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Posted by DuPageJoe | Oct 20, 2016 @ 06:16 PM | 917 Views
I traveled to New York State's Hudson River Valley recently and caught the last "History of Flight" air show for this season at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. There was a large fleet of aircraft from the Pioneer, WWI and Golden Age eras of flight there. I will comment on two, a 1909 Bleriot with an Anzani 35 HP three cylinder radial engine and some original parts, and a very recent, quite authentic, reproduction of the Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis" built at the Aerodrome around an authentic Wright J5 engine.

The Bleriot has some original parts from 1909 with parts plates Serial no. 56. During the show, the Bleriot took off and reached about 20 feet before landing. It was a great photo op. A tour around the Rhinebeck Bleriot is available at

At the show I attended, the Ryan NYP was only taxied around the field, but the engine was running and the plane moved under its own power.

A fly over by 5 veteran aircraft, including two New Standard bi-planes from 1929, a Tiger Moth, a Curtiss Robin (reproduction) and a Cub in V- formation finished the show.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Oct 04, 2016 @ 10:42 AM | 959 Views
For the last few weeks I've tried to fly small R/C at the Yard in Naperville. IL, at sessions arranged by the Naperville Propmasters. Besides the Flyzone Duet that I've once tried to fly outdoors (see below), I've flown my Trainer One, my BYOB and my version of Gene Bond's Gym Blu Stick.

My Trainer One is a 5/6 version, 30 inch wing span, of the original. I'm powering it with a Suppo A1510 Brushless motor spinning a 5X3 Prop. Battery is a 2S LiPo of about 400 mAh.

While my Duet is getting easier to fly indoors, with its differential thrust and partial stabilization, the Trainer One is still quite challenging, since it's a lot bigger than most of the planes . I need to anticipate the walls a lot earlier. It takes off from the turf OK, but the landing gear wire is too soft, so I need to keep adjusting the track to keep the run straight.

My BYOB flies with the same Suppo motor on the nose, but with a 6X3 prop it can loop from takeoff. The big wings let it do higher Alpha passes. I have a harder time controlling it. I've described my landing gear mod in the BYOB thread.


I've also flown the Gym Stick I'd tried at the MAX soccer barn at the yard. Turf at the Yard seems softer. so the smaller 9 gram motor on the Stick has a harder time with takeoffs. The Stick has a nice majestic straight line cruise, but turns seem harder to manage than with the Trainer One. The prop on the front has taken some hits, mostly saved by the O-ring.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Sep 29, 2016 @ 08:11 PM | 1,572 Views
I flew at the Detroit Cloudbusters "FAC Outdoor Champs" meet at the AMA HQ in Muncie, IN, last week and had a good time, not in the least because weather was very good, though hot. Attendance was quite good over the two days I was there.

I got 4 planes in fairly good trim there. I started out with my Anna Jr. Embryo from the BMJR kit. I reached 80 seconds after good R.O.G. launches with 950 turns in a motor with 4 strands of 3/32 inch Tan Sport rubber. It had a 7 inch Peck prop and all up weight was nearly 26 grams. I narrowly missed a bean field on one flight so I didn't force too much longer flights.

My Kiwi P-30, which I was winding in the picture, was flying pretty well too, even though all up weight was 71 grams, I put 950 turns in the 6 strands of 1/8 inch Tan sport motor, and got a good climb and 65 seconds time.

I made a long shot modification on my Flying Aces Moth and had trouble trimming it on the day for Old Time Cabin competition. I put on an 8.5 inch balsa prop and upped the motor to 6 strands of 1/8 inch Tan sport, and got straight up R.O.G.'s. Next day I took out added wing incidence and got it settled down. The story is on the Free Flight Forum.


