BernardW's blog View Details
Posted by BernardW | Yesterday @ 03:54 PM | 1,061 Views
The mutant Stik-shaped model is coming along bit by bit as I can find the time. I've been using that build like a blog, for general model-related guff, and neglecting this page so I'll try to keep in mind what each is really meant for. What I wanted to post here is my good results with new tools, for me anyway, on that build. I made a little sanding jig like a bench hook with an extra base piece sticking out one side and that works as a track to slide a sanding bar along. The top piece of the jig is square to that edge so it's easy to sand a piece square. The sanding bar is made of 50 x 30mm rectangular aluminium extrusion with sandpaper spray glued to it, and a gap at the bottom to clear the base of the jig. It works great, especially for sanding the angles on the ends of the diagonal braces in the Warren truss rear fuselage sides. I mark the angle I want on each brace from the stringers then place it on the jig at roughly that angle, first to use it as a bench hook while I saw it then to sand it to fit. It works very well. I bought another 1 metre long piece of the same hollow bar as a long sander and it's also been very handy. I've got coarse 80 grit paper on one side and 180 on the other. So far I've used it mainly to true up the edges of full length balsa sheets for edge gluing, as I needed to join 3 sheets for each skin for the wing D-tubes. It gives a nice straight edge that's properly square to the face all the way along, which isn't guaranteed using a blade and...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Apr 05, 2019 @ 12:43 PM | 1,573 Views
I'm a committed Titebond Original user, I used this for RC wherever possible because I had experience with it from general woodworking and I already liked it. When I started building RC models again I had been on a bit of woodworking kick before that and I'd been using Titebond (always Original, to me that seems best suited to modelling and if I do any other woodworking that's what I prefer for that too).. My 1st completed RC model was an RCM Trainer 60 where I used maybe 10 drops of CA on the whole thing, mostly just to harden the threads for holding the landing gear on. My 2nd was a Bruce Tharpe Engineering Venture 60, I used a lot more CA on that one. The plans and instructions call for CA but I subsctituted Titebond wherever I could, though I did use CA on many of the wing joints. Admittedly I wasn't using Zap or another specially developed hobby-type CA, I was using a hardware store super-glue type, though I did try and get the best I could find. I didn't know the difference then, I've tried Zap and it really is far better for model building.
I used to be able to get Titebond at two places, one a big hardware chain that's gone out of business called Masters, and another was the specialty woodwork sipplier called Carbatec, who are now the only place I know of. It seems they've actually dropped the price on Titebond since Masters closed, Masters used to be Really Cheap, Carbatec are merely Pretty Cheap but used to be far more than Masters. It's only $AU10 for 16 oz/473 mL...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | May 24, 2018 @ 03:07 AM | 3,741 Views
A little matter I've been meaning to bring up... does anyone else feel like those pod shapes on the bottom of the landing gear would be better being called "wheel spats" than "wheel pants"? I never heard of wheel pants until I started reading US hosted RC sites like this one. To me I'd always known them for years and years as Spats on fullsize aircraft. I will concede that I've seen them called wheel pants on fullsize too since then, but I'm pretty sure in Commonwealth countries the term is, or at least used to be, spats. Now, doesn't using the word "pants" for an aircraft part seem slightly silly? Even uncomfortable? The thing is, these pants don't go over any legs, they're just at the foot of the landing gear over the wheel. So if anything they're more like wheel shoes (that's not too bad either). And some Stukas had what they called :"trouser type" fairings over the fixed LG legs, they could certainly qualify as pants but few others have them, and fewer RC models. Isn't Spats just a better word, and doesn't make you feel so weird saying it? So the solution is obvious. Loud and clear, say it with me, call 'em Spats! from now on. So who's with me? Let's spread the word! Literally I mean, and the word is SPATS!
Posted by BernardW | May 18, 2018 @ 04:05 AM | 4,130 Views
Hi, just a place to continue the discussion started in John Morgan's build log about servo power. Stemming from the servo calculator page at
To me the real issue is what exactly is the airspeed to plug into those equations. I've seen all sorts of estimates for different types of models but really, they're guesses. Who can actually tell us a *measured* speed for, say, a warbird of JMorgan's type size and weight, or a sports 60 model, or a trainer, or what. It's not too hard to get pylon results as they're recorded to help judge the races, but I think we'll find they're little use against other types like the above. I saw a post about a 2m J3 Cub with a stall speed of 28km/h, landing speed 35 km/h and "best speed" (full throttle?) of 64. That's not much, 64 k's is just over 40 mph. All the assumptions I've seen for model speeds were much faster than that. A reliable speed is the first thing we need to use that servo calculator page.

