DismayingObservation's blog View Details
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 11, 2007 @ 04:49 PM | 5,365 Views
Ah, yes. Life is good.

The new Thunderbolt took to the skies earlier today in a bit of a wind, but not bad enough to ground me.

Needs a bit of an elevator adjustment, but I was fairly sure it would anyway. It looked like it may have been set a smidge too low, so sure enough, it wanted to drop the nose a bit. It only took a few clicks of the trim lever to set it right.

However, there was an unexpected benefit.

This plane is fast.

Extremely so, in fact.

It has the same motor as the old one, the same batteries, the same kind of prop and the same radio but oh, sweet Mary, did it haul bananas. I wasn't the only one who noticed it.

I be a really happy camper, I be.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 07, 2007 @ 07:11 PM | 5,386 Views
It never fails.

I was looking at the P-47 just last night and found myself thinking how good a plane it had been for these past six-plus months of flying at every possible opportunity. Other than a bit of hangar rash and a tweaked tail tip from a couple of noseovers, that plane looked almost as good as the day I assembled it.

Today was nice and warm but overcast. Put plane in the air, bought it down again because I had to squint. On went the sunglasses.

Wasn't too long before the thought occured to me that I may have done a boo-boo.

As the sun started moving, that plane got really hard to track. There simply wasn't any contrast against the clouds and the sunglasses didn't help. I genuinely lost any reference as to which end was up.

The unthinkable happened.

I screwed that plane nose first into the ground.

At speed.

A high-performance foamie makes an interesting sound when that happens. Like Godzilla stepping on an ice chest, only more expensive.

The forward two-thirds of that plane were utterly demolished. I actually managed to bend that nice, strong 4mm gearbox shaft, it hit so hard. Motor and radio survived; the only parts of the airframe that survived were the belly pan and canopy. The pilot continued to smile his beatific smile as if nothing had happened. The li-po wasn't as lucky. The motor stick was jammed into the thing nearly an inch and a half deep. Don't know if it's salvageable.

I kept my promise and it was off to the hobby shop for a replacement. The upside? I got an extra $200 in my paycheck.

After buying a plane, some fresh CA and some new pinned hinges, I'm still ahead by more than a hundred bucks.

Some rationalization, eh?
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 06, 2007 @ 11:54 AM | 5,472 Views
Not I, that's for sure.

I got an e-mail the other day from the folks at helidirect.com verifying that an order had been sent. This would have been great had I actually ordered anything.

No mistake.

I'd left a comment on their talk page regarding the incredible problems that I'd had trying to make their Microheli mainshaft and E-sky maingear combo work for my Blade. Microheli's own website claims the combo will work.

Actually, it doesn't.

The shaft is too long.

Helidirect had already sent me one replacement; this one was totally unexpected. For the record, I've bought several items from them and I'm totally satisfied. They actually lost money on this transaction to begin with and cheerfully lost more in an unsolicited effort to make me happy.

Since I have some fresh new parts to play with (the first mainshaft was returned to Helidirect and the second destroyed in a crash), I may pick the brains of the folks at Microheli to see just what the heck I need to do in order to make this mongrel work.

On a sadder note, a gentleman who has been one of my best friends for nearly thirty years just lost his mom. His dad passed away a couple of years ago and I'd named one of my planes after him since he'd served in the Army Air Corps. Mom and family loved the gesture.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 05, 2007 @ 03:04 PM | 5,459 Views
Sounds like a premise about a really bad movie about a UHF television station, no?

Actually, I was a victim yet again at the usual field, this time with the Cessna. Cost me $50 in parts to repair it. I was on final when the plane decided that it would roll itself hard to the right very suddenly and very quickly. It hit so hard that it bent the motor shaft and utterly destroyed the fuselage all the way back to the leading edge of the wing.

The propeller survived the assault. Go figure.

I might have been better off driving to Pomona even though regular gasoline is flirting with $3.00 a gallon. The news always says that San Diego has some of California's highest gasoline prices.

Apparently, they've never been to the Coachella Valley.

OTOH, the rebuilt version flies immeasurably better than the original! I only had to throw two motors, one speed control, a fuselage, a decal sheet, nosewheel clamps and tailfeathers at the thing to get to this point after less than a month, but hey, that's our hobby.

It was utterly flawless in the air as well as on landing. In fact, the landings were consistently among the best I have ever done with any airplane regardless of its level of performance. It just greased right in as beautiful as you please. So, here's hoping it's dialed in at last!

I'm going to assume that there are some production upgrades in replacement fuselages that address the CG and tip stalling issues. ROG takeoffs were so level and so in control that the model looked like a real 182 on roll-out. Just fantastic.

Until I change frequencies...or get a new Spektrum...it looks like I'll be limiting my flights to the soccer park here by home or a couple of other venues near where I work. There's a park with a terrific little field in Palm Springs which was originally recommended to me by one of the hobby shops, but there's a microwave communications tower smack dab in the middle of the complex. I've had R/C aircraft do some strange things there, I can tell you.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 03, 2007 @ 08:44 PM | 5,381 Views
I am faced with a (gasp!) decision.

