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Posted by UpNup | Oct 15, 2020 @ 06:45 PM | 2,192 Views
Harley Michaelis died on Monday, October 12, at his home in Walla Walla, Washington. He was 99 years old. Harley designed and flew competition sailplanes, but also designed many other RC planes including an Easy Eagle powered 2 meter glider. He also designed an internal servo system so that the control horns weren't visible (RDS). He helped many people get into gliding as a hobby. He encouraged me and coached me how to find and track with thermals.

About a year ago, as described in my blog, I decided to try and make a powered glider. I went back through old magazines I had on hand until I found Harley's article in the November 1989 edition of Model Aviation. In that article was Harley's email address. I emailed him and he emailed right back. We became pen pals of sorts with him coaching me. For a Christmas present, I mailed him my copy of that 1989 magazine. He said he didn't have many of the magazine articles he wrote. He would loan them out and not get them back. He said he wrote 17 magazine articles, which helped offset medical expenses when his wife, Patricia, was going through efforts to save her prior to her death about 30 years ago. Harley was featured in the September 2020 edition of Model Aviation.

I believe God used me to help Harley get ready to step from this life into the presence of Jesus in Heaven. We had several talks about faith, conversion, church membership (or not), and other aspects. He sent me his memoirs, which contained very little mention of...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Oct 02, 2020 @ 06:58 PM | 1,511 Views
Back in July a friend stumbled on this prop jet in an antique mall. A couple of weeks later my wife and I went there and checked it out. I took photos and put them on a balsa kit building page. Everyone said it was an incredible deal and to grab it.

So after haggling for three weeks with the owner, we reached a deal. Keep in mind this is only available in a balsa kit that took months to complete. He came down 11% and threw in a radio controller. This flies like a plane (the propeller part) but looks like an FA-18 Hornet fighter (the jet in prop jet) flown by the Blue Angels.

At least a 1/10.8 scale version. Itís 59 inches long, has a 53 inch wingspan, and weighs 8.5 lbs. No decals, but gas the Navy blue and yellow accents. Other version surpass 100 mph, so itíll be awhile before this thing flies with my thumb at the helm.

I understand the Super Tigre 90 engine on this prop jet is rare and valuable. The ling tuned pipe muffler adds to the power. So I plan to strip it out of the plane and sell it separately. I fly electric motors and not fuel types anyway.

Another feature is that it has retractable trike landing gear. Thatís pretty cool adding realism. I plan to use it as a winter project.

And the best part is that my wife suggested that I buy it....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Sep 25, 2020 @ 02:56 PM | 2,150 Views
Itís fun to design new planes. Awhile ago, a PS4 video game caught my imagination and I mashed a Sukhoi 35/37 Super Flanker into a Macross YF-30 Chronos.

See https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-30-Jet-mashup

A friend recently discovered a FA-18 Hornet in an antique mall. The prop jet is made by Direct Connection I may not get it, but it reignited a desire to figure out how to bring a video game jet into the RC world.

Could the ruddervators lay down flat after takeoff when the landing gear is retracted? Could they raise back into position when the landing gear comes back down?

Weight is an issue. The Sailplane crowd uses two small Servos north of the CG to run push/pull cables. That would allow a second set of strong service to tuck into the rear a bit.

Itís fun to imagine.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 20, 2020 @ 02:35 PM | 2,149 Views
Today my wife had the hard part while I flew the plane. While she was videotaping, a 4 year old came up to her:

Colton: Can I fly that plane?
Mary: Maybe when you're older.
Colton: I'm almost five. Maybe I could trade my RC cars for that airplane. Would you go ask him?
Mary: Well, my husband really likes airplanes. He spent a lot of time building them from little pieces of wood.
Colton: My Dad leaves the cars in a closet and doesn't charge them. They can go really fast! 186 miles an hour! ... How long is he going to keep flying (sigh).
Mary: Well, sometimes ten minutes. He's only been up for five minutes. You can ask him to show you how it works when he lands.
Colton: Will he land soon?

Actually I did land right about then and got to describe how the servos worked. He helped me count out all six rubber bands. He was captivated watching me remove the battery and power down my Tx. His grandmother who had hovered nearby promised to get him a rubber-band balsa stick plane. It's what I started on when I was about his age.

