Screamin' Eagle's blog View Details
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Oct 10, 2006 @ 09:35 PM | 31,120 Views
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Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Sep 23, 2006 @ 02:30 AM | 31,279 Views
Well, the one thing I've NEVER been accused of is doing things half baked. I'm now well into a Higgins Rodent build and I have a Higgins California Sloper on the way.

The Rodent has been fun to build so far. There's just nothing like it around. Sheeting with 1/32 ply has been a revelation so far. I did my last set of PSS wings (on a CSD BD5) sloper, with balsa and glass. A massive load of work, and the ply wings are as stiff without glass as the balsa wings were with 6 oz glass top and bottom. Yes, there's a weight penalty, but as I've discovered with the 48 oz, 44 inch span BD5, these planes like weight, and fly better with more of it.

The Mini SR is coming along as well. Seems like summer is over here in SoCal, so it's time for big wind, Santa Ana wind planes. Tomorrow will be my first Santa Ana flying day of the season. For those of you not from SoCal, Santa Ana winds are hot, dry, gusty winds that we get in the fall here. They are typically in the 25-35mph range and mean we get to fly all kinds of crazy hills that don't get any action in the normal summer on-shores.

Our Santa Ana spots are all kind of nutty for some reason. One of the best local spots, Piuma Ridge, is in Malibu Canyon about 1500 feet above the ocean. When the Santa Anas blow, this poison oak-ridden hill comes alive with some insane lift. I am positive I've gone over 100 mph here with foam airplanes, diving in from 500 feet up in insane lift. There's no landing area to speak of, and ZERO recovery. Gotta love it.

I've sold off the Pica Sloper I acquired just two weeks ago. It flew great, but for what it cost, I could buy a very nice all carbon 60" sloper. Such is the economics of the large hangar.

The one plane I will be buying again come spring is an Art Hobby Falco. It's the perfect plane for the light, coastal slermal lift we get in Pacific Palisades during the summer. Speck out in thermals and also very aerobatic with full span ailerons.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Sep 09, 2006 @ 10:59 AM | 24,932 Views
Sold off and bought a couple of planes this week...Typical madness that I go through every 3-4 months.

Gone are my Photon DLG, the polyhedral wings for my Omega Electric glider (still have the aileron wings) and a homebrew DLG that used to fly pretty well.

I bought a Pica pitcheron slope ship - maidened yesterday (nice), a used Maple Leaf Encore DLG that's going to need some gear, a used Super Gee II clone DLG with gear, and a Mini SR slope kit. I also picked up a used vacuum bagging system yesterday that should help me sheet some wings. I've been looking for a Higgins Rodent sloper, but it's not coming to me so far...

The method to the madness was a) getting away from polyhedral gliders (I remember now why I hated them in 1987 when I started flying) and b) I'd actually like to bag some PSS wings and do a bit of building. The itch hasn't hit me in quite a while.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Jul 11, 2006 @ 11:25 AM | 23,227 Views
I have been flying DLG and electrics at the local park before work and am so stoked to increase my stick time! I still love to fly slope but time constraints make it so much easier to get in 20 minutes before work than take a Saturday afternoon off to go sloping. Thermaling can be boring by comparison, but the challenge of finding lift makes it that much more rewarding.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Jun 12, 2006 @ 12:52 PM | 19,347 Views
I've spent the last three Sunday mornings at the local TD field. JEB21 handed down a 99" Airtronics Aquila that had been sitting in his garage, and after installing new radio gear and working out some minor kinks, it hit the winch yesterday. It took me a little while to get the hang of working the pedal, but I had two successful thermal flights, catching a few boomers in the process. The plane was a bit tail-heavy and unstable, so noseweight will be the order of the day for the next flight.

My foray into electric sailplanes has not been without incident. Read about my problems here: I hope to get it in the air soon - It's a Dreamline Pro F5JE from

I also acquired a handlaucnh this weekend - A Photon II DLG from Pete Schiess. A Berg 4L is on its way to fill in the fuse.

I miss sloping a bit but with the springtime bloom and the fact that I hike to my flying sites, my allergies were becoming unbearable, requiring constant medication and resulting in 2-3 days of attacks after flying sessions and resulting sinus infections that would last for weeks. I'm going to limit my sloping to drive-up sites for the near future, at least until summer/fall rolls around.

My hangar has swelled recently with the addition of the Aquila, Dreamline and Photon II. I sold my carbon Trinity last week to free up the funds for the new planes (electric setups with LiPos get pricey quick!) and also because I have the Stratos SL, which is the same size, and much more versatile as an F3B ship and 20 oz lighter on the slope (unballasted) for lighter-air sloping and thermaling.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | May 08, 2006 @ 06:43 PM | 18,873 Views
I maidened a new-to-me 124" Stratos SL on the slope yesterday. It was everything I'd expect from a 3m + glider. Slowed down and thermalled extremely well with camber, sped up impressively when pointed down, and turned reasonably well for the first day of dialing in. It's very light at 73 oz dry, so by day's end I'd filled up the ballast tube with 22 oz of steel to get her up to 95 oz (the dry weight of my 3m carbon Trinity, as it happens). Top speed increased very noticeably, although the turns had to be opened up a bit. I bought it mostly to range high and wide in search of lift, and it did this task admirably, ranging further out than ever before at this particular hill.

