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Posted by SkyCadet | Sep 06, 2013 @ 09:05 AM | 4,668 Views
Well, I got started on the Solius kit from MPX.

Nice finish to the model parts, and everything so far fits very nicely!

I installed the runners in the fuse (CF), wheel mount, motor mount, Wing servo extension holders, and tail boom spar so far, and left over night to cure well before going to the main build.

I used medium NON-foam safe 300M CA, accelerator, and IPA (isopropyl alcohol) for surface prep and gluing. IPA is used to pre-swell and remove foam surface coating prior to gluing. Accel. used for parts to be glued, applied to part and allowed to dry for ~3 min before application. Medium CA is run in respective locations and well spread using QTips, and/or toothpicks. Excess wiped after assembly of part(s) to avoid excess issues interfering with later assemblies fitting well.

So far, this is working really well!

Stay tuned for further developments!

Posted by SkyCadet | Sep 03, 2013 @ 12:28 AM | 4,545 Views
Today was awesome!!!

I flew my Calypso 3x today, not much for big thermals despite it being over 30°C.

Then, the Su-31 came out! Yeah!!! Two perfect flights, with mucho aerobatics... what a zippy bird! I chased a few gulls, too.

My Solius kit arrived Friday, so I will be trying to finish it before this next weekend.

Posted by SkyCadet | Aug 23, 2013 @ 02:08 PM | 3,689 Views
Well, still awaiting the MPX Solius to arrive, but it should be any day now...

Meanwhile, I flew my Calypso several times in the past week, but yesterday took the cake!

I estimate around 400m+ altitude during a superb thermalling session. I used a small coin turned edgewise and measured the width of the glider's wings (nearly overhead) with it at ~500mm away from my eyes.

2mm at 500mm - a 1/250 ratio. given the Calypso's span of 1.85m, that puts the glider in the 400m regime for sure:

1.85m x 250 = 462.5m.

Of the 1500mAh 3S battery I had, I used ~34%, over 1h15m. Spent about 20 minutes looking for a good thermal and then found it.

Easily could have flown another hour, but it can be a bit exhausting trying to focus on the bird that long. (at that height!)

Posted by SkyCadet | Aug 15, 2013 @ 01:08 PM | 3,571 Views
That's German for "soaring/gliding is freedom"...

I've been having a lot of fun with powered gliders this summer, besides building the Sukhoi and re-building the Yak55.

The Calypso is an awesome bird, and highly affordable. I have been flying it all summer, on and off, and having a great time catching thermals! It's a hoot sharing the sky with gulls. Best (max) flight time to date is 1h55m on a 1300mAh 3S battery.

I am getting another one! The MPX Solius (pic below). I hear great things about this plane! I am putting in it HiTec digital servos, and an RC Timer 1000Kv 3536-6 motor (480W). Will be spinning a 12x6 folding CF prop, and using a 45A ESC (AE45 Turnigy - an awesome ESC).

The Kit is on order, and will probably be another 8-10 days to be in. Stay tuned for the build on this one!

For those looking for a great way to relax, and enjoy the skies, powered gliding is a great way to go. Some purists may say that having a motor is cheating - I view it as a great way to get aloft when not slope soaring, and then just glide her back in. The Solius CAN be modded to be a pure sailplane and/or have a release on it if one wants that too.

Smooth skies all!

Posted by SkyCadet | Aug 04, 2013 @ 11:25 AM | 3,579 Views
Flew my new Su-31 last night for two great 8 minute flights with some intermediate aerobatics.

Flawless flights, with perfect TDs!!! This plane flies very well, and is a very responsive plane, even on 50% throws!

The little HD digital servos are very responsive as well. All in all, a winner!!!

Unlimited vertical at 55% throttle... sweet. She's a sport plane, no doubt about it!!!

Posted by SkyCadet | Aug 01, 2013 @ 01:38 AM | 3,657 Views
Well, I finally got a weather and time window to maiden my Su-31!!!

She flew great! Took off like a rocket, and very peppy/responsive, even at 50% throws. Only needed 40-45% throttle for cruise, and my two flights tonight were both superb. She comes in a bit hot on landing, I'll have to play with approaches to determine best landing profile.

First flight was 4.5 mins, and I had 67% battery left. Second flight was 6.5 mins, and I still had 38% battery (with moderate aerobatics on flight #2). So, 9.5 mins should be easy.

We would have shot video, but my buddy forgot to hit record!!

Below are some still shots of the Sukhoi on the ground before maiden. This is a fantastic little bird - I am going to enjoy it immensely!!

