Late99's blog View Details
Posted by Late99 | Apr 27, 2014 @ 03:19 PM | 4,857 Views
Again, something simple (and nothing new, I'm just copying what others have been doing for long time already).

What you need:
- Broken hard drive or strong magnets
- Finger prop balancer (something like this)
- Some wood blocks & screws

Steps :
- Disassemble the broken hard drive and save the magnets.
- If you want to paint the wood blocks, it's easy to do before assembly.
- Glue or screw the magnets to wood pieces about 20cm / ~8" tall. Adjust height as required based on biggest props you're using. 20cm is enough for up to 15" props.
- Measure length of the prop balancer. Distance between magnets should be little longer than the length of the prop balancer. Use pencil to mark this distance on the bottom wood block.
- Screw magnet "tower" blocks to the bottom block from bottom, ensure that the distance between magnets is correct.

Simple as that! (Make also one for your best fly mate)
Posted by Late99 | Mar 26, 2014 @ 02:26 PM | 5,451 Views
Driving to work and back is dangerous. Found this Extra in my car after a work day sometime ago.

Previous owner had reserved too heavy motor for it and sold it to get some bigger plane to match the motor. Somehow I happened to have one extra ~100g Turnigy 3536 motor and 45Amp ESC for this.

Hoping to maiden this in couple of days. I expect it to be quite nice flyer. It has 1m wingspan and AUW of under 950g with 2200mAh battery. Not bad. Build quality also seems to be quite ok. Can't wait to fly this baby!
Posted by Late99 | Mar 23, 2014 @ 01:24 PM | 4,902 Views
I got this second hand Robotbirds P-51 Mustang about half a year ago and it was quite beaten originally.

Last week I was practicing 4-point rolls with it. Due to profile design it's actually pretty good in knife edge. During second battery I heard a "crack" and other side of elevator dropped from plane like a leaf. Fortunately a good warbird is fly-worthy with only half elevator and doing an emergency landing wasn't a problem.

The stabilizers had been re-glued in several places by previous owner(s). It was time to cut stabilizers away and build new ones using Depron. I also noticed that the rebuilt and ugly front of the plane was cracking again.

So simple fixes:
  • Glue some plywood in nose (top and bottom) to strengthen it
  • Draw stabilizers on paper using originals as template. Cut new stabilizers from 6mm Depron. I sanded stabilizers to final shape and used tape hinges.

The plane is not pretty, but it's strictly used as a low wing aileron trainer after high wing aileron training by my friends or then by myself for some specific aerobatic maneuver training or as a gusty wind plane. So I just try to keep it somehow airworthy without worrying about aesthetics. The repair was successful and only minor trimming was required after it....Continue Reading
Posted by Late99 | Mar 16, 2014 @ 09:28 AM | 7,705 Views
Specification Sheet
  • Wingspan: 1200mm
  • Length: 1040mm
  • Flying Weight: Including CG ballast in nose and electronics 1097g. AUW with 2200mAh battery 1272g.
  • Motor: 100g 3536 ~1000kv, no exact details known
  • Propeller: 11x5.5 Slow Fly
  • Material: EPO foam

MX2 is sold as a cheap kit by HobbyKing with motor, ESC and servos. Cheap price makes this kit very attractive for pilots wanting for an aerobatic model. As I've understood this is some older model repackaged. The plane is robust and foam quality good, but some details are no match for newer or more expensive models. For example battery needs to be inserted in quite tight space with somewhat limited access.

This is also a ARF kit, it's not RTF and you're required to spend some time building the model.


The kit comes with all required EPO foam parts for the model, cowling and cockpit. You're required to trim and cut some foam parts before build. The hardware kit supplied is of low quality. You'd better be prepared to supply your own horns and clevises. Push rods are usable as well as wheels.

The electronics also require consideration. Servos supplied are typical cheap 9g servos, you might want to use higher quality servos in this plane. The motor itself seems to be of good quality. It's a 100g 3536 model, with unknown kV rating (1000kV-1200kV). The ESC is said to be 30 Amps. It doesn't have any info on it and I highly recommend replacing it with at least 40 Amp ESC. In my tests the motor pulled...Continue Reading
Posted by Late99 | Mar 12, 2014 @ 03:37 PM | 5,995 Views
I've been flying a lot lately. One task has been trimming & setting up my "cheapo MX2" for proper flight configuration. I used Orange 3-axis stabilizer / receiver on it. Idea was to get a plane for relatively gusty / windy conditions.

Before setting it up I was already familiar on how Orange 3-axis stabilizer should be configured. Still I managed to misconfigure it. I had thought that 12 o'clock gain setting would be good to begin with, but actually movements in my case were so small that both ailerons and rudder were reversed on gyro and I didn't notice it. Fortunately I also had configured the on/off switch and MX2 maiden flight was made anyways with gyro off. During second flight I tested it momentarily, it actually felt like I would have switched the high rates on, quickly took the gyro off. During post flight checking and some more googling / YouTube video watching I found this video, which describes the correct way to set up the stabilizer very well. First crank the gain pots to full gain, ensure directions and then decrease as long as the very easily noticed major decrease in the surface movement is reached. Then move a bit back to get more throw. This is very good start point.

