DismayingObservation's blog View Details
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 21, 2008 @ 07:15 PM | 6,011 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 @ 06:51 PM | 4,900 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 @ 06:48 PM | 5,288 Views
...it'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 @ 08:12 PM | 4,612 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 @ 02:17 AM | 4,615 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 @ 02:19 AM | 4,465 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 @ 03:23 PM | 4,396 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 @ 10:08 PM | 4,133 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 @ 09:43 PM | 3,829 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 @ 01:52 AM | 3,796 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.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 20, 2008 @ 09:20 PM | 3,649 Views
...but scheduling concerns leave me grounded.

No can fly tomorrow because of them.

Verizon is coming out Saturday to wire my house for fiber optics. Big job, more than six hours.

Sunday is, of course, Easter. Family time.

So, I took advantage of the really nice day to run two tanks of fuel through the resurrected Raiden Tech Zero Fighter and three li-po packs through the Goldberg Yak-54 EP.

Either the ailerons are warped on the Zero or the wingtips have some really weird washout. They never really did align right and seem worse since the crash. It flies fine, but it needs right trim and the ailerons are, quite frankly, a bit skewed. Not badly enough to cause drag and the lateral balance is fine. Chalk it up to cheap construction. Nevertheless, it's wonderful fun.

That Yak-54 is probably the finest airplane I've ever owned. Just beyond fun. My aerobatic skills have grown exponentially in less than three months.

Happy Easter, gang!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 12, 2008 @ 08:14 PM | 3,628 Views
Well, you can't say I didn't try.

It isn't possible to stuff a .65 in a space just large enough for a .46, especially when dealing with a profiler. I refer to the old Global Hobbies Raven I plan on resurrecting per my last entry.

Professional opinion also states that the individual who stuffed said new or nearly so .65 in the used Great Planes Cessna which I purchased for little bread and was designed for a .40 to .46 stuffed a bit much into said Cessna. Glad I didn't try to fly that beast!

Ah, but the low-cost project isn't over. Not by a long shot.

My friend who gave me the engine which wound up powering the VQ Model P-51 I reviewed over at RC Power has a couple of .46's in his collection. One new, one nearly so.

Oh, yes.

Going to pick up the new Thunder Tiger plus a servo from him. I'll strip the servos out of the Cessna and one nearly new servo out of my damaged combat plane and stuff them in the Raven. Or, I'll buy both engines and enough servos to get both projects airborne.

Either way, I get a fast and furious 3D-capable screaming meemie for oh so little money.

This is what makes the hobby fun.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 09, 2008 @ 07:45 PM | 3,596 Views
It's almost an anti-climax to report that Project Zero 2.0 is alive and well. It's back together and went up on a test flight yesterday. It flew great, but it had a real tendency to want to roll left, requiring a lot of right aileron trim. Once trimmed, it flew like new. Engine was running lean, so I brought it in, albeit with a somewhat too-fast idle. No problem; floated in like a butterfly, but boy, were those ailerons tweaked. The culprit was the receiver battery which had come loose and was likely affecting the lateral balance. If necessary, it would be easy to add a bit of right thrust. And to think I almost wrote it off!

I had another idea...

Back in December, I was given an old 40-sized Global Hobby Raven stunt plane which our club treasurer had assembled from a kit a number of years ago. Couldn't even sell the thing for five bucks at the club swap meet and he insisted that I take it or it would wind up stomped and trashed. It's a complete airframe which needs, as I recall, only some minor work on the servo tray.

Here's my thought:

I have a nearly new O.S. LA 65 which I bought attached to a well-worn Great Planes Cessna 40. Price: Fifty bucks, including an obsolete Futaba radio. The Cessna has three Futaba servos in the fuselage; I have a fourth.

All I would need to purchase would be a prop, spinner and assorted hardware and I can put that Raven back in the air with a honking, screaming .65 up front. I even have a new DU-BRO fuel tank of the proper size.

I was saving the O.S. for a big warbird, but this might be a fun way to use it for the time being. Of course, balancing the thing is an issue, but it's nothing a bit of weight on the tail wouldn't take care of if necessary.

