YarSmythe's blog View Details
Posted by YarSmythe | Mar 29, 2009 @ 07:58 PM | 9,270 Views
I've had this project shelved for nearly two years! I could kick myself for taking this long to finish it.

Long story short. I built a Goldberg Electra kit about six years ago. Great flying electric glider. Back in 2007 I tried to catch it and ended up snapping the wing. In a way, it was a good thing as the plane desperately needed spoilers and the wing needed more reinforcement. I found a kit (hard to do) and built up a new wing. However, when I started designing the spoilers I kept changing my ideas around and finally just put it aside.

In the end I decided to go back to my original idea: Install 9g servos into each wing and just use their arms to push up the spoilers. The area is small and every thing I tried to 'link' the spoilers to the servo failed. I could have spent more time investigating other ideas but these are working fine...so why mess with it?

The pre-cut ribs in this kit left HUGE gaps between the spars. I brushed on small amounts of Gorilla Glue and water to fill everything. You can see some of the 'foam' in the photo. This wing feels MUCH stronger than the original albeit a little heavier.

Hope to have the wing covered by Wednesday and at the field on Saturday.

-Lee
Posted by YarSmythe | Mar 20, 2009 @ 03:19 PM | 8,628 Views
I won this last year at BEST 2008. Can't say it is a popular RTF as it is made from plastic and runs on a brushed motor.

However....

This is actually a fun little plane. Not a great plane by any means but sometimes you find a product that serves you well and keeps on going. I've actually torn the wing off of this plane on one of the first flights but was able to repair it with Gorilla Glue and tape. Got right back in the air without any flight performance changes. And what do you do when the box doesn't include the clips for wing struts? Cable ties!

One modification I made was adding an eye hook and rubber band to help the main landing gear from flexing. Doesn't look great but does exactly what I need. Oh yea, and chunked the NiMH battery for a 2S LiPo. 2-3 loooong flights without a charge.

Thought I'd share a positive experience with everyone today.
Posted by YarSmythe | Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:17 PM | 8,890 Views
Got a couple of videos uploaded to YouTube. Best to watch them in HIGH QUALITY.

Funder & Lightning - Orange Bang (1 min 48 sec)


RC Aero Tow (1 min 9 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by YarSmythe | Nov 21, 2008 @ 02:52 AM | 10,842 Views
A list of the models in my collection. Some of the planes have links back to build threads. I'll try to upload some pics later. Enjoy!

Flying:
- (8) Funder & Lightnings : Prototype, Yippee!, Orange Bang, Yippee! II 48" F&L, Yellow Jacket, Honey Bunny, John Deere, & "Joker"
- Horizon Hobby Piper Pawnee 40 EP
- Midwest Livewire Champ EP
- Hobbico FlightStar 40 EP
- (3) Kyosho Cessna Cardinal 177s / Two EP, one GF
- Alfa Corsair
- Alfa Thunderbolt
- (3) GWS Slow Sticks: Standard, night flying, and w/floats
- Carl Goldberg Electra ARF
- Hobbico StarFire 40 GF
- HERR Cessna 180
- Multiplex Easy Star
- Multiplex Easy Star 2
- Multiplex TwinStar II
- Multiplex Easy Glider (for aerotow!)
- Horizon Hobby Solo Strike / 4-Stroke Glow
- Carl Goldberg Electra
- Great Planes Escapade
- ParkZone Trojan T-28D #2
- Pilot QB-60 / Old 1980's model. Aero-Tow configuration
- FlyZone Playmate
- FlyZone P-38
- HobbyZone Champ (Austin's)
- E-Flite Apprentice (Austin's)
- Common Sense RC Quattro (gift from Terry)
- GWS C-47
- Dynam Grand Cruiser / Cessna 310
- Cessna Corvalis
- Terry Dunn Parallax
- Bridi RCM Trainer 40
- E-Flite Carbon Z Cub
- Hobby King Spitfire
- Hobby Lobby Wingo
- ParkZone P-47 Thunderbolt
- Durafly DH100 Vampire
- Profile Planes Micro F-22
- Multiplex Gemini Biplane
- Scratch Build / 48" Spacewalker Foamy LED
- Scratch built LED Night Flying Foamy
...Continue Reading
Posted by YarSmythe | Oct 23, 2008 @ 11:04 PM | 10,207 Views
When I look back over the years, The Douglas DC-3/C-47 was not a plane I ever thought about. My true love has been the P-38 Lightning since I was a little kid. But about 4-5 years ago I read a story about the DC-3 and saw one up close at an airshow. When I discovered how special they are and how well they've stood up to time, I got the itch.

