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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Slope Aero Commander -PSS Part 2

With exactly 40 day’s to the PSS slope I guess that there are many modelers hard at work
constructing and building their slope power scale planes.
Not being the fastest builder I will have to work faster that I normally do.
Fortunately I have most of the materials so I am of to a good start.
At work we install a lot of new equipment and I collect some of the packing materials that are worth while keeping. I had 3 of these foam blocks and recon that density must be close to 16 DBM. Laying out my side view fuse drawing found that 2 of them nearly cover the length of the fuse. So I had to add about a 75 mm piece to fit it all in. I also had to double the sides to make up the width of the fuse.

I use 5 minute epoxy glue to glue all the pieces of foam together.
Then using a cutting bow mounted on it side and temporary fixed to the work bench at 90 Deg I can cut out the side view and top view of may scale drawings that was marked out on the foam.

My cutting bow is 700mm long and a 12v DC car battery will give the correct voltage and can handle the current that the cutting wire needs. Be careful of the toxic fumes when cutting foam.

Once this is done comes the creative and messy part. You have to round the corners ( to get rid of the box shape looking fuse) taking care as to also make sure that the symmetry of the fuse dose not go out of shape. The fuse of the slope Aero Commander is on big side so after finish shaping it I was happy to find that the fuse a this stage weigh 250 grams.

The next step was to add some carbon tows to strengthen the fuse. Ideally to get a good finish groves are made in the foam and then place in the grove and wetted out.
In my case I just laid them on the outside. I used 163 gram cloth to glass the fuse over and once it is cured and dry I will decide if the fuse needs more strength .
While cutting the foam I also cut the Blanks for the tail and rudder as well as the 2 dummy engine housings. Next step will be to spray paint the fuse and then make the templates for the wings tail and rudder. This I will post Part 3 of the slope Commander.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Building the slope Rockwell Aero Commander - PSS Part 1

Last night is started with scratch building my Slope PSS Rockwell Aero commander and I hope to have it ready for the PSS weekend in October in about 5 weeks time. I have decided that as I go along to photograph and post as many times as I can so hold thumbs for me. Here I go!!.

Rockwell Aero Commander The History

Why on earth a Aero Commander?. Well this plane as some of you might remember were flown by Rockwell’s chief test pilot, Bob Hoover. (Always dressed immaculately in a suit.- 1970 to1990). The Air Show’s those day’s were held at Lanceria about 20 Km North west from were I stay in Randburg and I use to attend these Air shows regularly. Bob Hoover use to do the most amassing aerobatic’s with this twin and some of them I will always remember.

For instance on take of he would take up the total length of the run way. Half way down the run way he would retract the undercarriage with out actually lifting of the ground .(IE. the under slung belly of the Aero commander only 1 or 2 feet of the deck and then at the end of the run way he would pull hard up in to a vertical climb until the Aero Commander would disappear out of sight. The P.A announcer would then inform you that he would come in from the south to start his aerobatic routine, and while every body is looking towards the South he would come diving in (both engines stopped and props feathered ) from behind our backs, nearly touching the runway then pull up into a slow roll with both motors still not running. Only after the completion of the slow roll he would start one engine and then the other.

Other maneuvers include a 8 point roll with only one engine running as well as loops and stall turns. One of Bob’s favored stunts was to fly a barrel roll maneuver( a positive 1 G maneuver) while pouring some Ice tea into a glass on the dashboard. To see a short video clip of this go to this link . (45 sec)
or view the full video here
Once he stopped the engines and feathered the props the Aero Commander became noting other than a full size PSS Plane and therefore the reason and my choice to build and fly this model for PSS weekend in October. Another point that should count in favor of this design is that the AR of the wing is 9 and that is on par with most model aerobatic slope soarers.

Building the Slope Aero Commander

The first thing to do was to get a good three view drawing of the Aero Commander and first prize is one with dimensions( even if it is in feet) this I manage to find it by typing in the word ”Rockwell Aero Commander ” in my browser search box and this time I must have been lucky. The very first hyperlink had everything I needed.

