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#401 [url]

Jun 1 17 6:53 PM

Finally think I have my Hacker 330SC 1000mm plane back in prime form again.  After that nose-in crash it took me two tries to get it repaired.  Two (so far) almost invisible breaks that didn't appear until later under larger loads.  Last was a hairline crack in the motor firewall that fatigued and failed after about 5 minutes flying.  Carbon fiber tape to the rescue once again!  ;-)

You might notice a quick little shake/glitch in the video.  That's my editing.  I failed to delete a couple of keyframe points in the final editing when I was going back through all the pan/cropping to track the plane towards the center of the screen all the time.  I adjusted a couple of keypoints and forgot to delete some of the old that were right next to it.  So - both views and a glitch!  HA!   Not worth another 2 hours processing time to correct.

Tunes are a new artist I've discovered - Reina Del Cid.  Plenty of YouTube videos - just small time so far.  Minnesota I think......
 
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#402 [url]

Jun 1 17 8:31 PM

I got my Axis XS-480 down and prepped it for flight.  And added a GoPro style camera mount.  Not a camera plane, but you never know what you'll get.  I put little Mobius Mini 1080p 60FPS camera on it shooting rearward.
Flew fine, but I could tell it was a bit heavier - the plane tended to fly a bit faster.

The landing gear design on this is quite ingenious.   Trademarked by StevensAero I think.  Simple but very solid engineering-wise.  Simply a u-bend landing gear wire, a standard dowel rod and rubber bands.  But, as you can see, works great!  Better than most any landing gear design I've ever had.  On the bench I noticed those old rubber bands were getting old and brittle, so I replaced them before this flight.  With the way I hit on the final landing, I'm sure glad I did!  But the gear worked liked a champ.....

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#403 [url]

Jun 8 17 11:01 AM

New airplane to replace my Hacker Extra 330SC.  I still love the Extra but I can tell its starting in on its "old age" now.  It takes more and more tweaking to keep it in flying condition.  The US has lost its last Hacker distributor (it's a Czech based company) so all you can get here now are the remaining stock, and the larger models of these acrobatic/3D planes are all I can find left in stock.  I wish the 1000mm's were still available, but I sure can't find any (without ordering from Europe and paying out the rear for shipping.)
So I bought this - a Hacker Edge 540 1200mm.  It's a monster.  The larger airplanes are actually easier to fly, but harder to store and transport than the smaller.
It looks almost identical to the Extra on the outside - just bigger.  But there are a lot of differences internally.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a prop adapter for the motor I had in stock (4mm dia shaft) so I had to order some in from Heads UP RC in Florida.  I had 3mm, 3.17mm and 5mm in stock, but no 4mm!  Figures.  No matter how much I plan, I often end up overlooking something.  The adapter should be here in the next few days and I'll go ahead and mount the prop.  In the meantime, I have another Eagle A3 gyroscopic like I have in my Extra that I love coming.  In fact just got here, so I'll install that and map it to a switch so I can turn it on/off in flight if I need.  Everything else is installed and tested.

So, here's a comparison of the sizes.  Old 40" Extra 33SC and the new 47" Edge 540.  Big and little brother.  This one weighs in at 26+ ounces (~740 grams) flight ready.   A great weight for such a large airplane.
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#404 [url]

Jun 9 17 8:52 AM

Here's the build video for my new Edge 540 47" airplane.   As usual, the quality of the kit was great.  A lot of airplane for only $80 shipped to my door.  I was going to use an old RimFire motor I had, but discovered I didn't have the right size prop adapter for it.  Then I remembered the old Scorpion motor I had in my FunCub.  Scorpion motors are like the gold standard of motors, but they are EXPENSIVE!  This motor alone is a $70-$80 motor.....  It's around 300 watts and should work great.  The only part of the build I didn't care for was the vertical stabilizer in the tail.  The battery on this one goes in from the bottom, so you have to sit it on it's back when prepping for flight.  So it's resting on the tail.  It's fine for the Extra as you don't have to turn it over and the stabilizer isn't nearly as tall.  But this one felt a bit flimsy.   I've lost the vertical stabilizer in flight before and the results are NEVER pretty.  So I added a couple of little carbon fiber rods to beef that area up.  Feels much stiffer back there now.

At first I didn't like the rudder throw.  So I installed a longer servo arm on the rudder and now I get full throw all the way to the elevator on each side.  The rudder is an important control surface on these type airplanes.