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 23, 2013 @ 01:47 PM | 4,338 Views
The Su-31 is done! All needed to do now is a tweak of the CG, and the battery connectors (going Deans vs the HK yellow HXT type).

The model (shown below), is an GP Electrifly Su-31 ARF (E-performance series) in the 800g (1.9 lb) class. GPMA 1547 Specs:

Wingspan: 41" (1.04m)
Wing Area: 343 inē (22.1dmē)
Weight: 28-31oz. (780-880g)
Length: 38" (0.965m)

It's a nicely finished model, but it does have some issues, which I addressed to make it better and more "scale" in appearance. First, I hate tail skids!!! I feel that this is a quick, cheap fix, and that a REAL plane needs a steerable tail wheel. so I used a micro tail wheel kit from Esprit which I had lying around for just such a situation...

Next: Mains. I always find that mains on most smaller kits are below standard. I replaced the foamy wheels with Maxx products 2" aluminum rimmed wheels, and they look better. I also got HK 155mm CF struts and put them in in lieu of the stock aluminum struts, which I felt were fine, except too shallow (not enough height to give better prop clearance). Mains were also reinforced with some CF strip and some balsa blocks inside the fuse under the struts to provide a more robust handling on grass, and rough fields. Motor mount also reinforced with graphite epoxy and 9/64" CF rods. Yeah its overkill, but there's no way the motor is going to suffer on an occasional nose-over, if it happens

Motor used is an RC Timer 3536-10 1400Kv motor (75g) and use a MAS 10x7x3 prop with a 1.75" (45mm) 3-bladed aluminum spinner, with a 45A (AE-45A) Turningy ESC from HK.

AUW will be just over 2lbs. (980g) a bit heavier than stock, but I wnt this bird solid.

Pics below... Stay tuned for Maiden!

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 21, 2013 @ 12:13 PM | 3,443 Views
Just finished the faux-vane/leaf system to add some scale detail to the intake of the Su-31. (Thanks RJ! nice job...) Need to affix onto cowl between spinner back plate and motor, but it looks pretty good.

Everything else is done, except the batteries going to Dean connections, the canopy, and battery straps. Pics forthcoming later on Monday or tuesday

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 19, 2013 @ 10:56 AM | 3,603 Views

Well, my really nice lancair ES is toast. It spiralled from 100' right onto the tarmac!

No, I was not flying it - my buddy was. We are still perplexed, but it looked like a radio Tx/Rx issue. He used his DX8 with my AR400 in the plane. He offered to replace it. Thanks, R!

So, we now have an almost-finished Sukhoi SU-31 replacement from GP!

Pics forthcoming when the build is finished...

Posted by SkyCadet | Jun 15, 2013 @ 05:29 PM | 3,750 Views
I decided to do some customization of the paint scheme to make the Calypso a bit easier to see against the background, especially during shallow turns whilst thermalling. The low profile of the glider makes it harder to see against the clouds, so I thought breaking up the body with some striping and a dark tail to make it more visible.

Pix below...

Posted by SkyCadet | Jun 14, 2013 @ 12:34 AM | 3,997 Views
I added some wing skids on the underside of the wing near the tips to protect them from hitting dirt/gravel, etc... I also got a set of 11x6 Eflite prop blades for the spinner (fits the 6mm wide yoke just fine!).

WOW!!! What a difference in thrust, flight time, and overall performance. I flew 2x this afternoon and had an absolute ball catching thermals to nearly 500 feet. I had to drop the nose using 1/3 down elevator to avoid going outta sight. A lot of fun, this glider! It's a nice addtion to the hanger for sure.

Pics below.

Posted by SkyCadet | Jun 13, 2013 @ 01:22 AM | 4,002 Views
I recently got a Rx-R (receiver ready) version of this powered glider from Flyzone.

It's a great glider, easy to assemble, and fly! all that's needed is a battery and Rx and you're flying!

I decided right away to take the power system out of my Super Decathlon that bailed a few weeks back, and put in a new 1400Kv (225W) RCTimer motor in lieu of the stock 1300Kv unit. I also changed out the ESC to a Turnigy AE25 (25A/35A burst) unit. Motor was a bit less weight (50g vs 68g for the stock motor) and this afforded me the choice of replacing th espinner with a 44mm aluminum one and I utilized the stock yoke and blades on it. It looks great (see pix below) and runs better than the cheapo plastic cone on there.

CG was bang on with a 1300Mah 25C Zippy Compact Lipo, and my lateral weight was off a bit, so I added ~12g of weight into the flap servo slot which is unused at present. This kept the wing intact. Balance was JUST off after this, and two ticks of right aileron, one tick of right rudder and two up trim ticks on the elevator, and she flew perfectly.

