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Posted by SkyCadet | Sep 16, 2012 @ 02:17 AM | 3,705 Views
This weekend has been FANTASTIC!

Lots of great flying with near perfect conditions. YEAH!

Just finished posting a Youtube video shot by my friend Remi (also an RC enthusiast!) - he forgot to set HR on his iPhone4 so the video is vertical instead of widescreen. Still, a few good looks at the Pitts in action!


Pitts 12 15e Duskfun flights (5 min 1 sec)

Posted by SkyCadet | Aug 20, 2012 @ 11:30 PM | 4,038 Views

I am a BIG 3-blade fan, and have run the MAS 8x6x3 for most of the time with this plane with much success. However, the RC Timer 2200Kv motor I recently installed in lieu of the 1400Kv I ran before, is really nice with this plane!

Same weight, but faster prop speed and more thrust, esp. with the Powerflow (Great Planes) 8x6 on there. Really quiet, only a whisper from the air passing by as I zing along. Really nice.

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 28, 2012 @ 01:35 PM | 3,944 Views
Well, there's a really interesting phenomenon with my new BL micro champ:

At 40% throttle, it attracts dragonflies to it! I have seen this on more than one occasion, and the flies follow it along as best they can and even fly in formation with it, as if it is some sort of "queen fly" or something!

There must be a motor resonance that emits an audio frequency they respond to. Maybe a paper in Nature is forthcoming! I'll try and get a video if I can before the dragonflies are done for the year. It is mesmerizing to watch them follow in formation with the plane!

The new plane is doing very well - I have it balanced and trimmed out almost ideally now, and it flies very much like my original modified brushed champ, except that this unit can easily fly successively without over heating at all! It runs very cool, the motor and ESC have excellent airflow. It also has slightly better control throws, which allows very tight snap rolls on the rudder, and tighter loops than the stock unit.

I am exceedingly impressed with this Turnigy T5A-1S ESC/A05 motor combination. It has plenty of pep, uses less power than my stock brushed champs I used, and flies very well. Stalls are a bit more extreme/deep due to the extra weight of my setup, but I have that managed well for landing now. THe best part is that this BL system WORKS: I tried several el-cheapo generic 1S ESCs which just did not handle the A05 at all - two smoked with no reasonable performance. I just think that...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 14, 2012 @ 02:44 AM | 4,214 Views
Here's a video of my new micro BL Champ!

BLuChamp1 (3 min 19 sec)

Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 14, 2012 @ 01:07 AM | 4,988 Views
Just finished my BL micro champ. Always wanted to try this!

I used an AR05 BL 3700Kv motor and 5A Turnigy ESC from HK. Brick (RX) is an AR6400L multi channel rx.

Tested it out and mounted a 3-blade 110x80 prop using graphite-epoxy after reaming carefully the prop hole in the hub. THe AR05 has a 1.5mm shaft size, JUST larger than the hub hole. There was a touch of play, but enough to glue the prop on. Just before curing (~6-7 min until pretty much solid), around the 5 min mark, I adjusted the track and then ran the motor slowly enough to let it self-center and rotate in a plane, and self-balances.

Let sit for another minute, and repeat. Care was taken to avoid over rotating the prop and having it fly off the shaft!

Motor was mounted using 1/32" thin ply in 2 layers (1/16" total). Holes drilled to match motor and shaft rear. I then used 2mm cap screw hardware to affix to the wood. Total weight was just under 2g above the stock brushed motor and mount system. Not bad!

I then hard wired the whole assembly and put in the plane. The ESC was positioned aft of the RX to help balance a bit better. Also, the motor is connected using a spare 2S balance lead plug to ease motor replacement if necessary.

Running is close to the brushed for draw: 1.66Ap. Run time in the 9 minute range at mid-throttle (0.6A), with nominal draw around 2.5W, about 6W peak. The 3A nominal, 5Ap Turnigy ESC runs this VERY well. I could never get the el-cheapo generic ESCs to run...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 09, 2012 @ 11:11 AM | 4,386 Views
Well, we finally did it! A windsock.

I've been meaning for the past year to put up a decent windsock at the park/field we do most of our casual flying. When HK (Hobby King) finally got in their new inventory of very affordable windsocks, I ordered 3 of them. They had been backordered for months!

