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Posted by YosefAugers | Mar 02, 2014 @ 10:18 AM | 2,798 Views
I figured I'd ask the experts how to attach the horizontal and vertical stabilizers by posting to the Ultimate SS Help Thread here.
Posted by YosefAugers | Feb 27, 2014 @ 02:48 PM | 2,618 Views
Both the GWS Assembly Instructions and an Annotated Slow Stick Build site indicate step one in this build is to connect the elevator control surface to the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder control surface to the vertical stabilizer.

This connection is made with hinges and tape hinges are suggested. This is a pretty good video on how to make tape hinges. My experience has been that tape hinges work reasonably well and are certainly lighter and cheaper than hardware hinges.

However, I've had a few experiences of tape hinges introducing a bit of resistance into control surface movement (thus working the servo harder) and, also, sometimes it's difficult to get the tape to stick to the inside of surfaces where the bevel cut(s) has been made.

I first encountered the idea of The Welders Hinge on the FancyFoam site and have been intrigued ever since.

Further investigation of this "Welders Hinge" turned up this video demonstrating how flexible and strong such a hinge could be. The accompanying how to video shows how easy it is to make the welders hinge. This is the technique (bevel cut both sides, pin to cardboard holding sides flush, glue, scrape) I'm trying to use here.

I did one test trial using dollar tree foamboard and it worked as advertised. I'm now waiting for the GWS Yellow SS's elevator's hinge to dry...

As an aside, when I first started experimenting with making my own foamboard planes, I didn't trust myself to freehand cut a 45-degree...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | Feb 21, 2014 @ 10:31 PM | 3,240 Views
I've been wanting a "real" (GWS) Slow Stick (SS) but they always seemed out of stock, so I set up Tower Hobbies to let me know when the model I wanted would be available. After months of waiting, the notice came and I ordered a GWS Slow Stick Airplane in Yellow with the 2215/12T Brushless Motor System ($43.19 to my door).

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In the pic above, below the wing, the five immediate choices are lined up: motor, ESC, servos, prop, and receiver.

Task #1 = choose motor.

While reading the rcgroups SS thread, I failed to find a comparison of the various OEM power options -- so ordering the brushless motor seemed safest.

One post suggested using the Heads Up RC Emax CF 2822 800kv motor and the HURC 18 Amp ESC so I figured I'd use this as a baseline against which I could compare the GWS (OEM) motor.

Weighing motor, mount and screws, the Emax weighs ~20g less than GWS's motor's 68g (20g ~ 4% of a 500g AUW). Per each motor's docs, the Emax offers 25oz/700g & the OEM GWS offers 22oz/616g of thrust (14% increase) both ~105.5w (3S). NOTE: while I reasonably accurately measure weight, thrust is advertised numbers. Name: OEMvsEmas.jpg
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Also, the red-anodized Emax motor mount is aluminum (vs GWS's plastic) and has eight cooling fins (GWS 0).

Motor Choice = the $11.50 Emax CF2822 800kv. As an aside, the $11.50 1300kv version pushes 28oz/784g+ for the same weight.

Task #2 = choose ESC. The rcgroups post suggesting the Emax motor also suggested the HURC 18A Brushless ESC. This ESC is rated for 18A (@3S's 11.1V = 200w) continuous. Comparing this to the Emax motor's 140w rated maximum, capacity seems adequate.

Also, the HURC's BEC is rated for 10w. When playing with the MPX FunMan, I had a battery pack (via servo tester) exercise/loosen up its already-connected rudder (the servo midpoint matches the rudder's!) and, during so, two multimeters indicated the FunMan's rudder servo pulled no more than 125mA (0.7w @5.7V) which is 7% of the BEC's rated 10w.