All up flying weight is right about 27 ounces, which is VERY light for a plane this size.  It should really float.

The video is longer than most I do.  I don't worry so much about length and other stuff for build videos as they are intended to be instructional rather than entertaining.  So I try to get a lot of detail in.  I've gone back to review a build more than once when I have to do a repair and want to remember how I built a plane.  Plus it might help another modeler build one like this.

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#405 [url]

Jun 19 17 12:04 PM

A guy I used to fly with long ago happened to stumble across my Hacker Edge 540 build video and sent me a private message.  He said he liked the looks of it and wondered where I got it.  So I told him Hacker has lost its USA distributor and the kits being sold are just the ones left in stock here.  And I said it was bigger than  I expected and would barely fit in my Jeep. 
So he offered to buy it.  And I sold it to him for what I paid - $80.  Plus I included the servos as it would have been more work to take them and and for him to put in new ones - mainly just running the darned wires inside the fuselage.  So it had never even flown.  He got it last week.  So he got a good deal - didn't have to put it together and got 4 servos thrown in, as well as getting one of the few remaining planes left in stock in the USA.  And I got to build it - which I enjoy.

I took the $80 and put it with $5 more and bought this little kit.  Much more my size.  Multiplex ParkMaster Pro.  It's a "profile" plane made of flat pieces of foam, except this one has a true airfoil wing.  It's a true 3D airplane that can do all kinds of strange maneuvers.  IF you have the skill - which I don't but like to try anyway.  Interesting landing gear on this one.  Unlike any I've ever seen before.  No wire.  The struts are carbon fiber strips that glue in to mounting brackets.  I'm normally not a fan of wheel pants as I see no practical use for them on a RC plane and can even impede taking off from grass.  I normally leave them off.  But on this design the wheel pants are an integral part of the landing gear.  So I added them. 

Soooo - here's the build of it.  I had everything else in stock as I pulled everything but the servos out of the old Hacker plane I sold....
19 ounces - all up flying weight.

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#406 [url]

Jun 22 17 4:10 PM

I put an Eagle A3 6-axis flight stabilizer gyro in my little Shaft 400.  So I took it out today to tune it in.  From my last experience I knew this time to turn the gain on the gyro down a bit from neutral.  First time I used one of these I set it to default and, once in flight, the ailerons were chattering back and forth over-correcting.  It doesn't make you crash, just jitters the plane around.  So I cranked it down some this time - and it was still just a bit too hot.  You can see it chattering on my first short flight, but just slightly.  So I landed and turned it down a bit more and it seemed nice and smooth.  In fact I may try to turn it up just a bit.

It was a great day to try it out, too.  One thing these gyros really help is flying in a bit more wind - as it will compensate for the shaking and smooth out the controls.  And it was about 8-12 MPH at that open field today at times -quite a bit wind for this light little plane, and then almost calm at others.   And the gyro really did help out on that.  Felt like flying in still air almost - except for a little side drift now and then. 

All in all a successful flight and test.  I also put a black strip on a wing that I thought helped visibility some.  Which wasn't good today with that cloud backdrop like it was.

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#407 [url]

Jun 23 17 8:52 AM

I "flew" my ParkMaster for the first time yesterday.   Probably in the air a whole 20 seconds!  ha ha...   I have it set to the center of gravity recommended but it acted way tail heavy.  And way out of elevator trim.  I just brought it around and tried to sit it down to adjust the trims at least.  But I could NOT get it to taxi on the ground.  No steerable tail gear so you have to steer by kicking the prop blast on the rudder and swinging the tail around.  And it wasn't working.  After I got to the plane I saw an aileron control horn had broken loose.  Lousy glue joint whoever built it did.  :-)
Soooo - that ended the flying for that plane yesterday.  I've repaired the control horn and will work on the rest today.  But it flew like a clown was flying it.  Was rather comedic I thought.

Hardly worth putting up a video - but I put the bad up with the good.

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#408 [url]

Jun 26 17 5:29 AM

Took the Parkmaster back out today after working on it a bit.  I moved the battery further forward, and used a bigger 1500 mAh rather than the 1300 I had - for extra nose weight and flight time (I just hate adding dead weight if I don't have to!).  Took a little work on the foam where I had cut it out before.  This battery compartment setup isn't the best I've ever seen.  And I repaired the broken glue joint on the aileron control horn that broke off before.  And went over a lot of other glue joints and re-glued them.  I also adjusted the control surface throws and exponential rates.  To "soften" them down a bit. 

