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Posted by rclad | Feb 04, 2020 @ 12:58 PM | 4,055 Views
The build of my 104" Extreme Flight Extra 300 V2 ARF has taken more than a year(!), but the finish line is finally in sight. This is a conversion to electric power with a battery tray that makes the power and balance lead connections upon insertion. The last hurdle was soldering a wiring harness for the two micro servos that lock the canopy. I was excited to see it actually work, so I had to skip ahead in my posts to show the video of the circuit in action. Link is below.

I tried to follow the Keep It Simple S_____ rule, but this one got complicated. So no KISS for me!

The video of the canopy lock circuit and description of the design can be seen here.
Posted by rclad | Jan 07, 2020 @ 01:17 AM | 4,941 Views
The commanding officer of the Navy S-3 squadron I flew in decades ago had one quirk: he expected his junior officers to recite a poem on special occasions. That included the day a number of us arrived on base after graduating from flight training. We didn't know this beforehand, and that evening, after getting squared away, all of us headed to a local bar and grill. With only minutes to prepare something original, we had to stand in front of the CO and seasoned pilots, one by one. I suppose his goal was to get us to think fast on the spot. I guess it worked, because we all survived our tour of duty.

I love flying aerobatic planes. It inspires me. When I'm not flying I enjoy thinking about flight and what it means to be in the air, above all the craziness down below. I still write poetry, and a number of my poems are about flying. I try to write from a perspective that both an RC and full scale pilot can relate to. Some of the poems that follow have been published in the IMAC newsletter. One of them, a pantoum, took first place in a poetry contest.

I'll start off this collection with the only poem that survived from my tour in the Navy. Enjoy!
Posted by rclad | Jan 01, 2020 @ 12:26 AM | 2,612 Views
I began 2019 with plans to build a new IMAC plane, a 35% scale Extra 300. I thought it might give me a wee advantage over my 30% Extra 330, allowing me to climb to new heights in scale aerobatics. Well, as the Scotts say about best laid plans ("The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, / Gang aft agley"), things did not turn out the way I expected.

In retrospect I can't complain. I realized a dream I hadn't dared to voice out loud.

At the end of the season in 2018 I moved up from Sportsman to Intermediate class in IMAC. The most I had hoped for in 2019 was to learn the skills needed to be a competent pilot in this new class. The step up to Intermediate was a challenge. I had to learn how to do negative snaps, combination rolls, and get comfortable pushing to inverted from a long dive with multiple roll elements. I had to learn how to do a roller, turning the plane 90 degrees while completing a full roll, from upright and inverted, without climbing or descending. As much as I needed the new plane, once competition began I wanted to be out flying. Being stuck in my basement making sawdust was lower on my list of priorities. The catch was that I would have to be that much better of a pilot in order to remain competitive in the new class.

As anyone who has followed this blog knows, I accomplished that and more. I did my first 360 degree roller in June, from upright and inverted. I flew my "little" electric Extra against 43% scale, piston...Continue Reading
Posted by rclad | Oct 06, 2019 @ 09:33 AM | 2,007 Views
Aeroplayin posted a more comprehensive review of the math used in electric powered planes. This is a good read for anyone interested in designing the best power setup for their next electric plane. Check it out here!
Posted by rclad | Sep 17, 2019 @ 01:52 PM | 2,838 Views
The North Central Regional IMAC Championship this past weekend was the last contest of the year and had one of the tightest races I have ever seen. I felt like the little engine that could, competing against gas giants with my little electric plane. See pic below. More pics to come. Read more about the competition here.
Posted by rclad | Aug 27, 2019 @ 12:56 PM | 3,104 Views
Another contest with great weather made for an enjoyable weekend, but what a squeaker! Read more about it here.
Posted by rclad | Aug 26, 2019 @ 12:31 PM | 3,239 Views
Aeroplayin wrote an excellent post in the Power Thread on the relationship between Amps, Torque, HP, Watts, Voltage and Kv. Good information, if you fly electric!
Posted by rclad | Aug 16, 2019 @ 12:52 AM | 2,298 Views
We finally had beautiful weather for an IMAC contest last weekend, my fifth one of the year. Read more on the Cincinnati IMAC Burnit Challenge, and the results, here.

