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Posted by magic612 | Jun 28, 2009 @ 03:19 PM | 13,618 Views
I've been testing out my "Windy Times Flyer" plane over the last few weeks - mostly in calmer conditions, but on a few mildy windy days. Well, today provided the perfect opportunity to test the plane at it's limits: Sunny day, windy as heck (10-25 mph sustained, with gusts to 34 mph according to our local weather reporting station in town), and I had the time and the inclination!

Well, not so sure about the inclination part - it's nerve-wracking thinking about flying in that kind of wind, when you KNOW it could gust to 34 mph, and the wind is gusting back and forth between 10 and 25 mph!

But, this is what I designed this plane to do. So I HAD to check it.


Took off ROG from pavement, worried that a gust might spin the plane around and hit ME. Fortunately, this didn't happen! I kept giving it thrust, until I knew it was close to a "take off" throttle level, popped the throttle up and gave it some "up" elevator - WHOOSH! Up into the gusty air! It was definitely a handful, but control was solid. For a foam wing, I never once saw the thing give or bend at all (helps to have a .21" square carbon fiber spar in it!). Anyway, this was test flight #1 in full wind, so I didn't try much of anything, other than to be sure I could maintain control. That I did, and managed it successfully.

The most fascinating thing about this flight was, it is probably the first time I have flown a plane for several minutes' time,...Continue Reading
Posted by magic612 | Jun 10, 2009 @ 02:20 PM | 14,592 Views
I've encountered a number of posts in the "Scratchbuilt Foamies" section where people have asked, "What plane is good for flying in wind?" Yes, there are some of the jet-like profile-style planes that penetrate wind well (as well as a few other aerobatic style planes), but I wanted to design something that was full fuselage, and specifically designed for flying on windy days - particularly strong winds, or perhaps even very gusty conditions.

In other words, times that are NOT the ideal times to fly. But sometimes when you can fly isn't always calm, right?

Here were some of the criteria I decided would be necessary to design a plane that would handle the wind well:
  • Flyable in winds up to 30mph (hopefully!)
  • Tricycle landing gear (to keep the wing level on the ground)
  • A very strong wing and overall airframe (gotta be durable for those rough landings and gusty conditions)
  • A large enough wing area to reduce the potential for stalls when turning downwind (flying into the wind is the easy part)
  • Full fuselage style (I didn't want a profile, and full fuse provides more strength anyway)
  • Made from inexpensive and readily available materials (not necessary for wind, but I'd like for just about anybody with the desire to be able to build this)
  • Relatively quick and easy to build (again, not necessary for the wind, but for better accessibility by all)

I perused the "3-views" sticky in the Scratchbuilt section, and found a plane that seemed to...Continue Reading
Posted by magic612 | Jun 04, 2009 @ 11:07 PM | 14,361 Views
So there's this Piper Cub plane that had been in my parents' garage since I was a kid. It sat. And sat. And sat some more. It wasn't technically "ours" since it had been given to a relative of ours, but his parents didn't want him to know it existed. It's probably the very plane that sparked my interest in radio control in the first place. But back then, it required glow power, and that meant $$$. Plus the radio. More $$$. Plus all the equipment. Even more $$$. Plus - we had NO idea how to fly the darn thing!


20 some odd years later, it made it's way from New England to the Midwest (and sat in my garage for a few years - d'oh!). Well, after teaching myself to fly using a Toys-R-Us glider I converted myself, and now building some stick-built planes and foamies with Lipos and brushless, I decided it's time to get this old bird in the air. So I'm in the process of tearing off the old covering (which isn't really Cub yellow anyway), and it had lots of holes in it that needed repairing as it stood.

So I've got a build thread in the "Glow to Electric" section that details how it looked from the beginning, and where my progress has taken me. Thought I better post something in my blog about it so others who don't normally venture into that forum section can see what I'm doing with that.

