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Posted by JMAH | Dec 30, 2012 @ 02:54 PM | 4,020 Views
So it's post-Christmas, which means it's time to start building something around here! True to our recent tradition, my brother-in-law (GiusedtoBe) and son (DoubleH) set me up with a project: this year's installment is the Dynam 1200mm Spitfire, for which I'm very thankful, having lost my beloved FMS Spitfire last summer to a catastrophic in-flight failure of the wing spar.

First things first, get some info. Happy to get some tips from mustangloyd which I plan to employ, especially increasing the landing gear forward rake to handle a grass flying field and putting in a larger ESC.

Next is to do something about the paint job. I'm yet to find a suitable rationale for a dark green/baby blue camouflage scheme! I'll be going with dark green/ocean grey on the topside, medium sea grey underneath.

I also plan to go with split flaps. For now I went ahead and installed the servos they'll need. Kind of a pain to remove the dual air scoops to lay the wiring, but I was able to mostly hide the damage!

Doesn't look to be too hard of a build, so I'm hoping to see it in the air soon.

Posted by JMAH | Feb 18, 2012 @ 08:23 PM | 2,852 Views
Categorize this one as a total hull loss.

This one was problematic at first and gave me fits with electrical glitches early on, but once the bugs got worked out it became a sure flyer. Nice and stable, real predictable characteristics.Which makes destroying her really disappointing.

Did an Immelman from low altitude entry, though intending to remain inverted at the top. As I began a turn (still inverted), I allowed the plane to begin an uncommanded descent (poor piloting). To make matters worse, I got a sudden case of dumb thumbs and accelerated my descent (really poor piloting). I was too low for the recovery and plowed it in left wing first. The ensuing cartwheel did my Lightning in.

Here's a shot from happier days. Didn't even bother to take pictures of the carnage. Cannibalized the parts, and a couple of Mustangs are greedily eyeballing the PowerUp 450 Sports that are now free...
Posted by JMAH | May 05, 2011 @ 11:19 AM | 4,315 Views
Very excited about the next project: the 1400 mm FMS Spitfire. Received it as a Christmas gift from my brother-in-law (GIUsedtoBe), who has been semi-patiently waiting for me to get off my duff and build this thing, and I believe it's time to start!

It'll be a slow process (lots going on at the church these days...I'm doing three weddings in May alone!), but the parts are coming in and I'm going to start getting them together.

The thread over on the Electric Warbirds forum has been very helpful, and I intend to include what I've learned over there, and maybe add a couple of my own twists along the way.

Should be fun!
Posted by JMAH | Apr 11, 2011 @ 01:01 PM | 3,824 Views
So what is the proper RC flying uniform?

A quick scan of many RC action shots seems to suggest a conventional understanding that sneakers (preferably white), tube socks, khaki shorts, and t-shirt (again, often white) are de rigueur for a day at the field.

Our little air force seems to have adopted the convention with slight deviations from time to time (usually the rebellious younger generation...)
Posted by JMAH | Feb 08, 2011 @ 07:13 PM | 4,463 Views
After the last major crash I was disgusted enough that I just sent the wreckage to the basement; but time heals all wounds, so they say. My hurt pride has recovered enough for the repair work to start.

So I've started the repair work while I'm saving my pennies for new motors. There was plenty of gluing together of broken foam, so I began with that.

The wing was cracked from aft to front near the root, both booms were broken just aft of the wing, and both empennage assemblies were broken from the booms.

I used CA to put the pieces together, and opted for adding CF spar only to the empennage assemblies. Since the universal opinion is that this is the weak spot for the plane, I thought I'd give it a little help.

Still have to figure out the least invasive way to get access to the ESCs that are buried aft of the firewall in each boom. The wires aren't long enough to be able to switch out motors just through the hole in the firewalls.

Guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it (after the pennies are saved...)
Posted by JMAH | Feb 02, 2011 @ 08:55 PM | 3,865 Views
Got out the other day on the perfect combination of day-off-plus-unseasonably-warm-temps.

Haven't been having much luck with the Lightning I built last year, so I went back to the trusty Focke-Wulf. That plane is such a sweetheart to fly.