Last but sort of least, I trimmed my Nesmith Cougar Peanut with 4 strands of 1/16 inch Tan rubber. Got one flight of 23 seconds before the rubber broke with 1100 turns in an 11 inch long motor (loop length).
Posted by DuPageJoe | Aug 08, 2016 @ 06:03 PM | 1,392 Views
I flew in the Free Flight contest run by the Bong Eagles at the Richard I. Bong Recreation Area in Wisconsin yesterday. Conditions were particularly good. The promised rain squall off Lake Michigan didn't even deliver dark clouds until 3 PM. Temperature was in the low 80's and thermals were abundant.

There were 3 entries in FAC Scale. I flew my Cessna 140 from the Dare kit. I had taken some warps out of the elevator, so I had to spend some time readjusting the thrust line. Finally got a fairly nice but short 22 second flight. A Fairchild 24 did somewhat better.

There were quite a few entries in P-30. Mostly I flew my old faithful Peck One Night 28 that I'd adapted to P-30. I was trying to get more turn, but had trouble with launch until I took out most of the modifications. Then I got a great booming launch that ended up going for the clouds. Once it stopped climbing and drifting down wind, it made a wide right circle to a 71 second landing. I'd only put in less than 900 turns, since I wasn't sure of the flight pattern. By then the squall was coming toward the field.

I also made some test flights with a BMJR Kiwi P-30. This version had parts that spent a week in a tree at a local park after an over zealous test flight. Now that its recovered, it flies OK. Needed to make minor changes in the wing saddle position to level out the glide. The version shown in the picture is the one that went OOS in 2014.

Hoping to get to Muncie for the Cloudbusters FAC contest in September.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Mar 23, 2016 @ 07:59 PM | 2,250 Views
I drove to McCook, Illinois, to fly at the McCook Athletic and Exposition Center (MAX) in a fairly industrial area of Cook County south of the Brookfield Zoo. I took my 28 inch wing span Gym Stick (shown in the picture) for its maiden flight. Details of my build are on Gene Bond’s “Gym-Blu Stick” thread in the Foamies (Scratchbuilt) Forum: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=777

McCook is an industrial village in south western Cook County, south of Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. The MAX has a string of indoor soccer fields side by side with about 30 feet of ceiling height. It is open for indoor flying about 6 hours a week. Half of yesterday’s session was on one of the fields, but the next field was opened for the second half, giving everyone room to fly. The floor at the MAX is covered with AstroTurf. This plastic carpet has "blades" about an inch high. I had set my transmitter so the motor would draw no more than 3 amps with the GWS HD 5X3 prop, so I was a bit concerned about take off power. I did fairly well that way. Once I had accelerated the Gym Stick to jogging speed on the carpet, I used elevator to lift it off. I had to wag the rudder to keep tracking straight on the stuff, but I did succeed eventually to get it in the air.

I had to make some adjustments for lateral balance to help rudder control. I was still having trouble getting 3 mistakes high, so finally I made a more drastic mistake and got a cartwheel on the carpet. I was...Continue Reading
Posted by DuPageJoe | Jan 29, 2016 @ 12:52 PM | 2,682 Views
I attended the first meeting of the year of S.O.A.R. , the Chicago model sailplane club, last evening. Besides setting up events for the coming year, a lot of attention was given to the team going to the World Championship in F3J thermal soaring run by the FAI in Slovenia this summer. One of the Junior team members, as well as a Senior alternate, comes from the same family of S.O.A.R. members. There is a team website at http://www.teamusaf3j.com and the team was featured in the RC Soaring column in January's Model Aviation magazine.

The club has a new website http://www.soarchicago.net which will be a great way to keep up with club activities. The club's sod farm field has attracted some new members interested in electric launched soaring, which is a rapidly growing part of the soaring hobby. There is good participation in the winch and bungey cord launched planes as well. Newer light planes in those categories still fly well in the thermals that rise over Illinois farmland.

