Red.Sneakers's blog View Details
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jul 25, 2016 @ 11:49 AM | 33,131 Views
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click to view flight log

I am so happy I had a hardy breakfast sandwich early this morning on the way to the Club. Conditions at 8:15am were winds light & variable, heat wave arriving fast, cloud cover clearing. I decided to go to the Club early to test out some mods I made over the weekend. First sortie was 32 min to test the mods, respectable. I am happy to report relocating the short antenna outside the fuselage (to achieve a 90 degree angle & separation to the long antenna) & relocating the long antenna away from the battery & motor to the back of the fuselage significantly reduced the Frame Losses / Fades to around 2 +/- per minute of flight time. I am going to estimated they were reduced to 40% of the stock configuration. I find this an acceptable range. One observation is, with straight glides across the field I was getting less & when circling in a thermal I was getting more. The expanded Black on the under wing worked great. At altitude the Yellow showed up more like a dirty white. So I had the contrast of three colors: black, dirty white & white. The Flight Logger worked as designed. The different elevator modes on the Flap switch exceeded my expectations.

One of the mods I made was to give the elevator some additional up mechanical trim. Now mind you, I like to have some down elevator control in flight mode 0-B, this causes the other too flight modes to pitch down, so it is fine balance of the performance I want, finding the sweet spot (
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jul 19, 2016 @ 02:15 PM | 31,909 Views
Living in the Age of Airplanes — Official Trailer #2 — Narrated by Harrison Ford (1 min 33 sec)

Have you seen "Living in the Age of Airplanes"? I have been wanting to see this film for as long as it has been released. In October 2016 it will be released on DVD. I have reserved two DVD's.

Will I be disappointed or will I enjoy it?

if interested, click here to reserve your copy =>

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jul 15, 2016 @ 01:27 PM | 35,649 Views

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I am a $100 plane type of guy. So if someone wants to market a BNF plane with battery, car lighter charger, and all the electronics, including gyro, accelerometers & a computer programed fly-by-wire system for under $130, I am in. It’s just too much plane not to have the experience.

Wingspan: 59.0 in (1500mm)
Wing Area: 405 sq in (26.1 sq dm)
Flying Weight: 20.5 oz (580g)
Material: Z-Foam
Motor Size: 370 brushless outrunner
Recommended Motor Battery: 1300mAh 2S

Today was the maiden of my Conscendo S glider. Conditions were winds light & variable, cloudy, no turbulence, no lift, mid 80’sF. First flight was just try out the three flight modes & check the CG & trim. All was perfect. Second flight was to test the glide path & battery duration. I ended up with a 4 ½ minute battery run & 27 minute flight. Not bad in these conditions. I also love the Rx has Telemetry. For now I'll confirm is will transmit Frame Losses & Holds. The Rx has two antennas, one long located in the front of the fuselage & one short by the Rx. For best performance, make sure the short antenna is at a 90 degree angle to the long when you replace the cover.

What I learned when flying in these conditions is one can hold the elevator stick all the way back (in flight mode 0 – stabilized) & the angle of attack will increase giving it a slower speed & more lift or longer glide path. This works in mode 0 as the Elevator Stick gains
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jul 08, 2016 @ 01:52 PM | 32,164 Views

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I am on my second Wltoys V222 2.4G 6-Axis RC Quadcopter. After the first one crashed one too many times & I could not repair it, I decided I would look for an alternate. Time passed & I found myself longing for the V222. I finally broke down & ordered my second one. It has brought me much joy in the ensuing months. I fly the V222 mostly during the Dusk hours. I fly during the day to test different flight plans & maneuvers.

What I love the most of the V222 are the LED lights. The LED are great. The two front white lights & rear red lights help in orientation, day or night. The solid & flashing bottom lights look beautiful during the hours of dusk.

So after some hard learning flights with my first V222, here are my thoughts:

- Some have reported problem with the range of the RTF Tx. I have never had any. At times I like to fly far or high. Now mind you, the RTF Tx only has a single antenna so it is very important when flying far away or high to hold the Tx antenna at a 90 degree to the Quad. Pointing the Tx antenna at the Quad gives you the lowest range.

- The range & function of the LED is exceptional.

- I found out the hard way you can turn the LED off at the Tx, so make sure you know which button Not to touch during night flights.

- The Quad comes with a camera & optional accessories. I have tried them & they are not for me. I find their utility to be marginal. I also bought an adapter to use my regular charger so I can discharge
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jul 05, 2016 @ 12:27 PM | 36,833 Views
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This year I attended the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum & “History of Flight Air Show” held in Red Hook / Rhinebeck, New York, USA.

The Old Rhinebeck Museum has one of the largest collections of early aeroplanes in the world, as well as automobiles, motorcycles, early engines and memorabilia spanning the period from 1900-1939. The air shows run every weekend June through October, weather permitting.

