phil alvirez's blog View Details
Posted by phil alvirez | Yesterday @ 06:34 AM | 658 Views
you can make lemonade!
years ago, i used to fly at a park nearby. quiet, a deadend road, no trafic. a pond nearby. swans, geese. i flew my umx radian, a 29" foamy so stable, and as it has gyros, even with some wind and turbulence, i had the time of my life. i kept it at the back seat of my car and flew it almost daily. whenever i drove around.
then the weather deteriorated extremely windy and turbulent. rain, storms. then the city decided to open the road, plant trees all around, light poles...
as a consequence, it has become quite a challenge to fly there. and depending from where the wind blows, it even becomes more challenging.
but still is flyable. and the good thing is that i have gained experience, so i can manage. that is the good side of the picture. and now am flying a umx radian without gyros. it happened because i wore out the threads of the stock and as i had a spare brick of the previous generation, when there were no gyros yet, i installed it and she flies fine. shakey, but still controllable. more challenging, but still a great plane even without gyros, i can tell you.
my reactions have improved. at my age (82) i get marks that place me at 50 at the test. so, i make lemonade... and enjoy life
this is the test:
try it. you will improve your reactions
life is good.

this is the plane: umx radian:
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 23, 2017 @ 08:31 AM | 1,445 Views
as i fly 2 meters e gliders and fly up high, its easy to loose a plane if taking my eyes out of it even for a few seconds. recently i lost 1 for this. luckily it was found and got it back after 5 days. found by members of the club, at the edge of the east ditch. i was gliding almost overhead, facing a westerly, and as i could not see it, i put it into a spin for a few seconds, then released controls, and as i didnt see it, tried again the spin, then after a while turned off the radio. couldnt see it anywhere so went home. seems that the maneuver worked because it fell not too far. when i lost another plane in sudden fog, i didnt do anything and it was found about 1 kilometer away, so i learned that it is better to spin it and have more chances to find it nearby, as it happened now. damage was a cracked fuse at the wing leading edge (polyurethane took care), and a broken wing at a dihedral-now fixed. all was fine (except the battery-lipo), so seems that the impact was not hard. it is a great sensation to get a message telling that the plane was found
and yes, it has my name and phone-all my planes. just in case. sometimes it works.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 18, 2017 @ 07:10 AM | 1,398 Views
words of wisdom
as humans can talk, 1 of the things that do is provide advice, be solicited or not. we are told what to do and think. we also tell others the same. sometimes good advice, others not. and is anoying to be told without asking for. so often by people that not only dont know you, but dont have a clue. on line at the grocery store. at the bank. anywhere. you provide good advice and try to live to it, and then you break that and fall for that mistake that you are advicing.
silly, isnt it? but thats the human nature.
i have some rules like:
1-dont fly if feeling sick or tired or worried by problems.
2-dont say "this is going to be the last flight" because it is going to be the last!
3-dont take your eyes out of your plane because you may loose it.
i have lived to those rules... until last friday
i broke all 3 and lost a plane.
i hope i will remember and not do that again... ever.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 11, 2017 @ 01:48 PM | 1,601 Views
and then from now on for 2 weeks it will be scorching hot-and windy as hell, so no way to fly even at dawn as i used to do
at least at this city of winds we had a few windows, but spring was not here this time. rains, and of course windy. what is going on with the weather?
the place where i live is called 'the city of windsor', but its full name should be 'the city of winds-or storms', believe me.
years before, summer was hot, but not windy, so i was able to fly at dawn, before the wind hit, but now...
time to get back to those projects at the backburner i think.
and how is it at your place?
Posted by phil alvirez | May 31, 2017 @ 09:05 AM | 2,008 Views
that sinking feeling