Got DoubleH out there as well with his totally unscale Super Cub. With its PowerUp 450 Sport and 1080 prop, it'll just about run with some of our warbirds! It is fun to watch him hang it on the prop and almost hover.
Posted by JMAH | Jan 17, 2011 @ 06:39 PM | 3,926 Views
Things are not going well for me with this Lightning in 2011!

Last time out I tried to fly it in gusty winds and dorked up the landing. One broken boom-tail repair later, I was ready to try it again.

Did I ever mention that it seemed like one motor turned slower than the other?

Anyway, DoubleH and I thought we'd get a quick flight in before supper, and I'd be able to try out more of what I could do with the lame GWS 2215/12T and 9050x3 set-up I had going.

No big issues for four minutes or so, then on a fly-by it started making a horrible screeching sound. I immediately pulled up to bring it around for a landing, but on the crosswind leg I saw the right motor quit.

I was going pretty slow at the time and the motor seizing up slowed it further and quickly. I think it stalled at this point, and with the induced yaw entered a spin.

I panicked at low altitude and tried to recover with aileron, which of course didn't work; and bashed it into the earth. Good thing it's so wet around here right now or it would've been worse.

Pretty much every component of the airframe is broken, except the boom-tail repair that I did last week! Only it survived the crash.
Posted by JMAH | Dec 31, 2010 @ 06:31 PM | 4,184 Views least for me!

What a dunce! So I throw a different crystal in my Mustang so my son can fly it on his 72 mHz radio. So far, so good.

While he's hitting the snack bar, I decide to take it for a spin. Check the control throws are not reversed, etc (how clever!); but fail to check the trim settings! I usually use a computer transmitter and have gotten lazy in centering the trim switches before flight.

So I toss my Mustang into the air with full nose-down trim. As soon as the airspeed builds for the elevator to be quite effective (20 feet or so) it noses straight for terra firma. I try to react, but it clips some higher grass and cartwheels.

Looks fixable (again)...

Here's to greater attention to detail in 2011!

Posted by JMAH | Nov 13, 2010 @ 07:01 PM | 4,470 Views
I had originally considered a convoluted plan to make a steerable tail wheel out of a spare wheel assembly I had left over from a wrecked FW-190. Discretion (or perhaps impatience) became the better part of valor and I went for going non-scale.

Since I used the aft fuselage of the FW-190 to repair my Mustang, it made sense to just attach the tail wheel like the GWS FW would have done.

It was easy, and I found out today that it works great. The "scale" guys will hate it, but there's already so much that's non-scale on this plane that I really didn't think it mattered any more.
Posted by JMAH | Oct 12, 2010 @ 10:11 PM | 4,694 Views
I keep assembling and disassembling to try to get this figured out...

Here she is fitted together, but far from screwed tight and finished. I cut rudders on her which, due to the tightness of fit with the horizontal stab, make the fins flex when they move. I need to shave away a bit more clearance to free them up better.

Also need to figure out how I'm going to do the extra wiring that GWS didn't plan for. They anticipated aileron and motor wires coming from the wings, but not two rudders and an elevator needing power to their servos. (The original GWS design had no working rudders and the elevator servo mounted in the main fuselage, with push rods extending straight back to the middle of the elevator...ecch!)

And she needs her invasion stripes on her booms.
Posted by JMAH | Sep 30, 2010 @ 03:52 PM | 5,779 Views
Orion Pax got me thinking that servos in the booms, hidden by the cooling cowls would be the hot tip. So I mounted two in the left boom and one in the right.

The plan is to have the aft servo operate the elevator and the forward servo work the rudder on the left boom, and the single servo on the right work the rudder.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on how to wire the two rudder servos from the single channel on the receiver, and coordinate that with nosewheel steering. Would employing two Y-harnesses work for operating three components (two rudder servos and one nosewheel steering servo) from one channel? Would that be such a sudden drain that I would need to add a BEC as a safeguard?
Posted by JMAH | Sep 29, 2010 @ 10:34 PM | 4,814 Views
Thought I'd continue the Lightning build on the blog page instead of the Electric Warbirds forum (seems like there are a million already!)

Here's where we're at so far:

Got all fired up right after Christmas '09 and started on the project. Immediately ran into a snag...I didn't like the un-scale ailerons so I had to figure out how I was going to modify them to make 'em look more true.