Should be a fun project, and I'm looking forward to getting it completed - hopefully this year - and taking her up for a few lazy flights at the school.
Posted by magic612 | May 22, 2009 @ 01:40 PM | 18,181 Views
I was working on designing a "Windy Day" type of plane, and was stuck. Sitting there in my music studio / workshop, I glanced over at the workbench. Sitting there, unused for probably a couple years, was a GWS IPS motor/gearbox with a 10" prop still on it. I further glanced at my decent stockpile of Depron sitting in the studio / workshop, and thought to myself:

"Surely there's a plane I can design that will put that IPS to good use again..."

Turns out, there was: DARK ANGEL!

(Why I went with the macabre-sounding name, I don't know. It just sort of fit.)

So anyway, there are plans available in the Scratchbuilt Foamies section, and here's a video of this cool-looking plane. Be sure to watch to the very end - I nearly hit my lovely wife who was kind enough to do the videography for me. Good thing this plane only weighs 6 ounces and has a protected propellor!!!

Dark Angel - IPS powered canard glider (2 min 5 sec)

Posted by magic612 | May 08, 2009 @ 10:20 PM | 15,536 Views
Pretty simple to make, nice and light, easy to fly but still capable of some basic aerobatics, the BYOB is a great plane to fly in my backyard. Seeing as how that only measures about 40' x 50' (of actual flying area, due to trees and other obstacles), I needed something that could fly slowly, but also be agile enough to make sharp turns when needed.

This plane fit the bill. I've been trying to design something to do this for quite some time now, and this manages it. My build log for it is here in the Scratchbuilt Foamies section. Made from Depron foam and using a 10 gram brushless outrunner with a 26 inch wingspan and AUW of just under 4.5 ounces, it's been a blast learning to fly a plane within a few feet of trees, my house, and my neighbors' phone lines. Haven't done any damage to anything so far... hoping to keep it that way!

BYOB - The Back Yard Outdoor Biplane (2 min 43 sec)


Lazy Boy glider

Posted by magic612 | Mar 26, 2008 @ 04:22 PM | 17,881 Views
Here's one of my newest creations - a 78.5" wingspan fan-fold foam glider with a KFm1 airfoil and an Ultrafly FRIO motor on the front. Super easy to build; nice flyer too. Just need to get the programming card for my ESC so I can set the brake for longer flight times. The windmilling prop has a tendency to add a lot of drag.

EDIT: Build log and plans are in this thread.
Posted by magic612 | Jan 27, 2008 @ 08:35 PM | 15,820 Views
In the "Scratchbuilt Foamies" forum there is a thread for "2008 Most Original Foamie Contest" (this entry is on page 3 at the bottom presently) and after looking at an unflyable triple decker circular chuck glider that's been sitting on my shelf for a year or two, suddenly it hit me: It needs a canard! (Thank you french fries box....)

Thus is born: FastFood - the plane!

I designed the basic set up this morning, took about 15 minutes to build a chuck glider (which flew perfectly without even having to adjust the CG!), then went ahead this afternoon and built what you see here. I planned on a 6 to 6.5 ounce plane, but with the spray adhesive and paper to get the "bun" and "cheeseburger" to look right, it tips the scale closer to 7.5. A tad heavy, but it'll still be at about 4.75 ounces per square foot for wing loading. So, it won't exactly be a floater at this size (12" diameter "bun"), but hey, it is called "FastFood" so I guess it should fly fast!

Hopefully the weather around here in Chicago will cooperate within the next few weeks so I can get a chance to try it out.
Posted by magic612 | Oct 02, 2007 @ 08:26 PM | 18,037 Views
Another concept type plane, though this one looks a little more like the real thing than the F-86 I built did. Essentially the same style as my F-86 "tubie" was - a tube with an EDF in it, wings, profile fuselage, add radio/battery, and "Voila!" - instant Mirage 2000! Okay, not exactly "instant", but it does build pretty quickly. Took me about half a day on Sunday.

More info about it in this thread.
Posted by magic612 | Sep 23, 2007 @ 10:34 PM | 16,153 Views
This video is a little better than my first one. The wind was a tiny bit calmer, and I was feeling a little more brave about flying her closer and lower to the ground. I think its much better than the first video, and gives a better sense of how well she flies - even in wind (was about 6-9 mph today).

