DismayingObservation's blog View Details
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 12, 2009 @ 08:19 PM | 9,509 Views
After my recent success with my new Kyosho Phantom 70 and its weird landing gear modification, I promised myself that I'd bring it and no other model to the field if I were to go flying this morning.

Who am I to break a promise to myself...?

The only problem with the club field is the fact it tends to be windy when the surrounding areas aren't. Perfectly calm at home, blowing pretty hard there.

Undaunted, I bolted the wings and struts to the thing and waited.

When the wind had diminished sufficiently, in went a tank of fuel and on came the engine.

As always, it was ballistic on takeoff, but even with some increased aileron throw, I still hadn't dialed in enough travel to roll it. The friend who fixed it later reminded me that the Phantom is a pylon racer and not an aerobat.

I knew that (blush).

In any event, I kept it within sight and under fairly gentle throttle to get the feel of it since it becomes darn near invisible too far out.

Oh, what a sweetie this bird is. Even with limited aileron travel, she turns in hard, fast and accurate. It's exceptionally realistic in flight as well.

Landings were the reason I went to the field in the first place, so I turned from base to final, all the while concentrating on the plane's attitude; remember, the thing becomes almost invisible when viewed head on.

I was coming in a bit too hot on the first approach, so I gunned the throttle, brought it around and lined up once more.

This time, I was...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 11, 2009 @ 11:54 AM | 9,498 Views
Thank goodness for my R/C club and its people!

Many thanks to the VP for repairing the Kyosho Phantom 70 I spoke of in my last entry. He sleeved the landing gear to the cut stubs and silver soldered the things in place. Since he put the cut-off parts above the stubs instead of in line with them (which added a lot of strength), he only needed to notch the tops of the wheel pants to get them to fit. That's the only evidence of repairs and you really have to look to see what I'm talking about. Still plenty of clearance and the setup works great!

I still need to practice landing a biplane, especially an all-white one which seems to magically disappear on approach when viewed head-on.

I bounced it kind of hard when it tip stalled, but the repair held firm. No damage; it's a tough little bird. Nothing short of an utterly catastrophic crash will separate those parts and even that might not be enough.

Needless to say, I'm not too willing to experiment.

I found out that my rather conservative aileron settings allow it to turn just fine...but it won't roll at all.

Easy fix, especially compared to what my buddy Tom went through to fix the gear!

Struggling a bit with "Project Cub." I got a hold of a cast-off O.S. Max .45 from a club member which in turn feeds through a new Du-Bro 12 ounce tank. It runs with gobs of power now that it's de-crudded, but I think there may still be a bit of gunk in the carb. It doesn't run consistently which resulted in a couple of dead stick landings.

A tweaked set of scale landing gear and a crosswind sent it rolling into a safety fence as I tried to take off, this after three previous good flights. The windshield's busted as is the fuselage immediately surrounding it on the left, but it's easily repaired. I may ditch the scale gear, but we'll see.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 02, 2009 @ 02:02 AM | 9,530 Views
Boy, did I ever get me one.

It was a pretty exciting moment last October when I won a raffle at my flying club for a new, mostly assembled Kyosho Phantom 70 biplane complete with a full compliment of servos (including a couple of digital miniservos for the ailerons), a lightly used O.S. 46AX two-stroke, a new Great Planes spinner and a pre-installed, plug-ugly, caricatured pilot figure. This was just the head of what I knew was an expensive, hand painted bust of a madly grinning fool with a bulging eye and a WWII German officer's cap.

Strange choice of a pilot figure for a model of a 2007 Reno Air Show racer.

The whole schmutz, probably 750 bucks worth, had been donated to the club by an older member who'd basically given up on the thing. Only problem I could see was in having to do a small repair to the underside of the lower wing since it had blown off of the display table a few minutes prior to my winning it.

I got it home and got to looking closer at my good fortune.