I will give the Trinity some airtime before making a decision, but I suspect that the lighter plane will suit my sport-flying purposes a little better, although sacrificing a lot in the area of durability.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | May 04, 2006 @ 08:56 PM | 18,851 Views
Here are some photos of my L39. It's a little light for Fermin use, so it will probably find a new home soon. I want to build something heavier than my 45 oz BD5 for Fermin.

I have also sold my ArtHobby Falco, which has served me well for the last year and a half. It's a fantastic light lift flyer, I've just lost interest in light lift and slow planes lately. I will likely pick up another one someday. I still have a Weasel for messing around.

My custom 60" carbon plank maiden went well. It seemed to gain energy very well on the backside, and I easily exceeded my old DS PB with it on the third lap in some howling clearing winds. No radar, but I've made a science of watching videos of DS on radar and trying to estimate my own speeds and I'd say this one was in about the 110 mph range. Nothing for most guys to brag about, but I count it as an accomplishment.

My plan to liquidate planes to get a 3m ship went well. So well, in fact, that I now have two 3m ships. I picked up a Stratos SL this week when I just couldn't resist the price. RTF, plus an extra center panel, wing bags, MPX servos, etc. It's 72 oz AUW whereas my Trinity is 95 oz, so it'll be an interesting comparison. Lift is on the light side around here most of the time. Although the Trinity flew very well first time out, it was on a fairly big day here. We'll have to see how it does in more average conditions. The Stratos also has an extra 6" of span, at 124".

In other news, I acquired another 48" Birworks Zipper with a carbon bagged wing. Price was just too good to pass up with servos, and I intend to use the fuse as a platform for some homebrew experimentation. With the original wing on it, it flew better than my prior Zipper, probably because of the extra weight. It comes in about 4 oz heavier than my last one. The guy I bought it from had 10 oz of ballast permanently mounted in the fuse. Needless to say, that came out for the maiden, but it made me wonder.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Mar 30, 2006 @ 06:40 PM | 17,824 Views
My Destiny, Zipper and JW have all been sold off.

I flew Fermin for the first time last week and my next goal will be to build a 60+ oz. screamer. The place made my 45 oz Bd5 look like a floater.

Upped by DS PB last weekend, no radar but best estimate is up past 90 mph or so. I DSed my re-acquired M60 for the first time and it was beautifully fast and stable.

Current project is a 60" plank with carbon-bagged wings. Might maiden it this weekend if there's enough time for the goop and silicone hinges to dry. I made it using a cut-down 60" size fuse (carbon reinforced) and a modified RG15 wing. I don't care what it does on the frontside, I just want to see how it DSs. Surfaces need to be faced with epoxy and hinged, servos potted, linkages installed and paint applied.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Mar 20, 2006 @ 12:59 PM | 15,800 Views
Flew the West Wind Spot again with JEB21 yesterday afternoon. His new Halfpipe was crankin'! That boy can build clean. I got some stick time on it and was favorably impressed.

With the nice big LZ at the new spot, I figured a Contender maiden was in order. The ship ripped like it had a motor on it. No signs of slowing down in turns, upwind, downwind, whatever. Clean loops and rolls, easy landing by flying behind the ridge.

The hangar has been thinned significantly now, but the remaining ships are all gems.

I got some DSing in with the 2m Blade. It flew well and the few times I found the right line it really accellerated. I got a nice punch-out zoom to the frontside as well.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Mar 15, 2006 @ 01:24 AM | 14,767 Views
JEB21 and I flew the beejezus out of ourselves on Saturday in howling storm winds. I DSd the carbon Banana at a new DS spot almost without incident. Luckily the recent rains made my lawndart a non-event.

In light of how well the Carbonana flies (i've been super impressed with its light lift and high lift abilities), I have placed the Destiny on the FS board (no need for two 60"s). I have also sold the Zipper (which I was never really able to tune up properly) and the re-done JW. I have since re-acquired my old M60 and have no need for the JDub. The guys buying the Jdub and Destiny are getting great deals. The Jdub was just refinished and never flown again, and the Destiny is pristine except for a repaired wing-ding.

I'm sorry to see them go, but I really need to eliminate redunancy in the hangar, and focus on getting a good 3m ship.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Feb 20, 2006 @ 05:53 PM | 13,305 Views
Got home from a trip to San Diego around noon today and was heading into the office when I thought to myself: "Self, why drive 30 minutes to get to the office when you can work at the Starbucks up the street and not get caught in holiday traffic?" Then I thought: "since I'm saving an hour on the road, I can fly for an hour and then still get the same amount of work done." Happily, the Starbucks is half a mile from my local hill.

