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Posted by Darth_Elevator | Apr 11, 2010 @ 08:55 PM | 21,308 Views
After trying to design a custom FPV fuselage as a puller, and not being happy with how that would work out with the placement of the electronics (rx, camera, and video tx), I decided to go back to a pusher design. Here's an initial sketch. It's similar to several AP designs I remember seeing awhile back, such as the AP Shark or some of the Beast variants. Prototype will be hand cut out of pink foam and will use Radian wings. Not sure exactly how CG is going to work out. I may have to move the wings farther back and/or put batteries right out on front to balance.
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Mar 18, 2010 @ 05:01 PM | 18,364 Views
Kudos to Jim for the heads up about one of my night flying pictures being mentioned on this week's All Things That Fly podcast. It's at 27 minutes into the podcast for anyone interested in listening to it. The photo he's referring to is the one I call "Gingerbread Man."

Posted by Darth_Elevator | Mar 02, 2010 @ 07:14 PM | 18,149 Views
A hawk swooped at my Alula this afternoon while I was sloping at Ensign Peak. It was sweet. It's actually the second time I've been swooped by a hawk. First time was last fall when Aaron and I were sloping by the shooting range in Davis County. But this time, I got it on video.

Hawk versus Alula (0 min 12 sec)
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Feb 19, 2010 @ 05:46 AM | 20,146 Views
What a blast this plane has been. Kudos to www.wildrc.com for designing a sweet flying plane. And double kudos for an exquisitely clear and detailed build guide, as well as a set of great full-scale plans that made for a very straightforward build.

As you can see from the vids and pics, this plane can do it all.

Indoor combat:

IFO Streamer Combat (1 min 26 sec)

Night flyer:

IFO Night Flyer (0 min 37 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Feb 18, 2010 @ 01:13 PM | 18,583 Views
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Dec 13, 2009 @ 02:15 AM | 19,239 Views
I guess Aaron must have felt sorry for me last week seeing me sit in my little windbreak with ski goggles, so this week he brought a tent and an 80,000 btu heater! It was 20-30 degrees warmer in the tent than outside, and even warmer if you stood right next to the heater. It was great to take the chill off in between combat rounds.

Heated Tent & Combat Wing ATV (1 min 11 sec)

Posted by Darth_Elevator | Dec 05, 2009 @ 08:56 PM | 19,174 Views
Only three more months until spring.
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Dec 03, 2009 @ 08:18 AM | 19,164 Views
I soldered together a few segments of Hobbycity light strips and attached them to the fuselage of the plane with velcro, so now my Zak Yak can easily transform into a night flyer in seconds and just as easily convert back into a daytime flyer.
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Nov 05, 2009 @ 02:23 PM | 19,332 Views
With the recent addition of the Zak-Yak to my hanger, I realized that I now have seven planes that were cut in whole or in part by Carlyle. And it's been less than a year since we did the first test cut last December.

The Cutter Carlyle Collection
Nite ReMix
Beast wing
Slow Stick aileron wing
Foldamax pod
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Nov 05, 2009 @ 01:44 AM | 19,457 Views
Finished the Zak Yak tonight and maidened it by porch light in the front yard. AUW is 6.7 ounces, which is heavy compared to some of Leadfeather's builds, but still light enough that it was easy to keep it from flying too far from the light. Kudos to Leadfeather for the plans and build thread (he called his the EPPYak55). Kudos to Carlyle and Levier for cutting the foam.

EDIT: Here's a video from this morning's flying in my front yard.

Zak Yak Maiden (1 min 8 sec)

EDIT 2: Here's a video from 11/7/2009.

Zak-Yak @ Antelope Island (0 min 45 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Oct 19, 2009 @ 01:06 AM | 19,628 Views
A friend of ours lost his plane yesterday and couldn't find it. So I decided to put my video downlink to good use and went out with Aaron today to see if we could find the plane. It had gone down in some dense 10-foot tall overgrowth in a swampy area near a bird refuge in Hooper, so we knew our best chance of finding the plane was going to be with a bird's eye view of the situation. And we were able to find it quite easily.

