DismayingObservation's blog View Details
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 03, 2016 @ 03:48 PM | 4,221 Views
Well, I did it!

Sort of.

I brought the Durafly Auto-G2 autogyro to the field this morning as a sort of "warm up act" to the big HobbyKing Super-G autogyro.

Still a bit too breezy for my tastes for me to feel comfortable sending up an exotic, strange-flying model like the Super-G for a maiden flight, so I settled for flying the G2.

Perhaps "settled" isn't the right word since it's so much fun and since I've built a lot of confidence since I first started flying it. Besides, the breeze is one's friend for helping spool the main rotor up to speed, with or without the automatic start.

Lots of visitors at the field today and some were really marveling at the unusual little model prior to takeoff.

On went the auto start, up went the autogyro with its usual grace, off went the auto start and onward toward my single greatest flight to date. I was determined to point it in the directions where I wanted it to go instead of letting it seemingly wander off on its own.

By golly, I did it. I flew a few times around the pattern at medium height in order to keep it oriented. It really demands to be flown with a firm hand; no point-and-scoot without a lot of pilot input.

While the flight was terrific - and the sounds even more so - what I really wanted to do was land it and keep it upright.

Bingo. Perfect, gentle touchdown which elicited a lot of heartfelt applause from everyone watching and a whoop and a fist pump from yours truly.

The Super-G is going up on Wednesday morning, scheduling and weather permitting. Stay tuned to the electric flight page for the full review!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 20, 2016 @ 10:18 PM | 3,798 Views
I have to admit: I'm actually having fun with the Durafly Auto-G2!

I took the G2 for not one ride today but three rides up and around the pattern.

Flying an autogyro is, to put it mildly, weird. It's a joy on takeoff and flies well, but it doesn't seem to go quite where it's pointed.

Breezy conditions on landing tipped the model to its side each time, but thankfully, no damage. I ordered some of the more vulnerable parts from HobbyKing and, joy of joys, I scored a set of used parts for free from my local hobby shop! They were all that was left of a crashed Auto-G (same as the G2 less the automatic main rotor start system) and they would have either languished in the back for all time or would have been discarded.

Having spare blades, rotor hubs and props on hand both from HK and the hobby shop is a big confidence builder. I also now have a motor, ESC, servos, assorted hardware and even a battery hatch cover.

Landings are what I need to work on and despite the challenge, it's fun to try and land it while remaining upright. Most of the problem may have stemmed from the wind and the fact that the main rotor acts as a sort of parachute while it's rotating.

I might be grounded until a week from Sunday because of Easter, but if I can get it in the air once more, I'll do so.

The photo below was taken back in November before the maiden flight. I'm pleased to report that it still looks the same despite some minor mishaps.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 17, 2016 @ 01:59 PM | 4,261 Views
It's hard to believe, but it's been four years since I reviewed the Skyartec Wasp X3V 250-class flybarless helicopter for RCGroups:


Since then, serial number WHV00005 (yes, it's only the fifth model off of the assembly line) has been flown only sporadically due to increased professional commitments and lots of other RCG reviews. I'd recently got to thinking about older review subjects and a blog I'd posted about revisiting them at some point, so I'll take up the slack right now.

That review has also garnered nearly 115,000 hits and 119 pages of comments. That's a heck of a nice feeling!

It was a beautiful morning, so after I charged a battery, I took it out of its case today for a flight up and down my street and I couldn't help but wonder how much has changed in that time.

My wife and I have been very blessed. We now have our own home instead of a rental. Both the laptop computer and point-and-shoot camera I used for that review have been replaced with a desktop computer and a DSLR, both necessary for what I do both here on this site and for other work.

Took me a moment or two to remember how to arm it, but once I did, I was rewarded with the same great flying characteristics I enjoyed in the summer of 2012. In fact, I've been flying a lot of multirotors since then which only helped to sharpen my helicopter skills.

Will Wasp Number Five be languishing in its case for months to come? Nope. It's just too much fun.

Another blast from the past will be posted just as soon as I can find a bit of time!

By the way, those photos are new and yup, I took them with the DSLR. Enjoy!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 16, 2016 @ 06:32 PM | 4,083 Views
...and I finally made it to 4000 posts with this blog entry! Number 4000 feels darn good on this, the greatest hobby site on the internet!

Good stuff coming up soon on the electric flight page. I just received a brand new RocHobby Nemesis NXT for an official review.

Rated at more than 100 mph right out of the box after a claimed 45 minutes of final assembly.

