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Posted by Eric Odle | Mar 14, 2010 @ 11:51 AM | 3,639 Views
This time my brother-in-law and his two children came to the flying field, and now I have video from two perspectives. The first clip is the ground view, the second is the onboard view of the same flight. The last ground view video is without an onboard camera, circling in a slight thermal lift.

Swyft Onboard and Ground View Video Deer Lake Park Burnaby BC (6 min 48 sec)

Posted by Eric Odle | Feb 28, 2010 @ 07:46 PM | 3,862 Views
Here's some video I shot today with a keychain spycam on my Swyft 2:

Swyft SAL Glider Flying Deer Lake Park Burnaby BC.wmv (2 min 22 sec)

Posted by Eric Odle | Feb 23, 2010 @ 08:50 PM | 4,710 Views
I received my new D-47 servo and a spare from Dymond, and now my Swyft 2 is flying again! This past weekend was beautiful and sunny, and quite a few of the Oakalla Hawks members were down at the field at Deer Lake Park. I didn't have a lot of time to fly, however, as we had plans to attend Olympic events in downtown Vancouver and Richmond. My brief time on Saturday was spent showing the president I could fly and getting my "wings" certification, as well as picking up a few pointers about finding and riding thermals.

I went down on Sunday with my wife, son, and as always, my dog. Again it was for a brief session, and after a few throws we suddenly noticed that there was a bald eagle and several other birds of prey circling nearby, and not doing much flapping of wings. So I tossed the Swyft underneath them and circled, and the glider floated higher and higher on the same thermal! That was my first time successfully riding a thermal, and the first lift of any kind I experienced with this glider. Way cool! Even my wife, who is usually bored with my flying, was impressed that I was up literally soaring with eagles. She said, no, actually most of them were hawks!

And then today I'm down in Seattle, so I went to Gasworks park, where the glider's designer flies. There was a 10 knot breeze blowing right up the hill, so I rode the slope lift. I think ailerons are a little better for sloping, but the rudder/elevator rig worked quite well.

All in all, I think I prefer the hunt for thermals with repeated tosses. Even when I don't find anything it's fun, and when I do it's really quite a rush!
Posted by Eric Odle | Feb 12, 2010 @ 01:24 AM | 4,086 Views
I managed to fly the MSW today, dodging raindrops!

First flight was using a Turnigy 1400-2000, a 6g 2000kv outrunner I've had sitting around for awhile. This was to see if the slower motors really are quieter, and it was... Only problem is that the max thrust I can get out of it with the 5030 prop is about 85g static, and with a 300mAh 20g battery I'm at about 165g AUW. Still very flyable, just not particularly fast. This rig is for unobtrusive park flying, as the faster motors tend to be whinier and thus more annoying to park goers and neighbors. The 1400-2000 is identical in appearance and weight to the 4500kv version, but the two motors have very different applications. The 4500kv motor swings a 3020 prop, which will allow the wing to glide better than the 5030 prop. My tests today show that the prop braking is mostly ineffective with the larger prop, and the spinning prop is like a giant airbrake. If I ever get to a decent sloping site, I'll choose the 4500 for light power sloping.

Then I strapped on the blue wonder, for a very different kind of flying! This was also using a 5030 prop, though now I'm generating more like 295g of static thrust at WOT. It screams up, it screams down, high speed passes emit a very pronounced whistling noise that I have yet to identify. I left WOT for extended periods to see if I could overload the Thunderbird-9 ESC, but it just wouldn't quit. I tested both 800mAh and 600mAh batteries, the 800 has more oomph but the 600...Continue Reading
Posted by Eric Odle | Feb 09, 2010 @ 11:59 AM | 4,090 Views
Well, I dropped my Swyft on its tail and busted a $20 Dymond D-47 servo. Now I'm waiting for a new one, but in the meantime I received my 24g 3000kv "Blue Wonder" from HK. My sanity slips through my fingers as I go into the far vertical realm, pretty much the opposite of the relaxing glider flight. I'm feeling a little bipolar these days!