Went to the gurus (jhspring and Orion Pax) and got some hot tips for not only the ailerons but also working rudders (not a standard feature of the GWS 38).

I got slammed at work and put the project on the shelf, but now I'm back at it. I'm going for Robin Olds' Scat III scheme, with modifications to the GWS platform that include servos in the booms for rudders and elevator, and the aforementioned shorter ailerons.

More pictures to come...
Posted by JMAH | Sep 07, 2010 @ 09:51 AM | 4,830 Views
Or at least I'm hoping that's true, after coming up with this theory that there's something inherently wrong with 72 mHz channel 21.

Our little band of intrepid aviators would go out flying (Alan on channel 29, Henry on channel 50 or 27 mHz, and I would be on channel 21), and no-one would have any problems except me. Aside from the obvious need to battle self-pity and feeling singled out for suffering...something just wasn't right!

I tried range tests (antenna up an down): they always checked good. I tried a different transmitter: it glitched too. I asked around: there wasn't much information out there about it. So I ponied up the ten bucks and got different crystals for my receivers.

So far, so good. I've got a couple days' worth of flying under channel 31 now and things appear better. We'll see.
Posted by JMAH | Aug 29, 2010 @ 10:02 PM | 5,197 Views
I've kicked around several ideas for a fabricated motor mount; none have really excited me too much.

Latest iteration was to somehow affix a pill bottle (cut down to the right size) to a plywood base. The motor could then attach to the pill bottle.

I like the plastic of the bottle (rigid, but not brittle), but just not sure my solution to attaching it together is going to work. But that's why we pay test pilots, right?

I'll probably end up paying the $20 for an aluminum cage mount and get on with life!
Posted by JMAH | Jul 26, 2010 @ 08:02 PM | 5,030 Views
Initial report:

1) Cowl may be repairable
2) Snout is bent slightly to the right
3) Fuselage cracked in three places, epoxy should suffice
4) Needs new prop and spinner, but otherwise a low-cost wreck

I've moved the receiver farther aft away from the ESC and battery; and have tucked the elevator and rudder servo wires to the sides, farther away from the antenna.

I'm hoping to fly within the week (lots going on with work that will preclude much repair work being done).
Posted by JMAH | Jul 25, 2010 @ 12:58 PM | 4,897 Views
Yep, first flight was great--completely uneventful. But when plugging in the battery for sortie number two last night, the rudder and ailerons glitched and went hard over. I unplugged the battery, replugged it, and all seemed well.

Got airborne and noticed a glitching almost immediately. Made an emergency landing and went to check the plane. Reconnected everything and did another flight control check (which went perfectly) and took to the air again.

A couple of trips around the pattern later, the plane glitched and went into an uncontrollable death spiral. Thankfully it went into some tall grass and relatively soft mud.

Probably fixable. Definitely discouraging.
Posted by JMAH | Jul 21, 2010 @ 12:21 PM | 4,979 Views
So, after many months of repair, experimentation, painting, stealing parts from DoubleH's plane, etc...GAM flies!

The major pre-flight concerns included: 1) Will the "Frankentail" stay attached and provide longitudinal stability for the plane? 2) Will having the significantly larger-than-stock battery mess up the flight characteristics (it sits lengthwise vs. the stock vertical configuration)? 3) Will I do something stupid and wreck the thing because I'm so used to flying the P-40 (a significantly heavier and less "twitchy" bird)?

Not much I could do about 1 and 2, but I solved problem number 3. I employed the family test pilot, DoubleH, to put it through its paces. He was happy with the flight, so it's been released to the operational squadron and Squadron Leader Mel Marple.

Ran a 2200 mAh 3S for about 7 minutes and it took 500 from the charge. Great flying airplane--I look forward to formation work with GAH.
Posted by JMAH | May 08, 2010 @ 06:16 PM | 5,160 Views
Here's a project that Alan (GIUsedtoBe) began that I thought was a great idea. He decided to cut a battery bay access on the top of the fuselage, so he wouldn't be constrained to put tiny batteries in from underneath.

I added a floor to the new battery compartment, and plan to hold the access door in place with four magnets (one inserted into the foam at each of the four corners).