i mean, what was i thinking?
besides me not worrying about remembering things, as memory begins to loose its grip after 50, there are other things that contribute to making things for me harder to remember. as time from the moment i place an order from orient, to the moment it arrives, has gone from 9 days to over 3 months, when that order arrives i dont know what for was it intended, or how to do what i was thinking at the moment. even if took notes.
besides, as there is nothing to do about it while i wait, in the meantime i embark into another project. and another. and another. so now i find myself with so many things half way, and not remembering what or how to finish them.
and what about you? does it happen the same to you?
Posted by phil alvirez | May 22, 2017 @ 07:01 PM | 3,108 Views
1/72 Horten XVIII B2
this is a static model built by my son Luis, starting with drawings of the project, and with a structure of balsa and plastic rods, mouldings of resin, and planked with 1/32" balsa and then sheeted with paper-thin balsa tinted, and coated with clear varnish, piece-by-piece, to look like the real size that was made same way with plywood. parts snap together with magnets.
The Horten H.XVIII was a proposed German World War II intercontinental bomber, designed by the Horten brothers with pioneering features such as a flying wing configuration, turbojet engines and stealth characteristics. The unbuilt H.XVIII represented, in many respects, a scaled-up version of the Horten Ho 229, a prototype jet fighter. The H.XVIII was one of many proposed designs for an Amerika Bomber, and would have carried sufficient fuel for transatlantic flights.
The B2 model of the H.XVIII was based on the airframe of the H.XVIIIA with a huge tail. It had an MG 151 turret set in the middle rear of the wing and with six BMW 003 turbojets slung under the wings; this was designed by Messerschmitt and Junkers engineers. It is uncertain if this overall design was directly developed by the Horten brothers or their manufacturer, as there is little surviving evidence of this proposed version. It was eventually rejected by the Horten brothers, as it was not a major improvement over the Ho XVIIIA.

Horten Ho XVIII-B2 -Span 42m (137' 9") Length 19m (62' 4") Maximum...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | May 14, 2017 @ 12:16 PM | 2,803 Views
memory and knowledge
all my life i tried to understand. never worried about memorizing. but now that am not as young, i have found a way to memorize better by using images. picturizing. like watching a movie. still there are many things that require memorizing many details without making any mistake or forgetting something. like flying my planes. and keeping reactions sharp.
there is a video called 'the reaction time' that i practice several times every day. still, in the past 10 years i have been doing and learning many things related to model airplanes (see my blog) , and i realize that i have forgotten most of them too. and now that i have to deal with computerized radios and programming and mixes, am into an even more complex situation that demands knowledge beyond my experience and knowledge.
in my early years i learned about systems like ibm and took training and courses about each piece of equipment and got a certificate on each in punched cards. became supervisor, and worked on the improvements until retired. but now everyting is beyond the wildest imagination, and i had to learn, with the help of my son, the basics on how to use a comp, and be able to reach to the internet and learn way faster than ever. but never took a course on this.
nowadays i have 13 gliders, 2 meters wingspan, with electric motors, ready to fly, that demand perfect coordination and functioning. am learning many things and experimenting and enjoying the hobby more than i could ever...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | May 10, 2017 @ 01:03 AM | 3,285 Views
out of place.
walking with my wife at waikiki (hawaii) in the evening, we heard music coming from a piano bar. they were playing melodies from Agustin Lara, a very well known and prolific composer from mexico from the 40's, so we entered the place and saw a woman at the piano. i asked her about the music and she said that she was from the filipines, and that music was very popular there, and so the music from other mexican composers too. this reminds me that in japan they love the music from Armando Manzanero, another composer from mexico. and in russia the pop music from america was (is) very popular, even if was forbidden with severe punishment to those who played it. and at WW II the germans listened clandestinely to the music from Glenn Miller. in WW I soldiers played a melody called 'beer beer barrel' at both sides, although with different lyrics.
at the end of the day, people's feelings expressed through music dont know of boundaries or restrictions imposed by leaders: it comes from the heart.
if only the world followed the music from the people, would be no wars...
like that song that says: "give peace a chance"
Posted by phil alvirez | Apr 11, 2017 @ 08:26 AM | 4,871 Views
another day at the park. it is beginning to look a lot like spring-the way it used to be. several years of hell didnt let me enjoy these quick jumps into heaven, but today looked at the window and packed my things and away i went. no time for breakfast, because wind could start at any time. flew 1 of my designs-now testing the lemon plus receiver. it is a 36" span stick and tissue (Elf 36") that weighs 225 grams and has folding prop-sort of sailplane with landing gear. take-off from the street when there were no cars around-now they opened the street so there is way more traffic. but had to land on the grass-too many cars at the moment. anyway, it was a pleasure flying this plane again. and the plus made it fly way more stable, as there was some turbulence.i also flew 1 of my umx radians that does not have gyros. flew fine even with turbulence. heaven!
and i hope this year does not run as windy as the recent 1s.