I flew visually while Aaron watched the video feed through the video goggles. Less than a minute into the flight, he could see the plane. We spent the rest of the flight flying multiple passes over the plane so Aaron could line the plane up with landmarks to give us an accurate heading. He then plunged into the swampy mess and found the plane in just a few minutes. The overgrowth was so dense that he couldn't get the plane out through it without taking the wing off. He carried out the fuselage and I carried the wing. Awesome rescue.

Here's a short video showing some of the views we had of the plane during the recon phase of the operation.

Aerial Recon & Rescue (1 min 26 sec)

And here are some screen grabs showing the same, as well as photos of the rescuers.

EDIT: Added the GPS track from the rescue flight.
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Oct 16, 2009 @ 02:49 PM | 19,826 Views
I'm posting this information here so I can find it easily when I need it. Most of the following information is from Carlyle's post, with a few things that I added.

Zak Yak

Zak-Yak (1 min 3 sec)

Components and build guide for the Zak Yak a.k.a. Yak 55

Credit for the Yak 55 goes to LeadFeather of RC Groups. The link to his
builder guide is as follows:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show... postcount=2818

LeadFeather's posts also contains full size drawings is you desire to cut your
EPP components.

Recommended components:

HXM2730-1500 HexTronik 24gram Brushless Outrunner 1500kv

TowerPro 9g 12 Amp ESC

Prop GWS 8x4

Servos (3)
HXT500 HexTronik 5g / .8kg / 10sec Micro Servo

R360-20-2 Rhino 360mAh 2S 7.4v 20C Lipoly Pack

Carbon Fiber (Destination Hobby)
CF for elevator is a 1/16" rod.
CF for wing is a 1/8" tube.

Gorilla clear Polyurethane
Welder's Glue - We were unable to find Welder's Glue locally but Levier
found a similar product that worked well for us. It is made my Loctite
and the name is NO MESS. I believe he found this glue at the Ace
Hardware store in Syracuse.

This glue is used for the control surface hinges and works similar to
hot glue hinges but is lighter as well as easier to work with.

Build tips
I recommend cutting out the servo slots before gluing the fuselage pieces together. I didn't do it, so I had to cut them out later. It's only a minor inconvenience to cut them out after, but it's something to avoid if you want to simplify the build.
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Oct 13, 2009 @ 10:32 AM | 20,050 Views
How much does it cost to build a 48-inch wing?

For future reference, I decided to paste the gist of this post here on my blog so I can find it easily.

I get asked all the time how much it costs to build a 48-inch wing. I always have to stop and add up approximate costs in my head. I figured I'd add it up here and maybe I'll be able to remember the totals next time someone asks me.


$20 motor
$12 ESC
$16 servos
TOTAL from HC = $48 + shipping

Purchase locally
$30 wing core
$15 monokote (if you split two rolls of different colors with someone)
$6 hardware (control rods, clevises, control horns, basswood or balsa for elevons)
$10 Extreme Tape
$12 Can of 3M90 adhesive spray
$3 Carbon fiber tube (if you get one from Frequency before they sell out)
$2 Screws and bolts for motor mount
TOTAL from local purchases = $78

You will also need a motor mount. A piece of aluminum strip from Lowe's costs about $6, but you can probably get a piece for free from one of the other flyers. Or you can pick up the ninety-degree steel bracket that Jeff (dukestarhopper) found at Home Depot for about 50 cents. You will also need to buy or borrow an iron and/or heat gun to apply the monokote or laminate. You may also want a couple smaller pieces of carbon fiber that you can have if you choose to reinforce the motor cutout during the initial build.

All told, looks like the cheapest you can build a 48-inch wing is about $126 + whatever HC shipping is. That total jumps up another $76 if you add $50 for a new receiver and $20 + $6 shipping for a Zippy 2200 3-cell lipo (I didn't include that in the total above because it seems like you are flying 2200's in your Slow Stick.)

Note to self: next time someone asks you how much a wing costs, say $250 without the radio.
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Sep 10, 2009 @ 01:32 AM | 19,686 Views
We had a record-breaking 9 planes up in the air at once tonight, in honor of 9:09.09 pm on 9-09-2009. Yep, that's a lot of 9's.

