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  2. By Matt Maziarz PHOTOS BY BRITTANY MAZIARZ Even with floats, the Timber is right at home on its back.NEED TO KNOW MANUFACTURER: E-flite DISTRIBUTOR: Horizon Hobby TYPE: STOL Specialist FOR: Any pilots with limited experience MINIMUM FLYING AREA: Ball Field PRICE: $249.99 (For the BNF as tested) NEEDED TO COMPLETE: The only things needed to get the BNF version of the Timber into the air are a 5+ channel DSMX/DSM2 radio, a 3S 2200mAh LiPo and a compatible charger. The PNP offering of the Timber from Horizon requires a radio, receiver, LiPo and charger. AUTHOR’S OPINION: At the time of this writing, I had the Timber out of the box and in the air for roughly four weeks. Even my new limited role as “digital only flight jockey”, I still manage to get get out to the field every weekend with no less than 6 models in tow. The one model that has made the trek every weekend, since I cracked that packing tape off the box, is the Timber. Whether I want to cut loose with some wild scale aerobatics or touch and go til the cows come home, it is now my favorite sport model. The two-piece wing makes it easy to transport and factory labeled wire harnesses make field setup a breeze. The best part though, are the STOL capabilities of the Timber and its ability to take on punishing field conditions that would send other aircraft (and their gear) scrambling. Low and slow is what the Timber does best.PROS Floats and NAV lights included Amazing STOL performance The BNF version includes SAFE for training pilots 10+ minute flight times CONS Foam finish could be better Belly mounted battery … booooooo Upside down, NAV lights blazin’ and all.SPECS WINGSPAN: 61 in. (1555mm) WING AREA: 559.5 sq. in. (3610 sq. cm.) WEIGHT: 50.3 oz. (1400g) WING LOADING: 12.95 oz./sq. ft. CUBE LOADING: 6.6 LENGTH: 40.9 in. (1040mm) SERVOS: (6) Spektrum A330 MOTOR: E-flite 10 Ultimate 2 ESC: E-flite 40 amp PROPELLER: 12 x 4 KEY FEATURES The light wing loading, combined with the slotted flaps on the Timber give it awesome STOL capabilities. I took my first few flights without adding the slats to the leading edge because I don’t think it needs them. Drop the flaps to half, punch the throttle and blip the elevator up for a takeoff that chews up all of 18-24 inches … and that’s without a headwind! Bush planes are known for their ability to deal with adverse conditions, one of which being night flights. Make your dusk sortie with the sun just above the horizon and rest assured, you’ll bring the Timber back, straight on the numbers, with the bright wingtip, belly and top lights. What STOL sport model would be complete without a set of floats, right? Horizon has long been producing such models in a wide variety of scales, but the floats were always an optional purchase. Not so with the Timber as it comes with them and they feature dual rudders! The newest generation of the flight controllers, AR636A as found in the Timber, allows the user to bind the aircraft with AS3X and SAFE or with just AS3X. That’s a big plus in my book, as experienced pilots might get turned off by the limited throws as allowed by the SAFE system. The bush-style wheels on the Timber make pretty much any surface suitable for takeoff and landing. To add to the realism and ability, the gear mounts reside on hinge pins and each strut is tied to the other via a sprung x-brace. That means even if you bounce it in or encounter a small rut, the Timber will stay on point. I’ve heard of folks breaking the springs at the 90 degree bend within the retainer, but I have yet to encounter any issues, even after dozens of touch and go’s. The two piece wing of the Timber makes it super easy to store and transport, even with three leads dangling out of each root (LED’s, Flaps, Ailerons). E-flite labels each wire, so field installation is a breeze. Additionally, both the flaps and ailerons are driven by concealed pushrods, giving the model a nice and clean scale appearance. The spring loaded gear can take quiet the rough landing and the Tundra tires make nearly any field your tarmac.INTRODUCTION Horizon, of late, has been on a tear with the foam releases and while they normally focus on sport aerobats and warbirds, the Timber takes things in an entirely different direction … and that’s a good thing. This STOL gem is perfect for lazy afternoon flights, even from the smallest of fields or body of water. The price is a bit high for a park-sized high wing BNF, but the inclusion of both NAV lights, floats and flaps make it easy swallow. The performance envelope is also quite wide, especially if you make a few choice modifications (to the BNF model). Let’s take a closer look … The model arrives boxed up, nice and secure. However, once I pulled the fuse out of its enclosure, I was shocked to see the belly light dangling from its intended perch by about 6 inches of wire. A quick jump to the Horizon website revealed that I wasn’t the first to experience the distended belly light. I dabbed a bit of Fix N’ Flex from Deluxe Materials on the light mount and stuffed it back into place and was good as new. My only two other complaints are: 1) One of my four landing gear mount screws wouldn’t sink in all the way, obviously due to the mount not being tapped deep enough in that hole. I simply snagged a slightly smaller screw from my pit box and was good to go. 2) The entire model is attractive, yet the molding and finish of many of the surfaces leaves much to be desired. After my first few flights, I spent a good hour or so slicing rough flashing bits off the tail section alone. The wing joiner could be a bit more snug as well. These three qualms I alluded to in no way affect the performance of the Timber, which is amazing. The build is fairly simple and could take most modelers far less than an hour to complete, so make sure you get that flight pack on charge before breaking the box open. PRO TIPS: Try the Timber out for yourself without the slats. You could always add them later if desired, but the there is a bit of yanking and gluing involved if you want to install or remove them. I found the STOL capabilities to be astounding, even without the slats. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot easier to transport without those small strips of foam on the wing halves. Shove that battery all the way forward. I found that even with the wheels on, the Timber seems to be a bit heavy in the tail. With the battery crammed all the way forward, up against the bulkhead, the model balanced out perfectly. I did have to add about a quarter ounce of weight to the inside of the cowl when I had the floats on it, but aside from that, the model flies amazing well from both land or sea. If you are an experienced pilot who loves to bust some aerobatics, but also putter around the patch at a lazy pace in true STOL fashion, get the PNP model and add a receiver without AS3X. The stability system works in the background to keep the model smooth and on track, but it also somewhat limits the amount of travel you can dial into the control surfaces. If you want to explore the full spectrum of flight possibilities with the Timber, set some expo and nothing else and let it rip. Up on step in a hurry and about to liftoff.ASSEMBLY The final build begins by installing the landing gear … or floats. I used my StandBox cradle to keep the Timber on its back, with the top of the rudder more than clear of the table top. Once the four screws are secure for the main gear, you can join the two strut assemblies with the small plastic clamp. I found it easiest to roll the model over at a 45 degree list to have the topside strut leaning towards the bottom one, making for an easy install sans an extra set of hands. Once the gear or floats are on, you install the horizontal stabilizer and elevators. The two tail halves ride on a small carbon spar, are self aligning and interlock once seated. No more tape on the tail feathers … yay! After popping the quick clevis off the elevator pushrod, place it in whichever hole you like (inner for more throw, outer for less) and lock it back down with a twist. With the tail all situated, the main wing is all that’s left to finish the build. I found it easiest to assemble the wing and hold it in place with the bracket and screws, placing it on the fuse just aft of the opening on top and joined up the wires. The LED’s in both the wings and the receiver Y-harness are labeled either L1 or L2, but the aileron and flap leads are only labeled on the wing sides. Common sense (with Spektrum receivers) dictates that the Y-harness on channel 5 is for the flaps while the other is for aileron. Once all connected, bind the model to your transmitter using one of the prescribed methods in the manual (1: bind plug in, power model on, remove plug and bind model for AS3X and SAFE or 2: place bind plug, power model on, bind model, then remove plug for AS3X only). If using SAFE, you must program whichever switch you want to activate the different flight modes. Once bound, power the transmitter on, then the model back on. Once initialized, pull both sticks down and in and hold them there while toggling the desired switch back and forth at least five times. After that, it’s as simple as stuffing the bundle back down into the fuse while placing the wing. It would be nice if there was some sort of shroud over the elevator and