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Posted by CorvetteC5 | Jul 03, 2016 @ 01:50 PM | 13,653 Views
Here is my Saucer 1982 airplane built during January 2016. An early "Nutball" design, if you will.

While preparing for Dad’s celebration of life open house December of 2015 I discovered in the basement a circular balsa free-flight aircraft of Dad’s. I do not remember what he called it, however I found a similar design from the 1950's on AMA plans service called Saucer. Sounds reasonable, so I refer to Dad’s plane as Saucer 1982 because I can trace his plane to that year from a black and white image. It shows our group of pilots holding some of what we built and flew during that winter.

January I created an RC version of the Saucer 1982 and guessed well enough with the motor thrust angles for it to fly very well after trimming! It cruises smoothly at about 45% throttle, is highly maneuverable with strong rudder authority, and slows enough for easy figure eight turns within our basketball court sized gym. With throttle above 75% it will rudder roll in a very axial manner. Glide is nose down with a weak flare, so I land with power.

My RC version of the Saucer 1982 is 3-channel RET and consists of enlarging the 8” diameter balsa version to 11”. I was faithful to Dad’s aircraft, and duplicated the square hole cut from the center of the wing. Which is half the diameter on each side. The wing is cut from restaurant carryout foam containers. The carbon fiber fuselage is from two Ember 2 airplanes that had broken off...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Feb 24, 2016 @ 11:26 AM | 3,810 Views
I totally intended to build my Micro Max kit, by Stevens Aeromodel, as designed when I bought it. However I spoke with flying buddy, Scott, who built his kit first and doesn't like flying it indoors in the space we have access to. Scott learned the hard way, several times, that his Micro Max has an abrupt and severe wing tip snap roll when slowed down too much. (A behavior I would see from my own build.) And flying it at nearly full throttle all the time in the basketball court size gym isn't his ideas of fun. Mine either.

So forewarned, I tweaked my Micro Max design from the get go to fly slower. I decided to try these changes:
a) Reduce the wing loading by lengthening the wing 25%. I simply added 1 additional rib to each wing half. Keeping the same rib spacing as designed. Stevens made this change a no brainer. He uses a 1/4" balsa stick as the leading edge of the wing. Each stick is 12" long, with only about 9" needed for each wing half. This left me plenty of length to use for my 25% span increase.

b) Lighten the airframe by drilling holes into the sheets of balsa used to form the fuselage and tail surfaces. Forstner drill bits in several sizes did the trick. See images for locations.

c) Route out the underside of the balsa headrest to save a tad more weight. Images attached.

That's all really. Not too much butchering of the original design after all, IMO.

So how did my maiden flight go? In a word: scary! It was...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Feb 19, 2016 @ 08:18 AM | 3,951 Views
Just couldn't help myself I like unique RC flying craft and this one is very cool. Not the first of its kind for sure, but bought at the closeout price of $15 from Walmart summer of 2014 it is fun to explore

You might have seen these Ironman toys for sale around Christmas of 2013. At full introductory price I couldn't get excited about them. Plus I haven't paid more then $30 (before tax) for a toy RC aircraft yet. This includes my Silverlit 4-motor bomber, and Airhogs Stunt Jet both shared on my blog. But I did stay interested enough in Ironman to watch for the sales.

Inspection of the design shows it to be an important step-up above the Airhogs airplanes I have experienced. The TX has fully proportional control for both steering and thrust! True potentiometers on the control sticks and not the frustrating 2 to 7 steps founds by the other brand. Although still only 2-channels of control (differential thrust) at least the pilot has a fighting chance of holding the sweet spots for altitude and yaw.

