DismayingObservation's blog View Details
Archive for April, 2007
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 25, 2007 @ 02:19 PM | 4,915 Views
I remember a book on automobiles that I used to love when I was a kid, namely The First Book of Automobiles by Jeanne Bendick. Wanted to build that go-kart described in the last chapter like you wouldn't believe, but I digress. In it was a statement about how Rolls-Royce had the best customer service in the world, even going so far once as to send a technician to Africa to assist a British aristocrat out on safari. Parts? No sweat. I understand that the company stocks virtually all parts back to about the 1909 model year. Those of you with a Silver Ghost or Phantom II in your garage, please take note.

On the other hand, it seems as though the hobby industry at large is quickly catching up to that level of service.

I've never had anything but the best service imaginable from Horizon Hobby. If something of theirs breaks under unusual circumstances, odds are they will cheerfully and quickly replace the item. They've done so for me from everything to an aluminum Blade CP swashplate that came apart in flight (new one's on its way) to entire aircraft, like the ParkZone P-51 that lost an aileron on its second flight and hit the deck hard.

Or how about Castle Creations? Buy their ESCs and you're set for life regarding firmware upgrades. I've lost two Phoenix-25 controllers in crashes. Both were replaced for the princely sum of $25 each.

I just sent my PowerZone adapter board back to its manufacturer in Folsom, California. This is the wondrous little...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 16, 2007 @ 09:42 AM | 5,357 Views
I seem to have more or less overcome the urge to visit and/or use Wikipedia. Had to log on just a couple of days ago to remove the e-mail address from the profile which I was told was deleted. I was still getting unwanted e-mails! Sent an e-mail of my own to the site's owners requesting total obliteration of my account.

Haven't heard back. Account's still there.

For your amusement, a couple of recent entries. Our first is apparently from a college student at Barnfield College, wherever that is. Dude's been posting since February. His latest, about-to-be-obliterated "entry" consists entirely of the following (quotes mine):

"Barnfield College Computing and Information Technology"

That's it. Not even a period.

Another vandalism "article" about somone named Victoria Beales:


Or the guy posting lots and lots of articles on little towns in Colombia. An example:

"Puerto Asís is a town and municipality located in the Putumayo Department, Republic of Colombia."

He's done about a dozen of these.

My favorite thus far is about Adalbert II, Count of Ballenstedt:

"Adalbert II, Count of Ballenstedt, is an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II."

See what you learn when you use the internet?
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 15, 2007 @ 03:34 PM | 4,852 Views
Oh, wow. Wow. All I can say is wow.

Here am I, blissfully happy with my flying Styrofoam cups thinking how cool it is to fly.

And it is.

But for those who've never seen jets...

I just got my first up-close-and-personal look at turbine-powered R/C aircraft at a jet meet sponsored by the local R/C club. Before today, I'd never been to that club nor had I ever seen a turbine model in operation.

These guys are good.

Picture, if you will, a knife edge only about six feet off the runway at nearly 200 mph. That's 320 km/h for the rest of the world.

We are talking giant scale aircraft that not only operate on the same principles as their full-sized counterparts, they run on the same fuel and make the same sounds.

And hoo boy, do those big planes get small quick. Real quick.

Except for one poor chap who lost an engine hatch and collapsed a landing gear during the same flight, this event went off without a hitch. The airmanship was incomparable. Fantastic raffle prizes, too.

I didn't win...but hey, I had a ball.

Thinking it's time to reactivate my AMA membership and join this club. The new president has done much to eliminate the "us versus them" mentality of its members. There are those among them who think we electric guys are less than pilots.

They are in the minority.

With all due props to the glow guys, at least I don't have to clean up the goo all over my plane when I'm finished nor worry about a dead-stick landing.

That is, until I step up to glow or, better still, gas.

Bring on the flying weed whackers, gentlemen. Here I come!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 12, 2007 @ 12:03 AM | 5,125 Views
I've seen it windy here before, but oh boy, this is nuts.

Virtually all of inland Southern California is under a wind advisory. Needless to say, I probably won't be doing any flying in the foreseeable future.

On the bright side, I've just about finished converting a spare bedroom into a hobby paradise, due in no small part to the generosity of my sister and brother-in-law. They gave my wife and I a truckload of near-new furniture and accessories that wouldn't go with the new furnishings in their new home. Worth every dime I spent on a 17' U-Haul truck. I cannot thank them enough.

One of the things I was lucky enough to get was a beautiful European-style workstation that once served as my nephew's homework desk and which must have cost a small fortune. I've been using it a lot and I have to say that I'm one lucky sonofagun since I don't make that kind of bread. Been careful, too. Don't want to scratch it.

This also gives me a suitable workplace to put the HPI Savage back together. Yup, still nothing more than a rolling chassis awaiting the new engine. Oh, well.

One thing's for sure: I'm going to lay out some newspaper on that workstation when I'm ready to hit the wrenches and install that mill.

Getting back to the wind issue, all I can say is "nuts." After sixteen months, countless repairs and a whole lot of simulator time, I am finally at the point where I'm wearing out more parts than I'm breaking on the Blade CP! It's doing exactly what I want it to do. Only mishaps as of late were mechanical failures of the tail motor (surprise!) and of the aluminum swashplate.

I am now thinking "Align T-Rex."

Might have to save my sheckels.

Until next time, have fun!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 08, 2007 @ 11:09 PM | 5,224 Views
Anyone who's done time in the Southwest knows that Circle K convenience stores are on practically every street corner in the region. There seems to be one on every other block in Tucson.

I, on the other hand, am not presently in Tucson. There are, however, a few Circle K's in the area.

They sell an interesting little frozen concoction called a "Froster" which in turn is manufactured by that grand old soft drink institution in Atlanta.

The names of the flavors have to be seen to be believed.

The one that caught my eye was "Rotten Eggs." Not far from it was "Snot Surprise" or something like that.

Ah, but my favorite: "Trout Fart."

Given the propensity of the average twelve-year-old to find bodily humor absolutely hilarious, there's no doubt that it's the intention of those responsible for this, um, marketing to have our neighborhoods filled with sugar-amped preteens running around asking passers-by to pull their fingers.

While the twelve-year-old in me sees something funny in drinking Trout Fart, the adult in me finds it almost pathetic that a major company would stoop to such depths in order to sell frozen drinks.

It also makes me wish that hobby companies would start marketing outside of trade publications and go directly to these kids via traditional media outlets.

Perhaps they should consider naming an R/C model boat "Trout Fart."

It would sell like snot rockets.