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Posted by BWEC10 | Apr 22, 2013 @ 11:00 PM | 4,924 Views
Well, after only 2 or 3 successful FPV flights on my Bixler, combined with how much I enjoyed flying my PopWing, I decided I wanted to switch to a wing for FPV. So, I bought a Maxi Swift.

With the experience of assembling the PopWing, building this one was relatively straight forward, just bigger. Much, much bigger. I went with a Turnigy 60Amp Plush ESC, a Turnigy 3542/5 1250KV motor, a HobbyKing 5amp UBEC, Corona Servos, and will be running (2) 3S 2650 LiPos. For FPV gear, Im using a Cyclops Storm OSD, RMRC 1.3GHz 400mw Vtx, and will be using (2) Esky 3S 800mAh Lipos for OSD and camera power.

So, heres some pictures of the progress so far. More to come........Continue Reading
Posted by BWEC10 | Apr 08, 2013 @ 10:21 PM | 2,825 Views
Well, after countless hours reading, researching, watching videos, modifying and re-modifying my plane, scrapping my groundstation and starting over, I've finally got a successful FPV flight!

I had an unsucessful flight this past Friday. I guess it was successful because even though I was flying blind for about 90 seconds, I landed in one piece, right at my feet. Working on figuring out why I lost video at .7 miles.'s the video from today's flight

Cruising Over East Simi (8 min 2 sec)

Posted by BWEC10 | Mar 30, 2013 @ 04:24 PM | 3,348 Views
For the guys out there who've been around forever and have the knowledge and experience to definitively answer almost any question......

If you can't be bothered to reply to a question with a constructive, useful answer, don't reply at all. The all too typical smart alec responses dripping with arrogance and the usual "how dare you bother me with your noobie questions" attitudes are getting old.
Posted by BWEC10 | Mar 13, 2013 @ 05:45 PM | 3,339 Views
Well, after reading about FPV and watching countless youtube videos, I really got excited about it and figured I'd give it a shot.

The plane I'm going with for now is the Bixler v.1.1. After I get used to FPV, I'm likely going to transfer everything onto a ZII..... but Im sure it'll be a little while before that happens. So, it's the Bix for now....

Here's the gear that I've acquired over the past couple of weeks.

Ground Station:
Foam lined tool box from Harbor Freight $25
Two tripods, one for tool box and one for Vrx pole $30
Digital Prism 7" LCD NIB on Craigslist $30
LawMate PV500 Craigslist $100
Foxtech Vrx RCG Classifieds part of $100 bundle
IBCrazy bluebeam SPW part of $100 bundle
DragonLink v1 TX RCG Classifieds part of $250 bundle
Turnigy 9X included in $250 bundle

In the plane:
Sony Super HAD 600TVL camera with Pan Tilt Mount & 180 degree servo $90
1.5W 1280 Vtx (Decided not to use this...too heavy and DRAINS the battery)
800mw 1280 Vtx $40
Cyclops Storm OSD $167 shipped from BEVRC
Hobbyking WingCam 720 for HD video $42 shipped
IBCrazy Dipole
DragonLink V2 rx (flashed back to v1) included in $250 bundle
IBCrazy CL antenna

So, I started off with just the video system, as the DL system and the 9X were still en route. Of course Im pretty impatient, so I loaded it all up into my plane after testing everything, and went out to the field to try it out.

I had the GS all set up (minus the DVR, hadnt gotten that yet) and got...Continue Reading
Posted by BWEC10 | Feb 01, 2013 @ 09:18 PM | 3,945 Views
Well, in a nutshell, it worked beautifully. I put a 16gb Class 6 micro SD card in it, velcro'd it to the wing, and took it for a ride on my Super Cub, T-28, and Dynam Corsair.

With the Super Cub, I went up several hundred feet and killed the throttle to sail around for a bit, but the wings were pretty bouncy, and that translated into some funky waves on the video, the terrain below looked like the ocean.... Not an issue on the T-28 or Corsair though. I may try to tighten the wing struts tomorrow and see if that helps.

The camera weighs 29g with the piece of Velcro I put on it. On the Super cub, I put a AA battery on the other wing in the same spot, as they weighed the same. Without ailerons on the SC, the weight that far out on the wing would be an issue I think. It's got a built in 850mAh battery, takes a microSD card (I'd recommend class 6 or better), and comes with a USB cable for charging, and a video cable for connecting to a monitor to program. It may be possible to connected it to a transmitter for FPV but I'm not sure about that. Here's a video I put together from some of my flights this morning. Enjoy

HobbyKing 720p WingCam Testing (4 min 1 sec)

