Thoughts from the workbench of Radical RC. The online retailer of electronics and kits for radio control aircraft. Dave Thacker shares his thoughts and knowledge of electronics, batteries, kit design and overall enjoyment of the hobby.
Attached are couple photos of my finished Ben Buckle Super 60 kit I bought from Radical RC last year. I’m pleased with the way it turned out and the kit was pretty nice, I would build another BB kit one day.
Its covered with Sig Koverall and painted with Brodak dope, power is an OS 25AX, 3 channel control using JR equipment.
I just want to say a big thanks! For my recent order, it was shipped super-fast to my USA address and then forwarded to me here in New Zealand in just over a week!! It was packaged perfectly and as a bonus there was more material in one of the packets than normal. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy from Radical RC and will be recommending your site to others. Keep up the good work!!
Every year in August the Dayton Wingmasters host a Swap and Fly. This year is the 4th annual Swap and Fly, it’s scheduled for Saturday August 11th. Last year we had a full house with a lot of merchandise being bought and sold. Every year it seems to grow and grow. This is an outdoor tailgate swap, bring your own tent/tables if you wish, give a good deal and get one. In addition we welcome you to fly with us at one of the area’s nicest fields. Cost to enter is free. $10 for selling space, first come, first serve. Food is available on site. We hope to see you there!
Gate Opens At 8:30 For Sellers / Set-Up Swap Meet Starts At 10:00 – Flying Starts At 12:00 – Flyer Below
A continuing series on how to be a solid test flight, we continue……
Check the RX pack, that it’s state of charge is high. For an electric model. Verify with the owner that the pack is full. When was it last charged? Did you do any setup on the bench after the last charge? If everything is not fresh, freshen it up now.
Ok, we’ve been a second set of eyes and looked over the model, both mechanics and setup (throws etc..). Now it’s time to run the engine or the motor if it’s electric. For fuel engines, we are looking for a good transition from idle to wide open throttle. Also, a good prolonged idle with instant acceleration to wide open throttle is a sign of a well tuned engine. For an electric model, we are looking for the ESC to properly arm and for the motor to reliably start. Take the motor from off to full throttle several times with different rates of increase on the stick. Make sure it’s not going to have a timing issue and fail to increase from some point of the throttle.
It’s never a bad idea to hold a model and feel the wide open throttle power for just a few seconds. This can be a heads up if a model is under powered and will take a longer take-off distance and shallower climb angle or perhaps so overpowered that it wouldn’t be advisable to take off at full throttle. I have encountered many models at both ends of the spectrum.
Standing behind the model, ALWAYS one stick at a time, move the controls and make sure everything is moving in the right direction. Check it twice.
Do a taxi test to make sure the model tracks well with neutral rudder trim. If it needs more than a little adjustment, fix it before you fly. Avoid taxing so fast that you accidentally end up in the air. This test can be as simple as driving in a figure of 8 and a couple of straight lines to see if it rolls straight. When doing your figure 8’s, are you getting adequate right and left turns? How tight are they? My clubs paved strip is about 40′ wide. A good amount of steering for a tricycle gear ship on the ground will allow me to do a figure 8 just barely in the width of the runway (turns around a 10′ radius). If it’s much tighter than that, it’s going to become very sensitive as the ground speed increases. If it’s a tail dragger, it can as tight as 1.5 to 2 figure 8’s in a 40′ long area (turns around 5-7.5′ radius). Tail draggers usually lift the tail and the wheel becomes non-effectual around 10 or 15mph, so there is no wheel on the ground at higher speeds to be a problem.
Part 2 in an ongoing series about being a good test pilot. These articals are less about step by step hand holding instructions and more about how to think. We continue….
I always conduct an interview of sorts to fill in the blanks of things I may not be aware of such as level of experience, how long the project took, what the MFG says about CG location, suggested weight, what does it actually weigh and etc…. What your fishing for anything that could be a surprise. After the crash, you don’t want to hear the builder say “I thought 1/2″ behind reccomended CG was close enough?!?!”. Your looking for any shortcuts or oversights in the model. Did they use the reccommended servo’s or at least close? Is the battery large enough? How old is it? If the RX is new, has it been run a while? If the RX has come from another model, was it flying fine or did it’s last flight end in a crash? Has the TX been performing well? Are there any used or harvested components in the systems?