7 months ago, I saw a C-47 fly over my house and had to follow it. I grabbed my son, threw him (and a camera) in the car, and drove to an airport nearby where I assumed it was heading. Sure enough, there it was...a C-47 staring right at me. After taking several photos of it, I knew it was time to add one to my fleet.

I didn't want to scratch build one so I opted to get the basic GWS C-47 model. With this size foam kit you get a lot of room to play, nice scale looks, and the ability to upgrade the power system very easily. It just seemed like a logical choice. And now that I've purchased a lot of airbrushing equipment, painting this sucker should be fun.

And so begins my attempt to duplicate the paint scheme of the AC-47 "Spooky" that flew over my house. More to come...

-Lee
Posted by YarSmythe | Oct 14, 2008 @ 04:55 PM | 9,224 Views
Won this little fella at BEST 2008 a few weekends ago. Wasn't planning on building it right now but after I opened the box, it kinda fell together on its own. Decided to only do a few steps every night so I wouldn't rush into it. Everything was going smoothly until today. I got the "build bug" and decided to skip ahead and finish the frame.

Going with my favorite (and recommended) HL 400XT motor. Needs three (3) HS-55 servos, receiver, 18A ESC, and 3S 800mAh battery. If all goes well, should have this sucker flying by Friday.

Anyone else have one that would like to share their experiences??

-Lee
Posted by YarSmythe | Oct 12, 2008 @ 06:44 PM | 8,513 Views
For my birthday this year, my wife (and friends) got me a skydive jump. My sister even joined in on the fun.

The staff out at SkyDive Houston in Waller Texas were great. Very laid back group of "young" folks. I was surprised how quick and easy things went. LOTS of jumpers out today and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Thought I'd share a few photos from today's event. At first, I didn't want a video but glad the still photos turned out so well.

Cheers!

-Lee
Posted by YarSmythe | Sep 21, 2008 @ 09:20 PM | 8,379 Views
As a native Texan, I have been waiting to hear news of the famous Lone Star Flight Museum down in Galveston. Sadly, I must say that the damage to the museum is substantial and has nearly destroyed everything in the facility.

Here is their website: http://www.lsfm.org/index.html

I encourage you to take a look at the damage and consider donating anything possible to assist in the recovery of this facility. There is no other flight museum like it in our area. For me, I would hate to imagine not having it around for my little boys when they gain interest in this hobby.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and helping us out.

-Lee Ray
Native Texan & Houstonian

* Pics before and AFTER hurricane Ike *...Continue Reading
Posted by YarSmythe | Jul 11, 2008 @ 06:30 AM | 7,265 Views
Well, we were bumped from our first two appointments this week. Today, we were given the "GO" for arrival. We are heading down to this hospital right now to hopefully get a look at our new co-co-pilot (what is that, a flight-engineer?).

No name yet...but we've narrowed it down to Ryan, Brian, or Brandon. Either way, let's hope he's healthy and happy.

More news when it happens...stay tuned!
Posted by YarSmythe | Jul 09, 2008 @ 06:36 AM | 6,654 Views
Off to the hospital to see if my second co-pilot is ready to arrive in this world!

The second child is due today. Was actually told he would be out yesterday but the hospital gave us the "No Go for Landing" as they were unable to accomodate us. We're #4 in line today so the "weather looks good".

Gotta wake up the first co-pilot, Austin, and get him ready for school. He's excited about having a baby brother but probably won't be too excited sharing all of Daddy's planes with him. The first boy has had it VERY easy these past four years....time's are a changin'.

Anyway...off we go. Let's hope for a nice pink, healthy baby boy....10 fingers, 10 toes...and able to sleep 4-5 hours every night!!
Posted by YarSmythe | Jun 29, 2008 @ 05:06 PM | 8,674 Views
I bought this thing last year and had great plans for it. My thought was to make it look like a C-47 with invasion stripes.