Definitely doing pictures.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 05, 2008 @ 08:58 PM | 6,445 Views
Project Zero 2.0 is complete except for a new receiver switch. That doggone horizontal stab is, quite frankly, ugly. No way to take the entire thing off and recover it. It's glued in too well...and I don't have nor can I get covering to match...which is painted. However, the engine starts and runs fine. Besides, Zeroes are suppsed to be kind of ugly. My only concern is that the stab stays together. Looks as if it will.

The VQ Model P-51D Mustang whose article is getting lots of hits over at RC Power flamed out on takeoff the other day. I was able to bring it in OK past the runway, but one of the wire landing gear struts bent and the other rotated in the socket. No damage, but I needed to clean a lot of yellow pollen off the thing. It landed in a bush full of wildflowers! I've dusted off the pollen and wiped everything down, but I'll need to fix the gear and pull the cowl to see what's up. It had flamed out earlier when the muffler came loose in flight, so I'm thinking bad muffler gasket.

Making slow but steady progress on the Align Spitfire 400 which crashed on its maiden. The new Great Planes retracts are fitted and ready to be connected once I shorten the pushrods. I also discovered that the Cirrus rudder servo has stripped gears. Gonna have to go through Hobby People for a new set.

Need just one more part get the HPI Savage 25 back to desert-tearing status.

Ah, the fun of running but the woes of repairing!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 27, 2008 @ 08:16 PM | 3,911 Views
Or not.

Since my latest review is now up over at RC Power and garnering interest, I thought I'd take the subject of the review for a ride.

I think that club is cursed.

I forgot the ignitor that plugs into the power panel and I had to borrow one to start the engine. Unfortunately, its owner had to leave, in turn leaving me to try and use the half-dead ni-cad ignitor I had on hand.

Sputter...sputter...die. Repeat until battery dies for good. It just wasn't lighting up the plug enough to help it start and it was a brand new, previously unused plug to boot.

When it did run, the right landing gear kept collapsing. Wouldn't lock all the way.

Off came the wing. Several times. Finally got the pushrod working right.

Except the ignitor was totally kaput by then.

Looking on the bright side, I tried to start the engine with the power panel ignitor when I got home...zoom! Started strong, stayed running strong.

Too bad it was in my driveway at the time...
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 24, 2008 @ 08:10 PM | 4,001 Views
Tell you what: Had I known this was going to be so relatively simple, I probably wouldn't have bothered all of you with progress reports.

I'm pleased to say that I'm down to the nitty-gritty. Here's what's been done since my last update:

*Crud emptied frrom the inside of the wing.

*Holes in the wing patched and painted. Not quite true olive drab as it turns out (too much green in the original paint), but I'll try and match it later.

*New gears in the stripped Hitec HS-81 aileron servo.

*Ailerons realigned.

*Forward wing locator tab epoxied in place. Owner of the LHS suggested that I reattach rather than replace the tab since the epoxy would be stronger than the surrounding wood. He was right.

*Engine cleaned out as a precaution since there was sand stuck in the carb's intake. Off came the carb, in went some nitro engine spray. All was nice and clean. Reset the throttle cable as well.

*Original covering on the underside of the fuselage at the firewall epoxied in place over the trim tape I'd used to replace it in the first place. Went back on nice.

*Replaced 3x25 wing hold-down bolts (one was bent in the crash) with beefier 6/32x1 socket head bolts and #6 blind nuts. The blind nuts were a perfect fit, but I'll have to buy a 5/64 socket driver. HIGHLY recommended upgrade.

*The cowl is filled, sanded and ready for a coat of dope.

All that's left is to dope the cowl, reinstall the fuel tank, test the engine, resolder the antenna lead on the receiver (it snapped in two a couple of inches up from the receiver case) and test fly the little monster. Should be soon.

Pix on the way!

UPDATE: The fuel tank's in and the new prop is going on in a moment so that I can check the engine. Found an unforseen but minor problem: The power switch for the receiver is kaput. If I hook the battery directly to the receiver, all is well. Going through the switch gets me zilch.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 22, 2008 @ 03:35 PM | 4,215 Views
Wow...more than 2200 hits to my original posting! Thanks for your interest!