Darn thing was a $300 glue bomb on closer inspection. Streaks of CA smeared the fiberglass fuselage, especially near the tail section. The lower wing and a few other odd places were streaked as well. Even the needle inlet valve on the O.S. was broken. With all the other projects I had going on, not to mention my reviewing tasks here on RCGroups, the Phantom took a back seat. I spent Thanksgiving Day at home with my wife and I took the opportunity to do most of the final...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 07, 2009 @ 11:41 PM | 9,707 Views
Well, I did it!

Per my last blog in November, I was able to get the old abandoned Sig 1/6-scale Cub in the air!

Darn thing flew great. It was easy to fly, easy to land and just good fun all around. It really hustled with its temporary Thunder Tiger Pro .40 and a Master Airscrew 10x6 scimitar prop up front. All the mini-servos were A-OK and just needed a double-check of their mountings. Oh, and the Futaba receiver worked just fine with a new crystal on the proper frequency! Nice little bonus to be sure. I flew it on both the Futaba and a Berg Microstamp 4. It was as aerobatic as a beginner's park flyer, though. Little bitty strip ailerons do not a roll rate make. It banked and looped just fine, but rolling was out of the question. I was able to do an Immelman turn to get it inverted, but I had to complete the loop in order to get it right side up again. Thank goodness for altitude!

The strange fuel tank with its ninety-degree offset outlet tubes molded in the cap only lasted a couple of flights before the engine quit starting. The klunk had come loose inside and there was no getting it out.

In went a temporary (albeit smaller) tank supported by a couple of foam automotive tire dressing applicators and I was back in biz the next day. Short flight times, but back in biz nevertheless.

Short biz, too. The old, brittle landing gear retaining straps broke on a smooth touchdown. No damage and a 99-cent four-pack of Great Planes retainers got me back in...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 19, 2008 @ 08:25 PM | 8,984 Views
The stab on Project Cub is fixed. Real easy to do. The frame was slightly broken in three places, but two of the places were right next to some triangular joiners which had worked loose. I have a feeling that's what led to the damage in the first place. The covering on the fuselage is ironed down and looking good, if a bit smudged. I may hit it with Simple Green.

The nylon elevator clevises were brittle, to put it charitably. Some metal Great Planes units await.

I think I can fly this with the .25 which once lived in my Raiden Tech Zero Fighter and which waits for a Great Planes P-40. We shall see. In fact, I have every reason to believe that I can get it in the air in the next day or two less its cowl and landing gear skirts. Even though Sig says it'll fly on a .25, I may yank a .40 from another plane and install it for the time being.

Pictures will be forthcoming. This is just too fun a project not to share.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 18, 2008 @ 07:51 PM | 7,772 Views
Yup, the 1/6 scale Cub which I was given was built from a Sig kit and covered with 21st Century simulated cloth covering.

The fuselage cleaned up pretty good with little more than plain water and some paper towels. There's a bit of grunge which will require some more in-depth cleaning.

Last night, I took a moment to epoxy the damaged jury strut back together. Good as new. Next will be the slightly broken horizontal stab.

I honestly think that this thing this'll be flying by next week!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 01, 2008 @ 01:23 AM | 8,068 Views
Well, things haven't exactly been going according to the predictions in my last couple of blogs.

The Great Planes Cessna 182 project is on temporary hiatus (I needed two of the new servos I'd bought for it for use in another model and I'm fairly certain the engine is way too large) and I haven't yet ordered an airframe for the O.S. LX 25 which had powered the late and relatively unlamented Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25.

All hasn't been without some action. I have three reviews for the magazines almost ready to go once I edit the videos. Broadcast quality, yet. My friend the producer who shot the models in action has too much on his plate to edit the raw footage, so I've arranged to edit the footage with help from another production house.

No tricks this Halloween, but I did get an unexpected treat.

I went to the local hobby shop to pick up a new li-po I'd ordered. One of the clerks came from the back room with an old, dusty .40 or .46-sized Cub fuselage and corresponding wing. No decals, no markings, no cowl or engine.

I was told that it was mine.

One of my retired flying buddies works at the store part time. He was given that plane along with several others which had been gathering dust in an attic only Heaven knows where; attics aren't in vogue here in the desert. Nor in Southern California in general, for that matter. I assume it was from an out-of-state seasonal visitor.

