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Posted by GRW3 | Jul 30, 2021 @ 10:18 PM | 11,988 Views
Iíve been watching the EAA AirVenture air shows on YouTube, using my big TV with the YT app. In one of them they had an extended demonstration of 5he Goodyear blimp. This one is a new design to my eyes. I remember the one that had regular aircraft engines on pods near the gondola. This one has three electric motor powered props that move as needed. It appears there is a engine powered generator at the back of the gondola. It is also a sleeker gas bag than previous and only has three stabilizers instead of the four I remember.

So itís a giant multi rotor supported by the neutral buoyancy balloon.

Hereís a picture my friend Lee Ray posted on FB
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 12, 2021 @ 01:12 PM | 6,217 Views
I see routing suggestions on RCG and FB that real model pilots don't need autopilots or gyros. While I think a lot of models can be flown without them, I don't see a problem with using them. AS3X provides gyro functions but it is not an autopilot. I think of it as being a simulation of actual pilot actions in an aircraft. If you watch some videos of pilots (check out the YouTube videos of Trent Palmer or Juan Browne's Blancolirio channel) you will see the pilots make continuous inputs to the controls. While it's been a long time since I have acted as PIC, I do remember that as you learn to fly and gain experience, you do just start responding to the effects of he atmosphere on the airplane automatically. That's what AS3X does, it replaces you subconscious actions since your are not in the plane to act.
Posted by GRW3 | Mar 15, 2021 @ 11:04 PM | 9,386 Views
I just finished refreshing a Sig 1/4 scale Clipped Wing Cub I got at a swap meet a couple of years ago. I had to cut off all the control surfaces and rehinge it. I had replace all the control systems, electronic and mechanical. I had to replumb the fuel supply. I had to repair some of the covering and do some painting. I gave it a little pop with some Callie Graphics. Itís pretty much ready to fly but my wife just had a total knee replacement, so that will have to wait a little bit. That might seem like a lot of effort for a swap meet plane but I only paid $160 for it, with a Zenoah G23, which is less than the basic kit from Sig.

Having finished the rebuild, I cleaned off my work table. All around me though there was accumulated things that I used or acquired during the build. Now I have to deal with all of that. Itís a semi-yearly task that encompasses reorganizing my hobby shop. I can work through chaos for some amount of time but not endlessly.

So today I put a bunch of those things on my work table and got started.
Posted by GRW3 | Dec 23, 2020 @ 02:58 PM | 12,715 Views
Recently there was an RC Groups Magazine post asking why we fly RC. I answered with the following first paragraph but I wanted to expand that to a larger life as a modeler story, so here it is...

Why do I fly RC? In short, for me itís the ultimate expression of the model aviation experience. To get that airplane in the air with anticipation, to feel the elements of the sky pass over you and it at the same time and by concentration on the task to escape all the issues of day to day like, that is to slip the surly bonds of earth.

Of course this whole experience is built on a lifetime of interest in airplanes, full scale and model. Aviation was hot in the fifties and there was a lot of it on TV, Iím sure thatís where I got the love of airplanes. My introduction to model airplanes came while my father was golfing. I was waiting in the club house with my mother. We must have been on some sort of veranda because I saw small airplanes flying in circles across the fence near the entrance. I got her to walk me for a closer look. There were a couple of guys flying Flite Streaks (I didnít know that then but realized it when I got model magazines). Mind blown Ė you can have your own airplane! (Iím not sure but I think this was at Melrose Park in Houston, which, at that time, had a Control Line field adjacent to the club house for the Par 3 Pitch and Putt course, also part of the park.)

I started getting model magazines, primarily Model Airplane News (MAN). Read them cover to...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Nov 12, 2020 @ 12:20 AM | 102,990 Views
I smacked my GP Zero in while trying to get slower on my landing approach. I was so mentally tied up on my touch and goes that I didnít notice the wind had shifted into my face. Not the the infamous downwind turn, just a plain straightforward stall - into the ground. I broke the cowl loose and shatters the lite ply electric motor mount. Now, Iím putting it back together.

Even though it crashed on a textile runway, some pieces were missing. I decided to cover all four sides with 1/32nd plywood.

The cowl mount ring may not be repairable. I might have to go to a more standard approach....Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Nov 03, 2020 @ 11:34 PM | 13,317 Views
Silly question, of course you can’t…

My distance vision is now in pretty good shape, and bound to be better with the second cataract removed, but I still need a little help in close. The close and far replacement lens approach wouldn’t work because my right eye is super dominant. According to the eye doctor I need just a slight correction to get to 20:20 in my right eye, so I’ll have a little benefit from bifocals, progressives because I’m used to them. I got to thinking though, maybe some sort of wearable magnifying system would be good.