rudder servos to prevent any wires interfering with them, but shoving the veritable bird’s nest of wires as far forward when attaching the wing. IN THE AIR I performed my maiden flight with the model bound in AS3X only mode and the factory recommended flap/elevator mixing dialed into my Spektrum DX6. To hit the proper CG point, I had to stuff the E-flite 2200mAh 3S all the way forward, right up against the ESC leads. After a range check and confirmation of proper deflection, I taxied the Timber out onto the centerline of the runway holding a fair amount of up elevator and making sure not to go too fast as the massive lift provided by the wing and flaps at mid would lift the model in a heartbeat. Once in position, I goosed the throttle, fed in a bit of up elevator (or so I thought it was just a bit) and the Timber leapt from the grass, consuming all of 18 inches of runway, and assumed a straight nose up attitude. Thankfully, I was on point that day and managed the level the model off with the elevator while stowing the flaps, powering up to gain some altitude to check the trims. All I needed was a click of left aileron and the Timber was floating hands-free at just around ¼ throttle. I flew a few circuits around the field to get a feel for the model and was pleasantly surprised. The elevator has mucho authority and the manual specified rates and expo seemed spot-on. The ailerons make for some mighty fine scale turns, but the Timber will need a bit of altitude if rolling with them alone. Things were a bit tighter when rolling if coordinating a bit of rudder throughout. Snaps looked great and were super easy to perform and the model feels just as planted while inverted as it does upright. While still up a bit, I dropped the flaps to mid position and, slowly (thanks to the recommended speed setting on the flap servos), the Timber lifted its nose. Rather than trimming the model on the elevator, I pulled the flaps back up and came around for my first approach … overshooting the numbers by about 100 feet! Even without the flaps deployed, the Timber will float for days. Before powering back up, I made note of how effective the ailerons and massive rudder remained, even at incredibly slow speeds. A quick touch and go and I made another circuit to line it up again. This time I killed the throttle while still on the downwind leg and then made a tight turn into the tarmac. This time, I still overshot the entry by a bit, but the Timber touched down just past me and rolled out ten feet or so. I popped a fresh pack in and dialed the elevator to flap mixing a little heavier. The manual states to use 9% elevator at mid flap and 13% at full deflection. I increased those amounts to 13% and 17% respectively and headed back out. This time, I set my timer for five minutes, flipped the flaps to mid and slowly rolled on the throttle without so much as a tug on the elevator. With just a touch of right rudder, the Timber performed a perfect scale takeoff, rolling for twenty or so feet before lifting the tail and slowly creeping skyward … and this was still with nary an input from my right hand! So, the new flap mixing was spot on. Retracting the flaps once more, I put the screws to the Timber to see what this new 10: Ultimate 2 motor was worth. The model has plenty of grunt and can get up and go with a quickness. Rolls become much more axial at speed (duh) and the adrenaline factor is cranked to 11. Knife edge is possible and easy to do at anything above 50% throttle on factory rates, though there is a bit of coupling towards the gear with those giant tires hanging down there. Horizon and E-flite though of everything for this model. The inner front edge of each float has a splash fairing to keep the chop away from the fuse and cowl … and vital electronics withing them.Low and slow and touch and go’s are where it’s at with the Timber. Drop the flaps all the way down to their maximum and putter the model in for a bounce or a roll without even needing to touch the elevator. With the Timber balanced and trimmed properly, I could simply chop the throttle, monitor the rudder and ailerons, let the mains settle, feed a little juice into it to keep the tail up and then throttle back up for another smooth liftoff. Likewise, Inverted low and slow passes are about as easy as they come. I’m no 3D master, but I was able to get the top of the rudder as close as six inches or less on some passes. Subsequent flights were performed with the travel opened up to 130 on the elevator and ailerons. With more travel, the Timber will hover, but do nothing even close to an anti-torque roll. The 10 motor has plenty of rip for level flight and mediocre vertical, but limited bailout grunt, so keep the diligence up and on the sticks. I found the model always tended to lean towards flat inverted once the ailerons and elevator got mushy, so I would simply sacrifice a foot or two of height to pull out straight and inverted. With the increased travel, loops were as tight as I wanted them, from scale to extreme, with little rudder required to keep it straight. On floats, the Timber is a joy to fly. Takeoff and landing are easier than stringing the dual rudders to the pull-pull horn at the base of the rudder. Each rudder is spring loaded, so you simply pull the line to tighten the spring until each rudder is straight, place the pin in the hole and tighten the set screw. The setup is a bit weird, but works incredibly well. Using the same trims and rates as I did while on land, I did have to add some weight to the nose to get it balanced, but I wasn’t at all worried about the miniscule gain. Inverted with floats isn’t something you’d normally see, but the Timber will hang on its floats all day, with only a slight rock being evident with the extra weight on the belly. One the water, with a mild breeze, the Timber is a joy to taxi. Being sure to keep on the elevator, the dual rudders have awesome turning power, so you won’t be trekking to retrieve your model if the wind picks up and it weathervanes. Being cautious, yet deliberate on the tail sections and with the flaps at mid, I advanced the throttle and watched the Timber climb up on step in just a few feet, just like on land. I pushed it a little harder and watched the model climb out in glorious amphibious fashion. Handling in the air was much the same as with the wheels on it, only a bit slower with the rolls and loops. If you can believe it, hovering was actually easier for me with the floats on, though I still kept it up a bit. Touching down on floats is always a nerve racking experience for me, but just as with the maiden, I lined it up and basically let the model do the rest. With limited chop on the water, I kept the tips just above parallel at ¼ throttle and waited for contact. Once the water touched, it did grab just a hint so a slight jab of up elevator and easing slowly off the throttle once settled makes the Timber about as easy as any float plain to land. I un-puckered and took back off for another series of worry-free touch and go’s aqua style. A few weeks after my maiden, I did get the opportunity to (re)bind the model in SAFE mode for a couple of quick flights with a novice pilot. I must say, the Timber is the perfect model for anyone with very limited flight experience. Basically, if you can keep from banging the sticks, you’ll be fine with SAFE and AS3X. The SAFE system does tame things a bit, but that’s exactly what training pilots need and want. Selecting a bailout switch is as easy as holding both sticks down and in while cycling said switch five times. I did re-bind the model once finished with the lesson to disable the SAFe and only employ AS3X, but I do plan on putting a regular receiver sans flight control capabilities in there in the near future. THE LAST WORD Ask anyone that knows me, read any of my previous articles, check the majority of pics on my Facebook page or just take my word for it; I am not a high-wing type of fella and when I ask folks to guess what my favorite new model is, they usually retort quick-like with an Edge 540 or some hot rod warbird. I toss them a flippant grin and then tell em’ it’s a bush plane … errr, float plane … errr, trainer … errr aerobat. The Timber really is all of those things and while the price begets a fit and finish that’s still a stones throw or two from what you actually get, it only takes a little tinkering to “scale off” the factory cut edges and tidy up any other issues (ie, the umbilical cord in my model). The Horizon support after the sale is top notch, should you encounter any debilitating flaws, and parts sourcing for wear and tear as well as crash damage are easy to get. Best of all, you can putter around for 10+ minute on a freakin’ 2000mAh 3S pack! WE USED: RADIO: Spektrum DX6 transmitter BATTERY: E-flite 3S 2200mAh LINKS E-FLITE HORIZON HOBBY SPEKTRUM The post E-flite Timber BNF: An STOL Flyer’s Dream appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
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  4. Vermilion Regional Air Expo

