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Posted by UpNup | Jan 15, 2021 @ 04:07 PM | 6,459 Views
No manual exists. I saw an ancient blurry photo online that held the key.

1. Epoxy ply rails in place, buttress them, and drill holes. It is easy to do this if the fuselage is not fully in place. Otherwise you’ll have to cut. Use a micro-saw against the grain of balsa and a hobby knife with the grain.

2. Connect the steering mechanism first. Run a stiff line from rudder servo to the clevis at the swivel point. I’d recommend a braided cable if a wire rod isn’t available. I ran mine inside a flex tube that was epoxied to the fuse every two inches. The steering mechanism must swing parallel to the motion of the retract. The nose wheel strut must be firmly held into place by an Allen screw.

3. Open the control rod metal clevis and put the outermost swing arm inside the clevis pin. Make sure the clevis pin goes to the outside away from the strut. Put a metal clip in the brass pin of the clevis. Do not use any other method to secure the clevis such as a 1/16” portion of fuel line.

4. Make sure the nose retract locks both down and up. The control rod clevis for the retract must match the distance. I recommend doing this in the down position.

5. Screw the retract in place making sure the blind nuts seat or bite firmly into the ply rail.

6. A mechanical retract typically uses one strong servo and bends wires into a round servo control piece. Make sure the servo is the the down position when hooking up the clevis arms on the retracts.

Note. The photos were taken when replacing broken retracts that had been epoxied into place. The Hobbico mechanical retracts from 1995 did not match the holes of their 1999 version. All the innards did match, so I swapped out the sides. For whatever reason both old and new nose wheel retracts had rail screws glued into place. Two of the four screws in EACH retract had to be sawed off.
Posted by UpNup | Jan 15, 2021 @ 12:00 PM | 3,969 Views
An RC Pilot Goes to Heaven

One day when life is over
And before my Lord I stand,
He’ll look at me with eternal love
And a model in His hand.

It’ll look just like the one I flew
Upon the wind so free.
I’d built it in my shop to fly
And from the world set free.

Jesus held it out for me
And asked me how it flew.
Memories came flooding in right then
It was my life reviewed.

He asked me if I’d really felt
The Creator’s hand in mine?
To plan, to cut, to sand, and coat,
Until the plane was fine.

He opened my mind to see the save
When that earthward plunge pulled up
I saw His hand beneath the wings
And yet I counted it luck.

I heard my heart then heave a sigh
When flying out of sight
Up and up, it went so high,
No longer in the sky.

A little prayer I’d prayed that day
He’d heard it bye and bye.
But I missed how He comforted me
Flying buddies by my side.

I remembered all with clarity
No longer with remorse.
The Lord had been there all along,
A Friend to me, of course.

I took the plane from the Master’s Hands
And looked at it anew.
Jesus had kept it safely here
A joy for me He knew.

I launched the plane, it flew away.
‘Twas perfect now like me.
I saw the twinkle in His eye,
A friend to modelers He.
Posted by UpNup | Jan 08, 2021 @ 09:13 PM | 2,436 Views
Today I submitted Harley Michaelis’ name to the AMA’s Hall of Fame review group. My nomination gave them seven pages including a cover page, their nomination form, biography, achievements, testimonials, links to articles and videos, and a page of photos.

It was good to review my past year interacting with Harley. He died October 12, 2020 and his ashes were buried next to Patricia in Walla Walla, Wash.

Harley was 99 years old and had outlived so many that he had trained, competed against, and inspired. He had become a Christian two years after marrying Patricia and lived out his faith.

He deserved this nomination. I’m glad to have made a long overdue nomination.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 27, 2020 @ 01:42 PM | 8,762 Views
Tore into the fuse and cut the fins free with a micro saw. Got them to stand up by bending the dual rudder control rods. Punch list:

:: Continue stripping off the covering
:: epoxy the stabs in the upright position.
:: Lots of balsa repair to come.

The conversion from FA-18 to F-15 is progressing nicely.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 23, 2020 @ 06:29 PM | 6,991 Views
Went back to my DC FA-18 prop jet. I’m converting it to an F-15 and from glow to electric.

:: extended the engines a good 2” and transitioned from rounded to squared engine sides.

:: pulled out the retracts which had been encased in epoxy. Really disappointed to learn two of the three were broken including the steerable nose gear.

:: created four AIM-120 missiles. At 1/16 scale, they’re smallish, but a scale 1/12 is big and really heavy.

