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Archive for August, 2007
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 27, 2007 @ 02:45 PM | 4,976 Views
It's amazing what a little bit of time will do to your point of view and your attitude.

I figured that it wasn't worth getting upset over the loss of an ARF that I could replace for $80. Sure, I was upset at losing a plane which I'd worked hard to get airborne again, but it's really not too much of an issue when one can replace the thing for relatively little money. Heck, rekitting a park flyer like a ParkZone J-3 or Flyzone Cessna from the ground up would cost about $80. A beautifully built balsa and ply warbird for that same price sounds pretty good to me.

What surprises me is the lack of choices in the .25 size range. Plenty of electrics in the "general vicinity," not many nitros.

So, thought I, why not just get another one of the same plane? It appears to be the least expensive ARF of its type on the market and it comes chock full of a lot of extras to boot, like a steerable tailwheel. The smaller, more expensive Great Planes Spitfire I'd been considering does not.

Plus, it's BIG. All the .25 planes I found had a wingspan of around 39". The new Zero will, like Project Zero before it, measure in at 49".

I'm off to the Raiden Tech or Nitro Planes website later tonight to place the order. Should be here in a couple of work days which means I can start the initial assembly on Friday if I'm lucky.

Boy, am I stoked!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 23, 2007 @ 07:32 PM | 4,666 Views
It seems Great Planes makes a neat little Spitfire that'll accept my .25 and, in fact, they recommend the very engine I happen to have on hand waiting to be fully broken in. It has a 39" wingspan, a full 10" shorter than the recently deceased Zero and the same as my E-flite P-47.


This thing has got to scream with that .25 up front. I've seen this plane or a similar one at the field set up for electric power and was it neat. Not only that, there's parts support from Great Planes.

There's also a very detailed and comprehensive instruction manual, unlike that horrific mess I got with the Zero.


You know, this might be a do-er. I'll have to check Tower and see if my incentive coupon is still valid.


Retail therapy, anyone?
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 23, 2007 @ 05:57 PM | 4,715 Views
It's kindling.

I should have listened to the fellow who gave Project Zero to me. Our field has been the site of some really severe radio hits bad enough to trash two of his planes. The hit would send his planes into a hard left spiraling power dive from which there was no return.

It happened today. Second flight. On Project Zero. Same MO. All that work down the tubes. Complete rekit necessary and three of the five servos had their gears stripped. All this after grinning like a total idiot all through the first flight. I was running the engine rich as part of the recommended break-in, but that didn't stop it from flying absolutely fantastic. Just like a bigger, faster version of my E-flite P-47 with some really sensitive ailerons and far more rudder control just to keep things interesting. My radio doesn't have exponential, so I figured I could live with it. It really wanted to torque roll on takeoff and it was all too easy to overcompensate. On the other hand, rolls and loops were utterly gorgeous, albeit limited per the engine's break-in recommendations. I even got it to do a fairly nice knife edge with all that rudder, something that's flat impossible to do with the P-47.

I guess I could be philosophical and say that I crashed a free airplane...but I did spend a lot of money to get it airborne and more than a little bit of totally irretrievable time.

All this before breakfast, too.

I seriously found myself wondering whether or not I wanted...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 22, 2007 @ 02:50 PM | 4,749 Views
As of exactly noon local time, Project Zero was finally completed! Man, that cowl was work!

In any event, all that's left to do is to fill the fuel tank, check the CG, plug in the receiver and reinstall the battery. I simply couldn't resist bolting on the wing so that I could photograph the plane and share the news.

Oh, and I will of course be rejoining the AMA at my earliest convenience. I really want to take advantage of the local club!

If anyone has the November '06 edition of Model Aviation, the club has a featured article since it hosted a statewide turbine meet. You'll agree it'll be worth the $15 a month to play there.

Enjoy the photos!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 20, 2007 @ 01:41 PM | 5,210 Views
Since all of the airframe repairs were made to my Project Zero some time ago, the rest is comparatively straightforward.

However, I promised pix of the ongoing work and pix there shall be.

I can see why everyone raves about O.S. engines, including the guy at the hobby shop. Using the opportunity to not only rest my sprained ankle but to do some of the easier tasks necessary to finish the job, I soldered up a Sullivan Gold-N-Rod throttle cable and proceeded to do the preliminary break-in.

