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Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 25, 2008 @ 08:20 PM | 6,577 Views
Since the loss of the VQ Cap-10B .60, my focus has shifted back toward an unlikely source, namely the fifteen-year-old Hobby People/Global Hobby Raven .40 profiler which has proved to be not only great fun to fly, but invaluable for sharpening my aerobatic skills. It's a remarkably low-buck project. The plane, engine and some of the servos were freebies. No junk, I'm pleased to point out.

An interesting freebie came my way a little more than a month ago. The same gentleman who gave me the Evolution 46 in the Raven (it was given to him and he flies almost exclusively electric) gave me a complete GWS Formosa less transmitter but with a GWS battery, speed control, servos and even a Berg Microstamp4 receiver! He'd gotten it as part of an estate sale consisting primarily of electric gliders and he had no use for it.

I'll say this: Darn thing is fun but underpowered as all get-out with the stock 380 beer can and gearbox.

I may be doing the brushless thing sooner than later. It's slow, but boy, does it handle.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 06, 2008 @ 05:07 PM | 6,528 Views
There's nothing worse than when a plane crashes. Even a gentle crash means broken bits o' balsa.

Such was the case a few months ago when I tried to fly the Raiden Tech Zero Fighter 25 I reviewed on RC Power last year.

The one time I chose not to check the control response meant a reversed elevator and a crash on takeoff before I could recover. I was able to fix it, but doggone, the poor little plane hasn't been the same. The TE of the wing is now a bit warped among other problems, requiring lots of right aileron trim to get it to fly straight.

Stranger still was the plane's tendency to nose over on landings no matter how careful I was.

Enter our esteemed club president, a gentleman who's been flying RC for years if not decades.

To my way of thinking, a plane which wants to nose over is nose heavy and suddenly so, in my case.

The prez offered to give it a try...and pronounced it tail heavy on landing.

Tail heavy? With a tendency to scrape the cowl almost every time since its repair and with no weight required before this?

For the next test, he took the Zero up to a suitable altitude and put it in a hands off, 45-degree power dive. A balanced plane would have maintained heading, a nose heavy plane would have wanted to pull up and a tail heavy plane would have tried to tuck in and sharpen the dive.

Holy mother of CG.

The Zero tucked under.

Tail heavy!

Off to the hobby shop for some weights. An ounce of lead went on the engine mount...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 20, 2008 @ 09:09 PM | 7,094 Views

I'm still hurting over the loss of the VQ Model Cap-10B which I was privileged to review on RC Power.

A ten-cent part failed and destroyed a model with a $300 list price. My fault for not using a metal retainer instead of a nylon one on the quick-connect clamp on the servo arm for the elevator pushrod.

I once had an aileron fail on a park flyer and I was able to land the plane. Had the rudder failed, meh. No big deal.

When an elevator goes, kiss your model goodbye. That's all I could do as I saw one of the nicest models I've ever owned plummet nose first into the ground on its sixth flight.

I hope to replace it with another sooner than later. In the meantime, the Cap's flap servo panels, two of the servos, the receiver battery and FASST receiver will be used to complete a project plane from several posts back, a Great Planes Cessna with a new O.S. LA 65 engine and a bit of hangar rash. Price: Fifty bucks. Complete. It will be a nice model once I finish it and patch the hangar rash, but it sure won't take the place of the Cap. Thankfully, standard parts like servos sometimes mean standard parts between brands. The Cap's flap servo panels were almost exactly the right size to replace the Cessna's missing aileron servo panels. Thanks to a scale drawing of the panels by a local club member who also has a Cessna, I was able to create the openings for the servo arms.

This was one of those times where I began to reevaluate whether or not I wanted to continue in such a hobby as this, where hard-earned money can be lost in a fraction of a second due to something which cost pocket change.

At least something good will come out of this. I can complete another project.

As soon as that Cessna takes to the air, it'll have a magnificent VQ Model Cap-10B .60 to thank for its heart transplant.