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    The Vermilion Regional Airport is excited to be hosting the 2017 Vermilion Regional Air Expo. Our last Air Expo was in 1986 and the last air show was in the early 80’s. The Expo will be two fun packed days for all ages starting Friday night with a meet and greet in Town Center. The kids will enjoy the aviation theme kid zone with aviation inflatable’s, a rock climbing wall, and much more. The highlight will be an Air Show featuring the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team flying their T6 Texans. We have static displays to walk through and visit with the crews featuring a C 54 & B 25. Other warbirds will be on display such as A T-6 Texan, P 51 Mustang, and A 10 Warthog. There will be bands performing on Saturday following the Air Show. Many vendors will be set up with plenty of good food and cold beer. Come join us for a great time. Here is the link to the website followed by the schedule http://vermilionregionalairexpo.com Friday, September 29, 2017 6:00 – 7:00 PM Meet & Greet with Airshow performers at Temple Plaza Saturday, September 30, 2017 10:00 AM Shuttle service begins 10:30 AM Gates Open 1:30 – 4:30 PM Airshow Performance 4:30 – 5:50 PM Band – Cornfield Mafia 5:50 – 6:10 PM Acoustic 6:10 – 7:30 PM Band – Cornfield Mafia 7:30 – 8:00 PM Acoustic 8:00 – 9:15 PM Band – New Invaders 9:15 – 9:45 PM Acoustic 9:45 – 11:00 PM Band – New Invaders 11:00 PM Shuttles End 11:00 PM Gates Close Sunday, October 1, 2017 10:00 AM Shuttles begin 10:30 AM Gates Open 1:30 – 4:30 PM Airshow Performance 6:00 PM Shuttles End 6:00 PM Gates Close
  5. Responsible Drone Flight

    As the RC hobby continues to grow with off the shelf ready to fly equipment and the Champaign County R/C Club's effort to safely incorporate new forms of the hobby while educating anyone with an interest in the hobby I felt having some guidelines as I see them on our website. Let's start with saying what a drone really is, a drone is any unmanned remotely controlled aircraft, be it an airplane, helicopter, quadcopter, etc... being used for civilian or military service. However when the word drone is publicly used people and the media tends to either think of the quadcopters or military Predator drones. Making this comparison is like comparing a car to a tank and I believe this is where education begins, by properly labeling our flight equipment. Regardless of what you fly, each can be equally fun depending on what your taste is, I personally prefer giant scale airplanes, and find quadcopters fun, my wife and kids prefer quads over airplanes while none of us have an interest in helicopters. On the same token each can be equally dangerous if operated in an unsafe manner, a giant scale airplane can be quite destructive or deadly if it were to "go down" in the wrong area, most folks who have thrown down some serious cash for these big birds are aware of this and have a fair amount of experience to avoid dangerous situations, but even the smallest quadcopter can be just as dangerous if it were for example to be flown over a highway or a crowd and crash into a moving car or the top of someones head. Situational awareness and knowing as much as possible of what can go wrong might save a life, save property and save your equipment. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governs all the airspace in the United States, and at this time the situation regarding the National Airspace System (NAS) and "Drones"oe small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) is a quite fluid, meaning there is alot if back and forth decision making and how to regulate our hobby. Our relationship with the FAA can either be good or bad, if we as the hobbyists act responsibly we can have a good relationship, but if someone were to say fly their quad into the engine of a 747 and force that plane down then how long do you think it'll take the FAA to put a halt to our hobby, the public outcry for action will be quite loud. People only remember the few bad things that happen. Up until recently we were required to register as unmanned aircraft pilots, that has been shot down by an appeals court, but is still subject to change. That said, during the registration process the FAA also has/had on that website a set of guidelines for safe operation of a quad, and it is my belief that this should be followed, the guide and other info can be found knowbeforeyoufly.org and is listed below. Follow community-based safety guidelines, as developed by organizations such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles when possible. Keep your sUAS in eyesight at all times, and use an observer to assist if needed. Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations, and you must see and avoid other aircraft and obstacles at all times. Do not intentionally fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property. Contact the airport and control tower before flying within five miles of an airport or heliport. (Read about best practices here) Do not fly in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced visibility. Do not fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Ensure the operating environment is safe and that the operator is competent and proficient in the operation of the sUAS. Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc. Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property. Do not conduct surveillance or photograph persons in areas where there is an expectation of privacy without the individual’s permission (see AMA’s privacy policy). The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is a community based organization, one of their goals is to educate the safe operation of hobby aircraft, the AMA has a few hundred thousand members that fly at hundreds of R/C clubs, most of the clubs are more than willing to help anyone learn to fly safely and provide a place to fly. You should consider checking out a local club as flying at one of these facilities is safer than flying in town where you might have a serious incident or tick off a neighbor or two. The AMA works with the FAA on Congress to ensure we maintain our rights, this is easier for the AMA to do if we as the user follow the FAA guidelines and the AMA Safety Code. Is it required to join the AMA? No, it is not, however even if you do not join if you learn and follow the safety code then you are on the right track for safe operation. I've pretty well typed out the same information you can find just about anywhere with a quick Google search, but what you won't find is good examples of situational awareness. I'm going to list a few examples and this is all stuff I have heard of or as much as I hate to say have done myself while learning the do's and do not's Let's say you have a Golden Retriever, and this dog just loves to catch frisbees, and one day you are out flying our racing quad a few feet off the ground, zipping across the yard and suddenly your dog has a cut up mouth from catching it mid air. Perhaps you live in town, you decide to fly up about 300 feet to take some pics of the neighborhood, you keep your quad over you property taking pictures and one of the motors on the quad fail, they don't fly on 3 and it is a bit windy out that day, so while it is falling be to the earth the wind pushes it into the roof of the neighbors Corvette. Selfies are the trend now, you line up the family for a selfie from your quad, you carefully fly it in for a good closeup and a wind gust finishes bringing it in close, close enough one of the props hit grandma in the eye. SO those are 3 extreme examples, but if it can happen it will happen to somebody, don't let it be you. Be aware of whats possible, and the conditions in which that can happen. Maintaining good equipment helps alot, checking props, wiring, batteries etc.. Here is a general Preflight Checklist for an airplane, each different model has its own needs so coming up with a good preflight routine is up to you. - Physical check of all moving parts, joints, connectors, antenna, etc. - Ensure prop is tight and correctly mounted.- Switch on transmitter, ensure correct model is selected.- Move throttle to zero, press LOCK on transmitter (locks throttle at zero).- Ensure plane battery is secure.- Plug in plane battery.- Double-check throttle is zero and LOCKed.- Switch on plane (if plane has no power switch, ignore this and previous step).- Check correct motion of all control surfaces.- Hold onto plane, test full throttle for a few seconds to check that battery is good.- LOCK throttle again.- Perform radio range check by walking 30 paces checking functions, watching for any glitches. If possible have someone help with this, and have them hold onto the plane for safety.- Re-do control surface motion check. Sometimes people do this check and still don't notice that a channel is reversed. Fly safe my friends