Encouraged by the proportional control, I first flew this one stock during the winter of 2014-2015 indoors during a normal flying session. After a little trimming of the rudder (at the TX) and moving the CG by taping metal washers to the feet, I was able to fly circles within the gym. Mostly staying off the walls and out of trouble. Ironman just doesn't like to turn too tightly. That long and narrow body of his is acting like a rudder, of course, and when...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Feb 17, 2016 @ 09:10 AM | 3,399 Views
Surprised myself just now realizing I hadn't created a thread for my micro S-Pou! model. This is the first Stevens Aeromodel kit I ever built and was purchased by Dad at the Toledo RC show in 2010. It was chosen for the unique look to the original design. Why share now? Because during January 2016 I completed a refresh of my S-Pou! And after 5 and one half years of use (and survival) it was entitled

Unfortunately the flying stabilizer of the original design results is a very pitch sensitive (unstable) aircraft. Flown too fast or in a bit of wind and it would porpoise dramatically. I also found my S-Pou! to turn poorly to the right, with a resistance to the rudder command. It would start the turn just fine, then partway along would rock hard to the left and then resume turning to the right.

I adjusted what could be trimmed with the airplane from summer of 2010 to 2012 and was to the point of either retiring the design out of frustration, or cutting into the aircraft and making drastic changes to the design in hopes of a fine flyer. As seen in the photos I reworked it! Glad I did as it is a very pleasing flyer now.

Summary of my redesigning:
a) Added plywood to the wing support tower to reposition the pivot point toward the tail. This provided a more forward CG and greater pitch stability. This is the first thing I tried to help control the porpoising. Helped a little but not nearly enough.

b) Replaced lifting (under cambered) stabilizer with flat...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Apr 27, 2014 @ 07:55 AM | 5,195 Views
My latest airplane build is the Diddlerod kit by Stevens Aeromodel. Undecided on what motor size/power to install, I found myself flying the UMX Sbach and Hyper Taxi in weather too windy for my 1-cell planes. Enjoyed them enough for me to select a 2-cell flight system for my new Diddlerod for the performance. With that settled upon I could begin the fun part of assembly!

The model is old school designing by Stevens with threads on dating to 2005 and an updated copyright on my kit-plans of 2009. Reminds me of the S-Pou! I assembled in 2010 where the wing ribs do not include tab and slot alignment, and the landing gear wire is held by balsa wood and not plywood. This design was also created for a GWS brushed motor system that may not even be offered anymore.

Changes to the design, for my plane, include a new middle piece for the three pieces to the landing gear support. I changed this to thin plywood and reshaped this wood to accept music wire bent square (instead of triangular) so that the landing gear wire is a friction fit and can be easily removed. I have also added a plywood firewall for a motor mount. I will be installing a Turnigy 1811 brushless motor that is the same size that I use in the UMX Sbach, Hyper Taxi, and GeeBee. Presently I only have a 2900KV winding handy, which at 32 watts will be overkill for the Diddlerod. Eventually I may buy another 2000KV motor (good for 18 watts on 2-cells).

Made some nice progress on the...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Mar 28, 2014 @ 08:12 PM | 6,594 Views
Stevens Aeromodel designs some very nice micro airplane kits. This Sweet Dream classic ultralight is my fourth model for myself. Liking this look so much, I even joined the Stevens Micro Builder Program and retroactively selected this model to save a few bucks and spend some quality time with this RC hobby of ours.

I used this kit as an incentive to finished filing my income tax returns. That completed on a Saturday (March 22nd), the ultralight build began on Sunday while listening to A prairie Home Companion on NPR, followed by Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, plus additional radio shows. Attached are pictures taken of the progress. I bought the Stevens British finishing kit, and applied medium-walnut Danish Oil to the fuselage. Plenty more to be done such as the electronics installation, wire rigging, stickers on the wing, and push rods.

In time my 25mm GWS wheels will be replaced with taller wheels that are more scale, the 2-blade propeller will be replaced with a 4-blade by Parkzone, and I may even replace the pilot with myself since I do enjoy flying with a view from the clouds.

