DismayingObservation's blog View Details
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 17, 2013 @ 03:56 PM | 13,441 Views
...but still on the other side of the country!

It took less time for my HobbyKing order to go from Hong Kong to New York than it has for it to go from New York to Flushing.

Oh, well. At least it's moving. By this time next week, I might actually have the goodies in hand and installed on my quad frame.

Plenty to keep me busy in the meantime.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 12, 2013 @ 08:58 PM | 12,973 Views
I tell you, when HobbyKing turns up the heat, the stuff gets here fast. My quadcopter stuff hit American shores today! OK, so it's in New York and I'm in California, but the goods are closer than ever. That will be one fun project!

Finding time for all the other projects I have in mind will take time, but it'll be time well wasted.

So, it's off to the next project!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 10, 2013 @ 09:56 AM | 12,988 Views
At least it did long enough for me to order some parts. Kindly refer to my blog a couple of posts back.

I in turn refer to the Rotor Concept HPQ1 quadcopter I picked up at the 2012 AMA expo. Looked good to me, having had zero quad experience.

Besides, Rotor Concept sold them online for $899! They still do! So, a $299 show special with a radio, battery, charger, GoPro mount and aluminum case must be the ultimate deal of all time on the ultimate quad, no?


The radio was junk from the get-go and the onboard electronics proved to be junk later on. It's little more than a LotusRC T380 RTF which sells for about $250 via any number of Asian mail order companies. We won't even discuss the customer service nightmares associated with Rotor Concept.

One lives, one learns.

So, plunge taken in order to recoup my investment; see my post titled "To Wii or Not To Wii." A new KK board is on its way from HobbyKing as is a power distribution board and four Afro 30-amp ESCs, all nicely flashed with SimonK firmware right out of the packages. This is stuff which literally didn't exist back when I bought this paperweight and I couldn't have told you who SimonK was back then if you'd paid me. The whole enchilada set me back less than a hundred bucks.

Including shipping.

I'll be working with Chad Graham, the fellow who recommended the stuff to me in the first place and who posts here as "TheOne420." I'm kind of afraid to ask where he came up with that name...

Anyway, I might do a review of the conversion at Ezonemag.com for those looking to do a similar project.

Now to wait for the goods to arrive from Hong Kong.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 06, 2013 @ 06:15 PM | 13,495 Views
Ah, summertime. Nice, hot and perhaps a bit too hot.

That didn't keep me from trying out the World Models P-51 with its new ArmSafe arming system earlier today. FYI, I talked about it in my last blog.

For the first time in all the time I've had the thing, I actually felt safe putting the wing and belly scoop on it with the battery plugged in. Small wonder, since the arming plug wasn't in place at the time. No chance of an accidental bump of the throttle putting an unpleasant end to the day.

It's also a LOT faster than I remembered and despite the very small ailerons, I actually got the model to roll for the first time! I even tried some inverted with it.

Problem: Trying to take off from short grass caused a noseover and bumped the motor slightly loose from its mount. The odd sound which I thought was simply harmonics later turned out to be a loose motor. No tools meant only one flight, but it was a beauty. That model's light wing loading even makes for some of the best landings I've ever managed to pull off with a model plane and today's was no exception.

All's now well with the mount and I do believe it's going with me to the field tomorrow if I do in fact go.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 04, 2013 @ 04:45 PM | 12,312 Views
The ArmSafe kit now has a new home in the World Models P-51 as does an Airtronics receiver. I took the Futaba out of it to use in an upcoming Ezonemag.com review and the Airtronics receiver came out of one of the nitro models I'll be dusting off soon. I figured that I can simply share a receiver between the two.

That little Mustang is a delicate thing and with little room to work, but I got that kit installed. There was simply no place to put it to make it look reasonably attractive, but that's the way it goes. At least I can get it ready to fly without worrying about getting sliced into tender strips of meat with an accidental bump of the throttle.

Onward to the next project, assuming some money doesn't get sidetracked into a Blade Nano QX quadcopter.

I just HAD to go ahead and fly one of those little gems and I kind of wish that I hadn't!