:: painted up a pilot that I was given free. The vacuum formed plastic didn’t have much detail such as ribs on the air hose. (Thanks Sparky!)

UPDATE: glued on a cord wrapped with wire for a new breathing hose. Repainted the entire pilot and gave him a new face mask.

:: found and bought a pristine 25 year-old canopy that I hope to paint soon. (Thanks Brian!)

UPDATE: Finished an ejection seat scratch built based on a review of 20 years of Eagle ejection seats -- about 1:12...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Dec 21, 2020 @ 08:18 AM | 6,236 Views
Since I was a little guy, I have gone into hobbies whole hog. While studying for school, playing sports, president of student council, and active at my church, I have also had period of intense focus, bordering on obsession:
Models -- anything plastic -- spacecraft, cars, planes, etc. never got into tanks or weaponry
Rocketry -- Estes, water pumped, whatever
Puppets -- even went to Mexico as a summer missionary with my trunk full of puppets -- I still have one
Golf -- visited that hobby several times, but the more I played the worse I got
Models and RC planes as an adult -- I like to build a1/48 scale plastic model first, then build it in a flyable RC version\

Covid has freed-up time for into reading / researching, and model-building. To avoid it becoming an obsession, I have to:
1. Agree with model-building times with my wife.
2. Stick within an agreed-upon yearly budget. For two years I have not paid my local RC club dues or AMA dues to divert funds into building. I know a guy who builds museum-quality plastic models and when done, just puts them in a big cardboard box.
3. Try to avoid "fringe" visits to my hobby area to just put on one thing so it can dry -- 10 minutes always turns into 30.
4. Learn to appreciate the work of others and seek to improve my game, realizing there will always be somebody better and that's okay.
5. Intentionally avoid competitions because I'm very competitive and know that's the path to obsessive hobby disorder.

...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Dec 16, 2020 @ 01:29 PM | 7,947 Views
Since I bought a prop-jet in late August, I have been wanting to use it to honor a friend of mine who flies for MAF. He doesn't fly a fighter jet now, he flies a Cessna 208b Amphibious (think Caravan on floats). He used to fly F-15B/C's. Well, when I bought the prop-jet, I had the mistaken notion that my friend flew for the Navy. What I didn't know is that he flew the F-15 out of Langley, which is still down in that neck of Virginia. So, imagine my surprise, after purchasing the propjet in all its FA-18 Hornet glory to learn my friend's specific fighter preference. And it didn't help that my prop jet was done up in Blue Angels' blue and yellow. The goal was now to get it being passable for an all-gray 27th Squadron F-15 Eagle. And, in the RC world, I needed to think long-term to flying with everything in electric and not use the glow .91 motor that came with it. The jury is still out on using the 25 year-old JR servos.

Okay, so the game has been on this fall to convert this Direct Connection FA-18 into an F-15. I once bashed a 1/48 scale SU-27 Flanker into a video game Macross YF-30 Chronos fighter, but that didn't have to actually fly.

There were several levels of conversion to consider after an electronics upgrade.
1. Superficial - put the Eagle colors over the Hornet and go fly
2. Some modifications: Take off the front winglets, extend the engine intakes, straighten the stab/rudders, and patch the old engine hole
3. Full modifications: Trying to get the...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Dec 15, 2020 @ 02:42 PM | 5,752 Views
When I started out in RC planes, I had no idea how deep the rabbit hole could go. I just bought a plane from my daughter's boyfriend and learned how to fly and sold it before soloing. Years later I bought an electric Champ and lost it on the third flight up and up into a swamp. That's when I started this blog -- sound familiar? (UpNup is my handle here.) Several more years passed and I bought a HobbyZone Champ S+. I was the ideal guy they built this for. Push a panic button and it'll land at your feet. (My brother's flew away on the first flight.) That little thing tolerated very little wind, but in the fall of 2016, we had a drought and a stalled weather system. I put 60+ flights on that little plane. That led to a Parkzone Sport Cub S2 foamie a year later. I flew it about 50 times to the point that the flaps stopped working and I couldn't figure out why. (The servo came loose!)