- Curt

Update April 1, 2014:
More progress on my Ultra Light aircraft. It flies! Flew it twice last Sunday (the 30th) outside thanks to winds slower than 5mph yet with light turbulence. Was flown a little tail heavy even with a 240mah LiPo just behind the propeller, likely because I hadn't installed the engine cylinders yet and the wheels are undersized. Dialed in a few degrees of down...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Mar 08, 2014 @ 10:12 AM | 5,078 Views
Not leaving well enough alone, I shrunk Dad's and my micro Sandy-Witch design to one half scale. Instead of the 18 inch wingspan of Sandy, Sonny has a 9 inch span. Still in need of the rider, of course. Here is a partial design summary:

- 2mm CF rod for fuselage.
- Mini Vapor circuit board.
- 7mm diameter motor from the Flyzone Super Cub/Albatros. Run in reverse.
- Direct drive propeller from the Hobbyzone Duet.
- 0.020 inch music wire for supporting the wing and landing skid.
- Tail surfaces from foam food tray. I expect changes to the size and geometry of these as I evaluate the control.
- Wing constructed from 1.5mm CF rod (my LHS didn't have the 1mm I was seeking), balsa and plywood, grocery store bag, and clear thin tape. I used heat shrink tubing as sleeve for the music wire supports.

Updated March 9, 2014:
Maiden flew this son-witch this morning during the normal indoor flying session. At half throttle and a gentle overhand toss it was zipping across the gymnasium faster, straighter and more stable then expected! Flight was level but pulling to the right. TX trim is very effective with several clicks straightening the rocket. Elevator was pretty responsive too: with some fed in, and the throttle reduced, son-witch can slow down quite a bit. Still very stable! Rudder authority is sweet with easy figure eights in half of the basketball size court.

During the turns it is dropping the nose more then I like so I land and move the 130mah LiPo toward the...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Feb 05, 2014 @ 12:38 PM | 6,453 Views
This is the Silverlit RC Speedy Plus airplane sold by Radio Shack during the Christmas season of 2013. A terrible name for such an interesting airplane design. Too expensive at full price, I purchased (more accurately Dad purchased two of these and gave me one) at half price when only three remained at my local store. This one is controlled and flown like all other Silverlit and Airhogs 2-channel planes that I have flown. Namely with too much floatyness (pitching up with throttle) and not enough control. There are the usual 6-7 steps for the throttle, 1 step for steering, and zero steering without throttle applied. At best this is terrible for outdoor flying and horrendous for indoor RC. None the less I did fly this unmodified 4-motor Bomber indoors on January 26th, 2014 along with Dad's airplane too, and both worked as designed. Off to a good start.....

Since I had a spare electronics board out of a Hobby Zone Duet airplane, that also is conveniently steered by thrust vectoring, that was likely working fine since a motor imbalance was discovered as the problem on the Duet, I installed it in this RC Speedy Plus model. Orientation of the circuit board (Brick) needed to match the Duet donor since there is that roll-controlled gyro to contend with. I epoxied into the fuselage a piece of 1/32" plywood and taped the Brick to it. Also the pushrod location to the new elevator needed to match the Duet because of flying with the Duet TX. Easy enough. The two motors...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Feb 05, 2014 @ 11:41 AM | 6,389 Views
This is a labor of love by my Dad. He assembled the first version of micro "Sandy" Witch around the fall of 2010. She was limited to a controlled decent using the geared P-51 8.5mm coreless motor and AR6400 Brick by Parkzone. Changes were made to her over the passing years, primarily a lighter all-foam body, with no real help.

So, feeling good about my Duet MV build, done with framing the Sky Buggy 100, and with encouragement by Dad I explored the micro witch. A brief bit of history on how Sandy came to be: Dad was inspired by an article in RC Modeler magazine in 1980 of Vroom Hilda the RC witch. He still has the article. He created a 40 sized glow engine one from that article/plans and has been flying her for the past 30 or so years at air shows and special events to great reception. As micro aircrafts matured (thank you Horizon Hobby and Kyosho!) Dad wanted to stand out again from the RTF crowd, and so crafted micro Sandy Witch.

Here is the gist of what I did differently with micro Sandy: Her original wing was a scaled version of the design from RC Modeler magazine, made from carbon fiber and parchment paper. The shape is more delta kite and less Rogallo. It also has the trailing edge of the fabric wing unsupported by any structure for a flapping effect. This wing shape is prone to less stability, is inherently draggy, and was heavy from the paper. I replaced it with a scaled up version of the shape that fly's my Kyosho Autokite plane so smoothly....Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Feb 05, 2014 @ 10:40 AM | 5,894 Views
I finished assembly and sanding of this Stevens Aeromodel micro Sky Buggy 100 on January 16th, 2014. Although my fourth micro airplane build from Stevens, it is my Dad's purchase, and was another pleasure to assembly. More to report once a covering scheme is devised, the electronics installed, and flying.