After I moved the battery forward I re-checked the center of gravity and found it was really more the recommended than I thought.  Somehow I think I marked the first CG wrong - or measured it wrong.  Stupid centimeters to inches.  ha....

So - out to give it another try today.  And it was rock solid this time.  CG was spot on - couldn't have been better.  It needed a bit of up elevator trim so I landed and did that, and then I was off for a nice, long "maiden" flight this time.  Just seeing how it responded.  And it did everything as though it was reading my mind.  No bad quirks.  I did need more aileron authority - and I've fought those ailerons and servos since I built it.  The ailerons were binding up a bit and the servos didn't have the torque to force them.  So I undid the linkage when I got home and worked on the hinges.  I freed it them up a lot and they move a lot more now, but I may still cut out the old factory plastic hinges and install actual pinned hinges for the ailerons sometime - to get the freest motion for the ailerons.  I'll give this a try now though - I think it'll roll faster next time.

Was a hoot to fly!

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#409 [url]

Jun 26 17 9:47 AM

I dusted off my Radian 2-meter sailplane and took it up.  I had forgotten that the last time I noticed some motor vibration.  And it didn't go away on its own.  I guess I'm going to have to open it up and see if I can locate where its coming from.

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#410 [url]

Jun 26 17 7:33 PM

Wound up the day at the park yesterday with my old BUG.  This is one of my first planes and it's still going - over 8 years!  It's almost unbreakable - which is a VERY good thing for me!
This little thing is more like flying a leaf than an airplane!  It's a good, fun little backyard plane, though.....

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#411 [url]

Jul 1 17 6:36 AM

I took my old Millennium Slow Stick X out today.  Best thing I ever did for it was re-covering the wing and re-working the aileron linkages.  It really has some good roll now with the big aileron throws!
So - out to the park.  Then remembered that this is the 4th weekend - so "my" park will be all tied up with preparations for the big fireworks show.   So I made a quick detour down Elwood to 36th by the PSO station.  There are power wires running all around but I've learned that they look a lot closer than they really are - and it's a really nice field to fly. 

So - off I went and found it was pulling VERY hard left!  It took a whole lot of correction to just get it to come around and land.  Adjusted - and still a bit left.  Adjusted once again - and it was flying nice and level.  I figured out later that it was pilot error on the trims..   Er-cough......  Oh - and yes, that tail is a bit crooked!  It's been that way for years now.  I crashed it long ago and had to re-work it and didn't get it quite right.  Doesn't seem to affect how it flies at all, though.....

Anyway - here's the flight.  Nothing special.  But I do think I have this little plane about as tuned in as it can be, now.  For a 46" wingspan it really does roll fast.  This is my first aileron trainer, and my second plane.  And first wooden one.  And still fun.....  Man  - this plane is also about 7 or 8 years old now...  I added the Mercalli de-shake filter on the on-board camera tracks.  Sometimes that works great, and sometimes it can be a bit off-putting to see the frame drift around in the video view.

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#413 [url]

Jul 2 17 9:07 AM

On a whim, I stuck a little Mobius Mini camera on the Shaft 400.  I'd never put a camera on it before - it's not really a good camera plane.  But - what the heck?
That sure is a great sport plane.  Flies really solid.  Stevens Aero makes great kits.

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#414 [url]

Jul 4 17 6:19 AM

I took my trusty Slow Stick out today.   The wind wasn't bad - so they said.  Man, once I took off I had the ride of my life.  It was really nasty air - a fairly stiff wind out of the south - which was no problem.  But it was ROUGH - and there were "holes" in the air everywhere.  On the south side of the field opposite of the power plant there was nothing but lift.  Just wanted to go up all the time.  Circled around back towards the power plant and back west towards the road and there was a "hole" in the air the size of an abyss.  I mean - straight down.  Scary even.  You can even see my little airplane just get sucked down in to it a couple of times. 

