LuckyDay's blog View Details
Posted by LuckyDay | Aug 31, 2009 @ 09:40 PM | 5,178 Views
I had a 3S 1300 vent on me tonight while programming the ESC. I plugged it in, heard a crackle, and then smoke started pouring from the battery. I grabbed the wires to disconnect and the insulation was already melting. I burned a couple fingers but amazingly I managed to disconnect the smoking lipo and tossed it across the room.

My wife heard the very adult language coming from the dining room and was smart enough to hand me a hot plate pad to grab the still smoking battery and throw it in the yard outside, where I sprayed it down with the hose.

Quite a scare... we were SO lucky. I have a couple minor burns on a finger and thumb from grabbing the melting wires, the whole house smells like the magic smoke, I have a scorched sock from kicking the burning battery towards the door, and there is a rectangle-shaped outline on the hardwood floor in one spot where one cell fell and lingered until my wife got it outside. But it could have been so much worse.

Looking at the remains, it appears I reversed a deans plug on the battery extension wires. I thought I double-checked that when hooking it up. I only lost a battery and the 25amp ESC though, so I consider myself very very lucky. There are a couple marks melted into the wing of the plane, but it'll fly once I get a new ESC in it. However, I'll probably take a few days off from working on it.

Still coming down from the adrenaline high... I'll sleep good tonight I'm sure. Check and double check (and triple check) your battery connections!
Posted by LuckyDay | Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:52 PM | 6,051 Views
Ok... a quick recap.

How to Fix a Foamie, pt.1. Crashed into a tree, threw a stick to knock it down, put the pieces back together.

With my band at a youth camp in Missouri, I got it stuck about 80 feet up, near the top of yet another tree.

8 months later, the wind finally blows it down and the camp crams the pieces in a box and mails it back to me.

So today, I had a couple hours and instead of working on one of my several partially assembled NEW planes (HL Lynx, JAS-39 EPP Parkjet, Mini Wing - all perfectly fun planes I want to build as soon as possible) I decided to resurrect the El Bandito.

I removed the 400xt (and put it in my I3D again), and replaced it with an Emax 2805. I'm pretty sure this one is the 1600kv version, as I had it on my hyperflea with 2s and a 6x4 and it would barely fly. For this plane it will be 3s and as large of a prop as it will handle without blowing up. It fits perfectly.

As you can see from the pics on the other post, it had to be "disassembled" to be shipped in a box. Not a problem, that's why EPP is so great. I started by gluing the wing to the rear fuselage. I used a combination of 9001 glue (also called GOOP) and hot glue. The 9001 glue dries flexible which is a good match for EPP, but it takes about an hour to dry to the touch and about a day...Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Apr 03, 2009 @ 10:21 PM | 5,751 Views
Remember how I lost my El Bandito Reno Racer?

Well, I got a call last week from the camp. Turns out it FINALLY blew down. I got a box in the mail this week... it's BAAACK!

It's not looking too good right now, but I'm tempted to put it back together, even if it's just for one flight so I can say I did it.

I still had that model programmed in my radio, so I pulled out the electronics, hooked them all up, and plugged in a battery. Shockingly - it all worked! 3 servos, AR6100E, Jeti ECO12, and 400XT. The motor shaft is pretty rusty, but it did turn the prop.

Looks like I lost:
1 TP1320 3S
1 horizontal stabilizer left half
1 servo arm (aileron)
1 left cowl half

Not bad for 8 months in the elements and the trip down from the tree! This is gonna be fun!
Posted by LuckyDay | Mar 14, 2009 @ 06:40 PM | 5,828 Views
Beautiful flying weather last Monday... mid 70s, calm winds, so I took my fleet out to Edwin Warner again for some flying. Even the several technical issues couldn't turn it into a bad trip. I lost a prop on my Wild Wing (and found it in about 10 minutes), had several rough landings (with a couple different planes), and discovered a highly unpleasant vibration on my Extra. That turned out to be a broken motor mount, not sure if it was just weakened last time or what happened, but now that it's diagnosed it should be an easy fix.

I tried out my new Mini Wing, I revved up the J250 and gave it a toss, and smacked it right into the ground. I made a couple adjustments, and tried again, but it's going to definitely need some more work before flying. I'm thinking it's quite a bit nose heavy (my last one was tail heavy so I probably overcompensated). No damage in any of the crashes though, so it should fly the next time I go out.