Should I go flying as usual tomorrow with the usual crowd...or should I indulge my full-scale old car hobby and head off to the Pomona Swap Meet? An hour's drive west of here will put me in a wonderland of old cars and old parts. My '69 Ranchero and '65 Mustang would benefit greatly.

Only problem is...they start the swap meet at 5:00. That's "AM."

Eww.

I'll know more tomorrow. Maybe I'll do both, weather permitting.

Was able to get in some flying earlier today, but the wind was so unpredictable that I gave it up. Bounced the Cessna off the turf kind of hard on landing because of it. Broke a prop, but the new nosegear straps held up. Thankfully, I have gotten to the point whereby I can grease the Cessna in at will for a landing. The wind was constantly shifting direction when I was trying to bring it in and Old Man Tip Stall reared his head.

APC makes a 7x3 free-flight prop which might work. I'm waiting to hear back from the tech support guys.

Oh, and the Blade got clobbered by yet another radio hit. Only damage was a sheared retainer pin. Bought it home, straightened the slightly bent mainshaft, reassembled everything, took it outside...perfection. Almost as stable as a simulator. I ran an entire pack mostly hovering. Not enough room for forward flight in front of the house. WAY too fast.

So, it would appear that I'll need to find a suitable alternative field for the eggbeater.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 01, 2007 @ 06:47 PM | 5,437 Views
I'm sure glad that I don't live in the southern US today. We may have had some gale force winds these last couple of days and nights, but those folks had some deadly tornadoes. You have my thoughts and prayers in Alabama.

Our wind seems to have died down. So, after testing the Blade CP and its new tail motor out in front of the house, 'twas off to the field for more fun with the Cessna and the T-Bolt. I tell you, I am really liking that Cessna more and more each day, so much so that I swung by the soccer park once again after a stop at my dentist for a cleaning. My teeth, that is. However, there are lots and lots of neat little tools that the assistant used that would be very helpful in building a new plane. Must investigate this.

By the way, I discovered a nicked radio lead on the Blade's ESC. I'll bet that was the cause of the glitches. I cut out the damaged section, soldered and shrink-wrapped the wires and voila! No glitching! It's amazing how stable that little monstrosity is with a fresh tail motor. E-flite is making a small fortune off of those things at ten bucks a pop.

Anyway, the Cessna caught the attention of a nice gentleman who was out walking his dog. He was blown away by the thing and hopes to visit our Sunday morning fly-in.

Still haven't reassembled the Savage since I've been busy with other things besides flying. It shall be redone very soon.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 27, 2007 @ 08:41 PM | 5,396 Views
In case you weren't aware of the fact, Palm Springs is one of the windiest places on earth. Every so often, we get one heck of a blow...and today it is blowing! Gonna be like this the rest of the week.

Bad for planes.

Good excuse to put the new Wasp .28 engine in the Savage 25.

Team Orion was kind enough to quite literally handbuild an engine for me. I had so much hassle with the old one that Rick Hohwart himself stepped in and helped me out.

However, it sat on my shelf for a bit until I brought it in to the hobby shop so that they could install a Robinson Racing flywheel and a new clutch.

Sat there for a month and a half. They were having problems getting the flywheel to shim correctly, but all is now well.

So, here's hoping everything lines up correctly and I'll be screaming down the street once I break in this new engine.

Ah, if only most industries were as dedicated to customer service as our hobby manufacturers are...thank you, Orion. For the record, I called the tech department right after I got the engine back from them and I thanked both Rick and the gentleman responsible for most of the build.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 21, 2007 @ 12:42 AM | 5,764 Views
While I'm on the subject of blogging, I thought that I should share something that's been bothering me for some time now.

Wikipedia has about 43,000 registered editors in good standing. Fewer than 1000 are administrators. Obviously, I'd quit at least once before. Just go back to my first entry here.

I am - or at least was - one of those thousand.

I spent four years writing and editing subjects ranging from full-scale railroading to classic cars and not a mere few on radio control.

Waste of time? Perhaps.

Wikipedia is a grand experiment and a noble vision gone horribly awry. There are more vandals than good users at any given time and I frequently found myself faced with the Sisyphean task of cleaning up after these yahoos.

I've found evidence on the internet of coordinated efforts on the parts of disgruntled individuals to discredit administrators...and I fell victim. These jerks sign up, do some reasonably good editing and then sneak in bizarre edits designed to catch the attention of an admin. When the admin cleans up the mess, the attacks begin. Worse, the "community" seems to be letting it happen.

Jimbo Wales, the site's founder, is a decent person. I only wish that he would step in to help clean up this cyber-playpen of his, now overrun by high schoolers creating nonsense pages and spammers from all over the globe, not to mention these destructive users of the type I just mentioned.