Posted by CorvetteC5 | Feb 05, 2014 @ 10:25 AM | 6,701 Views
I received the thoughtful gift of a Duet twin aircraft by Hobby Zone for my birthday fall of 2013. I have flown thrust-vector steered airplanes before from Airhogs and Silverlit and had a good idea how to steer it during our indoor flying season that is underway. With fully proportional steering, throttle, and elevator control this is a huge step upwards in control and precision flying from the other brands. The gyro on the roll-control, used to level the plane, wasn't hurting either! However, my Duet would not hold an aileron trim setting. It would start a flight flying straight with the TX trim centered for the aileron. Then, during the flights the plane would consistently drift more and more to the left until the TX trim was at full right and the plane would still continue to pull left some. I figured either this Duet had a drifting gyro on the electronics board (Brick), or the two flight motors were not tracking each other well as they warmed up.

So I called Horizon Hobby and they supported this purchase with a replacement Duet. And this second Duet is perfect! The aileron drift is nearly completely absent and the plane is a joy to fly left and to the right!

On the defective Duet I replaced the stock Brick (which is from the Scout Helicopter by Blade and is version 4 ) with one from a Mini-Vapor. Conveniently I had purchased 2 of the MV Bricks off E-bay one month before, so had them handy. Attached are images of the installation showing the rerouting of...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Feb 05, 2014 @ 09:39 AM | 5,395 Views
Flyzone micro Super Cub with flaps that were added in fall of 2012 when slow flight resulted in tip stalling and damage to the motor. Stable flight envelope greatly increased in range of speed this way, so much so that I also increased the elevator and rudder control throws beyond factory limits. It is so much fun now tossing around this little jewel.
Posted by CorvetteC5 | Sep 23, 2013 @ 04:32 PM | 5,358 Views
My latest build is of the attractive micro Rockette 100 3-channal from Stevens Aeromodel. Good use of the hot summer days this year This is my third kit by Steven's and was as well designed and easy to assemble as the micro S-Pou! and 1918 Hergt predecessors. I chose the Rockette with twin or even tri power in mind.

Decided that three Ember 2 motors/gearboxes would sound cool but would be more complication that I wanted this year, so I installed two Flyzone Type-A 7mm motors in Hobby King 4:1 gearboxes. Swinging GWS4530 blades; although these propellers provide more thrust then the Rockette needs. I may reduce them to 4" one day.

I emulated the stick fuselage of the Ember 2 (which I am intimately experienced ) and 1/32" plywood for the gearbox mounting. I guestimated the forward placement of them for proper CG, and eye balled the down thrust angles. Right thrust is adjustable at the gearbox, so this has been tweaked for straight flight and balanced thrust. No counter rotating propellers on this one, yet!

Control is provided by a Spektrum AR6400 Brick and a Hyperion or Zippy 240mah LiPo battery. Presently the battery is simply Velcro to the nose of the plane with the wind shield plastic omitted. Eventually I would like to rebuild this area with a hatch to conceal the battery within the fuselage.

Covering is the AeroLITE film available from Stevens. Thanks to my big brother I have three colors on my Rockette. The fuselage is lighter...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | May 18, 2012 @ 01:03 PM | 7,171 Views
Learned to fly on this Ember 2 back in Summer of 2009. Bought two of these airplanes at the RC Show in Toledo, Ohio that April. Not willing to leave well enough alone I experimented on them to learn some of the characteristics of flight and keep myself entertained. Before I was done personalizing these airplanes I had bought a third Ember 2. Presented here is the third of three summaries of where the Embers are today.