What a magnificent piece of engineering this .25 FX is!

I broke it in with a 9x6 prop but I'll be flying on a 10x5 since the 9" looks mighty small against the cowl. One of the freebies I was given along with the plane itself was a Master Airscrew 10x5. Lucked out on that one. Even with the 9x6 up front, that fuselage wanted to practically explode off of the field box. This engine is smooth, powerful, easy to start and is built like a Swiss watch.

It's down to only this:
  • Final trimming, painting and filling of extra holes in the cowl

    Drilling the access holes in the cowl for the mixture screw and glow plug

    Mounting the "Fueldot" fuel filler

    Double-checking the CG

I have a feeling this is going to be one fun ride.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 17, 2007 @ 06:14 PM | 4,804 Views
While it's true that those of us who fiddle with R/C models occasionally get bitten by them (and I have scars on my right forearm to prove it), I may be one of the first...if not the first...to twist an ankle because of a model plane.

Thought I'd fly the combat plane one last time before dissecting it in order to add the landing gear. So, I wound up to do a "Hail Mary" throw with the thing...one, two, three steps forward...and my right foot came down wrong on a clump of crabgrass. Might have been the same clump that hung up the P-47 on landing the other day.

Time to do some weeding. Sweet revenge.

I almost forgot: I've mounted the new engine on "Project Zero," but hoo boy, do I still have a lot of work to do.

The engine is mounted on its new nylon mount in exactly the same place that the thing would have been mounted on the wooden mounts, but I had to trim the fuse to clear the muffler and (sadly) had to cut open one whole side of the cowl to accomodate same. After all that work to repair it, too. Thought I was gonna cry. Oh, I knew I'd have to trim that part, but it didn't make it any easier.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 16, 2007 @ 07:38 PM | 4,767 Views
...unless you have to disassemble everything to make it right.

For instance:

The E-flite P-47 just got itself a new wing after three months of waiting. The factory told me that they were backordered. So, I've been tooling hither and yon across the sky with a wing that was damaged on its second flight by one of those dangblasted vinyl servo covers coming loose in flight. P-47 owners, you can no doubt relate.

Yesterday, sure as heck, one new cover popped off the new wing. Lost it in the field, but at least the wing didn't get damaged. Again:

Thankfully, I had a near-new spare with the double-sided tape intact, so on it went with a bit of Zap-a-Dap to help hold it down.

Naturally, the covers will have to come off. The adhesive holding the landing gear blocks are letting go after only two landings. They're impossible to remove when new. A little bit of impact is all it takes to loosen them.

So...why in HECK does that factory insist on doing stuff like that? In their attempt to save building time, the opposite is happening instead since each and every factory adhesive bond in that plane is substandard. The instructions even hint to that fact, suggesting that all hinges and the motor mount stick be checked. Naturally, they come right off in your hand, necessitating a cleanup of the old "gorilla snot" adhesive and reattachment of the part.

Result: Double the build time.

I hope that I can get that cover with the contact cement off without much trouble.

Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 15, 2007 @ 04:41 PM | 4,717 Views
No, I'm not predicting the apocalypse. Really.

It's just that I have everything I need to complete "Project Zero!" It's been a long and piecemeal process...a little bit here, a little bit there...but I expect this little sport plane to be back in the air within the next week.

To recap: "Project Zero" is a new "Zero Fighter 25S" ARF. A friend of mine bought it online through, I believe, nitroplanes.com. That's the only online source I could find, by the way. Anyway, he put it together with electric power and proceeded to clip another plane in midair a few seconds into its maiden flight. Rather than repair the exceedingly light damage, he elected to simply order another ARF. He gave me the damaged plane less electronics (but with the brand new, unused fuel tank) this past May. My plans were to rebuild it with glow power since the model can be equipped either way, and so I have. I've been working on it a little bit at a time since then, repairing damage to the wing, the internal structure of the fuselage, the canopy and the engine cowl. There was some damage done to the tail after the crash when something was dropped on it. That may have been the proverbial back-breaking straw. I've also been documenting the progress here on this blog.

So, the countdown has begun! Once this is done, I plan to hit my next project which will be my first kit. A Hobby Lobby Mini Telemaster waits patiently in my closet.