  6. Words and Photos by Kevin Siemonsen A shot of me and the sweet Extra 330 from the original review.Building and flying RC models is a hobby that does not discriminate. The very moment you think you know it all, you get a harsh reminder that nothing could be further from the truth. With that opening statement in mind, let me tell you my $1500 lesson of hard knocks! When reviewing a model plane I make it a point to use the components that accompany the kit. What I’m referring to are generally hardware items such as tail wheel brackets, wheels, hinges, fuel system components, servo arms, control linkages, etc. Where this lesson starts is with a 28% Flight Model Extra 330 with DA 35 engine, canister exhaust and loaded with high end Hitec electronics. This airplane was an absolute blast to fly and being a small gasser, would even fit in my Subaru. This saga begins at a fly-in near Downsville NY. While camping overnight I had my Extra sitting under an EZ up awning. In the early hours a gust of wind scooped up the model, sending it cart-wheeling down the flight line. I came out of the camper to see what all the commotion was about to see an empty EZ up and my plane listing some 25 yards down the flight line. An onlooker witnessed the wind hurtling my poor plane down the line. Evident were the broken landing gear and surface blemishes from its tumble. A beefy alloy arm like this one from SWB is all you should use (and trust) when employing servos with such grunt to move larger control surfaces.Upon returning home I replaced the landing gear and looked into the rudder. There was hard over evidence with the elevator impression moshed into the side of the rudder. I powered up the radio and noted that the rudder did not center and if you moved the rudder stick quickly you could hear skipping. It was obvious, or I thought anyway, that the rudder servo gears were stripped. I replaced the rudder servo, centered things up and the Extra was ready to go! Fast forward to a fly-in in Kingston Ontario Canada. I trekked the Extra the 400 miles from Connecticut to Kingston for the Fathers Day event. Gas up the Extra and put her up for a flight. All things were going until I was attempting an outside loop with an outside snap roll on top. That’s when things went from bad to worse. Upon neutralizing the controls for recovery the Extra maintained an “odd” attitude. I applied up elevator because I was, of coarse, low and approaching trees at a feverish pace. The Extra did an unexpected snap roll?! Things were really messed up and the fact that I was now a nano second from the trees made things that much worse! I neutralized the controls again and with the plane now inverted, gave down elevator that induced yet another snap roll. By this time the plane was practically already in the trees and there was no time to compute what the hell was going on. A second later it was all over, with my coveted Extra parked on top of a great big Canadian pine tree! The noise of a large scale gasser crunching its way through the braches is stupendous … and horrifying all the same! I began the walk of shame towards the wreckage and had no problem finding it … I crash as close to the field as possible and wreckage in the top of the tree is clearly visible. Below the tree lie the money end of the Extra. This encompassed the beautiful DA 35 engine, but only two servos. Up in the top of that damn pine tree was a wing panel and rear end of the fuselage. After a day and a half, the main portion of the carcass came down with more than a little assistance from a pole.For two days we watched the mother nature try to blow the bits out of tree. I thought for sure that wind gusts of 20+ mph would blow them down, but to no avail. The club had a chain saw, which I declined, in favor of a monstrous telescopic pole. I extended the pole from under the tree with the branches acting as guides, preventing the pole from bowing. As we poked and prodded at the plane the “peanut gallery” cheered from the flight line. This went on for about an hour with the remnants being reluctant to leave their perch. I was eventually able to retrieve the carcass and looking at the bright side, packing up the car would be much easier. I was bothered about that crash. I typically crash because of a mistake, whether it be poor judgment or a wrong control input. Something seemed odd about this one, so I did a mini NTSB crash investigation. I found that when the rudder servo was centered the servo arm was not. I applied some force to the servo arm and sure enough, the splines were stripped. In the photos you will note that a black servo arm provided from the kit manufacturer was fastened to the original equipment servo arm. In the beginning of this article I mention how I try to use accessories included in the kit. When it comes to servo arms, I highly recommend that you DO NOT EXTEND ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT SERVO ARMS!!! The nylon servo arm is not designed to be extended and in doing so you could be setting up for failure! This factory included plastic servo horn (combined with an autonomous tumble down the flight line) is what caused the demise of my Extra.The reason my plane crashed was because when the wind tumbled it down the flight line in Downsville, I failed to notice the servo arm was stripped. In my infinite wisdom I replaced the servo that worked great until there was and abrupt load. At that moment, the control the arm slipped on the servo. When the control sticks were centered, the rudder was not. I then proceeded to give elevator which was actually commanding a snap roll. Major bummer. Today’s servos are torque monsters and rotational loads can be too much for nylon servo arms, especially when extended and the control gets bumped! There is an easy solution known as SWB. Since 1988, SWB has been an aftermarket manufacturer of performance aluminum model aircraft accessories that pioneered the industry. SWB is most noted for its high performance aluminum anodized servo arms. The SWB servo arm is superior, with a clever clamp design that maximizes engagement of the servo arm to servo output shaft. SWB arms come in a multitude of shapes and sizes and are available for all major radio brands. In the event that you’re not sure what you need for the job, Scott at SWB can help you choose the correct arm for your application. Packing the busted airframe up after the crash was easy, but not exactly satisfying.This was a long winded lesson learned story so I’ll keep the ending short and sweet. If I had an SWB servo arm on my plane I’d still have it today. Don’t overlook replacing a 5-10 dollar part that might cause you to lose your 1500-2000 dollar model. The end! LINKS SWB The post A Hard Lesson Learned … Losing A $1500 Model Due To A $2 Part appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
  7. Bob Miller

    Latest photos from a stop at the Air Zoo near Portage, MI May 2017
  8. Premiere Aircraft QQ Night Extra 300

    By Kevin Siemonsen PHOTOS BY MARY SIEMONSEN AUTHOR’S OPINION: A beautifully detailed foamy 3D thoroughbred that is rewarding regardless of skill level. The Aura 8 incorporates a 3 axis gyro system that can help you achieve your flying goals regardless of experience. The QQ Night Extra is a proven airframe, except with the additional benefit of LED lighting in the wings. Though not labeled a full on night flyer, there is more than enough light for exhilarating night flying! NEED TO KNOW MANUFACTURER: Premier Aircraft DISTRIBUTOR: Flex Innovations TYPE: Foam 3D Trainer FOR: Intermediate through advanced MINIMUM FLYING AREA: Ball Field PRICE: $309.99 NEEDED TO COMPLETE: Minor shop tools, receiver, radio and battery pack. PROS >> Performance is amazing >> Level of completion from the factory >> Attention to detail in construction >> Lights enable better orientation after dark CONS >> Expensive >> Mine was missing the prop adaptor >> Can’t use sub trims when setting up radio SPECS WINGSPAN: 47.8 in. (1215mm) WING AREA: 572.5 sq. in. (3995 sq. cm.) WEIGHT: 48.0 oz. (1360 g) WING LOADING: 12.7 oz./sq. ft. CUBE LOADING: 6.1 LENGTH: 15.5 in. (393mm) SERVOS: (4) Potenza DS19 Digital metal gear Long Throw Servo MOTOR: Potenza 10 1350Kv Brushless ESC: HobbyWing SkyWalker 40 amp FCS: Aura 8 Advanced flight control system 3 axis gyro PROPELLER: SR 11.5 X 4.5 The brains of the QQ Night Extra … the Aura * and those potent MG servos.KEY FEATURES A lightly loaded airframe for optimum 3D performance backed by a host of electronic genius transforms this Extra into a would-be aerobatic thoroughbred. Whether you’re just looking to break into the ranks of 3D, are looking to dazzle club members with ever progressing routines or are a pro who needs an outlet to toss your thumbs at on the off days, the QQ Night Extra 300 is just what you need. The Aura 8 is really the secret sauce behind the performance of the QQ Extra. It helps transitioning pilots slide into the more difficult maneuvers while giving seasoned pros the stability they might need while pushing the model to its limits. The Potenza 10 motor might not sound like a lot, but it has plenty of grunt and when combined with the HW SkyWalker ESC, it is a perfectly matched power system for the QQ Night Extra. The high end digital metal gear servos provide some serious muscle on the control surfaces and they keep them where you want them while rumbling through extreme 3D maneuvers. Each wingtip is loaded with high intensity LED’s … perfect for reflecting light back from the SFG’s to the fuse.INTRODUCTION I was fortunate to have met Quique Somenzini at the Toledo expo this spring. I was pretty blunt and posed the question: “a 3 axis gyro in a plane … really”? With that he went on to explain that the Aura 8 AFCS is not a head lock gyro system. The Aura 8 is specifically designed to act as an aide to bring ones flying to the next level. The gyro does help maintain the attitude of the plane, but that’s as far as it goes. The Aura 8 can make novices fly like intermediates, intermediates fly like experts and experts fly like Pros. The QQ Extra Night is basically the same as the previous QQ Extra 300 except has lighting in the wings. This brought on another question