In any event, she was a dirty little beast. Well made, though....Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 17, 2008 @ 05:42 PM | 7,628 Views
Well, it would appear that I can add another plane to the list of past models.

Funny thing is, I'm not too broken up over it.

I refer to the loss today of the second (and final) Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25. That model was my very first review here at RCGroups and a "beauty shot" of it when it was new graces the Wikimedia Commons as a public domain photo.

Poor little plane was never quite right after a mishap with a crossed-up elevator control crunched the horizontal stab. Since Raiden Tech/Nitromodels has absolutely ZERO spare parts for said Zero, not to mention the worst customer service in the history of model aviation, I had to make do.

I was trying to get the little monster flying right earlier today, but the elevator simply wouldn't stay aligned due to flexing of the repaired stabilizer, itself incorrectly installed when I first assembled the model. My fault, I fear. All it wanted to do was to pitch up no matter what I did. 'Twas an ongoing problem which really took all the fun out of flying it. I figured it was do or die. Either the thing was going to fly or it was going to become a static display with the O.S. FX 25 and radio gear destined for one of those neat little Great Planes .25 warbirds I'd passed up in favor of the Zero..

About the time I got it to pitch down instead of up, the repaired stab let go.

Lawn dart!

In a way, I was relieved. I paid less than a hundred bucks for it, delivered to my door about a year ago. I...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 11, 2008 @ 06:57 PM | 7,360 Views
As I once pointed out, there isn't anything quite as rewarding as taking something which, once discarded, is brought back to useful life.

Work nears completion on the badly handled Great Planes Cessna 182 stuffed with a new O.S. LA 65. Got the whole works complete with radio (albeit an obsolete transmitter) for all of fifty bucks. The engine was worth more than twice that. Its Futaba receiver is currently doing duty in my old .46-powered profiler. Lots o' engine for something intended for use with a .40, but very similar to the way the same plane is represented on both RealFlight simulators with very promising results.

The transplanted VQ Model Cap-10B .60 flap servo covers converted to aileron servo panels work to perfection. However, repairing the mounting blocks where the struts attach to the fuselage proved to be troublesome. The only thing making the whole affair easier than normal was the fact that the original owner failed to epoxy the servo tray in place. Still couldn't get the tray out all the way, but as it appears, the struts are more show than structural. The mounting blocks and recommended hardware are more suited to a park flyer, so I fixed the blocks as best as I could.

There was a strange pushrod setup for the throttle which didn't seem to engage in any possible way with the throttle arm on the O.S., so I got me a DU-BRO throttle cable, trimmed it to fit and voila! I have throttle control!

The Sullivan fill valve from the dearly departed...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 25, 2008 @ 08:20 PM | 7,487 Views
Since the loss of the VQ Cap-10B .60, my focus has shifted back toward an unlikely source, namely the fifteen-year-old Hobby People/Global Hobby Raven .40 profiler which has proved to be not only great fun to fly, but invaluable for sharpening my aerobatic skills. It's a remarkably low-buck project. The plane, engine and some of the servos were freebies. No junk, I'm pleased to point out.

An interesting freebie came my way a little more than a month ago. The same gentleman who gave me the Evolution 46 in the Raven (it was given to him and he flies almost exclusively electric) gave me a complete GWS Formosa less transmitter but with a GWS battery, speed control, servos and even a Berg Microstamp4 receiver! He'd gotten it as part of an estate sale consisting primarily of electric gliders and he had no use for it.

I'll say this: Darn thing is fun but underpowered as all get-out with the stock 380 beer can and gearbox.

I may be doing the brushless thing sooner than later. It's slow, but boy, does it handle.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 06, 2008 @ 05:07 PM | 7,405 Views
There's nothing worse than when a plane crashes. Even a gentle crash means broken bits o' balsa.

Such was the case a few months ago when I tried to fly the Raiden Tech Zero Fighter 25 I reviewed on RC Power last year.

