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Posted by lslewis | Oct 29, 2011 @ 04:59 PM | 13,460 Views
Two months has passed since my last update. I have spent my full time building the Dumas Creole Queen somebody said it would take 1000 hours to build it and I think I already have spent 1000 hours working on the ship. It is fun. If you want the details look in Scale Boats Creole Queen. CLICK HERE for a link to the build thread.
Posted by lslewis | Aug 14, 2011 @ 04:33 PM | 13,461 Views
My boat is going to have smoke coming out the stacks, music playing and a party atmosphere. At night it will light up just like a real party boat. Maria stopped at Radio Shack and purchased the few remaining electrical items I need. I must be very careful in the design of the lighting system that I do not get so many wires it is impossible to manage. Just wiring the main systems, propulsion, control, music and smoke will take some consideration. I am not going to design the lighting until the three decks are installed but I still must plan.

At the moment I am working on the hull, it did not come out well my wood working skills need a refresher. Planking the bow was a bear. Working with balsa wood cut accurately by laser is fun, building this boat with 1990 technology, die cut wood, of unknown origin, full of splinters is for the birds.

Shortly I will get it fiber glassed the main deck on and the beginnings of the superstructure.
Posted by lslewis | Aug 09, 2011 @ 05:18 PM | 13,483 Views
I have been spending most of my free minutes working on the Queen. I am about ready to put the bottom on the hull but it has taken much longer to get here than I anticipated. I cut out the brass rudders (3) and tried to solder on the brass shaft. My soldering irons are just not designed for much more than some small gauge electric wires. The Queen is 48" long and I did not have anywhere near enough clamps to secure the bottom for gluing. My stock of sandpaper consisted to a sheet of 220 and another 150 grit. So it was off to Harbor Freight to buy tools and supplies. I will update the CQ thread in Scale Boats tomorrow.
Posted by lslewis | Jul 13, 2011 @ 04:48 PM | 13,819 Views
I started work on the Queen could not hold off. Check it out at:
Posted by lslewis | Jul 08, 2011 @ 01:23 PM | 14,031 Views
The barges are still waiting for cargo as finishing the Tug is more fun. Yes the tug is ready for her maiden voyage. Maybe late today in the pool? Per usual Vac-U-Boat's instructions and kit leave nothing undone. All the parts to build a boat, get it in the water and sail it, are included. You will of course need your own receiver and transmitter. I am using a Futaba 9C converted to 2.7ghz and DSM2. I have had the left stick modified to center-off in anticipation of a twin in the future. The future in this shipyard is the Creole Queen with construction scheduled to start early August.
Posted by lslewis | Jun 16, 2011 @ 04:04 PM | 14,346 Views
The beautiful Tug boat arrived this morning. Of course I started work already. But just the easy stuff like trimming all the moldings. Tomorrow I will follow the directions (that are very good) and begin installing the running gear. After this tug was operational I intended to purchase the Slipway Yorkshireman a very high quality top of the line kit from England. That plan got revised when Maria, the CFO called a board meeting and I lost the vote. However plan "B" costing about half and all USD was approved. A UTube video
Bud's Creole Queen (2 min 7 sec)
by Bud showing off his Creole Queen secured the deal. I found the kit on line for $228 and our LHS came very close so he got my business.
Posted by lslewis | Jun 10, 2011 @ 04:26 PM | 14,442 Views
I love it when a plan comes together. While my beautiful daughter was here I had her help with the towboat. Our maiden voyage was in the community pool and she would get the boat if anything went wrong. It did not. But she has returned to the cold northwest so I am on my own. Maria will help but it has been some while since she was in a pool. My plan was to purchase the vac-u-tug as a rescue boat unfortunately the tornadoes slowed that down while the owner helped with tornado recovery. Today I got the good news and the kit should be on it's way shortly.

My goal is to sail the little lake behind our condo.
Posted by lslewis | Jun 06, 2011 @ 10:52 AM | 14,106 Views
You ask a towboat Captain if he will teach you how to run the boat, if he approves his response will be, "I'll learn you." When I ran my trawler "Day Dream IV" on the inland waterway from Texas to Florida I had a lot of learning to do. Many years of small boat fun did not qualify me for the commercial world of the inland waterways. After Maria and I made the voyage successfully & it was a wonderful adventure I went to school and graduated with a Captain's license. Now I have come full circle learning what lights to put on my scale towboat & barges.
Posted by lslewis | May 09, 2011 @ 06:37 AM | 14,405 Views
It took a long while to really recover from my hospital stay. It took even longer to return to modeling. Late March I reopened the factory and began work on a plane that had been waiting on the shelf. However the foam kit and construction did not impress me and it got sent to the garage half built.

