DismayingObservation's blog View Details
Archive for September, 2007
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 26, 2007 @ 05:49 PM | 5,721 Views
Despite what is probably the worst assembly manual in the history of hobbies, the Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25 ARF I've been working on and writing about took to the air this morning.

Verdict: I dig this bird.

The review is coming up as soon as I finish it with the info on the maiden flight.

In a totally unrelated story, those of you with an E-flite P-47D Thunderbolt 400 park flyer in your stable and which might be equipped with the 4200kv inrunner setup will appreciate this: If you need a prop, don't get the E-flite props and then go through the hassle of drilling them out to fit the gearbox shaft.

Get an APC 11x7 slow-flyer prop instead. Install the APC adapter that came with the plane, press the large adapter ring in the prop and see the difference this setup makes. The motor spins noticeably faster. Ergo, the plane gets through the air faster as well.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 21, 2007 @ 05:51 PM | 5,074 Views
There's an update below...please take a look!

I would have had it up and on by now, but I had to cancel the maiden flight of the plane in question due to high winds. Making matters worse (at least from the review's point of view) is the fact I'm taking a little weekend out-of-town jaunt.

Believe me, I was sorely tempted to just fuel up the plane and put it in the air today by myself, but I wouldn't have been able to get pictures. The club president has offered to give me a hand under the circumstances; we just have to recoordinate our schedules. It would have been a great day, too. Cloudy but nearly dead calm. The E-flite Thunderbolt took to the sky instead. Back at the old homestead, I was finally able to begin reassembly of the HPI Savage 25 with the arrival of the final parts, namely the brake lever and piston. The lever was totally narfed when the tranny started coming apart. All better and nearly back together! Used the rest of the time to re-epoxy the motor stick on the Thunderbolt. It came loose at the field; CA just doesn't cut it when that happens on a foamie. I'll have to start carrying epoxy and not just CA. No way it's coming loose now short of an "unscheduled landing!" That stick's stuck.

Some epoxy was pressed into service to see if I could fix the poor FlyZone Cessna and its badly deviated septum. Grabbed a decal sheet yesterday but it may be a bit of a wait for the fuse and the cowl. It so happens that I have the old cowl and...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 19, 2007 @ 05:56 PM | 5,106 Views
...no, sir. I don't like 'em.

In the interest of safety, I clipped the JST connector from the GWS speed control of my little FlyZone Cessna 182 Skylane. The wires were beginning to pull out of the rear of the connector and I didn't want to risk a short. I soldered on a JST from the plane's old motor...but those wires were pulling out as well. This little plane is a real handful to fly, believe me. It's a little bit underpowered and tip stalls like you just wouldn't believe. The GWS ICS-300 speed control helped enormously, especially after the problems I had with the factory ESC.

Apparently, I'm not the only one; at least one user on this forum reported his caught fire!

That same factory sent me a new replacement a few months ago on a warranty claim. So, what the heck. In it went.

Down came the plane.

It simply would not ROG from a 600' asphalt runway. Making things worse was the fact that the voltage control was cutting in early.

A hand launch resulted in the motor cutting out, the plane tip stalling and BANG! Down it went, the nose of the fuse breaking off on the runway and shattering a brand new cowl.

New parts are on order, although I think I'll try my hand at repairing the fuselage for now, assuming it isn't too distorted. A quick test fit revealed that the foam under the "windshield" is crushed. I would have retired this little monster and installed the radio in another plane if not for the fact that I'd just installed a brand new motor and landing gear, the original gear being pirated for my little nitro combat plane.

I have to say that I was rather amused that both area hobby shops stocked plenty of replacement wings.

Wonder why...?

Anyway, once you replace that lousy speed control with a good one, the plane is a blast. I can't help but wonder how many folks have given up on these planes because of bad ESC's...
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 15, 2007 @ 09:49 PM | 5,027 Views
I'm pleased to say that both my newest plane and its review are nearly ready.

I hope and pray that I don't have another mishap (or ANY mishap) similar to the one in my previous blog entry. Phone calls galore, e-mails galore. Trying to call the distributor was a genuine exercise in futility. The toll free number left me on hold several times in excess of twenty minutes with no answer and the regular number was constantly busy, each starting about one minute after their start of the business day. E-mails were slow in coming, but they at least came.

Here's the answer I got from Raiden Technology (also known as raidentech.com and nitroplanes.com) regarding my inquiry for replacement parts (italics mine):

Sorry, we do not carry parts for the ARF planes at this time.
>Best Regards,

Are you freaking serious? I buy your plane, you don't carry parts and you're wishing me best regards?

I even told them in a previous e-mail that I was reviewing their bird. For a worldwide audience, yet. If I were them, I'd have busted open a kit and shipped a part, no questions asked. Or, I'd have shipped an entire kit. If they can sell the things for eighty bucks a pop, you can bet the farm they aren't paying twenty a unit. No matter how good this plane flies, I won't be buying another from them. I really dislike slamming a company. I prefer praise and I've heaped praise on Horizon Hobby, Team Orion and Hobbico for customer service above and...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 13, 2007 @ 02:40 AM | 4,869 Views
Boy, did I ever do a boo-boo.

I did a terrific job (or so I thought) of aligning the stabilizer on the Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25 ARF I'm putting together and reviewing.

So, I glued it down.

Without the elevator halves glued in place first.

And I know better than to have done something that boneheaded.

Darn thing was aligned front to back, but was off laterally to the right about a centimeter. Ain't no way the CA was letting go, ain't no way the left elevator half was going to fit and I didn't want to break anything.

According to the owner of the independent hobby shop who has more flight experience than I, the misalignment shouldn't be an issue. Trimming the left elevator a bit got it to fit OK. Trying to contact the manufacturer is a study in either patience or futility. Couldn't get through on the phone, but they did acknowledge my e-mail inquiring about a replacement stab.

