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Posted by rclad | Jun 13, 2017 @ 10:47 PM | 4,782 Views
Just got back from a successful maiden of my new 87" Extra 300 SHP. Winds were calm or very light with no cross wind. Perfect!

Other than a hard bounce on first landing attempt - I was not use to the new throttle curve, which is very flat on the low end - the flight was uneventful. I couldn't resist a victory roll for completing a long six month build and getting all systems working so well for the maiden. I did one hammerhead stall turn and got a low cell warning from telemetry, so at least one cell dropped below 3.70V for more than 2.5 seconds. After resuming level flight the main batteries were OK. Packs are brand new and have never been cycled before, so I should have gone easy on them.

The plane kept tracking left during taxi tests, but we didn't discover the cause until after the flight was over. The left wheel pant rear was dragging in the grass, causing a pull on that side. These are not adjustable wheel pants: the blind nuts were pre-installed and the holes in the CF landing gear are pre-drilled. I'll have to "move" one of the holes, so I can re-align the wheel pant to match the one on the right side.

I was unable to get the aileron trim adjusted so the wings would remain level. It needed a half-click to get it right. I was able to adjust this later by changing the trim step setting on my Taranis Plus from medium to fine.

I have plenty of telemetry data to review! Motor, ESC, batteries, radio and flight telemetry from GPS.

I need to dial down the control rates and do some trimming flights, then it's off to my first IMAC contest with this plane eleven days from now!

Thanks to my co-worker Ed for taking the video and Jim for assisting with pre-flight checks and flight trims.

Enjoy the video and post-flight pics. See my build log for pre-maiden pics.

New 87" 3DHS Extra 300 SHP Takes to the Sky - Part 1 (9 min 43 sec)

87" 3DHS Extra 300 SHP Takes to the Sky - Part 2: Landing (1 min 0 sec)

Posted by rclad | Jun 05, 2017 @ 09:13 AM | 6,242 Views
My hometown airfield, the San Fernando Valley Flyers, hosted pattern contests when I was growing up. Watching the pattern pilots fly their maneuvers with incredible precision inspired me to work hard at flying with the same precision and grace. Several decades have past and my flying skills still have a long way to go, but I still think precision flying is a worthy goal. I took a step closer to flying pattern myself while flying for the Navy, but I was on the move too much and didn't have the space, tools, or time to build the pattern plane I bought, or practice enough to be competitive. So I sold the plane and stuck with sport flying.

After getting back into RC last year, a fellow club member talked me into giving IMAC a try. IMAC is the International Miniature Aerobatic Club. They promote scale aerobatic competitions modeled after the full scale International Aerobatic Club, the IAC. I had some time on my hands and a good field less than thirty minutes away, so I finally had no excuses. With only a week to get ready and only a small Great Planes Extra 300 to fly, I entered my first contest last September. I flew more practice flights in that one week than I typically flew in an entire year. I enjoyed the contest, nerves and all, and decided to go all in this year with a new giant scale plane.

This log will keep track of the contests I have flown and results: scores, ranking, and lessons learned.

Latest Entry: September 17, 2019
Posted by rclad | Jun 03, 2017 @ 09:54 AM | 6,026 Views
Frankenstein Jolts to Life!

This won't be a complete build log, as this plane has been around for nearly a decade, and plenty of people have documented their builds. This log will just cover custom modifications I am making (or just completed) for those interested in that sort of work.

I completed the Jeti Anti-spark Connector/Arming Plug installation last night (at 1 am), so I had to try firing this baby up as a quick test of the complete set up: the quick connect battery tray (see separate build log), the ASC arming plug, and the newly soldered leads on the new FrSky RB10 redundancy bus. Results? As soon as I pressed the arming plug into place, the Castle Creations ESC sang it's little tune. I flipped off the throttle safety switch, advanced the throttle, and for the first time (in the plane) the massive Xpwr 60cc motor came to life. It's alive!

