bkopke's blog - RC Groups
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Posted by bkopke | Feb 07, 2011 @ 07:51 PM | 2,126 Views
I was just looking back at the date of my last post and realized it has been almost 3 years since I made it. Well I'm kinda semi retired from soaring since then but not out of RC all together. Much to my wife's chagrin sailboats have taken over as my hobby at present. So far they have proven a little more durable than planes and just as much fun. A couple of other local sailors are trying to rebuild the model yacht club here in Louisville and I am helping with that effort as much as possible. Hope to do some racing this year and maybe a little flying as well.
Posted by bkopke | Apr 08, 2008 @ 07:27 AM | 3,151 Views

I am going to try to catch up over the next few days. I did manage to fly in February and March albeit only one time in each month. The February session was OK, I snuck outo a Saturday and ran into Gordy at the club field. Spent about +/- an hour flying and BS'ing with Gordy. The temp was pretty mild if I remember correctly and the sun made some good air for February.

The March session was less fun. I decided to go on a cold but sunny and windless day (rare in March) in hopes of finding some decent lift. The problem with flying on 30F days is batteries don't last as long. Especially when they have been sitting is a cold car all day before hand. Long story short-broken wing mount. Back to one flyable Photon II. Oh well....

We finally got a break in the rain here so I ran to the park after work on 4.7.2008. It was a little windy but the sun was shining and it was 70F! I managed to speck out a few times, even made a 4:50 flight. Lots of spectators today, but no inquiries, not even a "can I fly it?".

Well, I have made it through the worst 6 months of the year for flying. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the rest of the year should be a piece of cake.....

Posted by bkopke | Jan 25, 2008 @ 08:36 AM | 3,046 Views

Well my January streak continues. I decided to put my backup Photon II in the van before I left for work based on the forecast of mid-upper 30's, sun and no wind. Fortunately I finished work a little early made it to the field just before 4PM. Mid 30's was more like low 30's by then and there was about 5-10mph of wind, but the sun was out. Off in the distance was a huge column of vultures, at least 50, circling in a nice stovepipe. I kept an eye on them and they drifted closer but not within my reach. Meanwhile I practiced launching and transitioning at the top. Also turned in some decent flights when I managed to hook a thermal on the way down. Several 2+ min. flights, at least one over 3 min. and one 4:18. The lift was pretty wild at times and going up like crazy. It seemed to dissipate pretty low though; I guess the cold air temp. cooled the thermal off pretty fast. After about 45 min. my hands and feet were frozen so I was ready to warm up. I might be getting the hang of this cold weather flying.

Posted by bkopke | Jan 22, 2008 @ 08:11 AM | 3,212 Views

Happy new year! I got my session in for January-what little there was of it. Tried out the newly repaired Photon II and the wing joiner cracked again on the first throw. Spent the rest of a half hour javelin launching until I grazed my head with the stab and cart wheeled the plane and did some more minor damage. I pushed everything back together and tossed it a few more times back towards my car. BUMMER. Oh well, I have been considering epoxying the wing panels on anyway so now I have no excuse. Still chalk one up for January.

Posted by bkopke | Dec 29, 2007 @ 10:34 AM | 3,144 Views

Well I was cutting it close in my quest to fly in every month of the year. Until today I had no stick time in for the month of December! Our weather has been mostly gloomy with only a few days suitable for flying. I only got about 40 minutes of dead air flying in, but it counts. I managed to get my back up Photon II all trimmed out in the process. I also got to work on Photon II number one since it was damaged during the night fly (flap servo came unglued and the left wing joiner loosened back up). And speaking of repairs I possibly have a bad servo in backup Photon II because my battery went flat in about 15 minutes. So I will have to do some testing and change out the culprit. Fortunately we are having great weather to stay inside and fix planes!

Posted by bkopke | Nov 29, 2007 @ 09:22 AM | 3,392 Views

I finally made it to my first club night fly. I am usually out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday so I always miss this traditional club event. We had 8 people come and many flights were made with little carnage. I made up some lights to attach to my Photon II by taping some LEDís to hearing aid batteries. These lasted much longer than I expected. After the first couple of hand tosses I bit the bullet and gave it an easy DL. Flying at night was not as hard as I thought it would be! With the LEDís lighting up the wings and a glow stick taped to the bottom of the plane it was easy to tell orientation. After a few launches I taped another LED to the tail so I could see it better; kinda difficult to judge when to push over the top. After I did this I stopped stalling and got in some good flights. I guess that gives some insight into what I actually look for during the launch? There wasn't really any lift but it was bouyant and most of my flights were well over a minute. I might make night flying part of my practice routineÖ.