an update: at least at the time i wrote this, it seemed as spring was here. but now am beginning to think that perhaps i was speaking too soon...
Posted by phil alvirez | Apr 08, 2017 @ 01:29 PM | 4,549 Views
as today seemed a day worth trying to fly my planes, i brought with me 2 umx radians to the nearby park and had a good time, although it demanded all my skills due to wind and turbulence. i have been flying this little wonder for several years. as a matter of fact, i own 3. but after flying the 1st 1 extensively i began to experience loss of signal- and the consequent crashes, so i got a 2nd 1 and got back to fly it like mad. good weather in those years! again loss of signal and got a 3rd 1. but then i decided to try to find out what caused it and removed 1 servo from the brick and learned that the tracks were worn out so there was no contact. as i have several micros of my own design that use the brick of micros that has no gyros, i transfered 1 to the rad and tested it. it flyes great, although wind shakes it a lot. still more stable than others the same size, so repeated the transfer to the 2nd and flies as good. now i have 3: 2 for calm or little wind, and the spare for windy weather-although not as windy as i has been the past 2 years (they say it was that thing called el nino). but it was great to fly again! i hope spring will come for good and the good old times are back
an update: i heard that spraying deoxit D5 at the servos to clean and lubricate the contacts will stretch their life so i got it. i hope so.
Posted by phil alvirez | Mar 30, 2017 @ 10:58 AM | 5,095 Views
lets talk in detail how a plane lands (alights, the british say).
the usual way is to move up the elevator stick gradually until flares-off.
but when a plane gets close to the land, there is ground effect. lift increases and becomes more buoyant. also it is getting hit by turbulence, hence it becomes unstable. the tendency to tip stall is increased enormously. and also to stall-just stall.
but in recent times i have tried another way.
1st of all, due to flying at a field where there are trees nearby at the most inconvenient location, downdraft forces me to land far away from the edge of the field. also crosswind. so it is a struggle to make the plane land smooth.
due to this, i have developed another technique that helps me to do so.
1.-i make the approach a little bit high.
2.-this way i am able to push the elevator stick down a little bit. now the plane behaves way more stable. does not feel the turbulence and ground effect.
3.-so the plane touches the ground faster than when flaring-off. yes, you are sweeping the ground, but with enough practice you will reach the point where it just remains attached to it without bouncing.
4.-you have to keep pushing down the elevator stick until the plane stops; otherwise if you release it at touchdown, the plane will jump into the air-and you will stop far away and flaring-off, which is what you are trying to avoid.
this is the technique that full size airplane pilots who fly fast planes use. no flare-off nothing.
try it. you may end landing better. i do.
Posted by phil alvirez | Mar 19, 2017 @ 02:50 PM | 5,343 Views
when you have a plane that is handlaunched, how you do it?
be power or glider, you find yourself in the position of finding the most convenient way, for safety and for comfort.
there are several ways:
1.-the most common, holding the radio with your left hand and the plane with the right hand.
2.-holding the radio with your right hand and throwing the plane with your left.
3.-if having an assistant, he launches the plane (perhaps with 2 hands) and you hold the radio with both hands.