Anything anybody would like to add about that, go for it, right here. Help yourself.
Posted by BernardW | Oct 18, 2017 @ 03:35 PM | 5,377 Views
Let me start out by saying I'm not associated with Hitec in any way, except that I bought one of their radio sets. I'm just posting about how much I lvoe it and can't get over what a good deal I got, and that I'm surprised not to see more of them around.

I still find it amazing that almost 2 years after I bought it you can still get this deal at this price... this is in Aus. dollars so the numbers are higher than in the USA. Middle of the 3rd row of this page:

That's the same deal i got, only it was from a different supplier who has now closed down. Mine was $10 cheaper at the time. So for $AUD 499 it's the Aurora 9X (not the plain 9, the 9X is better), Optima 9 rx with telemetry, 4 servos (Hs-5484HB), HD switch harness with a charging point, Tx battery with a basic wall charger, a crappy plastic cage for 4 rechargeable AA rechargeables for the Rx (I wouldn't use it, but it's handy for charging my TV remote etc) and various hardware. The same pack without servos is $50 less... or look at it this way, add 4 reasonable servos for $50. Right now one AUD is worth 78c US, so the package I got would be about $US 390. I still think that's a great deal for all that stuff. The Tx alone is $399 AUD, and the Optima 9 I think is almost $100 these days (for a while it was actually cheaper than the 7 channel).

I've posted before how much I like this radio and I know others who know what they're talking about (eg. hobby store staff)...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Oct 18, 2017 @ 08:20 AM | 4,522 Views
Hi, I sometimes really stretch the boundaries of off-topic, and something came up on Club Saito that I'd like to continue if anyone's interested, so here's a place for that. I have a neighbour who was a fighter and bomber pilot, and bomber navigator, in WW2, single engined fighters (I don't know what off-hand so I'll ask him again before I try and specify what types) and definitely Beaufort bombers. Of course I'm fascinated to know whatever he'd like to say about flying those classic types, but actually I like the guy in his own right, not just because he's a flyer. He's a genuinely good bloke. I offered to come and help out with things he can't easily do himself, such as lifting or climbing ladders. He's still pretty game and doing remarkably well for a chap in his 90's, but he knows what'd happen if he fell off a ladder so he's wise enough to ask for help when he needs it, and it's a great excuse to have a chat with a nice, interesting fella.

We stopped and had a nice quiet beer, and he likes to chat but of course I always wish he'd tell me all about aircraft (I know better than to ask him to talk about the war, like most actual vet's I've met who were expected to take lives as part of their duty, he simply won't talk about it). But he knows I love my RC planes, and I said hold on, I'll go grab my laptop and show you some videos, and he was interested to see. I showed him some favourites, like the B-25 with twin Moki radials (really screams, that one, I wonder if it's...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Oct 09, 2017 @ 03:18 AM | 4,912 Views
I enjoyed flying today and it went well. So long as there's not too much cross-wind to blow the model away from the line I can land as well as almost anybody at the field now, and so I should with the practice I've had. Every session I spend most of my time just running touch-and-goes over and over, it's great practice. I guess the spring brace for the landing gear works fine but I actually put it down nice and gently every time - except for the one occasion where I would have crashed into my own leg if I hadn't skipped out the way! Cross-winds - it was quite changeable today, eventually it settled into a genuine sea breeze, one of the first of the season, stiff and steady and actually quite fun to fly with if you take advantage of it, and straight down the 2nd runway. I could just about hover in it, strong breeze now is no longer a problem for me, and so long as it lines up with a runway it actually improves landings, you get great control and plenty of time. But until I figured out to use the back strip I was getting a little difficulty with the cross-wind component and nearly hit myself at one point.

But I did have two problems. The engine wouldn't reach peak RPM if I set wide open throttle, if I backed the stick off to about 2/3 or 3/4 it would actually rev fastest. I thought maybe the throttle was going past WOT and starting to close up again so I looked into the carby while operating it, but as I suspected, Saitos don;t do that, they hit WOT and...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Sep 05, 2017 @ 10:40 AM | 4,698 Views
Hi, just a couple of ideas for possible flaps to add to my RCM Trainer 60. This was to be used in a PM then I reaslied I can't attach pictures to those. First image is a simple modification to my existing wing - split the ailerons into two sections, the inboard being shorter span and will be the flaps. I'd add an extra servo in each wing panel to control them, for a 4-servo wing, meaning I can run them as separate flaps, or together with the ailerons to restore the original aileron surface aera.
2nd versions, B, I'd only use if I were building a whole new wing for the trainer, which is actually a possibility. If I had a workshop area set up and ready to go it'd be so much easier to take on more of these projects, but as it is that's a little hard. Anyway, ideally I'd like more area for the flap surfaces, this is one way I can think of to do that. I'd also take the opportunity to mount the flaps' servos inboard in the wing centre section and drive them with torque rods. The main reason for that is to keep as much mass as possible inboard in the fuselage area, rather than out in the wing panels. I've read that you want as littlle mass out there as possible, I won't bother going into the reasons here but it should be obvious at least as far as angular momentum.