From this drawing you can now scale down to the wing span that you want (IE if the real aircraft has a span of 49 ft and you want a 7ft wing span the this (7/49= 1/7 0r one 7th scale . 7ft = +/- 2.15Meters.
So any full size dimension on your 3 view drawing must now be divided by 7 . I use computer printer paper to draw out the model 3 view and then made some small changes to make it look right.( The tip’s on the Aero Commander looks very narrow so I make it a bit wider and if the fuse looks to wide I make it a little narrower. The tail plane area may also need a bit more area to be on the safe side.)
Once happy with the model 3 view you can start with the construction. Before I continue I make a estimated calculation on the wing area and wing loading. In this case 910 sq in = 6.3 sq ft. At 10 Oz/per sq ft wing loading the all up weight will be 63 ounces and at 16 Oz/per sq ft. 100ounces ( 4.0 lb to 6.0lb) or (1.8Kg to 2.7kg.)

This will only be a guide and one can not really tell what the model will weight in the end at least you will have a goal to work to.

I plan to make this model out of foam and glass and if possible do not want to remove the foam inside the fuse so I will use a light weight foam and glass to lay-up the fuse once foam has been shaped to the 3 view plans.
Once I have done this I will publish Part 2 of the Slope Aero Commander. For now I am of to the workshop.

The story of the J-DOG

This story is about a glider which was called the junkyard-dog or as Piet calls it the J-DOG.

Basically my son , has now reached the stage were he has mastered flying a Zaggi and a great trainer it has proved to be . (Remember Evan when I said I wouldn't ever fly one , I humbly apologise ,best airplane for the price, and great fun).

However Blake needs to move on , and he now flies a Hillbilly no problem , but is still a little unsure about landings.

AS his mentor and coach I know he needs to be provided with bigger and better planes, as his skill improves. But still keeping well within his crashes allowed budget.

So when I recently visited Peter to drop off some servo's ,I noticed a worn out Skybolt powerplane and a set of glider wings, HEY PETE WOTS THESE THEN ...oh those are going in the bin. No they are not, my kids can use these ,can I have them ?.....sure but they are junk.

I keep many of my crashed planes , and soon found a fuselage and a tailplane, some glass and epoxy, and some old red??? now can aged and mellowed OROS orange 2k and we started patching and painting.

The end result is an acceptable aileron trainer with excellent thermal flight characteristics, not sure of the airfoil, they were originally purple and yellow , with steel tube joiners built by Mr Evan Shaw.

I fitted a pair of old but working MG mini servo's in the wings and a R130 G-Tech four channel

Receiver, nothing to expensive for the J-DOG. Next was a flight test on the recent Volksrust trip.

Blake with the J-DOG

Some pre-flight photo's

Charl getting ready to throw.

Went out well and needed a little left trim, but everything about the flight was relaxed and easy, with no dual rates on the basic 4 channel , the aileron movement was responsive and yet not a handfull in the turns.

It flies nicely, and is very responsive to lift, however Blake is thrilled but says he does not want to fly it just yet, so if you have a plane/planes that need to be "junked" have a second glance at them , maybe you can give them one more life ....on the slope.


Monday, August 25, 2008

August Slope trip To Volksrust

Teddy Brown in his 2.5meter CMP Discus takes to the sky at the NW slope Volksrust with Charl doing the launching.

With the rising cost of transport it has made it more difficult for the average Slope flyer to go to a distant slope site like Volksrust. One has to budget and plan your long distant trips carefully these days. When Mike ask me a month ago to join a group of BERG members for a Slope outing in August it was with a heavy heart that I had to turn down the offer . To complicate the issue I had the extra expense of paying the excess on my car insurance after managing to drive my car into a stationary trailer nosecone boom at work and inflicting some damage to the value R11,000. (ouch !).

Then last Wednesday, three days before the trip Charl phoned me and asked me if I would like to travel with him as Herman (of the BERG Club) could not go with as Herman had to recover and repair a real sailplane that did a out landing in the Darkens berg. Well needless to say it did not take much more of an arm twisting to go along. I was not sure if it was me or my toy pilot, Teddy Brown, that were more excited about the trip. He (Teddy Brown) also made it quite clear that he was not going to fly unless I take some extra diapers along as the last landing on the Slope was really fast and he made real royal mess of his cockpit.

Anyway with three day’s to prepare for the trip I manage to get a reasonable mix of gliders together with my scale 2.5 Meter Discus on top of the list, followed by my now ageing Tsotsi (the first one of 40 that was produced by Evan of Black Eagle Models fame) and as Charl would say “a bit poked”, a Hillbilly, bagged Zagi and if the conditions were going to be really good, a F3B ellipse.