This will be incredibly fun if my past experiences with FMS and RocHobby products from Diamond Hobby are any indication. So, feast thine eyes, friends:

Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 16, 2016 @ 10:20 AM | 4,911 Views
The A2826-M 1100Kv motor and stick mount from the Gorilla Bob's store at the AMA expo are ready to rock at the front of the little Thunder Tiger Bearcat foamie. The motor, mount and my temporary 40A ESC are in place, I've installed a receiver and once I do up the control throws and expo and install the 8x6E APC prop, I'm ready.

I've spent a bit more money on it than I might have otherwise done, but the initial tests with brushless power were very encouraging.

The wing is very stiff, but it isn't reinforced. Once I'm satisfied that it flies well, I'll run a carbon fiber spar underneath.

Once this little project is complete, I want to finish up a project which has long been dormant. It's a kit built Great Planes .46 Ultimate biplane given to me a few years ago. I blogged about it at the time. It was done as an electric, suffered slight damage in a crash and the owner gave it to a friend of mine who gave it to me. The airframe has long since been repaired, but no power or electronics are installed.

This brings up some interesting possibilities. I can either use the O.S. or K&B engines I have in mind or follow suit and go electric.

Time and funds shall tell.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 14, 2016 @ 05:52 PM | 5,881 Views
OK, so it's almost a week late in coming, but I have to say that my grandson and I had a marvelous time at the AMA last week. Always fun to see fellow hobbyists and to reconnect with many of the vendors.

Visiting the Pegasus Hobbies booth reminded me of the little Thunder Tiger Bearcat park flyer I bought last year and about which I've blogged on and off since. Easy to see why; they were offering more of those little RTFs for sale once more!

So, thought I, why not get mine flying once and for all? I think it had all of three flights to its credit and not all of them successful.

Found an 1100Kv motor, stick mount and APC prop for the proverbial song right there at the expo from the Gorilla Bob's stand. The 18A ESC I was using is too small for this combo, but I'm going to give it a go with a 40A unit. If all goes well, I'll put a 30A control in the little booger. Should've picked up an inexpensive ESC at the time, but oh well.

Will be blogging once more once I get it flying. There's just something about the challenge this little foamie has presented which makes me want to keep on keeping on with it.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 01, 2016 @ 01:48 AM | 7,428 Views
Just sitting by the computer waiting for the new year to arrive. When I saw that I might be one of the first to blog this new year - or one of the last to blog in the old - I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone in the RCGroups.com family a happy, prosperous and blessed new year. Some great reviews are coming down the pike and I invite everyone to keep checking in over at the electric flight page.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 21, 2015 @ 07:46 PM | 6,933 Views
Hoping someone out there can give me a hand.

I received one of these entry level brushless quads today as an official RCGroups.com review sample. It must have either been a demo unit or it was tested before being shipped from China. In any event, it came with no manual.

Binding the transmitter and the model isn't an issue, but I can't figure out how to arm it. Anyone else have one of these and who would be kind enough to please tell me how to arm it?

Thanks, all!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 17, 2015 @ 06:48 PM | 6,123 Views
Wow...! Where has this year gone?

Some serious holiday shopping is coming, including Cyber Monday. Of course, we hobbyists certainly enjoy a deal on the items we enjoy.

It is, as I pointed out in my last blog entry, a real pleasure to work with HobbyKing. Their category manager sent me an email with a very interesting link:


Yup, one of this site's biggest sponsors is getting a head start with some incredible deals on already low priced hobby goodies. Since I was asked if I'd be kind enough to share this good news both here and other social media, heck, who am I to say no?

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here in the US and yes, Merry Christmas to the rest of the world!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 09, 2015 @ 12:43 PM | 6,545 Views
Well, I managed to fly that HobbyKing Super-G for the first part of its review:


Trouble is, I wadded it in due to pilot error, hence the bit about "the first part." HobbyKing, a major sponsor of this site and a great bunch of guys to boot, sent me a new Super-G to use in the second part of the review and even a Durafly Auto-G2 for practice!

So, practice I did. The president of the R/C club did the honors of the maiden flight of the Auto-G2 and got it trimmed. I flew the second flight.

Tell you what: Autogyros are definitely not airplanes nor are they helicopters, but let me say that I really learned my lesson with the Super-G. This unusual, exotic model was fun to fly!

Here's the funny thing: The club president had never flown an autogyro prior to yesterday! Still, he did a fantastic job of getting the Auto-G2 dialed in.

I'll be putting in a lot of stick time before proceeding with the assembly and flight of the replacement Super-G. I'm definitely going to add some fluorescent orange and green tape to the fuselage to make it easier to see, even with 20/15 distance vision.