In any event, things are going exceedingly well. The fuselage is, for all intents and purposes, complete. The broken horizontal stab went back on with CA, but it's a tiny bit misaligned at one of the glue joints. Overall, it's nice and level.

This will cost me practically nothing money-wise. All I had to buy were a new prop, a new spinner and a set of servo gears. I already had the adhesives on hand.

I didn't take photos of the firewall before I reattached it. Other than that, here are a few "before" photos of what I'm up against. Thankfully, it isn't much.

Besides, I feel it's my duty to save this model. It is, after all, a part of RC Power and therefore a part of this site. Gotta keep our history intact!...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 21, 2008 @ 10:56 AM | 5,754 Views
I'd become active on these boards last spring when I thought I'd share the progress of the repairs I'd be doing to a mildly crash-damaged Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25. The repairs were a success, but my choice of too small a receiver battery meant a loss of control and a crash which totalled it for good. I liked it so well that I bought another which subsequently became my first review for RC Power.

Sadly, this newer plane suffered much the same fate the other day due to a reversed elevator control. Entirely my fault. It's crash-damaged all right, but it came in flat and in soft desert sand.

Both Raiden Tech and Nitro Models are sold out of the Zero (could my review have anything to do with it?) and after assessing the damage to mine, I've decided to fix it and share once again the progress I hope to make.

Here's what I'm up against starting with the fuselage:

*Separation of the firewall and engine from the fuselage along with some of the surrounding balsa; it wasn't glued in well at the factory in the first place

*Clean break of the right half of the vertical stab at the empannage

*Damage to the servo tray

*The rear wing hold-down popped off as a unit with the wing itself

As far as the wing is concerned:

*Small gouges in the covering on the top side

*Stripped gears in the left aileron servo

*Entire LE is scuffed (nothing I can do about that)

*Some sand and/or pieces of the internal structure are rattling around inside

*Locator tab...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 20, 2008 @ 01:48 AM | 3,787 Views
Good news: Some minor tweaking to the Zero's rudder eliminated the ground wobble. Most of it was due to a slightly loose control horn.

Bad news: I'd forgotten that I'd reversed the elevator control at the transmitter, so it tried to nose down instead of up on takeoff.

So, what did I do? Right! Instinct took over and I went the other way on the stick, but just a bit too far and she took off.

Frankly, I wasn't sure if I had reversed the ailerons as well as the elevator The result, however, was pretty much what you'd expect.

Second crash in four days. Three altogether in the last two weeks; four if you count the Blade CP.

Like all of you, I pride myself on my piloting skills and I rarely damage a plane. It had been more than a year since I last got a case of "dumb thumbs" and totalled a model. Believe me, there's been a lot of flying during that ensuing year.

However, like the crashes before it, this is fixable. It isn't close to being a total loss and I am not in the mood to line Raiden Tech's pockets with more of my money.

Always cheaper to fix rather than replace, I always say.

"Project Zero 2.0" is on the way.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 17, 2008 @ 11:44 PM | 3,788 Views
...when nothing seems to go right. I refer to yesterday.

Brought the Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25 to the field yesterday along with my little .25-powered combat plane. Despite the assembly problems which I had with the Zero (which are outlined in an RC Power product review), it is one sweet airplane and plenty fast to boot. Takeoffs and landings have always been a breeze. In fact, it's one of the easiest planes to land I've ever owned.

I tried swapping a pair of 2" DU-BRO rubber wheels which I had on hand in place of the stock foam wheels to see if it would handle better on the ground.


Despite removing, bending and rebending the struts (which are made of K&S 1/8" music wire), I couldn't keep the thing from either torque rolling left on takeoff, pitching forward on its nose or both. A quick check of the CG showed all was well. Still, it wouldn't handle properly no matter what I did.

I even went one better when trying to straddle the fuselage ahead of the elevator in order to set the high end: I kicked the tail nearly clean off!

My flying buddy who was helping me through all of this provided the CA and kicker.

Landings were just as bad, with the tendency to want to nose over and/or shoot off into the dirt. I chewed up the tips of the original prop and put the very first scrape on the chin of the cowl, this after more than thirty successful flights to this point.

Thought I'd try the combat plane to which I'd added...Continue Reading