mfwilliams's blog - RC Groups
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Posted by mfwilliams | Apr 07, 2018 @ 04:14 PM | 613 Views
I’ve been busy with a couple of projects. My stepson had sent me a Mavic Pro for my birthday, so I’ve started learning about drones and aerial photography. My TD plane (Shadow) had gotten long in the tooth and been through one crash. So I petitioned the finance minister for a new Shadow 2. Thank you Wifey and SoaringUSA. And not to forget, the South Florida Boys are returning to Oregon this May for a slope-cation. That means I’m on a repair/building frenzy on my slope ships for a late May departure.
I did squeeze in some flying this week. Poh prompted me into pulling out some birds. Thursday looked like good thermal conditions. So I met up with him at about 11AM at Eagleville soaring club with my Jerry, Radian, Gentle Lady and DJI Mavic Pro.
It was mixed clouds and sun. Suprisingly good lift. Poh flew his E-Shadow 1. At one point he had 35 minutes flight time on one launch. One of those days, if you got above the layer, you could stay up all day. I had some great times with my Jerry. It’s a lead sled, but the lift was everywhere above a certain altitude, and it could do no wrong. Trying out the Mavic Pro was fun. I’m not really a drone enthusiast, but the aerial photography side of it appeals to me. I shot a few movies and a couple pics. One is attached to the blog. Spent too much time fussing with my Radian. I had converted it from 72mhz to the FrSky system last week. It tested great at home, but the receiver wouldn’t even light it’s LED at the...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Mar 17, 2018 @ 01:14 PM | 1,121 Views
He's back! Been busy with work for the past 8 months. Now that my work project is done, I'm back home enjoying the retired life. Knowing this, Poh called me up and coerced me to join him and Gary at Eagleville for some thermal flying.
I caught up with them about noon at E'ville. Gary and Poh were already specking out. Amazing, since the wind was about 10-15 with 20mph gusts. I was going to fly my Radian, but backed off. It was just too gusty for a lightweight bird. Luckily, I had charged my Jerry warmliner and brought it along just in case. Thermals were strong, but very fast moving as you would expect. I actually thermalled the Jerry out ( not an easy task). After about two hours of flying we called it a day. No crashes, no damage for anyone. So it was a good day. Then it was off to the Maple Street grill in E'ville for some comfort food and jaw-jacking.
Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 24, 2017 @ 08:56 PM | 4,247 Views
This Saturday was the "Longest Day" club picnic at the Tullahoma Coffee Airfoilers. Poh had sent me a note about it and I remembered the wonderful chili fun fly the club had last fall. So it didn’t take much of a nudge for me to drive the 48 miles down for a Southern homestyle dinner.
As always, the food was to die for. I spent about 3 hours munching and talking to the Tullahoma boys.
I had hoped to wait until nightfall to enjoy the scheduled “night fly”. But the wife called and was worried about me driving in the dark back to Murfreesboro, so I packed it in about 8pm.
Thanks Coffee Airfoilers
Great food and great flying
Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 31, 2017 @ 10:58 PM | 4,595 Views
Spent the weekend at the MidSouth Sailplane competition in South Carolina. I’d never been to the MidSouth, always wanted to go. Poh Khaw and I left on Thursday so as to arrive at the hotel before Friday’s ALES. I only competed in the TD and RES events. Poh competed in all the events (ALES, TD and RES). I didn’t have my repaired Shadow fully setup on my Taranis. So I flew my heavy, old Acacia 2 and didn’t place well (that’s my excuse). For RES, I flew my brother Brian’s 30-year old GL on a 20-year old Vision radio (it actually flew quite well, earning me a best round award on Monday). Poh flew his trusty Shadow E, new Stork 6 and SkyBird.
I hadn’t been to Triple Tree Aerodrome before. It was impressive. Definitely a “world class” facility.
Golf course grass, full camping hookups, large bath house, and an onsite aviation hanger/museum.
Poh and I had a great time. Poh spent lots of time after flying, fishing at the lake. He actually caught several sunfish and a bass. Tom Broeski pulled a 20lb catfish out of the lake while we were there.
The food service was great. We had an on site hot breakfast, lunch and dinner on the weekend. The main dinner Saturday night was scrumptious. With pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken, sausage, mac ‘n cheese, brussel sprouts, baked beans, broccoli, salad, pound cake, brownies and sweet tea. Yum, yum.
I’ll be back next year.