I'll be using the HERC 18A, at least initially.
Posted by YosefAugers | Feb 21, 2014 @ 07:21 PM | 3,416 Views
For Christmas, the wife got me a HobbyKing Slow Stick. Now that the work areas are ready, unboxing the HK SS found a few parts missing but the real show stopper is the shattered motor mount:

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I created a support "Ticket" on HobbyKing's website and we'll see how that works out...

The wife also got me a Multiplex FunMan. Since work so far on the MPX Fun Cub kit looks to be a long-term project, the FunMan should provide some Cub-style experience.

As expected with a MultiPlex product, all the FunMan's parts were in the box undamaged. Rather than order the aileron add-on kit, I'm going to see if I can assemble the necessary parts myself. More on this as the parts show up...
Posted by YosefAugers | Feb 21, 2014 @ 07:05 PM | 3,240 Views
A task that when I was healthy would have taken a weekend took me the last six months and is finally finished. Needing to move my "office" desk into the garage gave me the opportunity to organize my work areas. I added more than a dozen of the 3'x3'x1.5' steel-frame shelf units and almost a dozen 3-drawer plastic shelf units to finally give everything its place ensuring the work surfaces, including my new 3'x7' "RC Work Bench," are clutter-free. Here's the RC Work Bench:

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While not strictly RC-related, I also gained the work space on my desk above which I made the same hutch-style full-length shelf as the RC Work Bench

...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | Oct 18, 2013 @ 06:29 PM | 3,117 Views
Went to neighbor Bob's field to try it out for flying - it's a great field, lots of room without trees, somewhat protected from winds.

I first flew the HobbyZone Duet and gosh, it flew great. The bit of wind there was didn't affect its attitude - I'm really impressed with this $59 Duet

I think the Duet can carry the little keyfob video camera, I'll see if I can set that up.

Then I tossed up the Stratos. I guess I forgot how far back I need to position the battery because I couldn't keep its nose up without serious throttle. I tried to land it and, of course, augered it right in. So I've got a bit of work to do repairing it - hehe, nothing new there eh?

Here's the video.
Posted by YosefAugers | Jun 22, 2012 @ 02:04 PM | 4,398 Views
Farmer Ken just dropped off the Champ, bless his heart.

She wasn't in the alfalfa field but in a field farther west. He saw something orange in that other field when he was working on the alfalfa.

She looks just fine.

The electronics still work just fine.

The battery appears to have discharged too far to recover - she's dead and won't take any kind of charge. Small price to pay

On a humorous note, I brushed against her and tore the rudder/elevator assembly loose. Welcome back Champ!! Here's some more Gorilla Glue and toothpicks for you.

Posted by YosefAugers | Jun 20, 2012 @ 11:00 PM | 3,522 Views
I've been trying to fly using my nice new shiny HiTec Aurora 9 transmitter but failing miserably:

Tech One Fun Fly - Yesterday I took her out to the drainfield with the notion I'd see if I could get her to take off quick, with full flaperons, and, clearing the pine trees, get a successful flight.

The first takeoff went as planned but she veered off to the right & I couldn't get her back before having to chop the throttle before hitting the trees. I think the motor may have come loose at this point.

The second takeoff went well too but she made a 90-degree left turn and all I could do was shut her down. This time I noticed the engine mount, while still attached to the foam firewall, was ripped loose and the engine was pointing left.

Number one plane into the repair hangar...

HobbyKing Atom Mini Glider - The number one problem with this plane has been center of gravity - I've been experimenting with different battery placement, tossing it out in the drainfield until it glides powerless with something approximating a level attitude. I finally got her flying yesterday but she flew really weird. She'd get in a bank and I'd apply opposite rudder and nothing, nothing, nothing, then, after having the rudder hard over for 2-3 seconds, all a sudden she'd flip over like she just grew huge ailerons.

I kept trying and trying and failing and failing until I finally broke the nose open on both sides. Number two plane into the repair hangar.

Today about 8'ish I...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | Jun 12, 2012 @ 10:12 AM | 4,793 Views
I've had the Fun Fly for about three weeks now. She's all put together and is, I think, ready to really fly.

