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Posted by PGregory | Sep 08, 2017 @ 08:01 PM | 5,864 Views
Lanier 63" WingSpan Trainer
Engine = Thunder Tiger GP .40 engine
Virtually New Condition
Posted by PGregory | Jul 29, 2017 @ 01:36 PM | 7,066 Views
Notes about proper breakin of Norvel AME .061


6x3 a bit much for the Norvel AME
Go 5.5x3, 6x2, even 5x3

1. Sig Champion 25 appears to be a good fuel for the Norvel, but .15% 50-50 castor-synth total for 19% lube
2. Ceramic lined cylinder
3. High pinch at TDC like ABC
4. Use low-comp head to break in, possibly shims
5. Remove exhaust to access cylinder to prime
6. Fuel pickup at height of NV if no muffler
6. Heat head
7. Use venturi and cylinder primes, connect fuel tank
8. Get running, lean up to heat cyl/piston
9. Once warm, back down to rich and start cycling up to full speed.
10. Cycle = brief wet, then advance to normal lean
11. Run out a 1 oz tank this way
12. Run out additional 1 oz tanks this way, letting it completely cool between oz's
Posted by PGregory | Jun 17, 2017 @ 06:24 PM | 8,527 Views
I picked up a nice Cermark Mini-Phoenix from another site at a good price. It has elevators and ailerons, no rudder - and throttle, of course. It came with a brushed motor controlled by a presumably 20A ESC. There is very little info available on the net for this plane, interesting. The few mentions I found weren't too positive, though - mostly saying it showed lackluster power. Well, that is easily fixed, nowadays.

To try the plane out, I wanted to do as few mods to it as possible, to just get a feel. Makes me feel good when I can do this after buying used merch, as I at least get a flight or two out of the new purchase before the butchering begins.

I was able to barely fit an 1800 mAh Turnigy Lipo under the canopy. I added a Spektrum AR6200 with satellite. Everything is an economical, if not tight, fit - but it got in there.

The folding prop was horrendously out of balance. I removed material from strategic places on the heavy prop blade - but that route bought me almost no improvement. I used clear acrylic in a rattle-can to add weight to the lighter blade - but didn't seem to be getting me anywhere too fast. So I CA'd a patch of regular inkjet printer paper to the back of the lighter blade, close to the root, the slowest rotating part of the blade. Finally, that got me close, and with a couple more passes of the spray acrylic, I had a pretty balanced prop. that whole process took about 2 hours.

Back to the electronics. After fitting up the sailplane, I went...Continue Reading
Posted by PGregory | Jun 09, 2017 @ 09:14 PM | 9,908 Views
Someone else may find this list helpful, too.
I have quite a cache of 1/2A engines in both glow and diesel - I need to find destinations for them.
Paging through outerzone, I was surprised to find about 19 plans that show some 1/2A performance.
(Edit note: The list got quite long, now into the 50's - I kept finding different plans on OZ via different perspectives and search terms. There may be more RCG build logs outside of the 1/2A thread, I captured the few that I found here.)
The set of 1/2A planes in quasi performance category on outerzone include:
OZ 1/2A-List:
1. Hornet RC - I have a build log on this right now
2. 1/2A Nobler CL
3. 1/2A Mirage CL
4. 1/2A Skywalker RC Wing
5. Astro Hog Jr
6. Eyelash
7. Fireball RC
8. Little Mediator
9. Quickie 200
10. S-Tee maybe
11. Scorcher
12. Shiner
13. Simplex - may have surprisingly good speedy/stable characteristics
14. Skyphonic - ok, always interesting coming across plans I have never noticed, before
15. Straight Arrow
16. Super Chip - never noticed this one before
17. Super Sport Trainer - just a bit earlier than the Hornet, used the ACE foam wing
18. Undertaker
19. Whiz Kid - marginal high perf?

A few more
20. Das Not Ugly
21. GLH - Thanks eagle60, how could I have overlooked that one.
22. Gasser
23. Gee Bee Model D Sportster
24. Honker Rocket
25. Hoosier Hotshot
26. Little Mulligan
27. Little Toni
28. Pylon Polisher
29. Quickie 200
30. Q-Tee - agree with vote of scottyp
31. Upstart
32. Cricket
33. Pocket Rocket
34. Simple...Continue Reading
Posted by PGregory | Feb 18, 2017 @ 10:18 PM | 9,942 Views
We had a gorgeous day here in the beatiful Hudson Valley, today - a great day to do some flying, or taxiing, in my case.