The one time I chose not to check the control response meant a reversed elevator and a crash on takeoff before I could recover. I was able to fix it, but doggone, the poor little plane hasn't been the same. The TE of the wing is now a bit warped among other problems, requiring lots of right aileron trim to get it to fly straight.

Stranger still was the plane's tendency to nose over on landings no matter how careful I was.

Enter our esteemed club president, a gentleman who's been flying RC for years if not decades.

To my way of thinking, a plane which wants to nose over is nose heavy and suddenly so, in my case.

The prez offered to give it a try...and pronounced it tail heavy on landing.

Tail heavy? With a tendency to scrape the cowl almost every time since its repair and with no weight required before this?

For the next test, he took the Zero up to a suitable altitude and put it in a hands off, 45-degree power dive. A balanced plane would have maintained heading, a nose heavy plane would have wanted to pull up and a tail heavy plane would have tried to tuck in and sharpen the dive.

Holy mother of CG.

The Zero tucked under.

Tail heavy!

Off to the hobby shop for some weights. An ounce of lead went on the engine mount...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 20, 2008 @ 09:09 PM | 7,975 Views

I'm still hurting over the loss of the VQ Model Cap-10B which I was privileged to review on RC Power.

A ten-cent part failed and destroyed a model with a $300 list price. My fault for not using a metal retainer instead of a nylon one on the quick-connect clamp on the servo arm for the elevator pushrod.

I once had an aileron fail on a park flyer and I was able to land the plane. Had the rudder failed, meh. No big deal.

When an elevator goes, kiss your model goodbye. That's all I could do as I saw one of the nicest models I've ever owned plummet nose first into the ground on its sixth flight.

I hope to replace it with another sooner than later. In the meantime, the Cap's flap servo panels, two of the servos, the receiver battery and FASST receiver will be used to complete a project plane from several posts back, a Great Planes Cessna with a new O.S. LA 65 engine and a bit of hangar rash. Price: Fifty bucks. Complete. It will be a nice model once I finish it and patch the hangar rash, but it sure won't take the place of the Cap. Thankfully, standard parts like servos sometimes mean standard parts between brands. The Cap's flap servo panels were almost exactly the right size to replace the Cessna's missing aileron servo panels. Thanks to a scale drawing of the panels by a local club member who also has a Cessna, I was able to create the openings for the servo arms.

This was one of those times where I began to reevaluate whether or not I wanted to continue in such a hobby as this, where hard-earned money can be lost in a fraction of a second due to something which cost pocket change.

At least something good will come out of this. I can complete another project.

As soon as that Cessna takes to the air, it'll have a magnificent VQ Model Cap-10B .60 to thank for its heart transplant.

Of course, I'll be sharing it with all of you.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 01, 2008 @ 07:02 PM | 7,076 Views
Problem: One of my little SPADs is sans a wing and has been for some time. I spent a lot of bread on some corrugated plastic, but the stuff I bought is too thick to fold over for a wing.

The plans for the "Derelict" .25 at www.spadtothebone.com call for a folded-over wing constructed of 2mm corrugated plastic.

Yet another problem: No sign manufacturer or plastics distributor in my area carries the stuff and it's pricey at best online, myabe too much so for a very old homemade combat plane with an out-of-production O.S. .25 pulling it around.

I don't know if the blog is the proper place to ask, but if someone has a sheet of this stuff laying around of sufficient area to build a new wing, would you be so kind as to shoot me a PM or an e-mail?

Thanks ahead of time.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 03, 2008 @ 09:52 AM | 7,380 Views
Sorry about that title. I simply couldn't resist given the subject...and I couldn't think of anything else.

In any event, my best friend of these last thirty years has finally taken the plunge (literally) with his first R/C model, a Silverlit Flying Dutchman RTR pirate ship which he's been merrily sailing in his own Spanish Main, namely his pool.

He's christened it The Flying Wasp after the small dinghy which gets splintered by a yacht's anchor in Caddyshack.

It seems this little galleon has a real fire in its belly with its ability to power slide. No rudder. It steers by varying the speed of the props. I'm told that there are few things funnier than seeing a miniature 18th Century sailing vessel skid sideways like something out of The Fast and the Furious.