for Quique… “How come there are not lights in the fuselage and tail?” With that question it was explained that it was more a concern about performance then lighting. Weight is somewhat critical on a 3D plane and unnecessary weight can really affect the performance. One thing that I got from my conversation with Quique was his passion for producing planes that performed beyond expectation and bringing the hobbyist to the next level. I had to take a bit of material off the SFG’s to get them to fit nice and flush without rubbing against the LED’s.ASSEMBLY TIPS The QQ Extra 300 is an injection molded foam fuselage with two part horizontal stabilizer and two part wing. The spring wire main gear fits into a slot on the belly of the fuselage and secures by fastening a cover plate with four screws. The tail wheel fits in a slot in the bottom of the rudder and is secured with a cover plate and three screws. With the wheels installed the carbon carry through horizontal stabilizer spar slides into receptacle in the tail. Each stabilizer half slides into position and self aligns as it bottoms out in a plastic cuff on either side. Clear tape is added to secure each half to the fuselage. The wing fastens in a similar way with carbon carry through spar and self alignment as the wings bottom out as they are fitted on each side of the fuselage. A screw is inserted from the underside of the wing root on each wing panel to lock the wing half into position. There is an added wire harness that exits the wing root that connects to a “Y” harness from the battery balance port. This powers an LED light ribbon throughout the hollow wing panel to the tip where additional high intensity LED’s are added. The only gluing step of construction is the over size wing tips that act not only as side force generators, but help direct some of that light back at the fuselage for better visibility without extra weight. The tips are side specific with an integrated hard plastic bottom to prevent wear damage with ground contact. The wing tips have a self aligning feature that interfered with the LED lights. This was quickly remedied with an hobby knife before CA-ing into position. The radio system is nearly 100% installed with servos and Aura 8 installed at the factory. The control linkages are metal rods with plastic clevises that require connecting. The manual is very detail oriented and gives specific recommendations for each control. Aiding for radio access are two large radio hatches, one in the bottom with a magnet and a top one with convenient spring loaded clasp for tool-less entry. The Aura 8 ACFS is not a receiver, but is compatible with all major radio systems. It accepts signals from DSM, Futaba S Bus, Graupner Hott, JR X Bus or PPM stream. I opted to use a Spektrum remote receiver which simply plugs into a port on the Aura 8. Binding is straight forward but requires two bind plugs with a plug in port one and the other plugged into port eight. A three position switch is required for channel five. This switch will select the various flight modes. In the initial set up I used sub trims to set up the servo centering. I found that when selecting the different flight modes, that the flight control centering would change with switch position. Sub trims have to be set at zero in order for the servo to remain centered when selecting the various flight modes. This means the flight controls must be centered using mechanical linkages. Once the system is installed the radio system is recommended to be set up with three different flight modes (1) Flight control system off with modest control deflection (2) Flight control gains set on moderate and tuned with modest control deflection for best performance while performing precision flying (3) Flight gains set on highest with maximum control deflection for extreme 3D aerobatics. The Potenza 10 1350Kv motor is factory installed as is the HobbyWing SkyWalker 40A ESC. The motor cowl secures with a screw on either side of the cowl. It is factory installed, but can be removed if one needed access to the motor at a later date. I did not have a battery with the matching connector so opted to install Power Pole connectors on the ESC and 3S 2200mAh LiPo battery. The only step required for the power system installation is to the 5mm prop adaptor and the included SR 11.5 x 4.5 electric prop. In the event that lights are desired, simply plug the balance plug of the battery to lighting interface and make sure its plugged into the each wing JST type wire connector … it’s that easy :0) IN THE AIR The QQ Extra 300 Night, as far as I’m concerned, is good enough without the Aura 8. The plane tracks well, requiring little correction while accelerating for take off. The wheels are more suited for manicured fields, but there is more then enough power to motivate things if the grass is a little long. The Extra flies as you’d expect with its pedigree lines and generous flight controls. The plane is very agile, but does not give up tracking to achieve this. The power system is well matched with great acceleration and moderate top speed. This is the second plane I’ve flown that had SFG’s and was designed by Quique and am delighted by the balance of side lift that doesn’t detract from aspects of flight. I did ask Quique about the process of tuning SFG’s and he literally cuts off sections of SFG until it performs the way he wants it. This might also entail taping pieces back on if getting overzealous with the hobby knife. The plane is an obvious no brainer performing regular, precision and even 3D aerobatics … after all, that’s what it’s designed to do. Where things go from good to incredible is when flying in mode with the Aura 8 ACFS activated. I consider myself to be a good pilot and some what of a 3D hacker! I don’t get the time on the sticks like I used to and fly a little rusty at times. Activate the Aura 8 and the rust got knocked off in no time. The ACFS system does not take over, but definitely enhances flight, especially when slowing things down and in high alpha. The gyro system senses the need for a control correction and gives one before you can even compute that it needed one in the first place. The first time I flew using and Aura 8, I felt like I was cheating. I was piloting for Matt Maziarz so he could get some “lower” to the ground 3D shots and was giddy at how it took the pucker factor out of hover. I mean it when I say it enabled you to be some what relaxed knowing big brother was there flying along side. Rolling circles, slow rolls, knife edge were all easy and very impressive. Hovering is truly effortless with rock a solid Harrier and seamless transition into vertical. The power system is linear and the QQ Extra hangs there like a carpenters plum bob. Torque rolls were magical and look awesome, levitating a foot off the ground. If you’re a hungry 3D’er, the QQ Extra is like an all you can eat 3D buffet! Just about any 3S 2200-3000mAh LiPo is going to fit just fine in the spacious battery compartment.As the QQ Extra 300 Night is no different than the original QQ 300, there really is no difference in the flight characteristics, but the LED laden wings really do crank up the fun factor after dark. At first, the thought of a fuse sans lights on a night rig did not tickle my fancy. However, after a few flights in the dark with the QQ Night, I am a believer. The post-stall capabilities of the model allow you to keep it in close, so there really isn’t any extra need for fuse lights. If so desired though, one could easily slip some extra LED strips down through the fuse as there is ample room within the interior. THE LAST WORD The QQ Extra 300 isn’t your average foamy … it’s more! I never thought of this solid of stability in a foamy, but QQ Extra has brought performance to the next level. Unlike other gyro systems, the Aura 8 works seamlessly in the background and does a remarkable job at increasing confidence. The plane looks great with stylish graphics that not only look good, but also aide in orientation. The Extra is equipped with high top quality components that work harmoniously in this 3D thoroughbred. Even better, you can enjoy it in the dark! WE USED: RADIO: JR 12X transmitter RECEIVER: Spektrum satellite receiver BATTERY: Some random 40C 3S 2200mAh that was floating around my pit box LINKS FLEX INNOVATIONS JR SPEKTRUM The post Premiere Aircraft QQ Night Extra 300 appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
  9. RCFieldRefurb.jpg

    That camera must have been on a very long pole. ;-)
  10. Ted Kronas

    Glider Guider - Airtronics Olympic II - E
  11. Someone has got a great idea on how to teach our kids about business, marketing and manufacturing with a model airplane kit at its heart. http://www.telemastersupplylines.com/
  12. Get ready for one of the most exciting events in RC aviation. The dates are set for the Twelve O’clock High Warbirds Classics Event; Oct 19-21 2017. Mark your calendars, tell your family you’re busy and make plans to head to Lakeland FL. Find out more details HERE The post Twelve O’clock High Warbirds Classics Event Oct 19-21 2017 appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
  13. Drone Federalism Act

    Something new being stirred up in Congress to give local and state governments the power to regulate our hobby. http://www.flyingmag.com/drone-federalism-act-would-shift-regulation-to-state-and-local-governments
