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Posted by Jack Crossfire | Nov 01, 2006 @ 12:14 AM | 7,147 Views
So the latest flight times with no lighting:

Sat 10/28:
30min high winds
28min * 2

Sun 10/29
28min * 3

Mon 10/30:
27min 20mph gust

Flight times going down despite increasing winds. May be a loss of blade tracking or cold weather reducing the battery's effectiveness. Broke down and ordered a 4000mAh 11.1V 15C 275g Li-Po from maxamps.com ($94). Seems too good 2 B true. Our current 3300mAh 11.1V 20C 260g Li-Po was $120.

The weather is deteriorating as we enter the 7 month rain period in Rain Ramon. 20mph gusts during sideways hovering and category 5 during nose-in operations. Usually hits category 3 by the time the nose is 135` around.

Completely lost control while pointing nose-out and downwind when a 20mph gust happened. The tail started whipping around like a flag,
trying to point upwind and nose-in. Fighting the tail and pulling back caused it to shoot up like inflation. You see, without a heading-hold gyro, the nose naturally points into the wind.

Still shooting up with the throttle at auto-rotation speed and maximum aft cyclic. You see, extremely slow rotating blades provide no
cyclic authority. After some heroic flying, got enough category 3 wind to get it nose-out and pointing into the wind again. Collective pitch
would probably handle better in Rain Ramon due to the possibility of higher rotor speed.

In high wind, the $40 GWS gyro on maximum gain tends to snap the tail back and forth like a receiver glitch. Pretty exciting, in addition to the GWS receiver glitches. Still glitching despite wide antenna spacing and soldered crystal.
Posted by Jack Crossfire | Oct 29, 2006 @ 05:12 PM | 7,916 Views
So 5 hours after mastering nose-out hovering, we're as successful at
nose-in hovering as marines in Iraque so let's try figure 8's instead.

In simulation, the figure 8 was the most useful maneuver for aerial
movies, but figure 8's require pointing the nose in. A kid once said to
hover nose in, push the cyclic under the lowest side of the rotor. That
proved disasterous when the nose wasn't exactly pointing nose-in. Look,
the only way 2 do this is to imagine yourself in the copter and practice
it until it's automatic.

Flight time measurements have shown the copter is using 7.3 amps.
Posted by Jack Crossfire | Oct 28, 2006 @ 04:43 PM | 8,014 Views
With the proper flight time measurements, we can say it took 4 hours
just to hover nose-out. Flight time measurements show if something's
broken on the copter. Hovering nose-in is proving problematic ever
since the crash. Haven't built enough manliness to try it again.

Abraham Lincoln wrote:
> It isn't the manliness but the country that's the problem.
Posted by Jack Crossfire | Oct 28, 2006 @ 03:02 AM | 8,237 Views
So 27 minutes if you charge the battery over 7 hours, change altitude as
little as possible, have no wind, and fly until the throttle starts fading. With the 2 battery charges you can fit in a day, that's 54 minutes, longer than the Blue Angels get to fly.

The trick to detecting battery death is to throttle up until it starts rising and see if
it starts falling automatically.

The speed controller shuts off at 27:30. Could probably stay up longer if we had
wind and constant forward motion. It's getting so cold because of
Idaho, around 20 minutes your fingers start to freeze up. Loss of finger authority you might say.
Posted by Jack Crossfire | Oct 27, 2006 @ 03:25 AM | 8,845 Views
The objective is to remove the need to hold a flashlight while flying. We are very limited in space here in Rain Ramon, so the only flying time is at night when the winds are calm and there aren't any people around.

Kits to light helicopters look real dim and don't light the rotor safely. The one kit for mounting LED's and batteries on the rotors looks like a Ramadan holiday waiting to happen.
Posted by Jack Crossfire | Oct 24, 2006 @ 01:34 AM | 9,325 Views
Got reasonably stable nose-out hovering and smooth landings in 3 hours
of flights and a few crashes. Training gear came off by the 2nd hour. The worst damage due to crashes was loss of blade tracking and shredding of the main gear, both of which were still flyable.

Only simulator experience was FMS and it was nothing like the real
thing. Completely worthless.

Main gear was shredded in a crash but with an xacto enough of the main
gear shredding could be removed to fly it again. A pinion/main gear gap
of 1 newspaper thickness is optimum.

Do not spray CA accelerator near any plastic parts. $30 reorder for
that one. Do not spray engine degreaser either.

The Corona canopy is ugly, is a pain to get a battery into, and prevents
you from seeing if something is about to break lose, so the canopy is
gone. Replacing it with a semicircle of white plastic is worthless
too. The raw anodized aluminum is as visible as anything else.

Metal gears are required in the servos and they should be purchased with
the servos as part # HS-81-MG to save money. Nylon gears in a copter
are like marines in Iraq.

The crystal must be soldered into the GWS receiver to make it reliable
enough. The stock crystal socket is not secure enough.

The Hyperion 11.1V 3300mAh 20C is a monster of a battery. 15 minutes of
flying and it's still cold. Attach this battery by threadlocking 1.5" 4-40
bolts into the bottom of the crutch, strapping it in with a ny-tie, and
...Continue Reading
Posted by Jack Crossfire | Sep 27, 2006 @ 03:12 AM | 8,302 Views
Another year and another rent hike. Didn't realize how extremely tiny this dumpy apartment really was until the Picco-Z arrived, but the rent keeps going up. Still don't have the $1.2 million for a micro townhome in San Jose. Does anyone still take dollars for housing?