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Posted by GRW3 | Nov 13, 2017 @ 12:06 AM | 5,200 Views
We were at a flying event. We had limbered up we some afternoon flights on arrival the previous day. I flew my Sport Cub and my buddy flew his 35cc powered Extra. It flew better than ever after he had replaced a fussy throttle servo. The almost new engine was still breaking in but it was solid.

The next morning, first he made a minor repair on another plane and flew it. Then he pulled up the Extra to the starting area. We got it started, no problem. The he rolled it to the take off zone and we went to the pilot station. He gave it full throttle, it zoomed up high, arced over the top of an elliptical loop and came plummeting down into the pits, full speed. Just about as fast as you could read it. Shock! Stunned silence for a few moments. I had yelled “Watch out” but would not have done any good.

He said he wasn’t worried when the plane popped up because strong gusts had been causing serious ballooning on approaches all morning. When it wouldn’t push over... roll.. or throttle back he knew there was a problem. He yelled too but I don’t remember. All I remember is that red specter flashing straight down into the ground.

There was a guy standing in the same location as the person in the wreckage picture when it hit. He fell upon impact. I was afraid the wing had caught him but thankfully “no” it was just the startling nature of the impact that bowled him over.

The engine was broken into three pieces. The head ended up in the starting station. We picked up and swept up as well as we could but little bits of debris were everywhere. After he calmed down, he flew out the day with other airplanes.
Posted by GRW3 | Jul 30, 2017 @ 10:26 PM | 6,013 Views
I captured this image from the Flite Test video highlights of Flite Fest East '17. I think it really shows the spirit of the event, a mixture of flying and community. I like the big events for experienced modelers. I've been to some in the past and I'd like to catch some others in the future but it think the Flite Test guys are seeding the future of the hobby. We won't get all the people they touch but hopefully we get enough to keep the hobby alive.
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 02, 2017 @ 05:23 PM | 7,402 Views
About a year and a half ago, I had no flying airplanes. The trainer of had flown sporadically over a decade needed serious work. The three channel electric Cub was deaujjjd. I wanted to get back on track. I had seen good words about the Eflite Sport Cub so I bought one of those. It proved to be a good choice. It's an excellent flyer, exactly in my preferred type of flying.

At the same time, I wanted to start building again. I had a Sig LT-25 and an OS 25LA that I bought quite a while ago for the youngest son, who decided he liked rockets better. I decided a Sig kit would be an excellent way to get my building chops back (what a nice kit).

Early last year I was wandering through the not so LHS and they had a Hobbico AcroWot on clearance. I had built an original AcroWot from a self imported kit back in the '80s and it was a great flier. I noted the e-version but thought I had missed my chance, so I snatched it up. I escaped death by Tactic and put a Spektrum receiver in it. About the same time I got a complete Alpha trainer (airframe, engine, radio, flight box, starter, etc) for a song from a family friend who runs a pawn shop and wanted it out of his inventory.

The LT-25 was a delight to fly and the Alpha, by comparison, was a ponderous pig. The Alpha went on the "not likely" list. I took a flyer and got one of the 42" Eflite P47s on clearance. It has been a learning experience.

After finishing the LT, I decided to tackle a Sig Kougar rebuild. Middle...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 02, 2017 @ 07:58 AM | 6,733 Views
About a year of work, spread over a decade. I started it in early 2006. I just finished it. Lots of personal issues just seemed to keep me from progressing. I did a bunch of work in 2006. A little more in 2009. Then nothing until last fall. I'm super happy to reach this point.

Here's a link to the Build Log
Posted by GRW3 | Jan 23, 2017 @ 11:05 PM | 7,008 Views
Ive had this Eflite Sport Cub for a little more than a year. I love it. It's my go to airplane. I had nearly 30 hours with it on my DX7 and just went past 6 hours with it on the replacement DX6e. As I'm want to, the better I know a plane the more I push the limit.

Well, I found one Saturday. I started an outside loop, from the top, exactly too low. I mean exactly because it smacked in at the bottom of the loop, breaking into three pieces. I carried the pieces back to the pits and inspected it carefully. The breaks were very clean with no missing pieces. Frankly, hitting inverted probably did less damage than hitting upright at the same velocity.