Well, the idea was good but the results were less than satisfactory. I read all about the importance of sanding, wiping with denatured alcohol, and adding primer coats to Elapor foam before adding on the main colors. Well, I did all that but it appears I used the wrong paint. The Krylon for Plastics I used started peeling off when I used 3M Painters (delicate) tape for masking. Then, when I added my invasion stripes, the paint seeped through the paper tape on messed 'em up. A fella recommend a plastic tape (like electrical tape) to mask the stripes which DID work for the other wing...but that tape also peeled the base paint off the foam.

I decided enough was enough. I finished mounting the rest of the electronics and got the plane ready for flying. Heck, the sucker even balanced perfectly! But, as luck has been for this kit, as soon as I was ready to pack the truck, the rains came. Ack!

So, here is my TwinStar II in the "Ready to Fly" stage...but not the "Ready to Show Off" stage. I'll update the blog again when she's looking better.

Specs:

- Multiplex TwinStar II
- Original Multiplex rudder/elevator/aileron servos (RR version)
- (2) Hobby Lobby 400XT motors
- (2) E-Flite 20amp ESCs
- (2) APC 9x4.5E props
- (2) TP2100 batteries in parallel
- AR6200 Receiver and DX7 Transmitter


No information yet on final weight or thrust/speed performance.

-Lee

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Posted by YarSmythe | May 31, 2008 @ 06:04 PM | 6,942 Views
A few months ago I was evicted from the house to make room for baby #2. Buying a new house was not an option so I ended up taking over the garage.

Part I of the move can be found here.

It hasn't been an fun job. I live in Houston and that means you have to deal with:

- Heat
- Humidity
- Bugs
- & Heat

I've just about givin' up making any future decisions on its appearance. It's hot, it's cramped, and I just don't have the funds to buy the things it really needs. For now, it's a place my wife doesn't want so at least I should be able to keep my toys there.

The crappy news is that I called an electrician out yesterday to hook up the air conditoner to a dedicated circuit in the garage for our second refrigerator. The outlet I was using was freaking out my chargers on the side wall so I just assumed it was on the same circuit.

Well, he ran a butt-ugly cable over from the refrigerator and installed an outlet next to the air conditioner. The good news...it works fine. The bad news? Turns out, another outlet next to air conditioner was ALREADY on a separate circuit, not connected to the other wall outlets for my electronic gear. I had just 'assumed' it was connected because it was right there...but turns out we could have used it instead. ARRGGGHHH!! What waste of time and money.

So, here are the photos. If I can find some spare time to finish up some kits lying around and clean up the mess, it'll look halfway decent. Until then, here is my new Hobby Shack.
Posted by YarSmythe | Apr 12, 2008 @ 03:06 PM | 6,887 Views
I was asked by my mother's church to volunteer a course in Model Aviation for a nearby elementary school of 4th graders. These are hand-picked children of low-income and often single-parent homes.

Today was our second class and we got to "play" with RealFlight Simulator and building a Multiplex Easy Star RTF. Granted, their attention span is limited to 5 minutes but these young boys were very excited and eager to fly "something". I told each of them if they could fly in the simulator program and keep a plane in the air for 15 seconds or more, I'd allow them to pick any other plane in the computer and crash it. For some reason, this REALLY inspired them. Each of them completed the mission and then proceeded to see who could crash a jet the worst possible way. I must admit, it was funny.

Next Saturday is the final day of the course. We finish the Easy Star and build a Slow Stick. Then, weather permitting, we'll spend the rest of the day outside flying everything into the ground.

What is really nice is that the church donated $200 to the class and the student with the best grade at the end of the year gets the Easy Star. The second best grade gets the Slow Stick. Other students will get gift cards to the local hobby shop. What a wonderful way to motivate these young minds.

I should also mention that a local RC pilot DONATED his old Futaba 6EXA transmitter and some goodies for the cause!! Awesome!

So, all of you pilots out there....check with your local schools to see if you might be able to host an event like this. Many churches are looking for ways to help out the young children out there. Please let me know any of you get a chance to do something like this. Feel free to reply to this thread.