Of course, I'll be sharing it with all of you.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 01, 2008 @ 07:02 PM | 6,119 Views
Problem: One of my little SPADs is sans a wing and has been for some time. I spent a lot of bread on some corrugated plastic, but the stuff I bought is too thick to fold over for a wing.

The plans for the "Derelict" .25 at call for a folded-over wing constructed of 2mm corrugated plastic.

Yet another problem: No sign manufacturer or plastics distributor in my area carries the stuff and it's pricey at best online, myabe too much so for a very old homemade combat plane with an out-of-production O.S. .25 pulling it around.

I don't know if the blog is the proper place to ask, but if someone has a sheet of this stuff laying around of sufficient area to build a new wing, would you be so kind as to shoot me a PM or an e-mail?

Thanks ahead of time.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 03, 2008 @ 09:52 AM | 6,491 Views
Sorry about that title. I simply couldn't resist given the subject...and I couldn't think of anything else.

In any event, my best friend of these last thirty years has finally taken the plunge (literally) with his first R/C model, a Silverlit Flying Dutchman RTR pirate ship which he's been merrily sailing in his own Spanish Main, namely his pool.

He's christened it The Flying Wasp after the small dinghy which gets splintered by a yacht's anchor in Caddyshack.

It seems this little galleon has a real fire in its belly with its ability to power slide. No rudder. It steers by varying the speed of the props. I'm told that there are few things funnier than seeing a miniature 18th Century sailing vessel skid sideways like something out of The Fast and the Furious.

Being the rather eclectic individual he is, e-mails have been flying as to how this ship should be manned. Discussion ranges from Star Wars to the Teletubbies. We're thinking a compromise.

How do you think Darth Vader would look carrying a purple handbag?
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 18, 2008 @ 09:32 PM | 6,567 Views
Man, it was a warm one today. First really hot weather of the year. Everyone was leaving the club just as I got there...which means I had the place to myself.

I've promised some pix of the project planes, so I thought that I'd at least provide some shots on the ground. No one around to take action shots!

Oh, and the performance on "The Bruise" is much improved. Seems as if the cable I was using wasn't allowing the throttle to open all the way. Fixed that problem with a pushrod. An 11x7 Master Airscrew prop awaits the chance to replace the 11x6 Zinger which has served so well until now, even though it may have been a bit much for the Thunder Tiger GP .40 it came attached to.

This Evolution 46 has no trouble swinging this prop! Even though it's a bit underpitched from the factory recommendations, the difference between it and the .40 is amazing. Snap rolls and knife edge are a flick of the sticks away. The SPAD is running better the more I run the crud out of the engine and there's plenty of compression, but there's a lot of oil blow-by past the front crank bearing and the nut at the end of the carb hold-down bolt is stripped. Carb's nice and tight, though. I've been fiddling with the low end and I think I finally got it working right.

Re. "The Bruise:" I'd have never guessed that a fifteen-year-old castoff which the original builder/owner couldn't give away (except to me) would become one of my favorite planes.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 13, 2008 @ 01:13 AM | 6,554 Views
UPDATE: Flew it with the 46 today! Definite difference, but not as dramatic as I'd expected since I used the same 11x6 prop I'd used on the .40. An 11x7 is the recommended prop for that engine anyway. One shall be going on ASAP.

I have a strong opinion regarding my area's weather as of late, but since this is a family forum, I'll let the smiley give you a hint:

Thank you, Smiley. There'll be a little something extra in your paycheck.

Yes, it's windier than all get-out.

However, "The Bruise" is set and ready for when the wind dies down. I have run nearly six tanks of fuel over roughly ten flights (if memory serves) and I have had nothing but fun with that plane; the aerobatic potential is incredible. Snaps, loops, rolls both inside and out, Cubans, half-Cubans, hands-off inverted flight, Immelmann name it, "The Bruise" is nearly up to the task. I say "nearly" only because of the slightly too-small engine.

Not bad for a model that was built in 1993. The original owner saw it fly for the first time in more than five years just the other day.