I went on Amazon and, while most of the lighted magnifying systems were standalone, I did find a reasonable selection of wearable devices. I chose two. First, I picked out a lighted headband with a selection of lenses from 1.0 to 3.5 diopters. The light has two power settings and it’s adjustable for angle. I believe the light source may also be useful without the magnifying lenses.

My second choice was a large, lighted magnifying glass with an adjustable neck strap and a built in standoff to push the lens away from your body. I think this will be useful for two handed efforts that could benefit from some extra light and some modest magnification.

I expect my first use for one, or both, of these will be rewiring the aileron servo connections in the Clipped Wing Cub I’m rebuilding. I have a build log you can find by searching my RCGroups name.
Posted by GRW3 | Oct 31, 2020 @ 09:59 PM | 12,830 Views
Loosing sight to a cataract is, to analogize, is like boiling the Lobster. It sneaks up on you. I had my cataract surgery on my right eye, my dominant eye with the worse cataract, and the change is stunning. I took this Zero out yesterday. I last flew it around Christmas time. I had a little trouble following it then. Yesterday, I had no problem at all. My club also has a lot of EDF jet fliers and they were disappearing on me, not anymore. (I still have no personal interest in jets, having spent a career in jet fuel research).

The Zero has survived both my eyesight and, perhaps, my bad judgment. I bought it at the club swap meet last fall for $100 in the closing auction. Itís the Great Planes ARF and it had a Rimfire 32, Spektrum receiver, ESC and four Hitec BB Mini servos. When I got it home and fired it up, the right aileron servo started cycling full throw, up and down. Maybe the aggravation is why it was sold. I ordered a new servo from Tower and set it aside. When I got the servo I went to replace it. When I checked Ed the wiring I got the impression one of the connectors was loose so I pushed it together and now the servo worked fine. I flew it a few times after that. I later took it out and the servo acted up again. When I took it apart I was checking it under power and when I wiggled the Y-harness it would stop the cycling, so I replaced the Y-harness and it seemed fine. Fast forward past my surgery, I took it out of town for a fly in. I powered it up and the servo started cycling again. OK, I can take a hint - itís the servo. I replaced it with no issues since.
Posted by GRW3 | Oct 11, 2020 @ 09:28 PM | 8,141 Views
Iíve seen multiple references questioning the future of Monokote. I went to the Tower website to check out availability. I found thereís a big sale going on. Lots of colors less than $10 but it seemed many were missing, so I hit the Show Discontinued button and there were the missing colors. As I went through the list again, I noted everything was on sale but the basic colors were $15 or on backorder. Makes me think Horizon is trimming Monokote to the most popular shades.

Earlier this year I did a stocking order of my favorite colors. I contemplated the meaning of all this and made an additional order of every color I could envision using plus a few more of my favorites (except Orange, which is on backorder). My order arrived today.
Posted by GRW3 | Sep 20, 2020 @ 06:00 PM | 9,184 Views
Iím scheduled for cataract surgery tomorrow. I know itís routine, done thousands of times a day, but Iím still nervous. Itís going to be on my right eye. My, by far, dominate eye. My left eye also has a cataract but starting with it would have been useless. Iím worried because a mistake could leave me functionally blind. (For a while, the eye doctors have always told me that should I loose vision in my right eye, my brain would make my lazy eye shape up. Not something I want to experience.) The problem is, my cataract is getting progressively worse and starting to have significant impact on day to day business and hobby activities.

Whatís the experience? Iíll share some so you can consider the signs. I have acute glaucoma so I have to see the eye doctor routinely, so I knew this was coming well before I had vision issues. If youíre eyes are others healthy, it might sneak up on you. As my right eye cataract grew, I started having a continuous feeling my glasses were dirty. Sometimes they were but cleaning them never really fixed the problem for my right eye. One of my fellow RC club members stated it very well, he said ďItís like looking through a dirty window.Ē Now there are obvious drop out spots that seem dimmer, until I close my left eye and they just become blurs.

My left eye has a shift in color vision. I can tell if Iím looking at something brightly lit with my right eye closed. What appears white with both eyes looks yellow with just my left eye. At night, all...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Jul 23, 2020 @ 11:32 PM | 11,682 Views
I find it very conversational. We donít really have the kind of LHSs we used to have where we good go hang out and exchange info with other builders. Sometimes there are two builders at the flying field but not so often. So, if you want to talk about what youíre building, a Build Log is an opportunity. Better than temporary social media, where info only passes tangentially with little chance of retrieval. OK to post a link.

I also find it great for remembering what I was planning. Life can just interfere with your building and a well documented Build Log can help you get going (voice of experience).

Itís also a good way to get help. You can post a link in a forum from which you want help and youíll probably get it.

There is no set form. Detailed or highlights. Straight through or meandering. Itís up to you.