  14. By Scott Copeland It has been said that one learns more from his failures than his successes. Undeterred by my prior washouts, I vowed to improve my RC skills although those little green demons of haste and impatience continued to hound me. At some point, I acquired a Pronto kit designed by Dave Robelen. It was a cute little low-wing sport machine that reminded me of the PT-19, especially in Robelen’s original, yellow and blue between-the-wars color scheme. As soon as the kit was in my possession, I had to start building! Dave Robelen’s original ProntoIn retrospect, I have come to the conclusion that all projects have an appropriate pace. That pace may be different for each individual modeler and each individual project but there is certainly a proper speed with which one should proceed. This ideal pace is the perfect balance of progress and sound decision-making. Work too slow; you succumb to every pitfall and never finish the project. Work too fast; you make rash decisions that doom the project to eventual failure. At the time in my life that I built the Pronto, I had not yet had this revelation. Instead of carefully studying the plans and building instructions to make sure I understood every step, I simply bulled through the build trying to get things done ASAP. Around this same time I also got quite familiar with another factor of modeling which demands recognition; the modeling budget. Rushing through the building process is certainly one way to make sure things get done wrong, but also not realizing that a project is beyond monetary capabilities can lead to just as many mistakes. The original kit box label for the Pronto.At some point in the project, I ran out of epoxy. All my greenbacks had flown the coup, so I substituted. Surely other glues would be sufficient for things like wing spar joinery… I can’t recall which glue I substituted for the correct one, but that point, my friends, is now moot. Additionally, I could not afford the Monokote that should have been used to cover the Pronto. Instead, I had inherited an old roll of iron-on fabric covering that my grandfather had collecting cobwebs in his shop. I decided to use this instead. I quickly learned why this stuff had never been used. It was quite heavy and did not stick well to the framework. Luckily the Pronto had no compound curves because I am sure this mystery fabric would not have conformed to them at all. The covering looked, as Dave Platt might say, “Like a pig’s breakfast”, but there was the Pronto, ready to fly in record time. Dave displaying his model.I could not wait to test-fly this thing. My friend Chris was always semi-interested in my aeronautical exploits and decided to come along for the maiden flight. My flying field, prophetically, was at the edge of a cemetery. It had a nice open field and a paved strip that could be used as a runway, and the neighbors were quiet. I quickly assembled the model and filled the tank. I rushed through the pre-flight check, failing to check the center of gravity, thinking forward about how great this plane was going to fly. I started the trusty O.S. .15 and set the needle. I did manage to check the controls, and then goosed the throttle. The Pronto lept into the air after a 10 foot rollout and was climbing at about a 45 degree angle! I quickly gave down elevator and managed to keep it from stalling. I hurriedly fed in full down-trim but could not keep the nose level without massive amounts of down-elevator. The Pronto was barely controllable, intermittently climbing and diving at 45-degree angles. I did manage to avoid the trees at the end of the field but couldn’t wrangle my horribly tail-heavy machine into any semblance of a controlled flight pattern. After about 20 terrifying seconds of piloting that must have given the impression to all bystanders that I must have stopped at the pub before the flying field, one of my sub-standard glue joints finally decided to give up. I made a quick diving turn to the right and as I pulled out, the two wing halves clapped together as if mockingly applauding my stupidity. The Pronto did its best impression of a V2 rocket and plunged vertically into oblivion, the roaring engine stopping with a thud. The thud was followed by a brief silence, interrupted by the uproarious laughter from Chris, who could no longer contain himself. Insult added to injury, the Pronto managed to seek out and find the paved strip amidst the preponderance of nice soft field turf. The tail group survived; that’s about it. My trusty O.S. .15 had a bent crankshaft and my receiver was cracked. To paraphrase Carl Bachhuber, I was learning by trial and error… mostly error: Never substitute when you know consciously that you are using the wrong glue! Haste makes (Pronto) waste! Sometimes, I am an idiot. The full size plans as downloaded from outerzone.com.The post Only Human 3: Shortcut To Terra Firma appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
  15. 5934a9707a9b6_20170603OlyII2200mah.jpg

    Nice data readout but about that FAA 400 ft. limit?
  16. 5934a9707a9b6_20170603OlyII2200mah.jpg

    Nice 1 hour flight, that is what soaring is all about! The graph is actually says "m" meters so could it be that 1100m = 3609ft now that is impressive!! It would be very hard to see an Olympic II at 3600' but it is possible in the right conditions. -SoaringRox
  17. Words and photos by Gary A. Ritchie Now it’s time to build a fiberglass cowling that will fully enclose the electric motor in our Ultra Sport 60. Before we begin, sand the front of the fuselage into a smooth oval shape (Figure 1). Then draw a pencil line across the front center of the firewall and drill two 9/64” holes straight down through the firewall 5/8” in from the fuselage sides (Figure 2). Building the cowling involves two steps: (1) making a mold from blue foam, and (2) building the cowling over the mold using strips of fiberglass cloth. When this is done, the foam mold is cut away leaving the fiberglass cowling. Let’s take them one step at a time. Making the mold. To make the mold you will need a 1-foot square sheet of 2” thick blue foam (you can buy this at a hardware store, but I was able to get some scrap foam from a fellow modeler), two 4-40 blind nuts, two 4-40 x 5/8” long socket head cap screws, two small pieces of scrap 1/8” plywood, and some 20 minute Epoxy. Bolt the motor to the motor mount and set the assembly on top of the firewall, center it up, and then measure the distance (D) from the front of the firewall to the back of the prop spinner plate (Figure 3). With my plane, D was 4 3/8”. Then cut two blocks of foam exactly 4¾” x 4 3/8” (modify this if D is not 4 3/8”). I used a band saw for this. If you don’t have a band saw you can use a table saw or even a hand saw with a miter block. The idea is to cut the pieces as square as possible. Then glue them together side to side and hold them firmly in place with a couple of metal weights while the glue dries. I used Deluxe 20-minute Speed Epoxy II for this step (Figure 4). This will give you a block of foam with the dimensions: 4 ¾” x 4 3/8” x 4”. Now cut two pieces of 1/8” scrap plywood to about 1” x ½” and drill a 1/8” hole in the center of each. Mount one of the 4-40 blind nuts in each hole (Figure 5). Then feed the two 4-40 bolts through the holes you drilled in the firewall (Figure 2) from inside the fuselage so that the ends protrude through the nose. You can make this easier by putting a blob of Deluxe Tacky Wax on the tip of your ball driver to hold the screw as you insert it into the front of the fuselage (Figure 6). A Glue Stick will also work but not as well. Then bolt each plywood block firmly to the front of the firewall (Figure 7). Now firmly fasten your fuselage into an upright position (I used my Shop Mate) and press the foam block straight down on the front of the firewall (Figure 8). This will mark the locations of the ply blocks on the bottom of the foam block (Figure 9). Remove the plywood blocks from the firewall, cut out the impressions in the foam down to about 1/8” with your hobby knife and Epoxy the plywood blocks into these cutouts (Figure 10). These will be the mounting points for the foam block as we fasten it into place on the fuselage and begin shaping it. Then screw the foam block firmly to the front of the fuselage, again running the bolts in from behind the firewall as you did earlier. Then draw lines on the block to extend the outlines of the upper and lower fuselage (Figure 11). Find the round 1/8” plywood spinner ring provided in the kit. Set the spinner backplate from the spinner you plan to use on the ring and use it as a template to draw a circle around the spinner ring. Then sand the ring to match the diameter of the spinner backplate (Figure 12). Mark the center of the front of the foam block. Use the plan drawings to determine exactly where the center will be. Then place the spinner ring on the center of the foam block and draw a circle around it (Figure 13). Note that I am planning to add an air scoop beneath the spinner, so you need to draw that in as well. We are now ready to begin shaping the mold. Using the front edge of the fuselage and the round forward edge of the block as guides, send the block so that it gradually contours from the fuselage down to the shape of the spinner ring – leaving a place for the air scoop