I used the heli setting on my DX6i to mix (using 90° CCP mode) in a Throttle: elevator mix to prevent excessive climbouts (this unit has no thrust angles per se) and also to allow me to run a custom throttle curve to cut off the throttle at 50% and allow me more comfortable rudder control near the 30-40% throttle position, which I like to fly my planes at cruise on. The mix compressed the throttle to the upper half...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | Jun 03, 2013 @ 12:36 PM | 4,056 Views
I had this done up a couple of days ago, but for some reason, a popup from RCG brought up a new page and nixed the entries when I went back a page!

We were speaking about batteries and choices for flight times. What I forgot to mention is the choice in part one of battery capacity was also upped to account for a ~75% energy level in the batteries to maintain a decent flight time.

The 2200mAh battery being replaced by a 2600mAh battery is necessary to yield higher flight time (2600 is ~18% higher in energy content (and capacity). let's talk about energy first and how it relates to power and this will all become clear.

Energy is the TRUE indication of what's available in a battery for flight. Energy is volts times capacity:

E = V x C; where V is battery voltage and C is the capacity in Ah

Watts = volts time amps, or P = V x I; where i is current and P is power (watts)

but what voltage to use? It's easiest and probably close enough to use the median drain voltage of the battery system, or 3.7V/cell. under load, the battery will drain from 4.2V/cell to whatever cutoff (usually around 3.2V/cell) is set. The mid voltage for a lipo is around 3.7V/cell, so we use that to get our average energy available:

For a 3S, 2.2Ah battery, that's now: 11.1V x 2.2 = 24.42Wh

The 2.6Ah has 11.1 x 2.6 = 28.86Wh of energy.

When figuring flight times, take 75% of the energy figure as actual available flight energy;

28.86 x 0.75 = 21.64Wh.

So, we have in this case...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | May 30, 2013 @ 12:03 PM | 4,036 Views
The last blog below I had issues sending the zip! it has been rectified - sorry gang!

Remember only to change the colored portions of the sheet (simple to use) for getting data. the uncolored are calculated values.

Posted by SkyCadet | May 30, 2013 @ 04:05 AM | 4,138 Views
I have been flying RC now for around 5-6 years. It's a great hobby, and there's always lots to learn... I have been asked many times by my friends and collegues at work (P/T at the LHS) what I do when I setup my power systems.

So, I thought I'd share a some tidbits here to help those thinking of either designing from scratch a system, or even those looking to improve or replace a motor in a stock airplane. It's pretty easy, but knowing a few extra things, being realistic, and designing with some extra performance criteria do help in successful RC flight...

Okay... here we go!!! :

Firstly: think about your aircraft, it's weight category, and what it's designed to do. No sense trying to make a pylon racer out of a foamy light trainer!!! It'll just be an ultimate fail. Be somewhat realistic, and remember that many airframes can only handle so much stuff packed into them!

Next: Once you know your plane's AUW (fully loaded weight, or a close estimate), then deside what type of power regime you want to fit into. A trainer usually sits about a 0.8 or so thrust:weight ratio, a sportier park flyer may be in the 1.0-1.2 range, and a sport Aerobatic closer to the 1.5 range. A full 3D plane will be in the 1.7-2 regime.

This seems silly, given that to hover a plane on a prop you need only just above 1.0 to hold the plane, right? Well, yes, but when one considers some inefficiencies in the motor/batteries, propeller slip, battery drainage near end of run, etc., you NEED...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | May 15, 2013 @ 02:12 PM | 6,017 Views
I noticed that many members here are having challenges with the Orange RX V2 system in their planes. I thought it might be a good idea to share what I have learned and the settings I use to successfully utilize this handy accessory.

First thing! This is NOT a 3D or aerobatic stabilizer!!! Don't expect that. The unit is designed for FPV, video, and general flight stabilization during NORMAL flight phases. Anything more aggressive and the unit will work to compensate somewhat for what it sees as a major change in flight attitude and compensate for it depending upon the gain settings on the unit!!! Loops and rolls will be slower and require more input on the sticks.

The V2 and integrated V3 units do well when reasonable gains are selected, and the unit can be set to turn cleanly on and off an aux channel. I use the gear channel on my radio, using a AR500 sport full-range receiver and use the gear switch it to turn the stabilizer on and off.