I have a foam 2 meter wingspan sailplane nearly ready to fly and a couple of electric pushers ready to go, so I'm looking forward to a good summer at the field.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Dec 09, 2015 @ 09:40 PM | 2,982 Views
This Sunday I took my Avro Vulcan model to the Propmasters' field in Naperville, IL, for its maiden flight. It was built from Adams' Readi-board, AKA "Dollar Tree" foam, from plans published in Model Aviation by Larry Kruse. I published the build log in the Foamies(Scratchbuilt) Forum. Temperature was 45 degrees F, but winds were light.


The Vulcan flew well, but I had difficulty with the motor so I only made one flight.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Nov 08, 2015 @ 04:25 PM | 3,857 Views
It's Fall again, and the Woodland Aeromodelers are flying in the gym in Burr Ridge, Illinois. All the planes that flew this last Thursday were rubber band powered free flight ones. I brought the Wright Stuff rules plane I was trying out at Rantoul, and got a flight of over 2 minutes, after I had made sure the wing incidence was no more than 3 mm. It didn't take much more than that for a slow, draggy flight, with the nose bobbing up and down. I used the Ikara 225 mm prop and a 14 inch loop of 3/32 Tan rubber weighing about 1.8 grams, At 11 25 turns, I was hitting the ceiling. Too bad I hadn't gotten that sort of climb at Rantoul.

I also flew both the Dayton Wright Racer and Aeronca Champ No-Cals. I put some right thrust into the nose block and tightened the right turn, maybe a little too much. I had repaired a broken strut in the Champ, and got it flying again. I also made a few tune up flights with my indoor Delta Dart using a short 3/32 loop of Tan.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Oct 25, 2015 @ 06:35 PM | 3,263 Views
I finally flew the Hobby Zone Duet I got at a swap meet. It had been repaired, but the previous owner did a good job. Winds were supposed to be light today (for Chicago) so I gave it a try. This is a twin with differential thrust doing the steering. I was able to get altitude and adjust it with throttle alone. I flew at the weedy edge of the DuPage County field at Stearns Road. The Prairie plants were about 3 feet high, I made the first flight to about 15 feet up and got a couple of circles after hand launching at 3/4 throttle on the RTF transmitter. After I throttled back at the edge of the weeds, it landed, or rather hung up, just fine. The next time I gave it more throttle and got up to about 50 feet but the wind was close to 5 mph and started to take control. I got it turned back toward the field and slowed it down to drop into the weeds again. The wind sock was lifting a bit, so no use putting in another battery. If it weren't such a busy Sunday at the Field I could have gone out to the center, and had all the room I wanted. The Duet flew level at altitude, and I never touched the elevator, Flew like a well adjusted free flight. Just needs a little trim to turn it.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Oct 20, 2015 @ 05:42 PM | 3,965 Views
Many thanks to Mike and Jeff of the Bong Eagles for setting up an indoor free flight flying session at Rantoul IL last Saturday. There were 10 registered flyers, nearly all, except me, with NATS rated skills. The Hangar at the former Chanute AFB has a ceiling over 40-feet high and quite a large floor. It was a bit cool in the AM, since there had been a frost outside the night before, but sun shine warmed it fast. I had little trouble with the few ceiling obstructions, some sprinkler pipes and lights within a foot or so of the flat ceiling. Only my Dayton-Wright Racer No-Cal, from Mike Welshans' plans, would go that high. I saw a lot of good flying from the other folks with F1L's and the like scraping the ceiling for what looked to me like long flights. I’ve attached two pictures of other fliers’ planes which give a good view of the ceiling. The 140 mile ride from Wheaton, IL, for me was worth it.

My main reason to go to Rantoul was to fly my 2015 Science Olympiad Wright Stuff plane in a Category II site with a ceiling height of over 40 feet. I started with the 238 mm diameter prop I made with plastic Deli tub blades, but I had trouble getting enough torque for climb out of a loop of 3/32 inch rubber. At 1500 turns I got only a few feet of climb and a 43 second fairly level flight with lots of winds left. Boosting turns to 1600, about 100 turns per inch of loop, increased the time to 93 seconds with a bit more climb. Adding more turns made the motor...Continue Reading
Posted by DuPageJoe | Sep 28, 2015 @ 10:10 PM | 3,518 Views
I passed by my modified Guillow's Strato Streak in the basement and remembered I hadn't made a post when I flew it last year. I used Bill Warner's " Hey Kid" series in Model Builder to make the modifications.