In the next image, version C is a possible improvement on A, which I could do relatively easily on the existing wing. The problems I see are lack of effective area for the flaps, so they're more like air brakes than a...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Sep 03, 2017 @ 05:57 AM | 4,440 Views
Hi, nothing to report just yet, this is a placeholder post. I'm test-flying all these control system mod's tomorrow and I'll report how it goes. I'm really hoping the steering system on the ground now works reliably, that was why I started all thise work. It now has a spring-protected connection from the steering control rod to the steering and rudder servo, and hopefully instead of bending the axle or steering arm, any bumps on the ground or from skewed landings will now be absorbed by the springs. It got so bad for a while I couldn't taxi it at all, had to place the model on the runway and manually straighten the wheel, and it'd still swerve on take-off. Touch-and-go's weren't possible like that as the model would slice across the runway, further straining the steering. But this should fix it.

Also now using my best servos, which happen to be micro digitals, on ailerons. They'll be much faster, torquey and with much higher resolution than the Emax rubbish I was using before - they'd wanna be for the price anyway. If these work out well I might start budgeting and planning to get a couple more high-resolution servos, maybe Hitec D-625 ir 645. My Rx. can get up to 2048 steps of resolution with these, I'd need a Hitec Maxima to get the full 4086 but 11-bit would be plenty. The 5085's should give me 1024 steps, and the old analogues were probably equivalent to about 300. They were weak, stripped gears and were starting to act strangely so it was time to upgrade, and as I...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Sep 03, 2017 @ 05:39 AM | 4,499 Views
Hi, I'll use this post as a place to record the major work done on the model over time. I'll come back and edit when there's something new to show.

Late Aug. 2017, re-built control linkages and systems.
Lots of work! I took almost 2 weeks to do all this, about an hour or more each day.

I'd been having real problems with the nosewheel steering, from a few sources. Firstly the steering arm seemed to slip on the nosewheel leg, no matter how I tightened it. I thought it could also be the axle but that was pretty tight. In the end, this Du Bro arm has a dura-collar built into it and it turned out that was loose inside the nylon arm. I fixed that with some full-strength epoxy. TAs it's near the crankcase breather and the oil dripping from it, I thoroughly cleaned it with alcohol, you'll always need to do that near exhaust or oil.
I thought that would be the end of it but still every flight the steering went crooked. I know that's common but this got really bad. It turned out to need a flat spot filed on the front of the nosewheel leg to give the axle and steering arm somewhere to grip, but I decided to improve the whole system. It had other problems causing the steering to go wrong and it was only going to do it again.

I'd originally used a Sullivan Gold-n-Cable inside a sleeve. They're good but not for that job. There was a kink in it to go to the steering arm, and that would flex, changing the length of the cable and therefore steering the model. If it rolled over inside its...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Aug 18, 2017 @ 08:55 AM | 5,079 Views
More thoughts and reports on the RCM Trainer 60, now I've had my solo wings a few weeks and have been flying it every chance I get. There are a few special points that set it apart from other trainers. I mentioned the two main ones, higher sink rate and higher speed, I'd like to add some detail to that. The reason for these, I think, is that it's not a high-lift wing. With an asymmetrical airfoil section and not a large wing area, it's not like other trainers I've flown. It has a higher wing loading, the basic design comes out close to 20 oz/ft^2, most of the trainers I had lessons on were on the order of 12 to 16. It makes a big difference, especially together with that lower-lift wing section. But I happen to like it.

