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Posted by phil alvirez | Dec 05, 2016 @ 05:18 PM | 3,695 Views
the kind of planes i got started with, were free flight hand launched gliders of 18" span, and those were the most fun i ever had.
with them i learned aerodynamics, to trim a plane, and to feel the thermals that lift from the ground.
i held 4 planes in 1 hand,between my fingers, and another in the other and began to launch 1 by 1 and watch how they behaved.
i learned to understand the timing, when there is no wind and suddenly a breeze begins to blow; how to follow the thermal and pick up the planes as they were landing, and launch them again until ran out of field. sometimes 1 of them got a boomer and flew away. still, sometimes i could get them back. 1 of them did over 10 minutes, and another over 11 and got them back. but most of them, when got a strong 1 flew away. no dethermalizer nothing.

and these are the days...
but it is now that, with the help of modern technology, am having a great time too. r/c electric powered 2 meters sailplanes, with vario that tells me when there is lift, following a thermal, is beyond the wildest dream i could have in those days.
Posted by phil alvirez | Dec 01, 2016 @ 10:07 AM | 3,383 Views
next week we will be below freezing and soon the field will be closed so no more flying until who knows... maybe end of march-or april, as it happened this year. so its time to start building-if still there is any1 who does-or pick on whatever theory or scientific idea any1 can decide-maybe discuss it here-to keep the mind busy.
and all of you who has-and will have-good weather to fly, enjoy! and of course whoever flies indoors too.
Posted by phil alvirez | Nov 22, 2016 @ 06:00 PM | 3,995 Views
today i went flying to test a new plane and a battery too.
it was near freezing and calm, and i expected a few short flights only.
as i have a vario i installed it, mostly to learn the height, but after testing the plane for turning as if it were in thermal for some time and seeing it performing well, i decided to switch the vario to beeps, just for the kicks. it was at about 200 meters, and there was no wind, and suddenly i began to hear beeps. following the area where i heard them, i noticed that sure, there was lift. and as there was no wind, i kept turning until the cold made me realize that it had been some time. when switched to check the height, it was around 300 meters height. so it was climbing consistently. i could stay there way longer. the sensation of soaring in cold weather was a great and unexpected experience. i have heard guys telling this, but i never had it in so cold weather and so strong.- i could stay there for a longer time.
wonders of the air, that is always full of surprises! (this time a good 1).
Posted by phil alvirez | Nov 12, 2016 @ 06:01 AM | 3,317 Views
i had a problem with something i ordered and i was not satisfied and the supplier told me that i could return the parts. see:
regarding returning the parts, on post 2892 (page 193) thread
i got this message from him:

"This seller went out of his way in time and $$ by shipping to Phil in Canada, which was not my original offer to the market (shipping on me if US). If Phil wants to reimburse me for my outbound shipping costs, he can ship it back on his nickle, and I'll sell it to someone else. What a waste of time, what a mistake. Note also his posts to do custom benchmarking of motor power before shipping. High maintenance, and then some.

Kelly "

so i sent back the parts for him to fulfill his promise, but so far nothing has been deposited on my paypal account.
this is the official record on canada post files:

tracking number:
Package Summary
Status:Item successfully delivered
Signed By:signed
Customer Service:[+1] 866-607-6301
Tracking Records
Fri 9/30/2016 3:30 pm
Item accepted at the Post Office
Mon 10/3/2016 1:13 pm
International Item being prepared for export
Mon 10/3/2016 6:56 pm
International item being forwarded to destination country
Tue 10/4/2016 6:21 am
International shipment has arrived in a foreign country
Fri 10/7/2016 4:42 pm
Item successfully delivered

and he got the...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | Sep 18, 2016 @ 12:57 PM | 4,304 Views
i have built 3 identical wings for my 2 meters sailplanes.
they look alike and the only difference is that the last 1 has some spars of carbon fiber instead of spruce.
i can use them in several fuselages.
with 2 of them i have found that some times they flutter and worries me because the plane can loose its wings in any moment.
when gave them a closer look the only difference i could find was that the 1 that does fine has a turbulator at the leading edge (a piece of thread that is about 1/16" and runs at the neutral point of the leading edge).
so i added a thread at the leading edge to the 2nd and 3 threads at several positions along the chord to the 3rd and tested them today.
the 2nd with 1 string at the leading edge still had the flutters.
then tried the 3rd with 4 turbulators. no flutter!
then to the 2nd with 1 i added 3 more turbulators: again, no flutter!
so seems that turbulators not only improve the efficiency and stability but get rid of flutters too.
more tests to come.
now i got flutters again-that was with wing #3 and a short foamy fuselage. but same wing with 2 fiberglass/cf does fine.
need to do more tests. same plane flew fine after having flutters the day before. but also happens when the plane is going fast.
1 thing that i learned is that with the turbulators, the speed increases noticeably, so the more turbs the faster the plane. this may be good for windy weather, but as my goal is to thermal, are not what i need. they increase stability, but at the expense of loosing ability to thermal. you get stability in exchange of maneurability, and you loose sensitivity to thermals and the turning radius is larger. so, 1 thing or the other.