They are quite nice: The sock is a decent size, with a 10" opening, on a 12" aluminum 3/8" tube, with about a 30" length. Only $2.99/ea. We used a 1/2" SS pipe (surplus) that was ~32" long, sandwiched between two hardwood blocks with a "U" clamp on a backstop pole to mount the unit ~22 feet up. It was tricky using the 18' ladder to attach the pole, but we did it!

I used a 5/16 washer with a piece of plastic coat hanger inserted into the sock's tube (using graphite epoxy to adhere it) to extend the sock about 9". It slipped into the pipe perfectly!

We had a hoot with several folks flying after we installed the sock. It was great to have some local help, and the kids can use this to determine whether the wind is enough for kite flying! The sock's stripes are about 2 km/h (or 1mph) per stripe, so when fully inflated, the wind is pretty much 10-12 km/h (or higher). Good to know in that field! The nearby church has a large flag that we used to use, but it did not always indicate wind well. This is WAYYY better!

See pics below...

Sky Cadet
Posted by SkyCadet | Jul 08, 2012 @ 07:12 PM | 4,033 Views
MVI 6712 (1 min 10 sec)

Low field flyby, plus landing (a bit fuzzy after the flyby)

MVI 6713 (1 min 50 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by SkyCadet | Jun 30, 2012 @ 02:01 AM | 4,000 Views
Well, I decided to update my shot of my current lineup of aircraft. My micro champ wing just shows up by my decathlon... I also have a Blade MCR tucked away inside where it does not show. I also have several Pilot- Champ 1/8 scale airframes tucked away, need to rebuild one soon!

Main planes in active lineup:

- Micro champ, not shown: some wheel mods only, flies great!!!

- Super Decathlon BL: RC Timer 1400Kv and 20A ESC running 2S 1200mAh, 8x6 3-blade MAS prop.

- Lancair ES: RC Timer 1120 Kv motor, 30A ESC, running 3S 2100 mAh, 9x7 3-blade prop (MAS).

- Pitts 12 15e: RC timer 900Kv motor, 60A ESC/dual BEC, 2800 mAh 4S batteries, 12x6 3-blade MAS.

All planes can take off and land in short grassy fields near my house. However, the Lancair, being a tricycle gear, does have some issues when the grass is taller, on landing.

My Pitts 12 recently had a change to the airframe - mostly cosmetic, nothing too big, but very nice add-on for looks: I got two white Dubro large control rod covers, and used them to adhere on the underside of my plane to direct airflow out the tail. I used to use slots cut in the covering, but this really added looks, and I have yet to try them out after adhering with epoxy.

They should provide a little more draw, despite being only 1/4" openings, with a venturi effect probably more pronounced than with flat slots under the plane. we'll see...

I've been flying a LOT lately, mostly the Super Dec, micro champ, and Pitts. What a great bit of fun!!!

Posted by SkyCadet | May 27, 2012 @ 11:02 AM | 4,159 Views
I recently had a close mishap with my Lancair ES. This is the plane built two years ago, and is on earlier blog entries. I overcorrected whilst flaring onto a grass field, and nearly stalled the plane!

The plane hit nose wheel first (only slightly), before touching down. I had plenty of prop clearance, and no issues occured per se, except that the nose wheel was becoming increasingly loose (on the fuselage) with significant play ensuing from the hard landing.

I decided to use Dubro 2.5mm (15mm long) capscrews and 2.5mm washers/nuts to BOLT the nylon collets onto the firewall. I used a 3/32" drill bit to drill the holes out where previously the stock screws were positioned, and used some graphite-epoxy to secure the nylon spacer nuts and slightly reinforce the fiberglass firewall where these were mounted. The whole job took less than 1 hour, and is rock solid now.

It does not interfere with battery placement, nor does it affect steering (other than being better than stock!). The capscrews are secured with a 2.5mm nut, and two washers: one on top of the nylon collet (where the gear strut fits into it) and one on the inside of the firewall.

I can now fly on even rougher fields without issue moving forward. I recommend this "upgrade" to anyone who flies this plane a lot, and are looking for a more secure way to have this nosewheel/gear stay in good working order over a large range of landing surfaces. Even flying on pavement, this beefier setup takes all the residual play out of the nosewheel now (except the tiny bit left between the nylon and nose strut needed for smooth turning).