It makes some important differences. When you're on a lighter basic trainer, turns are easy. You just roll it a little, probably under 30 degrees bank, and apply a little back-pressure to the elevator stick, and it'll come around nice and smoothly. You practice this until it doesn't balloon those turns, and soon you start adding rudder, known as a coordinated turn. That's how you turn just about any model, but this one doesn't make it quite so easy. For starters, you have to fly it right through the turn, by which I mean you don't just wait for it to turn automatically for you, you have to strictly control its attitude at all times. You'll find the hardest are exactly those slow, smooth, gentle turns. It's far easier to just throw it hard over and haul back...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Jul 30, 2017 @ 06:50 AM | 5,122 Views
It must have been a good year ago, that I promised I'd come up with a picture of kangaroos as the field where I usually go. One way or another it didn't happen, and then I hadn't been there again until today, but it was a REALLY good day. I finally got my solo wings, conditions were just about perfect, and I got photos of 'roos, on the field, with a model in the same frame, and stuff like a windsock and the runways and so on. I was challenged on this but at last I can prove my word is good... presenting that symbol of the Antipodes, the great marsupial, one of which even has a full-looking pouch (sorry, no cute little face peeking out but take it on faith).
By the way, see all the little black pellets on the ground? That's one way you know the 'roos have been there (exercise for the reader)

EDIT - just to give credit to the club, these pic's were taken at the WA Model Aero Sports Centre, which is in a very nice reserve called Whiteman Park. I won't go through the other stuff they have there but it's really cool and very popular (just to say my American Brother-In-Law has one of his classic cars on display in the auto museum there, I think it's a Chrysler Newport). You can see the triangle of 3 perfect paved runways, set up for the prevailing winds (one thing about Perth is, it's just a windy place and if you want to fly RC, you better learn to fly in wind!)
This next club, KAMS, is another fine venue, with a historical family link between me and...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Jul 27, 2017 @ 01:46 PM | 5,139 Views
I don't have kids, probably left my run too late for that, and I'm in my working years but my industry has just about collapsed and I need to get requalified in something. So I've got time, but few resources. If I want something to fly then effectively I've gotta build it, even in this day and age (sorry but a Hong Kong foamie isn't going to do it for me, and it's not what I'd spend the little I can get on). When my day job finished I had to wait months for unemployment benefits, right in the hard part of a classic boom and bust cycle here. I had scraps of low-grade work for the off-season part of the year so I could usually put ten, twenty dollars a week or fortnight into it, but I really wanted to build and fly model planes. Sounds like a luxury, to invest time and precious resources into basically a toy in that situation, but I think it was just what I needed. I'd built a glider and one or two other little kits in my teens back in the 80's and decided that would do me good.

And I did it, there's a long, drawn-out build thread where I downloaded some plans and built up a trainer, with lots of great support and advice from very generous-minded people, and now I'm soloing that model. It's one of the best things I've done for myself in a long time, I greatly enjoyed it, stayed positive, gained or improved my skills, and wound up with the clubs, meeting people who among other things give me a social circle that helps me make contacts to build new work relationships (gradually)...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Jul 24, 2017 @ 04:26 PM | 5,905 Views
I'd been asked by a couple of people to desctibe this design in its design role as a trainer, here goes. I'd say it's really pretty good, but these days I don't know any in production as a kit or ARF. Not too many people would be mad enough now to build their own trainer from scratch as I did, but I love it. Now I'm flying solo, it's stable and easy to fly, so long as you set that CG forwards. The plan shows the forward point at the back edge of the wing spar, my last instructor adjusted it to the front edge, and that's pretty good, positive stability and it tends to return to stable flight.

What I like about it though, is it's not a *basic* trainer, in fact this is almost the same design as the RCM Advanced Trainer, and the plain RCM Trainer (very minor differences with the latter, can't find any with the advanced). It's faster, for one thing, but I hasten to add it's still very easy to fly, you just need to keep up a little airspeed, so those turns come up a little sooner but it's no problem and still well behaved. As soon as the airspeed drops below a certain point it really starts sinking. That takes away one problem I find with today's light ARF trainers, they float and sometimes don't want to settle. You can always point the nose down and dive, but you'll build up too much speed, lessons teach you to sink for the ground, not dive for it, when it's time to approach for landing. Turns are good and steady, but I just found out you do want to learn to use coordinated...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Apr 25, 2017 @ 07:18 PM | 6,225 Views
I'd like to add a Raspberry Pi and some sort of servo etc. controller board to my RCM Trainer 60, and add autopilot software such as Paparazzi or OpenPilot, not to use commercially yet but to start getting some knowledge and experience of fixed wing UAV's. Eventually I would like to get into this commercially using my own designed and built aerial platforms, in a much larger size and carrying more instruments, for geological surveys for mining, aerial photog. for farming, forestry or anywhere you need to cover a longer range and get aerial photos or other data. I'm extremely interested in this and have many ideas.

