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.
Gil Weiss from southeast PA sends a beautiful photo of his Micro Stick. Just test flown. Looks Great Gil!
Several years ago I built a Micro Stick. The kit went together very nicely. The little plane sat on a shelf until today. I enjoyed the last nice day of calm warm weather here in SE PA and test flew the plane. It was a real Hoot! Flew great and had an unbelievable roll rate. Landed fine. Other than add some more “expo”, no changes were required. I will keep this plane in my active fleet from here on out.
I know you are interested in getting young folks interested in Model
Aviation. Last Saturday my club helped at the NASA Space and Rocket Center
Aviation Challenge event. Here is a photo of me planting the seed with a
little one (he was thrilled). Later I introduced his dad to flying and we
“set the Hook”.
Apparently a You Tube video producer Roman Pirozek has been involved in an accident where he partially decapitated himself with a T-Rex 700. I have no details and do not mean to infer how the accident happened. I have never viewed any of his video’s and have no idea of his flying skills or safety procedures. However, I will take this opportunity to mention there seems to be in the helicopter culture a notion that close in maneuvers are somehow more cool and exciting. For may pilots, it is as if they are attempting to punctuate their high skill level by showing you they are confident enough to fly within a few feet of death. I think it’s high time we recognize disciplined safe operations skillfully demonstrated without any risk to human life as the real “cool”.
This kind of flying where there are high energy componets to the fight aimed at the pilot in command is the issue. Notice the video is put up as a memorial (my condolences to the family).
I’m not trying to force anybody to do anything. I am pointing out risky habits. What happens if whomever re-insures the AMA decides they cannot any longer insure the AMA for heli pilots members who flying without helmets? I’ll tell you what happens, idiots will blame the AMA when in fact it’s the culture that causes the restriction. It’s time to decide what the cool is before somebody else sticks their nose into our hobby and forces restrictions on us we wouldn’t like.
I’m sure Roman was a fine modeler and an upstanding citizen in the RC community. I mean to cast no aspersions. Accidents are possible, even if you fly at a safe distance. Here is Roman Pirozek JR. Channel on YouTube.
In the grocery checking out couple weeks ago. Wife wants a Sunday paper which is past the register. I grab the paper, hold it up for the cashier. “Got a paper.” he acknowledges. I stick it in a bag, he says, “Wait, I need to scan that.” I remark “you mean this thing has a bar code?” He reply’s “yes”. I said “I am shocked something as primitive as a printed newspaper could have a Barcode.?.?” “I would be nearly as surprised if I looked under the hood of a restored model T and found one of Henry Fords’s inventory Barcode stickers on the valve cover.” The youth appeared completely confounded as to my meaning. Reading his body language to ferret out his thoughts “….WTF is this dude talking about and why the hell is he talking to me?…cigarette….whats a model T?……..”
Thanks again for your great customer service I really appreciate it. Take a look at how I used your hangers to get a bunch of planes in a spot that wasn’t being used at all. Thanks for designing such a great product!
Feel free to share with others.
This is a photo of the finished setup hanging in un-used space over a stairwell. View from 2nd floor, the models are over the treads at the bottom of the stairway. what is the rope thingie in that photo?
Fastened to the header above the second floor stairwell entrance is a pulley and 2 common rope cleats. A simple way to raise and lower his fleet!
Here is a shot of the rack lowered to the first floor, ready to for another mission into enemy territory!
Thanks Dave for the photo’s of your setup. 7 Planes all stored in unused space and wherever they were is free’d up. Perfect.
Location: The Dayton Wingmasters are located behind Wegertzen Garden Center. Entrance to the area is through the Wegertzent Garden Center main gate. Another gate is at the entrance to the model airport area.
Access to the field: An access key is required. Obtaining and access key requires membership in the AMA. A fee is collected to offset the cost of maintainance, mowing and porta pottie expenses incured by the club. Membership in the club is not a requirement to fly at this facility, however, the club appreciates your memebership as support of the ongoing efforts. A membership includes access to electric.
Flying Hours: Monday thru Saturday 10:am to Dark, Sunday 12pm to Dark.
Membership Information: The club is open to all AMA Members.
Guest Flying:This club is open to guest flyers at any time.
What you’ll find: Wingmaser Field is a beautiful site. The 40 acre field includes a 40′ wide by 440′ long paved and striped runway, heli flying area, control line circles, shelterhouse, nessasary room, nearby lake, picnic tables, 110v electric and 12v electric. Area around the runway is closely mowed and the area north of the runway is usually in good enough condition for grass strip flying. This is the area’s largest group with flying every weekend and many activities.
Special Notes From Dave: It’s always “Gentlemanly” to observe the AMA Safety Code as a baseline at any new field until all local rules, etiquette and customs are learned. Be aware some fields have routine full scale air traffic nearby, others very little or none. It takes time to become aware of all the special concerns and routines at any new flying field.
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.
Testing a new model out is an important task regardless if it is yours or a friends. Many things go into a successful test flight. This will be the first in a series of articals on this subject. I consider it a high honor to be asked to test a new model and you should as well. Lets honor those requests by doing the job well. My writing will be mostly from the perspective of testing anothers model to simplify the language.
When a modeler brings you model to test fly, not only is he choosing you for your flying skills and experience, but also for your wisdom and judgment. Obvioulsy your trusted. Don’t shy away from telling the builder what they need to hear. If the model is not really ready to fly, say so. Your were choosen because you have the judgement and skills to make that deturmination as well as the skills to fly the model if it’s ready.
The first thing to do is size up the modeler and the model. If the modeler is known to you, is the complexity of this model in line with this persons experience and flying skills? For example, a pilot on his 3rd model presenting you with a multi engine, air-retract model could be reaching out a bit far. You’ll need to inspect every detail of this model very carefully as mechanical errors are more likely. Check every connection in the retract system. Look the servos over, are the appropriate for the model? Is the linkage up to snuff for the expected speed and performance? Is other hardware like wheels and landing gear mounting substantial enough to handle landing loads? Is the wiring done well? Are connectors properly safety tied where needed? Is wiring mounted or flopping around inside? Is the battery and RX secure? One of these loose in the model could lead to plugs opening up or severe CG changes. How is the antenna routed? Is it shadowed by wiring or other objects? Look at all the basics. If there is anything at all your not comfortable with, now is the time to discuss and address any problems.
According to the May update on DOT’s Rulemaking Webpage the projected publication date for the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) has been pushed back to October 2012. Sources close to the project speculate that we may not see the somewhat contentious proposed rule until after the 2012 Presidential campaign. My money is on the later…