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Posted by orangepeal | Feb 24, 2011 @ 09:35 PM | 3,066 Views
I built a Mini 3DX out of Fanfold protection board with some depron reinforcements to stiffen the airframe. I have a blue wonder for power along with a 10A Turnigy Plush ESC. Awaiting my batteries from Hobby King (and a calm day) to maiden it. The motor and airframe without battery and ESC weigh in at 6.5 oz. Here are some shots of it. It is the replacement for my Nasty which has seen it's last day. I recycled the servos and some carbon fiber from the Nasty so it will fly on...
Posted by orangepeal | Jan 29, 2011 @ 11:34 PM | 3,822 Views
I've never had a high wing glow trainer. I picked up a Sedona from hobby people for $79 plus shipping. It went together well and flies great! I put my OS46AX on it. I had a lot of fun with it in the wind today. Like a Telemaster or Kadet, this plane can probably fly backwards in a wind. It will certainly hover in a head wind and landings are a breeze. It's the most fun I've had flying in the wind.
Posted by orangepeal | Jun 02, 2010 @ 06:01 PM | 3,936 Views
Here's the link to what I think is a wonderful kit:

And here is the basic thread on RCG:

And a thread on more advanced building techniques:

So far so good. I was a bit concerned about the sheeting portions of the build, but they went together with little fuss. Here it is so far:
Posted by orangepeal | May 22, 2010 @ 06:15 PM | 3,760 Views
World Models Sky Raider Mach II. Waiting on a Thunder Tiger Pro 40. More to come . . .
Posted by orangepeal | Apr 04, 2010 @ 08:53 PM | 4,164 Views
I finally finished it! This is my first .60 sized build. I haven't weighed it yet, but would expect it weighs in at around 8 pounds or more. It's powered by a .91 Magnum RFS which has had about 4 tanks through it on the break in stand at the richest settings at which it would run. I need to start leaning it out now and get it tuned for flight.

The CG came in at about 5" from the leading edge of the rear wing which is the max recommended (tail heavy end of the recommended CG range). As I prefer my planes to be neutral, this ought to work well for me. Laterally, the right wing is quite a bit heavier, so I need to add some weight to the left wing tips in the hope of getting it laterally balanced before flight. This will be a two person job. (So, I did dishes and laundry today in the hope of enlisting some cooperation from my better half).

I'm not sure when I'll maiden this one. It's quite a big bird relative to the rest of my hangar and my thumbs are still rusty. Hopefully I'll get some time in on the sticks and will build up the courage to maiden her before too long. Here are some pics.
Posted by orangepeal | Dec 06, 2009 @ 01:37 PM | 4,356 Views
With an OS46AX, my CG came out right on the money for the recommended starting point, 3 1/8" from the leading edge at the fuse. But, the flight characteristics at this CG were a bit nose heavy for my liking. Rolls lost too much altitude, Knife Edge flight was not possible to hold for more than a couple of seconds due to continuous loss of altitude (even with increased rudder throws at full throttle), and inverted flight was just plane scary as there wasn't much elevator left to use once you got flying level. So, as there was no place for me to move the battery back further without performing surgery inside the fuse, I added 1.75 oz of tail weight to the bottom of the fuse starting at the tail end. This moved the CG back to somewhere between 3 3/8" and 3 1/2". (It was 3 3/8 before I glued the weights and 3 1/2 after the epoxy was added) I understand that the max suggested rearward CG is 4" so while I think moving it back even another 1/8" might make me even happier, I'm not inclined to add anymore weight.

Now it flies much more better! (As they say in NOLA). It even lands better as the glide slope is improved. This plane is a great bang for the buck. I have over a dozen flights on her now, and the last 3, after changing the CG, have been the most enjoyable. Now to master the slow roll. . .
Posted by orangepeal | Nov 28, 2009 @ 10:08 PM | 5,422 Views
After flying for about 2 years and graduating to some basic aerobatics and 3D flying, I decided it would be fun to try Glow power if only it didn't seem so complicated and unreliable. I started with an RC Car (HPI EVO+3 RS4) and then a Truck (HPI Savage). After I realized that nitro motors are pretty reliable once broken in and properly cared for, I decided a nitro plane was a possibility.