A few photos from today. I'll post the group photo next week. Don't you love the look on that boy's face holding the P-38??

-Lee
Posted by YarSmythe | Jan 01, 2008 @ 05:28 PM | 7,087 Views
I've been evicted from the house.

Ever since I left the folk's house over 20 years ago, I've always had a room dedicated to my RC hobby. All three of my apartments were two bedroom just so I could have a separate room for the planes (and stuff). When I got married, my wife and I found a cute 4-bedroom house that was perfect for the office, the R/C hobby room, and the baby (when it came along).

...and now baby #2 has showed up on the ultra sounds.

I'm trying to keep up a positive attitude. However, living in Texas does not provide the best conditions for leaving planes out in the garage. Sure, I'll keep those planes dearest to me SOMEWHERE in the house...but, alas, most of them are getting sent outside. Yes, it gets hot in Texas...but it also gets cold. We're expecting freezing temps tomorrow. The biggest problem is the humidity. Since none of my planes are made from metal, most are prone to warping. I can't afford to air condition the garage 24/7 but I'll try to get a window A/C unit if one will fit the small window. If anyone is still reading this and has lived with their R/C planes in the garage for many years, I'm all ears for your advice.

I'm heading to the hardware store right now to pick up some things. The garage was walled up with plywood when I moved in but a few areas where I'm building need new pieces. I'd like to find a portable/rolling woodworking table. Something that will allow me to store power tools and move it out of the way when I need more space. That will really help with space being so tight.

On a happy note, I've got an old TV and DVD player that will be joining me.

Cheers. Photos to post soon.

-Lee
Posted by YarSmythe | Dec 28, 2007 @ 05:56 PM | 9,075 Views
I only needed epoxy at my LHS today...but I walked away with epoxy AND a Phase 3, P-38 Lightning kit. The Lightning is a favorite of mine (thus my foamy Funder 'n Lightning design) but I've never built the real thing. The Hobby Lobby and E-Flite kits have been egging me on but I just never had the guts to buy one. ...until now.

There is a Phase 3, P-38 thread that I've been following. When I heard this kit comes with fairly good motors and speed controllers, the price (only $159) seemed reasonable. Oh...and a $150 gift certificate from the mother-in-law doesn't hurt either!

First impressions:

- The box holds all the pieces very well....much like an ALFA model (very nice kits).
- Foam is the brittle kind...much like an ALFA model (oh well)
- Motors and speed controllers included. Sweet.
- All pieces painted. Super sweet.
- Detail on the foam looks very good. Not sure how scale it is but still impressive.

The build won't start right away as I've got other projects to finish. But from what I've heard, this plane can be done in 1-2 evenings. Should be fun. I'll do my best to document the assembly from beginning to end.

Here are the first few images to tease you.

-Lee
Posted by YarSmythe | Sep 10, 2007 @ 09:27 PM | 8,313 Views
A couple of pilots flew at night during last year's BEST 2006. It's that time again and BEST 2007 is less than a month away. I want to be a part of this event so here is my entry.

A fellow member, UAVPILOT, is the one who inspired me. He attended last year with these incredible night flying foamies. I'm opting to build a non-3D foamy using an old AMA kit as a guideline.

Assembly notes:

- MPJet Blue outrunner
- Midwest Cellfoam 5mm and 3mm
- Depron (underbelly and top sheeting of wing)
- 3S LiPo for power
- 1S LiPo for LEDs
- 7 white LEDs in fuselage
- 12 white LEDs in wing
- 2 red, 2 green LEDs in wing tips

The build so far...
Posted by YarSmythe | May 25, 2007 @ 02:21 PM | 8,641 Views
I finished my second Funder & Lightning today. It was painted red to resemble the 5000th built P-38J called "Yippee". I'll draw in the canopy and slap on a few star stickers. Not sure I can spell out YIPPEE on the bottom as the Hitec servos will be in the way....we'll see.

Unlike the first F&L built with DOW Blue foam, this one was constructed with Midwest CellFoam 88. Seems a bit lighter and stiffer. One nice thing about CellFoam 88 is that regular CA works just fine...especially ZAP medium. They say only use foam safe CA but I didn't find any problems. I'm also a huge fan of Gorilla Glue. All the major joints were sealed with GG. This makes the build take longer...but you end up with a very strong plane.

