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!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week 19/08/12 to 25/08/12

The Weather God

The sun is shining - no wind to speak of and I've finally got my Mitsubishi Van back on the road - Ahhhhhh - flying time! Load the Powerhouse, the Kyosho Trainer and the J3 Cub into the van and head for the field. Arrive at field approximately 20 minutes later, unload 3 models and set up ready to fly - it is only 0815 hrs. Fill tank of first model - about to hit the starter and suddenly the bloody sky clouds over, the wind picks up to a gale AND - it starts to drizzle rain! Grrrr. Retreat to van - hastily disassemble 3 large models and sit with a hot coffee and much mumbling and cursing under breath. 30 minutes later the clouds disappear and the wind drops - repeat set up which, with large models, takes about another 30 minutes. Ready to go and - you guessed it! Clouds return - no wind this time - but it bloody pours rain. NOTE: Screaming and cursing and loud obscenities do not stop rain.  Finally give up, pack models in van and go home. Oh well it is winter time. Arrive home - unpack van - resign myself to another day at the building board.  Get out balsa, ply and other assorted supplies to work on current projects   - AND -  the bloody sun comes out, the day clears and is perfect flying weather for the rest of the day. I did not venture back to the field - no way am I going to let other fliers who might be there see a full grown man bawling his eyes out. I'm sorry oh great weather god - I did not mean to call you THAT and I will accept my just punishment.

The Harvard ain't a Harvard no more.

Regular readers may have looked at the Harvard page and even sympathised with the ups and down I've had with this model - and even followed with interest the continuing saga of crash and rebuild. As last noted it started life as a Texan and after a series of these crash and rebuilds I decided to completely restore it as a New Zealand HARVARD. This meant completely tearing the model down, stripping it back to the bare bones, modifying some of the structure and adding a lot of extra detail. Hmmm - then I discovered that the CAC Wirraway - an aircraft used by the Royal Australian Air Force was, in fact, a modified, built under licence version of the early NA16-2K  - the predecessor to the Texan/Harvard line. The RAAF never actually placed the Harvard on it's type list although some Australian pilots learnt to fly on Harvards and or Texans in the  Empire Training Scheme in WWII. The Wirraway however was bought in quantity by the RAAF and even, much to my surprise, used by other Airforces as well! "Y" squadron RAF used an ex 21 squadron RAAF Wirraway in Malaya in 1941-42 and the USAAF 5th Airforce used a Wirraway as an HQ Flight hack.

The Wirraway was built in 3 distinct versions (Mk I, Mk II and Mk III) and orders were placed for a total of 755 aircraft with deliveries between July 1939 and June 1946. I've never flown the type myself, my fixed wing instruction was done on the Winjeel, but I remember one was used as an instructional airframe at Forrest Hill during my early  days as an apprentice airframe fitter. SO - was it an achievable goal to rebuild the Harvard as a Wirraway??? - I had three versions to chose from and most of the changes were similar between the three. There are differences in armament and things like air intakes and the like but the major visible structural difference is that the Wirraway has a stringer and fabric covered fuselage as apposed to the all metal construction of the Harvard/Texan. The other visible difference is in the rudder shape of the Wirraway which is more rounded than the basically triangular shape of the Harvard/Texan. Hmmm said I to myself - it's do-able! First photos of the start of the conversion to follow shortly. NB - see -"Bloody Technology". I am most indebted to the following website for accurate information and drawings that will make the conversion possible:-


Those damned electric heli's.

It seems that I have a "conversion" bug providing yet another delay/re-organisation to my building programs. As noted a couple of weeks ago my brief flirtation with those "*lectric" whirly things left me cold and a mate is in the process of converting them to proper IC power. The conversion of the first victim - errrr model - seems to be going well and so in the due course of time I will have two Cox 049 powered helicopters to terrify myself with ! Then all I have to do is learn to fly the bloody things!

Bloody Technology.

I mentioned the problems I'm having with my digital camera - the very expensive top brand, highly regarded, all singing, all dancing , latest you beaut digital SLR. The saga - and the bloody yelling and stamping of foot continues but I've managed to salvage a few photos in between breakdowns. Check out the Lanzo Bomber page and "A Friends Trainer " for some pic's.

Progress and other Impossibilities.

Yes, there has been movement at the station, unfortunately in most cases you'll have to take my word for it - photos are an ongoing problem at this stage: -

Lanzo Bomber. I've now got the fuselage mostly sorted out and I've built the tailplane (stabiliser for the US readers) as well as the fin and rudder. I've just started on the wing ribs - luckily most of them can be built by the sandwich method. Photo's of the early stages of the build are now available.

Big Lazy Bee. I'm up to the stage where those bloody laminated parts have to be done so it's sort of gone to the rear of the pack. Sorry but the photo's are not available yet - in fact it's highly likely I'll have to take them all over again.

Telemaster. The model is finished, the undercarriage is fitted - I've done some taxi tests and the model is waiting on the weather god for it's maiden flight.

Aero Commander. Finally got those bloody fuselage bulkheads done and I'll be fitting them this week - all going well

Harvard to Wirraway. I'm still researching and deciding where to apply the knife.