Once fall weather kicked in here, several of the guys I fly with switched to glow from EP (having previously flown nitro planes years earlier). It became apparent that nitro planes are typically heavier and more substantial and can be safely flown in a wider range of wind conditions than lighter EP planes. It also became clear that after topping off the fuel tank, they can go right back up without the need for recharging batteries. A flight pack can last the whole weekend before it needs charging.

So, I sold 3 of my EP planes and bought a Tower Kaos 40 and an OS 46 AX motor and a bunch of nitro gizmos that I didn't already have from the cars. I ran 4 tanks of 10% Omega through it and then took her to the parking lot today. I took her up 5 times today and had 2 dead stick landings. After inverted flight or extended vertical flight, my motor tended to quit. I was afraid of dead stick landings, but thankfully I managed to bring the plane down safely each time.

It turns out that my fuel pick up line in the tank was too long such that the clunk on the bottom was stuck in a corner and was not following the fuel during flight maneuvers, causing the motor to cut off in flight. I believe I fixed the problem and will find out for sure tomorrow.

Here's a couple of pictures of my first nitro plane. Now I think I want a 4 stroke for xmas
Posted by orangepeal | Aug 18, 2009 @ 02:04 PM | 5,344 Views
Ok, this one is going together well. As others have said, these kits practically build themselves. This is my first build with a rolled plan--but the instructions included make it quite easy. I think it's about time to start covering it!

The Helium MG2 is a 2 meter motor glider. I'll be using an Eflite Park 480 with a 10x6 folding prop and an Eflite 40A esc. It is an RES glider (Rudder, Elevator, Spoiler) and will be my first kit with a spoiler, which appears to be the most finicky part of the build--but that will come after it's covered.

It's now done--spoiler was a little finicky but really not difficult, and it works like a charm....Continue Reading
Posted by orangepeal | Aug 09, 2009 @ 01:52 PM | 4,181 Views
I recently got the FlyCamOne2 from Hobby Lobby. I attached it to my Tyro and took some footage of Regions Park, home of the Birmingham Barons. I edited the footage into a small clip in Windows Movie Maker and uploaded it to YouTube.

While the directions leave much to be desired, there is a lot of information on RCGroups on this camera. I think it offers a pretty big bang for the buck. I have the remote receiver control cable that allows you to trigger the camera from the transmitter while in flight, but have yet to experiment with it.

I used my Tyro as it was a stable, overpowered platform that I thought would do well. Next time, I'll use something more acrobatic and make something a bit wilder . . . I'll post the video as soon as YouTube finishes processing it.

Doofus Gets a Camera 0001 (3 min 21 sec)

And here are some Flyover snapshots:
Posted by orangepeal | Aug 02, 2009 @ 12:50 AM | 4,416 Views
After moving from RTF, to PNP, to ARF planes, I felt it was high time to build a kit. Honestly, the idea of rolling out plans and cutting/sanding sticks of balsa to shape and then gluing it together sounds like a lot of fun to me. Maybe to others--not so much; but the big deterrent to me was the concept of covering the airframe once it was built. Having great difficulty wrapping a standard gift box in any presentable way, I expected to be entirely inept at covering the complex curves of an airframe with iron-on plastic film. My expectations, thankfully, proved wrong.

I had a lot of help from the forums on RCGroups. The first issue was: what kit to buy? After a lot of research, it seems there are 2 leading kit manufacturers for the would-be builder with no experience: Mountain Models by Lazer Arts and Stevens Aeromodel.

For my first build, I decided to go with the Tyro, which is actually produced by Molt Models and available from Mountain Models. It's a full house high wing trainer that, oddly, does not come with plans. It's an entirely laser cut balsa kit that comes with a fully illustrated instruction manual and assembles more like a modern plastic model than a stick and tissue kit. I decided it would be the perfect first step for me. It is available here:

Before I go further, I would also add that my fears of covering a balsa kit were allayed by the wonderful tutorial by BruceA which is available...Continue Reading
Posted by orangepeal | Jul 05, 2009 @ 11:32 AM | 4,227 Views
Now that I've gotten some comfort with Harriers, such that I can pretty much do an upright version at will, thanks to my 3DHS 40" Edge and 47" SHP, I decided to get out the old E-flight Extra 260 and see if I could do the same with it. I had no difficulty getting into a harrier at all but, my goodness, the wings rocked from side to side like a see-saw. I quickly realized that by not trying to correct it, I could hold the harrier indefinitely, but the wing rock was constant and made turning more tricky as you have to account for it to avoid falling out of the harrier.