PS I posted my 100+ pictures on the MidSouth thread:
Posted by mfwilliams | May 17, 2017 @ 12:17 AM | 4,395 Views
My step son’s graduation was this last Saturday in Miami Beach. So my wife and I headed down to South Florida that weekend. Saturday morning, before the graduation, I snuck out for a few hours to fly with my old club members on the “hill”.
It was great to see the old guys. A small group turned up for flying on the SE Bowl. The wind was a steady 10-15mph out of the South with some strong gusts. There was no problem catching slope or thermal lift. I saw Larry S speck out his Olympic II several times. Since I had arrived empty handed (no planes), I had multiple offers to catch some stick time. Mike Naylor let me have time on his Weasel Trek. Mark Atzel lent me his HK Ridge Rider. Finally, I tried out Amadeo’s Gulp 48”.
Thankfully, all the planes were returned in good shape. I was worried that I was getting a little rusty with my slope flying. Unfortunately, Ben and Larry weren’t as lucky. Ben’s Filip and Larry’s Olympic met half way down the slope and it wasn’t pretty.
While there, I got to see a couple new planes on their maiden flights. Amadeo got his Gizmo 36 flying. It looked pretty good and fast on it’s trim flights. Tom tested his Windrider Bat 2 using 3, 2 and 1 vertical fins. Tom and I had both ordered Bat 2’s from Ming and he had gotten his flying first (mine is still in the box). Tom had also set his Bat up with 2 elevons and one elevator. He hopes to setup a crow configuration. The Bat 2 was pretty fast, but Tom is still working out CG and best...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 09, 2017 @ 09:59 PM | 4,451 Views
Went to the Tullahoma spring ALES contest this Sunday. Friday flying was scheduled as a "foamy" only event. I had planned to attend, but it was rained out. Saturday was very breezy, so I skipped it. Especially since my only ALES bird was a Radian. I only flew the Sunday contest and conditions were excellent.
I posted my photos on the contest thread at :

Posted by mfwilliams | Apr 20, 2017 @ 06:31 PM | 5,220 Views
Flying twice in one week? Unheard of for me. But, just after flying on Wednesday, Poh suggested we go flying on Saturday. Actually, some F&F. That’s “Flying and Fishing”. So Saturday morning I drove South to the Normandy for some slope flying. I found Poh already fishing below the dam on the spillway. He had no bites. So we headed to the top of the dam for the real fun.
We parked just off to the side of the dam top. Don’t want to park and block the top access gate. Sure way to get into trouble. Since it was the first time I’d flown on a weekend (holiday weeked actually), I was surprised at the quantity of people on and around the dam. There were boaters launching, fisherman at the dock and spillway, joggers on top of the dam, and families launching kites.
Poh brought his HK Ridge Rider and his Radian. I brought my Gillette, Twist, Zulu and ASK-21.
Predictions were for 10mph out of the South, which is great for the site. In actuality it turned out to be more like 12-15mph with 25mph gusts. Plenty of lift, a bit turbulent in places. We both flew all our planes. I flew my Multiplex Twist long enough to spin it in due to low battery (no real damage, just cracked wing rod).
We stopped at about 3PM with a slight wind/sunburn and no fish. We packed everything up and headed up to Belle Buckle for a late lunch.