Too many photos for one blog, so I decided to make it a 2 part blog:
Part I – Museum Motorcycles, cars, engines & planes
Part II – Air Show & cars

Before you see the pictures, see if you can answer this question
“How did Charles Limburg see what was ahead of him in the Spirit of St. Louis?”
I am still shaking my head in disbelief. The answer is at the end of the blog.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jun 26, 2016 @ 07:58 PM | 33,718 Views
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On June 25thI attended the 5th Annual Warwick Fun Fly at the Warwick Airport in New York. The event was sponsored by the Bergen County Silent Fliers of New Jersey. Wow what a party. The location is beautiful & even includes a lake for boats & float planes in addition to an additional runway for micro fliers. I had a blast watching & taking photos not to mention talking to some full scale & RC fliers. The food truck served some very nice food. I will be back next year, this time with planes, canopy & other goodies to make it a full day. I spent most of my time at the lake.

I tend to favor presenting images that provide a unique scene not visible by the naked eye at the time, like a beautiful mirror effect against the water or at the moment to ROW. Here are a few of my favorite.

So who won the race, the Beaver or the Boat?

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jun 23, 2016 @ 02:15 PM | 31,807 Views
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Now that the FAA has recognized Aero-Hobbyist as Aircraft Owners & Pilots, I think it is time for the AMA - Academy of Model Aeronautics to update their image – evolve or perish. Using the term “model” in their name connotes amateur, toy like activities - that was yesteryear.

There are several names I came up with but their acronym is also used to describe other not so desirable activities. So what name would you suggest? My current suggestion:

UAPA - Unmanned Aircraft & Pilot Association
An organization representing Unmanned (UAS) Aircraft Owners & Pilots
(hobbyist, government, research, education & commercial)

Today we are officially Aircraft Owners & Pilots!

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jun 21, 2016 @ 08:18 AM | 32,965 Views
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This year I attended the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum & “History of Flight Air Show” held in Red Hook / Rhinebeck, New York, USA.

The Old Rhinebeck Museum has one of the largest collections of early aeroplanes in the world, as well as automobiles, motorcycles, early engines and memorabilia spanning the period from 1900-1939. The air show run every weekend June through October, weather permitting.

Too many photos for one blog, so I decided to make it a 2 part:
Part I – Museum Motorcycles, cars, engines & planes
Part II – Air Show & cars

Before you see the pictures, see if you can answer this question
“The Wright Brothers did not invent flight, so what did they invent?”
The answer is in the last group of photos

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...Continue Reading
Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jun 06, 2016 @ 07:39 AM | 33,246 Views

This year I attended the World War II Weekend, “A Gathering of Warbirds”, produced by the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum at the Reading Regional Airport in Pennsylvania, USA. We traveled 2 ½ hours to the show & it was worth the trip. I enjoyed the restored planes & air show, my wife enjoyed the re-enactments & all the folks in period attire. We were there for 5 hours and surely missed some of the events. You need all day to enjoy everything. The museum is dedicated to restoring & flying period planes. It is very well organized & worth the price of admission.

"On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high..."

We must forever be grateful to all the souls that fought for our freedom

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | May 15, 2016 @ 06:49 PM | 33,333 Views

On May 14, 2016 I attended the "Power in the Pines" Open House and Air Show at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in southern New Jersey. Took 475 photos, deleted almost 300. So what to show on the blog you may enjoy? I decided to showcase the photos that best represent the Pride, Power & Precision showcased. Hope you enjoy them.

The Power of the Pines is presented about every other year, so check back on 2018 for the next show.

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Posted by Red.Sneakers | May 10, 2016 @ 02:18 PM | 33,030 Views
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It has been a very wet & windy Spring in Northern Jew Jersey. No flying for a long time. Today was the first good day so we met up at the Club. Winds light & variable, sunny morning with Altocumulus Floccus clouds moving in. First up was the Beaver. Oh man, what a beautiful morning. Sun behind us, clean air, no turbulence. Watched a few guys fly while I enjoyed a breakfast snack al fresco. Then two guys started talking about gliders. So I got my glider ready, settled into my camping chair & launched. Thinking I would just fly around. At around 12 minutes, I told the guys to look up as I was in a thermal bubble, center stage. At times the fuselage would disappear but I could clearly see the two wing tips that are black. One member asked: “how do you get down”, hum, oh yea, spiral. Spiral I did & lost some good altitude, then settled down & up I went. Two more spirals before I lost the bubble. Could feel the temperature cool down as sink was ever present. Flew around for about 1 minute at low throttle to let the sink move on. Ding, ding, another small thermal, up we went. Followed by sink, cool breeze, fly around & another thermal. Pilot asked “what’s your record?”. I answered about 29-30 minutes (actually it was Nov 13, 2014 ~ 32 min flight). So they challenged me to break my record. At 30 minutes I was going to land when a newly arrived member said, “keep going”. So I did. Final battle with sink & no battery life left to go back up, so I landed. My friend rushed over to read the timer on the Tx when it landed. A little early in the season to call it the best day but it just may be.