Charl arrived at 5 AM sharp on Saturday morning and after some reshuffling and careful repacking our models, we left my home at round 5.30 AM and then rendezvous with Mike at the Springs Plaza at around 6.oo AM. The weather forecast for weekend look promising with a NW wind predicted for both Saturday and Sunday.

Like usual we stopped at Standerton to refuel an have a welcoming breakfast at the Wimpy. The last stretch of the trip to Volksrust (+/- 80 Km to 100Km) takes +/- 1 Hour and after a another quick stop a Volksrust to buy some refreshments for the slope and meat for the Saturday evening, we arrived on top the slope at around 10.00 AM. Izak Theron, a member of the ETB club, must have been shortly on our heals because he caught up with us as we turned into the gate at Oom Jan’s farm at the bottom of the slope.

By 11.00 AM the wind started to pick up nicely. Izak with a foam Zagi was the first to go over the edge in the light and some what cold morning lift, followed by me with my Tsotsi, Mike with his OD electric 2M model and Charl with his Cumulus electric and apart from me landing occasional when the lift disappeared, we all managed to get close to an hours flying in on our first flight. Unfortunately Charl manage to break the tail boom of his cumulus on a bad landing and had to retire it for the rest of the week end.

At roundabout 2 PM the wind strength pickup more and the direction shifted to easterly, we had to move to the East slope were we could fly our Hillbilly’s, Zagi’s and Mike’s JART (Nommer 2) maiden flight.

Charl once again was the unlucky one when I launched his Hillbilly in what look like good lift only to find that the lift died on him and the very next moment, he made a 180 Deg turn and not gaining nor losing a centimeter head straight back to the launching pad where every one had to scramble for cover as the his Hillbilly hit the rocks with hard thump. This time round he stripped both his aileron servos gear trains and he was not very impressed at all with the brand of servos and mumbling something that “he will never buy those servos again”. Ag well, sometimes these slope trips can throw you a curved ball (or should I say rock) and become what I term "a Smashing Success". Charl then had to fly the rest of the weekend with his “Brain-storm” and his “Grand Expire” and had no further incidence with any other rocks or for that matter dear old mother Earth.

This was the first time that I flew of the easterly slope at Volksrust with a reasonable wind and found it not to bad at all although the lift band did not quite match that of the NW slope, the landing however was more confined and tricky.

At around 4 PM the wind started to dwindle away and nobody was in for the “ Big Walk of Shame” at this hour of the day. We decided to retire (hurt in Charl’s case) to Oom Louise Farm for a well deserved Sun downer and to start the Bomma and Braai firer’s.

Izak still had some energy left to fly his electric E-hawk-2 1500 in near calm condition on the small field in front of Oom Louis place.

Now for those that have never been to Hallo Nina (the name Oom Louis named the over night accommodation) this is as good as any flying activity during day.
The absolute silence and the soft crackling of the wood fire as the sunset is something that one will not easily forget and with a cold beverage of your favorite kind you can easily and quickly over come the mishaps of the day.

Later on as the charcoal fire is ready, everyone gathers around to braai their meat and believe me, the aroma of the boerewors and other meat smells twice as nice when you are out here. All this goes together with lots of chatter and telling of jokes and other relate flying stories.

This time round I did not get to make 8.30 pm and once I got to bed hit dreamland instantly. (Must be those beverages and food or the fresh air and Sun or maybe all.)

Next morning when you wake up take a stroll to the neat dining room to make a nice cup of Coffee. (If you wake up here with out a headache then you have done everything right the previous evening so don’t say that I did not warn you !!!.)

Before breakfast, Izak once again had his electric E-hawk 2-1500 up in near calm conditions and after landing commented ”that was a smooth flight”.

Now the next best thing of a slope trip like this is the Breakfast that “Oom” Louis and his wife “Tannie” Johanna makes and at the rates they ask I don’t think one can find a better deal.

Once Breakfast is over and all the money maters settled you pack up all your clothes, planes ,chargers and extras and it is time to take the road up the mountain again. The dust trail behind the Bakkie is a early tell tail how the wind direction might be for the rest of the day.

This happened to be so on Sunday (blowing from the NW) and once again when we got to the to top could fly our light thermal glider straight away and gradually got stronger until it was ok to fly the Teddy Brown CMP Discus.