It was a great F&F day

Mike W

...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Apr 17, 2017 @ 05:55 PM | 5,632 Views
It may only be Spring, but it seems like summer has already arrived in middle Tennessee. Poh sent me an email on Monday that they’d be winching at Tullahoma on Wednesday. So I packed up my only working TD plane (old Acacia 2) and my only ALES plane (Radian) and headed South to the Coffee Airfoilers on Wednesday morning. I found one winch already setup and another one due at the airfield around 1pm (the airfoilers keep their winches on trailers and two members keep they at home when not in use). Poh was already getting “Euphoric” with his Euphoria when I arrived. I setup my ancient “beater” Acacia 2 and had a couple trim/test launches (hadn’t flown it in over 3 years). Lift came in large and strong cells from the NW corner of the field. Poh, Gary, Charlie and I both caught some fantastic thermals and had some long flights. After I finished tweaking out the Acacia I turned my attention to my Radian. I had just purchased an approved altitude limiter from Aloft Hobbies for the end of month, foamy ALES contest at Tullahoma. The limiter was set to 200M and 30secs and it worked as advertised. We finally shut down at about 3PM and headed over to downtown Tullahoma (about 1.5 miles away) to check out a restaurant I had found on line.
All in all a good day. No crashes, long flights, no major winch problems (only a couple line breaks)
and a great lunch.

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Mar 29, 2017 @ 09:23 PM | 5,610 Views
Larry Squire sent me this email concerning last Saturday's flying on the hill. As you know, one of our most devoted club members, Dan Johns, passed exactly one month ago, on 2-25-17. At this time, I would like to share with you Larry's message. Most assuredly, Dan is sorely missed, Mike

March 25, 2017, from now on will be known as "Dan Johns Day."

