Tag Archive: airplane


Hello!

I had quite some pause in my RC activity. My daughter had priority over RC stuff, so please excuse my lack of posts.

Now the indoor season is going, so we can join in a school sports hall on Friday evenings for one and a half hours.

Outdoors flying is probably getting very problematic in the future, our club is being kicked out from our flying field by the municipality. Unfortunately there is quite some politics and corruption involved, so we don’t really have much of a chance in this game.

My 10th flight was rather boring probably. I haven’t been flying for quite some time, so I tried to freshen up my reflexes.

My latest indoor flight was the 11th flight with my Extra300. I used a new camera for recording, purchased recently an SJCAM SJ4000 action camera. It is basically a copy of GoPro3, with some attractive pricing.

The camera is rather okay for my application. I knew that it has some limitations, so I was not expecting it to beat the latest GoPro4 series. For instance it has some issues with white balance and it would not work so fine for FPV either. It cannot do 60 fps, only 30 fps. But it is fully compatible with GoPro accessories and has a rather okay picture for the price. I made some very simple reviews of it, you can find some videos below.

I look forward to fly a bit more during the winter season.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

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Hello,

It was quite some time since I reflected on my Extra300 EPP indoor plane. The build was rather long and I had many questionmarks. I think this happened partly due to my inexperience in building and due to the manual being written by a very experienced senior pilot who mentioned only the most important aspects of the build. I am not even novice in building, so I would have needed a lot more detail in building instructions.

Anyhow, the plane is ready and it flies well. I tried to take a stepwise approach with flying. I knew that indoor flying would demand constant usage of rudder. While flying my Easystar I started to turn with rudder and aileron together. So I made some rudder practice to prepare myself for indoor challenges. However I knew that playing with rudder while having “the whole sky” to my disposal is rather easy. I was prepared for some crashes as I knew that indoor will be a lot more difficult.

To not ruin the plane within 10 seconds of flight I tried to practice on the ground first. That said applying a fraction of throttle and “driving around” in circles rather than lifting off. This was more difficult than I have thought it would be, since nothing was trimmed and I had a new radio system even. As result I had some occasional unintended takeoffs. These were aborted mostly, that said I crashed the plane nose-in to the floor. Like a warbird tip. I consumed propellers at some rate 🙂

Maiden flight:

2nd flight:

3rd flight, I started to enjoy high angle-of-attack slow passes. Not easy, but fun. Tried to mix directions, figure 8 and slalom flight. Very exciting to do, maybe not so exciting to watch, though.

4th flight, I tried to transition to hover.

5th flight, with hovering practice.

6th flight, more hovering and fun flight.

7th flight. I started to grow devil horns, had some “moments” of daredevil actions. Landed on the wall for instance.

8th flight, my first roll indoors. Scary but fun.

I skipped last weeks flights as I was fortunate enough to have my daughter born. She was born at 1:30 on the 20th of January 2014. A real miracle, 49 cm and 3230 grams of new life. Funny enough it is my birthday, I received the best possible present ever! I stayed home to help my wife and the baby, no flying right now. I will regain action soon, just need to sort out the first few weeks with helping around.

I am not sure what will happen to our outdoors flying. The flight club is going through a very difficult time period. The council announced that they will remove us from our flying field. As from 1st of February 2014 we are no longer allowed to use the field, we have to clear the area and cannot return. We haven’t received yet any other area to use, so the very existence of the club is in danger.
Our flight club and cross motorcycle (dirt bike if you like) club is removed from the area. The cause for this unfortunate decision is that an investment group tied to some politician tries to build a set of luxury golf flats in the area. It is rather interesting, since the golf club itself went bankrupt several times during the last few years. Besides that there are many issues around the build plans, as it seems politics and corruption got mixed up things quite a bit.

The club tried to apply for a negotiation, but the council does not really listen. So as for new it looks like that 1st of February is the end of our current flight activity.

