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Posted by JohnsPop | Feb 20, 2010 @ 04:04 PM | 7,214 Views
Update 02/20/10: Well on my 2nd flight of my Debonair trainer, she bit the dust. I was flying it in a big circle practicing landing and taking off. Everything went great for 4 or 5 landings. Then as I went to turn right for my next landing attempt, nothing happened. The plane was about 30' off the ground about 100 yards away. When nothing happened I immediately chopped the throttle, but I don't know if that cut the engine or not. She gradually nosed in and out of ALL that grass out there, I clipped the asphalt edge of the walking path. The plane cartwheeled on me and every time she hit, something else flew off. It even knocked the low-speed needle valve out of the engine! The wing may be salvageable but everything else was completely destroyed.

Update 03/10/11: Well I haven't posted on my blog in forever so I decided I'd update the info on my Debonair. I *did* salvage that wing and built the Debonair MKII out of Canadian pipe instead of American. I'm using an O.S. 46FX on it and this thing flies like a dream. I'm about ready to shelve her and built another one just because she is so ratty looking but this is one sweet trainer.
Posted by JohnsPop | Jan 29, 2010 @ 04:21 PM | 6,841 Views
I know a lot of folks have several projects unfinished at any one time. My main reason for this is I live about 45 minutes from the closest hobby shop so if I don't have something for a project, I'm not going to drive up there for just a couple items. So I work on something until I hit a stopping point and then move on to the next project until I get whatever parts I need to continue on with the previous project.

My current project is the SPAD Dominator. I like the way it looks and it's a little smaller .40 size plane so it will be a little easier to transport in the cab of my truck.

Update: I destroyed this plane with the dreaded "Figure 9". Plugged it into terra firm all the way past the engine. I salvaged the wing and the engine only suffered a snapped off needle valve. I did not rebuild this plane, but I will build another Dominator in the future, probably with a couple inches longer fuse and a little bit bigger horizontal stabilizer.
Posted by JohnsPop | Jan 28, 2010 @ 03:45 PM | 6,702 Views
I finally found a decent source for 2mm coroplast! It's not local so I still have to pay shipping but they're fair with their shipping and don't charge a high minimum so I went for it and was pleased. The company is Corrugated Plastics in Hillsborough, NJ. Their phone number is 888-350-0555 and the website is Steven St. Claire is the guy I ordered from and he was very helpful but he said you can just talk to anyone so give them a shot!

This brings me back around to the GloBaby..... I've got a Dominator on the bench right now but as soon as that's finished, I'll get back to work on the GloBaby now that I've got 2mm coro for the wings. That build log is here:
Posted by JohnsPop | Jan 28, 2010 @ 03:36 PM | 7,689 Views
Well, I *finally* got my SPAD Gnat ready to go. And just like the build looks like it will take me forever to maiden her. Supposed to rain Saturday and Sunday my son has his football banquet plus I have to go out of town to pick up my mom. (sigh) It's always something. Oh well, onward and upward.

The Gnat has a 34" wingspan with about a 12" chord. I've got an old OS 20FP engine on it with a 4 oz. fuel tank made out of a spice bottle. I've got a MAS 9x6 prop on it and I'm using JR ST47 Sport servos on it. The receiver is a HobbyKing HK-TR6A 2.4Ghz powered by a Spektrum 4.8V 1100mah battery.

UPDATE: I flew this plane, but never really got it dialed in. It just kind of mushed along and I've seen these really boogie. I stripped her parts, but I still have the frame kicking around in my shop, so I may revisit this one sometime. I'll probably just end up building a Spa3DT with a landing gear.
Posted by JohnsPop | Dec 12, 2009 @ 03:21 PM | 8,572 Views
Just got my J'Tec test stand set up. This is a JT-TS3 for .049 - .61cc engines. I like it except I'll probably replace the mount bolts with hex bolts because they're phillips head and you have to take your muffler off to mount the engine tight. I mounted it on a piece of 3/4" pressure treated board I had (although the instructions call for a 1" board... who's got THAT laying around?) that I coated with thinned down epoxy for fuel proofing. A piece of throttle wire Z-bended and held under the rubber bands to prevent creep and it's ready to go..... except it's raining outside right now! Oh well, we'll test it later!