Below is Ben Batts flying freestyle after the contest on Sunday, August 11, with one eye closed!

Cincinnati IMAC Burnit Challenge Freestyle Show 20190811 (3 min 57 sec)

Cincinnati IMAC Burnit Challenge Freestyle Show Part 2 20190811 (1 min 52 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by rclad | Jul 24, 2019 @ 11:40 PM | 3,457 Views
More storms and the results of the KRAM Grand Rapids IMAC Challenge can be found here.
Posted by rclad | Jul 23, 2019 @ 11:43 PM | 3,647 Views
The weather was hot, humid, windy, wet and wild for an IMAC contest in Alto, Michigan, this past weekend. Read part one here. You can learn more about derechos and their destructive power here.
Posted by rclad | Jul 15, 2019 @ 09:59 AM | 3,997 Views
I should know better by now not to fly when I'm tired. After more than 460 flights on my 95" Extra 330SC-E I finally buggered up a landing so bad yesterday that I expected some serious damage to the airframe. It was 95 F with light winds and clear skies, but I caught a bit of updraft on the approach as I came over the end of a cornfield with stalks about 6 feet tall. The black geotex runway must have been generating some thermal activity as well. The plane wasn't descending as it normally does, even with power at idle.

I didn't notice how slow the plane was getting until it was too late. By the time I started to advance the throttle the left wing stalled and immediately fell. The plane dropped out of the air from about 5 feet up, came down on the left wing tip and smacked down hard on the landing gear. That was the first tip stall I have seen on this plane, and I practice stalls on every flight (for IMAC). This is not a design issue. I was drifting to the right side of the runway and must have applied some left rudder to stop the drift. After careful inspection I found no damage. This is a very strong airframe!

After swapping out batteries I got right back in the air and flew the same approach. This time I kept the nose down through the updraft, then brought it back to level once over the runway. I ended up landing midway down the runway, but I greased it in just above stall speed, so the rollout was completed before the end of the 600' runway.

I got off easy this time. Don't get complacent on landings!
Posted by rclad | Jun 18, 2019 @ 12:06 AM | 3,709 Views
Air Masters RC Airfield
North Bend, OH
Friday, June 14, 2019

Hang on for a fun ride! I was flying my best inside/outside loop yet, with a 2 of 4 point roll at top, when things went horribly wrong.

IMAC Practice Flight - Intermediate Sequence - June 14, 2019 (10 min 15 sec)

Posted by rclad | Jun 16, 2019 @ 01:43 PM | 2,964 Views
Air Masters RC Airfield
North Bend, OH
Friday, June 14, 2019

It was a windy day - 30 degree crosswind at 15 mph - but I wanted to try out a second camera on my EF 95" Extra 330SC-E. This one was taped to the top of the canopy facing the tail.

This was the fourth flight of the day, the third with cameras. It wasn't my best sequence work - the negative snaps exiting the P Loop were both off - but it was the only flight that I remembered to clean the splattered bugs off the canopy before takeoff!

These videos help me spot all of my errors that I miss from the ground.

IMAC 2019 Intermediate Practice - June 14 (10 min 7 sec)

Posted by rclad | Jun 08, 2019 @ 08:31 PM | 2,855 Views

Our club had an aerobatics primer today, and Ray, the Unlimited IMAC pilot who put it on, challenged me to try a 360 degree turn with four rolls to the inside. I usually decline the challenge to try something new with my plane, saying I'd like to try it on the simulator first. For some reason today I simply said, "OK."

This isn't the first time Ray nudged me out of my comfort zone. Just when I get comfortable with my current aerobatic skills he asks me to try something different: a slower aileron roll, or opposite aileron rolls back to back, or a snap roll in the opposite direction from how I normally do them, or a tailslide.

