xatled99's blog View Details
Archive for May, 2007
Posted by xatled99 | May 20, 2007 @ 05:50 PM | 3,165 Views
Had my first couple of aileron-enabled flights today with the pushrods in the outermost holes and the dual rates cranked way down. Second flight was cut short by what I think was a power glitch- plane suddenly became unresponsive and went into a tight corkscrew. Found it in some tall grass, thankfully unscathed.

I chopped off the ghetto battery connectors and put on some deans connectors as soon as I got home.
Posted by xatled99 | May 14, 2007 @ 03:21 PM | 3,208 Views
Had two great flights on Saturday morning at http://www.soarcasa.org/ .

I went up at ten and again around noon, but a couple minutes into the flight, the plane needed a lot of up elevator to stay aloft. I brought it down early to have a look. Upon landing, I realized that there was a lot of down elevator. I checked the servos, tail boom, and trim, but everything was fine. The cause? The exposed black metal pushrods had expanded in the sun.


Posted by xatled99 | May 08, 2007 @ 10:59 PM | 3,208 Views
After epoxying the tail and strapping in the camera, I finally got some reasonable video out of the beginair. Had to keep it slow and low due to geographic considerations. Not flying at dusk should help the exposure and using a lower resolution mode should improve the frame rate.

Posted by xatled99 | May 07, 2007 @ 07:40 PM | 3,384 Views
Here's how I mounted the pencam on the beginair. 2 8" nylon cable ties did the job, with a little 1/4" foam rubber to pad the bottom. I cut two pairs of slits in the flat part of the canopy area behind the servo tray and threaded the cable ties through those.
Posted by xatled99 | May 07, 2007 @ 12:12 AM | 3,388 Views
Lest I be bitten by dead AAA batteries again, I looked at


to see how to wire up the pencam to the rx. As it turns out, you can just splice into the AA battery terminals rather than the USB ones; the soldering is a little easier that way.

I also used macam to do some fine adjusting to the focus ring while I had the camera apart.
Posted by xatled99 | May 06, 2007 @ 09:46 PM | 3,184 Views
Today's flight was much better; it was like flying a different airplane. I think slitting the elevator hinge did the trick. Hand launches were effortless and required no running. Took a couple hard knocks but everything seems fine. Belly landings on the grass sans landing gear worked pretty well. I probably should epoxy the tail boom in, since the screws keep working themselves loose.

Sadly, still no AP due to dead AAA batteries. Velcro is insufficient to hold the camera in, I'll need to strap it in with nylon zipties.
Posted by xatled99 | May 05, 2007 @ 02:10 PM | 3,394 Views
Yesterday's maiden flight of the beginair wasn't so good; plagued with control problems. Seemed way out of trim- full up elevator, dual rates on, with full up trim couldn't make it climb well. ROG was impossible due to high grass; hand launches more often than not ended with a nose in the dirt.

Needless to say, there was no AP yesterday. The batteries like to leap out of the pencam with the slightest provoaction. More velcro and some tape will help there.

Bent an elevator pushrod, which seems to have stripped a servo gear; guess I'll swap out an aileron servo for the time being and fly three channel. Tail feathers got twisted up a bit; epoxied. Prop strikes chewed a little off the ailerons; taped. Landing gear got bent up a bit; unbent.
Posted by xatled99 | May 05, 2007 @ 12:44 PM | 3,405 Views
The mencoder binary in


will read the SP54 AVI files that the Aiptek Pencam SD 1.3 produces and will produce a H264 AVI file that can then then be read by quicktime/imovie with the flip4mac plugin. There's probably a cleaner/better way to do this, or a way to convert directly to quicktime, but

mencoder IMG_0001.AVI -o foo.avi -ovc x264

did the job for me. Youtube also natively supports the raw SP54 files as well.
Posted by xatled99 | May 04, 2007 @ 11:07 AM | 3,366 Views
Anyone know where to order the aero ace sport? I ordered from Toys R Us a few months ago, thinking I'd get a biplane as pictured, but got a jet instead, so I'm not inclined to repeat that experience.
Posted by xatled99 | May 03, 2007 @ 07:57 PM | 3,215 Views
The pen barrel and electrical tape took care of the elevator pushrod flex. A nylon ziptie bundled up the servo wires nicely, and some 1/4" foam made for a snug fit for the rx. Good thing, because there's no way the canopy is going on without modification. I'm inclined to leave it off, since I'd have to remove it to access the battery anyway.

Broke in the motor by running a battery through at low speed, and cycled the rx and tx batteries in doing so.

As it turns out, epoxy has a shelf life. Thankfully, my local supermarket had some 5 minute epoxy and gel CA, so my wing is now reinforced and my servo screw is no longer loose.

My Aiptek Pencam SD 1.3 arrives tomorrow; still unsure where to mount it.
Posted by xatled99 | May 03, 2007 @ 11:02 AM | 3,317 Views

Pushrods came with little plastic retaining clips on the fuselage boom. These cause the pushrods to follow an arc instead of a straight line, which seemed bad to me; they would rub on the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer. So I cut them off. Now, a different problem; down elevator causes the pushrod to flex. Might need to stiffen it or prevent it from flexing somehow, maybe with a pen barrel and some electrical tape. The clevises are lousy, too. Might just replace the pushrods with flexrods, especially since I don't like the idea of metal pushrods running parallel to the antenna. In retrospect, I probably should have left the clips on and just put some tape on the stab LE.

Servos and ESC

All servos and controls were reversed; fixed on the TX side. ESC needed a lot of trim to prevent it from idling with the throttle off. Throttle ATV didn't seem to help here. One of the screws holding the rudder servo to the servo tray was loose, might need to CA that down. The splines on the control horns are fairly coarse, which, along with the cheap clevises, makes trimming difficult.

Radio gear

I mated a Futaba 6YG rx to the beginair. The rx is larger than the stock rx; it fits, but I don't think I'll be able to get the canopy lid on. Threaded the antenna through the tail boom with some wire wrap wire. Not sure how I'll route the servo wires cleanly; probably nylon zip ties.


The dihedral brace worries me. It's loose and there's a lot of slop, and I suspect that the wing halves will flex in flight and the brace will eventually gouge the foam enough to cause a failure. Probably wants some epoxy and at least a strip of tape in lieu of a real spar. Probably want to move the y-connector closer to the wing so there's only one thing to plug and unplug, and use a servo extension to get it the rest of the way to the rx.