Now, something happened when I had those planes -- I altered them. I put planes on the Champ S+ and gave it Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) graphics. I made and then bought floats, but they were always too heavy to work right. But I was getting my hands dirty and buying tools. The Sport Cub S2 was a real challenge. I changed its red and white color scheme into Cub yellow. I painted it with latex paint. Gorgeous, but it peeled off in places. I actually stripped off all the paint and covered the whole plane in Cub yellow Econokote. I also bought floats and covered them, too. I even bought...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Nov 26, 2020 @ 07:41 PM | 4,512 Views
The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) had a Type 99 Number 80 Mark 5 bomb that was 92.1" long, 16.1" tall. It weighted 1,756.6 lbs. or 796.8 kg. This bomb was strapped underneath the lead level bomber on Pearl Harbor. I made a 1/9 scale version that is to go on my B5N2 Kate. It is just over 11" long. There are two propellers at the end of the tapered tail that serve as fuses.

My first version was crooked and the planking was a distraction. A second version isn't perfect, but acceptable. One note is that I hid a basswood plank under the planking so that I can drill into it and mount it one day under that plane....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Nov 21, 2020 @ 07:58 PM | 6,446 Views
The Nakajima Sakae 11 had 14 cylinders stacked 7 in front. For my 1/9 scale B5N2 Kate level bomber, I’m only showing the first part.

The goal was to see if an acceptable balsa version could be scratchbuilt instead of purchasing one. This model is stand-off scale so I think it will work well....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Nov 14, 2020 @ 09:38 AM | 8,796 Views
Yesterday I visited the Air Force Museum just to see and photograph the F-15A Eagle on display....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Oct 31, 2020 @ 09:01 PM | 8,148 Views
Building a scratchbuilt B5N2 includes this Type 92 Machine Gun. It is 4” long.

The barrell is a coffee stir stick, sight is a sprue melted and stretched to a point, the trigger and guard were cut from a plastic tube, and the rest is balsa.

Panted with Testors spray and dry brushed with silver.

Very satisfying.

Update: Visited Air Force Museum in Dayton, Oh., and found a Type 92 in a display case. The lighting was terrible and I've boosted the gain on the photo.
Posted by UpNup | Oct 15, 2020 @ 06:45 PM | 4,343 Views
Harley Michaelis died on Monday, October 12, at his home in Walla Walla, Washington. He was 99 years old. Harley designed and flew competition sailplanes, but also designed many other RC planes including an Easy Eagle powered 2 meter glider. He also designed an internal servo system so that the control horns weren't visible (RDS). He helped many people get into gliding as a hobby. He encouraged me and coached me how to find and track with thermals.

About a year ago, as described in my blog, I decided to try and make a powered glider. I went back through old magazines I had on hand until I found Harley's article in the November 1989 edition of Model Aviation. In that article was Harley's email address. I emailed him and he emailed right back. We became pen pals of sorts with him coaching me. For a Christmas present, I mailed him my copy of that 1989 magazine. He said he didn't have many of the magazine articles he wrote. He would loan them out and not get them back. He said he wrote 17 magazine articles, which helped offset medical expenses when his wife, Patricia, was going through efforts to save her prior to her death about 30 years ago. Harley was featured in the September 2020 edition of Model Aviation.

I believe God used me to help Harley get ready to step from this life into the presence of Jesus in Heaven. We had several talks about faith, conversion, church membership (or not), and other aspects. He sent me his memoirs, which contained very little mention of...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Oct 02, 2020 @ 06:58 PM | 3,609 Views
Back in July a friend stumbled on this prop jet in an antique mall. A couple of weeks later my wife and I went there and checked it out. I took photos and put them on a balsa kit building page. Everyone said it was an incredible deal and to grab it.

So after haggling for three weeks with the owner, we reached a deal. Keep in mind this is only available in a balsa kit that took months to complete. He came down 11% and threw in a radio controller. This flies like a plane (the propeller part) but looks like an FA-18 Hornet fighter (the jet in prop jet) flown by the Blue Angels.

At least a 1/10.8 scale version. It’s 59 inches long, has a 53 inch wingspan, and weighs 8.5 lbs. No decals, but gas the Navy blue and yellow accents. Other version surpass 100 mph, so it’ll be awhile before this thing flies with my thumb at the helm.

I understand the Super Tigre 90 engine on this prop jet is rare and valuable. The ling tuned pipe muffler adds to the power. So I plan to strip it out of the plane and sell it separately. I fly electric motors and not fuel types anyway.

Another feature is that it has retractable trike landing gear. That’s pretty cool adding realism. I plan to use it as a winter project.

And the best part is that my wife suggested that I buy it....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Sep 25, 2020 @ 02:56 PM | 4,206 Views
It’s fun to design new planes. Awhile ago, a PS4 video game caught my imagination and I mashed a Sukhoi 35/37 Super Flanker into a Macross YF-30 Chronos.

