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Archive for April, 2018
Posted by rclad | Apr 24, 2018 @ 12:03 PM | 3,417 Views
One way to save money when competition takes you on the road is to camp. Hotel expenses can add up quickly for every weekend away, but the investment in camping gear is a one time expense. I plan on going to more IMAC events away from home this year, and since I already had a lot of the camping gear I needed, I decided to try camping as a way to stay on budget.

I just had to install a hitch on my Chevy Volt, buy a rack and cargo bag, and find a simple way to prepare easy meals while on the road. One of the coolest (hottest?) gadgets I found was an MSR Pocket Rocket. This little one burner "stove" folds up into a small plastic container that fits into the palm of your hand, weighs only 2.6 ounces, and when attached to an Isobutane-propane tank, burns super hot. It can heat up water or a meal in just a few minutes.

I went up to Muncie, Indiana, this past weekend to attend the IMAC Judging School and do some flying at Site 4. I brought along the family tent with the idea that it could double as a hangar for my 87" Extra 300. That worked out even better than I hoped. I was able to set up my tent right next to the runway at Site 4. AMA only charges $5/day for primitive camping, and I had access to restrooms and a hot shower (very welcome on this trip, since temps got down into the thirties at night!), with water on site and outlets for charging my plane. The plane fit in the tent with wings on, leaving plenty of room for a full size air mattress, duffel bag and other odds and ends. All I had to do in the morning was roll the plane out, put a fresh set of batteries in, and take off. In the evening I was able to hang out by the fire with the other guys (staying in RVs) and enjoy some company I would have missed, if I had stayed in a hotel.

Camping is a lot of work, but it does have many advantages. I was pleasantly surprised how well my first adventure worked out, and look forward to many more trips this year.
Posted by rclad | Apr 23, 2018 @ 01:45 PM | 2,920 Views
Part of the fun this hobby provides is the opportunity to tinker with our aircraft to get the most out of them. For those of us who get restless after a build ends and we've flown it successfully for a while, it only seems natural to start looking for ways to make improvements here or there, or maybe fix those minor problems that catch our attention during a flight. There is, however, that little voice that sounds an alarm: "Don't fix what isn't broken."

After flying my trusted 87" Extra 300 in a number of IMAC contests and racking up over 250 successful flights using my FrSky Taranis Plus transmitter, I wanted to upgrade my gimbals and sticks. I had been using the same transmitter for more than a year and half for all of my planes, and even though I hadn't noticed any wear in the gimbals, I wanted to be sure it was not contributing any slop to my input for precision aerobatics. Also, there were a couple heart thumping moments when I was pulling out of a vertical dive and the right stick (Mode 2) slipped out from my thumb. As a thumb pilot (vs. pinching the sticks with thumb and forefinger) this creates a potentially disastrous situation when pulling out close to the ground, and at best a loss of points in competition. It also causes a loss of confidence that you can maintain control of the aircraft, especially when it is needed most.

With that in mind I removed the stock gimbals that use a potentiometer with small contact brushes that can...Continue Reading
Posted by rclad | Apr 05, 2018 @ 10:58 AM | 2,635 Views
Eviation, an Israeli based aviation startup company, is working on an all-electric commuter plane named Alice. It's expected to go into service in 2021. Fossil fueled jets won't be going away any time soon, but the future is looking more hopeful with cleaner, and greener, modes of transportation. Charles Dodgson (writing as Lewis Carroll) had quite the imagination when he wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, but I doubt even he could have imagined the strange new world we're about to see.
Posted by rclad | Apr 04, 2018 @ 10:21 AM | 3,398 Views
The weather has been a bit extreme here in Ohio, with wildly fluctuating temperatures. We woke up to snow yesterday morning, then saw temperatures in the 70s this evening with tornado warnings and rain as a cold front barreled through. I haven't been able to do much flying, other than on a sim.

I've been doing some spring cleaning in my basement to make room for a new plane, an Extreme Flight electric-only 95" Extra 330 SC. If I could move today I would buy a house designed around the ideal RC workshop just a few minutes from a good airfield. Oh well, not gonna happen any time soon. My basement is far from ideal: it has a low ceiling, a concrete floor sloped toward two drains, a narrow stairway for access in and out, and it has been accumulating boxes, left overs from remodeling projects, scrap lumber, and all sorts of junk for the past 18 years. Even though I have four workbenches, there wasn't an inch of clear space anywhere.

I managed to reclaim an old oak cabinet and drawer from the original kitchen I tore down thirteen years ago, bought some storage bins for all the RC parts left over from last year's build, and threw out a lot of scraps piled up under three workbenches to provide storage for all my RC gear. Now I finally have some clean workbenches, one for storing and maintaining my 87" Extra, a 4x8' table for the new build, and one for my scroll saw and Dremel belt/disc sander. I also added a new 4' shop light and wired in a new outlet for the Dremel...Continue Reading