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Two things attracted me to this plane:

1. Four channels - rudder, motor, elevator and AILERONS. Nice big ailerons that might be used as flaperons to both increase lift allowing her to take off from the drainfield and maybe slow her down. For where I am right now on the RC aircraft pilot learning curve, I'm finding I'm uncomfortable flying the Stratos with as fast as it flies.

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2. Ruggedness - It has a rubber band-attached breakaway wing and when I saw this picture, I was hooked:

...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | Jun 12, 2012 @ 12:04 AM | 3,676 Views
7:30PM the wind calmed down enough for me to get in a quickie so I tossed the Champ up over the drainfield and she flew beautifully. It's funny because the rudder is turned a good 1/8" to the left yet flies straight. hehehe

I followed her up to the NW corner of the drainfield where I have a chair and went to sit in the chair and fell over backwards. All I could think was "I bet there's a big rock right where my head's going to hit." There wasn't. Phew.

By the time I got back on my feet, the Champ was maybe 500' away and 200' high, just over the Miller's house.

Initially, I think she was at least partially responding to the transmitter but I couldn't get her turned towards me before losing all control. I chopped the throttle and she started down. Trying to get closer, I started walking north but had to walk behind a tree and when I came out from behind the tree the Champ was nowhere in sight.

I thought it might have dropped into farmer Ken's alfalfa but we couldn't find it. I'll go look some more tomorrow...
Posted by YosefAugers | May 18, 2012 @ 11:50 AM | 4,625 Views
Yesterday sure was a busy day. To recap what happened with the Stratos:

o I had already moved both the rudder and elevator control rod clevises one hole closer to the control surfaces in the control horns (to get more rudder and elevator movement).

o Discovered the HH site listed the Stratos' Center of Gravity (CG) location in its "Spec" listing.

o Found that with the correct CG, I can fly the Statos

o Removed the 5/8" ball bearing weight in the Stratos' nose, cut the forward bulkhead out in her battery compartment, moved the battery forward enough to get the correct CG, or maybe a tad tail-heavy, and she flew even better. Much better.

On to other, random, topics...

In a reply to the prior thread Glenn mentioned he has dogs and, I believe, eight cats. I also have eight cats and two dogs. Some people say dogs can't tell time and have no soul. IMO they're wrong. Dogs always know EXACTLY what time it is. It's lunch time.

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On the horizon:

o I've got an AXN Floater-Jet assembled & ready to fly. I used the left slider switch on the HiTec Aurora 9 transmitter to change the elevators to flaperons to see if she'll be more of a slow flyer. One disappointment was the elevator servos weren't centered so I had to tear them out, reposition the arms, & glue them back in. Also, to get full movement with the elevators & servos centered properly, I had to make new control rods for both elevators.

o Another addition to...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | May 17, 2012 @ 12:13 PM | 4,845 Views
Today's Stratos Flight #3 is after I removed the 5/8" ball bearing from the nose and cut out enough of the front of the battery compartment to push the battery forward enough to get the CG per HH spec or maybe just a tad tail-heavy.

Even though the wind was starting to blow, she seems to fly pretty well now. I can climb at will, hold altitude at ~70% throttle and cutting the throttle (the Virtual Instructor adds up elevator) has her descending more or less level.

Befitting my status as "retarded beginning novice" the only aerobatic maneuver I tried was a simple stall about 2:04 in - she behaved swimmingly.

Boy, I tell you, I need to find a place to land these bigger planes...