On the other hand, some 15% nitro, a receiver battery and a starter battery will get my Great Planes Spitfire .25 back in the air. That innocent looking Spitty is one of the hairiest rides I have, so it hasn't seen action in awhile. It's small, fast and not nearly as forgiving as my souped-up Multiplex FunJET, capable of the same speed and beyond. The Spitty is about four years old and still looks close to new. The same model with the same O.S. engine is flyable on RealFlight 6.5; the computer shows 85 MPH (137km/h) in straight and level flight with power dives flirting with nearly 100 MPH (180km/h).

Decisions, decisions.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 03, 2013 @ 12:37 AM | 12,746 Views
Well, I did it.

I went to the hobby shop and picked up an ArmSafe system for the little World Models P-51. I figured that I might as well get it installed while I wait for its new battery to arrive from Hobby Lobby.

Last time I checked the tracking, it had just left Nashville.

Sounds like a good name for a country song, but I digress.

That system will be installed tomorrow. The USPS tracking says the battery should arrive by Friday and if it does, that little sweetie is going with me to the club on Sunday, assuming the club's videographer will be there to shoot video of a couple of current review subjects for Ezonemag.com.

I don't think that I have more than $125 in the whole thing and that includes the original $40 purchase price when I bought it from a club member complete with everything but a receiver. I'd transfered the original Turnigy motor to another project, but it was destroyed in a crash. The current SuperTigre setup consists of an extra SuperTigre .10 outrunner sent as part of a warranty claim along with a SuperTigre ESC. Both motors were fine; I just had to buy another ESC for use in the P-51. The timing is kind of high on that motor and no spare ESC I had on hand wanted to work properly with it.

Next up will be the E-flite P-47 and its paint touch-up. That'll be next week.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 01, 2013 @ 07:20 PM | 12,319 Views
In certain areas at certain times of the year, it's too cold to fly.

Right now, it's almost too hot where I live!

So, I am therefore moving some backlogged projects to the front:

*I've been blogging on and off seemingly for ages about a Great Planes Ultimate .46 given to me by a friend after someone else had given it to him after a minor crash. It had been built as an electric, so the firewall needed reworking. Best of all, I found a part I thought was missing! It was the last piece of the puzzle, as it were. I had a crash-damaged Pitts muffler I was thinking of using, but a new one can wait until I get the engine and radio installed.

*My rebuilt World Models P-51 electric with its SuperTigre .10 outrunner has spent most of its rebuilt time languishing in my closet. I was using the single 1600mAh li-po from my late and lamented Escale Zero from Hobby Lobby. Between one battery and the fact the wing needs unbolting with each battery change meant this sweet-flying model stayed at home more than it's been flown in a long time. The thought of an accidental bump of the throttle while that system was energized was enough to keep me away. I'm buying a safety plug tomorrow and a new battery is on its way from Hobby Lobby!

*I'm getting ready to order the ESCs and control board needed to get my Rotor Concepts HPQ1 quadcopter back in the air and no, I'm not using the factory junk. I mentioned a couple of blogs back how a quadrotor expert buddy of mine has...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 28, 2013 @ 10:49 AM | 11,902 Views
Southern California is gonna be one hot place this weekend.

How does a predicted high of 120F (49C) in some of the desert regions grab you?

Death Valley is going to hit 125C (51.6C) later today.

I for one can remember leaving some foam park flyers in the car during a heat wave. They weren't back there for long, just long enough for me to grab a quick bite to eat before heading home from the field. The vacuformed plastic cowl on one shriveled into uselessness as did the simulated black plastic canopy on the other.

Tempted as I am to make a run to the field before heading to work, I think I'll keep my babies safe and sound here at home for now.

At least the humidity should be low in most places. It's actually pleasant in the desert when it's north of 110 with about 6% humidity. I'll take that any day over 90 with 95% humidity in Georgia any day of the week.

Have a cool weekend, California!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 24, 2013 @ 12:17 AM | 11,696 Views
Simple question.

When one has a contact at one's local hobby shop totally immersed in all things multirotor, it stands to reason that some of the enthusiasm he shows is bound to rub off.

Less than two years ago, I walked out of the AMA Expo with a Rotor Concepts HPQ1 quadcopter in tow.

To know then what I know now.

