What's It all About ???

This page is all about the building and flying of radio controlled model aircraft. It's a highly diversified hobby that takes in as many skills as you like to use. Everything from electronics to carpentry, to painting, to drawing and designing with a little bit of metal work thrown in. Some builders even go into doing their own machining, pattern designing, fibre glassing, moulding and engine design. You can use electric motors, 2 stroke or 4 stroke internal combustion engines or even minature turbine (jet) engines for power. My own models use 2 and 4 stroke internal combustion engines and range in size from about a metre in wingspan to well over 3 metres from tip to tip!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Week 22nd to 28th July

Electric power - and other things that go bump in the night!

The electric powered helicopters I bought have arrived and my first  tentative steps into heli flying have started. Tentative is right! A lack of familiarity with electrics as well as RC Helicopters proved my undoing in the first ten minutes. The first discovery I made is that the power curve of an electric motor is not similar to that of an IC engine. The first inclination I had of this was when I transitioned from idle and suddenly I had a model heading 50 feet in a sideways direction at about 3 foot altitude. Um - throttle back to idle and the bloody thing kept going. Luckily there was a convenient soft bush in the way and there was no major damage other than to my pride,  after all I was a full sized heli pilot with over 3,000 hours on 3 types! Yep - before you point the accusing finger I KNOW that full sized experience does not mean a zot when learning to fly RC - either fixed wing or Heli.

So - back to the drawing board so to speak and humble acknowledgement of Mick's first law of RC flying - READ THE BLOODY MANUAL!!!
OKKKKK said me - I didn't set up the transmitter properly - and errr - a few other things as well - technical little brutes aren't they??

So we read the manual - in detail - twice - and finally satisfy ourselves everything is right this time - I even fitted one of those trainer undercarriage things with plastic balls on the end. Once more unto the breach dear friends! OK - the book says to start off by learning to hover - yep - should be able to do that - gradually bring throttle up to about 60% and the thing starts to look very light and some what frisky - OK - a bit more and  - damn to much! Suddenly have model at about 50 feet. Don't panic - gradually reduce throttle in small increments until - DAMN - it drops like a stone.. Amused colleague who is observing and  flies 60 powered IC 3D monster falls over laughing. Overcome urge to beat colleague to a screaming pulp and pick up model which has landed - well, arrived, on the earth - about 200 feet away.  Nothing snapped, twisted or broken on model but pride is suffering a terminal meltdown.

The best thing to do when you fall of a horse is to get straight back on the bloody thing so - change Lipo battery just to be on safe side and back to hovering - I hope. Hmmm - better this time - go it to hover at about 3 feet - increase throttle VERYYY GRADUALLY and little monster rises to about 10 foot. BIG GRIN! back throttle back a bit and it begins to sink - throttle up one click and it settles to the original height - Hmmm this isn't so hard so I'll try to rotate left about a - HEYYY - not three complete revolutions!  I'll correct that,  I'll - model stands on it's head - twists viciously to right and is suddenly at about 100 feet - and upside down! - well it is supposed to be a 3D capable model - colleague in background is having convulsions and threatening to wet himself with laughter. I'm completely lost and haven't a clue what to do so I throttle back to idle. Model plummets to ground like a stone. For once Mr Murphy and his rules are on holiday and the model lands/crashes into some tall grass. A bit of damage but only superficial. I start to mutter about bloody electrics, bloody ARFs and grumble to myself about arranging a funeral complete with bonfire. As a precaution we change the rotor blades because one has a large chunk out of it and then observer colleague takes the thing up and does all sorts of twisty wiggly things without effort. My pride has deserted me and gone home on it's own.

Since that first debacle I have been practicing with the model at every opportunity - I can now hover and rotate left and right without to much trouble - sort of. Once I feel I have that sorted out I will try to master forward and backwards flight and then a box pattern both with the model facing me and facing away. Stay tuned for the next installment of what it feels like to be a beginner after more than 30 years of fixed wing RC flying.

The offending item is on the right! I'm yet to let the other one offend - it's modified and has higher performance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Changes, changes !

I've finally got around to adding a Gallery and the photos will be changed from time to time to keep you up to date. It's a bit rough to start with but in the next week or so I'll sort it out, add some more captions and some new photos. I've also added some up date photos on the Phoenix, Senior Telemaster and Float Plane pages. My hand has now almost totally healed so I'm attacking the building boards and getting some very overdue models finished. Look for updates on the Lancaster, the Aero Commander and the Fournier pages as well as a couple of new builds I've started to look at.  As usual I've been driving myself into a frenzy over plans I JUST HAVE TO HAVE and that has landed me with some really interesting challenges. I'm determined not to start anything else until I've cleared the back log but that sounds ominously like "famous last words". Plans I've recently purchased include a 110" F.W. 152H, A 101" B25 Mitchell, a 94" DH103 Hornet and a 84" Mk10 Wellington!! Yeah I know - I'm stark raving mad. Ha, ha, ha

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Week 15th to 21st July

To every cloud there is a silver lining - or so they say. This week might not have had a silver lining but at least it wasn't paved with stone. The hand has begun to heal quite well and I can now at least type with both hands. On Thursday I even picked up a balsa knife - without dropping it I might add. The balsa plane is still banished to the back wall of the hanger - which is - I think  - where I threw the bloody thing!