01/31/10 - Finally got around to replace thing those bolts today with hex head bolts. Now I can get in there with a wrench to tighten an engine without taking the muffler off. Other than that I think this is a great little engine stand.
Posted by JohnsPop | Dec 09, 2009 @ 10:35 AM | 7,517 Views
This is the first plane I put together when I returned to the sport of R/C. It is a Hobbico Hobbistar .60 ARF I bought from Allison Performance Hobbies in Newnan, GA. Stan's a great guy with great support and great prices, BTW! The Hobbistar has an OS .61FX engine and a Spektrum AR-7000 receiver.
Posted by JohnsPop | Dec 09, 2009 @ 10:32 AM | 7,131 Views
This is the thread on my BluBaby which is a foam, electric trainer designed by Tony65x55. This is the link to the group:

My first BluBaby was a BB33 with undercamber wing. We lost it in the tree-tops when we were flying it in too much wind and couldn't get it back. It was a great flying little airplane with a funky Cox PT-19 landing gear I put on her. I smashed her into a light pole a couple times and glued her back together. I slammed her down onto the corrugated metal roof of a covered sidewalk and she glued back together ok. My friend Howard touched the wing tips together on a loop but they didn't snap. (Reinforced the wing after that however) She was built out of blue FFF from Home Depot.

My second BluBaby is a BB42 with undercamber wing. She's still flying but I'll probably retire her soon because she looks like hell. I flew her into a brick wall and after inspection, she seemed ok. Everything *seemed* tight and ready to go. On the next flight, however, the motor popped out of the mount and and the prop chewed the front off of her before I could chop the throttle. She's very light-weight and a nice gentle flyer. She was built out of white Dollar Tree foam with the paper removed.

I will probably always have a BluBaby in my hangar, but I think my next one is going to be an Oshkosh Special which is a variant of the BluBaby.
Posted by JohnsPop | Dec 09, 2009 @ 10:24 AM | 7,025 Views
Well, I haven't posted here in quite a while so thought I'd put an update out there. My current build is here:

It is a glow powered coroplast version of the BluBaby trainer which is built here:

I've gotten a little frustrated with it because 1) I don't know what I'm doing and 2) I'm trying to "use what I've got" instead of what I need. Can't do much about number 1, but I think I'm going to shelve this project for a while until I can get something better with which to build the wing. I also have a couple new engines on the way and I'm not sure what I'm going to eventually go with. I'm pretty sure the .10 Thunder Tiger I've got on it now isn't going to cut it as we're already up to about 3 pounds. So I'm thinking a .25 or maybe even an OS 40LA I've got will be more appropriate.

Since I last left you with the struggles of my BluBaby, I've built and flown several planes. I've built a BluBaby 42 with undercamber wing, a 17" Nutball, a Trainer ONE which I've only flown one time because it was too windy to fly and I haven't gotten back to it, and I'm almost through with an STC. These were all electrics. I've also built a Debonair glow-powered trainer and started a Gnat glow-powered ship, but got sidetracked on that one due to my GloBaby. I initially had some problems with my Debonair due to a bad Spektrum AR500 receiver, but I replaced that with another AR500 and it's been flying great. It is great fun to fly and knock on wood, I haven't crashed it yet and I'm even landing it ok. I'm almost ready to return to my Hobbistar .60 and give that one a go. Probably after one more good weekend at the field and I'll be ready. It's been a crazy ride so far!
Posted by JohnsPop | Aug 14, 2009 @ 08:39 PM | 6,895 Views
I finally did some decent damage to my BluBaby! Not that I was trying, but I had been flying so much without crashing, I was starting to get nervous as to when it was going to happen! LOL I've been practicing landings and I've been getting a *little* better, but I missed my landing strip and actually landed on a corrugated steel roof of a sidewalk. I was trying to pull up and the plane stalled right over the roof and slammed down on one of the ribs and almost cracked the fuselage in half. If I had thought quick enough to give it a quick left when it stalled, I might have missed the roof on the way down and picked up enough airspeed to clear the ground, but I didn't think of that in time. Oh well..... nothing a little CA won't fix.
Posted by JohnsPop | Aug 08, 2009 @ 01:25 AM | 7,178 Views
I've got 5 new batteries on the way..... I'll be flying for way more than 10 minutes or so in the near future! New motors, new ESCs..... also found a local source for Coroplast so a new SPAD trainer with glow engine is on the boards. And yes, I'm looking beyond trainers, I just happen to like flying slow, putt-putt planes. This is great!
Posted by JohnsPop | Aug 08, 2009 @ 01:19 AM | 7,215 Views
Went flying again today. Didn't crash, just flipped my plane over several times in the grass. The field I was flying at has a small dirt strip in the middle where it looks like the kids are using it like a "pitching mound" for kick-ball or something. My landing gear is off an old Cox C/L plane and the wheels are too small for the grass. I missed the "landing strip" every time and the plane just flipped over with no damage.