The influence we have is really powerful if we'll see engagements as an opportunity and not a nuisance, especially with a precocious kid like Colton. And it didn't hurt that the grandmother noticed my Jesus fish (Ichthus ) on the wing and read the Fellowship of Christian Modelers logo on my hat.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 11, 2020 @ 02:22 PM | 1,562 Views
After watching the Goldberg Electra porpoise today into the wind, I decided to add 21g of lead. The flight stability was much better. However, I plan to add an additional 7g to reach a full ounce of nose weight.

The original 1986 Goldberg Electra with NiCad packs and hefty servos weighed 48 oz. or 3 lbs. or 1,360.78 grams. It was considered a “lead sled” with the combo weight and weak 550 kv motor.

Here’s my Electra’s data:

Fuselage w battery 1 lb 4.75 oz or 590 g
Wings w 6 rubber bands 13 oz or 365g

Total weight 955g / 33.7 oz or 2.1 lbs
Minus 28g weights is 927g or 2.04 lbs.

Weight target could have been lighter. Some have it at 25 oz. My Electra’s weight is probably due to: 3s battery, 2212 1400kv motor, 1/2” Balsa/ply nose extension, handbuilt cowl with 3 magnets, Gold-N-Rods running the full fuse with clevises, and full Monokote covering.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 07, 2020 @ 06:39 PM | 5,269 Views
After a series of test glides, the Goldberg Electra checked out. The CG was very close. However, I pulled a groin muscle making all those test flights! During one of those tests, the battery slid forward and cracked the beam holding the servos. This was an easy fix.

Today had mild winds and so I gave it a go. The 1400 kv motor is a bit strong for this powered glider. However, any throttle past halfway gave it a vertical climb posture. It got me out of trouble at least twice. Those dihedral wings really do fight to keep the plane level. I'm still wobbly at flying with just rudder and elevator. At one point, I realized that my hands were going the wrong way with the knobs. Doh! My heart was racing in one part of the maiden and I had to take a deep breath, take my hands totally off the controls and go after it fresh.

Watching the Electra glide was a treat. In the second flight, it stayed stock still in the air. Some updrafts were coming off a row of tallish evergreens. The wind and updraft (thermal?) was balanced just right. I slipped off the front edge as it passed and dipped, so maybe it was a thermal.

The landings included one hard bounce that knocked loose a piece of metal holding the cowl in place. However, the wings and fuse seem very strong.

The weakness in the building was the black cockpit cover. Despite six #64 rubber bands, the wings did give a bit on landing. The covering creased and pulled free of the screws. I need to design something that is more durable and perhaps fits either on magnets or under the rubber bands.

The color scheme worked incredibly well on a blue sky. I would imagine the red/black bottom and white tops would work well on a cloudy day.

I can't wait to fly again. Walked home with a silly grin. And even my wife said, "Well, I think you've got something you can fly." I'll take it.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 05, 2020 @ 09:06 AM | 5,275 Views
Here is the link to the Build Log for my Carl Goldberg Electra.
Posted by UpNup | Aug 30, 2020 @ 05:58 PM | 6,729 Views
Getting close to finishing my Electra. I joined the Fellowship of Christian Modelers last week and was inspired to use the Jesus Fish (Ichthus).

The overall scheme was inspired by Harley Michaelisí Genie Big Smoothie. Harley is a friend who is now 99 and designed competition sailplanes for years.

My favorite design part of the Electra was the hidden elevator control port. My least favorite was trying to get the CG right given the light weight of todayís motors and lipos. I moved the two 9g Servos up to the firewall and used Sullivan Gold-N-Rods the length of the fuselage. 8X4 folding prop, 2012 Motor, 30A ESC and Spectrum AR410 Rx.
Posted by UpNup | Aug 29, 2020 @ 01:09 PM | 8,547 Views
Havenít thought of the Jesus fish (ICHTHUS) in years. The Fellowship of Christian Modelers uses it almost like a loopy control line turn. At any rate it got me thinking about the white top surface of my new Goldberg Electra.

