phil alvirez's blog View Details
Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 30, 2017 @ 10:46 AM | 5,735 Views
past sunday was my 83rd and the happiest! at my son's, with his wife and 10 years old daughter, who baked a cake and muffins, and decorated all with all kinds of stuff. pictures, everything. couldnt be better. and she also gave me a balloon, a card hand made and decorated, and an album with pics of all of us. i was in heaven. and forgot to tell that early went flying and all went fine. even the weather.
Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 21, 2017 @ 03:41 PM | 5,320 Views
it all started when i began to loose signal or facing erratic response. at the time i was flying early in the morning at a field near radio towers. tried changing everything, and was adviced to try another field. there the problems were gone. but they didnt allow to fly until 10 am.
then i realized that i was having false contacts at the individual cells of the radio, so replaced with welded packs. so i decided to try at the 1st field, and for some time all went well. and suddenly the problems began again. now i was facing fog for several days, so that made me think that it could be the reason. checked at the net and some confirmed that radios are sensitive to high humidity. and as at the other field i was not allowed to fly until 10, by then there was way less humidity. so it was why there i couldnt face the humidity-and the problems. i must add that, as i use a vario that runs independently from the radio, i have noticed that sometimes it stops sending signals, which means it is not reaching the receiver at my neck. a confirmation that humidity blocks the signals.
so now i know that:
1-radios that use single cells connected by pressure are prone to false contacts.
2-high humidity blocks signals.

i hope this experience will make your life easier. just remember if this happens to you. or try to avoid this.
Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 11, 2017 @ 06:32 PM | 5,489 Views
today i found myself in a new situation. and never heard of it. i was flying an electric glider early (around 7) on a clear sky, and there was a moderate breeze from the east at ground level. i climbed to about 150 meters, stopped the motor and turned into the wind. it was moving slowly forward and began to sink. then reached another layer and began to move backwards until reached a lower layer, where began to move forward again. the wind was blowing from the same direction. for all that i have learned and witnessed, wind increases as is further from the ground in what is called a gradient, but here the wind was blowing faster between 2 layers. i have been into layers where the wind blows from several directions, but always the higher the faster.
and when i thought that i had seen all!
Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 03, 2017 @ 02:38 PM | 5,243 Views
just as a storm has a place where winds change to still-and then go back on full strenght, i have noticed that winds sometimes slow down for a while and then return. sometimes this happens when winds change direction. as i fly early in the morning, i am always looking for this to happen, even in windy season. it may be for only 1 hour, or even 2, but that is enough for me to test or just enjoy a quick flight or 2.
i watch at the channels of the weather, and take a chance. most of the time it works. even if not, it always helps me by getting ready and checking everything and enjoying the trip to and back.
Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 01, 2017 @ 03:53 PM | 5,180 Views
now, when we thought we still had 1 more month before winds and storms were going to arrive, it feels like fall came 1 month earlier. just look at the forecast: at least 1 week with unbearable winds-and then who knows when-or if-we will have the chance to do more flying.