The upshot? I still edit at a neat little independent wiki dedicated to electric flight. It's called www.eflightwiki.com and virtually everything that I wrote on Wikipedia may be found there. I edit under this same user name.

Lots of good info there; I hope you'll stop by.

As far as Wikipedia is concerned, cold turkey never tasted so good.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 20, 2007 @ 10:57 PM | 5,573 Views
Well, it's been another six months and I'm still flying the P-47 as often as the weather allows which, thankfully, is quite often here in the desert regions of Southern California.

I've had to make a grand total of two repairs in all this time, both to the ailerons. Not a lot of foam holding the control horns in place. My trusty E-flite 4200kv Park 400 finally up and quit. The new one works perfectly.

Correction: I had to replace the spur gear a couple of times when the old motor came apart in flight and I've had to CA the top of the tail back on a few occasions. The plane sometimes noses over on the roughish surface I fly on and off of. I've learned to keep the landing gear bent forward.

I'm all over the sky with this bird. Immelmans, loops, rolls, inverted flight, hammerheads...just too much fun. Vertical victory rolls right after takeoff are pretty much expected of me by the Sunday morning flight crew. In the event that "dumb thumbs," mechanical failure or act of God cause this plane to act as a core sampling tool, I will immediately march into the hobby shop for a replacement.

The Blade CP is hopped up now that I can actually fly it...whoa! Doggone little thing is FAST. Real easy to get disoriented if it gets too far away.

The old ParkZone J-3 now has Team Orion Slow-Max power and real radio gear. What a difference!

The latest addition is a FlyZone Cessna 182. Neat little plane, but I had some motor problems out of the box which damaged the rest of the plane due to lack of power on landing, now fixed. What a bargain!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 24, 2006 @ 12:29 AM | 5,794 Views
I, like the characters on South Park, have learned something. Specifically, foam-safe CA really is safe for foam.

Ah, but add the wrong kicker...

Anyway, the new E-flite P-47 Thunderbolt will be repaired in the future with the correct stuff. My perfidy cost me a wing. I used the glue and kicker to replace a landing gear block that fell out. Result: The foam took on the consistency - and strength - of stale bread. Each time the block popped out, I glued and kicked it in. More and more stale bread. Oh, well. I have a $10 "reward" on purchases of $25 and up that I can take advantage of at the local Hobbytown USA. The wing and decal sheet would normally be about $30. I'm still out twenty bucks.

What a terrific plane this is, made even easier to fly with practice on my new RealFlight G3 simulator. Ditto for the help in flying my Blade CP. On the P-47, basic aerobatics like Immelman turns are a blast!

I URGE anyone who doesn't yet own a Great Planes C.G. Machine to obtain one ASAP. I balanced the P-47 with a level of precision that would frankly be impossible with the fingertip method. I can't help but wonder how much better the old Chipmunk would have flown had I balanced it with the CGM.

More nonsense with the HPI Savage and its engine. Savage is OK, Orion Wasp .28 is not. It's on its way to Orion's HQ in beautiful Yorba Linda, California. Maybe Nixon's ghost will bring it luck.

Until next time, arrivederci.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 19, 2006 @ 06:14 PM | 6,086 Views
Funny thing...I'd forgotten that I'd started a blog page! Four months is a long time between postings.

That poor UltraFly Cessna made way for a Goldberg Chipmunk 400 which is now, well, wood chips. Failed aileron servo in flight. Couldn't keep it from tip-stalling as I was trying to bring it in.

The Chippie has made way for an E-flite Thunderbolt 400. Back to foam, says I. So where do I stand now? Another crash! CG problems. The replacement will be balanced with a CG balancer and not my fingers.

We persist.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 03, 2006 @ 03:16 PM | 7,041 Views
Interesting...I've never felt the need to post to a blog before, but this is kind of cool.

As I write, the wind is blowing something fierce, not uncommon here. So much for practicing with the Blade CP. I'm still down one wrecked model airplane (my UltraFly Cessna 182) and I fear all three of my battery packs for my ParkZone J-3 Cub are toast. They served long and well.

Might tinker with the HPI Savage 25, an exercise in futility if ever there was one. I could go on forever about how much of a pain that truck is just to try and keep it running.

I must admit, this is a far more satisfying and friendlier place than Wikipedia. 20,000-plus edits. Six featured articles. Countless other original contributions. Protector of the weak, even. The site has at least two autistic users who contribute regularly and out of the hundreds of editors, I became the unofficial "welcome wagon" and mentor for these individuals. A nice feeling, actually. Spent two years toiling...finally had enough. Trolls and vandals galore. A naaaaasty troll did it for me. If the dweeb can gripe about me on his blog, I can gripe about him here. The meek may very well inherit the earth.

I hope to hear more from Charlie Hua over at UltraFly very soon. That's a class act if ever there was one.