Part two of the review will concentrate on the flight characteristics of the Super-G.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 30, 2015 @ 05:35 PM | 6,815 Views
I can't adequately express how happy I am at how well these reviews turned out:



Next on the schedule are an FPV unit for legions of JJRC Tarantula X6 quadcopter fans and the decidedly different HobbyKing Super-G autogyro.

The latter is something I have never flown, but I hope to give it a whirl - literally - on Sunday.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 27, 2015 @ 05:24 PM | 6,063 Views
Oh, is that Nitroplanes Pitts ever a sweetheart per my last blog...

Flies great with absolutely no bad habits. That Valley View RC engine is a huge part of the equation.

I'm just waiting for the green light from the folks who made this model possible and once it's published on the large scale page and over at Flying Giants, I'll blog back.

This is the basic ARF:


Here's the engine:


Stay tuned!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 11, 2015 @ 07:03 PM | 7,114 Views
I've been doing official reviews for this site for a long time, but one upcoming review in particular has been a big undertaking, so much so that I split the reviews of both an airframe and engine in two parts.

The airframe is the large scale Nitroplanes Pitts Model 12 biplane with a 20cc gas engine, J'tec Pitts muffler and 17x6 prop from Valley View RC up front, held in place by most of an Aeroworks mounting kit. Guidance is via an Airtronics SD-10GS radio and the Pitts Python graphics are from none other than Callie Soden at Callie Graphics.

The second parts of each review should be ready within a couple of weeks; I wasn't able to get video of the maiden flight earlier today. My club's president did the honors of the maiden flight and yours truly snapped some pictures.

All I can say is, this combo simply rocks. Full details soon to come here at RCGroups and Flyinggiants.com.

Enjoy the photos!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 22, 2015 @ 09:22 PM | 7,965 Views
Half the fun of this site is meeting new users. Case in point: Joe Kwok, aka "Hansondiandian" who is the "Joe" half of Joe-Hanson Aircraft Co. in Texas. Joe is a twelfth-grader who has been designing and building model aircraft for the last several years.

I'd contacted Joe via a private message soon after he'd blogged about his new hand-cut foam sheet kits. As a result, I received a kit to assemble and test for an upcoming RCGroups.com review. It wasn't until later that I'd learned just how young this model's designer really is.

I couldn't send this sample photo via a private message, so I'm sharing it here on the blogs. I had intended to fly it today, but two things got in the way. One, it was kind of windy. Two, I left my radio at home.

Moot point.

This was shot on the back of a flatbed utility trailer parked at a nondenominational church which allows electric flight over its parade grounds. It's a site I often use as part of testing models for the review process.

So, please welcome the loftily named Joe-Hanson Aircraft Company JH-21A Vesper II utility airplane. Designed to haul a small camera or FPV system aloft, I'll be flying this (hopefully tomorrow) as a fun flyer. All of the electrics are courtesy of Global Hobby Distributors.

Keep an eye on the electric flight page for all the details!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 07, 2015 @ 12:52 AM | 8,431 Views
After a few emails to and from my contact at Gearbest.com, I have a couple of RTF quads which are about to be officially reviewed for RCG.

One is just too darn cute.

It's the Floureon FX-10, the world's smallest quadcopter. It's so tiny that it's actually stored in the transmitter!

No pix yet, but I'll have a bunch in the review.

Looking at the other end of the size scale, my Nitroplanes Pitts Model 12 biplane with its Valley View RC 20cc gas engine is nearly ready for its first flights. I've already written reviews of my initial impressions of both the airframe and engine with the latter currently showcased both here and at Flyinggiants.com.

How tiny is the FX-10, you might ask?

Its diameter is just a bit larger than that of the prop retaining washer on the 20cc engine.

Large and small, indeed. Stay tuned to the electric flight, large scale and gas power pages here at RCG!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 02, 2015 @ 12:47 AM | 8,741 Views
Or more accurately, drive and dump?

Frustration abounding with the ECX Beatbox 1/35 truck I purchased last Christmas for my grandson.

Back when I bought the truck, the hobby shop told me that no parts were available.

This being Horizon Hobby, I thought that rather unusual and hoped some parts would be in the pipeline before long. Right?


The onboard li-po will no longer take a charge; the truck has been sitting idle for a few months. Online searches turned up nothing and neither did a call to Horizon.

For the very first time, Horizon Hobby's peerless customer service turned up absolutely zilch on a current product.

So, the truck is about to go under the screwdriver, as it were. I'll find a li-po somewhere.

If anyone has a suggestion, I'm certainly up for one.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 31, 2015 @ 01:28 PM | 8,733 Views
...while you're making other plans.