I was excited to try the Terry without the gusty winds, but when I tossed it to launch, it immediately began turning hard right, directly toward the several cars in the parking lot. My mindset rapidly switched from "save the plane" to "don't hit a car!" and I was able to give opposite rudder and up elevator to clear the row and then I smacked it down as soon as I could to get it out of danger. You can see the damage in the pictures... scratches on the fuse, bent motor shaft, broken folding prop (brand new!)... it's hard to say after the fact but I think an aileron stuck and the servo came loose from the wing preventing control. It should be pretty fixable, but I think I'm going to wait a while on it.
Posted by LuckyDay | Feb 27, 2009 @ 10:20 PM | 5,933 Views
20" Mini Wing
I've had this foam chuck glider wing sitting around for a while now... this will be my third wing made from a chuck glider. The first was a 36" Speed400/7cell nimh with a 5x5, and it was ok for a first wing. It died due to radio interference (someone else was flying it...). The second was the end pieces from those cores, about 20" powered by a J250 and a 3x3 on 2s. The 2s 800 was too light (tail heavy), so I moved up to a 2s 1200. This worked beautifully for about 4 minutes of maiden flight, then when I tried to adjust the trim my thumb stuck and I trimmed it into a high speed roll straight into the ground.

This wing is from one of the smaller "Executive Jet" type glider. I am stuck... J250 will be noisy but the ESC is light. I have a LS parkjet that will whip that tiny wing around the sky though... but my only small brushless ESC is at the top of a tree in Missouri with my Reno Racer. If I cram 3s into it... and a 4.5x4.1 on the LS.... a 5oz wing should be crazy fast! I think I'll probably stick with 2s and 6x5.5 though... if I don't just go the J250 route... a great cheap motor. Oops - looks like if I want to go brushless I'll need to cut out more for the prop. I think the J250/GWS 4x4 should work fine. The 3x3 cracked at the hub during preflight at the field.

I added the bent carbon tape "spar" - hopefully it will add a little strength, this foam isn't very durable though. Going to have to hope for the best and be...Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Feb 26, 2009 @ 06:31 PM | 6,049 Views
A bit windy today (15mph+ with gusts up to 30!) but I got a few flights in on my Wild Wing. That tailwind was great on downwind runs... but I had a hard crash coming upwind back towards the field (I'm out of practice!). Not too bad, just ripped a little foam around the motor mount... could have been much worse, but then again that is one tough little EPP wing!

I tried to maiden a little 18" Wally wing, that is way overweight, but the 3x3 prop cracked right at the shaft during preflight, and I forgot the collet that would hold the 4x4. So next time for that one. Probably better anyway... although with that wingloading it should be ok. I'll have to do a full maiden report and get the weight for the next post.

I tried a HL Miracle I got from a friend... it was a nightmare to trim but was pretty smooth even in the wind after that. Had some very scary moments but it made it through unscathed. I realized after the flight it was nose heavy and moved the battery back a bit for the next flight and that helped too.

I flew my Terry with a BP21 and 8x4 folder... looks like the shaft is bent or the spinner is out of balance. First attempt was poorly trimmed and I belly flopped it on the runway. Good thing the prop folds! But I scratched up the bottom pretty good. Oh well. I had an aileron horn coming loose, and it was a real handful to try to fly on 3 channels in that wind! I need to get a little more throw on the surfaces now... I thought I'd be able to soar it a little,...Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Sep 11, 2008 @ 12:35 PM | 6,596 Views
It's been a while coming... I downloaded plans for this one last year, but just a couple weeks ago decided to finally build it. I used parts from a couple different planes that I'm not flying as much/at all anymore, and the last of my EPP, so my actual costs were very low. I used 3mm sturdyboard for the fuselage sides and wing supports because I only had 9mm EPP and only a limited amount of that. I also substituted bamboo skewers for some of the 2mm CF as I ran out.

Here's the initial setup:

Littlescreamers Purple Peril
Hobbywing 18amp ESC
GWS 8x4
CSRC 2s 1200
2 HXT900 and 1 HS-55 servos

Construction was split up over a couple weekends. I initially assembled the plane with a definite twist in the tail, but some tweaking and re-gluing straightened most of it out. The canopy definitely looks a little off, and the wings I think might not be centered, but as far as I can tell it's just a cosmetic issue.

I used hot glue hinges for the control surfaces. I made them a bit too stiff unfortunately, so I poked an exacto blade through several places and that loosened it up a bit. I may still have to re-attach the ailerons at some point, that one poor HS55 has to deal with 4 huge ailerons. With the softness of the EPP, the outer edges of the ailerons move only about 25% of the full movement at the control horn. Maybe first I will switch out the HS55 with the HXT on the rudder as I think they might have a little more power.