I created the pattern using PowerPoint and had to experiment three times to get the scale right. I printed on paper the outline, transferred it to cardboard templates for each part, and then traced them (backwards) on the protective coating of red Monokote. When I cut out the pieces from the original printout, I saved it as a template. The Windex allowed some freedom for alignment. I squirted the glue side with Monokote and let it dry in your place, checking a couple of times with the template. After an hour, I used my iron at high temps and then went over everything lightly with my heat gun.
Posted by UpNup | Aug 26, 2020 @ 11:20 AM | 4,225 Views
Last week I joined the Fellowship of Christian Modelers. These guys are serious about their faith in Jesus as well as modeling. They do devotions at places like Joe Nall and other major events. I joined their prayer team. They participate in competitions, too.

There’s no fee, but if you make a $20 donation or more you can get a hat or t-shirt. Check them out!
Posted by UpNup | Aug 23, 2020 @ 03:13 PM | 5,209 Views
So there I was trolling design photos for the Electra when I see there is something different underneath the wings in a black & white photo. Nobody ever shows underneath their wings, so I studied the clean lines. Thatís when I saw there was sheeting underneath the middle part of the wings. I was almost ready to cover mine when I had to go back into production mode. I pulled up the manual and there it was. I bought what I assumed was a finished frame with no plans, manual, nothing. Pays to keep checking!

To help the squares have something against to rest until the CA dried, I had to glue little ledges in place. I assume this would have been much easier done during construction.
Posted by UpNup | Aug 15, 2020 @ 09:32 PM | 4,458 Views
The Goldberg Electra has a cockpit canopy and a front cowl. Since my $25 balsa frame didn't come with a cowl, I could have spent $16 plus $14 shipping for a fiberglass version. (Click for Fiberglass Specialties.)

Or I could try to make one....

I scoured the house and found an old plastic container that I tried to make work. However, it was heavy and the plastic didn't cover the bottom of the plane.

I have made cowls in the past for a Ford Flivver and a P-51B, which I liked, but they were a pain to build. So, being a bit cheap, I jumped right in and after two prototypes (ahem), finally made one that should last at least for the maiden. It has a ply back plate and front plate. The formers are 1/8" sticks I made from sheets, and it's sheeted with 1/32" balsa sheet. What could go wrong? I'm being a bit leery of this cowl being fragile because all I've read is that guys tear up the cowl pretty early trying to land. The good news is that my cowl was made from scrap pieces that I had laying around plus some rare earth magnets that were left over from the P-51B.

Now, there is also a covering to be made of the cockpit area. I used .015 thick K&S clear sheet left over from work on the DW Hobby Griffin. With a couple of adjustments, the canopy that I made of 1/32" sheet balsa served as a simple mold. My heat gun melted the plastic just so. I painted the inside with black gloss rattle can spray after masking the outside with blue painters tape. The...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Aug 15, 2020 @ 07:13 AM | 3,871 Views
Here is the PDF containing decals for the Carl Goldberg Electra. I have sized them for a sheet of paper 8.5" X 11" landscape.
At the top is my re-creation using PowerPoint, so that they match, but are crisper than the decal sheet that I found online. The Electra used the Countdown font, available free for downloading online. To match the decals, I made a JPG and "narrowed" it L-R about 1/2" to match .

You can print these out on Printable Vinyl. Silhouette has packs with 8 sheets currently at an Office Supply shop.
Print using your printer's highest quality print setting. Do not touch the vinyl sheet after printing for at least one hour.
Coat with a gloss clear lacquer spray. I used Rust-Oleum's rattle can spray on the sheet. Spray on one quick covering, then a second coat in five minutes.
Cut apart with scissors, peel off the backing and place on the completed plane.
Posted by UpNup | Aug 12, 2020 @ 08:10 AM | 5,639 Views
My $25 Goldberg Electra has a fuselage that needed more work than was apparent when I got it. It didnít help that I knocked the fuse off my workbench causing the tail feathers to pull off. I believe it ended up being a good thing. They were barely tacked on to a 1/16Ē thick piece of balsa and had been altered to just lay on top and not go down into slots.