Today was a "10"  in the 70 s, wind 10 to 20, and thermals everywhere. A very big turnout as we got 3 new members. all of them very good pilots and flying great planes.
Around 11 oclock Jamie came with a truckload of Dans planes.Our plan was to have the guys come over and pick out what they fancied and give it a new home and if inclined,make a small donation in Dans name.
I am collecting and will send to Dans brother Mike, who has been working with us to distribute Dans "treasures".
 We paused and we took time for a minutes silence in Dans honor and when our little ceremony was over there were 2 of Dans planes in the air. I got a strange feeling somehow Dan was enjoying from up above. 
We still have a few planes left if any one was not able to come today. 
A lot of the guys came up to me and said they are going to miss Dan and respected him for his expertise,
friendliness,and most of all his ability to solve technical problems.Last but not least, Dans tent was like
heaven on those 90 degree days. 
Our friend is irreplaceable. RIP ,and my best friend is gone,  Larry
Posted by mfwilliams | Mar 19, 2017 @ 07:37 PM | 5,828 Views
Now that the weather improved. The guys at Tullahoma are coming out more frequently. So a week later we’re back at the field. Weather was similar to the week earlier, although a little cooler.
Poh showed up and was trimming out his V-tail Explorer and Stork. Gary returned with his 100” e-Riser and Radian Pro. Art was trying to get his Supra flying. He had several bad trim throws, until we sorted out his aileron centers and programming. Brian Smith showed up to wring out his large gas bird on the runway.
I unfortunately, had very bad luck. I augered in my favorite plane, the Shadow.
It appears I was “stung” by the Taranis lockout issue (see ).
During test flying, the Shadow went into failsafe and descended into the woods behind the shooting range. There was no low voltage warning (5 volts shown) and no RSSI warning (until it disappeared into the woods). Using the RSSI indicator to locate it, Gary and I trudged through the woods until we finally located it. Plane was not a total loss, it’s repairable, but it’s going to take some TLC and time.
This is a known issue (see article reference) with the Taranis and X8R/X6R in a busy electronic enviroment (I.E. we fly on an Airforce base and a military chopper was close by at the time).
Just noted FRsky has posted a new beta firmware, last week, to specifically correct this issue. I will flash as soon as my plane is repaired (or should I get a new Shadow-2?).
...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Mar 11, 2017 @ 04:47 PM | 6,058 Views
I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted an entry to the blog. Wow, 4 months. As an excuse, I can safely say the weather has been too wet, windy or overcast for good flying.
Poh talked me into going down to Tullahoma for some winching and electric flying on Wednesday.
I really wasn’t prepared. My JR XP9303 had been repaired by Horizon (Horizon found a failed cell in the transmitter pack). Unfortunately, I had no memory backups and all the model setups were lost.
Since I didn’t have a radio programmed for my thermal planes I was forced to go the “all electric” route. That night I hurriedly setup my Radian “camera plane” on my old Vision transmitter and performed the “mods” that make a Radian competitive. I. E. elevator decalage to 0-0, taping the rear fuse, larger Graupner prop, and stronger/straighter clevises. I also preped my Jerry warmliner for flying.
When I arrived, just before noon, a fair sized crew had showed up at the field. About 9 people, but only 5 guys flew sailplanes. The rest came by to assist or “shoot the breeze”.
The weather conditions were good. Temps peaked in the high 60’s, crystal blue sky, great lift hung over the NW corner of the field. If you reached the NW corner at a high altitude, you were set for the day. Three of us spent our time trimming and testing new birds. Gary had his 100” Sig Riser electric. Poh had a Stork. And I had of course, my cobbled together Radian. All three of us had good luck with our trim...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Nov 11, 2016 @ 11:54 AM | 6,852 Views
Thursday looked like a calm day, Poh and I decided to go for some “flat field flying”. We debated on Tullahoma or Eagleville. Eagleville was closer for both of us, so the decision was made.
We set up the winch and flew electrics. Poh flew his Shadow and his Electric Skybird (similar to a big BOT). I flew my Jerry and Shadow. Local flyer, Gary, showed up and joined us with his Electric BOT.
Even with a cool, crystal clear sky we found plenty of lift. All three of us “specked out” at least once.
We spent almost 4 hours at the field, finally packing up the winch and planes around 3:30pm.
Had a couple of minor tragedies during our flying. Gary put his BOT in a drive and heard a crack. We encouraged him to land as soon as possible. On landing, we confirmed that his sheeting (and possibly spar) had cracked about 3 inches out from the root. Gary was lucky to get it down before a wing failure.
I had my own tragedy. My trusty JR XP9303 model select screen was corrupted and displaying goofy symbols. I had to stop flying my Shadow, even though it seemed to function properly. I was afraid I was testing my luck. Worst part is, I have not backed up any of models in several years and have not started setting them up on my newer Taranis. I understand that is a known issue on 9303’s and is usually a failed “encoder” or main board. Hopefully, when I send it back to JR they can save the model memory. I have too many models and trim settings to either setup on the...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Nov 07, 2016 @ 09:13 PM | 6,825 Views
The last two slope trips to Normandy have all been on Wednesdays. So it was not a surprise that this Wednesday showed good winds for Normandy. Wind was out of the South at 10mph, so conditions were good. We had a fair sized group (for Normandy). Poh turned up with his Ridge Ryder and Radian. Bill Jenkins showed up with his Ridge Ryder and his own design glider. Chris Woodward showed up with an Easy Glider , Miles 2M, DAW 1-26 and LeFish. I had my Mini Rotor, Gillette and Zulu. I ended up with radio problems on two of my planes and only flew my Zulu. Poh flew both his planes. Bill flew his Ridge Ryder a few times and then test flew his own design T tail glider. Chris hadn’t flown slope in quite a bit of time. He actually had to pull gliders out of a storage unit before he came over to fly. Chis ended up flying only his MPX Easy Glider and his Electric Miles.
We spent 4 hours of flying, before calling it a day to soothe our wind burns. Another good day at the “Norm”.

