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Archive for November, 2007
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 22, 2007 @ 11:47 AM | 5,958 Views
I think the worst may be just about over where the VQ Model P-51D is concerned.

The basic assembly instructions are fine, but the retracts with the optional spring-loaded struts were a nightmare.

Three reasons.

One, too much preassembly on the part of the factory. The wing halves came with the wheel wells preinstalled. Leaving them in meant interference problems with the optional spring-loaded retracts as well as making it impossible to install the pushrods regardless of whether or not you pop for the spring-loadeds. Interference wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't already cut the existing struts to use as stubs on which to attach the spring-loaded ones. Removing the covers nearly resulted in damaged covering and a damaged wing.

Two, no instructions whatsoever on how to install the spring-loaded struts. None. The distributor contacted the factory; it seems they were aware of the oversight. The only other online instructions I found for installing the spring-loaded units involved major cutting, drilling and tapping. Thankfully, the actual solution is considerably less involved.

Three, the pushrods themselves. I don't mind having to bend my own, but the given dimensions were wrong. Not only that, there were no full-scale drawings to refer to other than split drawings showing the necessary bends at either end.

As far as the covers were concerned, I trimmed off the perimeters and tacked them back on with contact cement to hide the damage. I'...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 16, 2007 @ 07:18 PM | 5,440 Views
I, like you, see a lot of strange things in the course of a day which make me wonder just where the heck our civility has gone. Usually, these things manifest themselves in a general lack of courtesy, especially when some jerk sits behind the wheel of his car. Someone's who is going to drive with road rage will do so even if his mom is in the passenger seat. Or, consider the nincompoops at coin-op car washes who wash their car in the stall and then proceed to dry and detail their ride in the stall instead of in the drying area. It doesn't stop at the highway. People are just, well, puckered up.

That all changes at the flying club.

We swap stories, swap advice, give each other parts and accessories and generally have a great time flying model aircraft. I've seen that same camaraderie at the local R/C dirt track. Even the most aggressive competitors will come to each others' aid in the pits.

Maybe the world needs to stop playing violent video games and start playing with something real.

Just my two cents'.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 12, 2007 @ 12:27 AM | 5,529 Views
It's been a heck of a weekend.

Our club just wrapped up a two-day "fun fly" to benefit Toys for Tots. Saturday started out rather windy which I believe harmed attendance over the course of the meet (not to mention the remote location of the place), but it was an unqualified success nevertheless. The meet managed to attract quite a few pilots from out of the area; one vacationer from Switzerland put on one heck of a great show!

Models of all sorts abounded, from the club's big, lazy .60 trainer which any spectator could control via a buddy box to a 119 mph .60 delta wing to a gorgeous giant-scale P-51D Mustang complete with full cockpit detail and pneumatic retracts. One guest pilot, as I understand, is one of the leading large-scale electric pilots in the nation. His planes were simply incredible. He sported a smoking hot Corsair, a drop-dead gorgeous Beechcraft Staggerwing (I believe it was the Top Flite version) and a ballistic P-38. I kid you not when I say that the big Corsair probably touched 90 mph. Heck, we even had a one-time U-Control champion out on our brand new CL and helicopter pad!

Next on our list is the "Best in the West" national turbine meet in January. If you're in or near the Palm Springs, California area, check us out! Find some info at www.cvrcclub.com.

Happy Veterans Day!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 02, 2007 @ 08:50 PM | 5,576 Views
There are those among us who seem to think a model aircraft is a toy. Sure, it's a diversion to an adult or young person much like a toy is to a child, but "toy?"

Toys don't julienne your hands if you contact a moving propeller. Nor do they set you back several hundred hard-earned monetary units in the event of an "unscheduled landing."

My boss, bless him because I really do love the guy, told me of a meeting he had earlier today with a marketing group. His mission: Tell the group about some of his employees. I was described to this august body (affectionately, I might add) as a "big kid" who "plays with those motorized planes like the kids do."

Did I mention that one of his hobbies is trying to get under my skin? He does it well.

His cousin, who co-owns the company, is the opposite. He's fascinated by R/C planes and is looking to get into the hobby. He and his parents have been to the field; his dad flew a Liberator in the war.

In any event, my boss likes golf and tennis. I give as good as I get...why, I ask, does he spend his precious free time hitting a ball with a stick?

Isn't that what KIDS do...?

I'm such a rat.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 01, 2007 @ 02:30 PM | 5,603 Views
Not me. Spammers. I reported three of 'em. Our ever-vigilant admins clobbered all three.

How dumb do these people think we are?

Sadly, there are those who'll answer ads like the ones these idiots posted. I prefer to think that if we have the time, money and discipline to pursue a hobby in radio control, we're more likely to recognize spam for what it is, ignore the links and holler at the admins. They respond in record time, I might add.

One of those spammers was a hoot. "He" was making like a "she." I also prefer to think that women have better things to do than to go link spamming. "Her" first (and last) post was along the lines of, "Hi! I'm new here! I like fashion, shopping, what about u? And oh, my mom buys me laptop batteries from (insert spamlinks here). I'm told that these are 38% off for the Thanksgiving Day!"

The Thanksgiving Day?

Such a generous mother, too. Even my dear mother isn't that generous. Actually, she is. She just hates computers.

You blew it, sweetie. I never answer spam unless I'm promised at least 40% off.

I wonder if she'll follow my suggestion and hook up a li-po to an automotive battery charger.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 01, 2007 @ 01:52 AM | 5,361 Views
At least it was for me earlier today.

Our club president has started an aerial photography business. His platform is a massive gasoline-powered 26cc Century helicopter which will easily lift fifteen pounds. Or if you prefer, seven kilograms.

President, chopper and professional grade camera platform were all present and accounted for at the field this morning. The equipment has been present quite a bit, in fact. That's because "Da Prez" has been doing a lot of flight practice with and without the platform.

He had set up the platform with a Nikon digital SLR instead of the usual Panasonic digital camcorder. The platform, which operates from its own discrete radio control system, uses an ordinary Hitec mini-servo and servo arm to sweep in and engage the shutter via a spare channel. Tilting the camera corresponded to the throttle; panning the camera corresponded to the ailerons.

Wouldn't you know it. I got tapped for duty to operate the platform while the helicopter was in hover. Oh, darn.

I'm fortunate and very blessed to work in radio broadcasting, but the emphasis of my broadcasting education was in video production. Couple that love of playing with TV cameras with a love of R/C flight and you'd better believe I was in heaven.

Not only did the setup work, it worked perfectly. No blurring, no glitches. While the tilt function just affected the camera, panning actually rotated the entire platform beneath the 'copter. That was a possible bone of contention, but as it turned out, it didn't affect flight in the least. A lot of the credit goes to the inherent stability of that Century, but the rest goes to the amazing helium-suspended gyro which flawlessly kept that platform in check. Simply amazing and I'll post pictures soon.

The best part? I may be "assistant cameraman" as his business grows. Video production will be a real blast with its 2.4 GHz monitoring downlink. Talk about "eye in the sky!"

As I posted in a previous blog: I dig this hobby.