Posted by GRW3 | Mar 30, 2006 @ 12:39 AM | 12,309 Views
Thanks to everybody reading this blog.

My life has been hectic lately. My son is working on a movie and I've been taking him to his sets. It's an independent film and there's no money for the actors up front. Struggling actors value face time more than dad's money or time. Anyway, we were sitting in Whataburger digesting his last shoot when my wife called wanting the number for our road service. She had a flat. Please see below for her definition of a flat...

The best tool I've found for saving time for modeling is Tivo. A TV recorder saves time? You bet! I don't watch any live TV to speak of and that saves fifteen minutes or so an hour. Further, I don't watch everything I record. Somehow just the fact I have it is enough and after a while I just delete it, unwatched.

I saw this little plane at the LHS and it was just too cute to pass up. It's sitting on the plans for my Eindekker. It's a two control R/C from FMA. Power motor and steering motor. I've not flown it with power, just a couple of trimming tosses (and it glides very well), but I have crashed it. I fumbled it and it fell on the tail rotor ring, breaking it. I glued it back with foam CA but you can tell it happened. I also managed to break the charging jack from the transmitter. As delivered, you use the transmitter batteries to charge the 150mah NiMH battery. I pressed too hard and it popped out. The transmitter still worked so I just soldered the jack to a lead for my Hobbico fast field charger that works with NiMH batteries.
Posted by jbourke | Mar 28, 2006 @ 07:27 PM | 21,597 Views
Last week I was at the Game Developer's Conference in San Jose, CA. I spent some time at the Marriott hotel attending various sessions.

The Marriot is a nice hotel.

It is so nice that when one of the toilets broke, a worker put a sign on it that said:

We're sorry for the inconvenience
This is out of order
Thank you for your understanding.
Lesser hotels would have simply put "Out of Order" on the toilet. Sure, it would have communicated the same thing, but that isn't the point. The quasi-haiku shows that the Marriot cares about its customers.

The next time you are in the San Jose area, don't stay at any old run-down hotel with broken toilets. Stay at the Marriot, where the broken toilets are first-class.

Posted by GRW3 | Mar 23, 2006 @ 11:02 PM | 12,754 Views
Over the years I've run the gamut on field boxes - none to small to big to small. When I was a kid flying "Li'l Jumpin' Bean"s all I needed was a paper sack to hold the control lines and prop/glow plug wrench. Maybe a spare prop but plane usually broke at the same time as the prop.

In college I used a wooden box I built in Jr. High shop class. Eventually though I started to use my grandfather's tackle box as my primary tool box. It's one of the few things I've ever been sentimental about.

At some point a few years back the rage became the big folding leg, hold a gallon fuel can, detachible starter box, airplane stand on top field boxes. It was big enough to comfortably hold a (then very large) sixty size plane. I lost my thrill with it one day when some choppy air came through the pits and made it and the plane that was on it do a snap roll with the plane ending up on the bottom. I didn't quit using it completely but it was doomed.

The boxes got smaller with time. I abandoned the concept of bringing enough supplies to rebuild a plane at the field. (I do carry supplemental supplies on road trips.) So in the end it was just Grandpa's tackle box, a Dave Brown fuel can and self powered starter.

Now that I'm flying again, I've restocked the tackle box and repainted the fuel can. My starter is dead but I haven't replaced it yet. I am very interested in e-flite and I know the tackle box won't hold a battery suitable for recharging flight batteries. With that in mind, I snapped up the rolling tool box below at a recent swap meet.

Will the roller be my main device or will I stick with my minimalist approach? Don't know for sure. It's always a struggle. Will you regret not having that special part when you get to the field? Sure but why not make sure the plane is ready before you leave home? Try to strike a balance. (What's the furthest you've gone without a transmitter? My personal record is 50 miles but only because I checked at a rest stop.)
Posted by c/f | Mar 22, 2006 @ 11:52 AM | 10,304 Views
Posted by GRW3 | Mar 14, 2006 @ 03:34 PM | 8,297 Views
As you build, kits or from plans, you will find you accumulate excess building supplies. I just hate to throw these away but you just can't let it stack up or you would be buried in it. I took a good sized kit box and started sorting out my left over building materials (balsa, hardwood, plywood, carbon or glass fiber, plastic) into logical groupings. I then put the material intended to keep into an old kit box. I keep the materials separated with paper (silkspan actually) but it could be more or less formal. When I finish a kit project I evaluate the excess building supplies. The valuable parts go in the box. The rest go in the garbage. (The latter is key to keeping a reasonably clean shop.)
Posted by GRW3 | Mar 13, 2006 @ 12:52 PM | 8,389 Views
Ones Good To Have but Not Necessary