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Oct 28, 2016 @ 06:16 PM | 6,918 Views
Poh rang me up Monday and let me know that conditions on Wednesday would be great for sloping at Normandy Dam. Wind was supposed to be 10 mph out of the South. So I charged my Zulu, Weasel Evo, Falco, Mini Rotor and FVK Gilette for the South bound drive toward Tullahoma. Poh and I agreed to meet at 11:30am. Traffic was terrible and I got out of the house late, so I didn’t get there until 12:15pm, the same time as Poh. On arrival, we found conditions fantastic. The wind was coming the perfect direction (SSW) and wind was 15-20mph (predicted at 10mph!).
I flew my Weasel EVO and Falco. Poh flew his Fun One and Half Pipe. Bill Jenkins and his wife joined us for moral encouragement. Bill also got photos of us flying (thank you Bill!).
We flew until about 1:45pm, when the wind just suddenly died.
We tried to wait out the lull, but the wind never came back. So we finally threw the “towel in” and decided to have a late lunch with Bill and his wife in Bell Buckle.

Mike W

PS: I’d like to thank Bill Jenkins. Bill has graciously sent me his photos from the Dam and allowed me to use them in the blog. As always, thanks Bill....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Oct 26, 2016 @ 11:24 PM | 6,569 Views
The Tullahoma Coffee airfoilers had a Chili cook off on Saturday the 15th. Poh invited me to meet him at the field, have a great lunch and get some flying in.
Poh brought his electric Shadow and I brought my trusty Jerry and Falco. The Falco was just in case the wind turned out great for the nearby Normandy Dam (which it didn’t).
The cook off was great. Plenty of southern delicacies like corn bread and chess pie. The Airfoilers really do these things right. We spent about four hours there. Mainly talking, with a little eating and flying (very little) thrown in.
Had a few fly overs during the contest from the nearby Beechcraft Heritage museum flyin. Formations of one type of Beechcraft would come over. Bonaza’s, Barons and D-18’s were all cruising across the sky. Made for quite an interesting day.
All in all, a fantastic Saturday.

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Sep 24, 2016 @ 01:49 PM | 10,863 Views
Sorry no blog postings in a while. We have had plenty of family and friends stopping by in Middle Tennessee. That's put a damper on getting out for some flight time. This weekend was the "NashBro 2016" event put on by RCGroups. Although it's a 3D profile event, it mentioned "...focus is profile planes you can bring whatever you want."
It is held in the little town of Leipersfork, which is located outside Franklin, TN.
I called up Poh and planned to meet up on Friday (9-23) and do some sailplane flying.
Even though 3D is not my cup of tea, I had a great time. Sure enough, people were flying gas, electric, profile, warbirds, DHLG, FPV, and drones. The crowd was a pretty friendly group. There were people driving in from FL, GA, MO, IN, OH and of course locals.
Typical for Poh and I, we went looking for lunch at a nearby restaurant. The actual town of Leipersfork sits about 3 blocks from the event. Reminds me a lot of the "cutsey" town of Belle Buckle. So we bee lined there and found a combo grocery store\southern restaurant.
After a hearty lunch and plenty of sweet tea, we returned to the field to watch the mayhem. They had several mass launch events and quickest climb to altitude event. I expected lots of carnage, but surprisingly, I only observed 2 low impact collisions (no damage).
Poh and I decided against winch flying (he had brought his winch). With the amount of RC traffic, the winch line would have caused...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Aug 16, 2016 @ 11:35 AM | 7,546 Views
Poh rang me up Thursday and let me know that conditions on Friday would be great for sloping at Normandy Dam. Wind was supposed to be 10 mph out of the South. Additionally, the forecast for the remainder of the week showed lots of rain. So I charged my Zulu, Weasel Evo and Falco for the South bound drive toward Tullahoma. I arrived about 11:15 and found Poh unloading his planes at the boat ramp parking lot. He suggested we go toward the center of the dam to avoid turbulence on the sides either from trees or air spilling over the valley walls. As usual he was right on.
There was tons of great lift. It was a mix of strong thermals getting pushed up the Duck River valley and a steady 10mph wind. At times, this “slermal” combo reached over 20+ mph and we found it very difficult to penetrate with any of our foamies. Twice, I was blown back over onto the rocks on the Dam’s North face. No real damage, outside of my Evo Weasel’s canopy getting cracked. For once, Poh and I flew everything we brought. Bill Jenkins, from the Coffee Airfoilers, showed up about 1pm to watch and get some pictures. By 2:30 pm Poh and I had enough wind/sun and called it a “good day”. As our usual custom, we headed out for a late lunch. This time we stopped in the tourist town of Bell Buckle for some good old country cooking at the Bell Buckle Cafe.

