that my buddy is way more experienced than me, so I figured it evened out

We decided to attached streamers to the Challenger and I would hunt him down. Since they are both pushers jets and there is no way to cut the streamers we decided to hit the streamers. That worked well for the majority of the dog fight, until I decided to cut his streamer with my plane. Below is a picture of the outcome. I ran up on him and took one of his streamers. Instead of tagging it and moving on, it got caught up on my prop and twisted around the shaft. Time to land . I dead sticked it in and unwund (sp?) the streamer. No damage and lots of fun. More flying in the next couple of days.