Posted by bkopke | Nov 29, 2007 @ 09:17 AM | 3,351 Views

I made out to fly with the club today. Only about 4-5 people were there but that has been the usual number this year. There was a young kid there with a WalMart electric plane and after one of the guys helped him get it flying I think he may be hooked! Good deal. I managed to get about an hour of flying in before my son was ready to go to the playground. Great air and I made several 4+ min flights. Even spotted some lift for Gordy who was struggling to save a 30 min Canadian soaring task flight. He got it BTW.

Posted by bkopke | Nov 10, 2007 @ 08:47 AM | 3,045 Views

I just noticed the last time I made an entry was nearly a month ago. I have not even touched a plane in that time. Yesterday I had a small window of opportunity and I took advantage of it. I finished at work about an hour early and I headed for Vettiner park to try my luck. The wind had been cooperating most of the day so I figured it was worth a try. When I arrived the breeze was stronger than I "measured" at my office. I kinda expected this since our field is fairly flat and the wind isn't blocked by buildings etc. I decided to try any way and I put my violet/yellow Photon together. I didn't make very many (10-12) flights because the wind aloft was a lot stronger than at the surface, which was pretty strong itself. Launches were nice and high with little effort thanks to the wind. I still managed to catch some lift and squeaked out a 2:45 at one point. Then as I was waiting for some lift to blow through, I noticed the wind shift suddenly and increase beyond my comfort level. So I packed up and came home. Not a bad session even though it was only 30-40 minutes.

I decided I am going to attempt to fly at least once in every month of the year. Kinda in the vein of AMA's all season flyer deal. Sounded like a cool idea and although I have probably already done it, I never kept track before. So this blog will serve a dual purpose.

Posted by bkopke | Oct 20, 2007 @ 09:57 PM | 3,181 Views

I got off of work early and made a beeline for the slope in Frankfort, KY. The slope is actually a 280+ ft high and very steep and rocky cut made by the Kentucky river. The face is to the southwest which lines up nicely with our prevailing winds. Based on the forecast from that morning, the wind was supposed to be SW at 10-15mph....perfect. I was hoping to wring out my Windrider Bat in some crankin' slope lift. When I arrived, there were plenty of vultures and hawks sloping, mostly down the ridge near the radio tower. For some reason, I couldn't get a decent flight in to save my tail. I made three treacherous trips down the hill fetching my plane and only made 6-8 flights total-none more than a few minutes long. I would get into some really good slope lift then it would just disappear and I would have to bail towards the lip or the back side puckering the whole way. After the third trip down the hill and a lot of rocks thrown to retrieve my plane from 25' up a tree I gave up. One of my control linkages was broken off anyway. I checked the weather when I got home and the wind had shifted to the west and wasn't as strong as earlier in the day. Plus I think there was some thermal activity robbing the lift as well. Not one of my better days flying, but even when it's bad it's still pretty good.

Found a couple of pretty sweet fossils on my ventures down the slope so the day wasn't a total loss. I was thinking about it while I was picking the bark out of my hair on the way home-I don't think I will climb down there any more without somebody else there. It wouldn't be hard to take a nasty spill and not be found for awhile.
Posted by bkopke | Oct 16, 2007 @ 07:24 AM | 3,499 Views
I have been considering keeping track of my flight times and experiences for awhile now. So I figured this is as good a place as any. Here goes.


Got off of work early so I stopped at Charlie Vettiner park, the club field, and tried to get a few minutes in before going home. The wind was about 15mph from the south so I had some wicked turbulence from the tree line at the south end of the field. I noticed some thermal activity but it was moving fast and was very bumpy. I was testing my repaired (loose wing joiner) Photon II and my best flight was about 1 min. Most of my effort was concentrated on trying to keep the plane upright and flying. Not the best day for handlaunch. Made about 10-15 flights in 20 min or so. Decided to go home with my plane in one piece. Looks like rain for the next couple of days, kinda rare around here this year. That will give me some time to get my work shop cleaned up and ready for the winter building season. If life allows I'll be busy getting some planes finished up.