The maiden flight was a joy. I...Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Jul 29, 2008 @ 10:14 PM | 7,060 Views
Once again, let me reiterate for all flyers...

If you are going to fly in the wind, make sure you have enough room.
If you are going to fly in a small area, make sure there is little wind.
If you are going to fly in the wind in a small area, stay away from trees.

I should listen to my own advice. My El Bandito Reno Racer is still sitting about 80 feet up in a tree at a youth camp in Missouri. I caught a big gust when it crossed the sun and guessed exactly wrong on which way it rolled. There were two big storms while it was up there, and it only moved about a foot. I sure hope it gets blown down eventually... I left my phone# and address just in case.

I don't even care that much about the plane, it's lasted almost two years, and the motor's just a 400XT so the gear's not that expensive. The TP 3s 1320 is gone I'm sure, but the spektrum rx would sure be nice to get back.

Posted by LuckyDay | Jul 15, 2008 @ 10:35 PM | 6,616 Views
Videos of the first flight and second (very short) flight. No battery change in between, I was just testing that I fixed the wheel on the second. I was worried I would hit LVC. I didn't.

It's pretty boring, sorry. My camera is pretty old.


Second Flight:
Posted by LuckyDay | Jul 12, 2008 @ 12:12 AM | 7,371 Views
Got to the field about 9:30 this morning - my buddy The Auger was there with his brand new Fury to maiden also. I always have to warm up before a maiden flight, so we got out our Hobby People Wild Wings and buzzed around for 10 minutes or so. We halfheartedly (sometimes wholeheartedly) tried to knock each other out of the sky for a bit... I guess we are going to have to get streamers because we haven't been able to do it yet, just a couple close calls (maybe, it's hard to tell). After that, I flew my Hyperflea for a few minutes. I was trying out the new aluminum spar I put behind the motor. It stabilized it a lot. I think I might still be a little nose-heavy, it really snaps out of an elevator.

Now it was time. I got the Extra's wings attached without issue. Mostly... I had one of the servos plugged in backwards, but that turned out to be the least of my problems. It took forever to get the cowl attached, I just couldn't find the holes for the tiny screws. Finally it was on. I put the prop on with no drama. Then I plugged the battery in. Or I started to, but I ended up pulling a solder joint on the Deans plug loose. AAAAUUUUUGH! It's enough to make me switch to the Powerpoles I think. (maybe next year).

So I thought the maiden would have to wait. I jokingly asked the guys at the field if they had a soldering iron, and one of them had one that can plug into the 12v jack in the car! Nice!

First, The Auger maidened his Fury he got on crash sale from Hobby Lobby. It was...Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Jul 06, 2008 @ 11:21 PM | 9,033 Views
I've had this model since March I think, but I finally just bought the power system this week and it took me pretty much the whole weekend to put it together... but it's done. Well, almost. I still need to balance it, get a 3" servo extension for the ESC, and program the ESC and radio. I only have one battery that can handle the load so I'm going to have to buy a couple more (in a couple months!) so I can fly more than once an hour.

Here's the details...

Suppo 2820-06 1000kv
Suppo 50amp ESC
3 amp BEC
HXT 9320MG servos
APC 12x6E (moving up to 13x6.5 after verifying amp draw for more power)
Vampower 3s 2200

One awesome thing about this plane is nearly every bit of hardware comes with it... Also the motor and ESC from lightflightRC came with the motor plugs already attached, so the only soldering I needed to do was the battery adapter. The servos were slightly (1-2mm) larger than the holes, but with just a little extra xacto knife work they fit snugly.

This plane is about twice as large as anything else I've flown, and it's my first balsa plane. It should be around 40oz and 400 watts when I get my prop situation sorted out. I'm just going to take it real slow and easy for the first few flights though.
Posted by LuckyDay | Jun 11, 2008 @ 12:44 AM | 7,190 Views
So it's been a while since I posted... but I haven't even been able to fly that much lately. I've been holed up in the studio with my band Salient for about the past 6 months and we have just made the album available for pre-sale! Check out song samples and photos at

I'm doing the CD artwork too... it's attached.

Visit for audio samples, pictures, order info, and a free demo download.

We were in the studio several nights a week, working the day job and then heading to the studio and tracking until 2-3am. We were working on mixes last week, and I pulled my first all-nighter I think since my daughter was born! But the recording is really amazing. OK I'm biased. But it's true...