beneath it. Finally place the spinner ring at the front of the block and make sure the foam exactly matches it. If not, do some final sanding to make it perfect (Figure 14). Note in Figure 14 the area that I left for the air scoop. To do the sanding I initially used #80 grit sandpaper. Be careful with this because it can tear large chunks out of the foam. To finish I switched to #120 grit to smooth out the mold. Keep working on it until you get it as smooth and uniform as you can. The front corners of the fuselage were sanded round with a sanding block.A horizontal line was drawn across the middle of the front of the fuselage. Two 9/64” diameter holes were drilled on each line 5/8” in from the outer edges. Holes are shown at the arrows.The distance (D) from the front of the firewall to the back of the spinner backplate was determined to be 4-3/8”.The two pieces of 2” thick blue foam were glued together side by side with 20 minute Deluxe Speed Epoxy II to form a block 4-¾” x 4-3/8” x 4”. They were then weighted down with metal plates to cure.Two pieces of 1/8” thick plywood were cut to about 1” x ½” and 4-40 blind nuts were inserted into 1/8” holes drilled in the center of each piece. Here you see also the two 5/8” 4-40 socket head cap screws.A good way to get the socket screws into place in the holes in the back of the firewall is to apply some Deluxe Sticky Wax to the tip of a long socket driver, then stick it into the cap of the cap screw. This can then be inserted through the battery hatch and into the holes in the firewall.The plywood blocks are screwed to the front of the firewall with the socket head cap screws.With the fuselage mounted upward in a Shop Mate, the foam block was centered on the firewall and then pressed down hard onto the screws and wood blocks.Pressing the foam block down on the firewall made impressions of the wood blocks and protruding screws.After the wood block impressions were cut out with a hobby knife, the plywood blocks and bolts were glued in place with epoxy. Before gluing, the bolts were liberally covered with Vaseline to prevent them from being glued to the foam or to the threads in the blind nuts. Then the bolts were removed.The foam block was fastened in place using the two 4-40 bolts screwed into the plywood blocks. Then lines were drawn on the blocks to serve as sanding guides.The 1/8” plywood spinner ring and the aluminum spinner backplate are shown here. The backplate was placed on the spinner ring and used to draw a circle on the ring. It was then sanded down so that the spinner ring and the backplate were the same diameter.After the center of the foam block was determined and marked, the spinner ring was set on the front of the block and a circle was drawn around it.After the block was sanded down to fit the spinner ring, it was held in place to facilitate final touch-up sanding. This completes construction of our mold. Next time we will use it to fabricate the fiberglass cowling. Until then remember to take your time and enjoy doing a good job. LINKS GREAT PLANES DELUXE MATERIALS The post RC Kits 31: Great Planes Ultra Sport 60 – Making The Fiberglass Cowl appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
  18. Words and photos by Bob Benjamin – bob@rcmodel.com A genuine Golden Oldie that’s perfect for today’s small electric airplanes. NOTE: This article is required reading for the next installment of Master’s Workshop, Guillow’s Hellcat #4 Silkspan … what’s that? Simply stated, it’s a unique kind of paper that since the really old (pre-WWII) days of aeromodelling has been recognized as an excellent covering material for model airplanes. More specifically, it’s a specialized tissue made from woody plant fibers. It’s my understanding that most if not all of it comes to us from Japan. The material generations of aeromodelers around the world have called “silkspan”, a trade name of which I don’t know the origin, is very specific kind of tissue paper, but not all tissue from Japan is silkspan. You’ll recognize its subtly mottled appearance when you see it…and you almost certainly have already. “Silkspan” is the model airplane world’s name for teabag paper. “Japanese Tissue”, the lighter, finer-grained paper made from the gampi plant, sold on the US model airplane market under names such as Esaki, is a different product which demands slightly different application techniques. Back when I got started in this business, during the late 1940’s and early ‘50’s, silkspan had long since been accepted as the default covering for all but the very smallest…and largest…model airplanes. In those days nearly all the kit manufacturers included a couple sheets of the stuff in every box as the recommended covering material, which everybody knew was supposed to be attached, sealed and finished with airplane dope. The silkspan that was available to us then (and still is) came in three different weights/thicknesses. “OO” is very light…very similar to the heavier tissue products and good for little models with wingspans on the order of twelve to maybe eighteen inches. “OO” silkspan has another special purpose application which works well on larger models as well. I’ll talk more about that later in this article. “GM” (gas model) silkspan is noticeably thicker and stronger…and the most commonly used. “SGM” (super gas model) silkspan was also there on the hobby shop shelf if you were building a six-footer and couldn’t afford very-much-stronger (and much more expensive) silk. If you opened a kit from Sterling, Goldberg, Berkeley, Top Flite, PDQ, Midwest, Kenhi, or Veco, among others in those days, you expected to find a couple of two-by-three foot sheets of silkspan included. This arrangement continued to be common into the 1960’s and beyond, long after most model builders had come to regard those various plastic film products as the new default choice of covering. You will still find silkspan in all the larger Guillow’s built-up balsa kits today, and that happy anachronism is what is going to lead us into this lesson on one of the good old skills of aeromodelling. Regardless of the grade of silkspan you chose, if you were an experienced model builder you had long since learned to apply your covering NOT just over the “open” parts of the model structure. Instead you covered every square inch of the model’s surface, including the “closed” parts like sheet balsa or carved balsa blocks. If you left any balsa structure uncovered/unsealed by silkspan you would pay the penalty of having a rough, porous surface that was nearly impossible to finish to match the “covered” areas. A colored dope finish might help disguise the contrast between the silkspan and the bare, open grain, porous balsa around it, but even adding and sanding multiple coats of various “fillercoat” products could not give you a finish base to compare with “silkspan over everything” and a couple coats of clear dope. Some guys learned the hard way that if you started that color finish by putting on enough coats of sanding sealer/fillercoat over the bare wood to truly hide it, the extra weight pretty much guaranteed a non-flying airplane. Indeed, using colored dope containing heavy pigments was something we learned to avoid when building smaller airplanes that we wanted to fly well. No matter how you planned to finish it, like most of the other “pre-plastic” coverings, silkspan could be applied dry by sealing down all the edges of the piece you were working on and then spraying it with water, which when it dried would shrink enough to pull out most wrinkles. The alternate method, which most of us preferred, was to cover wet by pre-moistening the silkspan with water and then taking advantage of the extra flexibility and stretchiness that resulted to pull the covering tight and flat even over compound curves like the top surface of a wing. As the water evaporated the covering would shrink itself really smooth. Once you got used to working with the more delicate, fragile wet silkspan you were almost guaranteed a tighter, neater covering job. Regardless of how you stuck it down, a silkspan covering job was always sealed and strengthened by adding several coats of clear dope. Usually you stopped adding coats when the silkspan began to look noticeably shiny after the dope dried. Using more dope added more weight but even worse, it always threatened to over-tighten the covering and warp (twist) your structure. There are different types of dope as well as various different techniques for using it, but no matter…they all come with a REALLY STRONG SMELL. Even if you didn’t mind it everybody around you DID…and that is one of the best reasons why lots of model airplane builders stopped using dope-and-silkspan as soon as they discovered those new plastic coverings. Very recently a new product for sealing/surfacing silkspan (as well as other types of tissue) has become available to model builders. It does all the things we want the dope to do, but it DOESN’T SMELL and it doesn’t over-shrink. I will tell you more about this stuff later, but right now I want to talk about one more characteristic of silkspan that really expands its usefulness. Silkspan, which is naturally white, used to be available in multiple pre-dyed colors as well. You could find red, yellow, orange, blue, green , black…or even checkerboard-patterned silkspan in red or black stocked right on the hobby shop shelf