It looks like she'll handle a 5030, about the largest prop I can squeeze onto my MSW without modifications. Measurements on an 800 mAh 2s show that'll draw about 8.6 amps at 62 watts and 295g static thrust! My AUW is 208g with this setup, so I think she'll go pretty fast...
Posted by Eric Odle | Feb 05, 2010 @ 01:43 AM | 5,286 Views
Well, as it turns out, the closest place to fly is a short walk from my home in Burnaby... But it's a glider only club. This is why I built a Swyft 2 from Liftworx, a 40" wingspan side arm launch (SAL) glider. When I built it, I ended up around 130g, but after a few test flights it seems I needed to move the cg further forward than recommended. Throw in some tail damage requiring lots of CA glue to repair, and I ended up needing about 8g of deadweight in the nose. And now it flies beautifully! It definitely glides more efficiently than my mini speedwing. I'm up in the air less than a minute each time as I have not yet been able to find much reliable lift, but it's still lots of fun to fly! Just glide back to my hand and hurl it up again.

It's a very different kind of flying, more physically demanding but somehow more relaxing and challenging at the same time. It's a lot like how sailing compares to driving around in power boats... And since I'm a sailor, I'm guess I shouldn't be surprised I like it as much as I do.

One of my early bloopers was not securing the nose cone properly... it was supposed to stay on with a friction fit, but it apparently flew off during a fading light session. I didn't realize it flew off and I launched again, but without the added nose weight it flew poorly and I stuffed it, shattering the plastic pod. Liftworx is sending me a new one, but in the meantime I repaired the damage with lots of 3M Multitask tape. I even taped the...Continue Reading
Posted by Eric Odle | Dec 27, 2009 @ 10:37 PM | 4,351 Views
Okay, been awhile since my last entry, I've since built a Liftworx Swyft 2 from the kit, and ultralight SAL glider that I'm looking forward to playing with as soon as the weather lets up!

So now I'm on to the next project, a 24" wing that breaks down into two halves for compact travel. I'm about to come home from 7 weeks at work, and this will be my next project at work, so I won't be working on it until late February. The purpose of this blog entry is really to have all the measurements handy so I can play around with ideas while I'm at home.

This project will be built from McClain Wing cores, which come pre-cut in the core beds. Everything else is up to me! I just received the cores today, and was surprised to find that they are all EPP foam, not EPS with EPP leading edges. It'll be a little heavier and not as stiff, but I like the durability of EPP over EPS. Here are the specs:

Weight: 10.2g!!! (I was expecting a lot more!)
Wingspan: 24"
Root Chord: 5"
Tip Chord: 2"
Sweep: 6.5"
LE length: 13-5/8"
TE length: 12-1/2"

Here's the link to the CG calculator:

Which shows:
Wing area: 84
CG: 3.5" from LE

One of the cores has an extra 1/8" of tip chord, so these are not symmetrical. I'll have to do a little trimming to correct that!
Posted by Eric Odle | Dec 05, 2009 @ 08:02 AM | 4,218 Views
As a very generous birthday gift, my father sent me a micro-heli to play around with on the tugboat. It's taken some hideous crashes as I've pushed the envelope more and more in my very limited flying space. Right now I'm waiting for a replacement tail rotor assembly, as the wires got knocked out of the little coreless motor and I was unable to reattach such micro-sized electronics. The mSR is quite nimble, so I expect I'll be cruising it around the backyard playground dodging kids when I get home! That is if it survives my flying on the boat!

Here's a video of my flying space, the galley of the Tug Pathfinder:
Posted by Eric Odle | Nov 16, 2009 @ 09:27 PM | 4,282 Views
It rained hard all day so I didn't get much of a chance until late in the day, when I finally noticed that it had stopped momentarily. I rushed over to the local park to see just how the outrunner did... And I was very impressed!

I flew the 2s and scooted faster than 3s on the inrunner. Cool! Then I tried the 3s, and flew straight up like a rocket ship! In the fading light I suffered a bit of vertigo and had to make a few maneuvers to determine which way I was flying. That was a little disconcerting, but it proved the setup. It rocks!