The only power tool you need is a good drill, cordless preferably. I would follow that with a hand held Dremel Tool or one of the copies that are available today. (I got a new All Trade with 200 accesories at COSTCO for $26. Good thing too, my ancient Dremel had spun its last.)

Over time I acquired several other useful tools. A Dremel Scroll Saw, a 10" Drill Press, and smal Belt and Disk Sander.

It is not unusual to have to cut plywood, hard wood or large chunks of balsa during a construction project. You can use coping saws, hack saws or jig saws for a lot of this but that can be time consuming or awkward. Faced with one kit that had a lot of this I borrowed an old Dremel saw from a friend. i liked the convenience but hated the noise of the vibrator used to displace the saw. I resisted buying one until Dremel brought out the modern version with a quiet drive.

The Drill press is important for easy placement of accurate holes. You can set depth and angle for precise control. Some pieces can be hand held but you should consider a drill press vise for better control.

The Disk and Belt Sander is a great combination for modeling. The Belt Sander is great for roughing out large pieces of cross grain or mixed assemblies where members of the plane family would not work. Finish the job with a block sander. The Disk Sander is a more precise device but cannot handle as much material. It can do angles, simple and complex. Which can be very helpful in getting tight fits.

The Saw and the Sander can generate a lot of sawdust. They are equiped with Shop Vac fittings if you need to do a lot of cutting and/or sanding indoors. I have to get a new Shop Vac so for now I am doing the heavy wook outdoors.

Your best bet with these tools is to use somebody else's to get a feel for their effectiveness. If I had to choose one, I would probably go with the Sander.
Posted by jbourke | Mar 10, 2006 @ 03:10 AM | 20,326 Views
Why did you guys get rid of the gallery software???

Since I've been asked the question several times in Site Suggestions / Complaints, I thought I would address it here in my blog.

Here are some reasons for the switch:

1. Our moderation system wasn't supported by the gallery software. We now rely on the "Report This Post to a Moderator" link to handle site moderation. This feature isn't available in the gallery software.

2. We objected to the dual navigation that proved complicated to new users of the site. The forum navigation bar sits on top of the gallery navigation bar. This is hard to understand at first, and we gear our UI for newcomers as much as possible. In addition, there are separate category hierarchies in the forum software and the gallery system, which adds to the learning curve.

3. Many users were abusing the gallery, using it to store photos for ebay auctions, their website, etc. Because the images are buried inside of the gallery system and very few users looked at a member's gallery unless it was linked within a forum thread, a lot of users got away with using RCGroups as a free image host.

4. The admin system for the gallery was completely separate from the forums and wasn't as sophisticated.

5. Very few people used the gallery! The number of hits we got in that feature was a very small percentage of the site traffic. It wasn't justified from a maintenance point of view.

6. The thread categories, blog feature,...Continue Reading
Posted by Pat Lynch | Mar 06, 2006 @ 11:50 PM | 18,378 Views
A cold 2006 winter saw quite a few projects completed and a few more started . Some of my flying compatriots have been a bit critical of my mad pace, but I try to reassure them that I'm cramming about 20 or 30 years of non-experience into a couple - a lot of catching up to do!

Finished over the last few months are four Peter Rake prototype builds - Baboon, Hanriot, SE5a and an FE8 WW1 pusher.

Building a never-flown-before prototype is a fair responsibility. Not only do you need to build as per plan or at least check any changes with the designer, the design and plan must be verified, the model finished in reasonable time AND it has to be test-flown. Even more importantly, it must be flown, debugged, photographed and written up without destroying it - makes one nervous and careful!

The Baboon was finished and 'Flew off the board' no problems - it is a big model for a 42" and flies as slow as a kite.