Wicked Witch video #2
Posted by magic612 | Sep 22, 2007 @ 05:52 PM | 16,187 Views
Well, it took a year, and me upgrading to brushless and Lipo in the interim, but the "Wicked Witch of the West" plane FLIES! Check it out:

Wicked Witch of the West

Impressive considering the 11 mph winds that were blowing today too (you can hear the microphone on the camera picking up the wind, because it sounds like it's howling!).

Plans are posted for this "girl" in this thread on post 18 of the "Scratchbuilt Foamies" section.
Posted by magic612 | Sep 19, 2007 @ 08:41 PM | 16,237 Views
I'd been thinking about ducted fan planes for a while. Never really did much about it, because I always had other projects I was working on, and the ducted fans stuff always seemed enough different and requiring more "stuff" (that I usually didn't have), that I kept putting it off.

About a month ago, I bought a GWS EDF55-300H ducted fan unit. The other day, I decided to roll up some 2mm Depron into a tube, and make it into a "sort of" F-86 Sabre. I wanted to make it as simple as possible - just a tube, and some profile parts for the canopy and a little fuselage underneath (which serves to protect the tube on landings), and the tail feathers and wings. All the radio / battery stuff is just mounted on top of the tube.


It flew! Not blazing speed by any means, but respectable, considering that the GWS brushed motor ducted fans are usually considered to be underpowered. Granted, it kind of is even in this situation, as it'd be nice to have a lot MORE power, but it really did okay all things considered.

The original thread about it is here, and today I also managed to get some video of the plane in-flight today as well, since the wind was cooperating.
Posted by magic612 | Jul 04, 2007 @ 10:38 PM | 16,638 Views
My wife takes some pretty nice pictures for me when I'm flying. Here's a nice shot of the "4th Of July Flyer" making an upwind pass towards the setting sun on the 4th of July.

Thanks, hon!!
Posted by magic612 | Jul 02, 2007 @ 11:10 AM | 16,418 Views
The Red / White / Blue biplane in my avatar (and in other pictures further down the page) has FINALLY flown well. I tried a few flights a couple weeks ago with an UltraFly FRIO E/10/09, but had neglected to do a couple things:

1) Re-attach the three nickels I had taped on the motor mount to help with the balance

2) Properly align the new motor mount for the FRIO (it was aimed up and left, instead of down and right!!!)

So I re-maidened it on Saturday, and...success!! She flew quite well, even in the 8-10 mph winds that were blowing. I only made three short flights - enough to ensure everything was working as it should, and that I could land it well. I broke the tail wheel on the second flight, and therefore had to hand-launch and subsequently land in the soybean field for the third and final flight, but overall, I'm quite pleased.

I built this plane over a year ago, and for a variety of reasons, it never saw much airtime. Now that I have a motor with plenty of power on it (it only needs about 1/2 throttle with a 10x8 four-bladed prop, and pulls just 9 amps at that), she flies like she should. Granted, faster than a lot of my foamie planes, and I'll have to get used to the higher airspeed necessary to fly it, but having that success does encourage me to start making some of my more temporary foam creations into more "permanent" airplanes in my hangar. For instance, I think I'll stick-build the J1-31 canard plane and the Stephens Akro.

I'll probably get to work on them over the winter, as it'll take a fair amount of CAD face-time to design them the way I want, but that'll keep me occupied in the cold months when flying opportunities are fewer and farther between. In the meantime, I need a little less wind around here, so I can fly the (newly named) "4OJF" - 4th of July Flyer!!
Posted by magic612 | Jun 19, 2007 @ 09:48 PM | 17,958 Views
This one has been a longer-term project. Started it back in early May, and made quite a bit of progress over a few weeks time. It's a semi-scale, swept-wing version of an F-14. It's loosely based on a version of an F-14-ish plane that I had previously made from gpw's plans. That one was only about a 20" wingspan - this one is much larger at 30" wingspan, making it nearly 4 feet long.