I don’t know yet how we will do. There are some locations where I can fly, but the club itself will not be able to survive without a flying field. We will see.

An article from local newspaper.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,
My 7th flight has happened. As one of my favourite bands say: “7th son of a 7th son”. Look it up, great song.
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This time the flight took place at our club field. Weather was not really promising, we were anxious about rain. Not without reason as it turned out. The whole week was more or less rainy and weather prognose did not really calm us. However it looked like that between 18:00 and 20:00 it should not rain. And finally after long weeks of misfortune the prognose was aligned with reality. I think the guys at Weather Institution were doing their best 🙂
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I made a sketch of my flight profile for better illustration. I call it a Hi-Lo/Hi-Lo profile, I lended this expression from military terms. There you can have different techniques for ingressing and exgressing from the hot zone, depending on the altitude profile these are called similarly. Anyhow this is a peacful mission, so no weapons are on board of my humble Easystar.
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What I do you can see on the graph. Horizontal axis is time, vertical is height. I take off, do maybe a quick round and then climb against the wind as steep as possible. This phase is on full power, the plane climbs at maybe 60 degrees against the wind. I gain height and climb as far as I can see the plane against the sky or clouds. This is approximately 250-300 meters. I estimate it based on the sound delay when I chop throttle at the end of the climb. Sound travels at 340 m/s roughly, so 1 second delay would be approximately 340 meter distance. As I can only estimate the angle I am above horizon (the azimuth) height would also be a guess only. But something like 250-300 meters. Quite high actually, you can see very far away on a clear day from that height.
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When I am up there I close the throttle and start gliding. I do some circles as well to record as much of the sight as possible. Then I glide along the field with the wind, do a turn and glide against the wind. And repeat this as long as I have altitude left. To lose altitude quicker I can do some loops or half rolls. Quite fun. Since I have stiffened up the wings doing a loop will not bend them so much as without stiffening.
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When I am close to the ground I do a school turn (an oval above the field) and then turn into the wind and climb again on full throttle. This enables me another climb to altitude. Then I glide down and land. These 2 climbs and glide sessions fit into the 7 minute window that is advised, I drain the battery to something like 3.8-3.9V per cell. This is a comfortable storage voltage. Then I can change battery and take off for a new round.
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I managed to fly 5 batteries then it started to rain. The last flight was almost in the rain, I bled altitude with multiple loops to not get the plane soaked. Could record some other flights meanwhile, a Sukhoi-29 and a QuadCopter among others. The Sukhoi was a big aeroplane, built from balsa with film cover and a massive 6-cell setup. The battery is like a half brick, the electric motor is of size of a tomato. Impressive. Even more impressive is the noise of air whistling around the plane as it travels. Very nice exprerience.
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I had one small incident, managed to do a faulty start in the beginning. I did not have the hand on the yoke, just launched the plane and then it fell on the grass. Stupid mistake. It did not crack, but anyhow rather embarrassing. The next start I had the hand on the yoke, so I could recover from the dive and do a proper takeoff.
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Thank you,
Best regards,
Sir Crash a Lot

Hello!

I just placed order for some modelling glue products. It may sound almost irrelevant but as I have to build up my modelling infrastructure I need to buy even such auxiliary items.

I purchased my package from Autopartner, discussed with my modelling expert colleague what to pick up.

Based on his experience I went for the following.

epoxy with 6 minutes hardening time

UHU Por glue (for Depron / EPP)

I even bought some thread locker, that is only to have safe locking of propeller bolts.

What I learned from my colleague is that for different purposes you should use different glue type. For instance on the foam plane you have to have something that does not destroy (melt or dissolve) the foam structure. Another factor is what rigidity you achieve on the glued join. In some cases you might prefer very stiff and hard join, like on an engine mount. In some other cases you would prefer some softer join that can take up some deformation without braking.

CA glue is very fast and rigid with some higher price.

Epoxy is cheaper (good argument if you need to glue bigger surfaces), forms a softer join that takes stress and vibration.