SO, now I know what is meant by "no wing rock harriers." Both my 3D Hobby Shop planes are very solid in harrier with no rock (that isn't pilot induced). While I still enjoy flying the E-flight Extra, the wing rock keeps me from taking the harriers down low. Oddly, the E-flight Extra hovers nicely and I feel I may be able to get torque rolls down a little quicker with this plane. It may just be that my throttle modulation is improving as I was making a conscious effort to add throttle modulation to the mix (rather than just trying to hold the hover with rudder and elevator). By not paying attention to ailerons, the plane will naturally torque roll, but I haven't managed to get much past the wheels facing me before it drops out.

If nothing else, the E-flight plane takes the cake for landing. It pretty much lands itself.
Posted by orangepeal | Jul 04, 2009 @ 12:29 PM | 4,196 Views
I just can't make up my mind which one of these I like better. I think the SHP has won the top spot for me, at least for today. I flew a Knife Edge circle today without thinking twice about it, and then did some Knife Edge passes with rolls interspersed. I guess they're not really true snap rolls, I'm just holding a KE pass and then I give full Aileron input for one full fast roll ending back in KE. On the SHP, I can do several in a row and have the timing down pretty good. I need to work on the circle and figure out how to do 1.5 of these rolls so that I can always keep the top of the plane facing me in the circle--of course, I'd have to input opposite rudder when I change the facing of the plane and getting that timed will be difficult. I think the simulator is the place to work that out before I try it for real. I have seen more experienced pilots do this in a figure 8 pattern and it's very impressive to watch.

In addition to working on KE flight, I've decided to dedicate at least half of every flight to working on harriers (and at least a couple of hover attempts as it can be easy to enter a harrier from a botched hover). Initially, I felt that the Edge was better at entering harriers, but have found that by chopping power and slowly adding almost full elevator will get me into a harrier every time. I just add throttle slowly until I'm not losing altitude and keeping a nose high (high alpha) attitude. Both the Edge and SHP are very stable,and when there is...Continue Reading
Posted by orangepeal | May 30, 2009 @ 09:47 PM | 4,464 Views
I love flying this plane, but I dread landing it. This plane LOVES to fly and just won't come down unless you fly her down. As I'm still just learning 3D and have only recently started with it, I went back to a heavier battery and more nose heavy CG. Instead of 1300-1500 mah batteries and the CG set at 80mm back from the leading edge of the wing, I'm using 2100 mah batteries and the CG set approximately 72mm back. I had 3 of the best landings ever with this plane, in a row, with this setup. My confidence is returning. It still does wonderfully quick snaps, KE, Flat spins, KE spins, Blenders, etc. I'm sure it will harrier and hover, but those are skills I have yet to tackle seriously. It flies inverted fine, but now needs a touch of elevator whereas, with the CG at 80mm, it required none.

So, now that the mystery of landing this hot rod is solved, for the time being, I can return to perfecting KE flight with some snaps interspersed . . .

Happy flying!
Posted by orangepeal | May 30, 2009 @ 05:13 PM | 4,481 Views
KE Mix

Well, I tried the KE mix this morning on my 3DHS 40" Edge, as per my prior post. There is still coupling, but not anything I can't handle with my thumbs. It will still roll out of KE if you don't fully correct the roll coupling, but with the 6% opposite aileron applied by the computer, it doesn't take much stick input to hold it. So, I think I'll keep the mix as is.


With the mix still on, I tried to do a Blender this morning. Basically, it's a vertical climb to a very safe height, then wingover (hammerhead) into a dive while holding full aileron for a fast spin and cut the throttle (if you want to be safe about it)--then transition to a flat spin by releasing the aileron and instead giving full elevator (up or down, depending upon whether you want an inverted or upright flat spin, respectively) and full rudder while increasing throttle to about half, maybe more.

KE Spin

The little edge makes a great ripping sound when it transitions from the diving spin to the flat spin, it also slows dramatically. I found, accidentally, that I can transition from the flat spin into a KE spin and back, by inputting full aileron as well as full elevator and rudder, to change the axis on which the plane is rotating. It may have been the mix that made this apparent, or I may have just gotten sloppy with my right thumb.

