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Archive for January, 2008
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 31, 2008 @ 06:45 PM | 5,622 Views
A few blogs and a couple of product reviews ago, I really went off regarding the horrid lack of customer support I'd experienced from an internet hobby distributor.

This is why my future purchases will be made through folks like Orange County, California's own Global Hobby.

Had a problem earlier today with a damaged part on a Global plane which, quite frankly, had no reason to break.

A couple of e-mails later, I was asked to send the broken part in exchange for a replacement. No muss, no fuss. Just great customer service guaranteed to create repeat business.

If you're thinking that a company like this just replaces little inexpensive geegaws, please read on.

A buddy at the field told me of his experience with a four-stroke Magnum engine which he'd purchased years ago.

The engine was sent back twice for rebuilding as it began to wear. Both times it was rebuilt. For free.

Sure enough, it was due for another overhaul and Global said, send it in.

This time, he didn't hear back right away as had been the case each time the engine was received and repaired. Also, no engine in his mailbox. So, he got on the phone to the tech department.

The tech apologized profusely for the delay, saying that his particular engine was no longer in production and that the tech who could have gotten it running was out due to illness.

Would it be OK with him if they sent him a new Magnum .91 four-stroke instead...?

True story, so help me.

As I pointed out in that long-ago blog, stick with the names you know and the distributors who stand behind them. The fly-by-nights (like that certain distributor in Industry, California who doesn't supply spare parts at all) may never disappear entirely. That doesn't mean you have to support them.

On the other hand, I encourage you to support those in the hobby business who do support we who participate in the hobby itself.

There's no better way to ensure they'll be there for you when you need them.

Thanks, Global.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 24, 2008 @ 09:59 PM | 5,707 Views
A little bit of work, a lot of help from other users on this site and voila! The retracts on the Align Spitfire now work!

Oh, but are they ever fast.

Leave it up to this site's users to come up with a solution.

I have a servo rate reducer on order which will reduce the transit time from "blink of an eye" down to about two seconds.

I think I like this plane.

Be right back...

...ah, now where was I?

Regarding the "ramblings," kindly do stay tuned to the RC Power segment of our beloved site for a review of a seriously fun, fast and fabulous plane. VQ Model has a winner in their 40-sized P-51D, available in something like four different trim schemes thanks to printed vinyl graphics. I sure had my issues regarding the optional retracts, but I kept at it and they at least work to my satisfaction.

This little birdie screams like an eagle on an Evolution 46, an 11x7 Master Airscrew prop and a Bisson Pitts muffler.

Frankly, I can't wait to fly it again.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 21, 2008 @ 02:14 AM | 5,805 Views
Or not.

Darned if I'm not having another hard time, this time with the little Align Spitfire 400 I picked up last week at the AMA; please see my previous blog.

For one, the plastic they used for the retracts looks and feels downright cheap. Wound up breaking one, but I was able to fix it.

Also, the recommended servo size is too tall. The wing itself interferes with it. So, unless I get a shorter servo, it looks as if I'll be doing some surgery.

I may have a line on a better fittng servo, but according to the thread, using that JR 241 servo still means surgery on the wing. You can follow or participate in the discussion at:


Manufacturers, I will ask you once more on everyone's behalf: Check your documentation. Build a production unit. See if there are any glitches in the instructions and I can tell you that yes, there are some glitches in this manual. Don't just give me a servo weight of nine grams. Give me the dimensions of the servo YOU used to make the system work, or please don't add bells and whistles which add to the cost, complication and ultimate frustration. Make sure it all fits together. Then, and only then, ship 'em out. The extra mile you go to make your product better makes you look good and brings repeat business to your doorstep.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 13, 2008 @ 04:14 AM | 6,440 Views
I had me a genuine blast at day two of the AMA. Thought I'd share the experience before hitting the hay.

Wouldn't you know I'd forget my doggoned camera.

That being said, the eye candy was incredible. On display and/or purchase were everything from folding indoor IR controlled flyers in their own aluminum carry case to a 1/2 scale Cub and Extra. Jets? More than I could count. Batteries of every description. Radios, helicopters, tools, lighting systems and even an interactive boat exhibit as well as a chance for little ones to enjoy running Traxxas Rustlers around a track. Also helping keep the youngsters entertained was an in indoor free flight area and a free model rocketry clinic in which participants could build their own rocket. Way too cool.

For the horse traders among those attending, the "swap shop" had such goodies as vintage model aircraft magazines, vintage gas engines, vintage tether cars and some insane deals on good, used stuff. Almost picked up a nice Thunder Tiger 42 with plenty of compression. Asking price: $30. I also came close to picking up an incomplete E-flite P-47D Thunderbolt 400 with a brand new, uninstalled horizontal stab for only $20. Wound up with a new 2100 mAh Ni-Mh transmitter battery for less than I would have had to pay to replace the original 600 mAh Ni-Cd. The big catch of the day was a brand new Align Spitfire 400 park flyer with a painted fiberglass fuse and balsa/ply wing and stab for $70. It retails...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 11, 2008 @ 06:52 PM | 7,409 Views
I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. Ontario is a little more than an hour from my house. I've never been to an AMA convention and I kick myself each year when I see what kind of loot my buddies bring back.

Tomorrow dawns a new era!

To other matters, the new retract servo for the VQ P-51 arrived yesterday. It's a top-of-the-line Airtronics and if this servo doesn't raise those retracts, nothing will.

I'll have the additional advantage of being able to talk face-to-face with the man who made the model available for review.

This is going to be fun.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 08, 2008 @ 02:31 PM | 5,919 Views
The new retract servo for the VQ P-51 should be here by the end of the week and, weather permitting, will be flown this weekend.

That is, of course, if I don't go to the AMA convention in Ontario.

Which I likely will.

Enjoy some beauty shots in the meantime.

PS: Note that the landing struts are mounted backwards. That was how they were shown on the box; no installation instructions given. They've since been swapped from side to side. All better.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 01, 2008 @ 07:56 PM | 6,023 Views
In an earlier entry, I mentioned how I was going to write to Model Aviation regarding a comment by some guy who claims that ARF and RTF pilots are "lazy." Worse, the January issue has a poem, of all things, by a woman who flies free flight and disdains radio control. That was the last straw. You'll find it on page 146, by the way.

In the meantime, feel free to enjoy the letter I just sent MA's editor:

"When I read the letter from Norman Weiler in the November '07 'Aero Mail' section, I saw red. Mr. Weiler, it seems, is of the opinion that those who purchase ARF and RTF models would 'rather bore holes in the sky than put any effort into the hobby.' He concludes: 'Most are just lazy.' Especially ironic was Bob Hunt's 'Modeling Spoken Here' column on the preceding page which sang the praises of such models.

"Mr. Weiler, while your geographic location of Lansing, Michigan likely precludes you from doing any flying during the winter months, let me assure you that those of us who got started on the models you so disdain have increased their flying skills logarithmically thanks to planes such as these and insulting a vast number of modelers with your elitism is uncalled for. I've gone from a two-channel HobbyZone Firebird Commander to three glow-powered planes (a large .25 warbird, a .25 combat plane and a .46 warbird), two high-performance electric park flyers (a scale foam warbird and a balsa/ply 3D stunt plane), two relatively docile foam...Continue Reading