UHU Por is a so-called contact glue. This means that you apply a layer on both surfaces you intend to glue together, wait 10 minutes and then push surfaces to each other. This join will get somewhat flexible, a good way to glue fuselage and wings.

I will need to get some practice with these glue types and have experience myself. So far I could only tell what I heard and read of them.

Continue reading

Easystar parts order

Hello!

I am about to order some parts for my Easystar build. Some of them are build material, others are missing components of the plane. Source of purchasing is Hobbycity.

For the motor and servo installation I will need some shrink tubes. It is better to have a shrink tube on the motor first and have the glue on the plastic shrink instead of glue the motor directly in the plane.

Same applies for the servos, it is easier to change the servo if it might fail. I purchase 30, 40 and 50 mm shrink tubes.

I will need servo lead extensions. I was not fully sure which type of connector do I have and need. I found a site which explains it well, can recommend to check it out here.

I will need JR connector as it looks like. Just to be covered for the future I will buy 20, 30 and 40 cm long cables both from JR and Futaba style leads.

I will need an ESC or electronic speed controller. I have a 40A Plush variant that I used in my helicopter. It is rather large and heavy for this plane, no need for this huge one. I could use a 25A variant. Lighter, smaller. I go for this, since I will have the ESC in the airflow, so a slimmer one will give me better (lower) drag, so I can glide better.

I purchase an ESC programming card as well. Without it you can program the ESC by moving the throttle stick and listening to beeps. Very complex operation. With the programming card you can see LED lights and set it very easily.

The main attraction of this shopping is the electric motor. A brushless inrunner with 2200 kv. This will propel my Easystar with furious power compared to the stock brushed motor.

I am short of 1 servo. Bought 3 pieces metal gear servo last time when crashed my helicopter. However for this build I will need 4 servos. So I buy one more servo.

For stocking up build material I buy some pushrod connectors.

The other main attraction is going to be the propeller. Instead of the stock one I will need 6×4 propellers that manage the power and revs of the brushless motor.

Found a very nice beech wood propeller in this size, I like the wood looks.

Just for the safe side approach I buy a plastic prop as well, in case if the wooden might not work out well.

I will need propeller adapter to secure the prop on the motor shaft.

Wanted to buy an UBEC but all of a sudden it is out of stock, so I skip that for now.

I got some present even! A colleague who is expert in RC flight gave me some piano wire pushrods with matching brackets. This will be great for my aileron mod on the Easystar.

I think with these items the build is possible. I skipped the idea of having OSD from beginning. After studying the wiring of Flytron OSD and considering the weight of it (less than 5 grams) I decided to have it in the nose of the plane. Much easier to set up, to do eventual firmware update and connect everything. This will simplify the whole build.

I will update my schematics, in a separate post you can see the updated (and more simple) plan for the electronics. The missing UBEC implies update on schematics, another good point to update.

I will get back with more info upon the arrival of my package.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello!

Let’s begin in medias res. Great news, my first two packages arrived. One containing the airframe, the other some accessories. First came from Autopartner, second from MJ Hobby.

I read earlier that Multiplex is doing excellent job when packaging their products and their crate boxes are surprisingly small. So I anticipated some reasonable size crate box. Of course what does reasonable mean? Specially if one doesn’t have a single clue about model airplanes and what size of boxes they do come in.

After work today I went to the local postal distribution point (a candy store actually) and fetched my package. The elderly gentleman asked me to give him some directions about the size of the package so he doesn’t need to check all of them. So I told him that he should look after some box that is longer and not so thick. Then all of a sudden he fetched a box that seemed almost large. When he gave it to me I almost threw it up in the air since it weighs nothing. As I lifted air. The element of surprise was there 🙂

I have to confess that I ordered some extra items, so the big crate box contained my Easystar and some balsa plywood and even some carbon-fibre rods and pipes.