A .46 awaits reinstallation when I get the new needle valve. The new/old Thunder Tiger GP 40 is nicely broken in and pulls with pretty good authority, but according to the previous owner, nowhere near what it'll do once the .46 gets settled in.

His engine of choice was a Magnum .45 with a tuned pipe (long since discontinued) but I don't recall his choice of props. He did say that it made that plane a ridiculously fast combination pylon racer and aerobatic model.

I really want some pix, but every time I bring my camera, there isn't anyone there to snap the action shots.

I'll persist. Really.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 10, 2008 @ 03:48 PM | 6,248 Views
Man, I'm kicking myself.

I've spent some good money on a lot of 4mm coroplast sheeting only to find out that I needed 2mm sheeting to build a new wing for the little SPAD Derelict.

No sign shop or plastics distributor in my area carries the stuff and I'll be doggoned if I'm paying more than $20 plus shipping to buy it online.


Looks like I may be able to salvage the thing if I can adapt the second reinforced foam wing I received with the big .40 SPAD I picked up from a fellow RC Groups user. Just about the right size, it's nice and strong and only needs ailerons to make it work. If the mess refuses to fly, that means a nearly new receiver battery, standard servo and fuel tank for a future project.

The upshot of all of this is the fact that I also received some extra PVC rain gutters and aluminum channels as part of that deal, so I may see what I can make out of all of it.

Another upshot: New blog series!

Stay tuned.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 28, 2008 @ 12:37 AM | 7,604 Views
Another forsaken model, another success story.

The old Global Hobby Raven kit, aka "The Bruise" referenced in my last blog actually took to the air earlier today.

Definitely a bit of a dramatic renaissance, though.

A couple of fellow Sunday flyers deemed the CG to be OK.

Which it wasn't.

Hoo boy, was she ever light in the ol' nose and therefore tail heavy. Thankfully, I was able to keep it under control and brought it in for a rather uneventful landing.

Two more ounces/56g worth of lead up front along with a burned-out li-po battery pack on hand if I needed it (thanks, for the weights, guys!) and it was off to try again.

Ah, much better and it didn't need the li-po as ballast. Underpowered, but much better. I knew it wouldn't be a barnstormer with that .40 up front based on what the original owner told me, but no slouch, either. I was only running a 10x6 prop; good for aerobatics, not so good for speed. The engine was still a bit tight as well, but it started coming to life after the second flight of the day. Going to an 11x6 prop helped a lot.

I need to dial in a tad more aileron and a tad less elevator and she'll be great. After a couple of flights, I was rolling and tumbling that old bird all over the place. Putting at least a .46 up front will help it enormously.

It flew so well that I didn't think it deserved to have its $5 price notice remain intact, so off it came with a dab of fuel and a paper towel.

The next nearly...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 25, 2008 @ 09:57 PM | 5,443 Views
Without the slightest hesitation. He's in and boy, is he happy.

Now all I have to do is get a trainer cord to go between the Tactic transmitter from my little FlyZone Cessna Skylane with its Futaba connector and my Hitec Laser 4 with its DIN connector.

When I do, he'll be flying the resurrected "SPAD" referenced in my last blog entry. Maybe I can convince my son to try R/C flight as well.

In other news from earlier posts, "The Bruise" is nearly complete. That's the soon-to-be-reborn (and hideously ugly) Global Hobbies Raven .40 profiler given to me last December by its original builder of more than a decade ago. In keeping with the low-buck spirit of this project, virtually all of the accessories are used and/or gifts from fellow modelers; for example, the DU-BRO fuel tank is a new-old unit and was a freebie to boot. The engine is a new/old Thunder Tiger less the box. Got the remainder of the accessories from one of the local hobby shops which, sadly, will be closing its doors in early May. Sure, I got the stuff at cost plus 10%, but heck, we're losing an LHS. The owner has a second store, but it's in Tennessee. He'll still be selling to we here on the Left Coast via mail order...and I won't have to pay California sales tax!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 21, 2008 @ 06:15 PM | 6,052 Views
Sonofagun, it's a nice feeling making a nice something out of a whole lot of nothing.