That overpriced monstrosity currently sits in its case in my closet, victim of a propretary ESC which literally had chips falling from it and is now inoperative. I'd blogged about my experience with Goodluckbuy.com regarding an equally inoperative and poorly packaged replacement and the horrific experience of trying to get my money back.

Which, I'm glad to say, I did.

Anyway, the nearly useless radio system in that quad wound up in an experimental park flyer, namely a SkyFly2 with a Turnigy brushless motor upgrade. Languishing in that quad is a new Spektrum full-range receiver.

What to do? Enter my buddy Chad, the quad expert.

Once I get past my currently pressing hobby and non-hobby obligations, Chad and I are going to resurrect that quad with his recommended HobbyKing Multiwii control board and HobbyKing ESCs, all of which he'll reflash with SimonK firmware and all for only a few bucks more than replacing the Rotor Concepts/LotusRC ESC. About forty bucks beyond that gets me GPS capability.

Today, I watched while Chad flew a similar non-GPS setup based on a discarded DJI Phantom frame and outer shell, both crash damaged by a hobby shop...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 21, 2013 @ 12:39 PM | 11,420 Views
Wow, how time flies when one is having fun.

It's a blast being part of the greatest hobby site on the internet and I'm looking forward to a lot more posts.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 31, 2013 @ 08:31 AM | 11,488 Views
There was a time not long ago when I was attempting to launch an online R/C business. One of the first things I did was to look at the ad rates here at RCGroups.

They are not cheap and for good reason: LOTS of people see them.

Those who do step up to buy ad space are supporting this site and therefore the hobby. Many of these same paying customers provide review samples on top of that.

If there is one thing on these boards which completely steams me, it's when some cheesy company starts posting ads here on the blog space.

That tells me they are willing to literally rip the site off while trolling for dollars.

Please do yourselves, this site and its advertisers a favor. Buy from the distributors who have paid good money for ad space or at least from those who have provided samples at their cost.

Rant ended.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 30, 2013 @ 12:53 PM | 10,837 Views
It took about two months for them to return to stock, but the Ram Radio Controlled Models light kit for the Heli-Max 1SQ quadcopter is widely available.

Every visit to the hobby shop I'd made since placing the order was partially in anticipation of the kit finally arriving.

As far as I'm concerned, it was worth the wait. The kit was easy to install, adds a tremendous visual impact and really does help keep it oriented at night. In fact, the headlights do a marvelous job of actually lighting the quad's path.

I've since moved the taillights to the outside of the motors which should make them even easier to see at night.

All this and no impact on performance. My kind of visual upgrade.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 05, 2013 @ 09:47 PM | 10,888 Views
Despite a bit of wind out my way earlier today, I had a terrific flying day for two reasons.

One, it was a special event at my club celebrating its founders. There are actually still a couple of active members from the 1930s and a couple were in attendance.

Two, my best friend was there.

He's an expatriate Californian who settled in Georgia with his wife years ago, so he'd never seen me fly nor does he fly R/C.

We spent one great afternoon at the club before he heads out toward the coast tomorrow to visit his brother and his family. He didn't get to see a turbine fly because of a toasted servo, but he saw several EDFs as well as a few of my own planes, a helicopter and even my Heli-Max 1SQ.

Although he was a spectator, he still had one heck of a good time. The one bird he really wanted to see was my new Dynam RC Messerschmitt BF-109, a sample RTF provided by Nitroplanes for review on Ezonemag.com. The review should be going live any day now.

The thing which cracked him up was my reference in that review to the old Daffy Duck cartoon in which he exclaims, "Messerschmitts! A whole mess of Messerschmitts!"

My friend not only saw me fly it, he has officially dubbed it "Daffy."

Can't argue with a name like that which fits as well as it does!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 11, 2013 @ 02:52 PM | 9,029 Views
Step one: Think.

Since I had the privilege of reviewing the Helizone RC Lightning Bird helicopter for this site, I now count myself among the ranks of the WLtoys V911 faithful.

This is one fun little heli.