After I did it with the little Edge and repeated it, the second time on purpose, I tried it with the SHP. Since it's bigger, it is...Continue Reading
Posted by orangepeal | May 28, 2009 @ 10:30 AM | 4,320 Views
Ok, I've now programmed my DX7 with 2 mixes for my 3DHS 40" Edge 540, both controlled by the rudder mix switch. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to do it since I've never used the mix function on the DX7 before. Basically, for both, the master is rudder and the slave is aileron in Mix 1, and elevator in Mix 2. Since I wanted opposite aileron at 6%, I programmed negative 6% for both rudder inputs and that causes a slight bit of opposite aileron when the rudder mix is on. Similarly, since I wanted to add some up elevator, I had to add positive 4% in one rudder direction and negative 4% in the other rudder direction to ensure that regardless of which direction I am flying knife edge, I'll get 4% up elevator ("Up" on the control surface or the equivalent of down on the stick).

I'll post again once I get the opportunity to fly with the mix and will report whether it helps or not. In the meanwhile, I flew the SHP yesterday and determined that I can do a very fast KE and doing so requires a lot less rudder input than a slow one. However, if your airframe has coupling, by going slow and using more rudder throw, you will increase the coupling. So, regardless, as the mix is constant and related to the rudder throw, one would expect that once the mix is correctly programmed, it would work at all speeds. We'll see . . .
Posted by orangepeal | May 26, 2009 @ 03:27 PM | 5,821 Views
I've decided to try to actually learn how to fly well with some structure, rather than simply buzz around and do things spur of the moment. Whenever I decide to spontaneously try some maneuver, without a plan, I have a much greater likelihood of getting into trouble. After barely saving my Extra SHP from total destruction by flat spinning too low and overcompensating in my effort to get out of it, I've decided my flying could use some structure.

I recommend Scott Stoops book, The Pilot's Guide to Mastering Radio Controlled Flight, which I'm in the process of reading now at Doc Austin's urging. Scott recommends reserving a few minutes of every flight to practice something planned and to stick to the plan. It worked for me when I learned snaps, flat spins and blenders, but I'm not at the level where I can just pop those maneuvers off without a plan.

Flying a good knife edge is not as easy as some folks make it look. Obviously, the airframe you are flying will impact how easy it is to fly KE. Case in point, my 3DHS Extra 300 SHP flies KE better than anything else I own.

I simply get up to a safe altitude to experiment (a/k/a 5 mistakes high) which for me is about 2 or 3 light poles high in the lot where I fly--high enough to recover from a few errors but not so high I cannot see the plane well. Then roll the plane so the top faces you and apply opposite rudder. The amount of rudder required to hold a steady altitude varies with the amount of throttle applied. I like to...Continue Reading
Posted by orangepeal | May 24, 2009 @ 12:48 PM | 4,562 Views
Here's my progression in RC flying as of today:

Hobbyzone Supercub

Parkzone Trojan

Eflite Extra 260 480 3D

Nasty (Homebuilt Foamy)

Parkzone Corsair

Ember 2 (great fun for the neighbors to watch and fly around the house)

Phase 3 F16 EDF #1 (Psuedo prototype scheme)

3D HobbyShop 40" Edge 540

Starmax Panther EDF (crashed on maiden--total loss)

Phase 3 F16 EDF #2 (IAF camo scheme)(this one has a motor and fan out of a Phase 3 Phantom and is quicker than my other Phase 3 F16 for some reason. Ubildit balanced the fan and perhaps that has something to do with it.

3D HobbyShop 47" Extra 300 SHP

3D HobbyShop 46" Aspera

I'll post some pics of my favorites below.

I use a DX7 and primarily AR6100 receivers, though I do have a 6000 in the Nasty (DSM rather than DSM2), a 6200 in the SHP, and a 7000 in the Extra 260.

As far as mods to the ARFs, I have painted the Trojan, added navigation, landing and strobe lights, and a bomb drop and have upgraded the motor to a Turnigy 3536C with a Plush 40A ESC. I run a 10x7 APC prop since the upgrade. It still flies slow nicely but can really rip when I want to.

The Corsair has the same motor, ESC and prop upgrades. While it looks great in the air, it's ground handling is not great and it hasn't proved to be as sturdy--landing gear have ripped off on both sides and been reattached and after one wing servo stripped, I replaced both with 9 gram servos and soldered them in to...Continue Reading