Being the rather eclectic individual he is, e-mails have been flying as to how this ship should be manned. Discussion ranges from Star Wars to the Teletubbies. We're thinking a compromise.

How do you think Darth Vader would look carrying a purple handbag?
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 18, 2008 @ 09:32 PM | 7,580 Views
Man, it was a warm one today. First really hot weather of the year. Everyone was leaving the club just as I got there...which means I had the place to myself.

I've promised some pix of the project planes, so I thought that I'd at least provide some shots on the ground. No one around to take action shots!

Oh, and the performance on "The Bruise" is much improved. Seems as if the cable I was using wasn't allowing the throttle to open all the way. Fixed that problem with a pushrod. An 11x7 Master Airscrew prop awaits the chance to replace the 11x6 Zinger which has served so well until now, even though it may have been a bit much for the Thunder Tiger GP .40 it came attached to.

This Evolution 46 has no trouble swinging this prop! Even though it's a bit underpitched from the factory recommendations, the difference between it and the .40 is amazing. Snap rolls and knife edge are a flick of the sticks away. The SPAD is running better the more I run the crud out of the engine and there's plenty of compression, but there's a lot of oil blow-by past the front crank bearing and the nut at the end of the carb hold-down bolt is stripped. Carb's nice and tight, though. I've been fiddling with the low end and I think I finally got it working right.

Re. "The Bruise:" I'd have never guessed that a fifteen-year-old castoff which the original builder/owner couldn't give away (except to me) would become one of my favorite planes.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 13, 2008 @ 01:13 AM | 7,497 Views
UPDATE: Flew it with the 46 today! Definite difference, but not as dramatic as I'd expected since I used the same 11x6 prop I'd used on the .40. An 11x7 is the recommended prop for that engine anyway. One shall be going on ASAP.

I have a strong opinion regarding my area's weather as of late, but since this is a family forum, I'll let the smiley give you a hint:

Thank you, Smiley. There'll be a little something extra in your paycheck.

Yes, it's windier than all get-out.

However, "The Bruise" is set and ready for when the wind dies down. I have run nearly six tanks of fuel over roughly ten flights (if memory serves) and I have had nothing but fun with that plane; the aerobatic potential is incredible. Snaps, loops, rolls both inside and out, Cubans, half-Cubans, hands-off inverted flight, Immelmann turns...you name it, "The Bruise" is nearly up to the task. I say "nearly" only because of the slightly too-small engine.

Not bad for a model that was built in 1993. The original owner saw it fly for the first time in more than five years just the other day.

A .46 awaits reinstallation when I get the new needle valve. The new/old Thunder Tiger GP 40 is nicely broken in and pulls with pretty good authority, but according to the previous owner, nowhere near what it'll do once the .46 gets settled in.

His engine of choice was a Magnum .45 with a tuned pipe (long since discontinued) but I don't recall his choice of props. He did say that it made that plane a ridiculously fast combination pylon racer and aerobatic model.

I really want some pix, but every time I bring my camera, there isn't anyone there to snap the action shots.

I'll persist. Really.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 10, 2008 @ 03:48 PM | 7,292 Views
Man, I'm kicking myself.

I've spent some good money on a lot of 4mm coroplast sheeting only to find out that I needed 2mm sheeting to build a new wing for the little SPAD Derelict.

No sign shop or plastics distributor in my area carries the stuff and I'll be doggoned if I'm paying more than $20 plus shipping to buy it online.


Looks like I may be able to salvage the thing if I can adapt the second reinforced foam wing I received with the big .40 SPAD I picked up from a fellow RC Groups user. Just about the right size, it's nice and strong and only needs ailerons to make it work. If the mess refuses to fly, that means a nearly new receiver battery, standard servo and fuel tank for a future project.

The upshot of all of this is the fact that I also received some extra PVC rain gutters and aluminum channels as part of that deal, so I may see what I can make out of all of it.

Another upshot: New blog series!

Stay tuned.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 28, 2008 @ 12:37 AM | 8,736 Views
Another forsaken model, another success story.