Give it a try.
Posted by GRW3 | Jul 15, 2020 @ 08:45 PM | 20,378 Views
Between the Pandemic and the Crazy Breakdown of Civility it's time to get deeper into the hobby. If you watch the news, you'll get heartburn at best or an ulcer at worst. Put down the remote control, stay off Twitter and avoid non-hobby or non-family book pages. Go to your shop and start working.

I just listened to the latest RC Roundtable Podcast (I recommend highly). Part of the latest episode was an interview with Brian Bychowski, the new owner of DuBro. I was very encouraged by what he said. Evidently a lot of people are getting fed up with the current state of affairs and hitting the shop. He said their business has never been stronger. He indicated that it wasn't just modelers supplies but also supplies to burgeoning kit producers, like Old School Model Works.

I find this to be good news in a sea of depressing messages. I expect to see the fruits at the flying field as more people get to flying. I've kept flying all along. Radio Control is pretty good for social distancing . One of the clubs I belong to is in a County Park that has closed a couple of times but the other one is on electric gated private property. No spectators.
Posted by GRW3 | Dec 26, 2019 @ 01:01 AM | 9,891 Views
After a decade or so of marginal participation, I decided to get my flying skills back. From reviews and comments, I settled on an EFlite Sport Cub. April 2015. I flew that plane in all conditions. Hot. Cold. Facing crosswind. Tailing crosswind. Reverse pattern wind. Even too much wind. I flew pretty much every weekend I was home and it wasnít raining or worse.

Besides dealing with air conditions, I did a lot of very basic practice. Clean patterns, smooth circles and and figure eights. Lots of touch and goes in both directions. As the routine came to hand, I started pushing the limits. Lots of low flying and aerobatics. Lots of high alpha flying. This high risk flying came with a lot of impacts and smacks. Most were just bent gear but some required repair. In the four plus years I flew this plane I had to glue the tail on twice (only one my fault) make special repairs to the wing to deal with broken mounts. I replace the tailwheel twice and the main gear wires once.

Even though I have several other planes, the Sport Cub became something of a touchstone. I tended to start any flying session with at least one Sport Cub flight. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. The constant flying and risky behavior took its toll but paid big dividends in my flying confidence. It made four years this spring but the end was near. I wanted another one, so I checked the usual places but I didnít find any. Then a buddy who had one indicated he much preferred his Timber...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Oct 20, 2019 @ 11:16 PM | 12,226 Views
Yesterday the San Antonio Prop Busters held our 4th Annual event for modeler built models. Our thought was that by encouraging modeling we would get people deeper into the hobby. For a small club, I think weíve been pretty successful. This year we had great weather and 17 registered pilots, who averaged two planes apiece. In the pictures below youíll get a taste of the variety. It wasnít like the typical fly-in where you see same, or similar, factory built planes, one after the other.

The event is now dedicated to the memory of the master modeler Lee Moore. A mainstay of the early days of a Bomber Field and similar events, Lee spent a good portion of his last years flying with us and inspiring us. One of the delights of our club meetings was when Lee would show up with his latest creation. He was super supportive of this event and helped several members get over the hump of their first builds to be able to participate.

We thank our friends with the Tri-City Fliers who stepped up and helped us out when we lost our field (as reported previously in this blog). They have a beautiful site about 50 mi East of San Antonio co-located with a vintage aircraft museum. This distance may have cost some attendance but I als noted that Oct 19th was a very busy day in Texas for sanctioned events.

A special thanks to Jim Rice, Former AMA Dist VIII VP and recently retired chair of the AMA safety committee. He was responsible for a number of the excellent prizes we were able to...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Oct 06, 2019 @ 10:30 PM | 10,412 Views
Best Electrics in South Texas. Oct 5-6th. Just outside of of Houston. Of course in Texan speak, ďjust outsideĒ means 60 miles from city center. No problem.

Iíve been wanting to go to this event for several years and it was just as good as I imagined. Super people, good, if warm, weather, great facilities.

Very relaxed flying, just the kind I like....Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Sep 23, 2019 @ 12:08 AM | 10,084 Views
31st year. Wow! For the first decade or so I was a regular. Then in the early Ď00s we lost our big field and the IMAA, for which I was the local AVP, started its slide. I lost heart and family issues flew very little for a decade. Iím getting the urge to fly big planes again. This trip reinforced that urge.

The emphasis at Bomber Fieldís annual event is bombers. Historically B-17s but this year there were others including a buck of B-24s, a couple of B-25s and a B-29.

You can find a lot more about this years event on Social Media . Check Bomberfield (one word), the NASA scale and, my friends, RC Roundtable pages....Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Aug 18, 2019 @ 12:07 AM | 10,300 Views
I went to the one held by the San Antonio areaís Tri-City Fliers at the Old Kingsbury Aerodrome.