The pieces glued back together easily. A funny thing, I've flown this plane a lot at our grass strip and it's got a lot stains and grime built up on the surface. So much so, the seam where I glued it back together is practically invisible. I've come by all that grime earnestly.

The only pieces that were damaged to much to be used were the elevator and rudder clevises. Easily replaced.

One of the great things about these modern foam factory planes is how easy they are to repair. This is good for maintaining flight status. I could have flown the next day if it hadn't been for the gale force winds. I love my balsa planes but I have to give a hand to the modern factory planes.
Posted by GRW3 | Jan 01, 2017 @ 05:59 PM | 7,570 Views
We had a nice little New Year's Eve event. Our experience is that holiday flying is best done on an associated day, like the Saturday before.

Black Eyed Peas
Macaroni Salad
Deviled Eggs

Plus a table full of desserts.

The weather started of misty and cloudy but cleared off for a beautiful afternoon.
Posted by GRW3 | Nov 28, 2016 @ 09:51 PM | 7,344 Views
I used to have a little Dremel circular saw to use in my Dremel tool. I didn't use it much but for some jobs it was just perfect. I also recognized it had the potential to be very dangerous. It was kept with my most important attachments.

One day I came home from work and went in my shop. I notice there is a tin can in the vice. The tin can has various cuts and peeled back panels. Next to it, on the bench, was my Dremel tool and my once precious saw. Now it was in sad, sad shape. It was warped and blued from overheating. A lot of the teeth were missing. I knew one of our pre teen Irish twin boys had done it but there was no resolving who. (Frankly, considering our history, I was just glad I wasn't at the emergency room - again.)

So I thought to replace it - wrong. No longer available. I guess experience proved my assessment of danger to Dremel and they discontinued it. I kept an eye out for a replacement in every Dremel display I came across, to no avail. I did finally find a replacement saw from another company. It's actually a better design. I don't remember where I got it for sure. I put it away in a drawer of my small parts cabinet and I included the product description sheet that came with it. Tells me everything about the product except who made it. I'm thinking I got it at the local Woodcrafters store.

The search occurred before internet, eBay and Amazon. That's right - manual. I only use it on a blue moon for very specific jobs, so I haven't looked lately.

Update: I just read some earlier entries in my blog and I found out I bought it at the '06 Toledo R/C Show. No hint of the vendor.
Posted by GRW3 | Sep 03, 2016 @ 09:26 PM | 8,118 Views
Today was a very good day at the field. We've been trying to find ways to get more people out. After little success with holiday fly-ins, we've switched to Saturday of three day holiday weekends. The thinking being family things take up the holiday but maybe Saturday would work. It seems to be working. We have burgers and dogs for flyers and family. Hopefully, this type of communal flying will lead to bigger turnouts for regular weekend days.
Posted by GRW3 | Jun 03, 2016 @ 11:28 PM | 8,463 Views
I'm back flying and building again. I'm really enjoying having super BNF plane available. Besides being great flyers, they make my building more calm. I know that even if I completely destroy my electric plane, I can get another just as good at the LHS and be flying again in short order. I never have to rush my building to have something to fly.
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 08, 2009 @ 07:25 PM | 11,009 Views
Though I felt like. After we got Donna home from the hospital I started suffering severe sleep deprivation. I'll keep it short for now but I'm going to speak more about this is a later post. Maybe the next one, maybe not.
Posted by GRW3 | Jul 23, 2006 @ 09:46 PM | 14,382 Views
When I got back from Toronto, my wife was feeling especially bad. Part of a long string of periods in which she was feeling bad. The symptoms were all the same as before: mild fever, craving food but getting sick if she ate too much, nausea, lack of energy. This time, however, there was also pain in the region of her stomach.

After years of having the doc say she should "loose weight" and "control her blood sugar" they finally decided to take a look with an ultrasound. The tech told her, unofficially (as only a doctor can report the obvious), she had gall stones. From this we were anticipating the need for surgery but had to wait for the doc to read the omens. While waiting, one afternoon she developed a high fever (103°F) so she called me and the doc. I drove home and he looked at the films and by the time I arrived he had told her she needed to go to the emergency room which led to a hospital bed...