See https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-30-Jet-mashup

A friend recently discovered a FA-18 Hornet in an antique mall. The prop jet is made by Direct Connection I may not get it, but it reignited a desire to figure out how to bring a video game jet into the RC world.

Could the ruddervators lay down flat after takeoff when the landing gear is retracted? Could they raise back into position when the landing gear comes back down?

Weight is an issue. The Sailplane crowd uses two small Servos north of the CG to run push/pull cables. That would allow a second set of strong service to tuck into the rear a bit.

It’s fun to imagine.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 20, 2020 @ 02:35 PM | 4,209 Views
Today my wife had the hard part while I flew the plane. While she was videotaping, a 4 year old came up to her:

Colton: Can I fly that plane?
Mary: Maybe when you're older.
Colton: I'm almost five. Maybe I could trade my RC cars for that airplane. Would you go ask him?
Mary: Well, my husband really likes airplanes. He spent a lot of time building them from little pieces of wood.
Colton: My Dad leaves the cars in a closet and doesn't charge them. They can go really fast! 186 miles an hour! ... How long is he going to keep flying (sigh).
Mary: Well, sometimes ten minutes. He's only been up for five minutes. You can ask him to show you how it works when he lands.
Colton: Will he land soon?

Actually I did land right about then and got to describe how the servos worked. He helped me count out all six rubber bands. He was captivated watching me remove the battery and power down my Tx. His grandmother who had hovered nearby promised to get him a rubber-band balsa stick plane. It's what I started on when I was about his age.

The influence we have is really powerful if we'll see engagements as an opportunity and not a nuisance, especially with a precocious kid like Colton. And it didn't hurt that the grandmother noticed my Jesus fish (Ichthus ) on the wing and read the Fellowship of Christian Modelers logo on my hat.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 11, 2020 @ 02:22 PM | 3,626 Views
After watching the Goldberg Electra porpoise today into the wind, I decided to add 21g of lead. The flight stability was much better. However, I plan to add an additional 7g to reach a full ounce of nose weight.

The original 1986 Goldberg Electra with NiCad packs and hefty servos weighed 48 oz. or 3 lbs. or 1,360.78 grams. It was considered a “lead sled” with the combo weight and weak 550 kv motor.

Here’s my Electra’s data:

Fuselage w battery 1 lb 4.75 oz or 590 g
Wings w 6 rubber bands 13 oz or 365g

Total weight 955g / 33.7 oz or 2.1 lbs
Minus 28g weights is 927g or 2.04 lbs.

Weight target could have been lighter. Some have it at 25 oz. My Electra’s weight is probably due to: 3s battery, 2212 1400kv motor, 1/2” Balsa/ply nose extension, handbuilt cowl with 3 magnets, Gold-N-Rods running the full fuse with clevises, and full Monokote covering.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 07, 2020 @ 06:39 PM | 7,300 Views
After a series of test glides, the Goldberg Electra checked out. The CG was very close. However, I pulled a groin muscle making all those test flights! During one of those tests, the battery slid forward and cracked the beam holding the servos. This was an easy fix.

Today had mild winds and so I gave it a go. The 1400 kv motor is a bit strong for this powered glider. However, any throttle past halfway gave it a vertical climb posture. It got me out of trouble at least twice. Those dihedral wings really do fight to keep the plane level. I'm still wobbly at flying with just rudder and elevator. At one point, I realized that my hands were going the wrong way with the knobs. Doh! My heart was racing in one part of the maiden and I had to take a deep breath, take my hands totally off the controls and go after it fresh.

Watching the Electra glide was a treat. In the second flight, it stayed stock still in the air. Some updrafts were coming off a row of tallish evergreens. The wind and updraft (thermal?) was balanced just right. I slipped off the front edge as it passed and dipped, so maybe it was a thermal.

The landings included one hard bounce that knocked loose a piece of metal holding the cowl in place. However, the wings and fuse seem very strong.

The weakness in the building was the black cockpit cover. Despite six #64 rubber bands, the wings did give a bit on landing. The covering creased and pulled free of the screws. I need to design something that is more durable and perhaps fits either on magnets or under the rubber bands.

The color scheme worked incredibly well on a blue sky. I would imagine the red/black bottom and white tops would work well on a cloudy day.

I can't wait to fly again. Walked home with a silly grin. And even my wife said, "Well, I think you've got something you can fly." I'll take it.