A couple of comments about real-world experience. Of course, I thought at first I would just slap these skis on a .40 trainer and get some use out of the snow we had 10 days ago. The mains are relatively OK. However, trying to use a ski on a tricycle gear trainer, serious mods have to be made. The big problem was clearance from prop to ski tip - which ends up about 0.00" on a .40 trainer. I had to fab a different triangle mount piece to shift the ski back toward the tail about 1.5" for any reasonable clearance. Second, the nose ski takes a beating, just like a nose wheel and strut does on lumpy grass or rocky gravel. That hard-stop set screw setup lasts about 10 seconds of actual use - when used on a tricycle gear front ski. Due to minimal purchase on the relatively small diameter of landing gear wire (0.165") it ends up rotating around the axle as the ski takes direct hits from irregularities in the surface. You really would need a groomed surface for the ski not to rotate around from the shock of bumps. Maybe grinding an honest flat on the axle wire exactly where you want to set the screw would work.

I would love to sneak out tomorrow with a new mod to the nose ski with a different spring/centering setup than the stock set screw. So far the mains have been fine, so on a tail-dragger you are probably Ok all-around. One thing I will...Continue Reading
Posted by PGregory | Feb 10, 2017 @ 05:08 PM | 9,807 Views
I used scrap blue film covering to cover the vert fin, today. Finished hinging the rudder to the stab, very easy. Just cut vertical slits at the back of the vert fin with a #5 xacto handle with a #2 blade. If you just create the slit, the hinges slide in just fine, under a little pressure. I used just a touch of epoxy on each hinge.

Then, I added DU-Bro Skiis. It wasn't really obvious how they attached, but with a little help from Youtube I figured it out. They use a long 4-40 screw as a set screw on the wheel collar in a clever way. How this arrangement holds up under use will be interesting.
Posted by PGregory | Feb 09, 2017 @ 10:59 PM | 9,783 Views
As the old fin was pretty destroyed I started fabbing a new vert fin using the old one as a pattern. I didn't hve 6" wide 1/4" balsa so I butt joined two pieces together using Titebond I glue - the original non-water-resistant kind. gain, this is not really exciting but perhaps helpful to someone going thru this for the first time.

The reason the vert fin design is terrible and they end up weakening and falling out/off is that they are butt-glued at the base of the vert fin to the horz fin which creates "floor" to attach the vert fin to. Then, little glue at the thin 1/16 turtle deck, and that is the extent of attachment. The glue at the "floor" dries up, it cracks from the engine vibration, over time. Then there is no mechanical support at the turtle deck and the fin just wobbles loose, and does so quickly after I buy these guys cheap on craigslist.

So, I add two 1/4" square, parallel "runners" on the "floor" which is actually the horz fin, which the vert fin is slid into - the two runners create a slot for the vert fin. I tried to beef up the turtle deck from the inside but I had quite a time trying to get the two 1/4" square supports positioned correctly, do to not having a clean surface to mount them to. There were globs of dripped, excess glue on the surface which were tougher than the wood they appeared on, and I would have damaged the fin area even more if I tried to remove them. I will mount two 1/4" supports externally along the base of the vert fin on to of the turtle deck, instead. This makes it a big more difficult to cover the fin with film - maybe I will dope the fin, tomorrow.

Although I would like to fly the plane tomorrow, we had a foot of snow here today and it is going to be bitter tomorrow, with the wind. I do have skis - bit that would take at least an hour to change over, reliably.

Posted by PGregory | Feb 08, 2017 @ 11:49 PM | 9,871 Views
The vert fin on these ARF trainers are actually pretty awful. They do get the job done, getting you into the air fairly quickly, but they aren't designed or built for durability. I was able to get out to the field by about 2:30pm today, after working all morning and then speed-fabbing a hatch cover for the fuel tank bay. It was a rare 52degreesF today when I got there - I think sub-freezing is more the norm for this time of year.

Over the curse of my flying time I noticed the vert fin seemed a little wobbly, strong enough to fly but sketchy Well, the old glue and wood really was giving out after my 4th flight today. When I got home it was canted over, kind of sick looking, and time for repair. Turns out the fin was all kinds of broken up below decks, and the glue (epoxy) failed at the turtle deck sheeting. Initially, I thought I would just need to re-epoxy the fin back in but the below-deck damage became obvious fast. Time for a real repair. I started fabbing a new vert fin from 1/4 balsa, while doing cleanup on the receiver area of the turtle deck and underdeck material. I am using Titebond I for edge-joining two pieces of 1/4 balsa for the vert fin. The Rudder is in fine shape and I already added pinned hinges, ready for when my vert fin will be ready for shaping, tomorrow.