Total flight time 44 minutes & 2 seconds, a personal best. Plane you ask? umx Radian with a 220 mAh mini-aviation battery. (mic drop)

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Mar 11, 2016 @ 08:54 AM | 36,571 Views

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I have written a blog on the A3 Super II gyro. It is very lengthy so I thought I would archive a blog of a few of the most common questions so folks can reference them without having to read the entire document. All videos can be found at the bottom of this blog

What is Gain?

RCG member [mapes12 ] comments “Keep it simple. Gain = Sensitivity. That's it.”

Let me expand on the concept. First let’s start by saying once you introduce a gyro (like the A3 Super II), you now have a “Fly-by-Wire” system. In the early years of aviation, the control surfaces of a plane were connected by a wire to the stick or pedals. If was up to the Pilot in Command (PIC) to know the limits of the plane and not exceed those limits. To me, Fly-by-Wire is an oxymoron term. It is the opposite of what it describes; it is actually a fly with computer assisted controls system.

So what is Gain? Gain refers to the amount of travel the servo is allowed to deflect when the gyro is issuing the commands. So if the gyro is set to 100% gain and all other systems are normal, the gyro will issue a command to the receiver (Rx) to allow the servo to travel 100%.

Why is Gain such a challenging concept? Because with a fly-by-wire system, there are multiple setting that ultimately control how far the gyro allows the servo movement to travel.

Let’s look at some of the settings available with the A3:

Gyro Gain wire attached to the Rx
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 22, 2016 @ 11:04 AM | 33,532 Views
Video Gallery 2016
& links to the build logs
see vimeo for comments on the video

HiTec Zipper Weekender
Zipper Final Approach & Lanind in Slow Mo (1 min 6 sec)

HiTec Zipper Weekender
Zipper second maiden z (2 min 17 sec)
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 20, 2016 @ 10:10 AM | 43,876 Views
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> Introduction <

I love my Horizon Hobby umx Sport Cub S2. Why? Because some engineers & designers took the time to program the gyro with all the correct settings with 3 flight modes: Stabilized [Beginner Mode], Agility [Intermediate Mode], Unrestricted [Experienced Mode]. So all I had to do is take the plane out of the box, charge the battery, do a preflight check, learn how to initialize & activate the gyro & off we went. I love this plane so much, I have 6 of them, 2 are RIP & the other 4 are commissioned for specific missions. I have learned a lot about how the pilot needs to interact with the gyro & weather conditions. Some folks are stick & rudder pilots and wouldn’t consider a gyro. It’s OK. Once you fly a plane with a gyro in wind that exceeds its specifications of the model or with heavy turbulence, where the plane is being tossed vertically up to 5 feet in a split second, you will have a higher respect for a fly-by-wire system.

The Hobby Eagle A3 Super II is a good value gyro, with company support, documentation & enhancements. As a visual guy, I love the WYSIWYG [What You See Is What You Get] app. The challenge is all this flexibility comes with an investment = more knowledge required (call it ground school learning). You need to understand what each setting does & determine if the default setting meets your needs for your specific application. Failure to do so may result in injury or property damage (like your
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 17, 2016 @ 02:47 PM | 35,058 Views

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I have wanted a HiTec Zipper Weekender for some time. It looks like they will be discontinued when the stock runs out. In the mean time, they have been discounted with free shipping at Tower Hobbies. I have no facility nor expertise spray painting but was able to convince a friend to paint one for me. Maiden today only to crash it upon takeoff. Not enough thrust. Either I did not set the throttle setting correctly on the Rx/ESC or gyro. There will be another day.

Wingspan: 23.6" (599mm)
Length: 21.3" (541mm)
Weight: 5.3oz (150g)
Wing Area: 93 sq in (6 sq dm)

Build log:

--> Convinced a friend to spray paint one for me.

--> Added skids on the belly as I may land on rough surfaces.

--> Added an A3 Supper 2 gyro to get more practice installing & programming them. Maiden crash was with the gyro off.

--> After the crash I glued the wings on with Foam-Tac.

--> Now looking to mod the plane with a bigger prop, see below.