I had posted the results in a Sleak Streak thread


Wingspan is 16.5 inches and airframe weight is 18 grams, Wing area is 41 sq inches, so wing loading is a bit heavier than for a good F.A.C. Embryo rules plane. Best time so far has been 29 seconds for 600 turns in motor made up of 4 strands of 3/32 inch super sport rubber to 11 inches loop length. The motor weight is 2.7 grams, about 13% of the takeoff weight.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Aug 11, 2015 @ 08:50 PM | 4,018 Views
Enjoyed another Free Flight meet with the Bong Eagles at the MAJ Richard Bong Recreation area in Wisconsin this past Sunday despite a shower about noon just as I was getting ready to wind my Cessna 140. The high light of the afternoon for me was the P-30 contest. I flew my modified Peck One Nite 28. Winds were light, and I got in three flights after the shower, each over a minute, and fairly easily recovered. After the last one, I walked past the plane which was stuck vertically in a patch of prairie wildflowers, but I spotted it on the way back. I made one test flight with the Cessna after the grass dried a bit. I increased motor length but needed to add a little nose clay to bring it back in trim. No other scale contestants stayed after the shower.

There were 10 registered pilots, most of whom brought P-30 planes.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Jul 13, 2015 @ 01:20 PM | 3,735 Views
It was a great day to fly free flight planes at the MAJ Richard Bong Recreation Area in Wisconsin yesterday. The Bong Eagles had a dozen registered pilots for their Old Timer Meet and a few spectators, besides the swarm of dog owners who showed up for retriever trials in the same parking lot. Winding while a curious Labrador noses over your flight box was a new experience for me.

Thermals were booming. A catapult glider made a flight of over two minutes. Winds were fairly light, recorded at 6 mph or less at the nearby airport, and temperatures were moderate, despite possible thunderstorms.

I brought out the Comet Phantom Fury with a new forward section of the fuselage, built with 3/32 square balsa instead of 1/16 square. Last year I couldn't get it to climb, and same thing happened on the first attempt. So I added a shim under the wing spar, and it took off OK. The 6 stand X 1/8 inch tan motor was fairly short at 6.8 grams. With 630 turns I got a 25 second flight. Altitude was OK but glide was poor, so the flight was not much longer than the motor run. I'll try adding a rubber band keeper to the nose block that might allow the prop to free wheel. It was still a lot more fun to fly than when it wouldn't climb.

The light winds made a good opportunity to get my Cessna 140 from a Dare Kit (about 26 inches span) out of the box. It's now flown at meets sponsored by 3 Midwestern clubs. The best flight lasted 55 seconds with a nice, level cruise at about 100 feet. I was advised to add more down thrust to tame the launch at higher turns , and it helped. I put about 950 turns in the 4 strand by 1/8 tan motor weighing 5 grams, The Cessna is a good consistent flyer. Now if I could make my launches a bit more consistent I could break a minute.

Hop the weather is as good for the next Bong Eagles meet on August 9. See their website for details.

Posted by DuPageJoe | Mar 30, 2015 @ 01:51 PM | 4,435 Views
I enjoyed this Spring's Indoor Free Flight meet that the Bong Eagles held at Racine on 3/22. I flew the Dayton-Wright No-Cal in my last post to a Third place with a 83 second flight. A Brewster Buffalo was First with 121 seconds, and a Chambermaid came in second at 91 seconds. I had some trouble with consistency because of bending in the prop bearing support. When it was adjusted right, the Dayton-Wright climbed to a nice wide circle about 30 feet above the floor. I used a 15 inch loop, about 2 grams, of 3/32 rubber to turn the Peck 7 inch prop. I put in about 1400 turns to get climb.