The little "SPAD" trainer/sport plane referenced a couple of blog posts back took to the air today under its own power and with virtually all of its original parts for the first time in what might have been years.

All was not happiness and lollipops because that Thunder Tiger Pro 40 refused to start. Kept on flooding like you wouldn't believe; turns out that the high-speed needle was still a bit cruddy and turned out too far. Once that was cleaned out, zoom! Fired up nicely and off it went.

It's an unlikely and ungainly amalgamation of equal parts home improvement store and hobby shop and took a little bit of time to get up enough steam to lift off, but lift off it did. I had to pull off a couple of dead stick landings since I suspect there's still some crud in the intake, but all in all, not bad for what was basically a freebie.

While not the fastest .40 in the fleet by a long shot, it's a pleasant, easy-to fly sport plane and a nice departure from my hyperactive glow planes. I may have to get a trainer cord and see if my dad wants to learn to fly. Landing is going to take some finesse and some really low speeds; the landing gear has a whole lot of spring!

Pix and videos by week's end!

PS: Almost forgot! I put the Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25 in the air with its new Berg Microstamp 4 receiver. For those of you who think a receiver makes no difference, I urge you to reconsider. Response was IMMEDIATE in comparison to the previous receiver. It's a substantial difference between it and your basic garden-variety receiver, believe me. Even the cost is pretty darn cheap compared to big full-range receivers. Full-range reception, teeny tiny size. Can't beat it.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 18, 2008 @ 05:51 PM | 4,933 Views
Having one's ducks in a row when faced with multiple extracurricular projects creates a nice feeling.

*I have all of the coroplast I need (and then some) to finish the little SPAD, not to mention enough material to perhaps build another from scratch...but that's a blog for another day.

*My pal who owns the LHS sold me the entire E-flite Blade CP Bell-Hiller upgrade for less than it would have cost me to replace just the grips and pivot arms. At a loss, yet. Small wonder he's been getting virtually all of my business as of late.

*The Hitec single-conversion receiver I got as part of that neat deal from one of this site's users found a new home in my E-flite Thunderbolt. Same LHS got me a channel 55 crystal and voila! Another project crossed off of my list. Works like a charm. The full-range Berg Microstamp now lives in my Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25. That same neat deal was for an abandoned homebuilt SPAD plane which is cleaned up and ready for final assembly.

*Best flight ever with the VQ P-51 ended with the Pitts muffler coming loose yet again, this time with the loss of one of the retainer bolts. LHS to the rescue again. He sold me a pair that were a bit too short, but he has a pair of the correct length waiting for me. That plane has definitely moved up to the top of my glow-powered faves list now that the bugs are pretty much worked out.

That just leaves getting that servo box on the Global Raven built and installed, getting off of the stick and reassembling the HPI Savage 25 (I miss driving that brute) and the arrival of the wing struts for the Great Planes Cessna next month.

Happy weekend, all.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 15, 2008 @ 05:48 PM | 5,334 Views's full speed ahead on the projects.

Whipped out my Visa and I now have everything I need to finish the little SPAD as outlined in my previous blog. Needed very little, actually. I might reassemble it tonight after work.

Next, we have "The Bruise" and its servo tray. I'll definitely do that tomorrow since I don't want to go to sleep tonight to the smell of epoxy.

The "non-projects" will get some attention as well.

I'll need a sheet of 4 mil Coroplast to make some new ailerons for the other SPAD, namely the "Derelict." The tail's OK, but the hinge point tore off on one side in the crash. I'm strongly considering the possibility of recycling some three-piece DU-BRO hinges. Or not. Cutting out new tailfeathers is no biggie.

The tip of one of the retract pushrods for the VQ Model P-51 I reviewed over at RC Power snapped off the other day at the field; that soft metal had a lot of twists and turns in it thanks to my efforts to get those retracts working right. New pushrod stands ready and it can't come soon enough. That plane is way too much fun to fly.