And now I have to head off to work until January. But I have a jet plane to look forward to when I get back!

And in the meantime, I'll be building a Liftworx Swyft2 SAL glider. I won't get to fly it until I get home, though. I imagine I'll be getting lots of simulator time!
Posted by Eric Odle | Nov 16, 2009 @ 01:15 AM | 4,552 Views
Okay, I've been home for seven weeks now and I've had a chance to try a few things. First, I've had it with frying motors, so I picked up a couple of 12mm heatsinks for my 12mm inrunner. I found that with the heatsinks I can go full throttle for extended periods on 3s. Hooray!

But wait, could I go faster still? Yes I can!

Hobby King has a 3500kv 11g outrunner that runs at 60 watts, almost twice what the inrunners can put out. Now I can finally get my thrust level beyond my AUW threshold. The motor is a Turnigy C2020, and uses a 4 x 2.5 prop instead of the 3 inch props I've been using. Unfortunately this means that the center keel will no longer completely protect the prop, but hopefully the prop saver can help in this area. The reported thrust at 2s is 130g, and at 3s it's 220g! My AUW with a 2s 800 mAh battery is now 196 grams, and I can play with that significantly, so theoretically I'm into vertical territory now. The only question I will soon answer is whether my Thunderbird 9 ESC can handle the loads. It seemed to hold up in a few test runs, but I have to wonder how far it can go with these kinds of loads.

Weather permitting, I'll fly it tomorrow and find out!

I had to make a hardwood motor mount to fit into the slot normally occupied by the inrunner. The assembly puts the prop further back than stock, and I'm curious how this will affect things... The CG is maybe just a little further aft, but the whole assembly is 17g, compared to the heatsink-laden inrunner at 26g, and it flew just fine with the sinks so I'm not too worried about CG. But will positioning the thrust further aft make a difference? I hope I get to find out soon!
Posted by Eric Odle | Oct 27, 2009 @ 11:28 PM | 4,062 Views
Finally found a good slope! We were in Victoria yesterday as well, but winds were 30+ knots, and I wasn't sure if I could make way back into that kind of wind. So we did other things, and today the winds were light, 5-10 knots, good conditions to "maiden" on a sea cliff breeze.

In most configurations, that kind of wind just didn't make enough lift for unpowered flight. The exception was the 164g 300mAh setup, which was light enough to stay aloft even in the lighter winds. This is fortunate because otherwise the 300mAh battery doesn't last very long! A little more wind, say 15 knots, and I probably could have stayed off the power regardless of the battery. I certainly didn't need to increase weight for penetration today.

I also played around with the "wild" control settings, and got a lot more aerobatic. This setting is a bit much for the 300mAh setup, but with a restrained hand it can be flown just fine. With an unrestrained hand, it does some really interesting stalls and flips and spins, probably a result of having the cg too far aft. When I switch to the "mild" setting, it is quite civilized in light airs like today. In heavy winds though it's more of a battle to stay in control, but with the added benefit that it is much less likely to sustain damage in a hard crash. It's amazing how it just bounces off stuff! I sheepishly pick out the grass bits from the foam and launch again!

With the heavier batteries, the wild...Continue Reading
Posted by Eric Odle | Oct 23, 2009 @ 01:27 AM | 4,413 Views
I picked up my new Blue Arrow BL 1230 4200kv inrunner from the post office today... Hobby King had it here in 3 days using their express "EMS" service. Not bad! In short order I had it mounted and running on my MSW to fly in today's windy (20-25 kts) and somewhat rainy weather. Most of the comments about the BL 1230 recommend a 3x2 prop instead of the stock 3x3 prop. Having just lost a motor to overheating, I went with the safer 3x2.

I intend to take it to a good slope soaring site near Victoria next week, so I've been assembling a collection of battery packs to give me the ability to fine tune the weight. On the light end is a 300mAh pack and the heaviest are the 800mAh packs. The stock pack is a 600mAh unit. In order to keep the balance more or less the same, I carved out the foam just aft of the normal battery compartment and made a second compartment closer to the cg. This is where the 800 mAh packs live, with a piece of foam occupying the normal battery position.