it is 1 of the things of the air, that takes some time to confirm your impressions.
(by the way, near the end of page 11 of this blog there is more on turbulators, if you want to see all that i have learned about it).
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 27, 2016 @ 06:27 AM | 5,655 Views
all began with the Radian, a 2 meters (80") electric powered sailplane from horizon hobby. i learned about it when i watched it flying. it impressed me so much that same day i went to the nearest hobby shop that stocked it and purchased 1 and was flying it next day. no gyros nothing.
but then they released the 29" UMX, that has gyros (electronic stabilizer), that makes it fly in some wind as if were a way larger plane.
and i got 1 too for flying at the backyard or nearest park.
then came the Pro, that has ailerons and lower dihedral, for aerobatics. that i dont have 1 because my goal is thermaling.
and now we have the largest 2.6 meters (102") XL that comes with a receiver with gyros, for windier weather. and i have 1 too.
this is just the start. i will keep bringing comments on my personal experience with them, so keep posted and get into the end of this. see ya.
i will start with the impressions i got on each 1, then details and then what i have done to improve it or make my life easier.

#1: the 1st (2 meters):
this is my favorite size, and it thermals easy and is fast to have it ready to fly. handles some wind, climbs to 200 meters in 30 seconds, easiest to put together, and price is great.

#2: the micro:
flies like a big 1, as with the gyros it handles wind very well.
1.-loosing signal: if sometimes a few seconds...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 21, 2016 @ 08:06 AM | 4,446 Views
modifying anything depends of our point of view of things.
there are those who think that 'if it works, dont mess with it', and do fine. and there are the others, the adventurous, who are always looking for something to 'improve'. and frequently get into trouble.
things are not only not improved, but get messy.
but not only there is room for both; it depends of the personality and goals. both are right, even if at opposite ends.
if it were not for those who want to try a new idea, we still would be living in caves. on the other hand, the conservatives make life safer.
so, after all, we need to understand the others point of view and live in harmony.
live and let live!
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 12, 2016 @ 05:47 PM | 4,913 Views
i started a thread and shortly after that, on a moment of lucidity, noticed that it made non sense, so immediately erased it, but later went back and noticed that it has become a subject of the funniest non-sense i ever saw.

so, if you want to laugh out loud as i did, peek in and have a good time.
you may even participate. nobody is going to tell you that you are out of topic.

feeling sick, and with the weather horrible, i havent been able to fly for a long time, but this made me forget all.
Posted by phil alvirez | Aug 09, 2016 @ 05:58 AM | 5,489 Views
it is great to have theory as starting point.
but it is worthless if we dont confirm it at the field.
and if we dont provide all the details.
sometimes is better to start with results and then develop the theory to explain it.
but it happens that, even if we have a nice theory that makes sense to us, or if we get some results at the field, some1 will disagree and start a discussion where will not reach an agreement.
and this may happen with fellows that are well known, or that have good education.
why this happens?
as Don Stackhouse said: "the devil is in the details".
problem is, if we dont get together and show our planes and study and analize them and all the details, and do the testing together, at same place and time, it is impossible to have all the details and reach the right conclusions.
i will bring an example where this could be understood:
suppose 2 fellows get an identical plane ready made. as i am into 2 meters sailplane i will suggest the radian, that is an excellent thermal plane and comes with everything, ready to fly. that is, we only need to charge the battery, do the binding, test for range and go. both guys watch each others plane and confirm everything. cg, decalage, whatever. then fly both planes and exchange them so everything looks all right. then 1 of them makes a change like moving the cg. and so on. only 1 change at a time. they are flying the same plane on same weather conditions. then it is possible to reach same conclusions. if this is not done exactly this way, there is the possibility of discrepancies. that is why there are so many discussions that lead nowhere. so it means that 2 or more fellows may be right on what they say: because the devil is in the details.
think about it.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 29, 2016 @ 06:06 PM | 5,207 Views
or should be the ecstacy and the agony? let me explain and you will decide:
today was another of those wonderful days when the weather cooperated at its full extent. no wind, puffy clouds, no moskitos, so i could fly my 2 meters sailplanes. so i began to fly my planes. the light 1 (650 gr) got light thermals at low level and thanks to the vario catched them effortlessly and remained there until i decided it was enough and turned the vario off. but then the plane didnt descend. kept sailing back and forth for a long time. ecstacy!
then the standard (860 gr) went up. this time climbed higher. all seemed o k. thermaling great. ecstacy again!
then i got enough again so again, turned the vario off thermaling. but as i changed the vario to height (tells the height) i noticed that it was climbing at an alarming rate. soon was above 400 meters, and couldnt bring it down! spin, dive, whatever, but no. i have to be careful because if i bring it down too fast it may fold the wings, so the only thing i could do at that height was to listen to the voice how fast it was descending. it took a long and agonizing time to be at a safe height. then i just landed it and went home. no more fun for the day.
so, was the agony and the ecstacy or the other way around?

Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 24, 2016 @ 06:25 AM | 5,023 Views
just got this answer from a fellow to whom i asked something:
" I'm a bit of a practical guy when it comes to modeling. If it works then that's good enough for me and if it works well then that's a even better:-) It's a shame people feel like they cant contribute in an open forum. For me I like to hear as many options as possible. That way you can consider all of them and go with what is best for you"
it sounds so good that i just cant resist to show it. i couldnt agree more.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jul 19, 2016 @ 02:25 PM | 5,022 Views
weather vane effect on sailplanes

if a plane has too much side area behind the cg it may have the tendency to point at the wind and resist going any other way.
just like a weather vane. resisting to change direction.
Frank Zaic mentioned a method to keep this in balance by a very simple method without calculations. he called it center of lateral area.
from cardboard he cut a profile of the model showing all the components viewed from the side, including the side of the wing with the dihedral. then pinned it at the desired cg and saw if it balanced. i tried it with all my models and it worked.

if any1 has some experience with this, please bring it.
please only comments polite, positive and to the point.

i started a thread on the issue here:
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 21, 2016 @ 08:38 AM | 5,308 Views
a child asked his grampa: what is better: to be a dreamer, or to be a realistic?
and the grampa answered: well, could be that you can be both:
giants walk with their heads in the clouds, and their feet on the ground.
so, you can be a giant. it is up to you.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 18, 2016 @ 12:59 PM | 5,412 Views
Oscar Wilde said that "the only thing worse that not getting what you want, is getting it".
i never thought much about it because i thought it was 1 of his jokes.
that is, until today.
weather good, flew some of my new 2 meters sailplanes for calm for evaluation, and when the wind began to blow, i pulled 1 for windy weather, that has the vario that sends tones or tells the height.
tried to find a thermal but nothing. climbed 3 times to 200 meters (some 640 ft). the sky had just a few thin strips like veils. not the best conditions for thermals i know. the plane didnt sink, but no beeps.
i sure wanted thermals.
and then the vario began to sing. and up she went. up and up. 200 meters, 240, 300... then i began to worry. the plane looked smaller and smaller even if i did nothing. so i moved away, but no matter where, the vario kept telling higher. tried to trim it down. then dive. then the wings began to flutter. so dont put so much down. eventually began to drop. 300, 270, and so on. took over 10 minutes to land. by then i didnt want to fly anymore. i kept telling to myself: so you wanted thermals, didnt you? the flight was over 30 minutes.
so think carefully what you want: the gods of the air may be watching and decide to please you.
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 13, 2016 @ 10:54 PM | 5,598 Views
recently purchased 2 pods and booms from here:

this is the story:
i contacted them about certain pods, and asked if they could use 28 mm motors and they said yes.
so i ordered them.
but when trying to install a 28 mm motor it didnt turn due to the inside too small. the motors i use are outrunners with the wires coming from the front.
see examples:
i tried to remove plastic but to no avail.
then cut openings at the sides to let the wires: still not enough on 1 of them. so i contacted them but they said that as i did not specify for which motor i needed the pods, they could not replace them.

so if any1 wants to buy anything from them, you need to be specific on what motor are you going to use, and include link to the product so you will not find yourself in my situation.