I even have to delay some non-projects due to backorders.

I lost the prop and spinner for the Align Spitfire in flight yesterday. Gone. Couldn't find it. Prop of the correct size was out of stock.

And wouldn't you know I'd put the Blade CP into the same park fence that busted me up so badly last time around. Minor bump this time; only took out the blade grips.

Which were out of stock.

Heck, I'd better get started ASAP. I'm running out of flying things!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 14, 2008 @ 07:12 PM | 4,654 Views
We begin with this short but eventful thread:

That little plane has a new home in the desert thanks to its original owner. He'd sent me a PM when he'd read my blog regarding the construction of a new wing for my little "SPAD" combat plane, one which a local friend of mine gave me. In exchange for a bit of gas money to help out with his trip to Arizona, this gentleman offered me the plane as you see it plus a few servos and a nice little Hitec receiver as part of the bargain.

I've dissected the little pootwaddle and am preparing it for reassembly with a new fuel tank and a receiver from another plane; my E-flite P-47 Thunderbolt 400 is getting the Hitec receiver once the crystal hits my LHS. The Thunder Tiger Pro 40 was a bit gummed up, but I got it freed up and running. Runs quite well, in fact. Lots of compression. Unfortunately, I did a boo-boo during the test run. Reached around the front to adjust the high speed and ka-WHANNG! Took off a nice chunk of the top of my right pinky. My bad.

Anyway, all the servos work, everything is nice and clean and awaiting reassembly.

Thanks, Hamilton. Glad you had a nice time in Arizona!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 11, 2008 @ 01:17 AM | 4,651 Views
There's only one thing I can think of besides my Raven project plane which combines yellow, black, red and dark blue.

I have therefore dubbed it "The Bruise."

Thanks to a visit to the original owner the other day, I now know where everything is supposed to go. He even gave me some ply and square stock so that I could build a new servo tray for the rudder.

As a result, I made a bit of progress today.

I'd mounted the engine and prop a few days ago and removed an unnecessary support which the previous owner had used to hold up the exhaust pipe; a new/old 8 oz. DU-BRO fuel tank was strapped to the fuselage earlier tonight and the chewed-up foam wheels came off.

Turns out that the wheels are mismatched. So are the screws serving as axles, for that matter. The right wheel was held on by two nuts and the left by a short piece of fuel tubing. Proper axles shall be procured!

Even the hardware holding the gear in place on the fuselage is mismatched. Easy fix.

Another easy fix involved the careful removal of the 1998 AMA sticker from the left wing and the racing number from the right. No hidden boogeymen under either sticker in the form of torn covering, but I'll need to apply a bit of Goo Gone to clean up the adhesive residue.

On the other hand, I'm thinking of preserving the price markdowns just for fun.

The Bruise shall be punching hematomas in the sky very soon.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 06, 2008 @ 01:19 AM | 4,507 Views
Did a bit of eeny-meeny-miney-mo today and found myself pointing at the Cessna.

It was decided that I'd do some simple tasks on it today.

After a rare Saturday spent at work, it was off to the indie LHS for an APC 12x7 prop and DU-BRO 3" spinner for the LA 65. The engine, though mounted when I got it, didn't appear to have ever been run.

I'd already removed it from the plane and it was a simple task to bolt it to the stand along with the prop and spinner. Good thing I hadn't tried to start the engine in place on the plane. The previous owner had secured it with machine screws threaded into the nylon.

Even running that engine as rich as I was, the thrust was phenomenal.

The fuselage got a good cleaning and the engine went back in place with proper mounting hardware. There's some evidence of at least one hard landing and there are some areas of torn covering patched with clear packing tape, but it's so clean inside that I have to assume that the plane was too much for the previous owner and he didn't fly it much. He also wasn't too careful about how he handled it, hence the tears.

The may look like a Cessna, but it'll likely have the climb rate of an F-15.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 04, 2008 @ 02:23 PM | 4,431 Views
...really isn't too bad.