Always check the CG against common sense and what the builder says it should be. NEVER trust that it is right. Hold the model up in the air and check it yourself. Measure if you must. There is NO excuse for crashing over a missed CG check.
Control surface throws: I’ve run into many first time builders that started with a few foamy’s, have built their first sport or scale model and they put throws in the model that look like the 3d foamy they’ve most recently been flying. Not realizing the throws apropriate for a 25-30mph ship will be grossly excessive in a 70mph aircraft. Besides asking about suggested throws, apply your own stink test. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t right. I like throws for a test flight just a tad on the high side of suggested first setups. However, you can take this way too far and end up with an over sensitive model. A model that is way out of trim and also way too sensitive is a real handful. Don’t walk into any such traps. Also, if a throw such as the elevator is too low and the model turns out to have an incidence or nose heavy problem, you might not be able to land at a reasonable speed and hold the nose up. Too little therefor can be just as bad a mistake. Try to be reasonable about what’s correct for “this” model. Generally, the faster it flys, the lower the throws should be. Something else to aid here is look for similar level of throws. If the ailerons are deflecting 30 degrees and the elevator only 15 degree’s perhaps the throws will be “out of balance”. Out of balance controls would be one control being sensitive and antoher being soft. This is more difficult to process in your brain when your under pressure trimming out a difficult model. Consider it before proceding.
I have a strong conviction; if we want strong trade shows, vendors need to make sure they show people something new at the show. In todays world of instant internet communication, the moment some new product becomes available, it’s announced and the word is spread instantly. Back in the day, there was an extra level of excitment when attending Toledo or any other big trade show. It was you chance to see the newest stuff, your chance to get out a couple months ahead of the magazines. Your chance to know what was going on in our hobby. If you didn’t go, you were left behind, perhaps to be stuck behind the news and technology curve for the entire season.
For a number of years, we’ve worked hard to do our part to show people something new at The Toledo Show. It’s every vendors responsibility to contribute to a healthy trade show future for all of us. Our hobby needs healty magazines, healthy suppliers, healthy hobby shops and certainly healthy trade shows.
If your a vendor at a trade show, I encourage you do the same. Are you really so desparate and hungry you can’t hold back on exiting item a few weeks to do your part to add excitment to your favorite show? Think about it.
A recent meeting with national parks officials sparked my enthusiasm to work on a highly requested project. Sorry, can’t tell you what the meeting was about…….. However, you will see it in the booth at Toledo and you’ll want one. I’m very excited to test it out myself. It is perhaps the coolest thing to come out of our shop.
There are many reasons. Most clubs having expenses to maintain and improve their model airport have need of revenue. A model swap meet can make a terrific fund raiser for this or any other purpose. It can also serve as an off-season gathering for your regions pilots. A time to renew friendships and refresh interest in our sport.
Having managed one of the country’s largest swap meets for well over a decade, I speak from experience. The ModelRama has celebrated it’s 13th year in 2012 with a record setting 174 table reservations. Our first two events were 80 tables (filled the hall we were using) and the event has grown steadily ever since. It’s my major volunteer effort each year to support the Dayton Wingmasters and our Model Airpark “Wingmaster Field”. No one puts on an event of this nature single handedly. Our event has enjoyed excellent support from our club members every year. We’ll talk more about Volunteers in a later post along with many other considerations like date planning, setup times/hours, important positions you’ll need volunteers for, getting the vendors, getting the swappers, getting the modelers there, selling raffle and 50/50 tickets, holding an auction, walking sales, indoor flying and more.
If your already holding a similar event, perhaps you’ll find something here to improve your results. The suggestions and ideas that follow where not arrived at out of thin air. For about a decade, Radical RC (my family business) attended 25 or more club swap meets per year. I’ve witnessed much good and some bad and have tried to combine all the best idea’s in one “Super Swap Meet”. We make adjustments every year and are always looking for a better way to do everything.
We may alter these posts at any time as knowledge and opinions evolve. Consider these a series of articles suggesting current best practices. You can rest assured however, that if you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a successful and profitable event. It will be the most popular event of the year and probably the least amount of work per $100 earned of anything your group has ever done. Give it a go!
Look for these posts to accumulate within “How To?” sub category “How: A Successful Swap Meet”.