at least we had some good weather-even if spring arrived over 1 month late

after all, if this is the worst thing we have to face, just think of the guys at the gulf
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 15, 2017 @ 01:01 PM | 5,964 Views
when i took meteorology i did reports of wind direction at several heights. i learned that wind moves horizontally in layers, that sometimes move in different directions, and therefore you may find your plane changing direction due to this. it is particularly more noticeable when flying gliders, that are trimmed for detecting subtle changes in the wind, be horizontal, or vertical. i have witnessed this frequently, and yesterday it was even more clear.
the wind at ground level was easterly, but when climbed to 100 meters (320 ft) the plane changed direction by wind blowing from the south. and i could see the clouds above moving from the west. my plane was no that high, but when came down to the 100 meters level, it fell into the ground level layer from the east and changed direction again.
it is what those who fly balloons use to change direction by climbing or descending depending of the direction of the wind in those layers.
fascinating matters of the air....
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 14, 2017 @ 09:31 AM | 5,790 Views
i have read about measuring sinking speed, but have not seen figures that can be measured sistematically so we can have some certainty.
perhaps some1 has a method and can bring data or links.
in the meantime, as i design and fly gliders and have a vario installed that tells me the height at glide every 20 feet, it occured to me to time when reaches the next figure. i tried this with 1 of my planes.
now was a matter of dividing feet by time. took several times and got an average of about 14 seconds, so this tells me that the average sinking speed of that particular plane is 1.43 ft/seconds. will keep doing this with all my planes. with this i will learn which 1 is more efficient by staying longer in the air. this way i can reach conclusions on whatever i change on my planes.
>>>sept 15: update: i finished taking readings, and also noticed that in some of my planes, even if fly slower, the sinking speed is higher, so i began to measure flying speed too with another instrument (named "how fast"-no longer available). and if climbed to certain height (100 meters, for instance) and then started timing the flight, i got all that i needed to learn which plane takes more to land. it is 1 of those things that even if easy, are tedious work, but eventually i got all. i started a forum trying to learn if some1 has done something like this, or an even better way, but so far nothing has shown.
so from now on, when i change something in my planes, i have the way to see if it was an improvement-or not. real data.
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 13, 2017 @ 04:47 PM | 5,484 Views
as i fly at dawn, sometimes i find fog, and just look around until it clears. and have noticed something that havent heard of. at certain moment, at the west, i notice a bow similar to the rainbow, about same size, but just white. it appears slowly, and some time after it vanishes. it is not very strong, but is easy to see.
it happens shortly after the sun begins to show through the fog.

i hope some1 brings any data or a link to it.

i think that we will never learn all about the weather, after all...

edit: just got a link. and is called fog bow. see:
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 09, 2017 @ 06:40 AM | 5,425 Views
the fountain of youth is a mythical dream that some have tried to discover. even Ponce de Leon searched for it at Florida.
still, there are ways to stretch life so it gets as close as possible to it.
like healthy food, excercise, positive attitude, not worrying, not doing things that may be dangerous or harmful...
and 1 of these is to have a hobby like ours, that keeps our mind busy. it also is creative, improves our reactions, we breath fresh air, so many positive things.
so, even if it is not the fountain of youth, is as close as it can be.
so, keep doing it.
(now you have an excuse to do it)
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 07, 2017 @ 08:50 AM | 4,792 Views
have you even wondered why something is as it is, or why whatever? most of us do. i am 1 of them. and now, with access to the internet, where we find the answer most of the time, there are way more chances to learn all about anything. i get into it countless times every day. no need to check the dictionary or go to the library or ask some1. we all have the oportunity to increase our knowledge exponentially.
wonders of modern times. so, after all, not everything is worse than before.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 12, 2017 @ 11:44 AM | 6,849 Views
some say it is; others dont. the1s say it is, say they face it with their planes, and are willing to bet their lives for it.
and i think that both are correct.
how could that be?
lets start with this fact: things are relative. it depends on which kind of planes are they talking about.
those who think there is, fly slow, low wing loading airplanes. large and light.
the others fly fast, heavy planes. mmhhhh...
a fast/heavy plane does not care about the wind intensity or direction.
a slow/light does.
could that be the reason why the 1s that fly fast/heavy think that there is not such a thing?
i would like to watch those who dont think it is, flying a light piper cub style plane in turbulent/windy weather and try a downwind turn near the ground on the approach and hear what they say
Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 12, 2017 @ 10:17 AM | 5,759 Views
yesterday the weather was good, so i could fly the rad for a long time, as am evaluating a series of cells so it was non-stop flight after flight. i havent flown it for eons due to the windiest weather in history. and i had forgotten how wonderful this plane is
there are some birds that are nesting nearby, and chase my gliders when making the approach, so i have to do evasive maneuvres, but still it was a pleasure to fly this little wonder again. and weather permitting, will keep doing it, as there are cells to evaluate. i used to fly it everyday and was the time of my life. now i hope it will be again. and am flying it without gyros, as the stock brick tracks worn out and i had another brick of the old generation, before gyros, but as there was almost no wind, there was no need for gyros anyway.
life is so much fun with the rad