I got a second place in the Mass Launch contest for my Phantom Flash, staying in for three rounds. Rubber was provided, and this time was a little lighter than for past Eagles' contests, about 1.4 grams for a 14 inch loop instead of 1.7 grams as in the past. I needed to put in about 1800 turns to get good climb with this rubber, but when I did, I got an 83 second flight, My Phantom Flash was from the Peck kit and has a 6 inch Peck plastic prop,

While the new rubber seemed right for the Phantom Flash, I wasn't as lucky with the Double Whammy in the Cash Bash contest, getting eliminated after a 48 second flight with 1800 turns in the same sized motor. The Double Whammy has a Delta Dart prop.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Mar 17, 2015 @ 07:49 PM | 4,890 Views
I recently posted pictures of a No-Cal indoor free flight plane, a Dayton-Wright Racer, built according to Mike Welshans' plan posted in the Flying Aces Club Newsletter, in the Free Flight pictures sticky thread.


Last week I tried it out at the Woodland Aeromodellers' weekly Indoor flying session in Burr Ridge, IL. After a little adjusting of the thrust line, I got a nice shallow climb to the 20 foot ceiling. I also needed to add a rudder tab for right turn to keep the flight in the middle of the room. When I put about 1000 turns in the 12 inch loop of 3/32 Tan Sport rubber, I got a flight time of 58 seconds. I couldn't put many more turns in the motor because, at the torque I was using, the Racer was touching the ceiling trusses. The Prop is a 7 inch Peck, which also gave just enough nose weight to balance 2 inches back of the wing leading edge, about 53% of chord. I'm hoping to get a bit longer flights when I take the Dayton-Wright to Memorial Hall in Racine, where the ceiling is 40 feet high.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Jan 23, 2015 @ 11:12 PM | 5,219 Views
This week. I went back to the Woodland Aeromodeler's Indoor flying session in Burr Ridge, IL. for a fun night of flying. I tried out a new rubber powered plane built to the rules for the 2015 Wright Stuff competition for Science Olympiad. I tried out two propeller variations and got flights of 80-90 seconds duration. With a 225 mm Ikara prop, the plane was dancing along the ceiling trusses, even with fairly low starting torque in the 1/8 inch wide rubber motor. I'm putting the results on a Science Olympiad thread.


I brought a Syma X1 small Quadcopter I got for Christmas 2013 out of the closet, because I finally bought a decent Transmitter for it. The Syma X1 uses the FlySky protocol for frequency hopping control on 2.4 GHz. That limits the transmitters available for it. I found a FlySky FS-T6 6 channel transmitter at HobbyPartz that would bind to the X1. It was a lot cheaper than the more advanced transmitters that take a FlySky protocol module, and it came with a receiver besides. I found a thread that described the programming needs for the XI, and an online manual for the Transmitter, and did the binding and programming I needed. The "elevator" stick channel needed reversing so the X1 would go forward.


The handling of the X1 was much improved by the new transmitter. The throttle control made keeping altitude a whole lot easier. Directional control was also a lot smoother. I don't know how to program the "Flip" function, but no great loss, since that looked like a "crash" function.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Nov 17, 2014 @ 09:59 AM | 5,182 Views
I flew at the Bong Eagles' Indoor free flight contest in Racine, WI. yesterday at Memorial Hall, a Class II site with 40 ft ceiling. About a dozen fliers came, despite the 3 inches of snow on the ground at Racine. The "light" people flew before noon. Jeff Annis' mini-stick loitered at the ceiling for an 8 minute flight

I flew in 3 mass launches, starting with the "Cash Bash" for Markos' "Double Whammy". My new one is in the picture. I wound the provided motor to 1500 turns for the second heat to get 78 seconds and Third place among 5 competitors. My Phantom Flash from the Peck kit flew well, reaching the ceiling, but dropped out at 51 seconds, after bad hits with the ceiling and wall broke the motor stick. My Delta Dart had a stable flight, but I shortened the motor by over winding. After retying, I was eliminated in the first round.