The old Global Hobby Raven kit, aka "The Bruise" referenced in my last blog actually took to the air earlier today.

Definitely a bit of a dramatic renaissance, though.

A couple of fellow Sunday flyers deemed the CG to be OK.

Which it wasn't.

Hoo boy, was she ever light in the ol' nose and therefore tail heavy. Thankfully, I was able to keep it under control and brought it in for a rather uneventful landing.

Two more ounces/56g worth of lead up front along with a burned-out li-po battery pack on hand if I needed it (thanks, for the weights, guys!) and it was off to try again.

Ah, much better and it didn't need the li-po as ballast. Underpowered, but much better. I knew it wouldn't be a barnstormer with that .40 up front based on what the original owner told me, but no slouch, either. I was only running a 10x6 prop; good for aerobatics, not so good for speed. The engine was still a bit tight as well, but it started coming to life after the second flight of the day. Going to an 11x6 prop helped a lot.

I need to dial in a tad more aileron and a tad less elevator and she'll be great. After a couple of flights, I was rolling and tumbling that old bird all over the place. Putting at least a .46 up front will help it enormously.

It flew so well that I didn't think it deserved to have its $5 price notice remain intact, so off it came with a dab of fuel and a paper towel.

The next nearly...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 25, 2008 @ 09:57 PM | 6,502 Views
Without the slightest hesitation. He's in and boy, is he happy.

Now all I have to do is get a trainer cord to go between the Tactic transmitter from my little FlyZone Cessna Skylane with its Futaba connector and my Hitec Laser 4 with its DIN connector.

When I do, he'll be flying the resurrected "SPAD" referenced in my last blog entry. Maybe I can convince my son to try R/C flight as well.

In other news from earlier posts, "The Bruise" is nearly complete. That's the soon-to-be-reborn (and hideously ugly) Global Hobbies Raven .40 profiler given to me last December by its original builder of more than a decade ago. In keeping with the low-buck spirit of this project, virtually all of the accessories are used and/or gifts from fellow modelers; for example, the DU-BRO fuel tank is a new-old unit and was a freebie to boot. The engine is a new/old Thunder Tiger less the box. Got the remainder of the accessories from one of the local hobby shops which, sadly, will be closing its doors in early May. Sure, I got the stuff at cost plus 10%, but heck, we're losing an LHS. The owner has a second store, but it's in Tennessee. He'll still be selling to we here on the Left Coast via mail order...and I won't have to pay California sales tax!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 21, 2008 @ 06:15 PM | 7,081 Views
Sonofagun, it's a nice feeling making a nice something out of a whole lot of nothing.

The little "SPAD" trainer/sport plane referenced a couple of blog posts back took to the air today under its own power and with virtually all of its original parts for the first time in what might have been years.

All was not happiness and lollipops because that Thunder Tiger Pro 40 refused to start. Kept on flooding like you wouldn't believe; turns out that the high-speed needle was still a bit cruddy and turned out too far. Once that was cleaned out, zoom! Fired up nicely and off it went.

It's an unlikely and ungainly amalgamation of equal parts home improvement store and hobby shop and took a little bit of time to get up enough steam to lift off, but lift off it did. I had to pull off a couple of dead stick landings since I suspect there's still some crud in the intake, but all in all, not bad for what was basically a freebie.

While not the fastest .40 in the fleet by a long shot, it's a pleasant, easy-to fly sport plane and a nice departure from my hyperactive glow planes. I may have to get a trainer cord and see if my dad wants to learn to fly. Landing is going to take some finesse and some really low speeds; the landing gear has a whole lot of spring!

Pix and videos by week's end!

PS: Almost forgot! I put the Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25 in the air with its new Berg Microstamp 4 receiver. For those of you who think a receiver makes no difference, I urge you to reconsider. Response was IMMEDIATE in comparison to the previous receiver. It's a substantial difference between it and your basic garden-variety receiver, believe me. Even the cost is pretty darn cheap compared to big full-range receivers. Full-range reception, teeny tiny size. Can't beat it.