Just for visual reference I placed my faithful little Lama v3 helicopter in front of the boxes. It looks like being parked in front of Sears Tower in Chicago or something…

My small box contains a very sharp knife (to cut foam) and some Du-Bro hinges. Sweet!

I just show how the company packed my stuff. They used already used packaging material. This is quite wise, you don’t need to scrap everything if you can reuse it. I did not get any damage, even the fragile plywood survived. So it works.

Finally, the Easystar! I do understand the comments now about how small this package is. It is small actually, very small diameter, rather long than thick. If I consider that the wing span will be 1.3 meters it seems smart packaging to me. Let’s see what is inside!

When I opened it I could see a huge sheet of nice decals. As I heard in another review “some ultra-cool stickers!” 🙂

Below that I could find a manual (detailed one), and different pieces of airplane.

The wing mounts, vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer.

Steering leads and wires are glued onto top lid of package. Fuselage visible in box.

I “assembled” the plane and set Lama v3 next to it as visual reference. Rotor diameter for Lama is 340 mm. This plane is large. For me at least. Like it so far 🙂

Even Bender likes it as it seems. Who is Bender? A character in cartoon series Futurama. Created by Matt Groening, the same person who created The Simpsons. Recommended to watch.

A small box very well secured in one corner of big box contains Permax400 motor and propeller. Also different small items are kept there.

I am very happy with this package.

I need to fetch a brushless motor yet, a matching propeller. Some glue will be needed and some other hinges to do aileron mod. After that I could actually start the build. Very exciting it is, if I am allowed to use the twisted way of expressing myself as Master Yoda could have put it.

Let’s continue in next post.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

My simulator practice

Hello!

I had a post about RC simulators in general, in this post I would like to show you some of my practice sessions.

As I started with helicopters, majority of these practice sessions are related to rotary wing aircrafts. As I progressed I discovered more and more interest in airplane flying as well. Both of them are really fun, so in some occasions you can see airplanes as well.

First practice run was already shown in simulator introduction post. For the sake of not missing it I show it again.

Then I performed some really lame 3D flight with a Raptor 50 helicopter. It is from Thunder Tiger, great helicopter.

Then some other helicopters, mostly 3D loops and rolls. Towards the end I do acrobatic flight with a Giles airplane. Some people build beautiful scale models of this plane.

(from www.blaineaustin.com)

You might notice the level of detail in simulation. When I taxi back to the starting point and the plane is running on the grass the wheel suspension actually flex and the plane rides bumpy. Excellent immersion, great simulator.

Then I tried some indoor flight. If you read carefully the text section of the clip you can find some information about cheese. I tried the orange-flavoured variant that even carries some hint of swedish home-brewed spirit taste. Interesting taste combination 🙂

In following clip I do some 4D acrobatics. 4D ???

Yes, since 3D is such 2007 🙂

Actually with some special motor and propeller tuning you can have special effect in flying. The motor revs at high RPM (fixed) and you control pitch of propeller blades. You can reverse with such planes, since with pitch control the air can be blown in reverse direction. Very special.

My last simulator practice video so far covers my nose-in hovering exercise. When nearly crashing into the wall I even created some instant replay effect. Cool, if I might add.

As comment I can add that doing simulator training is a great complementary activity. It does not replace real flight, gives some practice without risks.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello!

How did I start radio-controlled modelling?

I happened very long time ago, I was a child when we received a remote-controlled car from relatives. It was a very nice BMW car modell, a silver colour CSL 3.0 racecar. Something like this, but silver.

It was actually radio-controlled, on some FM frequency. Analogue, of course, so occasionally we could experience radio glitch even. We were kids, no idea about radio control. We were so worried of it that we only drove it indoors with my brother. Then we became older and for long time toy cars were not active part of our lifes.

Summer 2009 I read an article about remote-controlled cars and the sleeping thoughts of controlling something from a remote location woke up in my mind. Actually this happened in a surprisingly strong way, I tried to argue with myself for some time that I cannot really play now and that I don’t really have time for this now. Then I bravely declared defeat and admitted to myself that I am back into business. So it happened 🙂

As I am a very complicated person it was impossible to just walk in a store and buy some car model. No, I have procedures. I like procedures. I even follow procedures.