Pics of pre-repair shown here - I will add the shots of the cleanup work tomorrow.

Hope this helps others out there that find their trainer showing its age and needed attention. That glue...Continue Reading
Posted by PGregory | Feb 05, 2017 @ 07:10 PM | 10,143 Views
I found a great .40 Trainer setup on craigslist and I have it in my blood to track these deals down and aquire them, to give them good homes.

This craigslist haul, as I call them, came from Stamford CT and the gent I got this from is amazing - Dom. He works in a 20-year-old community program to teach at-risk children great skills with their hands. Turns out, he is a product of this very program. I was really impressed with how organized the operation was. He can fix anything, it seems, and when someone donated a complete RC .40 trainer system to the program, he figured out everything we take for granted. This was all new to him. Hopefully, I will have more stories about Dom because he is an awesome guy doing great work with developing people in mind, spirit, and skills.

My usual approach to a find like this is, if it looks at least barely flyable, go to the field and start shaking it down to see where the weak points may be. The plane came with a 4-channel Futaba FM radio with some jury-rigging in the battery department. Dom figured out a novel way to power the Tx up as I am assuming whatever battery came with the radio was long dead. I brought it out to the field, nobody there, so safety first - not a high bar to reach for with this unknown setup. Dom had been using some sketchy, leftover fuel, which let the engine run for demo purposes in Stamford when I went to pick the setup up, but I flushed it out with new S&W 10% nitro, 18% lube fuel. I charged the Tx...Continue Reading
Posted by PGregory | Dec 21, 2016 @ 08:34 AM | 9,748 Views
Thank you, Brokenspar... Can run my Sig Twister, now.
Posted by PGregory | Oct 10, 2016 @ 12:19 AM | 9,792 Views
I get nostalgiac about a lot of old things to do with model airplane flying.

In a craigslist haul a year ago , I got a Sig Twister in perfect condition with an older Fox 35 Stunt engine. I got the engine running on modern 10% fuel just to see if it ran, and it did. I kept the run short and now have the castory type of olde time fuel it likes - 29% castor, 10% nitro.

Unfortunately, the plane got bonked sometime in the not too distant past - the perils of sharing a shop with a brother and a dad. No matter how out of the way I hang it, it will be jostled. Over the weekend I found the needle had been bent 90 degrees - no hope of straightening, the soft brass needle broke right off.

I hate to sideline a plane or engine - if an engine goes into a drawer it will never see the light of day again - horrors.

So, in the name of nostalgia and keeping old things functional, I am on a quest to get a needle or a complete, compatible NVA to get the engine running again, and the plane in the air.
Posted by PGregory | Sep 11, 2016 @ 01:17 PM | 10,551 Views
Here's a few pics of the mold I made of the Sig 1/6 Scale Piper J3 Cub cowl.

It took about a week to stop being soft to the touch, I could easily push my fingernail into it. It has been at least 6 months and is quite a bit lighter now and very very hard. I will need to some work on it before using as there was a dime-size void in it and more, smaller ones if I look closely. Provides a good female mold, though.
Posted by PGregory | Aug 19, 2016 @ 10:32 PM | 10,333 Views
My major equipment upgrade is on its way. Something I needed to do for a long time and kept putting off.

Rob from the club turned me onto affordable eyeglasses.

I went to my opthapologist, got a new eyeglass subscription, and just ordered up a new set of bifocal sunglasses for flying.

I was a little self conscious flying at the club without wearing eyeglasses, so now the deed is done and I should have in a week or two.

Ordered with 80% Amber lenses, went with the high index lenses which means a bit thinner than standard index lenses. No mirror finish. Would have liked to get polarized but then they only come with grey tint. I know I like amber lenses from my Maui Jims, but wasn't ready to risk disliking grey tint that comes with the polarization.

I'll post more once they come in and I can shoot some pics.