The 36" Hanriot had a few teething troubles with balance and power but with that corrected - flew fine.

The 36" SE5a is a well-proven design and no trouble was expected from it so I chose to try out a few fine-detailing ideas. It looks good and flies well.

The 43" FE8 was Peter Rake's first pusher design and we had some fun getting used to it but it is now one of my regular flying models and performs well.

Build thread for the SE5A is

and the FE8 -
Posted by GRW3 | Mar 05, 2006 @ 12:41 AM | 7,874 Views
Today I drove to Dallas and back. Well over 500 miles total. Why? Well my wife's baby and my youngest son is an aspiring actor and he had an audition he needed to be at.

As I was planning my route I had the brilliant thought (well, I had a thought anyway) to look up Dallas hobby shops and try find one close by. The one closest to the audition was Mike's Hobby Shop. I haven't been to any in several years but I some of them from the past. I knew this one was pretty well stocked and the web site said it was in a new, bigger location. So Mike's was put on the list to visit.

On the way I decided to stop in Waco to stretch my legs. I hooked it out to the Lake Waco flying site. I knew things had changed but I did not know by how much. What used to be a public access site was now gated (and locked on this cool day). This certainly has plusses for the club but it's also sad in a way. (I do remember being at events there where they had trouble keeping the general public out of the pits because they had a belief they could go anywhere they wanted at a public facility.) Traffic moved faster than I thought it would so I kicked myself for not looking up directions for Max Blose's shop.

After the boy's audition we drove the 10 additional miles north to Mike's. I'll diverge here to discuss the shortcoming of mapping iprograms like MapQuest. If you have the time, or inclination, you should double check the route with a competitive program. Today MapQuest had me exit and do a U-...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Mar 04, 2006 @ 12:45 AM | 7,557 Views
Tools again. After years of trying to use my hands, rubber bands, blocks of wood, etc., etc. I bought some clamps. While I lost some of them during my downtime, they were among my first tool purchases. With balsa, I don't like the spring loaded clamps. I want to control the amount of force on the parts. Don't forget to have some wood blocks to augment the force of the clamps.

The picture below shows the clamps on the shelf that I have the stereo on. The stereo is a high powered Pioneer that I run through a couple of cheap Pioneer speakers. It may seem like overkill but it was just sitting in the attic after being replaced with a superior Yamaha unit. I have a CD player and an XM satellite radio attached. I love XM radio. Top channels - Bluegrass, XCountry (Americana), Frank's Place (American Songbook), Classical, Fox News, NASCAR.

I keep a guitar in the garage to play while I'm thinking about my next action or just hanging out. It's a cheap Chinese Martin copy but it's pretty good for the money. I will also carry this guitar to the field with me. I plan to make a Porter Wagoner mod to the guitar in the near future.
Posted by GRW3 | Mar 02, 2006 @ 10:39 AM | 7,037 Views
The latest issue of Model Aviation contains a note that there will be no "Grand Event" this year as there were no offers to host it. Well, it could be that people just don't think that putting on a extravaganza for non AMA members is such a Grand Idea!

The Grand Event was held in Waco last year and several people I spoke to were considering attending until they learned it was not for them. The flyer basically said not to bother bringing airplanes because the event was not for AMA member participation, it was to attract new AMA members.

Spending big money on an event for non members seems foolish to me. Particularly since some of the money went to things that don't fly like rockets, cars and boats. Maybe the trade associations picked up the tab for this but I'm doubting it.

I believe a proper Grand Event would be aimed at the members who foot the bills. The AMA could use some sort of event that is more akin to the EAA's Oshkosh than to either the Grand Event idea or the Nationals.
Posted by Pat Lynch | Feb 28, 2006 @ 09:57 PM | 17,209 Views
I have always dreamed of flying a very detailed, accurate R/c model - I used to build 1/32 plastc kits and "super-detail" them, and had this desire to build a much bigger model and dress it up to the nines! With no flying skills whatever, this was a bit ambitious hence the preceeding models. As my flying ability has improved (a little), I feel more confident that I can get a plane into the air with less anxiety than 12 months ago but with only 35 or so hours of experience, have a loooooong way to go!