If anyone has done this, as far as adding autopilot and other robotic control software etc. please let me know, I'd love to discuss this and get your advice, and I'll post everything I manage to get working. I know there are UAV areas on RCG so I will definitely check them out next.
Posted by BernardW | Sep 18, 2016 @ 10:17 AM | 6,910 Views
I've sat down to work on the model but there are 2 or 3 little greeblies that I think are called sand-flies, little tiny beggars, sometimes they fly in a square doing these pure 90 degree turns. They are driving me insane! They haven't touched me and they don't make any noise I can hear, but they are THERE whenever I look up and I notice them so often I'm getting a complex about it. Now, I don't believe these hard-working, decent insect folk who are just trying to make a living, deserve to die just for being born as what they are, least of all when they haven't hurt, offended or stolen from me, but it's my base nature, I want to flatten them. But I can't. I should have been a Buddhist. Nrrrgh I'm obviously going to let them drive me even more crazy... the question is, were they born in my place, if so where, what are they feeding on and what must I clean? They've grown to (relatively) gigantic size, in just days I've seen them reach almost a good 2mm long from less than half that... they're feeding, growing... can I harness their power for my model? I can't bring myself to spray bugs, it's not right, they suffer and struggle, I can't be responsible for doing that to others of my Maker's creation. Plus, that's just filling my own home with poisons and suspect propellants... We don't like it when bugs poison US, so what gives me the right, eh?
Posted by BernardW | Jun 29, 2016 @ 07:13 PM | 7,780 Views
(LARGE SMILEY) Just indulging myself for a moment...

A friend I hadn't seen for a while knows I'm enjoying my new hobby, and with a belated birthday as an excuse bought me a tidy gift certificate to a LHS I like. She paid me back some money from a while ago by buying me my Aurora 9X, which was just awesome. I was thinking maybe the telemetry pack to go with it... something I'd like to have (especially the GPS) but couldn't have made a priority. It's a luxury, sure, but one I always thought I'd like. GPS would give me altitude and speed over ground, if not true airspeed, and if a model ever comes down past the tree-line it'll be handy. I'm tempted... just had to share that

I can upgrade it later and get a real air-speed instrument too:
That 1st deal actually costs less than just the GPS and sensor station, but you get all those other features. I'd have to get the advanced sensor station (3rd link) to use the air-speed instrument (ASI) but it's all surprisingly fairly priced. THe best deal is to get the full kit then upgrade it. The ASI is about the only thing I'd want that needs the advanced sensor pack, but once I had that, then a variometer (shows rate of change of altitude) could be handy, and cheap too. More of a glider thing maybe but I do want a glider, and at the price... One more nice feature is the...Continue Reading
Posted by BernardW | Apr 20, 2016 @ 04:51 PM | 7,806 Views
Has anyone used this engine? I'll pick mine up very soon but it will be some time before I build a model for it. Just wondering if anyone has it in a model, and what you'd recommend. I'd be looking for a sports type flyer, not detailed scale, and by the time I get it flying I would like to think I'd be ready for something fun, I don't know, either fast or aerobatic, I throw open the floor and all ideas are welcome.

I was thinking of just scaling up the Venture 60, maybe with a few small mod's, or otherwise basing a new model on an existing design. Oh by the way, this has to be from plans or scratch, I do not wish to buy ARF, I just don't want that. ANd anyway, I need to be able to spend the cost of it gradually, week to week, even if it does end up costing more. Possibly a build-up kit, though I'd probably prefer short form, and really I plan to stick to scratch or plans construction because I enjoy it.
Posted by BernardW | Apr 20, 2016 @ 04:46 PM | 7,831 Views
Hi, this is my first blog entry and I'll start by asking anybody out there for links to a GOOD site or two with tutorials on using plastic covering film. I've achieved the basic idea of using the iron and a heat gun to apply a single colour to solid balsa surfaces and to open frames such as between ribs in an unsheeted wing, but where I need help is in using multiple colours next to each other, say for example a fuselage with a dark colour on the top and/or turtle deck and white up to just below the cockpit. I'm wondering how I do this - join the two colours before I apply them? Or should the dark colour be treated as a trim piece over the top of the white? Or just add one colour up to where it stops, then slightly overlap the next and keep going?

Yes I know this is basic stuff and there are tutorials out there, but I have been looking at a few and haven't found what I need to see yet, so if you can recommend a site that can walk me through this I'd appreciate it.

The new news at the moment is I'm about to make the final payment on a YS FZ-91, which I got at a fair price, discontinued model but still new in box, since it was there and reduced, but I haven't yet settled on a model to install it to. I'm looking for ideas, if you know a good sports model well suited to this engine I'd love to hear about it. I might even look at a pattern plane and start learning those ropes, but this is all at least a few months away. I'm finishing one model soon, then I've settled on the...Continue Reading