The Aero Commander kit had spoiled me, all the design was complete and all the parts fit, the plane looked and flew great. During my recovery I saw a lot of boats and one tug caught my eye. I decided to model a boat but wanted a well designed kit for my first attempt. I caught sticker shock boat kits are $$$.
Until I found his cute tug boat Jr. looked just perfect. When I mentioned I might want to retrieve a model plane from the lake adjoining our flying field the owner suggested his tow boat. Tug boat, tow boat what's the difference?
Posted by lslewis | Jul 06, 2010 @ 07:47 AM | 14,760 Views
Early in May Matt flew the Shrike's maiden flight after a wild takeoff Matt tamed the beast and concluded with a perfect landing. Then I began to feel woozy and found myself in Cape Coral's Emergency Room. Three days later I began to realize there was a garden hose down my throat. I had pneumonia. Actually I had an infection that attacks the weakest link in your body and brought on the pneumonia. More info and photos are at

Hurricane Larry
Posted by lslewis | Apr 29, 2010 @ 04:17 PM | 14,920 Views
The Shrike is finished. I saw the plane at the Reno Sted airport (photo) so I decided it is a tourist commuter between the lake and Reno. Fly them up to see or swim in the beautiful lake in the summer. Go skiing in the winter. Maybe a few odd trips to Sacramento. As built the plane is all white so I have trimmed the tips in red, added some panel lines and an under the wing advertisement for Reno - Tahoe. I hope to get the strips /trim on tomorrow, then photos. I think this will be a good looking aircraft.

Hurricane Larry
Posted by lslewis | Apr 10, 2010 @ 01:39 AM | 15,310 Views
I learned that the Aero Commander Shrike was the smallest Air Force One, Eisenhower had one for short trips (actually the AF had two identical) I considered redoing my plan and turn mine into AF1 but it is very bland just some blue and nothing like todays scheme. Nobody would know. I am still fussing with the fit of the tail feathers, went on to fit the wing and had a similar but not as severe problem. Meanwhile there is all the work of motor install, controller wiring, battery install, complicated by really heavy wire out to the two motors...... no to mention control rods for all the surfaces, servos. Then there is the issue of controlling all the wiring from the wing to the fuselage. Complicated as I have addled navigation, collision and landing lights. No night flying but I like the lights. Fun but it does not look like your accomplishing anything. Additionally I would go bananas if I did not have something to do that keeps my brain working.

Hurricane Larry
Posted by lslewis | Mar 05, 2010 @ 09:05 AM | 16,002 Views
I continue to be disturbed by questions posted on RCGroups. I believe there is a large component of the want-to-be electric pilots that have no clue. Not surprising because the capability to fly almost any model aircraft using an electric motor is new. Further there is no standard specification for motors. To complicate the issue many self proclaimed electric experts are dummies in disguise. I am requesting a "real" expert write "Electric for Dummies"

I would love to write the book but I do not have the depth in knowledge required. I use MotoCalc or WebCalc and sometimes for Ducted Fans I use FanCalc I am not sure any of these programs are very accurate but my experience is that MotoCalc will get you in the ballpark. Do not forget to search RCGroups for your setup I have also gotten good leads searching Google. Careful on Google sometimes you get answers for full sized aircraft. There is a good thread for the Midi ducted fan at

Now let us talk watts. Watts is power 745.7 watts equals one mechanical horse power for purest click Watts volts multiplied by amperes equals watts in a direct current system. All of our battery operated systems use direct current (DC). Again for those who like to pick fly poop out of the pepper our motors run on AC (alternating current) The ESC (Electronic Speed Control) converts the battery supplied DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current) for the...Continue Reading
Posted by lslewis | Feb 25, 2010 @ 06:25 PM | 15,191 Views
I have been building model airplanes since the 50's balsa and dope. A galloping ghost control system was a dream, I had just an escapement controlling elevator and rudder. Many years went by with wonderful wife, family and career. With retirement the urge to create continued. My youngest son gave me an antique kit for School Girl. I built the plane and hanged it proudly on the wall a reminder of my younger days. After I built the plane I was told the kit was worth more in the box than completed on my wall.

I have build a lot of planes since the School Girl, most used balsa wood as their prime component. One very unique design out of Australia used a totally unique method and may be the best engineered model I have ever built. It was very labor intensive and I believe that limited it's popularity. I am currently building an all balsa model of the Aero Commander it is a nice design but trying to bend balsa wood is not my best skill.

I have concluded the best kit design would be a fiberglass fuselage, built up tail feathers using the balsa core technique and sheeted foam core wings. More on that next time...
Posted by lslewis | Feb 12, 2010 @ 05:57 PM | 15,417 Views
Yet another month rolls by without a Blog entry. I have not been inactive and have started building the Aero Commander Shrike. I have been posting to the later part of this thread

Big rain here today but far better than the snow storms up North. In fact this area is so accustomed to rain it is almost a non-event. In Cape Coral we have about 400 miles of canals so drainage is no problem. In addition the sandy ground eats water.