Also, instead of a profile foamie, it's a semi-profile using 10 layers of 6mm Depron, for a more scale-like appearance, but without the additional weight of a full-scale version. Control surfaces will be elevons, although I'm considering adding some vectored thrust to the motor using the rudder function. Retracts will be fully functional.

This plane project was on hold for a few weeks until I got some more servos ordered and shipped, and it will get some further work done on it soon (I hope!). Hope you all enjoy how it looks so far. I'll share more as work progresses. The build log thread is here for anyone interested.
Posted by magic612 | Jun 14, 2007 @ 05:42 PM | 16,971 Views
Here's some in-flight pics of the J1-31 plane. It's a little strange, because at just the right angle, you could almost mistake it for a biplane.

Then on a close fly-by, there's no mistaking that it's definitely NOT a bipe!!

J1-31 Canard

Posted by magic612 | Jun 13, 2007 @ 11:21 PM | 17,160 Views
My latest finished creation - a Despretz J1-31 Flash canard plane. Quite the fun and interesting plane to fly. Looks really unique in the air, too. It's my first full-fuselage foamie plane. I think I did okay with it. The hardest part was getting the linkages right - check out the detailed view of the side of the plane, and you'll see that the front pushrod goes THROUGH the fuselage to the canard on the opposite side. Took some ingenuity, but works great!
Posted by magic612 | Jun 13, 2007 @ 11:16 PM | 16,784 Views
I've even got my daughters in on some of the flying action. I think they're afraid of crashing my planes (considering how many times I'VE come home with a bent / snapped plane, I can understand why). But gpw's "Trainer One" is a perfect plane for first time flyers - if you get in trouble, let go of the sticks - it fixes itself! Flies slowly, very predicable, easy to land. My wife flew it too (she's the BEST about this plane stuff, too).

This'll be the plane I teach my dad to fly on, as well.
Posted by magic612 | Jun 13, 2007 @ 11:02 PM | 16,804 Views
I'd gotten good enough in the last couple months that I decided I needed a more aerobatic plane than my past efforts. Wanted something different, so I looked through the massive 3-view thread on the "Scratchbuilt Foamies" section by Logical Psycho, narrowed my choices to about 9 different racer / sport planes, and decided on this one. Traced it in AutoCAD, cut it out of Blue Dow Protection Board, added the gear and WOW! Fast with an 11.1V Lipo and a 24g Hextronic motor. Super aerobatics - I wish I was a better pilot! At least I haven't crashed it due to pilot error (unless you call a battery disconnecting on it's own in mid-flight a pilot error - ooops.... ). Looking forward to building a larger and faster version of this one sometime soon. GREAT PLANE! I've posted FREE PLANS of this 36" version in the "Scratchbuilt Foamies" section - here's the link to the thread.
Posted by magic612 | Jun 13, 2007 @ 10:57 PM | 16,433 Views
A smaller version of my "Little Go Bipe" plane. 2.75 ounces - flew better than the "MIL Whale" plane, but because I used a .25" stick from balsa, it kept snapping on landing. Grrrrr... Need to use something stronger for the fuse. Plus, I have some lighter Lipos on order, so even with a heavier fuse-spar, I think I can make it around 2.5 or 2.25 ounces. Should make a great calm-day backyard flyer or for a gym.

For anyone interested (just be sure to use a stronger fuse-spar), the plans are in this post.
Posted by magic612 | Jun 13, 2007 @ 10:54 PM | 16,551 Views
This is one of gpw's designs. AWESOME plane. His had straight lines - I stayed as true as possible to his dimension and shape, I simply "rounded it out" and make the lines a little "sleeker". Oh, and I added landing gear to it. I did set this up to use flaperons too, which is interesting for landings. Dialing in flaps while pulling up on elevator and reducing throttle (which is not easy to do all at once!) makes for a more "harrier-like" landing. The tail drops, the nose comes up, since it's a canard it doesn't stall, and it practically lands on a dime. Cool to see!!