Where she has been ever since, a week and a half so far. This from a process projected to be over in a couple of days. First she a larangospic (sp?) procedure to remove gall stones from her bile duct. Doing that agravated her pancreas and she had to spend two days waiting for a pancreatitus attack to subside. Then she went in for the 1-1˝ hour orthoscopic gall bladder removal.

At the end of an hour the nurse called me in the waiting room to say it was taking a little longer. At the end of the second hour she called again - more time was needed....Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Jun 27, 2006 @ 12:11 AM | 14,944 Views
Every once and a while I’ll be talking with some flying buddy and they will ask “Wouldn’t you like to have one of those jet engines?” The answer is NOOOOO! They’re neat OK but I make my living off of jet fuel and I just don’t want to deal with jet engines or jet fuel when I’m on my own time.

This week finds me in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the semi annual meeting of ASTM Committee D.02 on Petroleum Products. My personal effort is directed to participating in and being an officer of the Aviation Fuel Subcommittee. We deal with the specifications for the jet fuel and aviation gasoline.

Jet Fuel is actually a glorified kerosene. Jet Fuel, Kerosene and #1 Diesel all come from the same part of the barrel of oil. It’s a little lighter than typical Diesel (#2) and a little heavier than gasoline. The military uses jet fuel for both turbines and diesels for logistical simplicity. You can’t legally use jet fuel in your car and truck diesel because it is not a low sulfur product.

Jet Fuel is not just for burning. It’s the secondary coolant for most jet engines, taking heat from the oil. It’s used as a hydraulic fluid to operate mechanisms on the engines and it’s used to cool avionics. It has to be useable at –40°C and safe at +40°C. It has to provide sufficient energy to get from here to there and it has to do it in a way that will not harm the engine. Providing all this is a constant struggle that just takes some of the luster off of turbine engines.

By the end of the week I’ll just be looking for a quiet place to recover. By the way, working in the aviation business is not conducive to being at ease when you fly. I know all about the odd and all but when you hear about practically every fuel related problem that comes up, it kind of sticks with you. So Friday when I get on the plane I’ll just plug my I-Pod into my noise canceling headphones and read my way back to San Antonio, shoving what I know about ‘making sausage’ to the back of my mind.
Posted by GRW3 | Jun 10, 2006 @ 10:10 PM | 15,707 Views
I did not finish my Eindekker in time to participate in the annual Dawn Patrol Over Old Kingsbury (this year!) but I attended anyway and took my son, Bryan, with me. The site is a very nice grass strip operated by the Tri-City Flyers about 50 miles east of San Antonio. It is part of a larger enterprise called the Old Kingsbury Aerodrome that is the home of the Vintage Aircraft Historical Foundation. The VAHF specializes in WWI aircraft. The founder of the group and the owner of the field, Roger Freeman, built and flew a Fokker DVII that was used in the Aviator.

The attendance was good, over twenty pilots and even more planes. The flying was very relaxed, not the frentic activity you usually see when ten 'extras' trying to compete for a place to hover. The WWI planes really like the bigger sizes. Quarter scale is good and third is really nice.

There was no formal display but we modelers were allowed to check out the historic planes in storage and being built. That was a treat, a real inside look at the operation. I have threads on the fly-in and real planes in the Scale Power Plane section, where I am maintaining a Build Log on my Eindekker.

Vintage Aviation Historical Foundation

Dawn Patrol Over Old Kingsbury

I did not finish my plane so I did not register. I wanted to support the effort (to make sure it comes back) so I spent the registration amount on Raffle tickets. The prize is the recently returned third scale Moraine Saulner from Balsa USA. They also...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Jun 05, 2006 @ 05:32 PM | 15,385 Views
After buying my new radio at Toledo, I just let it set in the box until this weekend. I have planned a major installation in a new Balsa USA Eindecker (you can see my build log in the Scale Power Plane section). I have just reached the point where I will start working with the radio installation.