Currently, I'm building a couple of prototype designs for Peter Rake - an FK-24 "Baboon" biplane, and a small Hanriot monoplane from 1913. Easy builds but as they have never flown before - a bit of a responsibility!


A 48" close-to-scale Bleriot XI is slowly progressing and being described on rcgroups electric scale forum. This is a long-term project and other models will be built to gain building and flying experience in the meantime.

Dream list? - like most scale modellers, it is endless and expanding :

A WWI pusher - DH2 etc
Something bigger - 54" SE5a or similar
Hawker Demon or related late Bipe
A simple twin - I've never made or flown a twin
An indoor scale electric machine
He-111 - a favourite
Supermarine Walrus - love it!
etc, etc.......

What I dont have much interest in:

Pitts Special
you get the picture.......

So many planes, so little time....Pat
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 27, 2006 @ 06:40 PM | 6,727 Views
One of the problems of increasing mail-order dependence is lack of the ability to go "juslookin". In San Antonio, we only have one really friendly shop (2nd Chance R/C) like I grew up with in Houston (Anybody remember Ace Hobbies off Tidwell?) and they are a part time limited stock operation. The others just business (very busnesslike if you like markups over list in one) or car oriented.

I went to Austin with a friend and flying and music road trip. (We both fly models and play bluegress.) There are only national chain stores left there for model airplanes. Calls to others get "not in service" replies. The yellow pages had an add for Discount Hobbies in Georgetown, another 20 miles up the road. We took a chance, went there, and I'm glad we did. Good stock of modeling supplies (of course no one builds kits anymore so they were sparse). Friendly place, magazine prices, discount for club members. In my "juslookin" mode I found some Hobbico building aides I could not live without. Check them out.
Posted by jbourke | Feb 24, 2006 @ 10:55 PM | 21,375 Views
Thought I'd post a quick update on the progress my daughter has made with walking.

She has been walking for several weeks now and is doing really well with it. Her gait has become more natural. She still struggles to navigate obstacles.

She now greets me at the door with her brother, Raymond, when I come home.

She has gained a lot of confidence about herself in general over the last few weeks. We hope this will help her with her other disabilities.

If you watch the attached video you'll see her doing a lot of pretending. She has a tremendous imagination. She currently enjoys playing the role of a Kung Fu master who doubles as a spy. Her former boss, Baker, was recently fired and replaced by a woman with a codename of "Ladybug". This is good for Camma as her former boss was a bit of a tyrant. I know all this because I receive detailed reports when I come home from work. There are new stories each day about the difficulties of her missions, personal relationships with other spies, and Kung Fu techniques that she has gained from a full day of defeating evil minions. Camma's life is a web of intrigue.

I reviewed the earlier video and noticed her hair and thought I should explain. Camma wore dreadlocks until recently. Her hair is kind of wiry and difficult to control, plus her scalp has a number of scars from many surgeries, so the dreadlocks were helpful in covering up both problems. On the day we shot the last video, her hair was quite a mess as we hadn't done the usual dreadlock maintenance recently. Since then we've combed out her dreads.

I know it is weird for a 6 year old girl to have dreadlocks but Camma is not your typical 6-year-old in any category.

Posted by GRW3 | Feb 22, 2006 @ 10:49 PM | 6,847 Views
I was having trouble getting good, well servicable, pictures in the shop. Too much glare with the flash, direct or at an angle. Too dark without a flash. So I made a diffuser for the flash.

"Made" is a relative word and diffuser sounds fancier than the fact. I taped a piece of printer paper over the flash.

Although I'm still sorting out some techniques I like the results, you be the judge.
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 22, 2006 @ 10:27 PM | 6,352 Views
Iíve started building and you can see how thatís going in the build log. As I go, though, I may reserve some of the building info for the blog. This time, Iím going to show you two things. A simple way to stabilize and use CA and a compression system for laminating.