05-17-12_StratosFlight03_Pass03.mp4 (3 min 24 sec)

The audio sounds like I'm jockeying the throttle a lot but I'm not, it's the Virtual Instructor telling the engines to speed up on one side when I use the rudder.
Posted by YosefAugers | May 17, 2012 @ 11:07 AM | 5,010 Views
I removed the Steel Sphere that was in the nose foam of the Stratos. It's closer to 5/8" than 3/4"

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To attain spec CG, I cut the battery compartment's forward bulkhead and the battery ended up here:

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With the battery there, here's how she balances at the spec CG point:

...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | May 17, 2012 @ 10:04 AM | 5,030 Views
Inspired by ddog343, I made an easy way to check the Stratos' CG:

The CG, per HH, should be at the rear of the two slots in which the battery compartment cover fits. So I made a loop of safety wire, put the loop through those slots and mounted the battery compartment cover:

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Leaving the battery where I positioned it for this morning's second flight:

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I hung the plane, upside down, by the "CG Test Wire" to see how balanced she is at the HH-specified CG point:

...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | May 17, 2012 @ 09:30 AM | 4,912 Views
The Stratos' Center of Gravity is supposed to be "0.8 in (20mm) in front of landing gear wire" per its website here.(click on "Specs")

Page 9 of the Stratos' Instruction Manual states, "Install the flight battery (C) in the forward-most portion of the battery compartment," but if I comply with this and mount the battery as far forward in the battery compartment as I can, my Stratos' CG is too far forward. When I discovered this I wondered if the too-far-forward CG was causing me to crash the Stratos.

Moving the battery rearward, so the battery's rear edge is ~3/8" forward of the rear of the battery compartment, put my Stratos' CG per spec. With the battery so arranged, I can keep the Stratos in the air:

05-17-12_StratosFlight01_Pass03.mp4 (1 min 1 sec)

I discovered the "Spec" GG measurement very late last night then moved the battery. Today's forecast is for lots of wind so I got up early, rushed out to test the Stratos and found with the CG in spec I could keep it in the air, but she still felt nose-heavy, i.e., at anything below full throttle she'd go nose-down and descend.

So, after landing the first flight I moved the battery even further back, so the battery's rear edge is at the rear edge of the battery compartment opening and tossed her up again:

05-17-12_StratosFlight02_Pass03.mp4 (1 min 56 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | May 15, 2012 @ 10:41 AM | 9,257 Views
While I'm certainly not qualified to speak on flying, I think my growing crashing experience qualifies me to compare these planes in terms of how well they stand up to retarded beginners such as myself.

In terms of ruggedness, the Stratos is the winner by far. So far I've plowed it nose-first into the ground at full throttle at least four, maybe five or six, times. Every time the rubber nose tore off but was easily CA'd back on. This last time the big steel spherical ball came off with the rubber nose - I think my crashing is layering CA on front to back.

The Stratos has "accordioned" on the left side of the fuselage from the nose to where the wing mounts - the only effect is the little circles in the foam are bulging out a bit there:

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I've also taken the Stratos through the limbs of a pine tree (again, at full throttle). It was amazing how far the fuselage "flew" after the limbs removed the wing. The fuselage was a good 30-40' past the tree and it was maybe 6' in the air when it encountered the tree's branches.

After about a half dozen very high energy crashes, this is what damage the Stratos has suffered:

1. Propellers & spinners - she's now chewing up her second set of props and spinners. When the wing detaches, the props tend to smack into the fuselage cutting into the foam just in front of the wing. So far the damage is minimal:

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2. The encounter with tree branches made a bit of a cut in the wing:

...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | May 11, 2012 @ 10:23 AM | 5,161 Views
The propellers on the HZ Firebird Stratos are press-fit on (not threaded). I found it VERY difficult to pull them off and impossible to put them on until I tried just a bit of heat from the old heat gun.

I kept the heat gun on low, applied just a bit of heat and tried to press on the prop - a bit more heat, a bit more pressing and it went on, not easily but without getting out the hydraulic press.

As always, it's really easy to overdo it with a heat gun. Apply a little heat, try to pull off or push on the prop, if it needs a bit more heat, apply it but be careful not to melt stuff.
Posted by YosefAugers | May 09, 2012 @ 09:02 AM | 7,764 Views
Part 2 in my series on soldering focuses on battery connectors. This is a good resource for connector information.