I pulled the Tracker out of the box and sat down with it and the manual in front of the TV. As I was reading through the book I thought "Why not set it up to work my current plane?" I have a sport plane on Airtronics Ch 52. Just four channels no fancy mixing. I went through track one and set it for channel 52 and Airtronics receiver. I got out of the chair, walked into my shop, turned on the airplane's radio, and it worked.

I hadn't done the overnight charge yet so I did not get a chance to work out the servo reversing but the pattern was clearly Airtonics. I put it on charge and will do the track two honors tonight.

An interesting thing happened while I was setting up the radio. I ran frequency scan just to see how it worked. It started at the blank setup value of 36 and worked through the numbers. Imagine my surprise when it came around to ch 11 and started beeping. I have a transmitter on ch 11 so I went in the shop to check. Sure enought, I had picked up that transmitter a on Saturday and evidently I had failed to turn it off. Despite the fact that the transmitter meter was way down in the red it was still transmitting. So there's another use for your Tracker,...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Jun 03, 2006 @ 12:22 AM | 16,431 Views
Once I built a railroad
I made it run
Made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad
Now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

I was thinking about the travails of our club (San Antonio Prop Busters) in keeping a flying field and I was reminded of these lines from the famous depression era song. We’re on our third field now and the trip has had some unusual twists. I write this to warn of pitfalls and offer hope to those who have lost or are about to lose a field.

Twenty years ago I was the President of the club in a trying time. Shortly before assuming office we received a notice that we would loose our field within six months. We had a little money to work with, because of the prescient efforts of a former President who persuaded us to double our dues, but not much. We, as a club, were blessed by the crash in the oil boom that resulted in hiatus in land development. The property owners continued to tell us it was a temporary reprieve.

We were afraid that we would loose members to the other established clubs in town. I pushed hard to do more activities that would keep us unified. Maybe too hard as the money spent was used as a reason to find my replacement for the next year. I still believe that club activities are important at all times but critical when times are tough.

Fearing the end could be near we did strike out to find a new field. We found several potentials but they were ruled out for various reasons but the biggest was “too far”. Our...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Jun 02, 2006 @ 12:26 AM | 16,253 Views
I’ve been considering the current discussions on the difficulty in sizing and application of electric motors in comparison of the ease of selecting an IC engine. This consideration came as a result of attending and helping my club with a sport pylon race for 0.40 size engined planes. The racing was divided into two classes of 0.40 and the effort to divide it by two and still come up with 0.40 was mind boggling.

Really though, this should not be that big a surprise to us IC flyers. We’ve dealt with it for years. You can put an OS 0.46 FX on a regular high wing trainer if you treat it carefully. If you don’t you get things like broken hinges (though, fortunately, two out of four on the elevator can be enough to land your plane). Better to use a 0.40LA instead but, hey, nothing exceeds like excess. The bottom line is, we know pretty well how to match a ‘forty’ plane with a ‘forty’ engine. As much as we whine about how hard it is to do, matching electric motor systems to planes is really no harder, just different. I think Horizon has a good idea with its 32, 46 and 60 outrunners by taking advantage of IC psychology. A quick read of the web based info on the 46 shows it can be set up from LA to FX strength and beyond.

Another heartburn seems to be related to the total costs of systems. One way of thinking of the cost is as if you were buying an IC engine and all the fuel at one time. That’s OK but lets take another approach and look at a couple of definitions from Merriam-...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | May 24, 2006 @ 04:48 PM | 16,077 Views
Last Saturday, son #2 and I set out on a modeling trip. Our intention was to visit the Scalemasters Qualifier being held at the Hill Country Aeromodelers field in Austin, TX. This was a new event for the area. If any one was in the hunt for a position at the big show and didn't go to this one they missed a relatively easy shot.

I've always liked this field. The people are very friendly and the field is excellent, although it has a grade that is usually downhill with typical Texas weather patterns. It's odd at first but you get used to it.

When we arrived, they were doing the static judging. This really makes the time drag. Since it just got started we decided to drive up to the big hobby shop in Georgetown. I needed a new starter and I wanted a high torque model. The local shops I will deal with did not have what I wanted but Discount Hobbies has a lot of supplies. I was happy but my son was disappointed that almost all the planes were ARFs.