As for the title of this blog entry.... I'm getting it.... my nervousness is gone. I enjoy going flying. I charge my plane up and look forward to going to the field, throwing it in the air and flying it around for 10 minutes or so. Before I was nervous and often dreaded going to the field. With my cheap little scratch-built foam plane, I enjoy it. And it's building my skills so that when I put my big plane in the air, I don't worry so much. It's great!
Posted by JohnsPop | Aug 04, 2009 @ 06:23 PM | 7,190 Views
I flew my BluBaby yesterday for the first time without crashing it! I went out to our local tech school where I usually fly but there were some people at another one of their nearby buildings because their school is about to start. I thought, "Oh hell, I don't want to fly if there are people around because I don't want them to see me crash." Then I told myself that with school starting back, I don't have *anywhere* to fly where *somebody* is not going to be watching so I just figured I'd go for it and whatever happened, happened. The flags were hanging completely still so at least the wind conditions were a lot better than the other day when I ripped my landing gear off. I looked at my phone and got it ready to set a count-down timer because I didn't want my battery to get too low on me. Well I looked at the time but then forgot to set the timer before I launched my plane. I hand-launched the plane and flew all over the place making nice smooth banks. I flew for what felt like a good while at about half throttle and then remembered that I was supposed to see if she changed course at full throttle to add some thrust washers in. I pushed the throttle forward and she didn't speed up so I knew my battery was running down. I figured I'd better go ahead and land so I brought her down and greased a perfect landing just like I knew what I was doing! I looked at my phone and had been flying for 12 minutes..... that was the first time I had ever flown out my battery pack because I had always crashed before. What a great feeling!
Posted by JohnsPop | Aug 02, 2009 @ 09:57 PM | 7,199 Views
I know by my choices sometimes, people look at me and think, "What are you doing?" And it's not just in my hobby choices, it's been pretty much a life-long thing with me. I have a nice, brand new Hobbico Hobbistar .60 airplane with an O.S. .61 FX engine hanging in my shop and a Spektrum DX7 2.4GHz radio to fly it with. When I wanted to get back into the hobby of R/C airplanes that's kinda what I was leaning towards and when I mentioned it to the guys in my club, they said I couldn't go wrong with that choice...... and I agree. However.... then I found HobbyKing. And cheap foam airplanes that you can build from scratch and paint 'em however you want to because the nitro won't eat the paint off! What can I say, I'm a fiddler.... I love fiddling around with things and making them work. Sure I can spend several hundred dollars on a plane and engine but I love tinkering with $8 motors and $4 servos..... I love the fact that I can actually place an order from a company in Hong Kong, it will actually show up and with a little fiddling around, I can put a plane in the air! I like making something out of nothing. What can I say?
Posted by JohnsPop | Aug 02, 2009 @ 09:23 PM | 7,224 Views
My friend Howard flew my BluBaby 33 at our club field today. He's a very accomplished pilot and I thought I'd let him fly it to see how it *really* handles because I basically suck at piloting. Anyway, he was flying along ok and said, "Let me see if it'll loop." He did a gentle loop into the breeze and when it came down, the wings folded up and came within 6" of touching at the top! LOL Well, she floated down for a ways and the wings gradually came down and he flew right on off. I definitely want to implant a wooden dowel into the edges of my wing to keep this from happening in the future! I've smacked this plane into the ground pretty hard several times and I've had no major damage to her. I'm a very novice pilot, but from what *I* see, she seems to be pretty tough. I think if I had taken the plastic film off my 1/4" blue FFF, the wings would have snapped clean off instead of snapping back into shape, but I don't know. Either way, I like training on her a LOT better than on my Hobbistar .60.
Posted by JohnsPop | Aug 02, 2009 @ 12:09 PM | 6,995 Views
Well, I managed to rip the landing gear off my BB33 yesterday. I shouldn't have been flying because it was too windy, but....

I'm new to the electrics thing. I have had a BEAR of a time getting my motor and ESC working. I've come to the conclusion that I don't have a good motor/ESC/battery combo. Nothing wrong with any of them, I just don't think they mate well together. Sometimes the ESC works and sometimes it doesn't so it has been VERY frustrating. Yesterday after fiddling with it about 2 hours so I could go fly, I found on HobbyKing's web site where someone said he had the exact same problems as me. He changed his battery setting from LiPo to NiMH even though he had a LiPo and that solved his problem, although he had to be careful when the voltage dropped. I tried that and my motor fired straight up so of course I HAD to go fly! I flew it for a few minutes fighting the wind all the way but finally it was just too much for her and the wind slammed her into the grass. Didn't look like too hard a crash compared to some of my other ones, but I guess the LG had had enough stress from my previous crashes that it finally let go. :-)