A video by Sonex413 on YouTube influenced me greatly. I am trying to match his setup:

Vintage GOLDBERG ELECTRA Motorglider with Air-to-Air Views (12 min 5 sec)

A 2212 motor and Sullivan Gold-n-Rods were purchased. The motor came with 9g Servos. He ran wires and Iím trying to stick with the Sullivan kitís yellow control cable. He also built a box for his lipo.
Posted by UpNup | Aug 02, 2020 @ 09:34 PM | 2,956 Views
Spent this afternoon cleaning up the wings on this C G Electra. Used a rotary tool to drill out the glued balsa pieces in the center of the wings and added an aluminum strip cut from a soda can, well-sanded. Scratchbuilt 3/4” wingtips. After touching up some gaps with lightweight spackling, I sanded it thoroughly, but carefully, with 80 grit sandpaper. Cracked two ribs, not mine thank the Lord, but they CA’d back in place just fine. Working with a 30+ yr.-old, brittle, 78” 100% balsa and ply wingspan was an experience.
Posted by UpNup | Jul 26, 2020 @ 05:20 PM | 7,022 Views
Today I bought a Carl Goldberg Electra balsa frame at an antique store in Dayton, Oh. I first saw it last October and didnít want to spend $40. Today it was marked at $25 and I picked it up for a future build.

Itís got excess wood glue in every joint. Many joints still have the paper plans stuck to them. Thereís no cowl or wing caps. There are some cracks in the top of the fuselage. And the balsa is dry to a crisp. The wings on display were only held on by one very thin Greenish rubber band. However, it was like visiting the SPCA and buying a cat on its ďexpirationĒ day, which we did years ago.

Last Fall, when I contacted the owner, I learned that his father had started the build many years ago and never finished it. Maybe we all deserve a second chance to take wing and fly. My Jesus sure extended that grace to me. Now maybe itís time to conduct a little rescue mission work myself.
Posted by UpNup | Jul 26, 2020 @ 07:26 AM | 8,145 Views
The DW Hobby Griffin 2m is getting better, but I believe the motor must be overpowering the control surfaces. It wants to yank hard to the left and go into a loop when throttle up is anything over 50 percent. It gives an exciting performance and is clearly a versatile powered-glider. I believe it could still use more nose weight to move the CG forward about 1/4". And it might need a smaller motor. As is, the Griffin wants to be hotliner. But right now, it's a hot mess -- an untamed mustang.

The landing did not have much control. I could not control it when the right wing tapped a tree trunk as it slid to a stop. The rudder was lying next to the plane!
Posted by UpNup | Jul 22, 2020 @ 07:01 PM | 5,067 Views
Making some progress on the 3-man crew for a 1/9 scale Nakajima B5N2 Kate. I decided to keep the foreheads like cap bills for now. I may add styrene bills later. The middle observer’s bandana says Victory. I gave the tailgunner a straw from a juice box as an air hose. Drilled a 3/16” hole in the regulator and also inserted a wire on the other side coated in shrink tubing. Still playing with that. Using Testor’s enamels mainly. I plan to add a Hitler-style mustache on the middle guy. He was a real fan of the guy. (Matsuo Fuchida)

Might try putting glass in those goggles. I have some .020 K&S clear plastic.

These guys are from Real Model Pilots in the UK. Plastic 3D printing means they are light and affordable, but do require sanding and filler on places like the goggles. I used a heavy grit and worked down to wet sanding with 400 grit.

UPDATE: Added a listening tube to the tailgunner and lenses in the goggles of the pilots. They were made from .020 K&S plastic and look like glass. For the split lenses, I simply bent the plastic with pliers before removing the protective plastic film. Easy to cut and trim with scissors. Glued in place with canopy glue....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Jun 27, 2020 @ 05:52 PM | 5,958 Views
Five flights of my DW Hobby Griffin resulted in five crashes. Making these changes:

1. Bolts fell off the motor causing it to become unstable and crash in a muddy place in a field. Two loose screws ended up in the dried mud under the motor. The motor was not affected. I removed the black Econokote and had to saw off the front balsa former. There was no way else to get to the motor. I cleaned everything with a Q-tip and water. A hardware store had the 4-40 screws and nuts that matched.

2. The 4 metal wing hold-down screws tore out after the mildest wing tap on landing. I drilled fore and aft holes for 1/4Ē dowel rods. I plan to use #64 rubber bands with the wing hold-downs. So that the rubber bands wonít make ridges in the LE and TE, I installed aluminum shields. I made the shields from a highly sanded soft drink can.

Looking forward to seeing this powered glider succeeding!