Posted by BWEC10 | Jan 29, 2013 @ 03:34 PM | 4,814 Views
Well, now that I've got a rapidly growing collection of LiPo's, and an ever expanding hangar, I've grown to really dread the process of charging my batteries. I work for myself, so I typically don't have any problem heading out to fly once I wake up and see no rain and no wind. This means it's almost a daily task to get my batteries ready to fly. Currently, I have a Tenergy TB6B 6S 5A charger, and I've got (4) 3s 1300mAh packs and (4) 3s 2200mAh packs. Im also awaiting the arrival of (4) 4s 2200mAh packs and (2) 3s 500mAh packs. For me, thats a lot of batteries, and it means two things. First, I have enough planes to warrant those batteries, which is a god thing. The second thing, obviously, is that more packs means more time charging. As you know, that often means sitting and waiting and making sure nothing bursts. So, I started doing some reading and researching other ways to accomplish fully charging my packs in a more time efficient manner.

That research quickly pointed me towards parallel charging, and what I learned right off the bat was that it would essentially cut my charging time in half. Because of the charger I am using (or maybe the power supply feeding it??) I know I am limited to a 5A charge rate, and I know I don't want to exceed 1C, so here's the math that lead my plan of action:

3S 1300mAh + 3S 1300mAh = 3s 2600mAh. Basically, the voltage remains the same, but the mAh becomes the total of the packs wired in parallel. This would allow me to...Continue Reading
Posted by BWEC10 | Jan 09, 2013 @ 09:12 PM | 3,528 Views
I got this in the same deal as the T-28 I picked this past weekend. It was given to me to build for my daughter to try and get her into flying. I was thrilled and when I got home and showed it to my daughter she was ecstatic! I was a more involved build than the Super Cub, as I had to sand a 45 deg. bevel in the elevator and rudder, and glue some parts together. I guess Thats not all that difficult, and it does incorporate a little "sweat equity". I hope to have the servos and motor for her soon so my daughter can start the learning process.
Posted by BWEC10 | Jan 08, 2013 @ 08:55 AM | 3,310 Views
After acquiring my 2nd and 3rd planes on Sunday (PZ T-28 and WingSail EP-For my daughter, still in the box) I realized I needed to make my garage more airplane friendly. Also, all of my assembling, soldering, charging was taking place on a 6' plastic folding table that required me to back my wife's car out of the garage to make room for. She was gracious enough about it, but it really was a pain in the butt to back it out, get setup up, do my thing, then have to clean up everything and pack up before I could get her car back in the garage.

So, my first project was to design/building something to hold each of my planes, safely, up and out of the way. I went with some simple PVC fittings and EMT, and it turned out well I believe.

The next order of business was to build a workbench that was large enough to be useful, but still allowed my wife's car to be in the garage (Dodge Nitro). I already had a small 4x4 bench in the back corner of the garage, so I decided to add onto that. (4) 2X4s, a sheet of 1/2 plywood, (10) 2x4 joist hangers, and I was done. About $40 and now I have a permanent work area. Don't mind the mickey mouse electrical, I'm an electrician, it's safe!
Posted by BWEC10 | Jan 08, 2013 @ 08:38 AM | 3,235 Views
So my buddy made me a great deal on his T-28, and it was too good to pass up so I grabbed it. It's not the T-28 that I learned to fly with (the white one) but its the newer grey model. I was so excited to take her up, that when I noticed the wind was very call after picking up my daughter at school we headed out to the field.

Here's the two mistakes I made. Ok, I probably made more than two, but these two will account for all the others.

1. I flew it solo. My only experience with the T-28 was with the buddy box. I din't have the "safety net" that I was used to, so this put a lot of pressure on me to not crash. This made the flight very uncomfortable.

2. I hadn't setup dual rates and expos, so, by default, I was at 100% servo throw for everything. This really exacerbates my tendency in my piloting infancy to overcorrect.

Well, without further ado, here's the maiden flight. Below that is a video I watched this morning explaining how to setup D/R & expo on the DX6i, which is the radio I have. I thought it was a great video, but, I don't really know any better.

ParkZone T-28 Trojan Maiden Flight (3 min 2 sec)

And here's the video on D/R & Expo

DX6i Dual Rate and Expo (10 min 55 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by BWEC10 | Jan 05, 2013 @ 12:47 AM | 3,678 Views
It occurred to me, after reading through a recent on landing, that I definitely needed to get some practice, as being able to land well is possibly the best way to keep the cost of this hobby down.

I showed up at the field early again, and was the only one there for about the first thirty minutes. After I pushed the soccer goals off the field, I readied my Super Cub and set out on a day of flying focussing solely on landing, touch & go's, and GAA's, or "Go Around Agains". I don't know if there is a technical term for that, but that's what I'm calling the act of aborting a landing, powering up and going around for a second time. I learned the importance of this the other day when I landed way long, and my plane rolled down a little hill and (gently) bumped into the huge log acting as a curb for the dirt parking lot. No damage done, but it was U G L Y, and a bit embarrassing. It happened because it really never occurred to me, at that point, that even though I WANTED to land, I didn't HAVE to land. Not only that, but because of how much I overshot the proper landing zone, I SHOULN'T have landed.