It was a great day - you'd swear it was the middle of summer. Hope it continues! Re-maidened the Falco after getting the Solartex off the wings and replacing it with paint. The plane lost 1.5 ounces in the process and still flew as well as before. I gave it a workout, facial loops, reversals, inverted, screwed with the CG a bit, etc...

I was practicing runs up and down the ridge when I rolled the plane 90 degrees and pulled elevator. SNAP!!! "What the hell was that? I don't know, but it didn't sound good."

Next pass revealed half of my v-tail flapping in the breeze, held together by light glass and ultracote.

Good thing for me a plane will still fly with only half a v-tail. I was having Pixel flashbacks until I deployed the spoilerons and brought her in for a pretty controlled landing.

If there's one thing I hate, it's building tails - especially v-tails. This plane used to have a classic tail on it (as in my avatar) but it didn't survive too many landings before eating it. I smell a project coming...
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Feb 15, 2006 @ 04:28 PM | 12,475 Views
Heard from PDX (Vic) that the Scorpion II shipped yesterday! Thanks Vic! I bought it on behalf of JEB21, but can't wait for it to get here so I can fondle it a bit before I pass it off to him. I myself have a new (to me) Carbon Banana coming from Surfimp on Saturday. Can you tell I like carbon?
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Feb 15, 2006 @ 12:27 PM | 11,124 Views
.... but I'm stuck at work! All the onshore spots should be going off all day. At the coast this morning it was already blowing SW at 10-12 mph even at 8 a.m., which almost never happens. The ocean surface was very choppy as well, indicating more wind on the way from offshore.

Get it while you can, guys.
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Feb 15, 2006 @ 12:42 AM | 10,588 Views
OK, this Blog thing might be more addictive than I originally realized. Thought I'd post a bit about flying on Sunday, same day the US F3f record was set by Kyle Paulson at Parker, but about 60 miles away at a small local hill in Ventura County.

JEB21 and I had planned to fly on Saturday, but when the forecasts varied from strong onshore to strong offshore, we figured we should hold out for Sunday. Saturday turned out to be a decent onshore day in the area, but we made the right call.

I arrived at the hill at about 12:30 after dropping off a spare Destiny fuse at JEB21's house (about two miles from the hill) so he could get his up in the air again. It had a scary maiden in very gusty Santa Ana winds at Little Mtn. a few months ago, and got blown down into the canyon. A lost model alarm helped find it, and there was some minimal damage to the tailboom. A new fuse will provide an easier fix in the meantime, even though this one had previously separated in the same area, at the seam in the tail.

When I got to the hill, it was barely flyable even though the NWS had forecasted 20-30 in the morning and building throughout the day. I flew the Weasel a bit but the wind was crossed up. I called JEB21 with a report (he was to come up later) that it was cycling but Weasel-able, and not to bother putting the finishing touches on his NCFM Halfpipe as a maiden was probably not in the cards given the conditions. He agreed and stated he would be up in about 30 minutes.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Feb 14, 2006 @ 11:54 AM | 10,039 Views
I've picked up a few new ships in the past couple of months:

1. A Birdworks Zipper RTF from lv2soar. Great flying plane for good lift conditions. Kind of a pain to set up (like most planks) and I'm still moving the CG back slowly, but it DSs like a beast. Makes a great sound in the air too.

2. My old M60 has come home after being in the hands of ClayH and Woody1 for the last year. Flies better than I remember. I may have exceeded all my sloping speed records diving it vertically from speck height in 30 mph Santa Anas at Piuma a few weeks ago. It was rock solid in what I would estimate to be the 80-90mph range.

3. I'm picking up a RTF Carbon Banana from Surfimp this coming Saturday. It's got some miles on it but looks to be a nice flying ship to complement my Destiny in the 60" class.

4. PDXSlopePilot is shipping me a NIB 60" Carbon Scorpion II that I picked up for JEB21. Gonna try to light a fire under him to get that sucker built!
Posted by Screamin' Eagle | Feb 14, 2006 @ 11:49 AM | 9,596 Views
Two years ago this month, I re-kindled my addiction to R/C gliders. At age 13 I built and flew a Gentle Lady, but TD really wasn't for me. At age 30, I saw a guy sloping a combat wing at Lunada Bay and it all came back to me.

Two years later I'm on my fourth (and hopefully last) transmitter (a Futaba 9c) and have a hangar of about a dozen slopers ranging from 2m moldies to PSS ships to foam, and am loving the hobby more than ever. Whether it's dynamic soaring to get the blood pumping, or specking out in slermal lift with a Weasel, or sport flying with buddies, sloping combines a bit of exercise (I hike to most of our spots), the great outdoors, peace and quiet, and time with friends from the boards. You can't beat it.