I ended up spending my time hangar flying with a lot friends I havenít seen in a while. Thatís OK....Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Jun 06, 2019 @ 01:28 PM | 10,389 Views
We removed the last of our non-fixed assets from the field we've leased since 2005 last Saturday. I had not intended to go back but it was a duty. The biggest thing we had to remove was the tractor shed. It was a modular construction so it wasn't that difficult but it did require some exertion. We also removed all San Antonio Prop Buster signs and painted over those we could not remove. While we technically still lease the field until the end of August, it's clear we are no longer in control, so we just wanted to disassociate our name from any potential issues.

Some people brought planes to fly but not me. I flew there once after the notification but I didn't like it very much. I've already joined two other local clubs to have a place to fly, both with better facilities. I didn't join them before because I'm a loyal SAPB member since '84, so I flew there. It was no problem for me but I knew people who stayed away from it because they felt it was too hazardous to their aircraft. We sort of got this field from a (then) generous offer from a local flyer, that sort of turned into a trap, when we lost both of our previous fields. I believe we are going to take a much more judicious approach to finding another field.
Posted by GRW3 | May 11, 2019 @ 12:24 AM | 10,706 Views
Things just donít lastÖ The original garage door in this Ď62 house started falling apart on me. (No, I didnít acquire it when I was 10, we bought it in Ď91.) It was a traditional four panel design with glass at eye level. It was pretty heavy. The glass had been painted over before we got it but that just provided privacy, the infrared light came right through and it could be very hot but it worked well enough. Until the end of April.

I had just unloaded from a day at the field and went to shut the door. About 3/4 of the way down it jammed. When I pushed a little harder, the bottom ripped off. Time for a new garage door. Before that could be done, I had to clear out the back half of my shop. All airplanes were moved to the TV room or stored in my minivan. The building board were covered boxes and tools.

It took a while to coordinate time with my son-in-law but we ( and by ďweĒ I mostly mean him) got a new door installed. I got an insulated four panel from Loweís. Itís much lighter than the old door and the insulation is a godsend. It may be spring but a west facing garage door gets hot pretty easy.

This is my busy travel season but I finally managed to get everything back in order and working on models again. Besides putting in a new door, I have also been doing some rearranging to get more useful space that had been lost to, essentially, inertia.
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 28, 2019 @ 10:03 AM | 10,335 Views
The title to this blog post is a quote from the Propbusters movie belowÖ I agreeÖ

These two movies are available on Amazon Prime and I recommend them both. RC Propbusters: Untold is an intimate look at modeling in Connecticut but it could be anywhere. It will have the most appeal to this group. Model Citizen is about model railroading and while that is not a focus of this group it says a lot of meaningful things about the importance of a hobby.

One of the things apparent in both films is that modeling is primarily an adult pursuit. I have felt for decades that the AMA has wasted a lot of resources trying to return to the halcyon days when model aviation was the rage among the youth of America. Itís proba why they went so gaga over multirotors. Those days arenít coming back. Better they spend money advertising with AARP than what they have done. Iím not saying there shouldnít be youth outreach, just that it shouldnít be so consuming. It should be more along the lines of EAAís Youmg Eagles program. There - Visible - Far from the primary emphasis.

RC Modeling may actually be suffering from this overemphasis on kids by making our hobby appear childish. This is a great hobby for adults. It is a great stress reliever. It keeps your fine motor skills going. It gets you outside away from the TV. It lets you participate in manís greatest desire - to fly.
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 25, 2019 @ 01:07 PM | 11,049 Views
I saw Richard Stubblefield in the CL Combat column in a recent issue of Model Aviation. He was a hero to me when I was in high school, when I was flying control line. I was never a competitor but I loved to go to the contests at Melrose park and watch him fly combat and people like George Aldrich fly stunt. I didn't really know about Melrose Park until I got my drivers license and could get around on my own. I knew about Ace Hobbies off Tidwell but when I was dependent on Dad, the instructions were (as we were invariably on our way to somewhere else) go in and get what I need quickly. When I could drive, I could hang out. When I was hanging out is when I learned about Melrose Park. This led to really successful control line flying.

My friends and I had been flying control line in backyards and the nearby elementary school parking lot for several years. I went through several Goldberg models, like Li'l Jumping Bean and Little Toot, with limited success. I got the basics down with a Cox PT-19 but I wanted a better experience. Hanging out at Ace Hobbies resulted in meeting some good control line flyers, who introduced me to Melrose Park as a place to fly the real thing. Inspired, I built a Sterling Ringmaster with, in a daring move against conventual wisdom, an OS 35 CL engine. There was some question about the OS instead of the traditional Fox but the running characteristics spoke volumes. I was plenty nervous when I first flew the Ringmaster at Melrose but I was surprised...Continue Reading