I like this new smily
Posted by lslewis | Jan 17, 2010 @ 12:47 PM | 15,581 Views
It is nearly a month later and I am mostly mended physically but my mind is a basket case.

I decided the large entertainment center was not working out for RC parts, building supplies storage and computer desk. My good friend C B Smith made it for me years ago. It was designed to house my stereo and my TRS-80 computer it served me well until we moved into the condo. It is too big for the room I commandeered as my hanger and manufacturing facility. It was not without some nostalgia issues the day the Salvation Army hauled it away.

Consequently my aircraft construction has come to a halt with most of my tools etc in boxes until we put the facility back together. Meanwhile I fell in love with Keith Spark’s latest design a C-130
Cutting the 20+ foam sections needed for the fuselage left me behind. I noted an earlier design by Keith was available in a kit from EAM It is an older design using brushed motors my immediate response was to upgrade to brushless motors. However there are some advantages to the brush motors in a multi engine aircraft, mainly one low-cost ESC.

Then I stumbled across Top Notch Kits and their Aero Commander Shrike I had seen Bob Hoover demonstrate the plane, I will not forget when he shut the engines off, did a perfect loop, landed and taxied up to the front of the bleachers and came to a stop (without braking) I planned to squirrel this kit away for building during the super hot days of southwest Florida. It is 76 degrees here today and a great day for flying the larger models as it is windy. The kit arrived very quickly after I ordered it, one look at the contents and the reviewing the plans changed my mind. The C-130 has been put on the shelf for a future build.
Posted by lslewis | Dec 31, 2009 @ 09:46 AM | 15,788 Views
Coming back from the flying field Sunday 20th I got into an auto accident. Spent 3 days in the hospital two of which were in ICU. I am still sore and not in a good mood. I was told the other driver is in much worse shape. I am very concerned and my mind is not in RC at this time.
Posted by lslewis | Dec 09, 2009 @ 05:51 PM | 16,078 Views
Wow it is nearly a month since I updated this Blog.!

The B-58 flew but my pilot was having trouble with control. He circled the field several times but decided to land early. A lot of different opinions as what was going on but when I got her home I found the gears on one servo could slip a tooth. I replaced both elevon servos with metal gear versions to be safe. One of our experts recommended I lower the high angle of attack I have set by the nose LG. I did that to make landing easier.wrong

On the next flight a week later my pilot could not get the plane to rotate. Back to the revision facility once again. I had to do some repair as our last attempt to take off caused some damage when the plane cartwheeled. Most of it is fixed but I was really worried about the possible lack of thrust, I just received my new power meter that is supposed to handle 150 amps it is a Hobby City wonder but appears to be accurate. I checked power and have 148 watts/pound which should be plenty.

The Bronco failed flight line inspection and checkout of the rudder servo in the starboard pod is on the list of things to do.
Posted by lslewis | Nov 13, 2009 @ 03:55 PM | 16,864 Views
Some how I managed to complete two jobs this week, one a left over finish the B-58 modifications. The other a new one to complete the final assembly of my Bronco.

Once again my B-58 is ready to fly, this time with the correct CG and new V2 batteries thanks to Thunder Power. My B-58 had flown before but I decided to check the CG I built a small scale chuck glider and corrected the CG accordingly. The flight was a disaster and very embarrassing, but that is another story. I hung the plane on the wall as a hanger queen. Then Keith Sparks built his B-58 he had untold problems finding the CG. I began to feel better. When I found out he too had used a chuck glider I felt even better. Some body told us that you can not find the CG of a delta wing with a scale model unless it is exact, not just a wing and silhouette fuselage. Who am I to argue with him. Today I took 5669 off the wall and readied her for her next flight! And I put her CG back where it should be.

Earlier in the week I put my Bronco back together. I built the Bronco about a year ago. The plane comes apart in two pods and the cockpit module; it is much easier to move and store the plane in pieces. Putting it back together is a juggling act but once completed it looks great. The bad part is once together there is no access to the pods. I have a battery & controller in each pod so changing batteries is a career. As designed throttle wires, elevator servo wires and rudder servo wires were routed back to the center module. To me this seemed like a guaranteed interference problem. At the time Sombra Labs was selling a inexpensive 72 mhz receiver so I purchased three, one for each pod and the cockpit module. The cockpit module rx controls the ailerons and steering. Each pod has it's own rx for rudder, elevator and motor control. So far it works well on the bench Sunday I hope to find out if it works as well in the air.
Posted by lslewis | Nov 01, 2009 @ 01:27 PM | 16,218 Views
She flew again this morning (Sapac L-39). Much better after I got the flaps even still a handful but my pilot made it look easy. I need to couple some down elevator with the flaps.