with #1 and 2, you dont have full control of the trajectory of the plane for a few seconds, until you get back your hand to the radio. scary moments!
#3 is way better, if you are 1 of those lucky 1s that have the luxury of an assistant. here you have full control of the plane from the very moment of launch. the 1 that is recommended.
now, lets be honest, how many of you guys hold the radio without straps, hanging from your neck? from all that i see at the field and photos, it is the way.
could help if you hang the radio from your neck with a strap so you are able to do some correction sooner?
and if you use a tray, couldnt this make it easier?
still, launching with the right hand means that you have to correct the trajectory with the left you do that?
most people are right handed (90%), and use the right hand stick to do elevator and rudder or aileron. then, could you use the right hand stick with your left hand? do you? i dont think so.
perhaps if you decide to train your left hand to throw the plane, and you hold the radio with a strap and use a tray could be the best solution. this way you have absolute control of the plane from the very 1s moment.
but how many of you do this? or are willing to do it?
polite, positive messages welcome.
Posted by phil alvirez | Feb 22, 2017 @ 03:46 AM | 6,454 Views
22 feb 2017
the learning curve
there are no failures: when something does not work, you learn that. it is not that you failed. it is 1 thing that does not work. thats all. you are learning! now that you learned it doesnt, try again in a different way. until it works.
in other words: life is a series of attempts to get something. until you do (read comments).
Posted by phil alvirez | Feb 17, 2017 @ 07:51 AM | 7,126 Views
what is the ideal connector for receivers, and another for batteries/motors/esc ?
i started a discussion on this subject. here is the thread:
and if any1 wants to cooperate with ideas, or just follow what is happening, you are welcome here.
i am asking everybody to bring your ideas of the ideal connector for receivers, and another for batteries/esc/motor.
perhaps this way we may find something better, and this may influence an adventurous manufacturer to make them.

my idea is based on something like this:

1.-for small 1s that fit into receivers:
these have positive contact through a large area, and fit tight-you have to push or pull hard to get them in.
(please notice that am not proposing to use the small deans for receivers, am just showing them to see how are they designed)

2.-for larger that fit into motors, esc, and batteries, some1 like these:
(again, although these are as close as i can think to ideal, perhaps some1 may come with an even better idea
like having a grip like these: )

april 3 2017>>>by the way, after trying as many ideas as i could, regarding the problem of releasing and installing the deans, (or any type) i have come with the most practical solution: it is using 2 sets of locking pliers...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | Feb 16, 2017 @ 10:54 AM | 6,532 Views
comparisons and points of view
as i have been under the weather for quite some time, i have been trying to stay in good mood no matter what, as it helps (sometimes a lot).
for all that i have learned, it is crucial the way you see a situation in perspective.
i want to bring 2 examples: 1 fellow that has been beaten up gets into a place where is greeted by another and asks him "how are you today?" and he says "i have seen better days'". this way he is not complaining about how bad he is now.
another in similar situation answered: "am doing the best i can". again, does not tell how bad he feels, and with a positive mind.
but when no matter what, things are still deep under, then could be seen like in this example:
a child that is slowly recovering from a painful situation is still feeling bad, and is asked if he is feeling better and he answers: "no am not; am less worse"
so there you are. it all depends of the perspective.
Posted by phil alvirez | Feb 14, 2017 @ 06:08 AM | 6,433 Views
this is the 2nd plane am talking about. for the previous, see at same blog

finished the balsa fuselage version of Maverick. it weighs 65 grams more, but has more room for the components. with the original, that uses a foam fuselage of the dynamic hotliner, it is so tight that i have to press on to fit. i was not expecting it to be heavier, and this is another reason to use composites if chosen wisely.
also built a new wing that is covered with a stronger covering in order to make it stiffer. with the original wing, as the motor is so powerful, if i go beyond 50% throttle sometimes the wing flutters. and the gain in weight was only 15 grams.

>>>as seen at my blog when i released it:

