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Archive for March, 2007
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 21, 2007 @ 08:44 PM | 6,288 Views
I've been having so much fun with the planes and the helicopter as of late that I still haven't put the new engine in the HPI Savage! I'm amazed at the thought; back before I got hooked on flying thingies, I'd have been all over that.

Cars, planes, boats or whatever, one thing is clear: R/C brings out the most curious and fascinated folks. Putting a bird in the air at the soccer park is guaranteed to start a conversation with a person or persons who want in on the fun and I have to tell you, I'm more than happy to oblige. The gentleman who co-owns the company I work for is getting hooked and darn quick. He bought a Hirobo Sky Robo indoor helicopter for his dad a while back and they proceeded with merry abandon to bounce it off the walls with a combination of over-controlling and tweaking of the gyro and trim pots...!

Pleased to say that I not only got the Hirobo flying straight again, its purchaser bought himself Realflight G3.5 and may be buyng himself a HobbyZone Super Cub! He, his four-year-old son and his folks were at the field this past Sunday and were they ever blown away. His dad actually used to fly B-29's...he is really fired up.

Apparently, those individuals who paid upwards of $10,000 to be the first to get themselves a PlayStation 3 have never seen a real, live, powered model streaking across sky, ground or water. Too bad, too.

Ten grand buys a LOT of hobby stuff.

What a wonderful pastime we have, no?
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 19, 2007 @ 06:14 PM | 5,218 Views
Well, the P-47 is dialed in, my helicopter skills have gotten a really good workout as of late and I had a situation in which art imitated life.

Allow me to explain:

One of my oldest and dearest friends of these past thirty years (specifically, the gentleman mentioned a couple of posts ago) is a guy who doesn't fly R/C but who does, rather amusingly, refer to our sport/hobby as "clanging." In other words, when a plane hits the ground in a crash...CLANG!

I actually made a CLANG the other day with the Cessna.

My bad.

I let it get a bit farther out then normal at the soccer park and it got too close to one of the big overhead light clusters. The result was a huge metallic CLANG that I heard from clear across the field followed by the plane floating to earth in four different pieces.

The CLANG was from the aluminum landing gear contacting the lights; that sucker was bent but good.

Fortunately, the only loss was the wing...which was damaged anyway. The firewall popped off as did the battery cover. Other than a new wing and prop, not to mention a bit of 15-minute epoxy and voila! Back in the air.

Since then, I've had all three planes and the heli in the air without the slightest hint of a crash. Sure, I've replaced nearly the entire airframe on the Cessna since buying it, but it's dialed in...and I don't plan on flying too close to lights!

In short, I've been clang-free, knock on metal.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 11, 2007 @ 04:49 PM | 5,456 Views
Ah, yes. Life is good.

The new Thunderbolt took to the skies earlier today in a bit of a wind, but not bad enough to ground me.

Needs a bit of an elevator adjustment, but I was fairly sure it would anyway. It looked like it may have been set a smidge too low, so sure enough, it wanted to drop the nose a bit. It only took a few clicks of the trim lever to set it right.

However, there was an unexpected benefit.

This plane is fast.

Extremely so, in fact.

It has the same motor as the old one, the same batteries, the same kind of prop and the same radio but oh, sweet Mary, did it haul bananas. I wasn't the only one who noticed it.

I be a really happy camper, I be.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 07, 2007 @ 07:11 PM | 5,474 Views
It never fails.

I was looking at the P-47 just last night and found myself thinking how good a plane it had been for these past six-plus months of flying at every possible opportunity. Other than a bit of hangar rash and a tweaked tail tip from a couple of noseovers, that plane looked almost as good as the day I assembled it.

Today was nice and warm but overcast. Put plane in the air, bought it down again because I had to squint. On went the sunglasses.

Wasn't too long before the thought occured to me that I may have done a boo-boo.

As the sun started moving, that plane got really hard to track. There simply wasn't any contrast against the clouds and the sunglasses didn't help. I genuinely lost any reference as to which end was up.

The unthinkable happened.

I screwed that plane nose first into the ground.

At speed.

A high-performance foamie makes an interesting sound when that happens. Like Godzilla stepping on an ice chest, only more expensive.

The forward two-thirds of that plane were utterly demolished. I actually managed to bend that nice, strong 4mm gearbox shaft, it hit so hard. Motor and radio survived; the only parts of the airframe that survived were the belly pan and canopy. The pilot continued to smile his beatific smile as if nothing had happened. The li-po wasn't as lucky. The motor stick was jammed into the thing nearly an inch and a half deep. Don't know if it's salvageable.

I kept my promise and it was off to the hobby shop for a replacement. The upside? I got an extra $200 in my paycheck.

After buying a plane, some fresh CA and some new pinned hinges, I'm still ahead by more than a hundred bucks.

Some rationalization, eh?
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 06, 2007 @ 11:54 AM | 5,551 Views
Not I, that's for sure.

I got an e-mail the other day from the folks at helidirect.com verifying that an order had been sent. This would have been great had I actually ordered anything.

No mistake.