but still i think that when i asked if these pods were good for 28 mm motors and they said yes, they should add: "but not for motors with the wires coming from the front". then i would not buy them.
the pods are very good quality still.
end of the story
Posted by phil alvirez | Jun 12, 2016 @ 09:03 AM | 4,885 Views
since i remember, i have been fascinated with art and technology. went into tech by need but still liked art. now i can practice both, with my model airplanes, and with painting. when i got into painting i realized that as there was so much to learn in order to achieve what i wanted, i had to concentrate on it, so i quit planes for several years. but now i understand that painting is pasive; more like meditation, and feel like as if i were in the painting am doing, and i spend way more time just watching the paint than painting. this is great for me for relaxing, but does not help to keep my brains active. on the other hand, planes do. designing, building, requires an effort to understand all kind of problems and find the best solution. and flying means action. instant reactions constantly. facing the problem of keeping track of how the plane is flying; searching for a thermal; making sure that the plane does not drift away too far... and landing, with the turbulence increasing near the ground, needs all my concentration and fast reactions. it is fun, but dinamic fun! so i have reached the point where that, even if both are extreme opposites, practicing both gives me a balance that helps me feel young and alive.
Posted by phil alvirez | May 27, 2016 @ 08:41 AM | 5,064 Views
am in the process of evaluating lifting stab on 2 meters sailplanes. my goal is to use them for thermaling. not competition; to be able to stay up longer with less effort.
but above all, if it is easier to detect thermals and if a plane can be trimmed so if it senses a thermal stays there, like the free flight planes do.
also, i am trying to stablish a comparison: how a lifting stab influences the flight? stability? under power? does it help make the airplane more thermal efficient? easier to detect thermals? does it increase drag too much?
all of this will be tested in a future.
if you are interested, keep looking into this post. will be updating it at the end.
r/c models of all kinds use flat or symmetrical stabs that do not generate lift at zero degrees of angle of attack.
in ancient times, guys that flew free flight duration began using flat stabs. until some1 'discovered' lifting stabs, and from then on, all the planes use it. even to this day the indoor free flight power (rubber) use them. all of them.
there was a guy who collected plans from all over the world, together with comments of their designers, and published them. even wrote a detailed study and showed it on his books of 1951/52 (pages 5 to 20), and 1953 (pages 3 to 18). his name is Frank Zaic, and all of this was widely discussed and used by everybody-including all the experts and those who won all the competition for many years.
these books still can be reached by google.
...Continue Reading
Posted by phil alvirez | May 11, 2016 @ 09:41 AM | 5,087 Views
yesterday when i looked from my window at the trees nearby checking the wind, i noticed some movement on the grass. it was covered with yellow flowers, but some seemed to be in motion. so watching more closely i saw 2 canaries: 1 with the head and wings of dark color, the rest bright canary yellow. the other with just a few dark feathers so it was mostly yellow. nice sight. they were picking something (seeds?). then the darker found a puddle where took a bath. funny the way they do that. suddenly both took off. i never saw canaries flying free, only in cages. and with winter so cold here this was the last place i could imagine seeing them. perhaps came from the south as the temperature is now above freezing and are becoming sort of migratory birds too. perhaps escaped from their cages and learned how survive in the wilderness. grown in cages, most birds if get free often die as dont know how to find food and water. so it was a pleasant surprise i would say. it is 1 of the wonders of this spectacular land of the north, always full of surprises. (although some are not very welcome, like tornados and storms).
Posted by phil alvirez | Mar 06, 2016 @ 06:21 AM | 6,686 Views
once there was a boy sitting with his grampa at the porch when a dog happened to pass by. the other dogs at their homes barked at it when he passed by, but he didn't bark back, neither stopped to fight with them. just kept going...
them his grampa told him: that is a wise dog.
and the boy asked why?
he said: if he had stopped to bark back and fight, he wouldn't ever reach as far as he was intended for, or even reach anywhere.
never waste time barking at the other dogs. you will not be able to reach your goals. there will always be dogs barking at you, trying to stop you for an unproductive fight.
Posted by phil alvirez | Mar 01, 2016 @ 02:45 AM | 6,845 Views
recently when i went to my son, he showed me a new game to play with his daughter. it is called apples to apples. they post a card with a subject and give you 5 cards that have different subjects, and you have to make as many as possible to match as close or as different as you can with the 1 on the table. no matter how silly the excuse you have.
i couldn't play it. i found it as stupid as it could be.
i have spent my whole life doing what it takes to make sense to all that i do and think, to be logical, and with matters of science, to use data to reach conclusions. but i also realize that people play apples to apples everywhere. and sometimes even here at the forums, i find some that play that too, and am unable to communicate for that reason.
luckily there are few.