Part 3
Fascinating is the tail first look and stall characteristics of the canard aircraft. Plus, I used to fly a scratch built canard free-flight rubber powered craft when indoor flying meant free-flight models. With the Ember 2 airplane being such a forgiving test bed for ideas, I crafted this canard in February 2012. Research showed that two rudders on the wing tips results in crisp rudder response, yet I wanted to continue using the stock cardboard box and foam insert, so my rudders are under the wing and inboard slightly as shown. Rudders are actuated by a linear servo and an AR6400 Brick. Keeping the look at much Ember 2 as practical I reversed the wing, horizontal stabilizer, and elevator, as shown, and altered the incidence angles. As shown in the pictures, the elevator is not very responsive because it is very close to stalling in normal flight. This leaves very little additional up-elevator control and so far I can not loop this plane. After a shallow dive, I can have it nose almost straight vertically but never over the top for a...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | May 18, 2012 @ 11:49 AM | 6,916 Views
Learned to fly on this Ember 2 back in Summer of 2009. Bought two of these airplanes at the RC Show in Toledo, Ohio that April. Not willing to leave well enough alone I experimented on them to learn some of the characteristics of flight and keep myself entertained. Before I was done personalizing these airplanes I had bought a third Ember 2. Presented here is the second of three summaries of where the Embers are today.

Part 2
Adding ailerons to an Ember 2 plane started February of 2011 by simply taping on ailerons to the training edge of the stock wing. The 3-channel brick was replaced with a 6-channel AR6400, and a small rotary servo from Hobby King with added. Results were encouraging and the plane would roll indoors, using the stock 6mm motor, with the loss of 'only' 6 feet of altitude or thereabouts! Most fun for me were flat turns with rudder defining the direction and opposite aileron to eliminate the wing banking. Overall though, I was a bit under whelmed with my added control. So I changed the stock motor and gearbox with one for the UM P-51 and flew the summer of 2011 this way. Flying faster did wonders for the aileron response, naturally, but the added wing loading lost much of the Ember's floaty quality.

After a while the wing stress-cracked in the center and flexed severely one flight, but was caught in time for music wire reinforcements. I took the opportunity to reduce the dihedral of the stock wing and this increased the sensitivity of the...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | May 18, 2012 @ 10:33 AM | 6,458 Views
Learned to fly on this Ember 2 back in Summer of 2009. Bought two of these airplanes at the RC Show in Toledo, Ohio that April. Not willing to leave well enough alone I experimented on them to learn some of the characteristics of flight and keep myself entertained. Before I was done personalizing these airplanes I had bought a third Ember 2. Presented here is the first of three summaries of where the Embers are today.

Part 1
Ember 2 Biplane was first altered with a higher power 7mm motor and flown with larger LiPo's outside with only one wing. While enjoying the higher flying speeds, it seemed clear that the weight would be detrimental to relaxing indoor RC so I added a second wing to drop the wing loading and resulting stall speed. Supports were cut from foam plate clear-taped in place. The wings were staggered to balance the larger lift vector. Looking to increase the propeller efficiency I installed the gearbox out of a 2-channel helicopter. Ratio was about 7.8 : 1 and the GWS6050SF prop was just a little under sized. Flew fine but the larger prop forced a landing gear length extension and removal of the wing stagger, and the over all weight gain didn't result in the longer flights I was hoping. So these changes were undone and here is where I am today:
  • Gearbox is the Hobby King GPS-7 with the metal shaft replaced with 1mm music wire, motor replaced with FlyZone Albatros version, GWJ Universal prop saver installed.
  • Propeller is the GWS4530 balanced, naturally.
...Continue Reading
Posted by CorvetteC5 | May 15, 2012 @ 02:54 PM | 6,588 Views
Bought the parts to assemble this Flyzone Micro Albatros WW1 in the fall of 2010. Hard to pass up on them at about $20 total; plus I didn't want another transmitter to mess with. Had the mono-wing racer ready to maiden February of 2011 and it flew not-terribly. Took some tweaking and radio mixing to overcome the known asymmetrical rudder response of this Albatros design. Also needed to keep the flying speed up.

By April of 2011 I was ready to try the biplane Albatros, which flew nicely overall. I adjusted the rudder-->elevator mixing and moved the battery more toward the nose to counter the higher moment of lift.