Nightflying 9-9-9-9-9-9-9 (1 min 24 sec)

Posted by Darth_Elevator | Jun 09, 2009 @ 06:44 PM | 20,103 Views
1. Use epoxy to glue on the tail feathers. Also use the screws that come with the kit. Do not use the double-sided tape that comes with the kit.

2. Use epoxy and tape to secure the wing stiffeners to the trailing and leading edges of the wing. Also, epoxy and tape the transparent, plastic wing guide to the wing for extra strength to keep the wing from folding up in a dive or loop. Use your own packing tape, not the tape that comes in the kit. Carlyle only uses tape on his wing stiffeners and his have held well. So if you want to save the weight, skip the epoxy. But if you're planning on carrying a payload, such as a camera or a bomb dropper, I recommend you don't skip the epoxy.

3. Screw on the motor mount to the fuselage stick. Do not merely glue it on or it will find a way to come off at the most inopportune time.

4. Use industrial strength velcro to mount the components instead of the cheap velcro that comes in the kit.

5. Put 3 degrees of right thrust and 3 degrees of down thrust on the motor. This can usually be done with a few washers on the motor bolts, where the motor bolts on to the mount. If you need teeny washers, check Ace Hardware in Kaysville. They have a million of 'em.

6. AFTER everything is built and you have CG figured out, and preferrably even after the maiden flight when you for sure have CG nailed down, I like to put just a spot of super glue to the front and back of the servo tray, to keep it from slipping along the fuselage. If you ever need to adjust them, you can pop the superglue off fairly easily with a razor blade. I used to use tape until one day the adhesive released when the plane was sitting in the hot sun.
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Dec 14, 2008 @ 09:03 PM | 22,166 Views
Just for fun, I decided put together some minimalist floats for my Vapor. I took two long, thin balloons (the kind you make balloon animals out of) and cut them down (guesstimated the length). I taped the two balloons together. Then I super-glued a small piece of bamboo skewer behind the wing. I cut a notch in it so it would hold better to the carbon fiber without having to use too much glue (I want to be able to remove the bamboo after the fun of the floats wears off.) The balloons slide on to the bamboo skewer and the tension between the two balloons holds them to the bamboo skewer. Lastly, I taped the landing gear to the front of the balloons. As you can see from the video, it worked pretty well. I might tape on a couple more balloons (about a third of the length of the current balloons), one on each side, to make it more stable while taxiing.

Here are some pics and a vid.

5-minute Floats for the Vapor (0 min 49 sec)

Posted by Darth_Elevator | Dec 07, 2008 @ 07:54 PM | 22,520 Views

First section is recommended components from Heads Up RC and Hobbypartz. Older links to Hobbycity are listed last for those who want to spend less (as long as you choose the cheapest shipping option) and don't mind waiting 2-4 weeks for the order. If you don't mind spending a little more, order from Heads Up and Hobbypartz and you'll likely have your stuff from both places within a week since they both ship from inside the USA. Heads Up charges $2.00 flat rate for total shipping, no matter how big the order is. Hobbypartz charges $5.00 flat rate. Most of the orders from Heads Up and Hobbypartz arrive within a week, which gets you flying quicker!

Heads Up RC & Hobbypartz links

Motor and electronic speed controller (ESC) combo pack: http://www.headsuprc.com/servlet/the...tor-%26/Detail
---I get the best performance out of an 11x5.5 inch GWS prop, which you can pick up at a local hobby shop.
---You will also need bullet connectors to go in between the motor and ESC unless you want to solder the connections directly: http://www.headsuprc.com/servlet/the...nectors/Detail

Alternative motor and speed controller
---Here's an alternative motor that Jeff really likes on his Slow Stick: http://www.headsuprc.com/servlet/the...0-Sport/Detail.
---Use with this GWS 9050 prop for best climb rate: http://www.headsuprc.com/servlet/the...ers-TWO/Detail
---This ESC is recommended for the alternative motor: http://www.headsuprc.com/...Continue Reading
Posted by Darth_Elevator | Nov 16, 2008 @ 01:48 PM | 21,761 Views
Here's one of the test wings we cut on Carlyle's new foam cutter. With this wing, the Slow Stick can handle wind a lot easier. It's fun cutting foam, watching these beautiful, sculpted wings emerge out of foam blocks.

Custom Slow Stick Wing (1 min 37 sec)