After a short flight brief and a word of encouragement the young Teddy Brown was a ready as can be for his second flight in his flying career. The launch was text book perfect as seen of the launch camera Blog Shot picture that Izak took of Charl, Teddy Brown and the Discus, but here comes the strange but true part: When I assembled Teddy Brown I mistakenly placed him with his head somewhat turned to the LEFT looking at the canopy from the front. But on the picture that Izak took (and I enlarged it) his head is definitely turned to RIGHT as If he wanted to pose for the camera. Or am I seeing a optical illusion here. You tell me.

Anyway, for me this the was best flight of the weekend and lasting about 20 minutes in total and the landing once again on the fast side. (Thanks to Teddy Brown for wearing a disposable diaper the canopy an cockpit is still clean).

Next time round I shim the tail up as Derek did with his Discus.

Shortly after I landed the Discus the wind once again started to swing to a Easterly direction Round about 1.00 PM . Mike manage to get his Dianna in the air but a flutter on a inboard flap forced him to land and unfortunately made contact with a lose tree trunk in the grass that took his vertical fin off. According to him the damaged is no to bad and that The Dianna could be flying on the next trip again.

The time was then close to 2.00 pm and we decided to pack up and take the 3 and half hour return journey back to Concrete Jungle. Charl dropped me off at my home at 5.30 pm and once again we had a fantastic time on “Tamatie Berg” Volksrust.

To those R/C glider pilot's that have not done this trip yet, save your money because this is a trip that you have to make at least once in your model flying career.

Hope to see you on slope at Volksrust next time around.

Happy Landings

Thursday, August 21, 2008

F3B Team Trials #2 at BERG

Last round of distance being flown at sunset. Anyone for duration by candlelight?After a lovely sunny and warm Saturday, Sunday dawned cold, overcast and with an unusual wind coming in from the east for the 2nd Team Trials event held at B.E.R.G.

Shirley and Martie doing the breakfast thingBreakfast. Missing one on bottom left faxed down to Sy in KZNThe sighting devices had been set up north/south the day before so a quick vote and everyone piled in and moved the course into wind. Then breakfast was served and we were ready to fly.

Wolfgang filled in on the B.E.R.G. team and Piet was forced to drop out at the last moment due to a bad bout of flu. But it was really great to see some of our members out helping with signalling and timing. Thanks guys. As we've said so many times before, we just wouldn't be able to fly the F3B contests effectively without your valuable help. This was our first opportunity to fly F3B since the Nationals and all contestants were extremely enthusiastic - in fact a little over enthusiastic and together with the good headwind we had continual line breaks throughout the day.

Flying conditions were actually very good. Large waves of weak lift and sink cycled through all day and only later in the afternoon when the sun broke through for a short while did we get some real thermal activity.

Busy flight line getting ready for distance taskF3K team strategy conferenceSurprise entries were the F3K team. Stephane Duponsel, Alan Smith and Peter Eagle with Lionel Smith as team manager and helper put in a superb performance considering Stephane and Lionel flew the same Trinity model.

Peter flying, Stephane callingPeter opted out early in the contest. Brothers Alan and Lionel really a great team to have around - lots of fun and laughter whether the flights are good or bad.

Dion launching Craig's CeresHerman launching Dion's CrossfireCraig launching Michelle's Ceres

Making up some landing tapesMartie doing the lunch
There was no MGA box present for the day so Evan, Craig and Michelle got down to make some makeshift spot landing measuring tapes.

Almost no lunch as well as Martie ran out of gas halfway through cooking the hamburger patties. To save the day she managed to get the neatest little disposable braai complete with cardboard stand at the local shops. We fired it up a she managed to finish off the cooking for a short late lunch break.

There were no serious casualties but Rodney had a rough outlanding in round 2 and cracked the tailboom on his model.

Dion's Crossfire in the tree - amazingly no damage incurredEvan did a great job as CD. Also note all the line to be ditched - and that's only halfway through the day!My Estrella developed wiring problems with the connecting plugs in the right wing during round 4 so I decided to quit as well.

Dion has now taken over from Rodney as the tree man - he managed to perch his model really high up in the biggest tree around. Justice did a great job of recovering Dion's model. He is such a great asset to the B.E.R.G. club and so well worth the killing he makes off of us financially. He fetched chutes tirelessly for everyone all day long.

All in all a really great flying day. Started a little late, had a late lunch and ended up packing almost in the dark. Check the F3B blog for more pictures, full results and information on the next contest.