In anticipation of the Flyzone Triplane introduction I added a third wing to my Albatros in October of 2011. Again tweaked the mixing and CG location. Also reduced the rudder throw as it is now very effective. I continue to fly this triplane with a 120mah just behind the propeller. Since I still haven't added much detail it is nice and light with flight times of 12-13 minutes common.
  • Installed a 3-channel Brick from parkzone.
  • Uses a GPS-7 gearbox and motor from Hobby King. This required lots of rework to make reliable. The 7mm motor died very early and now has a SS red end bell. Soft metal prop shaft replaced with 1mm music wire. Added a GWJ Universal prop saver from BSDMicroRC.
  • Flying with a GWS5030 prop reduced to 4.5" diameter.
  • Tires were donated from an Ember 2.
  • Wing bracing, landing gear, and pushrods are 0.020" music wire.
  • Extra foam from food take-home trays and small foam plates.

Posted by CorvetteC5 | May 15, 2012 @ 02:09 PM | 7,505 Views
Here is my Multiplex Fox free flight glider now converted to powered flight. Bought the Fox at the AMA 75th anniversary open house in 2011 and completed the initial work by that December. Flying as a 1-cell rudder-elevator-throttle model.

Continue to tweak the model with the addition of dihedral in May 2012, and returning to a GWS-6050SF prop now cut down to 5" diameter. The plane likes the higher cruising speed this prop produces and the dihedral all but eliminated the dropping of one wing when stalling. Using a Hyperion 320mah LiPo my longest flight to date is 25 minutes with minimal thermalling. The Fox will loop easily with a little diving first when at half throttle, and will float nicely with the nose a bit down during dead stick landings.
  • Fuselage sliced into two halves using sharp knife. Hollowed using Dremel Tool with sanding stone. Tail hollowed out using sharpened brass tubing.
  • Motor and gearbox are the GPS-8 from Hobby King. Replaced the soft bushings with ball bearings from an Align helicopter. Added GWJ Universal prop saver from BSDMicroRC. Turning very smoothly.
  • UM Brick is the AR6400 mounted toward tail to counter weight of folding prop originally tried. Not happy with folding prop however brick location stayed.
  • Flying with a Hyperion 320mah LiPo placed about 1/4" behind the can of the 8.5mm motor. Glides a little nose heavy this way which I like to reduce likelihood of a stall on approach.

Posted by CorvetteC5 | May 13, 2012 @ 08:55 AM | 6,590 Views
Here is a good example of a foam cover added over the stock, and then enlarged, battery compartment. First added to the airplane in the fall of 2010. I have added a cover to most of my micro fleet as a way to extend the flying season into the winter. Coldest temperature flown in so far was 12F!
  • foam for cover from the smaller sized disposable plates from Wal-Mart, or similar. The smaller diameter plates use thinner foam so I prefer them to save weight.
  • the clear tape used for the hinge also came from Wal-Mart and is there "great value" brand in 1/2 inch wide. I find the tape plenty strong, very sticky, and low weight. Doesn't hurt that it is cheap also.
  • the magnet in the fuselage is from a jewelry clasp set from a Michaels craft store. The limit the holding strength I secured a tiny nail into the foam cover. The larger the nail head diameter the greater the holding force, of course.
FWIW, I highly recommend the UM T-28 airplane as a first aileron ship due to its wide flight speed envelope, stable handling, and very predicable manners.
Posted by CorvetteC5 | May 13, 2012 @ 08:23 AM | 6,624 Views
Airhogs X-Twin Stunt Jet converted to Spektrum 3-channel brick in May 2009.
  • horizontal stabilizer made full-flying with elevon control.
  • stock 6mm motors replaced with 7mm motors from an Airhogs Rolling Fury
  • stock full river 130mah battery enlarged up to 300mah using Molex connectors.
  • plane will axial roll either direction and fly inverted sustained.
  • loops are a bit tear drop shaped.
  • weight grew from 20.x grams stock to 31.x grams without battery.
  • if I do this conversion again I would change the Brick position about 1 inch closer to the tail to reduce how nose heavy it is. Still a predictable flyer.
  • if I do this conversion again I would also install a Brick with long-throw servos and lengthen the control horns on the control surfaces to reduce slop.