All told, this whole affair has set me back maybe $200, most of which went toward the engine and fuel. Not bad at all.

Stay tuned!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 13, 2007 @ 05:53 PM | 5,036 Views
You know, there's something very satifying in taking a discarded machine and bringing it back to life.

I gotta tell ya: I'm feeling mighty satisfied right about now.

Burned much midnight oil last night without realizing it in my attempt to fully free up the crank and carb of a really old and completely gummed up Veco 19 that a gentleman had given me.

Once assembled with a glow plug, the compression felt like that of a new engine. Lots of bite.

So, I used my .25 combat plane fuselage as a test bench this morning, fueled it up, fired up the glow plug...and darned if it didn't run even without a pressurized tank.

FYI, the tank had to have some sort of ventilation. Woudn't run at all when I plugged off the line I normally use for pressure.

It doesn't like being run lean, it really doesn't like to idle (although it may be because the exhaust port is closing too far) and it's sputtering a bit on the top end. It also wants to flame out after about half a minute; I suspect that the carb gasket is contributing. That missing carb setscrew might be contributing as well. I couldn't really adjust the mixture screw when it was running since it happens to be on the same side as the exhaust port. Owie. I didn't pull the pressure line off of the tank, so the engine might have been "sucking through a straw," as it were.

What I do know is this: An engine that likely dates back to the Kennedy administration (or earlier) and which languished in a box of junk for heaven knows how many years (or decades) is a viable, operating machine once more.

There may very well be a vintage project in that engine's near future.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 12, 2007 @ 11:41 PM | 4,668 Views
I just can't leave well enough alone.

Here I was, all ready to incorporate an old Veco 19 as part of a wallhanging, when I decided to start tinkering with the thing.

Before leaving on vacation, I'd managed to get the crank to turn (albeit not too well) and I also managed to free up the exhaust baffle.

Tonight, I got serious.

Off came the top of the head and off came the carb. Some electric motor spray, WD-40 and VB penetrating lube freed the crank from its sludgy prison. Turns nice and easy.

Best part is, the internals look to be in great shape.

Even with key parts removed, the pop-suck-pop of that little engine was nice and strong. There's no scoring in the cylinder, no play in the crank bushings and the piston looks good as well as viewed through the exhaust baffle. There was a bit of crud on the top of the piston, but only a bit. Maybe someone wanted to upgrade to a .25, so this .19 just got set aside.

So far, the only hangups are the carb and one of the carb's setscrews. The carb has been dissected and is currently in the opening phases of a two-day spa treatment in VB penetrating oil. Like the old O.S. that I just resurrected, the throttle barrel is stuck at WOT. As far as the setscrew is concerned...I lost it! Somewhere between the back of the house and the front yard, one of those original parts was lost. I can easily replace it, but it's the thought of losing an original part that steams my fleckmans.

Here's where you Veco...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 10, 2007 @ 01:13 AM | 4,735 Views
Tell you all what: Ten days in Hawaii is enough to mellow even the most messed-up mind. Kinda like mine was before I left. I may post a picture or two. First time there; it won't be the last.

Still, it was nice to return to the toys.

I went to the indie hobby shop today to order up a new O.S. .25 FX for "Project Zero" and I bought a few small items it needs in order to be finished.

Now, when they say to "measure twice and cut once," they aren't kidding.

I bought a beautiful combination power switch and battery charger receptacle made by JR. It may be beautiful, but it sure as heck is big. No place to mount it on the inside where it won't be seen and it'll ruin the scale effect on the outside. On top of all that, it would have made that small space in the fuselage even smaller. The factory cutout is for a very small switch. The JR goes back tomorrow and I'll apply the store credit toward the engine.

I also discovered that the wooden engine/motor mounts from the factory are too wide for a .25 engine. I'm glad that I had the foresight to remove the old O.S. Max FP .25 from the homebuilt combat plane I was given to use as a mock-up. Looks like I'll be adding an off-the-shelf nylon mount after all. The plane's instruction manual is downright useless as more than a basic guide for mounting the engine. I just need to get 105mm between the firewall and the back of the prop and all should be well. The slots on the firewall for the...Continue Reading