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Posted by skye8070 | Jul 02, 2017 @ 07:47 AM | 13,499 Views
It's an easy kit to build. The only pain is the printing of the plans and viewing the instructions. All that is shipped via pdf file so I just TLAR'd most of this build to be honest and didn't lay much of anything over the plans. But the trailing edges have notches cut for the ribs and the whole fuse is totally interlocking so this isn't as crazy as you'd think....Continue Reading
Posted by skye8070 | Aug 17, 2014 @ 04:43 AM | 14,975 Views
It's been about a 28 year long tradition in the Mid Ohio Soaring Society that every August we hold an "After 6pm" contest. No flight may start until 6 pm rolls around. Keep launching until darkness occurs. In our neck of the woods that's about a 3 hour window of time. For this contest only the single longest flight of any competitor counts. The flight times and names of the pilot and plane have been recorded on the back of the trophy plaque and some years are won by 8 minute flights and I think the longest couple were up in the 30 to 40 minute range (both by Paul Weise with a Mantis).

Yesterday we held this contest, Todd Anderson was CD, who did a great job. We almost got rained out, and we had an ALES contest all day before the Hanford Memorial as it's now called in honer of Ed Hanford. After the rain letup the sky was covered with clouds and we really didn't end up seeing more than hint of direct sunlight after 6 pm. It seemed like there might be lift out there latent from some very decent thermals earlier in the day but in the end it might have been a launching and flying smoothest contest. Gavin Trussell won this year with a 11 min 33 sec time flying an Egida. He launched very well but his flying was especially smooth in contrast to my sticks. I think I imagined lift out there last night but downloading the altitude data this morning and reviewing it I'm hard pressed to see an "thermal" activity in the graphs. See if you agree? Still, perhaps not a terrible dead air sink rate for a 76 oz Aspire at 67 fpm or 1.11 fps.

So I added a second file showing the 4 launches using the same altimeter data, this time expanded so that we just see the first 30 seconds of launch and release. The dive into the bucket happens around 400 to 500 feet depending on the launch. I know one launch called "flight 6" in the picture was done under a lull in the breeze so it was harder to launch the plane as steeply.
Posted by skye8070 | Feb 17, 2013 @ 06:40 PM | 17,923 Views
I've kind of challenged myself here because in addition to starting an MM Glidertech Oculus, I also have on the bench a rebuild of a "basket case" E Spread Tow Aspire. Because I started the Oculus first and I think it'll take much longer to put together I'm focusing all the grinding, cutting, sanding time on that plane. For the Aspire I'm still in what you might call the contemplative phase of the project.

If we're keeping score or taking stock or something as of Feb 17th Mar 17th here's the progress on each plane:

Center Wing section 80% complete
Outer Wing sections 90% complete
Tip Wing sections 90% complete
Fuse not started
Rudder not started
Flying Stab not started

Damaged Right Wing Tip: Foam 95% sanded, one more pass of finish epoxy and micro balloons on some slightly loose areas.
Lightly Damaged Center Panel: Contemplative Phase
Damaged Fuselage: The main break is now done, the nose needs some reinforcement
Servos bought are Airtronics 761s for flaps, elevator, rudder, 809s for ailerons, hardware acquired and drive system is basically in place but I'll need a matched spinner from Kennedy.
Posted by skye8070 | Dec 30, 2012 @ 10:22 AM | 18,205 Views

I bought this plane from Northeast Sailplanes at their Toledo booth upwards of 10 years ago. It's a wonderful little floaty plane, depending on the power system it's between 15-20 oz and with a thick airfoil and a 60" wingspan it flies a lot like a Carl Goldberg Gentle Lady. However, until now I've had a string of hard knocks and outright failures of the motors, batteries and speed controls on this plane. Or should I say I knew nothing about brushed or brushless motors and so I kept blowing them up, putting on the wrong props, and generally releasing the magic smoke from the speed controls.

So fast forward to this year and I now own a watt meter, a big selection of Li Po batteries, and the beginnings of a creeping knowledge of how to put all this junk together and not smoke them. Gosh I'm hard headed but I like to think I eventually "get it." Originally this plane came with a geared speed 400 brushed motor spinning about a 10" prop. It was powered by a 7 or 8 cell NiMh or Nicad battery pack. Back when it was new I'd fly with the 8 cell AA pack out of an electric Zagi and it would fly but gosh was it heavy. That gearbox started to go bad and I never did have luck finding a replacement that wouldn't grind hard too. Perhaps the motor mount system was to blame, I'm sure I "optimized" it to the point where it didn't work any more. That's kind of my specialty, messing with things till they break and I put them back on the shelf....Continue Reading
Posted by skye8070 | Sep 21, 2012 @ 11:21 PM | 19,051 Views
I'm kind of a slow builder although this is one my quicker planes. I started and finished this plane in 2012 but it must have taken 6 months or more. Not a real tricky plane to build but cutting the ribs to insert the plywood shear plates around the joiner rod, gluing all that in there and ensuring really good adhesive coverage seemed to take me awhile. It weighs about 60 oz. I built the wing without carbon spar caps, actually, no carbon in the plane except for the push rods and the propeller blades.