Sadly, all things eventually break and so was the case with the tail motor. The endbell and brushes finally popped off like something out of a Road Runner cartoon. Those who remember cartoonist Don Martin and his work for Mad can envision that motor popping apart accompanied with such onomatopoeic embellishments as "GLORK," "TOING" and "SPLAB-A-DAP." I sure did.

No motors on Helizone's Amazon store, "Halley R Us." A quick call to the main office later, I was promised a new motor which arrived this morning. Having glued and debonded more tail booms from my old E-flite Blade CP than I can count, I thought this would be a cinch.

Nope. Here's where thinking came in.

I cut the wires near the motherboard, put a few drops of CA debonder, let the stuff work and...nothing. That boom wasn't going anywhere and the slightly ominous sounds of overstressed carbon fiber warned me not to try anything rash.

Well, no problem. I'd just strip and resolder the cut leads and solder the new motor leads back at the tail. Right?

Nope again.

The insulation had gotten torn down where the wires exited the tail boom. The result of all this is a working Lightning Bird...with exposed tail wires taped to the boom. It's a neat repair and doesn't look too bad, but let's say it upsets my aesthetic sensibilities.

(Yeah, I know. Poor baby. )

That little heli is too nice a model, so the next time it needs a tail motor, I'll pick up a new boom and frame because some things are worth doing right.

Like thinking.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 11, 2013 @ 12:45 PM | 8,535 Views
Talk about frustrating.

When I've had the time to fly, the weather here has been far too wet and windy. When I haven't, the weather has been beautiful.

I'd hoped to maiden the amazing WIngthing2 with its handmade MicroDAN motor this past Saturday and maybe get some video as part of the reviews I'm doing. I would have brought the Skyartec Nano 100 flybarless CCPM chopper from Park RC Models which I'm reviewing along for the ride.

Not only did a friend call to remind me there was a car show on the grounds I'd hoped to use, but it was far too windy as well.

Today, I have no time but it doesn't matter.

It's windy.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 29, 2013 @ 08:15 PM | 8,045 Views
It seems that high winds, a brief bout with the flu and a work schedule that's been deviating from the norm have all conspired to keep me grounded. Mike and Kyle from Aero-Model were kind enough to do a field repair on a Hacker motor of mine nearly three weeks ago at the AMA... and I still haven't test flown it. I hope to do so in the next day or two despite yet another schedule shuffling at work.

Credit for alleviating the flying urge has to go to the little indoor models. The new 1SQ super-itty-bitty quadcopter has been nothing but fun. I'm becoming fairly proficient now that I'm not trying to fly it like a cross between an airplane and a CCPM helicopter.

I must UNLEARN that which I have LEARNED.

Even if things don't go quite my way to put a big bird in the air, I still have the Helizone RC Lightning Bird I had the pleasure of reviewing and which is still on the main page of Ezonemag.com. I can also fall back on an E-flite Blade mSR and even a Heli-Max Axe CX Micro.

These little micro flyers are truly incredible. I don't know if they're the future of the hobby itself, but they are certainly in line for a bright future of their own.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 26, 2013 @ 01:32 PM | 7,631 Views
Despite a slightly rocky start in which the 1SQ I bought at the AMA Expo coughed up its motherboard, all has been unicorns and rainbows (figuratively speaking) with the warranty replacement I received at the Hobby People store in Redlands, California.

Not only is this little thing a total blast to fly both indoors and out, it's even quieter than the original. My guess is that one or more of the motors wasn't working properly straight out of the box, leading to a very intermittent throttle control. Sometimes it would throttle up, often times not. Kind of a domino effect, but I'll leave that up to Hobbico's techs if they decide to evaluate it.

Flying a quad is decidedly different than flying either a plane or a helicopter, especially when doing coordinated turns. In close quarters, I've had the best success on this and the bigger quad I bought last year at the show by feeding in rudder, getting the nose pointed where I want and then feeding in bank and forward cyclic. It skids a bit in the turns, but they're nice and tight. Doing a coordinated turn in the traditional manner makes for too wide a turn.

The rainy weather here in SoCal means a delay in the maiden flight of the Foam-Tec Wingthing2 flying wing which I'm reviewing for "The E Zone," but at least I have the quad and a couple of other indoor choppers to satisfy the urge to fly.