Now I have quite a backlog of planes to work on... an 3DHS Extra SR that is still in the box, a 3/4 finished Lynx, Infineon plans and a bunch of EPP. But the summer touring schedule is ahead now, so I don't know what I'll be able to maiden before winter. Hopefully the Extra if nothing else!
Posted by LuckyDay | Apr 28, 2008 @ 11:35 PM | 7,652 Views
So, who out there has gone flying, at dusk, in a small park, in a brisk wind, with a new radio... anyone? And we all know what the result is, right? Yup, a plane with a brand new Spektrum rx in it, about 25 feet up in a tree. And stuck GOOD! That inverted diving entry really did a number on it... but not as much as the rescue!

After about 15 minutes of stick throwing, we finally got all the pieces collected. I left it for a couple days to get my mind off it, then the time came to put it all back together.

I just used hot glue, including the aileron hinge. Check the pics for the details. The repairs were a success and it is flying great again....Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Jan 10, 2008 @ 02:07 AM | 7,528 Views
The local club did a Chili Fly on New Years Day. I thought it would be fun to bring the family and do a little flying...

It was cold and windy. Cold enough that the rest of the family was hanging out in the clubhouse. But not to be deterred, I grabbed a quick bite and then headed out with my trusty Wild Wing. It was pretty gusty, but I have had that plane in some pretty decent wind so I felt ready for it.

Launch was a "breeze" ha ha... no problem at all, just a light toss into the wind. There were a couple guys flying their glow .40s around and I saw they were getting quite a boost downwind, and then hovering upwind when they wanted; it looked like fun! So I tried it. And for about 5 minutes, I was having a great time. As I got above the treeline, I could see the wind was really blowing. I followed the glow guys around a couple circuits, and took kind of a long downwind leg.

At that moment, I flew across the sun, with the glare in the clouds, and I lost orientation. I mean completely lost... I somehow got turned around and in just a moment I couldn't tell if I was inverted or headed away or at an angle toward, the plane didn't respond as I expected. The wind was blowing it farther away each second while I tried to get my head around what was happening, and by the time I almost had it figured it was just a speck, looping around. I was trying to gain altitude so as not to lose it over the trees, but at the same time the higher it got, the farther the wind...Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Dec 17, 2007 @ 03:20 PM | 7,977 Views
Just for kicks, I brought my Reno Racer downtown to the Bicentennial Mall. There's just enough room for a takeoff and landing there in the park. I wanted to get some good shots of downtown but with a small enough plane that it would be harmless. The Reno Racer has become my AP plane of late, because of its small size and excess power. However, it is a little twitchy, especially in any wind or when I am nervous due to unfamiliar surroundings. At any rate, the video is unfortunately pretty unusable, I just could not keep it stable enough because of the previously mentioned reasons.

However, I was able to pull some pretty cool stills out of the video, so here they are. I'm going to try again in the spring or summer, on a calm afternoon, so the light will be better too. This time of autumn the sun was in the southwest and it didn't catch the buildings as well as I hoped. The colors on the trees are awesome though, which makes me especially bummed the video wasn't good, because you could see even more of the trees. They were bare within two weeks of the photos....Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Nov 28, 2007 @ 10:33 AM | 7,618 Views
After my success with my scratchbuilt FauxFlea, I bought a Superflea core from when they went on sale earlier this year. I finally got to the point that I wanted to move the gear over to the "real thing" from the scratchbuilt - it was a flat 9mm EPP delta and needed lots of CF bracing, and still had problems with warping once the speed got up. I nearly lost it several times when I would get it going and then it would warp its way down. That said, it was very durable testbed and I beat it up. I had a good time with it, I even got some night flying in on it with some fishing LEDs. It still flew pretty well the last time I tried, and if necessary I can drop the old gear back into it. It will live on in my avatar for a while anyway.

Little Screamers Purple Peril
Dynam 18amp ESC
CSRC 2s 1200
Hitec HS-55 servos
GWS 7x3.5 (I shattered the APC 7x4 on the last flight with the FauxFlea)

The build was simple and straightforward, just hot glue the halves together, make the cutout for the prop, and glue elevons and tails in place. Mount the gear and you are set! It took me a couple evenings as I wanted to take my time and get it right (more on that later). Then I added a couple different colors of trim, I'm very happy with the final look, great for orientation and visibility, as well as just plain cool to look at.

The first couple flights were short and scary... the roll rate is very fast compared to the FauxFlea, I'm guessing it just flexes...Continue Reading
Posted by LuckyDay | Nov 26, 2007 @ 04:12 PM | 7,223 Views
So a week or two after the 3D Amos Moses met its demise, I won a Pitts 3D plane at the Hendersonville Fun Fly. It was a cool event, and the first big RC event I have flown at. I brought my revamped Terry, Wild Wing, F-15, and FauxFlea (which I didn't fly). I won the first pilot raffle of the day, which was the Pitts... I thought it was great because it fits the gear that I had in the AM exactly.