Speaking of power, it's an Mpi folding hub, 13x10 aeronaut props, Himax 3522-0700 motor, 60 amp E flight ESC, and 2200 mAh 20C Hobby People 11.1v LiPo. At full throttle this goes up with authority at about 80 degrees and is getting to 200 meters in maybe 20 seconds. Probably about 55 oz of thrust in a 65 oz plane. I kind of cheaped out on the servos and I regret the elevator response from the big Hitec digital which seems slow. Although it does seem to re-center well which is the paramount quality you need in a sailplane elevator servo. With servos just under the trailing edge and ESC and battery under the front hatch it's balancing out perfectly according to plans. So just shifting the battery or ESC rear wards should be all the tuning needed for CG. Under the wing is mostly empty except for receiver and servos so ballast could be added. However I'm guessing this Oly-IIs is close to or even beyond 60 oz so it's already nicely weighted for a breezy day and I'll probably dedicate it toward windy ALES contest days for the most part.
Posted by skye8070 | Apr 15, 2012 @ 08:32 PM | 18,417 Views
I'm either too unfamiliar with the heavy iron (I mean carbon) F3J planes or they just aren't as good as a Sovereign, but whatever the case I just love, love, love flying this plane. Maybe because you can't get them anymore from Mountain Models / Laser Arts but it just is a very special flying plane. Every year at Toledo I ask the guys at the MM/LA booth if they'll consider re-issuing it. Even for double the price I think this one of the best 2 meter planes out there, especially for relaxing flying that most sailplane guys are into. I know it's not a great contest ship, especially without spoilers like mine, but that doesn't stop me from loving it.
Posted by skye8070 | Jan 01, 2012 @ 01:42 PM | 17,511 Views
Let this stand a cautionary tale for those would be "go getters" out there. I'm here to tell you working a lot is good for the wallet, it can't hurt you chances for promotion, and it'll keep you off the street. But it's killer on your free time and may lead to sailplane-dysfunctitus. This is where your sailplanes stop functioning because they stay sitting on shelves and in your basement. A related problem is buildus-interruptus. That's where you have the same pile of sticks sitting on a plan on your workbench for months on end. A very dangerous syndrome is combining the two problems. This is where you have a bad sailplane and forget it's bad and needs a repair. But because it's so long in between flying sessions you forget that and try to go fly it anyway only to find out in the pre-flight check that the same gosh darn flap servo still doesn't work (it's the wiring most probably). That happened a month or two ago when I tried to go the slope...and only brought one plane...that didn't work. Aiy Chihuahua.

To all you R/C nuts out there and here's wishing all of you a Happy New Year!

Posted by skye8070 | Jul 07, 2011 @ 06:00 PM | 18,747 Views
This week I'm attempting to prepare for the NATS. It's been a hectic year so I've gotten in much less flying with most of my planes than I wished. The only plane I'm comfortable with is the RES machine. That's been flying since March and it's flying style suits me (it's big, slow and requires few inputs). Both my unlimited machines are still in pieces which is insane this late in the game. My 2 meter needs a tail servo transplant. My backup 2 meter needs an Rx and new digital servos. And my Nostalgia plane looks like it's going to be the $30 swap meet special Oly-II. Because Unlimited is last in the week I'm going to work on those last but that's the only portion of this insanity that even sounds remotely well thought out. As long as I get a winch launch test flight of each and every one of these planes before their contest days I'll have to be content with that. Pure silliness. Gotta go work on some planes!
Posted by skye8070 | Mar 06, 2011 @ 12:12 AM | 18,886 Views
This setup is slightly too hot for this size plane for ALES, but in everything but a dead calm condition, it's just about right at 17 oz. I personally like the fact it's got legs and can run around the sky just a little seeking lift. For a small plane, it's pretty good. About equal to a Radian, which is if you've seen them flown by good pilots in ALES contests is actually saying a lot.
Posted by skye8070 | Feb 10, 2011 @ 05:46 PM | 18,478 Views
I've been working too much lately so when I saw there was a break in the action I left work early and managed to get out and go flying my Gentle Lady based ALES plane today. I had to engage in another round of advanced can engineering which involved a drill bit and an exacto knife. technically the can is rubbing on the motor shaft but I think effectively it's not much of a drag. This plane weighs 27 oz, has a 3S 2200 mAh 20C battery, 20 Amp ESC, and a Radian 9x7.5 prop and achieves a pure vertical launch, getting to the 200 m limit with a few seconds to spare.