At this rate (and with apologies to George Carlin for stealing one of his lines), I'll finish that plane sometime around Saint Swivven's Day.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 11, 2007 @ 06:21 PM | 4,863 Views
The horrific instruction manual I got with my Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25 resulted in a mistake and damage to the covering. I cut the cover where the instructions sorta kinda pointed to and realized with a horrid sinking feeling that I'd just opened up a hole in the wrong place.

A great big nicely trimmed rectangular one.

I about had a fit.

Calling their toll free number resulted in no live help whatsoever. All I got was a generic computer that kept telling me it would try to connect me, all to the strains of "Take Five."

At least it was the Brubeck original. Over and over and over. No live help no matter what I did with my phone. Five minutes, ten...no answer.

Well, directory assistance wasn't able to find the place and the number I did find for the company online is busy. Constantly.

However, I finally got lucky and got a live tech who was quite helpful. While he didn't have the olive drab covering on hand, he did have some of the gray covering used on the underbelly. Since there's always a chance that the underbelly might get dinged by a rock or something, I took him up on his offer to send me some of that color. As far as the wait on the phone is concerned, I just needed to wait longer than I was able to spare. Eventually, I'd have gotten through.

Thank goodness I kept the elevators from the crashed Zero. I have no idea why. I should point out that I received the first plane with the tailfeathers already installed and I...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 10, 2007 @ 09:42 AM | 4,705 Views
The new Zero is coming along nicely despite every effort of the instruction manual to make it do otherwise. When the review comes out, you'll see how much I love the plane (so far) and hate the manual.

I go a nice, warm welcome at the AMA Gold Certified local field yesterday. Nice folks, all. Somehow, that club had gotten a reputation for elitism and snobbery toward those with electrics. Booshwah. Nicest folks you ever want to meet who do a lot for the community in return. In fact, a grandfather/grandson team were having a ball with a GWS Slow Stick soon after the club president landed his 100mph delta wing.

The combat plane made the ride with me. Unfortunately, it bit me. The idle was too fast; it was the first time I'd flown it since tweaking the throttle cable. I reached around the back to pinch the fuel line and ka-WHANNG! Took a nice chunk out of my right thumb. Despite "leaking" all over the sidewalk, it was more of a glancing blow than a deep, direct one. I got lucky. If I'd have been there alone, I would have been a long way from first aid.

Unfortunately, the plane didn't like ROG from the pavement, so it was time for a hand launch. REAL fun with a sliced-up thumb and bloodsoaked dressing. It flew fine, but the engine loaded up soon afterwards. Didn't quite make the field and the new landing gear got tweaked. No biggie; relaunched without the gear...started loading up again...and I brought it in for a nice, greased belly landing before it stalled. Looks like I may have an air bleed problem along with that thumb bleed problem (which, by the way, looks a lot better this morning than it did yesterday). Lots of fuel and oil in the muffler.

I needed to change the dressing on the thumb and I figured I'd had enough. Still, a great day despite having left a lot of DNA on their patio.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 05, 2007 @ 08:47 PM | 4,585 Views
...so why do certain ones of great importance always seem to be on backorder?

Wouldn't you know it.

All the parts for my HPI Savage 25 came in today as did my Hitec GS-81 servo gears and FlyZone Cessna 182 Skylane main gear. It turns out that I had landing gear for my combat plane right under my nose; I cannibalized the Skylane park flyer for its aluminum main gear. Perfect fit. Two DU-BRO Ultra Lite wheels which I had on hand and one DU-BRO micro tail skid later, that combat plane now does perfect ROG's, at least from a dirt runway. It wanted to pirouette on the club's asphalt runway, so I may experiment with installing a steerable tailwheel. Three channel plane, four channel radio! Anyway, it was worth the $14 it cost me to replace the thing (complete with wheels, hardware and wheel fairings), especially since I was planning on doing so anyway after it got tweaked in a crash some months ago and never did fit right since. That's the good news.

The servo gears for the GWS Naro Pico servo I need for the throttle of my Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25 didn't. They're on backorder, for cryin' out loud. Either there are a lot of people stripping gears or those servos have lousy gears that need replacing often. I haven't used them long enough to give an opinion either way.

I could have lived without the parts for the Savage, but doggone it, I need those servo gears, especially since I'll be writing a review.

I guess it won't be a total loss. I can now rebuild the Hitec aileron servos which means I can assemble the wing and photograph its progress at the same time.

The hobby shop promised to look into exactly how long the backorder will last; I'll know by Friday. If it'll be too long, I'll simply get a new servo.

Which I'll have to order.

The hobby shop is out of stock...
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 01, 2007 @ 12:05 PM | 4,804 Views
Talk about service!

The new Zero Fighter-25 from Raidentech.com was on my doorstep less than 24 hours after I ordered it. It was here before the new servo gears I ordered from the hobby shop...and I'm still waiting for those!

I've installed the engine, but that's as far as I can go without the servos, so the project begins anew next week.

I got in touch with Angela and I hope to do a review of the build and the (hopefully crash-free) flying in the magazine. Snapped a few pix of the fuse last night along with detail shots of the packaging and other components. The AMA membership is renewed and I'll be testing the plane at one of the premier club fields in the country. The Coachella Valley Radio Control Club hosted the turbine meet last year that was covered by the AMA in Model Aviation last November. The president has been egging me to join up for months.

Heck, how can I say no?

No frequency hits, no crazed bees like the one that insisted on divebombing my head one day, no dust, no noseovers due to irregular ground.

I'll have shade, work tables, a place to sit and a HUGE runway to ROG from.

Not a bad tradeoff...