The Raven was free and the Cessna basically so. Total expenditures so far have included $50 for the Raven's engine and three JR servos from a friend, $15 for a crystal for the receiver in the Cessna (it works!) and mere pennies for the 4-40 hardware I'll use to mount the engine to the Raven. The Cessna came with a new O.S. LA 65 up front.

Enjoy the pix. Told ya the Raven was ugly! ...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 03, 2008 @ 09:08 PM | 4,175 Views
...five if you count the unassembled kit in my closet!

Here's the best part: I'm doing three of those projects simultaneously!

One: I just picked up a new/old Thunder Tiger GP 40 and three JR servos from a friend. The engine is now broken in per the online instructions for the GP 42 and is destined for the ugly (but free of charge) Global Hobby Raven 3D plane given to me a few months ago by our club's VP.

Two: Just ordered the wing struts for the old Great Planes Cessna 182 with the new O.S. LA 65 up front. All the parts are still available! Might pop for a new cowl once I get it flying.

Three: I picked up a couple of scrap (but large) sheets of corrugated plastic from a sign shop in order to build a new wing for my little old homemade 25-powered combat plane. I should have more than enough material to try my hand at a coroplast plane once I track down some online plans.

That leaves only the slightly damaged (and also free of charge) Great Planes Cub 40 and the unassembled Mini Telemaster.

Pix forthcoming.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 30, 2008 @ 08:43 PM | 3,874 Views
Since I am fortunate enough to be blogging today from beautiful San Diego, California, I thought I should mention the fact that this area is absolutely nuts for radio control.

There are two R/C stores within a few blocks of one another just in Clairemont Mesa. One is Hobby People, the other is an indie. The Hobby People store happened to have the very Cirrus 9g servo I needed to get the little Align Spitfire back to 100% functionality. It'll go in the moment I get home. So will a 9x5 prop to replace the 8x6 which I think is working the Common Sense motor a bit too hard. Didn't want to wait for the backordered replacement gear set for that servo.

Next project in the queue is the minor repair and resurrection of the poor, abandoned Global Hobbies Raven 40 waiting in my garage. Last time I was at the field, someone had a similar plane with the same Thunder Tiger engine I plan on installing in the Raven.

Holy mother of fast. This is gonna be a really, really hairy and fast ride. The plane's builder and previous owner was there and attested to that fact.

I am absolutely, positively going to bring a plane down here the next time I have the opportunity to hang with my sister and brother-in-law here in Carmel Valley.

Returning to my irregularly scheduled long weekend.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 28, 2008 @ 12:52 AM | 3,842 Views
Glad to start off by saying that my house is now wired for fiber optic communications. I thought DSL and cable were fast. Nothing like this. Way too cool!

Finally got to do a bit of e-flying today and one of the planes which made the trek to the field with me was the little Align Spitfire 400 I picked up in January at the AMA convention and which belly-flopped on its maiden flight that same month due to some whacked-out balancing directions which left it woefully tail-heavy.

I spent a bit of Christmas swag on the thing and here I am, three months later, actually able to enter the fact here on the blog that I flew it today. Twice. I took my time repairing it thanks to all the other R/C projects on my plate, but I'd planned to finish it up just before Easter and, by golly, I did.

It's too bad that Align saw fit to discontinue this little model less than a year after its introduction. All it needs are some adjustments to the documentation, an ounce of weight up front and some far, FAR better retracts. They should reconsider power options as well. Ran my li-pos a bit too hot for my taste, thank you.

What steams my fleckmans is the fact that a closeout was sold at that event without the vendor stating it as such. The AMA needs to come up with some rules regarding disclosure of such information, with some sort of punishment (or banishment) of vendors who don't comply. I even asked the guy about spare parts. He said he didn't carry any because his warehouse was too small. Ri-i-i-i-i-ght.

Oh, well. It's back together, it flies beautifully, it has upgraded and readily available Great Planes retracts and I don't plan on crashing it anytime soon.