We headed back to Austin for the event but got sidetraked by a visit to Fry's the big, everything electronic superstore. What a bunch of toys they have there. After that we went to... lunch. Finally we went back to the flying site. The flying was well in progress.

They were starting the second round. Unfortunately we saw several of the best planes laying damaged in the pits. The wind was a little gusty but straight down the runway. The wind and the nerves seemed to be bothering the pilots in the usual way for a scale contest....Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | May 14, 2006 @ 11:24 PM | 16,358 Views
I thought, "Boy, those two Cubs overhead appear to be the same size..." then blammo - mid air. Happened at one of our Big Bird fly-ins. Two pilots, two spotters and yet no one noticed the potential disaster. Isn't that the truth of mid airs?

Over the years I've seen lots of crashes, too many from behind the sticks myself, but it seems like the mid airs are the most memorable. Besides the one previously mentioned, there are two that come to mind...

The first happened at our flying field. I was flying a friends Phaeton 90, it was quite the experience at the time. This was the early days of big birds so this now modest plane was seemingly huge. I was at least one mistake high and doing some aerobatics. I did a loop and right at the top a smaller plane flew directly over it.

As I was completing the loop I heard the pilot next to me utter those classic words... "I ain't got it!" Shortly thereafter I noticed my engine was dead and handed the controls back to the owner to land. As he was guiding the plane in for a landing I heard that the other plane had come apart in mid air. When the Phaeton landed we immediately noticed that the prop had a nick in it.

The retrieval crew brought back the remains of the other plane, a Sig Kougar, and it was obvious what happened. The tail had been neatly sliced off the Kougar. It happened at the top of the loop with the Phaeton inverted. The Kougar had to pass close enough to get the tail cut off without fouling...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | May 06, 2006 @ 03:48 AM | 17,923 Views
Mostly I read for entertainment and usually science fiction or fiction with science involved. I also like the King-Koontz brand of horror supernatural reading. I'm a Heinlein fan from childhood and my current favorites for 'hard' science fiction are Peter Hamilton and Jack McDevitt. Sometimes though I read non-fiction.

I just read a non fiction book that has bearing on the sport we love, even though it involves man carrying planes. The book is No Visible Horizon by Joshual Cooper Ramo. Its premise is covering the entry of a pilot into competition aerobatics but it it so much more. I usually read the first chapter or two of a book before bying it. I was sold on this book by the last sentence of the first chapter:

"... "Sh_t" I think. "I've just killed myself." ... "

In fact aerobatics is a brutal sport that has killed many a man and woman. (A fact that the detractors on Amazon try to dismiss by touting the fact that no one has been killed in competition.) Pushing the limits against the air has been an obsession of man even before the wright brothers.

Every pilot has looked at that picture of the biplane in the tree and thought "Not Me!", at least for a while. You get your license and you think you're the king of the world. You have a plan laid out on how you're going to progress. My eyesight was not good enough for an airline job but I knew I could be quite the sport pilot. I flew for a while and then just stopped. Oh I...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | May 01, 2006 @ 10:49 PM | 16,826 Views
Most of the time flying is routine but sometimes it just goes awry. Yesterday I left San Antonio at 8:00 am (arriving the airport at 6:00am) and arrived in DC at 10:00pm, driving in from Richmond,VA (without my luggage). I was planning on going to see the new Air and Space Museum facility at Dulles this morning but instead spent my time locating my luggage.

I am actually in Alexandria, VA one of the most pleasant places to hold a business meeting in the country. Too bad I'm not at the meeting hotel. We have to use the "Company Travel Agency" where I work and the agent just forgot to make my hotel reservation. Of course it it my fault for not making sure she did her job.

Flying is one of the great leveling experiences in American life. Everybody flies because airplanes are just the cheapest way (money and time considered) to get anywhere. I fly American mostly for two reasons, the frequent flyer program and the seat pitch. I'm tall and that extra inch for my knees is important. BTW second best in this category is Southwest.