I put my Feiya 2D gimbal with the GoPro Hero3+.   The wind was so rough there was a lot of shaking in the yaw direction - and my 2D gimbal doesn't handle that.  So I added the Mercalli ProDad deshaking filter on top of the GoPro/gimbal video.  Worked pretty nicely if I don't say so myself.  And I went ahead and added the Mercalli to the tail Mobius-Mini camera as well.  Still though, the air was just too rough.  It was one of those flights where as soon as I took off I started thinking about bringing it back down.

There are some birds out there that just do NOT like my airplanes.  You can see a small bird strike on my plane about 5:00 when it attacked.  

For some strange reason the head camera came back at 30 frames/sec.  I had it set to 60.  And a different video did 60.  I don't know what happened.  I "upscaled" it to 60 frames/sec but there's still some frame blurring here and then.  Chalk it up to another Kilroy.  

SAD news, though.   GWS has DISCONTINUED THE SLOW STICK!   Ugh.   Yep - no longer can buy.  The base airframe use to sell for about $25-$29.  Now none are to be found other that other folks wanting to sell.  The parts I think I can either make or pick up on 3rd market sources.  But the foam wing?  That's the valuable part.  Just to have a kit for parts I've already bid on two different ones on ebay.  Lost both.  First bid I went up to $48 and it sold for $49.  The last bid the other day I bid up to $60 and it ended up selling for $115!!!!  So the value is escalating "bigly"  ha.....  I may have to rely on all home made parts - even the wing - eventually.  But I would think that some smart business will jump in to fill that demand in the marketplace and start making some plug 'n play replacement GWS wings...

But I just can't believe that GWS would just shut down that model.  That's the work horse of sooooo many beginning RC pilots - myself included.  Just the perfect beginner plane.  Plus a great fun, relaxing park plane and a great universal workhorse.  And a great heavy lifter, too. 

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#415 [url]

Jul 4 17 10:10 AM

Another little flight with my Bug.  Great plane for keeping your reflexes honed.  Surfing a pretty stiff wind.
But those birds out there.....   they do NOT like my planes at ALL!

Landing was just a few seconds earlier than I had planned!  More of that terrible sinking air around.

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#416 [url]

Jul 5 17 7:23 AM

Well, crashed my trusty old Slow Stick yesterday.  Strange, in over 9 years of flying these things I've only crashed in a tree 3 times.  And TWICE of those were on July 4th.  Also - LAST year on JULY 4th, I crashed my Blade 350QX3 quadcopter while out in my back yard shooting video of the fireworks.
I think next July 4th I'll just stay indoors.

Anyway, ever since I reinforced the wing on this thing with a carbon fiber rod it hasn't quite done right.  Tends to be unstable.  I think I just went too far and it pulled too much dihedral out it.  These little channel, no aileron wings turn by using dihedral.  Now, that carbon fiber span is epoxied in and it will NOT be coming back out.   Ugh.   The little plane was trying to give me warnings.  You can see it obviously wobbling in the video.  I think with the heavy GoPro and Feiyu gimbal it is just heavy enough to pull enough dihedral in the wing.  But on this flight I was just running two little 1 ounce cameras.  So the wing was quite flat.  So I figure I have two options.  Build another wing or install ailerons in the one I have.  Hmmmm.   I ?think? I have the parts for one more wing in stock.  You can NOT buy these kits anymore.  I'm still in shock by GWS discontinuing these little kits.

Anyway - here's the flight.  When it happens, it happens fast.  I had a fair warning both Monday and yesterday but I shrugged it off.  On this flight you can see I ALMOST bite the dirt around 2:30.  Then I bring it around and had a great chance to just set it down softly.  But I passed it up and pushed on.  That invited disaster and the next thing I knew I was breaking out my telescoping  "removed airplane from tree" tool..    I bought this little pole when I first started out, and I've used it 3 times now.  To get planes out of trees.  Once the fire department used it for me!  I think it's about 20 feet or so, so I can reach up about 25 feet when holding it.  The plane was RIGHT at the limit of reach of this pole, but I could get to it.  It took me a while, but I finally worked it loose and got it back down.  This time - cameras running and all.  Made for some interesting footage I think.



The forward shooting RUNCAM2 came off on the impact and fell to the ground.  I did NOT see it until I was cleaning up to leave.  And it just happened to land to where it was pointing at me directly - a stroke of luck.  So I incorporated the footage in this video to show how I got it down.  That plane was really hung up.  I think a little branch had gone between the landing spokes on a wheel as the whole wheel hub and wheel were missing when I got it down.  I didn't see it anywhere so I'll bet it still up in that tree.  No problem - you can still buy those 3rd party landing gear kits.