Mike W

PS I’d like to thank Bill Jenkins. Bill has graciously sent me his photos from the Dam and allowed me to use them in the...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Aug 07, 2016 @ 12:55 AM | 9,858 Views
I haven't been flying for over a month. So when Poh said they be flying Wednesday at Tullahoma, I jumped at it.
I brought my Shadow, Poh brought his Electric Skybird and Shadow, Charlie Bair and Chuck Anderson were flying Lilan's (Chuck's design that he has an ongoing article in RCSD on) and the other guys were all flying Electric BOT's (or Electric Skybirds?).
Don Cleveland was fresh back from the NATS, but was thwarted in his flying by a loose flap servo on his Explorer. We spent a couple hours flying off the winch and electric flights. The lift seemed very erratic. It was very strong at times (I had one 30 min flight) and other times it was non-existant. By noon the temps had reached the high 80's and only two of us were still using the winch. So Charlie packed up the winch trailer about 12:30 and we called it a day. Poh and I then headed to Shelbyville for some Mexican at Alfonso's.
Flying and Chimichanga's made for a great day!

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jul 06, 2016 @ 12:41 PM | 9,851 Views
Finally got some RC flying in on Friday (sorta). Haven't flown or touched a plane since I came back from the Northwest slope trip.
Poh gave me a heads up, that the Tullahoma club was going to setup the winch on Friday morning. I packed up the Shadow and headed down about 11am. Unfortunately, they had packed up the winch by the time I had arrived (they started at 9am). I pulled up a chair and watched the guys fly their electrics.
Poh and I talked ourselves into going to Piggy's place for some Tullahoma BBQ by 1pm.
We then spent a couple hours eating and talking about next year's Northwest trip.
All in all, a typical lazy day for me here in TN.

Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 12, 2016 @ 01:18 PM | 8,640 Views
Friday Day 7
Temps had dropped into the lower 60’s so flying was much more comfortable. We spent our last full flying day, shopping again. Some of the guys were still looking for T-Shirts so we searched most of the morning. It was 12:30 before we fin ally left Hood and drove up to Lumber. Tom had left earlier and was up before we even parked at the base. The wind didn’t look great down in Hood, but Tom reported we had plenty on the slope.
By the time all of arrived on the slope, the wind was howling at a good rate. It had a little North component in it and Lumber works best with a West wind. We had quite a bit a turbulence in the first 100’ of the slope. Once you got past that it was a vertical elevator. We put up quite a few planes and at one point the sky was filled with Gulps and Moths (no pics of that because I was flying my Gulp). We had some tremendous pumps and climbouts. Most of us were running 2 bars of lead in or Gulps and it was reflected in the energy retention in the pumps.
As you can see in the pictures, we had a storm hanging out on the West side of the Hood river valley. It played with us for quite a while and then shortly after 4PM it reached us. Between the drizzle and the cold air (temp was about 60deg with a wind chill closer to 45deg), we choose the better part of valor and headed to the rental SUVs. Hood was filling with weekend warriors (it was Friday evening), so instead of packing at the rooms, we headed to Double Mountain for...Continue Reading