That, by the way, is a quote from Allen Saunders and not John Lennon. Lennon used the quote in the lyrics of "Beautiful Boy," one of his last compositions.

That said, I haven't made any progress on the little Thunder Tiger Bearcat since last we met here on the blogs. That missing motor bearing might be an unusual 3.17mm version and there were none to be found at the hobby shop. I'm just going to install an E-flite and be done with it soon.

Lots of professional stuff has kept me busy, but in a remarkably nice way. Details to follow.

In the meantime: Lots of great hobby stuff is on its way to the electric flight review pages! I'm covering the HobbyKing Super-G autogyro, the HobbyKing micro B-17 and the Joe-Hanson Vesper II utility airplane. The latter is a foam board model designed and produced by an RCGroups.com user, namely "Hansondiandian" out of Texas. It's a very utilitarian model which can be used as an FPV platform, camera platform or even an aileron trainer. I'm simply waiting for parts and supplies to complete all three models.

Watch this page and the electric flight page for updates!
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 19, 2015 @ 10:40 AM | 8,990 Views
I admit it. I enjoy a good challenge, especially where getting my money's worth is concerned.

To wit, the continuing saga of the little Bearcat park flyer which has been the subject of my last few blog postings.

I sent it up for a test flight and as luck would have it, the elevator was way out of trim. Far too much up, which wasn't an issue on the previous flight.

This, of course, made it difficult to fly...

I brought it around for a landing, bounced the landing and broke what was left of the original wooden motor mount. A close inspection revealed that the plastic factory motor adapter was damaged from the previous mishap.

Another thing which was readily apparent was far too aggressive a prop for the old motor I installed as a temporary measure. More on that in a moment. What to do? The answer came in the guise of the parts removed from the Flyzone Cessna which had given up some of its components.

I already had most of what I needed from an E-flite firewall stick mount adapter system; the mount itself was cut down to fit the Cessna and was too short for the Bearcat.

Five bucks later, I had the adapter and the strongest possible motor mount. It looks like a factory setup, in fact.

Another test flight, another mishap. The Bearcat was ballistic! Maybe too much so. One of the screws holding the prop adapter shaft worked loose, causing the shaft to cock over to one side. And boy, was that motor hot. As I'd pointed out, too much prop on a high-revving motor with an unknown Kv rating. That's what I get for not checking the setup with a wattmeter beforehand.

Conclusion: The airframe is dialed in. I just have to get the other motor back from the hobby shop and I'll be in business.

I'll post some photos once it's all together.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 06, 2015 @ 12:04 PM | 9,276 Views
Warbird fans, listen up:

The new FMS Kawasaki Ki-61 High Speed PNP from Diamond Hobby is a blast!

An official RCGroups.com review is waiting in the wings for public viewing. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, more weirdness regarding that doggoned little Thunder Tiger Bearcat.

I swung by Pegasus Hobbies a couple of weekends ago since I happened to be in the area. Tony at the airplane desk is a terrific help. He sold me a brand new cowl and told me that he had a lot of those planes on hand for parts. Cool!

On went the cowl, up went the Bearcat.

It flew great, but the elevator was acting twitchy. I brought it in, added some more expo, took off and all seemed well for the first few seconds.

That's when the motor's endbell decided to part company with the rest of the motor.

It isn't often one has to do a dead stick landing with an electric, but I did. Good one, too. No damage other than some minor breakage of the wooden motor mount due to the forces involved.

Everything is back together, but the motor is missing a bearing. I've left it with a buddy at the hobby shop who'll check the parts bin for a replacement.

I also have a no-name brushless outrunner I used to use on my ancient (and recently dissected and discarded) E-flite Blade CP. I've ordered a prop adapter; we'll see how this one works.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 22, 2015 @ 03:37 PM | 9,821 Views
Wouldn't you know it? The battery compartment door for my OrangeRx transmitter seems to be lost forever. I went to the field today (with a couple of planes in tow, natch) so that I could look for it.

No luck.

However, I did happen to see a new FMS P-40 high speed like the one I'd reviewed for this very site! Deja vu! The new owner is still somewhat nervous about flying it, but one of the club's flight instructors was on hand and he declared it to be a blast. This from a guy who was zipping a 150 mph Habu all over the place. I happened to mention that I'd soon be receiving a new FMS Kawasaki Ki-61 High Speed.

When I got home, sure as heck, that new Ki-61 was waiting at the door. Not deja vu, but pretty good prescience, no? This is one highly anticipated model and I'll be giving it the full RCGroups.com review treatment, so please stay tuned!