In order to give myself the most weight options, I have carved out the second battery compartment so as to leave the original compartment totally intact. This means that if I really wanted to ad weight, I could fly more than one battery. This also greatly improves the 15 minutes flying time the wing gets on the stock 600 mAh pack.

Here are the numbers:

Weight without batteries or connectors: 142g
300 mAh 2s battery: 22g
600 mAh 25C 2s battery: 36g
800 mAh 20C 2s Flightmax...Continue Reading
Posted by Eric Odle | Oct 17, 2009 @ 08:34 AM | 4,370 Views
Well, it seem that WOT with a 3S 600mAh pack on that little feigao is only good for so long, despite the heat sink attempt. It got hot enough to melt the prop, and then I'm guessing it tore itself up with the off-balanced prop because now there's about 1mm of play longitudinally along the shaft. Motor will spin with no prop on, but put a load on it and all it does is stop and heat up. I'll be taking it apart soon to get a better idea... I have a new 12mm x 30mm 4200kv coming from Hobby King so we'll see how that goes!
Posted by Eric Odle | Oct 07, 2009 @ 03:16 PM | 4,946 Views
I've been hearing reports that the little feigao 1208436 motors get quite hot running 3s. I've noticed mine even gets pretty warm running 2s. Seeing as it is secured by nylon tie wraps, I'm wondering how far I can take WOT flight before things start melting?

So, taking a proactive approach, I decided to add some light heatsinks. I had to "dispose" of a can of beer to make these by folding the aluminum to minimize the sharp edges. I'm still waiting for my digital scale so I don't know what kind of weight this has, but I'm guessing at most a couple of grams. Hopefully it has enough mass to do some good!

The aluminum makes contact with the casing where previously the motor was against the wood motor mount, making use of this previously useless (for heat dissipation purposes) part of the motor casing. The whole assembly gets hot when running, so I'm guessing this should help cool things down.
Posted by Eric Odle | Sep 30, 2009 @ 04:55 AM | 4,416 Views
I jump on a plane tomorrow morning for 7 weeks off after working for 6. I built a plywood case just big enough for my wing so that I can check it into my baggage without worrying about it. I was already varnishing a set of oars for our launch, so I put a few coats on the case as well! I also added some bubble wrap, as if EPP really needed it. But hey, never underestimate the destructive power of baggage handlers! Photos are attached.

Friday, weather permitting, I'll finally get to maiden it at the local schoolyard! I was very tempted to try it out on the tug, but all our decks on the tugboat have abrasive non-skid on them, which would shred anything that slid over it quickly. That and all sorts of hard metal objects surrounded by salt water makes for a very unhappy place for RC craft. Must... Be... Patient!
Posted by Eric Odle | Sep 24, 2009 @ 10:44 PM | 4,626 Views
Following the advice of users here on RCGroups, I completed my search for a portable electric sloper with a Mini Speedwing RTF. This is my fourth RC craft:

1) My first was in the mid-80's, and was a balsa sailplane called a "Pussycat". I have fond memories of building that over Christmas break with my dad. I was around 10 at the time. I also have less fond memories involving some pretty severe crashes, sometimes involving exploding balsa parts. One particularly bad one was after a launch on a bungee cord, and after that I started thinking about powered craft.

2) Not wanting to get into fuel powered planes, my second craft was an early electric-powered model called an "Electra". It was basically a sailplane with RC car parts onboard, very heavy but with enough wing to carry the load. It wasn't particularly powerful on NiCad batteries, but it was enough to get you in the air and fly around a little. That was in the late 80's / early 90's. At the time I was living at the foot of Mt. Diablo in Alamo, California. The terrain was hilly, and I soon figured out that the best flying spots were where the wind was blowing up a slope. That craft met an untimely demise when I was flying at range and didn't realize I was inverted until too late. It had a nasty habit of violently disgorging all the heavy RC car parts on the hard landings, and a serious velocity crash completely crushed it.

3) My third craft was made with durability in mind, and...Continue Reading