Update - Zenni sells sub-par product. I had to return the glasses because they were like kids sizes - how does Zenni keep customers? Understanding this about them, and now having store credit (no refunds), I got a second set that are OK but feel really cheap. That makes me question the quality and accuracy of the lenses, but they are good enough for the field.
Posted by PGregory | Feb 01, 2016 @ 11:47 PM | 11,691 Views
One thing I came across while reading the manual I downloaded for the Spektrum AR6100e Rx is that it explicitely said to only use for park flyers. I presume this was due to limited max current draw to larger servos. Perhaps there might be a range issue, too.

But is better to be safe than sorry, so I immediately ordered 2 OrangeRx R720X V2 receivers + satellites. I ordered the SBUS version versus the CPPM, which makes not much difference to me since I won't be using these 1 pin mode signaling interfaces on a plane. But, SBUS is newer and who knows, maybe I will end up selling to multi rotor guy. The Rx's come with telemetry, too, I guess.

I had read about the full-range capability of the 720x receiver after hearing that brownouts at NEAT Fair last Fall seemed more to do with full- versus park- range receivers than DSM2 vs DSMx. I have a bunch of 615X's which are not full-range, come to find out.

As I sat on HobbyKing website perusing the details of the 720x, I got an offer of about $1.50 off the $20 price, so I ordered 2. Now, there weren't any listed as available from US warehouses, so I had to order from International Warehouse. I only paid something like $4 shipping, something that has worked for me in the past one or two times. It did take 45 days to get to me, but I have other receivers I can use in the meantime.
Posted by PGregory | Feb 01, 2016 @ 11:05 PM | 11,543 Views
Here are a couple of the most interesting of my latest acquisitions: 1) a plastic Cox PT-19 Trainer C/L for this year's International Cox PT-19 Fly It If You Got It Day, date still TBD, and 2) an as-of-yet unidentified, Enya .40 powered trainer that I won on eBay for $35.

The first acquisition involved an hour drive upstate on last Friday to a half point location with the Craigslist seller. The plane had never been flown, it seems. The engine may have been bench run. It is the late-model .049 with the double slits for exhaust ports, presumably to thwart dirt getting into the cylinder - in the aftermath of a crash, I guess.

The .40 trainer took a 1.5 hour drive to NJ, and was flown right up to recent days by the owner. It had been updated by the owner, with advice from his club buddies, and looks to be very flyable. Not the prettiest, but it has been refined through some upgrades to probably fly very respectably. The owner had replaced the center metal gear servo for ailerons with individual slim wing-mounted servos for each aileron. Also, the elevator servo is mountd back on the side of the fuselage, which shortens the control rod.

My timing with building and flying seems to be improving as these early days of 2016 get noticeably longer.. My work has settled down a bit where there is more routine and less unexpected each day. I should be able to get into a routine of delivering on my building and flying aspirations now. Ididn't hit RCG build deadlines, O the...Continue Reading
Posted by PGregory | Dec 18, 2015 @ 12:35 PM | 13,345 Views
--------- The Top Sticky Part of the Blog - Section 1 of 3 --------
See below for periodic updates on news about the FAA regulations.

Well, it took just over a month for signs of relief on the "drone" issue we the RC-flying public have with the Dec rulings by the FAA. I take this as a hint of progress - the article brings up some of the items I brought up with my Congressional Rep when I called a month ago.
FAA Reauthorization: Should the FAA Be Privatized? (I.e The FAA has no clue to what it's doing, has not control over its spending.)

These laws are onerous, horribly conceived, a last minute / last gasp measure by a confused agency, and wrought with inconsistencies. You know, Obamacare quality.
I wouldn't over-interpret the contents of this article, but it does seem like there may be a force that the FAA will have to reckon with. If nothing else, the FAA has brought the world of RC flying down on itself through careless operations that lead to the rules we now live under.

I support the only lawsuit against the trampling of freedom and destruction of quality of life this FAA reg represents, that I am aware of at this point.

I also fully support regulations on certain forms of RC.

If you fly traditional planes, heli's, multirotors, within LOS and no greater capabilities discussed below, then the AMA rules are sufficient, and the FAA should accept.