My only complaints were that the CG is crazy forward (unstallable with full up) and the wings are the same color top and bottom. I'll be spray painting the bottom wings black when it warms up a little bit. Oh yeah, and it was cold.
Posted by skye8070 | Jul 31, 2010 @ 09:22 AM | 19,106 Views
First off, for full disclosure I did not camp out at sailplane camp. I am what most people call a wus and I like to sleep in my own bed. So I was like one of those kids at college that commuted from his parents house: I drove from Columbus, Ohio to Muncie, Indiana for the two days of the 2 meter contest. I had hoped to get in more events and originally signed up for RES, Nostalgia and Unlimited too, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I actually had nothing to fly in nostalgia and nothing competitive to fly in RES or Unlimited. So 2 meter with a Mantis and a Sovereign as backup was all I brought to the NATS.

I made sure NOT to bring any big wads of cash, lest I be tempted into buying a sweet plane such as the one shown in the link. These are my buddies from New Orleans looking over a professionally built original batch Shadow which looked to be in pristine condition.

I nearly didn't have anything to fly in 2 meter. I ripped half the v-tail off the Mantis a couple weeks ago and didn't epoxy it back on until a couple days before the NATS. My backup machine had 72 MHz in it and I needed it to be on 2.4 GHz as I'd signed up for. So I managed to covert the Sovereign over to 2.4 GHz the evening before 2 meter but I had zero flights on it. Not a tremendously big set up on a 2 channel machine, but still not the ideal way to go into a contest, much less the NATS.

Driving to Muncie in the dark hours of the...Continue Reading
Posted by skye8070 | Mar 08, 2010 @ 08:15 PM | 19,493 Views
I braved the state patrol infestation better known as Interstate 71 to make the trip from Columbus down to Cincinnati's Voice of America Park, located on the north side of the metro area just east of I-75. There I met Ed, Barry, and Dan who were already setup and getting ready to go. I brought out an old electric 60" park flyer to practice lefting and righting for a bit before breaking out the apparently appropriate Eraser for the winch. The Eraser flew great as usual, but the pilot really needs to fly it more and stall it less. Barry flew his Icon, Dan flew his Shadow first and Topaz second. Ed Franz helped Dan out with some test flying and tuning of the Shadow, which seemed to help out, according to Dan. Finally, Dan test flew the Topaz for the first time and then proceeded to get a 15 minute flight in for his LSF II task. He stretched the last 90 seconds with some ultra smooth flying and was rewarded with a 15:00 minute flight on the dot. Way to go Dan! Barry did an awesome job when it looked like his flight was done scratching some low level stuff and coring that out maybe 4 or 5 times higher than he started. Very impressive for his first day of flying for the year.

We all did a good job knocking the rust off and getting some nice "in-lift' minutes added to our personal time clocks (every minute in lift takes an hour of snow shoveling memories away). A wonderful time squinting at the sky was had by all and lift was really very nice with just a 5-...Continue Reading
Posted by skye8070 | Feb 15, 2010 @ 11:03 PM | 19,641 Views
Radical R/C Biplane: The framing is finished. Now to cover it and install the radio
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Description: The framing is finished.  Now to cover it and install the radio.

$15 Swap Meet Special: Actually it's a Craft Air Piece O'Cake! Better known as my main front line contest plane for 2010 in the altitude limited electric launch events which are springing up like wild fire.
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Description: Actually it's a Craft Air Piece O'Cake!  Better known as my main front line contest plane for 2010 in the altitude limited electric launch events which are springing up like wild fire.

BKB-1 title block: A 1/5 scale replica of the real home built flying wing glider made by a Canadian back in the 50's if I remember correctly.
...Continue Reading
Posted by skye8070 | Jan 24, 2010 @ 07:27 AM | 19,894 Views
The LSF is the League of Silent Flight and is so simple in concept since it's based solely on an individual advancing their skills. This has to be the best "bang for the buck" you're going to find in R/C affiliations anywhere:

I'm a member of MOSS and DARTS and heartily recommend the club experience to anyone who wants to learn from others and enjoy the fellowship of flying with buddies. Here are some links to websites and local discussion groups:

Dayton, Ohio: Dayton ARea Thermal Soarers or DARTS flies on a beautiful site called Twin Towers Park which is east of Dayton. They've been holding regular club contests with a set of excellent winches on this field which is a shared use facility with a horse jumping club, so not every day is available for flying. That said they have an active internet/email presence so it's easy to know which days are OK to fly. Here's the link to the discussion group: and website:

Columbus, Ohio: Mid Ohio Soaring Society or MOSS flies on four official fields where we have AMA insurance and several slope sites where we don't ask but nobody tells us "no". Check out the discussion group: and the website for more info on the club or the links elsewhere in my blog to see the googlemaps links for all these locations.

Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana,...Continue Reading
Posted by skye8070 | Jan 24, 2010 @ 06:54 AM | 19,478 Views
I keep track of sailplanes flying fields so I can get back there next time or share it with others. Most are club fields requiring AMA membership for thermal contests while others are used for more casual slope flying.

Keep in mind that some fields are only available on certain days or only open for flying by club members and have very specific rules you should follow so that the fields continue to be available for flying.