I built it up in a couple days (I'm real slow). I think the gear setup is possibly the worst I have seen. Way too flexy. I'll have to do some mods to it, or just rip it off. I tried the maiden flight in about 10mph of wind with higher gusts, and it didn't like it at all! (video coming soon!)

Repairs were quick and easy, though, and I have flown it several times since at various fields. I'm still getting it dialed in, I think I need more throw on the aileron servos, as there's just not much authority. But it can handle knife edge OK, it pulls hard to the belly, but there's not much roll I have to fly out so I think it will work for now. High alpha isn't that great, lots of (I mean LOTS) of wing rock on harriers.

This will help me with my 3D fix through the winter though, if it survives maybe I will give it to a buddy. I have quite a list to work on this winter...

- SuperFlea (maidened last week... need to tweak CG and maybe motor)
- EDF Lynx (about half finished)
- GWS-38 (still! hopefully will get started before the new year)
- Mr. Flash's I3D
- Mig-29 profile (SU-27 is being retired)
- Graupner Monsun (still NIB)
- Refit Hornych Cadet with BP-21 for AP
- 3DHS Extra or Velox (on the Christmas list!)
- F-5/T-38 in case I lose the F-15

It's a pretty optimistic list, since my band is starting a new album next week and my workload is getting pretty heavy. I doubt I'll make a dent in it before February... and then flying starts again! Good to see it all out there though.
Posted by LuckyDay | Oct 15, 2007 @ 08:50 AM | 7,705 Views
My elevator repair went fine... however, the fuselage twist kept getting worse and worse. I made a couple more flights Saturday, but the final flight it was getting harder and harder to even just fly a straight line. When I brought it in, I cracked the motor off. Not a big deal, I thought about fixing it, but the whole point of having this plane was a cheap 3D trainer that I could bring low without fear, and work on KE, high alpha, and spins.

I'm sure it's not the fault of the model, Depron would be more rigid and I'm sure not twist quite as much. The Sturdyboard did not live up to the name...

I pulled the gear off, and let my 3 year old use it as a chuck glider for a few minutes, then we had tug of war with it and pulled it apart before tossing it in the garbage.

Next on the plate: I have some EPP so maybe an Infineon, I still need a 3D trainer I can take low and bounce a bit while I get my thumbs working right. I want to get a 4' balsa 3D plane next year, but I need some more practice on my maneuvers first!
Posted by LuckyDay | Oct 10, 2007 @ 01:52 PM | 7,556 Views
Ok, so the lightweight foamie doesn't like the wind. Weather report says 5-10, gusts were definitely higher (report says up to 20, I'm not sure it was that high, but it was up there!)

The first launch was into a swirly mess near a line of trees, and one quick move of the sticks and a gust and I was inverted about 15 feet up. And not going anywhere. A few quick pulls and it was free, but not without some minor wing damage. Just a couple gouges.

After a much more careful launch I was up, fighting the gusts. It was hard to get anything worthwhile done, but I wanted the flight time at least, so I kept trying. I did work on spins, elevators, waterfalls, and hovers. KE was too difficult between the wind and the tail twist. I'll have to come up with something a little stiffer to work on that.

I flew through 2 batteries and was partway through the third when I finally got crossed up, too low inverted facing myself, and as I recovered a gust blew the wing down and it took a tumble, landing on the left elevator. I think it might be fixable, if not I can just cut another elevator. I needed a little more room for the rudder throw anyway so that might be best.

Video will be added as soon as I edit it... here it is!
Posted by LuckyDay | Oct 09, 2007 @ 11:35 AM | 7,279 Views
I was in a hurry to get a flight in after work yesterday, I got to the park, put a battery in, got my hatcam going, and launched. The Amos shot skyward, then just as quickly shot down as I pulled vertical. Apparently in my haste I forgot to check the servo direction after making my modifications.

Good news though, the plane landed on the top half of the fuse... only slightly dented the canopy area. It did break the foam around the motor mount in 4 or 5 places, but considering it went in at WOT (it happened so fast!) it wasn't much damage at all. Took me 5 minutes with the hot glue gun this morning to fix, and that's only because I was careful to keep the motor alignment correct.

It's raining now, tomorrow or thursday will be my next chance...

Oh yeah, and the hatcam was aimed too far up, so I only have audio of the crash. Too bad, it would have been impressive.