The second MX2 flying session was made in gusty wind, around 5-8 m/s. Had hard time keeping the plane in my hand when walking to field and actually it was so windy that I hesitated a little to get the plane airborne. The gyro worked as dream and made flying almost enjoyable in those gusts. Landing also was a piece of cake as gyro made sure that plane approached just as stable as train (and due to head wind the actual land speed was something like walking speed).

Just follow the instructions in the video and you'll end up with a good gyro setup to start flying! I would conclude that Orange 3-axis stabilizer really works as advertised and it's hard to not recommend it. Great value if you're flying in gusty conditions!

I'm preparing a complete review of MX2, it will follow after few days...
Posted by Late99 | Feb 25, 2014 @ 04:57 PM | 4,618 Views
I feel like a boy in a candy store.

And I also think that this hobby has made a bit crazy. I've got two scratch built planes under work, two ready planes waiting for maiden, several other planes to fly and still I need more.

Or does it just tell about how rewarding hobby this is? Always room to learn new things... I'm really waiting for summer and having fun with the Slick. Need to do lot of 3D practicing first with foamies, though.
Posted by Late99 | Feb 06, 2014 @ 02:34 PM | 5,497 Views
Today was a beautiful winter day and I took several planes with me to work. We spent part of the lunch break flying them on the ice next to the office buildings. Optimal winter conditions, sunny day, no practically any wind (maybe max 2m/s) and not too cold.

Couple of work mates were very interested and eager to try. Unfortunately I'm unable to buddy box my Spectrum DX6i and Turnigy T9X due to different channel mapping on them.

Nevertheless, everything went well until we managed to crash Yak-12 into some obstacle (wall). To summarize my lessons:
1. When you let your (relative) inexperienced friends fly, talk first about simple pattern flying. Just make them fly big circle and if that's easy then figure 8. Also emphasize several times how high three mistakes high is and tell them that height is not enemy, it's your friend.
2. When friend is flying don't do anything else simultaneously. Watch the plane and give him instructions continuously (take more height, turn left, decrease throttle etc).
3. Just simply get the buddy box capability.

Fortunately Yak took the hit extremely well. Cowling broke, need to get new or build new. I'll first try if I manage to manufacture it myself from scrap plastic. Also motor mount got loose. Fortunately cleanly and it was very easy to re-glue. Also wing struts came loose, simple re-gluing, too. Also few small dings on wing leading edge, but they're nothing to worry.

Once again this proved how good beginner plane Yak is. Inexperienced guys were able to fly it for long time and it's flyable after some gluing (without any major visible damage). As already several people have noticed, the cowl is a weak place.

Nevertheless, we had a blast! Nice friends, sunny weather and no wind. What else RC enthusiast can hope?!
Posted by Late99 | Jan 25, 2014 @ 12:45 PM | 11,232 Views
Yak-12 is manufactured by EasySky, but sold under different labels and by several stores. Usually the price is set at very attractive / affordable level. It's sister plane is Wilga and they share a lot of parts such as a crash resistant motor mount. The brushless motor installed is a 2200kv motor and it's designed to be run with 2S batteries. It turns 7x3.5 or 7x4 propeller.

Yak has 950mm wingspan and flaps. With flying weight around 360-380g (13oz) and flaps deployed it has nice short takeoff capability. Flaps are very efficient and novice fliers should be aware of lift they cause - typically you need a lot of down elevator when using them, otherwise the plane will balloon easily. Use of elevator mix with flaps deployed resolves this problem (but requires setting up the mix).

Yak is a relaxed flier for low wind days. Due to small weight it's not optimal for stronger winds and it flies relatively nervously in wind. Nevertheless, I would say Yak is an excellent aileron trainer with enough punch for acrobatic flying.

It's design is robust, it has weak spots designed in several places (such as glued landing gear pants, which usually breaks from gluing without plastic breaking and the airframe itself is durable. Stock wheels are quite small so on grass fields hand launching might be a only option. Landing is easy and the plane glides well.

I tested Yak with different props to get some idea on the possible alternatives. Interestingly it was more limited by battery...Continue Reading
Posted by Late99 | Jan 02, 2014 @ 04:08 PM | 4,084 Views
I've got plenty of 6mm and 3mm depron, some styrofoam pieces (about inch thick) and following electronics:
- 30 Amp ESC
- Turnigy DT750 motor
- Several 9g servos, couple of heavier servos
- Different types of 10" and 11" props
- 1000mAh, 1300mAh, 1500mAh and 2200mAh 3s batteries

I was thinking about BFU by demonGti , but the motor and 6mm / 3mm depron aren't quite the best match for this. 60% BFU would be easy to build from 6mm Depron, but is the motor too heavy for 60% size? Any other relatively easy build biplanes for 6mm material? Or other radical ideas? Don't need high wing trainer currently, so other ideas suitable for that motor are welcome. What about FliteTest Baby Blender?
Posted by Late99 | Dec 21, 2013 @ 03:45 PM | 5,785 Views
Mini J3 Cub is sold by several different stores / web stores. It's cheap, aerobatics capable and quite "scale looking". And as such it's quite attractive. In this entry I'll try to summarize it's weaknesses and strong points.