What I needed was a dedicated practice session where I would force myself to get into the mindset of "What will I do if THIS happens, or if THAT happens." Just like in baseball, when you ask yourself before the next pitch "If I get the ball, what am I going to do with it." This affords you, in that critical moment, a little extra time,...Continue Reading
Posted by BWEC10 | Jan 03, 2013 @ 06:15 PM | 3,082 Views
In all, I ordered a Super Cub on Amazon, a Tenergy TB6-B from Amazon, two LiPos from HobbyKing, and a LiPo Bag and Tester from Amazon. They all got delivered on the same day! Best mail call ever! Well, there were a few during Boot Camp that were pretty cool I was even able to swap some still-in-the-package mSr parts for some spare SC props, bigger tires, and extra rubber bands at the LHS.

Here's the problem though....It's 1:00 PM now, and it's New Years Eve. We've got friends coming over at 5:30, and I've got all this stuff to assemble, learn to use, charge, test, check, and pack, to go flying the next day with a huge group of guys at the field. How am I gonna get ALL of that done WITHOUT pissing off my wife?

Well, our friends left around 9:30, which means I had exactly 2 hours and 29 minutes to work on my stuff until I had to run back upstairs, kiss my wife, yell "Happy New Year!!" and jam back into the garage. On the way down to the garage, I had an idea... I knew my daughter wasn't going to get up at 5:30 to join me at the field. Why 5:30? Well, if I was going to crash, I wanted to do it before anyone showed up. The problem this presented is that I'd have no camera man to record my maiden flight. Then a lightbulb goes off....

Last year, before we headed to Tahoe for a week that would include a rafting trip in the Truckee River, I bought a camera from Costco that was water, dust, crash, and ice proof, and recorded in 1080p. It was also small-...Continue Reading
Posted by BWEC10 | Jan 03, 2013 @ 05:52 PM | 3,005 Views
I am impatient. Very impatient, in fact. I had combined all the amazon gift cards I had received for my birthday and Christmas, and finally got to click "Finalize My Order" for my very first real RC plane... the HobbyZone Super Cub. I already had a DX5e that my wife and daughter had gotten for me a year or so back to use with my Blade mSR, so I ordered the BNF. However, after talking with a few guys at the field, I learned the unfortunate limitations of that radio, and was determined to have a new one before my plane arrived. So, off I went, scouring the ads on Craigslist (I had to do all this on the cheap because my wife tends to get a little nervous when I get into something new....Im usually all in.

I found a guy locally who had a DX6i he was selling for $120. Now, earlier that day, I had arranged with a guy who was looking for an A/V receiver to sell it to him for considerably less than what I was asking. He was a young kid who was interested in A/V, and the thing was just sitting in my garage for a couple months. I had gotten it for free in the process of installing sound system at the office building my wife's company just moved into. So, because it was Christmas time, I was feeling generous, so I let the kid have it for $30. I think I was asking $75 or $100. Now, back to the DX6i..... I offered him $85, hoping not to insult him. He texted abck saying someone else had offered $100, and he would try to get ahold of the guy to see if he still...Continue Reading
Posted by BWEC10 | Jan 03, 2013 @ 05:25 PM | 2,934 Views
How R/C planes, and those who fly them, reeled me in....hook, line, and sinker.

The hook:

After toying around with small coaxial heli's and trying my hand at the Blade MSR, I reached out to a buddy, who I knew was a pilot, to see where in my area I could go to watch others fly. He recommended a field not too far from my house, actually, less than a mile, and said that I could pretty typically find guys flying there every morning, weather permitting.

So, a few days later I had finally resolved to go down there and check it out. I showed up around 8:00 am on a Saturday morning, and sure enough, there were about 6 guys flying, and roughly 10-15 planes. I'm usually kind of shy around people I don't now, so I kept my distance and just watched. I was absolutely amazed at the way they maneuvered their planes, loops, rolls, hovering, the whole nine yards, effortlessly it seemed.

Behind me, a couple guys had started chatting and I couldn't help but listen in. They seemed nice enough. I didn't pick up any of that elitist, arrogant attitude that part of me was expecting. I looked down at the small fleet of planes at their feet and noticed some major differences between them. Some looked very familiar, like P-51s, F-4's, and other warbirds. The other guy, though, had some pretty odd looking planes. His were made of super thin foam, with a fuselage that wasn't cylindrical, but rather a horizontal piece and a vertical piece, intersecting, like a "+" sign....Continue Reading