this is the baby:
Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 01, 2017 @ 09:05 AM | 6,188 Views
i live in windsor, ontario, canada. a 220,000 town, across the river from detroit. when i go to the field, i drive through a main avenue (3 lanes) and trafic lights. today when back from flying, i witnessed a flock of some 25 geese that decided to cross when saw the cars stopping at the red light (civilized folks they are).
slowly walked across. when the lights changed, the cars had to wait until all went through. people around was delighted to watch that spectacle. especially today that there is a parade downtown (canada day). seemed as if they knew and wanted to form part of it. and they know they have seniority (they have been here before us), and therefore the right of way (although respect the regulations such as trafic lights).
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 26, 2017 @ 06:34 AM | 6,082 Views
you can make lemonade!
years ago, i used to fly at a park nearby. quiet, a deadend road, no trafic. a pond nearby. swans, geese. i flew my umx radian, a 29" foamy so stable, and as it has gyros, even with some wind and turbulence, i had the time of my life. i kept it at the back seat of my car and flew it almost daily. whenever i drove around.
then the weather deteriorated extremely windy and turbulent. rain, storms. then the city decided to open the road, plant trees all around, light poles...
as a consequence, it has become quite a challenge to fly there. and depending from where the wind blows, it even becomes more challenging.
but still is flyable. and the good thing is that i have gained experience, so i can manage. that is the good side of the picture. and now am flying a umx radian without gyros. it happened because i wore out the tracks of the servos of the stock and as i had a spare brick of the previous generation, when there were no gyros yet, i installed it and she flies fine. shakey, but still controllable. more challenging, but still a great plane even without gyros, i can tell you.
my reactions have improved. at my age (82) i get marks that place me at 50 at the test. so, i make lemonade... and enjoy life
this is the test:
try it. you will improve your reactions
life is good.

this is the plane: umx radian:
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 23, 2017 @ 08:31 AM | 6,480 Views
as i fly 2 meters e gliders and fly up high, its easy to loose a plane if taking my eyes out of it even for a few seconds. recently i lost 1 for this. luckily it was found and got it back after 5 days. found by members of the club, at the edge of the east ditch. i was gliding almost overhead, facing a westerly, and as i could not see it, i put it into a spin for a few seconds, then released controls, and as i didnt see it, tried again the spin, then after a while turned off the radio. couldnt see it anywhere so went home. seems that the maneuver worked because it fell not too far. when i lost another plane in sudden fog, i didnt do anything and it was found about 1 kilometer away, so i learned that it is better to spin it and have more chances to find it nearby, as it happened now. damage was a cracked fuse at the wing leading edge (polyurethane took care), and a broken wing at a dihedral-now fixed. all was fine (except the battery-lipo), so seems that the impact was not hard. it is a great sensation to get a message telling that the plane was found
and yes, it has my name and phone-all my planes. just in case. sometimes it works.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 18, 2017 @ 07:10 AM | 6,289 Views
words of wisdom
as humans can talk, 1 of the things that do is provide advice, be solicited or not. we are told what to do and think. we also tell others the same. sometimes good advice, others not. and is anoying to be told without asking for. so often by people that not only dont know you, but dont have a clue. on line at the grocery store. at the bank. anywhere. you provide good advice and try to live to it, and then you break that and fall for that mistake that you are advicing.
silly, isnt it? but thats the human nature.
i have some rules like:
1-dont fly if feeling sick or tired or worried by problems.
2-dont say "this is going to be the last flight" because it is going to be the last!
3-dont take your eyes out of your plane because you may loose it.
i have lived to those rules... until last friday
i broke all 3 and lost a plane.
i hope i will remember and not do that again... ever.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 11, 2017 @ 01:48 PM | 6,118 Views
and then from now on for 2 weeks it will be scorching hot-and windy as hell, so no way to fly even at dawn as i used to do
at least at this city of winds we had a few windows, but spring was not here this time. rains, and of course windy. what is going on with the weather?
the place where i live is called 'the city of windsor', but its full name should be 'the city of winds-or storms', believe me.
years before, summer was hot, but not windy, so i was able to fly at dawn, before the wind hit, but now...
time to get back to those projects at the backburner i think.
and how is it at your place?
Posted by phil alvirez | May 31, 2017 @ 09:05 AM | 6,463 Views
that sinking feeling