Next on the list: Doing flips. Haven't tried it. Yet.

FYI, here's the link to the Wingthing2:

Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 15, 2013 @ 10:22 AM | 8,059 Views
What do you call someone with enough tech savvy to spread their message to a bunch of unwilling computer users via other unwilling computer users (i.e., a zombie machine) but not enough brains to market a real product or service?

If you said "a spammer," you get a gold star.

Our beloved RCGroups.com has been getting hit by spambots which promote a site called "Fullmalls.com." They've been particularly active in the comments sections of the product reviews at "The E Zone."

Brand name stuff, impossibly low prices, broken English.

Hi, buddy: The website wholesale for many kinds of fashion shoes, like the nike,jordan,prada,****, also including the jeans,shirts,bags,hat and the decorations. All the products are free shipping, and the the price is competitive, and also can accept the paypal payment.,after the payment, can ship within short time.

I mean, really! How does a mere mortal resist such a siren song?

Fullmalls, it seems, advertises brand name products that it doesn't carry. If you're fortunate, you might get a knockoff sent to you. Otherwise, it's bye-bye bread. Gone. No chance of getting it back since my research says they only accept wire payments despite the claim of PayPal acceptance.

So, the questions are these: Why go through that kind of trouble to promote a ripoff which no one with an IQ above that of a zucchini would reply to? Why not put the same effort into a legit business?

Those are questions best posed by the sociologists, I suppose. In the meantime, enjoy some funny anti-spam cartoons which do a good job of summing up the problem.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 13, 2013 @ 09:54 AM | 7,870 Views
December might bring Christmas, but January brings the AMA Expo to we here in Southern California.

I've been to several of these shows, but never before with my grandson. Just he and I.

Not only did he have the time of his little life, I walked away with one of the most precious memories I've had in years. Imagine a five-year-old steeped in absolute joy sitting in both a full-scale one-man helicopter and a full-scale glider while working the controls. Add to that a 65% Fokker Dr-I which just blew him away by its sheer size and a chance for the two of us to try out a Torrent RTR stadium truck for a few hot laps and you have the recipe for the perfect day.

We even built and flew a rubber-powered FF glider. I ran into old friends and met many of the distributors and vendors whom I work with on the authors' forum. Bruce Jenner was the featured speaker and he was as entertaining and engaging as you could imagine.

My grandson is a teeny bit too young for a flying toy - for now - so he walked out with a little R/C dune buggy among a bunch of other little freebies while I walked out with a new Heli-Max 1SQ nano quadcopter. My parents generally give cash at Christmas...and I generally wait until the AMA to spend it.

The quadcopter's battery has just finished charging as I write, so I'm off to try out my belated Christmas present!

The only downer is the fact I seem to have caught cold which started to really hit me at the end of the day. If not for that, I'd make that drive back to Ontario for the final day of the expo.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 10, 2013 @ 06:45 PM | 7,267 Views
OK, so the title is a bit reactionary, but anyone who's ever slowed down a bit too much in front of a mall kiosk can relate.

I hadn't been to the local mall in a long time and I had a bit of time to kill before heading to work, so I swung by to peruse the record store (which actually DOES sell records) and see what I could see. I'd just eaten lunch, so one of the rather good restaurants in the place were out of the question.

No more arcade, no more toy stores and there was never a hobby shop in the place.

There are plenty of little kiosks in the main walkway selling everything from calendars to massages.

And toys.

Had to slow down for just a moment thanks to what looked like an RTF T-Rex 450 clone...which turned out to be nothing but a big 3.5-channel coaxial.

This was not a place with such helicopter fare as that from Align, SAB, Thunder Tiger, Blade, Heli-Max or Century, among others. You get the idea.

No, this was the realm of the Double Horse Volitation and the Yiboo UJ376 along with a handful of Syma IR controlled nano coaxials and something that looked like a clone of an MRC Hoot.

It was also the realm of an enthusiastic young salesman who couldn't wait to launch a Syma IR in the air, resplendent in its LED light display.

"Look! This flies good! It has a gyro!"

I secretly agreed the thing flew well; good thing I knew what a gyro was. "No, thanks. That big helicopter caught my eye and I thought it was something else....Continue Reading