To use this unit properly, set the gains around the 1-2 o-clock position as a start. Make sure that your hookup is correct as well. If your ORX unit must be placed such that the unit is not FAT side forward facing up, you'll have to most likely reverse the aileron channel on the unit, and if you have to place it sideways for some reason in the radio tray due to size/layout restrictions, then be mindful that you will have to use the outputs differently! Your yaw axis might now be your roll axis, and pitch may be yaw now, for...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | May 05, 2013 @ 12:46 PM | 4,911 Views

The weather has warmed, and no major systems passing through... a perfect maiden opportunity!

The Yak55 flew absolutely flawlessly, with only one upward tick on the trim to fly at cruise! CG is around 90mm on this bird, and it is absolutely the smoothest and most crisply responding plane in my arsenal!!!

I think that the success of this was the digitial HD1815MG servos all around. VERY crisp and clean control of the aircraft, and the motor was very smooth and quiet as well. My 6.5 minute maiden used only ~1050mAh of the available 1950 (to 75% voltage level of the 2600mAh total). My second run ran 9.5 minutes, and I used 1710mAh, with a mix of cruise, WOT flybys and some aerobatics. So, a 10-11 minute flight time is about what I can expect in general.

Landing was like silk, though in the maiden video below (link) I JUST tip stalled on TD. So, I'll have to watch the approach speed.

The ORX 3AS stabilizer (V2) also did a dandy job, though I mostly flew with it off. Landings were done with it on, but the way this plane flies, I probably only will need it in moderate winds for TO and TD.

This is one responsive and zippy airframe, well worth the money IMO. I was totally impressed by the flight characteristics of this model so far. More to come!

Maiden Video 1:

HK Yak55 EP Maiden 2 (4 min 12 sec)

Maiden Video2:

Yak55Maiden Vid (2 min 49 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 26, 2013 @ 01:17 PM | 4,203 Views
Well, I am itching to get the Yak 55 up and flying, and while making the covering taut, the tip delaminated. I'll have a repair job before we can maiden her! ...

Any suggestions on repairing this would be welcomed. I am thinking that I'll soften the covering under low iron heat (covering iron) and then smooth it out, and then re-adhere to the tip, using CA as an additional bonding agent. Then, apply some clear mono kote, or similar to seal the tip if necessary. Thoughts?

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 22, 2013 @ 01:14 PM | 4,271 Views
Well, we had a "winter's last stand" come through this and last weekend, but it warmed up enough to test my V2 ORX flight stabilizer on Sunday. (Apr 21)

Winds were slightly variable, between 25-35km/h max. Normally, I'd not be flying in this kind of weather, but I wanted to try my 18oz Super Decathlon with the V2 stabilizer from HK. I'm running 3S on that plane now, with a Turnigy AE25 ESC and RC Timer 1400Kv motor with a Powerflow 8x6 on it. Flies great!

My two friends brought out their Super Cubs (Hobbyzone styro versions) with BL power systems. BRAVE!!! One had a 1 min. flight and had to bail due to a strong down-gust during a low turn over the field. No damage, but he felt it too windy to continue. Another pilot and friend had recently finished covering his plane and modding it a bit, so he went next. He had forgotten to adhere his rudder and it came off just after takeoff. He had a heck of a time holding it and was also able to bail with only some cowling and prop damage. Whew. Do I fly now???

The ORX 3AS V2 did a dandy job on holding the plane well in the wind - takeoff was swift and I had no problem holding the plane in the wind. Periodically, I turned off the ORX to do some snap rolls and loops, then returned it to stabilizing mode - everything worked perfectly, and allowed me to fly for 11 minutes on my 3S 850mAh battery!

I brought her in on a test pass, just missing a tree, and then came in under light power and with the V2 on. the plane held orientation very well, and flared nicely! The only thing I noticed is an occasional periodic tail wag on fast downwind which is probably mostly due to some slight excess gain in the channel, but given the rock solid ability to fly in wind like this, I think I'll leave it for now. I was very happy on how well the plane held in the wind.

I can't wait to maiden my Yak 55! I promised my pal to wait until his Edge 540T is done, and that's this upcoming weekend!!!

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 16, 2013 @ 12:15 PM | 4,295 Views

Finally, old man winter has left our region - snow is finally going away off the flying field, and we expect in the next 7-10 days to finally maiden the Yak 55, and start flying the Pitts 12 again as well...

Our spring had just stalled again and again as arctic fronts kept sweeping in over late March and early April to keep us in white stuff. But alas, it is finally happening! Last year at this time, I was already flying norammly not on skis for over a month already! Sheesh!

Will post some pics and vid links once we are able to get back to the groove!