I've been flying scale aerobatics for almost three years now, and Ray has been a great mentor. He has given me the confidence to move up to a more difficult class every year, from Basic to Sportsman, and now Intermediate. The Intermediate class introduces the roller, but it's only a 90 degree turn with one roll to the inside. I practiced it many times on the simulator before I ever attempted one with my plane. Today, having flown the 90 degree roller more than a hundred times with my 95" EF Extra 330, I was finally getting comfortable with the maneuver. When I executed a near perfect roller on the first flight today (after three attempts), Ray must have been thinking of a new challenge for me.

After landing, replacing batteries, and pushing my plane back to the runway, he said, in his usual direct and nonchalant...Continue Reading
Posted by rclad | Jun 05, 2019 @ 11:20 PM | 2,668 Views
A rain soaked field threatens to rip off the gear of the 43% giants. See the latest entry in my IMAC log here.
Posted by rclad | Jun 05, 2019 @ 10:16 PM | 2,623 Views
More 20+ mph winds! See the latest entry in my IMAC log here.
Posted by rclad | May 27, 2019 @ 11:38 PM | 3,080 Views
See the latest entry in my IMAC log here.
Posted by rclad | Jan 16, 2019 @ 01:16 AM | 4,166 Views
To determine the minimum thrust I need (or would be happy with) for my 104" Extra 300 V2, I needed an accurate measurement of the thrust I have been getting out of my 95" Extra. The electric set up in that plane has been very good for most conditions in which I practiced and competed in 2018, flying scale aerobatics. While the thrust could have been improved with a different prop or bigger motor, that setup struck a good balance between weight, thrust and flying time. After more than 150 cycles on the batteries, I can still get a ten minute flight performing two Intermediate IMAC sequences (#IamIMAC), with time left over for extra maneuvers.

Once I knew what thrust I was currently getting and happy with, I could calculate a thrust to weight ratio, then work backwards from an expected all up weight on the 104" to calculate the minimum thrust I would need from an electric power system. Adding 2 lbs for the additional parasitic drag of the bulkier airframe should get me close to the same vertical performance I had with the 95".

After borrowing some climber's tubular webbing from a co-worker I finally had what I needed to stake the 95" Extra to the ground and run her up to full throttle. Unfortunately, the weather turned cold and more than half a foot of snow landed by Sunday morning, so I moved the test indoors. Here are the results:

95" Extra 330SC-E
Motrolfly DM5335 189Kv
Jeti Mezon 135 Opto ESC
Falcon 24x10 CFE
2x Glacier 6s 8000mAh (...Continue Reading
Posted by rclad | Jan 02, 2019 @ 08:55 PM | 4,795 Views
After purchasing my second giant scale plane last year, I hoped it would be a while before having to make another investment in a big plane. I've been enjoying flying and competing with my electric EF/3DHS 95" Extra. It's a very capable plane, and would be competitive through the Intermediate class in IMAC (#IamIMAC). I began thinking, though, that a 35% plane would perform a little better than my 30% did against the 43% giants, especially in the windy conditions that are inevitable at a contest, and be easier to see and judge.

So, here it is, another Extreme Flight plane! The 104" Extra 300 V2 will be electric powered, and it's going to carry 10,600 10,000 mAh of capacity from 35C Glacier 65C Dinogy batteries (4x 5300 mAh in 14S2P 2x 10,000 in 12S configuration) for an estimated AUW of 30 28.5 lbs. The extra capacity (over a typical 3D setup) will allow me to fly two Intermediate sequences with plenty of time to spare for practice at home, or loitering in the air for those contests that run dual flight lines.

The motor setup on this plane will use Aeroplayin's belt driven gear reduction unit, or GRU, that will allow this plane to use an inexpensive brushless heli motor rather than an expensive direct drive system. The combined weight of the GRU and heli motor will be less than a direct drive system and be more efficient, up to 91%! The numbers from eCalc indicate this setup will give me up to 10 minutes of flying time doing IMAC aerobatics.

See the pic below for my wiring schematic and components. [EDIT: See next comment with revised schematic for lighter setup.]

Stay tuned for the inevitable customization to make the conversion to electric and make life at the field easier.