Maverick 2: >>>nov 11, 2013: just finished replacement fuselage made of balsa to have more room, as the foam 1 is very tight for the pack, esc, and quanum. to my surprise, it weighs 75 grams more, so this places it in another category. the plane will fly faster, and will handle wind better, but will be a different plane. so i ordered another foam fuselage, as the original is beginning to show signs of wear and tear, especially after several crashes due to radio failure (false contacts in individual cells in the DX6i). once the weather improved i was able to fly it and learned that handles more wind as it is heavier, but not much difference after all. both give me a great performance-perhaps the best of all my sailplanes<<<
Posted by phil alvirez | Feb 11, 2017 @ 02:13 PM | 7,077 Views
now that i have all my planes ready until the weather-and my health-(will have surgery so have to wait until fully recovered) let me fly them, the time i have will use for things like providing details on my 2 meters sailplanes, which is what am doing, and expect to keep doing.
all started with the idea of using a nice foam or glass fuselage and designing a wing and tail for it.
1.-i found the foam Dynamic from hobby king, that fitted the dimensions and was available. it is for a wing on top, and came with the wiring for servos at the tail, which was 1 of the things i was thinking of. it was for v tail, so i modded it for t tail, which is the 1 i like best.
i named it Maverick. 2 meters built-up polyhedral wing, spars over/under; solid balsa flat stab. 35 mm diameter motor, 3 cells 1300mah, folding prop.
(more details down here). as it flew to my expectations, i ended up getting another, and made it with a lower t tail, otherwise the same.
with an already made fuselage i got a lighter and stronger plane. am pleased with the performance, and am able to thermal and stay there for a long time, weather permiting-even in near freezing temps. see pics here:
here are details from my blog.
Maverick started with the availability at the time, of the fuselage/canopy/prop/spinner of the Dynamic-s, a hotliner with v-tail
i used the prop/spinner that come with it, and found a motor that looks...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | Feb 02, 2017 @ 09:46 AM | 7,090 Views
last winter (15/16) made us think that conditions were heading down the drain. and it happened all over the world. but if we check this data we may consider that things will be better-or not as bad-as it begins to show. but you never know. still, i think that there is relief.
the so-called 'el nino' was the reason it was so bad, and the good thing is that it does not happen every year like that after all...
so, get your planes ready.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jan 31, 2017 @ 09:01 AM | 6,836 Views
as i have a hard time disconnecting the plug of the servos from the receiver, i tried modifying hemostats. they are very thin and come in several shapes. 1 of them has curved tips, and are intended for handling towels. i ordered them and made some inserts to match the connectors. to me is the most practical solution. of course, this is not for all the guys that can do without specialized tools and dont need this.
i found this:

i trimmed the tips to match the width of the connector (7 mm) and cya 2 inserts made from 1/16" plywood.
filed/sanded to fit the connector tight. now they hold the connector the way i need.
from now on, i dont expect to have any trouble removing connectors anymore.
i hope this will be of help to some who, like me, are not experts that dont have any problem doing this.
first clipped the tips to measure 7 mm (the size of the connectors when closed to the 1st step), then added 2 small pieces of 1/16" ply that sanded to fit and glued them with cya and baking soda for fill-in. the inner sides are parallel (7 mm) and grab the connector when pressing to the 1st step. this way i dont have to worry at making pressure when plugging in the connector, just fit it.
am happy with the results, and i hope whoever makes them be happy too.
i think this is a convenient tool for all who deal with radios.

i posted this at the radios forum but i think here will have more exposure.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jan 29, 2017 @ 11:23 AM | 7,199 Views
The real link between personality and well-being

if you want to be happy, consider that there is something you can do.
not only depends on how you are, but on how you face it and work on it. read this:

Which Personality Types Are Most Likely to Be Happy?
By Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific American | January 24, 2017 07:31am ET
119 196 27 24 2726 MORE
Partner Series
Which Personality Types Are Most Likely to Be Happy?
Your personality could partly determine your well-being.
Credit: kudla /
We all want more well-being in our lives. But which traits are most likely to be associated with well-being? This is an important question because it can help inform our decision to cultivate some aspects of our being over others, and can even inform culture-wide interventions to increase societal levels of well-being.
But in answering this question there are some important considerations. For one, what aspect of well-being are we talking about? In recent years, multiple aspects of well-being have been studied that go beyond the stereotypical smiling and positive vibes associated with happiness (see here for a review). Here are 11 dimensions of well-being that have been systematically investigated based on three prominent models of well-being (Subjective Well-Being, Psychological Well-Being, and PERMA):

11 Dimensions of well-being:
High Positive emotions (high frequency and intensity of positive moods and emotions)
Low...Continue Reading