I got it home and on the bench and tested it out.  All seems to work.  It did break a prop.  So all I need to do is repair the landing gear and it would fly again - with that funky wing.  So I have to decide how to proceed on that wing.  Oh, if only those kits were still available I'd just build a new wing and order another one for a spare.  But this will be my last kit if I build a new one now.  I may have no choice, though if I want to keep it a simple 3-channel, throttle, rudder, elevator only airplane.

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#417 [url]

Jul 9 17 8:22 AM

Out yesterday to test my repairs of my Slow Stick.  After the last tree crash, I figured I had pulled too much dihedral out of the wing with that carbon fiber reinforcing rod.  Since I had epoxied that rod in, it was NOT coming back out.  So I just cut it.  That put flex back in the wing.

Soooo - out to try.  BUT.... same symptom.  It flew just fine until, all of the sudden out of nowhere, once again it lost all lift on the LEFT wing and rolls nose first in to the ground.  Just like before.  But no tree to cushion the impact this time.
I'm stumped as to the cause.  Now I'm wondering if it wasn't something like a cracked wing mount or something - that would do fine until just the right stress - when it would start to give.  But after this crash it's almost impossible to tell now.  Both wing mounts destroyed.  Motor mount destroyed.  When testing on the bench I found the ONLY thing that survived were the servos and the receiver.  The speed controller was shot - first time I've lost one of those in a crash.  The motor was shot.  It took the brunt of the hit - in fact was buried in the mud.  The battery was crushed to where I didn't trust it anymore.  So I discharged it last night for the trash.  (Yes, Lipos are safe to throw in the trash - once discharged.  Not toxic.)  And, of course, the airframe pretty much completely destroyed.  Even the fiberglass "stick" fuselage was split lengthwise.  I ?may? be able to salvage the tail feathers - although even back there the fuselage is split slightly (rudder/elevator epoxied on.)  But little stress back there so I think I could repair it. 

Now, for the kicker.  GWS has DISCONTINUED these kits.  They used to go from $25-$30 for the basic air frame.   The last kit I saw sell was on ebay.  Some guy auctioned it off.  An opened kit, even, so no guarantees of what it included.  I bid $60 max.  The kit ended up selling for $115!!!!  So they are as rare as hen's teeth now.  I can find nothing out there. 
So.... I have *ONE* kit in stock remaining.  I could build what is, in effect, a whole new Slow Stick.  Or I can go for a third party type kit.  Hobbyking has one - with ailerons for about $90 I think.  And StevensAero has designed a wooden wing that will go on a Slow Stick.  It, too, has ailerons.  Orrrrr - I could just build my last GWS kit.

I haven't decided yet.  But "Phoenix" is a gonner.  I'm afraid it's now in Slow Stick heaven with my other old one, "TIMEX"....   Sigh.....

It was an expensive crash, too, as I normally run pretty top quality, high cost, components.  I figure why risk an airplane to save a few bucks on cheap stuff.  Soooo - the ESC:  about $50.  Motor:  $60.  Battery:  $20.  Airframe:   Not replaceable anymore.  Ugh.....  Add everything all up - including the small stuff, and probably around a $150 crash.   Sigh....  That's bad enough, but when I crash and never know WHY.....  well   THAT bugs me...  Se la vi.

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#418 [url]

Jul 31 17 6:36 PM

Ok - after a long delay to due HEAT, wind, rain or doctors (ugh), I managed to get my new Slow Stick out to give it a quick test flight.  It flew OK, but something not quite "right" on it.  Not "solid" like it should be.  It would still do some strange thing now and then that would require a quick and severe correction from me.  I still "smell a skunk" - a "ghost" of the gremlin that took down my last Slow Stick "Phoenix" 

Everything is brand new but the tail section, the servo push-rod wires and the servos.  So must be something with one of those.  I suspect a flaky servo acting up under load.  I think next I'll replace the servos (only a few bucks each) and give it another short test flight. 

I won't trust this plane until I get it flying "solid" feeling again.  Something still isn't right.  But at least I have another Slow Stick in the air! 

Anyhoo - not much time in the air.  Just a test flight to adjust the radio and such.  And see what it did.  And it did FLY!  ;-)
But, for what it's worth.......

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