Funder & Lightning v2 Specs:
- Esskay 400XT motor w/APC 9x6 prop (needs an 8x6)
- EFlite 20 amp brushless controller
- Thunder Power 3S 1320mAh LiPo
- Spektrum AR6100
- (3) Hitec HS-55s
- AUW: 12.8 oz
- WOT: 13.2 amps
My first F&L uses a Himax 2812-850 motor. The 400XT is lighter and has more speed. On the flip side, running close to 13 amps with the 9x6 prop is not recommended. I've heard others running the 400XT that hot but I think I'll switch to an 8x6 to bring her down closer to 10 amps.

She maidened today in 15mph+ winds. Something between 5-10mph is better. Aileron throws are higher than the first kit and she rolls with authority. Climbs like a rocket with that 400XT. Super Sweet!
Posted by YarSmythe | May 15, 2007 @ 09:30 AM | 8,261 Views
Some of my friends just don't realize how much I like this plane. A photo is a good way of proving my point...

I own four (4) Kyosho Cessna 177 Cardinal models. These were made in the late 80's and discontinued shortly after. The fuselage is made of a polyethylene plastic mold and the wings are foam core covered in plastic sheeting. Strong, durable...easy to assemble. All of my flying models are very agile and extremely fun to fly. Many are surprised to see how acrobatic they are.

My father purchased my first Cardinal in the early 90's (first one on the left). It is gas powered by an O/S .15. The engine is actually older than the plane and still runs perfectly! I've flown this model for over 15 years and still enjoy flying it as I did when it was new. It hasn't required much in the terms of repair...but, as you can see, the window stickers are long gone. Fuel has a way of doing that to decals.

The second kit was purchased about 2 years ago off of Ebay (top center of photo). It was a gas powered kit that I converted to electric. Powering this plane is an AXI 2814-12 outrunner....in a word, ZOOOOOM! Way overpowered as take-off runs are probably 20' or less. Thrust ratio is close to 1:1. Very manuverable and probably my favorite plane of all my kits.

The boxed plane was also purchased off of Ebay (thank God for Ebay) and is quiety awaiting it's time for construction. After building the electric version, I wanted to make sure I had a 'backup'...Continue Reading
Posted by YarSmythe | Dec 22, 2006 @ 05:56 PM | 7,678 Views
As of today, the rebuild is officially complete.

After many months, Pop's old "Yeller" has been rebuilt. Years ago, I thought this old plane would just sit in a closet to rot. It has been given a new life and I can honestly say it is one of my favorite planes to fly.

The rebuild thread can be found here. Think of this blog entry as the "Official Unveiling".

I can't put an exact year on my father's original build. It was either 1982 or 1984. The photos of the 'old' kit are also from his "unveiling" and first flight.

Cheers, -Lee
Posted by YarSmythe | Dec 14, 2006 @ 10:54 PM | 7,403 Views
...I can already hear readers saying "Huh??" "Why??" "Are ya crazy??"

First, I love my 109 LiPo charger. Works great...yadda yadda. But I've always felt it was missing some basic 'charger' essentials:

1) START button
2) ON/OFF switch

I don't know about you but I would like my charger to start working when I tell it to...not when power is suddenly applied. Yea, it works great if your manual connections to the battery or power supply go smoothly....but it ain't that way if you still use alligator clips and struggle to get a good connection. Perhaps I'll get ribbed by those 'geeks' out there who have mastered the ability to conduct electricity with any piece of scrap metal. Me? My hobby room is layed out funky and getting to the shared 12V panel isn't that easy.

The second problem: the ON/OFF switch. Why wouldn't you want one of these? Again, if you have a setup like mine where your power source is nowhere near the charger, you've got to 'move' around to manually pull the cables out. I can't just turn off the power supply because it happens to provide 12 volts to other devices. My solution was to purchase a Radio Shack 30A 12V lighted switch and plug it into my 109. In doing so, I've gained a few benefits:

1) I get to tell the charger when to turn on, not my power source.
2) It's right there on the panel. A short distance between charging cords and Amp knob.
3) It's pretty darn bright. If the LCD is not clearly...Continue Reading