More to follow, along with photos.
Posted by rclad | May 31, 2017 @ 07:22 PM | 5,258 Views
I just got back into RC last year after nearly fifteen years away while raising a family. So at the moment I only have two planes that are in flying condition, and a new one, my first giant scale plane, about ready to maiden.

First pic is of the last plane I flew before taking a break from the hobby. It's an old Ace Seamaster that I converted to electric back in 1997. I posted this on AMA's Generations of Flight. The wing, engine pod, MaxCim brushless motor and ESC, and the twenty cell NiCad battery pack I soldered together still sit in my hangar, waiting for the day they can fly again. Well, all except the NiCads, of course. With a LiPo pack the plane would have a slower stall speed and much better vertical performance. If I had lighter batteries back then, the plane might still be flying today.

The first plane I bought last year was a 69" E-flite Super Cub 25e. I thought this would be an easy plane to fly to make my transition back into RC, but I was badly mistaken. It may look like a trainer, but it's a handful on the ground and prone to tip stalls in the air, if flown too slow. I crashed it on its second flight, but repaired it and added some modifications along the way. It has an airspeed sensor - note the pitot tube on the right wing. Combined with haptic feedback on my Taranis Plus transmitter, I have the equivalent of a stick shaker when the plane gets close to a stall. It makes flying the pattern and touch and go's much safer. The photo...Continue Reading
Posted by rclad | May 24, 2017 @ 10:05 PM | 5,088 Views
Last November I purchased an 87" 3DHS Extra 300 SHP, my first giant scale plane, with the goal of using it to compete in IMAC contests this year. It will be powered by an Xpwr 60cc motor and two 6s 6000mAh 35C Glacier batteries.

Never content to build an ARF, or kit, without customizing it to make field setup or flying easier, I went about drawing plans for modifying the Extra. Among the many items on my to-do list was a battery tray that would simplify the steps needed to insert and connect battery packs to the ESC. The plan was to make this a winter project that would be ready for spring flying, practice and the first IMAC contest in the North Central region in May of this year, 2017. Plenty of time, right? Well, events never seem to go the way you plan.

I do CAD work for a living (AutoCAD for civil engineering), so drafting plans for the custom parts I needed was not a problem. But creating a prototype of something that has never been done before requires a considerable amount of time designing, testing, building, testing and re-designing until you have something that comes close to your original concept. With two kids, a house and a full-time job to manage, I have relatively little time to work on my RC hobby. Apparently, I spent hours of that precious time just staring at my plane as I mulled over the next step in the process. Creative products take time!

In the beginning of this project the idea struck me that a battery tray could do more than just hold...Continue Reading
Posted by rclad | May 17, 2016 @ 03:32 AM | 4,912 Views
[Updated 5-24-2017]

Dense fog shrouds Coronado, diffusing the morning light. I'm supposed to take off on my first solo cross country flight as a private student pilot in an hour. It's Saturday, February 18. I glance out the window from the Navy Flying Club here at NAS North Island in San Diego, where I'm stationed for a year with an S-3 squadron. Still no sign of clearing. I review the aeronautical charts with my instructor, listen to a weather briefing, verify weight, fuel and takeoff calculations, and file a VFR flight plan. Visual Flight Rules require that I maintain eye contact with the ground and stay clear of other aircraft by sight. So I have to wait for the fog to burn off before I can fly. Hours tick away. Finally, the sun breaks through. I do a quick preflight of the plane, a Cessna 152, and depart. It's well past noon, but I 'm relieved to be in the air and on my way.

My destination is Yuma, Arizona, on the border with Mexico, about an hour and thirty minutes east of San Diego. The sky is a silky cerulean, and the plane hums along without a hint of trouble. Heading southeast I climb out of San Diego at the maximum rate I can coax from the plane, leveling out at 5,500 feet above sea level before turning east toward Otay Mountain, its peak rising to 3,551 feet. When I leave the coastal mountains and enter desert air I can see forever, beyond the green Imperial Valley, past the Algodones sand dunes to the Chocolate Mountains over seventy-five...Continue Reading