I'd left a comment on their talk page regarding the incredible problems that I'd had trying to make their Microheli mainshaft and E-sky maingear combo work for my Blade. Microheli's own website claims the combo will work.

Actually, it doesn't.

The shaft is too long.

Helidirect had already sent me one replacement; this one was totally unexpected. For the record, I've bought several items from them and I'm totally satisfied. They actually lost money on this transaction to begin with and cheerfully lost more in an unsolicited effort to make me happy.

Since I have some fresh new parts to play with (the first mainshaft was returned to Helidirect and the second destroyed in a crash), I may pick the brains of the folks at Microheli to see just what the heck I need to do in order to make this mongrel work.

On a sadder note, a gentleman who has been one of my best friends for nearly thirty years just lost his mom. His dad passed away a couple of years ago and I'd named one of my planes after him since he'd served in the Army Air Corps. Mom and family loved the gesture.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 05, 2007 @ 03:04 PM | 5,540 Views
Sounds like a premise about a really bad movie about a UHF television station, no?

Actually, I was a victim yet again at the usual field, this time with the Cessna. Cost me $50 in parts to repair it. I was on final when the plane decided that it would roll itself hard to the right very suddenly and very quickly. It hit so hard that it bent the motor shaft and utterly destroyed the fuselage all the way back to the leading edge of the wing.

The propeller survived the assault. Go figure.

I might have been better off driving to Pomona even though regular gasoline is flirting with $3.00 a gallon. The news always says that San Diego has some of California's highest gasoline prices.

Apparently, they've never been to the Coachella Valley.

OTOH, the rebuilt version flies immeasurably better than the original! I only had to throw two motors, one speed control, a fuselage, a decal sheet, nosewheel clamps and tailfeathers at the thing to get to this point after less than a month, but hey, that's our hobby.

It was utterly flawless in the air as well as on landing. In fact, the landings were consistently among the best I have ever done with any airplane regardless of its level of performance. It just greased right in as beautiful as you please. So, here's hoping it's dialed in at last!

I'm going to assume that there are some production upgrades in replacement fuselages that address the CG and tip stalling issues. ROG takeoffs were so level and so in control that the model looked like a real 182 on roll-out. Just fantastic.

Until I change frequencies...or get a new Spektrum...it looks like I'll be limiting my flights to the soccer park here by home or a couple of other venues near where I work. There's a park with a terrific little field in Palm Springs which was originally recommended to me by one of the hobby shops, but there's a microwave communications tower smack dab in the middle of the complex. I've had R/C aircraft do some strange things there, I can tell you.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 03, 2007 @ 08:44 PM | 5,456 Views
I am faced with a (gasp!) decision.

Should I go flying as usual tomorrow with the usual crowd...or should I indulge my full-scale old car hobby and head off to the Pomona Swap Meet? An hour's drive west of here will put me in a wonderland of old cars and old parts. My '69 Ranchero and '65 Mustang would benefit greatly.

Only problem is...they start the swap meet at 5:00. That's "AM."


I'll know more tomorrow. Maybe I'll do both, weather permitting.

Was able to get in some flying earlier today, but the wind was so unpredictable that I gave it up. Bounced the Cessna off the turf kind of hard on landing because of it. Broke a prop, but the new nosegear straps held up. Thankfully, I have gotten to the point whereby I can grease the Cessna in at will for a landing. The wind was constantly shifting direction when I was trying to bring it in and Old Man Tip Stall reared his head.

APC makes a 7x3 free-flight prop which might work. I'm waiting to hear back from the tech support guys.

Oh, and the Blade got clobbered by yet another radio hit. Only damage was a sheared retainer pin. Bought it home, straightened the slightly bent mainshaft, reassembled everything, took it outside...perfection. Almost as stable as a simulator. I ran an entire pack mostly hovering. Not enough room for forward flight in front of the house. WAY too fast.

So, it would appear that I'll need to find a suitable alternative field for the eggbeater.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 01, 2007 @ 06:47 PM | 5,522 Views
I'm sure glad that I don't live in the southern US today. We may have had some gale force winds these last couple of days and nights, but those folks had some deadly tornadoes. You have my thoughts and prayers in Alabama.

Our wind seems to have died down. So, after testing the Blade CP and its new tail motor out in front of the house, 'twas off to the field for more fun with the Cessna and the T-Bolt. I tell you, I am really liking that Cessna more and more each day, so much so that I swung by the soccer park once again after a stop at my dentist for a cleaning. My teeth, that is. However, there are lots and lots of neat little tools that the assistant used that would be very helpful in building a new plane. Must investigate this.

By the way, I discovered a nicked radio lead on the Blade's ESC. I'll bet that was the cause of the glitches. I cut out the damaged section, soldered and shrink-wrapped the wires and voila! No glitching! It's amazing how stable that little monstrosity is with a fresh tail motor. E-flite is making a small fortune off of those things at ten bucks a pop.

Anyway, the Cessna caught the attention of a nice gentleman who was out walking his dog. He was blown away by the thing and hopes to visit our Sunday morning fly-in.

Still haven't reassembled the Savage since I've been busy with other things besides flying. It shall be redone very soon.