Mini J3 Cub was my first proper RC plane. And boy it taught me a lot. Actually I'm running on a second airframe as the first one went into trash bin after countless of flights and crashes. Nevertheless, it taught me to fly and also gave me the inspiration to look into scratch building of planes.

After flying several other planes I have to say that a bigger (longer wingspan) trainer is better. The small J3 Cub is not very stable, it's very sensitive to wind and also requires some speed to stay in air. Bigger trainer usually is capable of flying slower. J3 Cub (at least those two I've flown) has a habit of tip stalling relative easily.

The biggest shortcoming of J3 Cub is it's 2mm motor shaft. It's very easily bent in a nose crash. Usually if you crash, you'll have also bent shaft. Two other common failures are tires and cockpit window part attachment. Foam tires come of from plastic rims and it's good to glue them initially. Same happens to cockpit window. Wing leading edge is held by it and it's badly glued to fuselage. In a nose crash whole window part comes loose. Some glue will fortunately remedy this.

J3 Cub is also relatively easy to get into tip stall. This combining underpowered stock engine and shaft problems means a lot...Continue Reading
Posted by Late99 | Dec 15, 2013 @ 08:57 AM | 5,769 Views
My Polaris build took longer than I expected, something like three months. I actually build couple of other planes during that time and that didn't help with Polaris progress. I'm quite impressed with Polaris design. Still waiting for good (winter) weather to maiden it, it's simply too wet and windy currently. This Polaris will be used mainly on snow and water, it probably won't see too much land based action.

The design is good, but the tough parts of the build are the aileron controls and motor wiring in the tail part. There simply isn't too much space. With proper stiffening (as per instructions) the airframe is rigid and I would expect it to be a superb flyer. The only extra strengthening I made was adding 6mm carbon square tube in the tail (vertically), otherwise I pretty much followed instructions. The finish was made by taping. Colored packaging tape for most of the surfaces only bottom surfaces were covered with more heavy duct tape to get more durability. Finding CG was easy, different battery types can be used easily by adjusting battery location.

Used hardware:
- Turnigy D2826-6 2200kv motor
- Red Brick 50A ESC
- 6x4E propeller
- Turnigy TG9e 9g servos
- Spektrum AR400 receiver (DX6i transmitter)
- 3s 2200mAh and 1500mAh batteries. Locations for both battery types measured and marked in the battery bay.

Used glues:
- Epoxy (with and without microballons)
- UHU Por
- Medium CA & accelerator
- 3M77...Continue Reading
Posted by Late99 | Dec 15, 2013 @ 07:50 AM | 4,518 Views
This is something really simple. But hopefully might help someone.

I use following construction to check CG on my foamies. It's not suitable for heavy planes, but quite nice for foamies. Anyway it's very easy & quick to build..

The base is cover from old broken CD-ROM drive. You could use wood block or anything like that instead. Then just hot glue two skewers into the sides vertically and glue small pieces of foam or rubber on the top of the skewers... And you've got perfectly good, quickly built CG finder.
Posted by Late99 | Dec 01, 2013 @ 01:17 PM | 3,859 Views
This is my plane hangar, ummm not, garage.

Well, plenty of planes anyway.

My trainers: Mini J3 Cub and Yak-12. Yak is very good trainer and has seen a lot of flying this summer, Mini J3 Cub not so, too heavy wing load on my setup (replaced the original motor with bent axel with Park 300).

Fun, self made depron planes: OSG, Yak-54 and the new 24" David (no maiden with David yet).

Then I've got two old ones from my friend when he decided to quit flying. A T-50 and Robotbirds Mustang. Both seem to have had a long and eventful life. Had to repair nose of the Mustang to get it airworthy, probably have to build new tail at some point, too. Haven't had opportunity to fly the T-50 yet. It looks bad (at least nose), but technically is ok.

And then the projects... Polaris and Puddle Twin 2. Should finish the nacelles for Puddle Twin and then it would be painting time... Finally, but not least: MX-2 for next summer aerobatics fun.

I also had tomhe's SU-31. But it passed away after very many hard flights and several minor and couple of more serious crashes. Very good plane, nevertheless. It's electronics serve now in the Yak-54.

More detailed stories will follow...
Posted by Late99 | Nov 30, 2013 @ 02:51 PM | 3,424 Views
Uhhh, I guess I need to start blogging a little. Somebody might even learn a thing or two from my screwups. And anyway it's winter here now, very slight change of actually flying. Winter is more building & simulator training season for us.

Next blog entries will include: my building projects, current planes, their stories and my experiences with them. I currently already have quite many of them and building process keeps them coming...

Anyways I'm quite new to hobby. Have a long history in everything related to airplanes and flying, but my RC flying experiences are from 2013. Building seems to be just as important to me as actually flying the planes. Currently I've got foam planes bought from stores and depron planes built by myself from drawings. Anything from gliders to acrobatics interests me.