I forgot to shoot some pix before replacing the cowling and prop, but if you refer to the earlier build images on my Lancair ES, you'll immediately see what I did. If anyone has questions, please feel free to ask!

Posted by SkyCadet | May 15, 2012 @ 06:17 PM | 4,244 Views
Near perfect evening + 70F/21C+very cool RC plane+empty soccer field = a WHOLE lotta fun!

My Pitts went up in the late evening. A fellow was fly casting for practice earlier in the eve, and I did not wish to risk getting tagged on the way down! It would make line RC a whole new thing!

Anyway, it was great. Just one quick 7.5 minute flight, and an awesome TD. I did a few loops a roll or two, a wingover, and some general cruising. Consumed 1550mAh of available 2100mAh (75% LVC on a 2800 battery).

So, I should be able to do around 10-11 minutes flying like that, around 50% and then 75%-80% on manouevers. The kids just love this plane! It's a winner, and one I hope to fly much more this summer. I am just finalizing the CG issue I had in earlier flights to get the plane a bit closer to ideal. Almost have it!

Posted by SkyCadet | May 06, 2012 @ 12:27 PM | 3,901 Views
A friend of mine in the hobby recently came across this:

A 4-bladed wood prop without the metal hub that sometimes accompanies some mutli-bladed wooden props...

The hobby store rep said it shouldn't be done. He's run these up to 8000RPM with no issue.

See pics below... He made these with two 2-bladed props! Very nice job, and they balanced and track almost perfectly. He's made several 11", 15" props to date. This one, a 11x7.5, is going on his P51...

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 21, 2012 @ 11:16 PM | 4,260 Views
Just got in from a great first flight!

This is a tad nose-heavy, so I'll need to readjust my battery next flight. Evening was almost dead calm. Plane's axial and lateral trim was bang on, just 2-3 notches on the up trim for level flying at 50%.

I was surprised how FAST this plane flies, even at 45-50% throttle!

5-1/2 minute flight, with 1st 1.5 minutes closer to 65-70% throttle as I adjusted trim for 50% level out. Came in a bit hot on landing, but flared smooth onto the grassy field. No bounces or nose-ins!

I am going to have a hoot with this plane!

***Update: Just finished charging the pack. 1150mAh consumed of the available 2100 (75% level of the 2800mAh in this pack). Since I estimate a 7-7.5 minutes of general cruise based upon my static measurements with this system, the 5.5 is closer to 7 or so at 45-50% throttle. So, I should get around 12.5 min. if cruising, 9-10 with mixed flying, and probably 7-8 min with more aggressive aerobatic flying...

Smooth skies all! Enjoy the maiden video - thanks to Rob R. for shooting as best he could with the video - the plane went very fast - and hard to follow...


Pitts12_15e_Maiden.flv (5 min 37 sec)

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 21, 2012 @ 01:19 PM | 3,911 Views
Just finished a preflight final check before maiden.

Currently windy, so I'll have to wait until the wind dies (30km/h gusting to 50 right now!)


Pitts12_15e1S.flv (1 min 55 sec)

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 21, 2012 @ 12:12 AM | 4,139 Views

I now have the plane ready to fly! The weather calls for good conditions this weekend, though I may have to wait until Saturday late pm to maiden. Will post Youtube flight when complete!

I extended the battery tray, and now can run both my 4S 2800s and 3S 5200s within the CG limits of the plane. Sweet! I'll start wiht the 4S to get a feel and then try a 3S later on. The CG seems bang on 4" aft of the leading edge for fuselage level. I'm very happy with that.

Meantime, I used light graphite epoxy to attach the canopy. I had a bit of a time getting this to seat just right. It went on decently, but I have a slight offset on the left side (only 1/2mm or so, but noticable near the canopy rear). I also had difficulty sealing the leading front edge despite applying a good helping of GE on the canopy.

So, I sealed this with white glue. Not to hold, but to avoid airflow into the canopy, and reduce drag.

Below are the pixs of my finished baby! I put two 1/4" wide slots near the fuse underside rear for exit air. ALL Ready to go!

Stay tuned for a hopefully eventful maiden flight! Will try 7 minutes the first flight.

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 17, 2012 @ 01:25 AM | 3,969 Views
After a horrible weekend of weather, toady after work was just nearly perfect! I wanted to finish working in the new 2S Lipos for the decathlon, so I flew it 4x to work in all the batteries. Flew great!

I then brought out my Lancair ES. It flew superbly in the calm, 55F/11C weather today. The wind started to just come up as I was landing. Another great day of 6 flights total! When you get days like this, you KNOW why this hobby is so much fun!

I hope everyone got to fly in the past few days... Just waiting for those darned 4S Lipos to arrive to be able to maiden my Pitts!

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 14, 2012 @ 12:23 PM | 3,950 Views
It is rainy and sleet/snowy today, and expected for the majority of this weekend, so no flying!

I decided to verify my MAS 12x6x3's balance - it was slightly out after tip painting a few weeks ago, so I re-balanced it. I ran a 100A, 4S test battery with my Watts Up meter in line for a full static test run.

WOT/full throttle yields 494W @ 39.4A. This plane REALLY pulls hard at anything above 55% throttle. Should fly great! Static cruise tests at 45% and 50% yielded ~146W @ 9.8A and 205W @ 13.8A respectively. Using these numbers, a 2800mAh 4S battery should run (to 75% cutoff) around 11 minutes at cruise, and 8-9min on more agressive flying.

Since static tests are usually higher by 10-15% in my experience on average, that's 10-12 minutes of flying per 4S battery. Pretty good - maybe 7 or so with superlative aerobatics.

Just awaiting the batteries to arrive, and then we should be good to go!! I can hardly wait!

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 12, 2012 @ 04:42 PM | 4,002 Views
I recently procured some 1200mAh 2S Lipos from FMT Model on eBay.

The specs are:


Output: 7.4V(2S1P)1200mAh, 20C nominal, 25C burst for 15-20s
Weight About: 58.7g
Dimensions: 55(L)*28(W)*19(H) MM

Pic below from their site. Mine came in at 56g, which runs my Super Dec BL now for over 16-17 minutes per flight on a MAS 8x6 3-blade and 1400Kv RC Timer motor (see earlier blog entries for details on that retrofit).

The new system with new batteries tops over 100W on WOT. (103W). This is easily enough to do pretty much unlimited aerobatics with this plane now, nearly double the power of the stock model power system.

I can squeeze about 20 minutes max. flight times with gentle cruise (45% throttle).

While the stock 2-blade can do this on a 800mAh battery, or nearly so, the thrust and general aircraft performance is nowhere near what I see with the 1400Kv/1200Mah 2S/20A ESC system!!! It is like night and day...

THis same system, or one similar, may be of benefit for those wishing to squeeze more out of their 15-20oz. plane. My SuperDec BL is almost 18oz. full up weight...

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 10, 2012 @ 11:10 PM | 4,199 Views
I decided that I wanted more robust axles like on my Lancair, so I got some Dubro #246 1/8" x 1.25" steel axle shafts. I put these on my Lancair ES, as I said above, and they are solid!

I did not wish to compromise my new Pitts by having a wheel fall off on landing...

This new system also includes (what I added) 2.5" Pro-lite Hangar 9 wheels (larger than my 2.25" ones and more scale looking), 5/32" brass shims (made from tubing I had spare), and the stock collets and washers that came with the kit.

Much more sturdy, and should fly better! Just optimizing the plane before flying!

Pics below...

Posted by SkyCadet | Apr 10, 2012 @ 01:16 AM | 3,981 Views
Came in tonight from a great session with my Lancair ES by Great Planes. I built her nearly two years ago, and flew her only 3x in the fall of 2010. I flew it about 8x last year, and put in a new power system (motor is now a 1120Kv, 335W RC Timer motor).

With a Eflite 30A ESC, the 1120Kv motor and 9x7x3 MAS prop on there, this really zings along! I also upgraded the aileron linkages to Sullivan Clevices and 2-56 threaded rods. MUCH better aileron response, and better overall roll management. She trimmed out in no time, and I did a few fast passes, some general cruising at 45%-55% throttle. I use 2100 mAh 40C Lipos and this consumed about 760mAh of the available ~1600 (75-80% cutoff point) so even with 2-2.5 minutes at near WOT during the several passes, I only used about 50% in the ~9 minute flight. I get just under 22 min max on sedate flying with this system - pretty efficient considering WOT is 295W/9000 RPM for a max flying speed around 60 knots or 115km/h or so!

Pix below... I really like this little rocket! At 33oz. this runs ~140W/lb.!! Pretty sporty.