I also flew No-Cal scale with my R.D. Hawes' Aeronca Champ, and got flights around 40 seconds on a 9 inch loop of 0.125 inch rubber with about 800 turns. A No Cal Wildcat and an Aeronca Sedan made longer flights

There were a fair number of scale planes, from peanut size and larger. One peanut scale P-51 flew in perfectly steady circuits about 20 feet up.

More pictures should be coming to the Bong Eagles new web site. http://bongeagles.org
Posted by DuPageJoe | Oct 12, 2014 @ 02:55 PM | 4,947 Views
Thanks to the Woodland Aeromodelers, I have an opportunity to fly in a school gym on Thursday evenings. I took advantage the last two Thursdays.

The first Thursday I sorted out some repaired Delta Darts. There were three other fliers with a variety of rubber band powered planes from sort of Penny planes to Peanut Scale.

I built an R.O.G. from Peck parts and my own wing and tail, and flew it lastThursday. It literally jumped from the floor to the ceiling at 450 winds on the fresh rubber so I had to cut back to 375 to avoid hitting the ceiling.

After I went to the Hobby expo in Schaumburg last weekend I stopped at a HobbyTown and picked up an Ares Nano-Micro Stick 75 in British colors. I was also able to fly it last Thursday, mostly using rudder trim and throttle in a semi free flight mode. It took off from the floor and at a little over half throttle it climbed in a spiral. Throttle back to land.

There is a review and flying video of the Ares plane at another thread
Posted by DuPageJoe | Sep 17, 2014 @ 04:00 PM | 5,143 Views
This weekend I tested the modified Prairie Bird at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio, where the Cleveland Free Flight Society was having a contest. The field was large and winds light but unsettled until a lake breeze from Lake Erie started to blow from the north. With about 900 turns in the 4 strand X 3/32 motor, about 14 inches long (3.6 grams), I was getting flights of about 40 seconds long. One flight wound a bit tighter lasted 63 seconds. The climb out from the card table R.O.G. was about 40 degrees and steady to a couple hundred feet. There was no evidence of overspeeding, like barrel rolls. The new 7 inch prop was working out fairly well, but at 24 grams including rubber the Prairie Bird was a bit overweight.

There were about a dozen contestants in Embryo. I didn't expect to place very high, but I enjoyed the flying and as always the hospitality of CFFS.
Posted by DuPageJoe | Sep 07, 2014 @ 06:19 PM | 6,172 Views
I've been flying my Peck Prairie Bird, built to compete in FAC Embryo contests, for some years with the original Peck 6 inch diam. prop. I used 4 strands of 3/32 tan rubber to drive the prop. The motor length has been 48 inches total, made up 12 inches from prop drive hook to rear peg. Since the actual peg to hook length in the plane is 9.5 inches, this motor is a bit shorter than the preferred 1.5 X. Also when I put full torque, by feel, into the motor, the plane seems to go too fast.

When I flew the Prairie Bird in May at the Plum Creek Play Meadow of the Cook County Forest Preserve in May I saw this when I put about 900 turns in the motor. One of the members of the Calumet Escadrille I was flying with suggested I might try a 7 inch prop. I have an Anna Jr. Embryo from BMJR that came with a 7 inch prop, and I've flown it successfully, so I thought I'd try changing props on the Prairie Bird.

Trouble is, when you put on a bigger prop you add nose weight, so you need to rebalance the airplane. The Peck grey plastic 7 inch prop I got from their final sale weighs 1.2 grams more than the 6 inch one and is 4 inches ahead of the CG, so I needed to add a 5 gramXinch moment (pardon the units) back of the CG to counter it. The rear end of the fuselage is 10 inches back of the CG, so if I add clay back there, I'd only need about 0.5 grams to give the opposing moment. To start with, I added a bit of clay that ended up weighing 0.8 grams. So far, the modifications made my Prairie...Continue Reading