i mean, what was i thinking?
besides me not worrying about remembering things, as memory begins to loose its grip after 50, there are other things that contribute to making things for me harder to remember. as time from the moment i place an order from orient, to the moment it arrives, has gone from 9 days to over 3 months, when that order arrives i dont know what for was it intended, or how to do what i was thinking at the moment. even if took notes.
besides, as there is nothing to do about it while i wait, in the meantime i embark into another project. and another. and another. so now i find myself with so many things half way, and not remembering what or how to finish them.
and what about you? does it happen the same to you?
Posted by phil alvirez | May 22, 2017 @ 07:01 PM | 8,513 Views
1/72 Horten XVIII B2
this is a static model built by my son Luis, starting with drawings of the project, and with a structure of balsa and plastic rods, mouldings of resin, and planked with 1/32" balsa and then sheeted with paper-thin balsa tinted, and coated with clear varnish, piece-by-piece, to look like the real size that was made same way with plywood. parts snap together with magnets.
The Horten H.XVIII was a proposed German World War II intercontinental bomber, designed by the Horten brothers with pioneering features such as a flying wing configuration, turbojet engines and stealth characteristics. The unbuilt H.XVIII represented, in many respects, a scaled-up version of the Horten Ho 229, a prototype jet fighter. The H.XVIII was one of many proposed designs for an Amerika Bomber, and would have carried sufficient fuel for transatlantic flights.
The B2 model of the H.XVIII was based on the airframe of the H.XVIIIA with a huge tail. It had an MG 151 turret set in the middle rear of the wing and with six BMW 003 turbojets slung under the wings; this was designed by Messerschmitt and Junkers engineers. It is uncertain if this overall design was directly developed by the Horten brothers or their manufacturer, as there is little surviving evidence of this proposed version. It was eventually rejected by the Horten brothers, as it was not a major improvement over the Ho XVIIIA.

Horten Ho XVIII-B2 -Span 42m (137' 9") Length 19m (62' 4") Maximum...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | May 14, 2017 @ 12:16 PM | 7,170 Views
memory and knowledge
all my life i tried to understand. never worried about memorizing. but now that am not as young, i have found a way to memorize better by using images. picturizing. like watching a movie. still there are many things that require memorizing many details without making any mistake or forgetting something. like flying my planes. and keeping reactions sharp.
there is a video called 'the reaction time' that i practice several times every day. still, in the past 10 years i have been doing and learning many things related to model airplanes (see my blog) , and i realize that i have forgotten most of them too. and now that i have to deal with computerized radios and programming and mixes, am into an even more complex situation that demands knowledge beyond my experience and knowledge.
in my early years i learned about systems like ibm and took training and courses about each piece of equipment and got a certificate on each in punched cards. became supervisor, and worked on the improvements until retired. but now everyting is beyond the wildest imagination, and i had to learn, with the help of my son, the basics on how to use a comp, and be able to reach to the internet and learn way faster than ever. but never took a course on this.
nowadays i have 13 gliders, 2 meters wingspan, with electric motors, ready to fly, that demand perfect coordination and functioning. am learning many things and experimenting and enjoying the hobby more than i could ever...Continue Reading