First I had to decide what vehicle shall I aim at. This is more important than you might think. I am renting a flat with my lady, we live on the 3rd floor in the city of Gothenburg and we don’t own a car yet. 3rd floor means that I need to think vertical sometimes, Gothenburg means that I am rather challenged from the weather point-of-view. Sweden has funny weather, there is summer here of course, but it can be rather short in some cases. No car means public transport, in my case Västtrafik. So I had to pick a vehicle that is suitable considering my boundary conditions.

I hope that you are not bored yet, I will come to the main topic shortly.

As I am not an easy person I had to add one more factor to the equation. That is challenge. What drives me more, what will provide more excitement, what will be a greater achievement in the end?

The car is great fun, I know that. But it is comprimised in some ways. You drive it along the surface of the Earth in most cases. That means that you have 2 dimensions to take care of. Or if you allow me to say so: 2 axles. I don’t mean the axles of the car as a truck might have 3 or even more axles. I mean the controller axles.

On a car you can give throttle and break/reverse on one axle and can steer on the second axle. This can be challenge if you drive against yourself for example. The steering is “reversed” in this case. If you turn right it will mean that the car will turn right according to its own coordinate system. You will percieve that it turned left, according to your own coordinate system.

The car has some other issue as well. Transporting the car to some location that supports playing with it needs a real car, I don’t have that yet. So I dropped the car idea.

The airplane came next. It is more exciting, a lot more.

My grandfather was a pilot for instance (flew 29 type of airplane in total), he told me a lot of stories from WW II, I am really fond of flying and airplanes. However the same issue with transport is valid here, it is seldom that you can transport a model airplane in an IKEA plastic bag, commuting with it on public transport can be difficult. So I dropped airplane thread so far.

What is even more difficult to fly? The helicopter! Now we are talking!

The helicopter is amazingly difficult to fly, it provides me the necessary amount of challenge and it can be transported without any major investment. It can take off and land vertically, this means that I don’t need any special location to fly it.

I started to read a lot about helicopters and gathered in all the information that I could find about them. What I tried to understand was the following:

– which model to start with?

– what do I need for it?

– how can I learn to fly?

I understood that there is 3 major type of model helicopters, if I am allowed to simplify a lot of factors.

1. Coaxial helicopters. These are easy to fly, can be a good trainer. They are mostly for indoor use, cannot handle wind outdoors. They are good for beginning but get boring as you get intermediate level.

2. Fixed-pitch helicopters with tail rotor. These are great trainers, fly almost like the big ones. Can be flown outdoors, are easy to repair and maintain. They cannot fly inverted as the big ones, but almost no difference otherwise.

3. Collective-pitch helicopters. These are the big ones, the ultimate helicopter category. They can fly even inverted, can do everything that you can see in the movie Blue Thunder for instance. Well, the silent mode might not be true 🙂

If you look at a typical helicopter radio controller unit you can see that we are talking real business here. You can operate a lot of things.

I actually knew that I am destined to fly these, I had the guiding light, I found the Holy Grail. I thought at least. More of that later.

So I picked the category, I shall fly helicopters. I understood that it is not a good idea to start with the most difficult, so I went for a coaxial heli in first place.

I picked a Lama, not any lama but a replica of the famous Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama helicopter.

Mine looks more simple, is made of plastic and is lot smaller. I went for the E-Sky Lama v3 to be accurate, a 2.4 GHz range RC heli. It has rotor diameter of 340 mm and is a tough little bird. Exactly what I needed to begin with.

This happened in September 2009, that was the rebirth of my radio-controlled adventure. In short this is how I began. If all goes well you can read about the details in my coming posts.

As to give you some teaser I offer some amazing clips of modelling. They give me the goose pimples 🙂

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot