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Monday, June 30, 2008

Back to the drawing board

Saterday Peter, Chris, Charl and Myself went out to see if we could successfully launch the Ventus off the ground with the electric assist.

During the week I had pop riveted together a take off dolly with some scrap bits of aluminium I had lying around.

It was a three wheeler with a single at the rear , the idea being that it would be easier to steer with the rudder as it gained speed.

The AXI motor certainly has enough power and with the wind pretty much straight down the runway I fiqured it would take off ok.

A few trail taxi runs showed that I could control and steer with the rudder. Next attempt would be to touch the up elevator and see if it would take off.

At about 80 to 100 mtrs of take off run and gaining speed, it looked good and I pulled the elevator , the trolley/dolly moved slightly under the glider and it pulled off the runway to the side.
I immediatly shut the motor. After several more attempts all doing the same thing we came to the comclusion that the trolley needs a redesign.

What appears to happen is that ,as it approaches flying speed one or the other wing lifts slighty off the trolley which then shifts , the plane then fails to lift off and pulls to the side onto the verge.
The solution is to add some upright pegs which will keep the glider aligned on the trolley until it reaches a higher speed, we will try again soon.

Charl and Peter then flew their power planes and we discussed the prospects of future aero-towing gliders . I think its time to pull my big Pilates Porter out of the ceiling and get it running It has 20cc motor and could tow up medium size gliders but it flies a tad fast.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Old Timers "Playboy"

I went out to visit my other club over the weekend and watch the old timer , vintage and veteran models in action.
These guys really have fun and its a non competetive gathering , funny I was struck by a "younger guy" who was teaching his young daughter to fly on one of these old planes with a buddy box, these designs probably even predated the Dad as well.
Nice to see our aero modelling "heritage" being passed on.

A growing trend is to fit these rudder / elevator planes with modern electric motors for fuss free silent flying, a real mix of old and new technology.
I love the traditional construction not an ARF or piece of composite construction anywhere to be seen .

Without a doubt my favourite was this "Playboy " design with the eliptical wings and pylon mounted wing.

Some of the others like the Quacker Flash (below)is also a name I can remember my dad talking about in his modeling days .

The powerhouse shown below is the one I am currently contemplating building as I have the plans and at this stage three motor options 4-stroke , diesel and electric.....maybe the Dark Side has really got me, as the electric option is top of the list.

This is a blog about gliding so I will also show a picture of Ken's Ka6e being aero towed which these guys now have as their favourite method of launching gliders.
The Jomac gliding group is really dedicated and can certainly teach us all a thing about this technique. They tow lightish gliders up to about 4 mtrs with their if only they had a BIG REALLY BIG TUG.

Cheers for now
and you thought I only flew gliders .

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Winter Slope Outing

A group of us headed to Volksrust over the long weekend, for some slope action.

Various aircraft featured in some of the recent posts were flown for the first time and all flew without a hitch, Teddy Brown got to see Volksrust from above.

Conditions were excellent on saterday and with Paul and Izak from ETB and Gert from Secunda and Glen and Arthur from Durbs joining us we had a good bunch of slope enthusiasts , the hooligans did not make an appearance so the slope was an absolute pleasure, the frequency control was done by pilots just talking to one another, its so easy when handled this way by pilots with a little savvy.

Saterday was the best wind we started flying at 9:00 and finishing with valley release on the slope at sunset. (see photo with jet trail).

Peter really seems to have his big Astir CS sorted now ,he had 6 successfull flights , logging over two hours of airtime, he practised launching with Charl our official big glider launcher and landing approaches, of all the gliders flown from the fuselage mould, I have made, this wing layout and foil has the most gracefull flight characteristics, Pete's got a winner here.

The 4MTR Dianna SZD56 had a very succesfull flight and is now also sorted, a little more nose weight and the twitchy-ness is a thing of the past, this glider has a very flat glide slope and responds to thermals very well , I flew a full hour with her on saterday from thermal to thermal and find this medium size, less tiring than the 6 mtr ships.

Finally my Swift S-1 had another flight after the flutter/crash flight it had in january note how green the veld is , anyway after the rebuild it also performed well, it is quick (MH32 FOIL) and rolls well , no sign of tip stall in tight turns and does what an aerobatic glider should, its smooth and fun to fly, it also needed a little more nose weight, but is now sorted. A bit hot on the landings, so I need to find a way to slow her down, probably program in some Flaperon, at some stage.

Izak maidened his full (really full) carbon Toko which was built for DS and it seemed to go like stink(Charls expression). In the Saterday blow Izak's Toko, Paul's Trinity f3b and Flippy and Pete's Prodij , Charls Aero , and Mikes Jart ,all screamed about , giving the pilots their daily adreniline rush ...great fun.

Peter's son Chris flew and maidened his home brewed hybrid the"Bastardo" to great effect, it looks good in the sky with its swept wings.

Sunday saw light conditions but strong thermic air, once the valley warmed up, out came the electric assist gliders, barring Glen who seems to also be able to fly in these conditions with his Weasel foamie which works in light lift, quite amazing.

We all put in hours and hours of gentle soaring from thermal to thermal , at one stage Izak had his gentle lady 2mtr, above us at speck height and I have no doubt if he had not spun her down, she could have continued upwards out of sight.

Monday we die-hards went back up the slope , but the conditions indicated on the spot graphs were high pressure and very little wind, and so it was. So we invented a new glider class F-Slope-J a one man hand tow.

The line is limited to 10mtrs and 600kg ,breaking strain with two heavy duty galvanised rings(a tow rope actually) and 6 x strong rubber bands.

Piet got his Tsotsie away like this on most launches out the front into the thermals, never a dull moment with the Berg guys.

Unfotrtunately nothing slope planned
for the forseeable future, so we will focus on
flat field flying.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

HTL #4 B.E.R.G.

Simon's Xperience Pro on landing approach with full flaps extended. Ok, so the sun and lens flare effects were added afterwardsB.E.R.G. team Piet Rheeders, Robert Davies, Derek MarusichHTL #4 was flown at the B.E.R.G. field on the 1st of June. The field was in great condition, the weather was perfect and Martie provided a really good breakfast for the early birds and monster boeries rolls for lunch.

Some great company and really super challenging flying conditions contributed to a really outstanding day of flying.

Turnout was a little disappointing for such a great day with many of the B.E.R.G. big names not
ETB team Herman Weber, Dion Liebenberg and Paul Carnallshowing, Mark and Kurt Stockton opting for MTB and Evan having his combi break down on him.

ETB and MMS were well represented and Simon, Ian and Conrad got together to practice for the F3J world championships. Volney and Johan did the towing for the junior team - hope you guys took it easy the rest of the week in recovery - hand towing is tough, especially in those light wind conditions.

WC Junior team Simon Tladi, Ian Lessem and Conrad KlintworthLionel did some damage to his ankle while towing for the MMS team with Johan jr and I notice MMS just reverted to winches for the last rounds.

Rudolph Engelman was our B.E.R.G. single man team and fortunately Tony was around to help with some timing. Charl did a great job of directing the contest (although it would have been nice to have him announce the pilots before each slot to prevent a few confusions, one of which I think resulted in me
MMS team Johan Bruwer jr, Lionel Brink, Michelle Goodrum, Matthew (team manager), Craig Goodrum and Rodney Goodrum.slipping from 3rd to 8th place. I really thought I had you beaten at the prizegiving, Piet).

Celeste Rheeders helped with the computer scoring and Trevor Austen showed up and kindly donated a winch to the club. We were also visited by Herman and newcomer Barry Lamb during the contest - hope to see you guys flying in these contests soon.

Below, the MMS team's collection of models and equipment.
Below, some landing techniques: left Simon Tladi and right Paul Carnall, both putting in some good landing scores. Sorry for the poor photo quality - it wasn't a good photo day for me or Martie.
Simon Tladi putting it down on the spot.Paul Carnall putting it down on the spot.
Herman launching for Paul, Dion timing.Team peek-a-booIan doing the launch thing for Simon.
Rodney landing approach.Rodney in the trees again.The only serious casualty of the day was Johan Bruwer whose Pike Perfect crashed when it flew over other pilots on landing approach (looked suspiciously like PCM type lockout to me). But Rodney was without doubt the entertainer of the day: on the left in trouble in a not so good position for landing with a few seconds left on the clock and right, yep - in the trees again.

Rodney has managed to put a model into the trees consistently in the last three contests. We don't know yet where the next HTL will be flown, but I sure hope for Rodney's sake that there won't be any trees there! See you all at the next HTL on the 13th of July just after the F3J World Championships in Turkey . . . or maybe on the slope at Volksrust this weekend.

Also, please scroll down a few entries for the pictures from the Nationals. I had reserved the blog space but until now just didn't have time to finish the posting.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Big Electric Glider Assist

Well the weather this last weekend was excellent and altough I had not planned to fly, I decided to test the 2mtr red and yellow electric on sunday as the day dawned calm and clear.
It flies nicely the first flight lasting 20 minutes with about 4 minutes of motor run.
The power is somewhat dissapointing , largely due to the motor still only running at about 70 percent throttle , the reason being that on my radio A Futaba 9 zap, this stick in Gliding mode is for airbrakes/flaps and I have various cross mixes such as flight modes, trailing edge camber with delay on closing and flaperon mixing, deleting all these and the motor just would not run.

Funny thing though when its at full throttle and battling to climb I add trailing edge camber and it revs up some extra , when time allows I will set it up in airplane mode , but for our upcomming slope trip , I will battle on with carefull energy management.

So after these maiden flights I spent the afternoon setting up the Electric on the Ventus, now this is a whole new ball game, the power pod attached and some safety precautions taken(check the anchor).

Common sense with big propellors... give them plenty of respect, a good fishing friend of mine Jakes, while running a large power plane on his work bench ,swinging a big prop the aircraft lurched forward and he put out his hand instinctively to protect himself , net result the prop removed two of his fingers , on his left hand. I have no doubt this big electric could do some damage. Always take care, safety first.
The two packs of Nicads giving about 12 volts just did not cut it, so I hooked up two Li-po packs in series giving about 22 volts this seems to do the trick with plenty of power, at half the weight.

The Ventus is fitted with a 9 ch receiver and the programming was no problem as channel 8 is operated on a slider switch and this will operate the motor ,all other setups are normal for this glider. Nice thing about the Jeti Opto speed controller is that the receiver/servo's and motor operate on their own battery packs .Testing will take place soon on the slope to check climb rates and also that the thrust line of the power pod is ok , last time I flew a power pod on a glider was 1977 with a babybee on a two mtr Drifter glider first rc plane, they say history repeats itself.

Regards Mike

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Teddy Brown to be Test pilot for CMP 2.6m Discus glider.

Having missed out on the Sungazer event , I eventually managed to get hold of a CMP Discus 2.6 M almost ready to fly glider. I have not flown Scale gliders before one thing I was told is that a Scale glider must have a pilot (preferable scale too I presume). So looking at the pictures that were posted on the Sungazer event I saw some interesting scale pilots ranging from true to suspect scale to true scale Shrek.

Scale Pilots that one can buy from your LHS

True to suspect scale (This guy is called Harold by curtouesy of Paul from AMT)

So not wanting to pay R75.00 for a true scale pilot the next option was to raid my daughter’s toy boxes for a prospective pilot. After some discussion on which toy she did not want any more and an interview with the remaining candidates’ Teddy Brown came out on top. He gave me the assurance that he was now tired of just sitting on the shelf and is ready for some flying action.
After some more flight briefing and testing of the new flyby brain wave avionics systems the canopy was closed and all is now ready for that all important maiden flight.

The pictures below show Teddy Brown seated in his new CMP discus glider.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Electric glider

The 2mtr electric assisted glider is almost complete, home built .. no ARF for me and it looks like a promising flyer,

the plane has been built of balsa and using conventional construction, a small amount of glass and epoxy resin was used around the nose to beef up the engine (sorry motor) bulkhead . The glider weighs 840 grams all up including the electric setup, radio and controls .

Next comes the part were the motor is run (I am no electric Guru) so approached this with a cautious logical test.

The motor ,gear box and prop were all tightened in place , the radio receiver, two servo's and speed controller, connected into the throttle port on the receiver and checked first that it was in the off /idle possition.

I switched the radio tx on and then connected up the Li-Po battery, which was fully charged.

Openning the throttle the motor sprang into life.... I ran it at full throttle for 1 minute and then shut it down, a quick feel of the motor and components indicated everything was still ice-cold a good sign.

Although the motor had a fair amount of thrust , I dont expect verticle performance but certainly enough to give a steady climb. The reason for this is probably the following, the radio program /model I selected was using this port for flaps and the full deflection was only 75 % , so the motor could rev 25 % more ,the gearbox ratio is also slowwing down the rpm. but Ill play it safe for now, and only try a bigger prop later.

Next test was more sustained running I ran the motor at full(75%) throttle for 6minutes and tested for heat , the motor got warm , now I ran for a futher 12minutes trying to flatten the battery . The motor only gets warm and was still running fine , no rev drop that I could hear.

The voltage feeding the receiver was checked with a multimeter at 5.06 volts.

So at this stage it looks ok for a test flight. What a relief ...NO MAGIC BLUE SMOKE..

For those experts out there who understand the (dark side) wonderfull electric scene this may seem a little basic , but its a beginners (me , myself , and I )guide to understanding electrics.

For the record the Li-po is a 3cell 1000mah 15c , the motor a Waikera inrunner 3250kv (I understand actually for a helicopter) the speed controller Bec 30amp Waikera, the prop a 9x5

folding. It all seems to work together ok, lovely for those early calm mornings on the slope or late afternoons, when the winch is already packed away.

I think it will become a favourite.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Grand Espirit

Saterday Charl , Piet and I made a final attempt at getting some postal scores.

Charl flew his Grand Espirit for the first time .

This RES v-tail is a real floater but it was a little windy at first and the wing bending on launch had us all holding our breaths .No carbon in those spars, she looks great with those built up geodetic rib structure and see through covering, Hope Charl flies this plane more often in the RES contests.