Lancaster. Still fiddling with the fuselage, mostly working out how to connect up the rudders and elevators. I've built  the centre wing section and nacelles. Next job is to fit the snakes, servos, fuel tanks etc then make the retracting U/C,  it will be a while before I can plank it all. 

Fournier . Ummmm - no progress

Hustler Delta. Ditto

Finally I'd like to apologise for the lack of photo's. IF the dealer gets off his backside and delivers as promised I should have the camera back on Tuesday of this week. Then it will take me a couple of days to retake a lot of photos and a further few days to re size them for this Blog. There is a possibility I'll have some by the next update if all goes well and according to plan.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week 11th to 18th August

Another week closer to Spring and flying weather. This time of year also invokes a frenzy of model building as the day when the sun will finally shine and the wind chill factor will become tolerable approaches. The balance between sitting on top of the fire to keep warm and carving that intricate balsa cowl finally stabilises and one can sand and plain a block of wing ribs without wearing gloves. Glow batteries and Rx packs finally show some signs of life and glow fuel stops drinking water at an alarming rate. Ah - life is good! I've even gone so far as to predict the probable dates for maiden flights of the various projects that have occupied me during the winter months and I can finally get back at those bragging northern hemisphere modellers who have haunted my dreams with tails of ideal weather and long extended flying sessions in a cloudless sky.

I recently took the time to study the statistics of my blog and I was pleased to find that I have readers from all over the world. It proves my belief that aero modeling is a universal hobby in all countries and all cultures. To my readers in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Thailand, The UK, The United States,  Afghanistan (Coalition Forces I suspect - I'm honored Fella's - keep up the good work) and of course, my own Country - Australia. I say thank you for your interest in my humble modeling efforts. I'd be pleased to hear from any of my readers and, if any are so inclined, send me a photo of your models, I'll start a special Reader's Gallery to display them on this blog. I can be contacted directly - my email address is echo.echo100@gmail.com.

I have a mate, an 85 year old gentleman who is new to the hobby and struggling to come to grips with the technicalities of building as well as flying and, due to some early miss guided advice, has amassed a collection of unsuitable "Foamy" models, most unfortunately are now at least partly or wholly destroyed. The unfortunate fact is that a lot of these models, which now flood the market, are unsuitable to learn to fly on. I am sure that a lot of would be modellers never get to meet anyone who has experience in the hobby - and they fly without the guidance of a club in miscellaneous parks and fields. The sad fact is that these modellers soon become discouraged and are lost to the hobby for ever. My mate was almost to this point when he came across our club and I decided to build him something slow, stable, easy to fly and at minimum cost. I rummaged through my plan collection and came across an RCM&E free plan that was in one of their monthly issues. I had a fuss around in my off cuts box and soon found enough balsa, covering and ply to cobble it together. My friend supplied his own outrunner motor, 20 amp ESC, Receiver and Lipo battery. The result is an ideal Trainer at minimum cost - plenty of wing area, low aspect ratio, and with 3 channel control. I'm going to present it to him this coming week and hopefully he will gain a lot of pleasure and flying experience with the model.

My Own Builds

Now, an update of progress on my own builds: - It might be said that a corollary to Murphy's Law is - What can go slowly will go very slowly! The ongoing wait for supplies of all kinds is ever present.

The Lanzo Bomber: Work has stalled, with much cursing and muttering around the wing pylon and fitting in the servos, fuel tank and battery. The model has a very short nose moment and so I'm trying to jam everything as far to the front as possible - the alternative is a prohibitively large lump of lead to get the CG right. One of the traps with building RC assisted Free Flight Old Timers is that a lot of them have very short nose moments - the CG in FF models tends to be a bit further back than is comfortable for RC stability. It works like this - if I find room for the battery as far forward as possible then the servos can fit in immediately behind BUT then the big question is where to put the bloody fuel tank - I can hardly ask it to run along side! One of the problems with this juggling act is the diamond shape of the fuselage, Usually one can pack bits on top of each other but with the configuration of the diamond shape all that room that is available in a rectangular cross section is somehow wasted. I'm trying to get my head around mounting things at what to me is a weird angle. I will persevere.

The Telemaster: The wing is finally done and I'm wrestling with bend radius's to form up the aluminium undercarriage. Pretty soon I'll have a photo or two of the finished article and then onto the maiden flight which is scheduled for two weeks from tomorrow - weather permitting.

The BIG Lazy Bee: As mentioned previously I hate making bloody laminated wing tips and stuff so that part of the construction is still dragging it's heals however the fuselage is almost ready to cover and fit out and the wing, which is enormous, has all but it's wing tips (yep, they are laminated). Please don't ask about the fin, rudder and elevators - you'd hate to see a grown man cry.

The Aero Commander: I have plotted, measured, adjusted, sworn a lot and threatened to feed the damn thing to the pigs but I'm still battling with the accurate formation of some of the fuselage formers. Trying to get an accurate pattern for a former which has to go three quarters of the way up a 6 foot long fibreglass fuselage without easy access is not the stuff of gentle model building. One of the problems is the lack of uniform thickness of the fibre glass fuselage so it's a matter of make a pattern then cut, then endless adjustments to get it just right. I could say near enough is good enough but that little gremlin that sits on my shoulder keeps making me go back to get it EXACTLY right.

Minimal/no advancement: I'm not making much progress on the Lancaster, the Fournier or the Hustler Delta at this stage - various reasons - supply of parts and materials, lack of motivation, to many damn projects going at the one time, nutting out the solution to a problem, Murphy's first Law - all of the above.

About fancy Technology:

 I've been using  a few of those cheap - semi disposable digital cameras to take my photo's and I finally got sick of the damn things going bust so I decided to go get myself one of the latest you beaut all singing, all dancing digital SLR's. Top brand, highly regarded. Yeah right - I've had the bloody thing for three weeks and it's broken down 4 times!!! It's currently back at the supplier AGAIN so I'm sorry gentle readers - I'm still dragging the chain getting photos ready for the blog but if the Dealer gets of their backsides and gets things fixed I'll update things mid week.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Week 5th to 11th August

Another week rolls by! Seems the only thing that gets faster as you get older is how fast time passes. I've been working on the Lanzo Bomber and the Aero Commander this week. I've also done a bit on the Telemaster - managed to find a BIG piece of aluminium to make the undercarriage and ordered a set of Dubro 4" inflatable wheels. Now all I need to do is finish fitting the 4 servos in the wing for ailerons and flaps and it's finally finished.

The Lanzo Bomber is still in early stages of construction and I'm currently struggling with the bloody wing pylon  - construction is more complicated than it seems and sheeting the pylon is a nightmare. Don't ever let anyone convince you it's an easy build! I've done the fin/rudder and the tailplane/elevator - at least that is pretty straight foreward. I've just cut out the blanks for the wing ribs and will begin shapping them next week. I should have some construction photos to post then.

The Aero Commander is finally getting some progress - I confess to having left it at the back of the hanger for to long so now I'm working on cutting out the bulkheads for the fibreglass fuselage shell. Although I have the original plan it's not big on detail - the original kit had all the parts precut so there are no guidelines - much work to plot, cut and trial fit each bulkhead.

The Mosquito, the Hustler Delta, the Lancaster and the Fournier haven't made any progress to speak of this week but they are still there on the bench and whispering to me each morning. I'm sort of trying to establish a steady order of priority and make sure I've taken photos of the progress on each model. So next week the report will be mostly photos and progress details.

Now - the continuing saga of those bloody electric Helicopters. Well - it seems there was this tree and I - eeeeer - you get the picture. Mate of mine is a bit of a wiz with nitro heli's and he reckons he can shoe horn my little Cox .049 RC into the remains and connect up all the bits properly - well we will see but if he can do it I will be eternally greatful. After fiddling with the bloody things - recharging batteries an upteen times and getting an average flight duration of 7 minutes I'm definitely no fan of electrics - NITRO FOR EVER!!!!

Oh Yeah - I've updated the Gallery a bit and and started the pages for the Lanzo Bomber and the Big Lazy Bee - no photos yet but I'm working on it

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week 29th July to 4th August

Another month gone by. Seems as I get older time goes faster, or perhaps I've just slowed down as time moves on. Everyone seems to build faster than I do these days and their models are faster than mine as well. Perhaps that's why I've found myself favouring Old Timer designs lately. They are big, so my fading eye sight can still see the bloody things, and they are slow so my reactions can keep up with their behaviour in the air. I even find myself using that fateful line -"Now, when I was young .... " a lot lately.

I've been a virtual hive of industry this week and I've done quite a bit of work on the Senior Telemaster, the Lancaster, the Fournier and finished off rebuilding the Phoenix. I've also almost completed the kit of components for the Mosquito and started on the Lanzo Bomber and the Hustler Delta! Then, because I had the bit between my teeth I decided to pull the Aero Commander out from the pile at the back of the shed and start making up the fuselage bulkheads! This is the old Bridi kit from way back in the seventies that I rescued from another pile in another shed. The fuselage shell is fibreglass and the wings, fin, rudder, tailplane and elevator are all veneer covered foam. Luckily the plan was still there so I have some guidance on construction although it's not highly detailed.

Ah yes - and now we come to the continuing saga of learning to fly those bloody electric 3D helicopters. I have progressed - a little bit - sort of. The thing is the bloody things have an evil streak. I'm slowly progressing in my attempts to learn to fly helicopters, I can now reliably hover - turn left, turn right - rise and fall at a controlled rate, even - go forward and backwards - UNTIL THE BLOODY THING DECIDES ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! Then suddenly I seem to get the cyclic and collective mixed up - forward is backwards, - left is right and next thing I know the bloody thing is back - upside down - at a hundred feet - and intent on a full bore corkscrew into the ground. On these occasions - when the evil frequency demon takes over - thankfully - the model has an inbuilt "failsafe mode" which, as far as I can work out, cuts everything out and allows the model to drop like a stone!  I have become reasonably adept at a lunging stumble that allows me to catch the falling model before it totally destroys itself.