--> RCG member [Hugo Flynow] suggests to "add a hole in the bottom of the fuselage for ventilation. Rule of thumb is the exit hole needs to be 3X larger than the inlet. Being the inlet is just behind the nosecone, this hole is plenty big. I like to make oval holes to get the most out of the fuselage shape.”
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--> The plane is under the USA FAA registration weight limit of 0.55 lbs (250 grams) - No FAA registration required to fly it. Caution: Some folks have
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Jumpers Away

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Feb 12, 2016 @ 08:37 AM | 33,617 Views

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Photo by RCG member Robert Stinson

I have been looking for small parachute guys for some time. HK has a Candy Dropper available that will release the jumpers. I posted a request for links in the HK Tundra forum & the response was great. Decided to archive the choices for future reference.

RCG member [eihoward] commented “Put some weight to these soldiers or they will fly away... Yes I have lost four...”

RCG member [Pilot_MM] commented “Thinking out loud here but you could also put a few holes in the chute. It will do the same without adding weight.”

RCG member [MX48] commented “I taped a 1oz. fishing sinker to my paratroopers and now no more trying to float overseas. Yet they still float down nicely in the wind.”

> Kids Children Tangle Free Toy Hand Throwing Parachute Kite Outdoor Play Game Toy [by RCG member dabrandt22].

> Fun Express Vinyl Paratroopers Assortment Action Figure (6 Dozen) [by RCG member nevenelestate]

> Base Jumpers Parachute Men Red, Blue & Green Gift Set Bundle - 3 Pack [by RCG member MX48]

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 28, 2016 @ 08:49 AM | 35,899 Views

I had some old Lipo batteries that needed replacing. One got out of balance & the other the wire on the balance plug broke due to usage. Discovered the Admiral batteries. Here is why I like what I see.

--> Great attention to detail by the designer. If they pay that much attention to the components you can see, I surmise the same attention to detail has been placed on the internal chemistry & design. Time will tell.

--> The Dean T plug is long, no attempt to save money noted.

--> They have a very unique protective cover on the balance plug to prevent premature wire breakage.

--> Nicely labeled. Would prefer if they had added the word "Lipo" as I also use Nimh batteries that 'look' similar.

--> The 2200mah is skinny & long & the 1300mah is short & fatter - exactly what I need for my applications.

--> Standard industry balance plug connector.

--> I include a picture of the battery with added shrink for stress relief & the tool I use to disconnect the battery without pulling on the wires.

2016 will be the year I try out the Admiral batteries. My expectation is they will perform well.

Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 25, 2016 @ 06:28 PM | 35,091 Views
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I fly several models that already come programmed with AS3x. AS3x reduces the effect of any force, like wind, that displaces the model while in flight . It will make quick adjustments to act as a damper. But now I am starting to program my own gyros. Spektrum has made a series of 15 videos to explain this process. So do I really want to continue along this path? I think the benefits will come as we learn more of the terms used & what they mean. It gives me a new appreciation for models like the umx Sports Cub S2 that already comes programmed with AS3x. Surely, all the work someone else did is worth something.

In the meantime, if any of you have a death wish to learn more about AS3x & how to program it, here is the entire series

Spektrum RC products related to this and all other AS3X video's in this playlist include: SPM-AR636 ; SPM-AR6335 ; SPM-AR7350 ; SPM-AR9350

Spektrum AS3X Step 1: Transmitter Setup (Initial Setup) (2 min 17 sec)

Spektrum AS3X Step 2: Receiver Installation (Initial Setup) (6 min 19 sec)
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Posted by Red.Sneakers | Jan 22, 2016 @ 11:32 PM | 34,022 Views
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2015 was a lite year for flying my Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, due to one thing or another. In 2015 I only flew 505 flights vs 606 in 2014. I was short 101 flights. Knew it by midyear, no way to catch up. The 101 flights cost me 17.9 hours of lost airtime. To make it worse, my average flight time per flight for 2015 was 9.58 minutes. This means I lost another 9.1 hours of flight time due to the mix of aerial systems I flew. So in total, I flew 80.63 hours in 2015 versus 107.7 hours in 2014, for a deficit of 27 hours.

On the brighter side, in 2015 I met some very nice hobbyist at the Club, the Park & RC Groups. At the Park, I helped put a smile on a few youth new to the hobby. I let one fly my night vapor without a buddy box. The other was a persistent young man that was only achieving about 15 second flights before crashing. I was observing him & when the light went off in his head – “do I push the stick forward to make it go up?”. I gave him a quick lesson and when I left he had been airborne for over 1 minute. To this day I still smile when I think about those times.

I had the privilege of mentoring an 11 year old new pilot. Put her through a rigorous boot camp so she could solo before school started. She accepted every challenge with flying colors. She got written tests, verbal quizzes, practice sessions & a solo assessment. She earned her wings a few days before school started.

Overall it was a fun & exciting year
The Best Day of the 2015 Season =>
The Best Day of the 2014 Season =>

Wishing you all fair weather for 2016.

Straighten up and fly right my friend!