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Posted by mharms | Apr 22, 2006 @ 02:36 AM | 7,178 Views
Well, I went to RSA at lunchtime and scanned the meadow with binoculars while standing on the hill. Nothing turned up, but I was loaded for tick (with bug spray all over my shoes and pants), so down into the meadow I went.

After going over much of where I'd been yesterday, I ventured farther out. The grass got really tall (above my waist) and I thought if the plane went down here, I'd only find it by stepping on it. Then I saw ticks crawling up my shirt, and I decided to get outta the the tall stuff. I came out into some lower grass and caught a glimpse of something shiny. Yep, there was my plane. Not really hidden, just much farther out than I expected. I tried to rev the motor or move the actuators, but the battery was dead. A slug had left a trail next to the fuse during the night, but otherwise, the plane was in good shape. I hauled it back up to the flying area, put in a new battery, and flew for a while. Really perked up my spirits.

Have yet to verify if the discharged battery is OK. I charged it slow (at about 0.5C) and after a couple of hours, the charger LED turned green like normal. Maybe its OK too.

Thanks for the good luck wishes. Maybe it helped! Glad you found yours.

Thanks for the offer. Yeah, the ticks seem really bad this year. One tick I found on my kitchen wall, next to where I had hung my fleece jacket. This little guy is now in a jar on top of my computer. After some web research, this one seems to be a Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis). A good local resource for tick info is:

OK, enough tick talk. Here's some pics of my recovered plane.

Posted by mharms | Apr 21, 2006 @ 02:38 AM | 7,129 Views
This afternoon I took my little 15 inch flying wing to Rancho San Antonio. Flew there yesterday and it was a blast. This plane is the replacement for the one I lost at RSA in February. Similar design, but flies even better. Anyway, it was kind of crowded today, and I ended up flying where the setting sun was in my eyes a lot. I was doing fine, and doing loops at high altitude -- pretty much above, or to the side of, the sun. Came out of one loop a little sidways and spiralled down -- right into the sun. I got a glimpse of it leveling out, but then I lost it in the glare. The plane went below the edge of the hill and (must have) landed down in the meadow.

No problem, I thought; it should be easy to find. So I went to the edge of the hill and looked down at the meadow. Couldn't see anything, but I was pretty sure about where to search. So I headed down the hill and as I got into the meadow, realized: "Oh, cr#p, this grass is pretty tall". I was hoping that it landed rightside up, so I would see the white top side. Otherwise, the dark bottom side would be hard to see in the diminishing light. Still, I was optimistic.

Well, to make a long story short(er) -- I couldn't find it. I tried using my TX to rev the motor (hoping to hear it), but its a quiet little motor/prop and I heard nothing. I looked until it got too dark and the park was closing. I'm going to head out there in the morning to see if I can find it. Its so frustrating to know the general location, but...Continue Reading
Posted by mharms | Feb 07, 2006 @ 10:21 PM | 8,600 Views
Weather today was spectacular -- near 70F, wind was low, and not a cloud in the sky. Went out to Rancho San Antonio late afternoon and flew my little Q-Wing flying wing. I was flying pretty far out, and pretty high. My plane looked small up there, but I've had her out farther before (as I mentioned before, the Plantraco 900MHz RX/TX has much more range than I expected). Had full control and I was surfing on the light wind up there. Then I got momentarily distracted by some loud talk behind me and took my eyes off the plane. Just for a split second. When I looked back at the plane -- I couldn't find her. I put her into a continuous turn, gave some up elevator, tried to get the wings at an angle to reflect some light, but I could see nothing. Just miles and miles of blue sky. I cut throttle and kept her in what I hoped was a slow spiraling descent. Scanning, scanning, scanning the sky --- nothing.

Spent the next hour searching for her, but no luck. Gave a description and phone number to a park ranger passing by and called it a day as the park closed for the night.

Man, I had some nice gear in that plane. I hope someone finds it and turns it in. I'll go back tomorrow and continue my search.

In the meantime: Time to start building the Q-Wing v2.0.
Posted by mharms | Feb 05, 2006 @ 02:41 AM | 10,119 Views
Getting good at recycling the magnets from my dead Plantraco Bahoma cells. I killed my only two 160mAh Bahoma cells by running them down too low, so now the magnets live a second life in a 210mAh cell and a 160mAh cell from MaxAmps (nice cell). You absolutely must have a low temp soldering iron to do this -- or you'll kill the magnets. I took a bunch of pics of the process and I'll post a thread on this in the Micro forum soon. Here's a pic of my new 160mAh cell with the recycled magnets. Works great.
Posted by mharms | Feb 05, 2006 @ 02:36 AM | 9,711 Views
A bit windy over at Rancho San Antonio for my little "Q-Wing", but I got in some flying time this afternoon. Considering that she weighs 21g, has wingspan of about 13 inches, and has just a 7mm pager motor, she did pretty well.

The wind was around 7 or 8mph (I remembered to bring my wind meter thingie today) with gusts. I'd say that's the max wind she can reasonably fly in. If I kept straight into the wind, I could make slow forward progress, but if I got turned even a little bit to the side, she'd go squirting off to the side. Caught some major lift in a few spots and got her pretty high, close to 500ft I'd guess (that's high for this little plane). I'm amazed at the range of this little Plantraco 900MHz TX/RX system. Its not just for indoor!

Maybe tomorrow morning the wind will be less. All 3 of my batteries are now charged up... just waiting.

Here's some pics of my Q-Wing from a few days ago (another windy day).
Posted by mharms | Feb 05, 2006 @ 01:14 AM | 9,133 Views
When did this become available????
I suppose I should put something here. Hmmm....