I like to keep my CA bottle sealed when not in use. That means not cutting the top open. Rather, I take the top off and use disposable pipettes to apply the glue. An open bottle, however, is a potential disaster looking for a place to happen. I take modeling clay and form it around the bottle to make a base. I do this over a piece of Monokote backing so drips donít glue the clay to plans or the workbench. (See Photo 1)

I donít like working with epoxy except for the most critical jobs (and experience is telling me they are further apart all the time). Itís heavy and the chemistry bothers me a little. I prefer to use aliphatic type glue and my personal favorite is Pica Glu-It (though I understand Pica is history). These glues are very good but warping is a possibility. To prevent warping the lamination needs to be held under compression. I have two lead plates, about 12 pounds each, to apply the pressure. To keep the lead from digging into the balsa or light ply and spread out the pressure, I use flat ĹĒ boards. Spread the glue, overlay the parts, put on the weights, and the wait. I usually give this overnight. I am not a speed builder. Use CA for everything if you want speed.
Posted by Pat Lynch | Feb 22, 2006 @ 01:33 AM | 18,026 Views
I got hooked on scale after the Beaver and as is normal for me, jumped in at the deep end with an electric adaptation of a '50s Westland Lysander plan - a free-flight model so was light and should fly on its own almost. This was also my first real build thread on rcgroups. The Lizzie flew great first time with its marginal 480 can motor. It too, suffered from the dreaded stalling and after many rebuilds, was retired before it was a complete wreck! An unsuccessful WACO biplane was next and then began my love affair with Peter Rake's designs. First off was a 48" Eastbourne monoplane - still flies great. Then a 48" Fokker EIII Eindecker - my best flying model to this point. About here I decide the 45-50" span model suited me better than smaller and I still plan around that area. Somewhere in there, I adapted a frebie plan off the 'net for a Telemaster as a robust trainer - flew very well with a variety of brushed and brushless moters. Recently retired as I wanted the gear elsewhere.

Fokker EIII:
Posted by Pat Lynch | Feb 22, 2006 @ 01:15 AM | 15,972 Views
I had a visit at Christmas 2004 from my brother-in-law who was an r/c plane enthusiast. While talking over a beer or three, he suggested that with my background in electronic engineering, and old ship models, I should have a go at electric planes! At 60 years of age, I'd never been at the controls of an R/C plane but as a private pilot for some years (20 years ago) I figured I knewthe basics of flight but had a lot to learn about r/c flying
First trials were with a GWS Pico-stick - unexciting but a good first plane. It lasted about a month and failed to avoid several trees and finally a very solid picket fence . Following a moderately successful Depron Cub (I learnt about CG) was a GWS E-starter - ailerons etc. That lasted about a month too but gave me my first ROG and more experience. A 40" depron Tiger Moth was my foray into scale - from a modified balsa plan. That model taught me about tip-stalling and the danger of slow flying That lasted two months. A 50" Depron Beaver was my next plan built model - my best to that point and a good trainer. It was retired after 3 months of hard work and harder landings.

Tiger Moth:

An abridged thread on the Beaver at:
Posted by jbourke | Feb 21, 2006 @ 12:48 AM | 20,393 Views
After the recent success of our live E-Fest coverage, we've invested in some new hardware and software.

Watch the site for announcements about more live coverage.

Posted by jbourke | Feb 21, 2006 @ 12:35 AM | 22,256 Views
I can be hard to reach at times. Here is some information that will help you if you are trying to get help with something.

You might be trying to reach me for any of a number of reasons.
  • Maybe because I run Knife Edge Software, the makers of the RealFlight R/C simulator, and you want some help.
  • Maybe because you are having a problem using the forum.
  • Maybe because you saw some really icky content in someone's post and you want to make sure it is taken care of.
  • Maybe because you want to sign up as an advertiser with RCGroups (yay!)

I try to make myself available online as much as possible because I really believe in maintaining an online "existence". It's what I'm trying to promote with RCGroups, after all.

The problem with contacting me

Unfortunately, there is no way for me to respond to everything. It just can't be done. I tried it for years, went crazy, and started talking about myself in a narrative form. Nobody wants to see that happen again, so here are some things to think about if you need help.

First off, I'm probably the last person you need to talk to. The truth is that I know much less than people think. I used to know a lot. But that was before I had people to help me. Now that I have people helping me I've gotten quite stupid. So consider whether you really want to ask me a question. Most likely if I have time to answer you'll just get something like "um...I don't know...let me ask Dave..."

Second off, I'm really,...Continue Reading