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Jun 15, 2010, 08:02 PM
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U2's Nitro Slabs

I started the airplane hobby when I was a kid back in the 50's, building little balsa planes with doped tissue. I loved the smell of that dope. I had quite a collection of balsa planes and Revell plastic planes.

I went on to other things but gave RC a try in the 90's. I built a bunch of Sig planes, including a Senior and Senioretta, LT-40, Astrohog, and 1/5 Cub. I tried to learn to fly with the Senior and Seniorette but basically had a deadstick about every flight and never did get the hang of it.

I left the hobby again and messed around restoring Brit Sportscars (MGA's, Healey's, MGB, TR6).

About 3 years ago I was messing around on the Internet and saw electric RC and agonized over spending $150 to buy a Slow Stick. I did, and I taught myself to fly it. It was a steep learning curve, but I practiced all winter on the snow and by Spring I was pretty good. I built a bunch of Pat Trittle's little flyers, like the TM and the Waco. Then I built an Aerostik to try to get the hang of ailerons. I saw a video of someone "hovering" and that looked like a great trick, so I spent the summer in my field with a Hobby Lobby Yak trying to learn. Four Yaks later I had it down fairly good. I followed up with a foamy Blade Dancer. My main problem was getting the planes stuck in trees. I cut 6 trees to recover planes and decided it was time to search for bigger fields. I joined a local club.

I built most of Kalteisen's Slabs, including Skeeter 30,36, 40, Extra 260 and KX2 and got pretty good flying them, but I found tending batteries and short flights a pain, and I noticed that club members were flying nitro with few deadsticks.

So, I started my nitro fleet with an Ebay Butterfly ARF, followed by the rest of the planes in these pictures, and I've never looked back. I am really entirely into Slabs and 3D freestyle fun flying. For an old fart I have gotten pretty good and can do a decent imitation of most 3D tricks. Still can't torque roll worth a darn, except with a foamy, but I'll get it.

I am completely obsessed with this hobby and spend most of my free time on the forum, building, flying or dreaming about building and flying.
Last edited by u2builder; Apr 27, 2012 at 03:57 PM.
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Jun 16, 2010, 05:24 AM
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Joe- the seniorita you sold me now has an electric motor and flies quite well with 4 A123 cells. It is being used as a trainer in the Brattleboro club. jim
Jun 16, 2010, 05:42 AM
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Hi Jim, that's great and fun news. That was my favorite plane the first time I tried the hobby, and I was learning to fly her but the engine kept "letting me down". It sounds like the electric/A123 set up is just perfect. Someday I should stop over to the Brattleboro club and see the old girl!
Jul 30, 2010, 11:36 PM
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Great Blog- warmed my heart and thumbs to read your enthusiasm old boy!

Great job in teaching yourself-says a lot.

Its great to be here and in the basement on a project. I've spent the past year refitting my old fleet with Saitos and leaning electric. This winter a 50 cc gas project is in the works.

keep up the good work, fun and enthusiasm.

Jul 31, 2010, 05:29 AM
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Thanks Stins,
Hi Stins, thanks for the comments.

Yeah, this old boy is having a great time. I've had lots of hobbies, jack of all trades, master of none as they say, but this one is a keeper, and I have become a pretty decent pilot, too. I figure it keeps the mind and hand eye coordination sharp.

And I am always a builder. I can't seem to stop building. I always "believed in" two stroke motors, but like you, I am slowing converting my planes to Saito's. I love em. I am not ever sure I have them leaned out enough, and probably burn more fuel than I should, but I really like the way the sound and the way they run.

A couple of days ago I put a Saito in my old AstroHog. I built this during my first foray in this hobby but was never good enough to even try flying it and not only that, it didn't run well with the K&B Sportster. I hung it from the ceiling in the bedroom and looked at it for about 15 years. The the string broke and it crashed to the floor. I dug out the old yellow plans and fixed it. It stirred my interest and I got a Slow Stick and now three years later I can fly. I tried an old Fox but didn't like the way it ran either. I had a Saito 82 I picked up and put it in. Wow, does it fly the old Hog great. Now I am thinking of a HOG bipe. Yes, this is a great hobby. I am heading to a Huckfest with a buddy. First hobby where I have had male buddies! I know I will get bored and want to come back and fly! Take care. Joe aka U2builder.
Jul 31, 2010, 04:48 PM
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Have a great time.

On the saito, don't hesitate to lean out the low end the whole way. Lean it out at idle till it stalls when advancing the throttle, then richen it about an eighth to a quarter turn.
Saves fuel and thats the way they are made to run. Save that cash for another Saito.

If I ever get my home built finished, I'll have to fly up your way.
Heading to a Fun Fly tomorow with friends too- always a good time.

Talk again soon...
Jul 31, 2010, 04:57 PM
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What is your homebuilt?

I built a few homebuilts years ago (Pietenpol, Heath Parasol, Mitchell U2 Wing, Avid, Kolb Firestar). I flew the Piet, Avid and Kolb some, but pretty much have both feet on the ground lately!
Aug 07, 2010, 02:29 AM
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volksplane in pieces... now that third kid is in college, I may get more time in the big shop..
still have daughter's wedding and then maybe I can get it done and in the air. Thought of going the RV-4 and higher route too.
Oct 04, 2010, 12:22 PM
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Hi U2,
Read your blog and you sound like me, except I just fly slope but am competing with these guys who have flown for more than 20 years and now feel I am on an even plane with them. I did many hours on flight sims to get my experience and am now getting into Heli's very small scale, so far and also FPV so that is how I found your thread that I responded to. Anyway cool planes and played with the 3D stuff on the sim but way over my head. My right thumb is very well trained but my left one (until now) has not been to school.

Oct 04, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Ah, I feel like a kid a Christmas. After many different hobbies, I entered this late but with much enthusiasm. I have become quite proficient at 3D, especially for an old guy. Funny you should mention the left thumb. Yes, my left thumb is very talented. In fact, I didn't realize until after I ordered the wing that it was (duh) a three channel. That's not good for me as when I fly three channel my left thumb moves around as if it were trying to provide some inputs. So I am going to make the tip fins into tip (drag) rudders. I built a U2 Flying Wing (my avitar) that had such rudders though I sold it without flying it. When the rudder pedal is deployed the wing on the inside of the turn, it deploys the tip rudder on that side only outward to create drag to counteract any adverse yaw, and it is said that tip rudders could turn the U2 without any ailevator input. So I'll give it a try. Must be some trick I can do with it and if not my left thumb can at least pretend it has something to do. Like vertical uplines. A wing will be way out of my experience and comfort level, as would FPV, but I had best give it a try. Combat seems like it would be a blast. Out here in the sticks mostly the guys just fly trainers around in circles. The sticks would be good for FVP, fun to explore the area by air. I briefly tried a heli this Spring. 400 size electric. I don't think I am made for helis. I could hover mine but not fly it yet. Its too heartwracking. So much damage and so much meticulous work to put them together after a crash. And expensive too.

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