I've been a dedicated nitro man and a devotee of scratch building but I must admit to recently having a look at ARF's and even electric - when no one else is looking of course. A bloke I know from the Model Chat Forum - see the link at the top of this page - has just got a JetLegend ARF SU27 Flanker from China and it is a very impressive piece of kit. I'm an ex full size helicopter pilot (Iroquois) and so for my first tentative step to exploring the  field of ARF I picked up a couple of small electric Heli's from a bloke I know. Second hand - and supposedly 3D but they'll do to muck around with. It will give me a chance to try both ARF and electric without blowing the budget. The standard model only has a can motor, plastic blades and a NiMh battery pack but the second model has an upgraded rotor head, carbon fibre rotor blades, a brush less motor with decent heat sinks and a LiPo battery. Should be interesting to see if there is a difference and how much performance gain, if any, over the standard model.

I haven't got back into building much yet but I've managed to do a bit more on the Senior Telemaster and some small jobs on the Lancaster. I've also been busy getting out my first newsletter for my club. Any locals who might want a look at it, just message me with your email address and I'll send you a copy which can be opened in MS Word or a similar reader. Oh - while I think of it -  the club is holding a working bee at Taylor Field on Sunday 29th July and I'll post some picks of all those hard working volunteers. If any one who is visiting or living in Tasmania wants to turn up and help - you'd be most welcome. Once again - message me for the location. It's on Elderslie Road at Brighton.

I've taken some more photos of progress on the Telemaster, the Lancaster and the Phoenix as well as a final photo of the finished Float Plane - just taken them so  check back in a day or so and with a bit of luck they should be on here. I'm also going to add a Gallery Page to the blog so you can have a quick look around at my past and present models. 
I.C. engines and scratch building for ever!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Some times you should just stay home in bed!

 Week - 8th to 14th of July 2012

My wish, as expressed last week, was for all the supplies to turn up and then to catch up with some building. Yeah well my wish came true! the balsa turned up, the glue appeared on the shelves and so did the Oracote. Oh joy!! So of course a huge flurry of building and soon balsa dust and shavings were hurtling in all directions.
 Then - while busily using a balsa plane to shape some cowling bits I noticed the blade was a bit on the dull side. No worries - I have spares - SO - firmly grasping the plane in one hand and inserting new blade with the other what happened? I slipped of course and instinct when you are about to drop something is to grasp at it. I did - result - balsa plane hit the floor and I was left firmly holding onto a new, razor sharp, double sided blade in the other hand.
 Yes dear reader - there was a bit of blood and a trip to the after hours surgery was called for. Not to bad - lacerated thumb and index finger and a cut to the palm which required 3 stitches. Fine - OK - back to the building board. Then two days later the bloody hand swelled up like a balloon - back to the Doctor - Ummm - yes Mick - it's infected - this little jab won't hurt but we will have to stick a drain in there and you shouldn't use the hand for about a week.

Have you ever found yourself with only one hand and discovered the number of things you CAN'T do????? You CAN'T hold a sheet of balsa and use a balsa stripper, you CAN'T use a bloody Transmitter, you CAN'T use a knife and fork, you CAN'T even tie your own bloody shoe laces!!! Even typing this post is slower than my usual peck, peck, peck rate. Oh well I've caught up with some reading, a few TV programs and how to eat lots of soup. The bandage comes off on Monday so hopefully next week I'll be able to report some progress.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Another week 1st to 7th of July

What was it I said last week about famous last words?  This week has been a week of hurry up and wait. I'm waiting for a balsa order to arrive, I'm waiting for the right glue to be unpacked at the local hobby shop, the fuel tanks I've ordered STILL haven't bloody turned up and I can't get the colour Oracote I need to finish off two projects! - It's on back order. Grrrr!!!!

On Tuesday night I went to my Club's AGM and walked in as my usual shy, quiet, retiring and timid self (well I'm SORT OF like that) - shut up in the back row!!! By the time the meeting had finished I found out I'd been elected Vice President. Ummm - it also appears I am now the Editor of the Club's Newsletter and have been charged with preparing a report on why  the club should have it's own website and what is involved. Railroaded?? Well the term does come to mind.

Highlight of the week - well the Postman did bring some joy in the form of a set of plans for a B25 Mitchell and a FW TA152H - Thanks Grant.

The other delivery was this ripper little Cox .049 R/C engine which I bought from a bloke on RC Groups. Came with a spare standard  head, a glow plug adapter head and a heap of props and other gear. Thank you Glenn.

Lovely little gadget.

Hopefully this week will be better - the balsa will arrive, the glue will be on the shelves, the fuel tanks will turn up, the Oracote will be available, the pink pigs will be fully fueled up and ready to take off and I'll be able to get my head down and do some building. Hang in there gentle readers sooner or later we WILL get some more progress. To my mate the super balsa basher - Yes Mate - I know I can't build as fast as you can but unlike you I'm not youthful, virile and ambidextrous, - nor can I use a balsa knife between my toes while gluing two bulkheads together with one hand and recharging a Lipo with the other. Ha, ha , ha. - Sorry Tony. :)