1. Add a camera
2. Add FPV
3. Add GPS
4. Add autonomous capaility
5. Fly BLOS
6. Fly...Continue Reading
Posted by PGregory | Dec 09, 2015 @ 08:54 PM | 11,942 Views
The days sure are short right now in NY State. I joined the electric-only club in my area and they hold indoor flying at a middle school gym once a month, about 15 miles away. Pretty convenient. I got an FPV Vapor, used, to fly with them this winter. Well, it was pretty hard to see in my front yard with only the outdoor porch light on. So, I watched for a used Night Vapor and got one here on RCG pretty cheap. I have now flown about15 of the last 20 days. It is amazing how still the air has been here. We haven't had much cold weather, nothing to complain about. I am getting 25 to 28 minutes on the 1s 150mAh batteries. Very relaxing evening, with 4 feet to travel out my front door. I am going to be able to hit my "fly at least once a month" target, no problem. I have three weeks of vacation after about the 20th Dec and hope to be able to complete my Duranita, which I started right at the end of 2014. Once the nice weather hit in March/April 2014 I got away from the bench.

Well, if you want to fly every month, get yourself a Night Vapor. You could almost achieve "fly every day" if so inclined.
Posted by PGregory | Nov 15, 2015 @ 07:11 PM | 12,462 Views
Got an FPV Vapor flying outside this eve in the dark. I bought used from seller here on RCG who sold without the FPV stuff - fine by me. I wanted an indoor starter plane because I joined the Mid-Hudson Model Masters. I mainly hung out last indoor season with them, then hit their meetings at their fair-weather outdoor field a few times over the summer. All electric club.

I got the plane flying no problem. It came in the original box and packing so it was very secure. It looks like the wing is shoved as far forward as possible and I had the battery as far forward too, taped it in. May still be a little tail heavy but was definitely within scope of flyability. With the bright LED on the RX brick I was able to use my porch light and light from garage floods - kept flying into the illuminated area and out again. Definitely had to grab my distance glasses though - wow it was murky without them.

I kind of binged on planes lately including a profile GEE BEE for .40, a new Dare UC-78 kit, a little 1.2a Sig Thunder Jet CL job off ebay. I need a real hangar, now.
Posted by PGregory | Nov 09, 2015 @ 12:15 AM | 13,493 Views
Well, last weekend my Echo PB251 Leaf Blower had something serious happen to it and it stopped running correctly. This is only the third season and how much use can a leaf blower get - this might have been its seventh use over a little over two years.

It was running perfectly fine - the worse thing that has ever happened is I've spooked myself that there was something wrong with the engine when all it was was that I forgot to turn the ignition switch on.

All I did was lay the engine down on the grass, turn off the ignition, rake a little, and then try to start it again. I noticed immediately that there was something funky in the throttle trigger - it had gotten gooched somehow, just by placing it on the ground. THen, the engine wouldn't run for more than fifteen seconds in any configuration of throttle and choke. It would run for 15 seconds and die.

I took the blower to the shop about a mile away that I originally bought it from. Suspicious that they stopped selling Echo brand and had moved to something else, is what I noticed when I walked in the shop. I fetched the blower and showed one of the partners the symptoms. I was glad they stayed open til 4 on Saturdays. I mentioned to him that it isn't often two unrelated things go wrong at once. The funky mechanical thing going on with the throttle rotor sticking when I depressed the throttle trigger, and the seriously rough / short runs I got.

He estimated it would take $100 to figure things out and I don't deny...Continue Reading
Posted by PGregory | Oct 10, 2015 @ 07:58 PM | 12,560 Views
I accidentally won a Hobbico Hobbistar 60 with this engine on it, on eBay. You take your chances bidding on these specimens site-unseen. The plane was in very good shape when I picked it up today - except I was concerned when I got to the car with it and turned the prop. I was hit with a bit of chill down my spine when it felt really crunky as I turned the engine over. Were the bearings shot? Worse.
Well, I resolved to give it the typical treatment I give these used engines when I get them. I was very motivated, high tailed it home (2.5 hour drive) and pulled it out of the plane, immediately. I removed the muffler and hit it with after run oil right in the exhaust port, into the carb, and around the prop shaft. It felt mildly better. So, next I hit it with the heat gun. Just a minute or two heating it up started making it feel even better. So, I threw it on the Dave Sexton test stand (highly recommend) and cranked it down really tight. I used 10% nitro / castor-synth fuel, not the 4S fuel I have because that would have meant actually going down in my basement and coming all the way back, when the 10% was sitting right there. I wasn't planning on running it at all hot. I took a guess this engine was left exactly as it ran the last time it flew. Didn't even touch the NV. I gave my igniter a little charge - I normally keep it full charged - then started flipping the engine. It gave a telltale kickback, first. I gave it about a dozen flips with a chicken stick, which is about...Continue Reading