Part 02 -- Installing an XT60 battery connector:

My HobbyZone Firebird Stratos originally came with an EC3 connector to plug the battery into. On the other hand, the two spare batteries I ordered came with XT60 connectors.

Initially, I made an adapter to connect the XT60-equipped batteries to the EC3-equipped stratos (as always click on the picture 2-3 times to get the best image):

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To minimize weight, I decided to do away with the adapter and put XT60 connectors on the Stratos and the OEM battery. This post shows the steps to replace the EC3 connector with an XT60 on the Stratos:

Since I wanted to keep the EC3 connector for future use, I needed to cut it off with enough wire still attached to easily use it again. This resulted in too short wires so before I installed the XT60 connector on the Stratos I first needed to extend the wires. I pulled the wires through to the top of the fuselage, stripped about 1/2" of insulation off, then positioned them in my "Helping Hands:"

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"Tinning" - I "tinned" the exposed wires to make subsequent connection easier. "Tinning" is flowing solder into the wire strands where the insulation has been stripped off. I prefer using a 40W soldering iron but need to be careful with such a hot iron to avoid melting the unstripped insulation on the wire.

PreHeat the Soldering Iron...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | May 06, 2012 @ 04:03 PM | 4,250 Views
I've seen a number of posts from people expressing trepidation about soldering especially to connectors. I've got some experience soldering and thought I'd share what I've learned:

Part 01 -- The right tools and materials make a big difference:

HELPING HANDS - This is a "must have" - here's an example at Harbor Freight. Here's what I'm currently using:

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I've got a little piece of ScotchBrite Pad in the base to use on the solder tip when needed. When I first got it, I thought the base was too light and unstable but I was wrong -- it works great. I think back on the wacko ways I'd try to hold stuff and solder them and laugh -- this thing (or something like it) truly is a must have item to solder.

WIRE STRIPPERS - Not a "must have" but certainly a "REALLY nice to have:"

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The top strippers in the above pictures are ok, I guess, for very small wire like the tiny solid core wire used for phone lines, but the bottom pair in the above picture are truly spectacular:

Wire Strippers - World's Greatest (0 min 34 sec)

SOLDERING IRON - I can't use a solder "gun" as it doesn't allow for the precise control I like. I prefer using a 40 watt soldering iron - this is hotter than is usually recommended for soldering the 16 or 18 gauge wire we're working with but, as I hope I'm successful in explaining later, I use the hotter iron to an advantage. I use a "conical" tip -- I find it a good "all...Continue Reading
Posted by YosefAugers | May 05, 2012 @ 12:17 AM | 4,702 Views
Originally Posted by NorCalMatCat
I would like to offer some advice about the sim...

Now not everyone agrees with this but I think it works best... practice in the sim with ALL types of planes, especially the really hard ones like 3D planes, reason being if you can even come CLOSE to taming one of those in the sim, then an easy plane will seem like a piece of cake.

Also practice ALL the planes, don't just pick one. This will give you a good overall feel for the dynamics of flight instead on focusing on the dynamics of a single plane. If you get down the dynamics of flight in general then flying a particular type of plane will make a bit more sense because you will understand how it's design actually works in the air.

I started with helicopters, and I am so glad I did. When I jumped to planes it was super easy and I never had a crash yet with a plane that was do to pilot error (I have had crashes because of hardware issues though), and I thank that to three things: Doing heli's first, as heli's are demanding on all control surfaces at all times, you have to use both sticks non-stop plus on a heli small stick movements can equal BIG aircraft movements, on a plane this really helped me a lot (My second ever RC airplane flight was an Ultra Micro SU-26XP which is an extreme aerobatics plane, and I was able to do rolls, loops, etc with no problem and that was with a controller with no dual rates!), the second
...Continue Reading