next the white kind. Can you imagine a model covered with, say, deep golden-yellow translucent silkspan sealed and turned glossy with five or six coats of clear dope, glowing in the afternoon sun at some grassy flying field? This is the effect that those transparent colored film products have been trying for years to reproduce. If you have ever seen a well-executed clear doped colored silkspan (or silk) covering, you will agree with me that they have not yet managed to get it right. OK, enough of the history lesson. I have chosen clear doped colored silkspan as the covering/finish of choice for my ongoing series of electric RC conversions of Guillow’s traditional stick-and-tissue balsa model. I am going to show you how to use it a bit differently than we did in the past and in the process explain why learning to do it the new way is such a good idea. These are the two Guillow’s Kit. No. 403 Spitfires I talked about in the lead-off article of this series, and they provide an excellent example of what dyed, clear-doped silkspan covering looks like. I’m going to show you how to do stuff like this yourself.Unfortunately, most hobby shops today carry silkspan (or any other tissue-type covering for that matter), and the guy behind the counter probably won’t even know what it is. There are in fact quite a few specialized dealers who sell it…mostly online…but let’s start the easy way. Do you remember my mentioning that Guillow’s, whose models we are featuring in this current Master’s Workshop series, not only include it in their larger kits but are also happy to sell it to you separately? What you are looking at here is a sheet of “OO” silkspan directly out of a Guillow’s kit box.Just for comparison, this is a sheet of significantly thicker/stringer/heavier “SGM” silkspan. This piece happens to be at least sixty years old…it came from a dozen-roll tube sold by Berkeley to complement the materials included in their kits. Because it was kept in a closed container and out of sunlight, it’s in the same condition as when it was new stock on a hobby shop shelf somewhere. In fact, right after taking this picture I included a couple sheets of this old stuff in the same dye bath as the new silkspan from Guillow’s and set it aside for some future project.Here’s where the action is. Ordinary “Rit” fabric dye does an excellent job of coloring silkspan. For this job I used a two-gallon pot and about half of the dye in the packet.The Rit package instructions for dying various fabrics suggest that the dyebath be at a gentle boil. Because silkspan is after all paper, not a textile, I don’t push its “wet strength” so far. The pot you see here is just at the temperature where the water steams slightly before bubbling, at which point I turned down the heat and added all my silkspan to the pot. Open up/unfold every sheet of covering you are going to dye and add it to the dye bath one sheet at a time, gently crumpled, so the dye will get to every corner of each sheet.Everybody into the pool! There are eight separate sheets of silkspan in this pot, which I kept “just simmering” for about twenty minutes while stirring it very gently to keep it all distributed evenly.Following the dye package instructions, the next step is to give the entire dye lot a cool rinse. Can you see how I am adding cold water to the pot while breaking the flow from the faucet with my hand to avoid damaging the covering with a strong stream of water?This part is a waiting game…sort of. According to the Rit directions you should keep adding cold water while pouring off the overflow until the rinse water is nearly clear. That’s what I do and it works.Pulling those wet sheets of now-colored silkspan out of the pot and separating them is a delicate job. If you don’t use plenty of patience and a gentle touch you will tear the sheets taking them out.Wet silkspan all crumpled and folded back on itself is frighteningly easy to damage. I prepare a “drying yard” using as many old bath towels (clean) as it takes to create an area large enough to spread every sheet out, free of folds and significant overlaps, and then work each sheet as nearly flat as I can get it. Here my batch of new Navy Blue silkspan is still pretty bunched up.Proceed slowly! If you look carefully you can see several sheets of covering already spread out at the rear. Once they are all spread out…as you have heard me say before…go away and let it all dry.You can tell by looking when that has happened. A fully-dried sheet of freshly-dyed silkspan is going to appear much less intensely colored than when it was wet. What you see here is a full sheet of Guillow’s standard kit silkspan spread out flat so I can cut it with a fresh/sharp razor blade to get the correct working size piece I need and to create a reliably straight edge to measure from when laying it in place on the airplane.This is what our nice new sheet of Navy-Blue-dyed silkspan looks like once it’s ready to be applied to the balsa surface of an airplane. Next to the Hellcat fuselage you can see a plastic bottle of the new product that is going to allow us to do no-smell doping. Deluxe Materials sells a wide variety of model building products; EzeDope is the one that has been painstakingly developed for the specific job we are about to do. I’ll fill in the details as we go along with a representative portion of a covering job.Before we go any further I want to remind you that on this particular modification of a Guillow’s Kit. No. 1005 Hellcat the entire surface of the model has been converted to sheet balsa covering. To cover open structure we will use a different technique based on another Deluxe Materials product called Tissue Paste. I will feature this in a future article based on a different model. What you see here is the curved upper surface of the Hellcat wing center section, which is flat all the way across the fuselage centerline from one dihedral break to the other. Notice that I have used that freshly cut straight edge of the working piece of silkspan to align it accurately along the center section-outer panel joint (the dihedral break). As we go on you’ll see why this straight-cut edge is going to help us. The most important part of what you see in this shot is how well the now-dry dyed silkspan spreads and flattens and lies snugly against the sheet balsa we’re attaching it to when I work outwards from a central starting point using a brush generously wet with EzeDope.I alternate between “chasing” the dry edge of the covering out across the wing surface with the wet brush and careful thumb-and-finger stretching from the outer edge of the covering to get it down tight against the balsa with NO WRINKLES. We’ll get a better look at this technique during the next several steps.Never pass up the chance to get an overlap where the silkspan (or any other covering) wraps around an edge. In addition to the more finished appearance that I already talked about, doubled-over silkspan provides a significant increase in strength in the structural edge it’s attached to. What you see here is the top of the wing center section with a sheet of blue-dyed silkspan sealed with EzeDope that has dried enough for us to handle it. Where the excess covering runs off the edge at that right-angle corner, which is the inboard end of the left wing flap cutout, I cut it so the resulting free edges can create the overlaps we want.Here’s the same wing center section seen from the front. You can see how neatly that folded-edge overlap works at the trailing edge. With that overlap completed and the EzeDope I used to attach the silkspan dry enough to handle, I’m giving the entire section of new covering/finish a final blend-it-all-together coat of EzeDope.As you have already guessed, I did the let-it-dry thing again before coming back to cover the right wing panel. This time I’ll repeat the process we just saw in better detail. Here I’m beginning by checking that the sheet of blue silkspan is in my hand is big enough for me to cut off a piece just the right size to fit the surface I want to cover.What you see is one end of a single sheet of “OO” silkspan from the Guillow’s kit, dyed and dried, ready for use. I’m marking a cut-off line that will give me a wide enough grab-and-pull margin without wasting material.There are several ways to cut silkspan. These large fabric scissors make it easy to follow that pencil line I just drew.You’ve seen me do this before. Because what will become the inner end of this pierce of silkspan is going to have to fit neatly against the center section edge that’s already on the wing, I need to make another straight cut in order to get a good fit. What you see is what you get…I’ve placed this sheet of covering over a clean, smooth surface so that a single pass along the steel straightedge with a nice sharp new razor blade gives me the clean cut I need. Doing work like this is not a place to try to economize on blades. A standard hardware-store-variety single-edge blade is good for maybe a dozen precision cuts like this before it dulls enough to risk catching and tearing the silkspan.This is about as narrow a gripper margin overhang as you should consider using. It’s WAY better to “waste” a few inches of covering material here than to cut too close and spoil the whole piece so you have to strip it off, throw it away, and start over.Remember “working out from the middle” with the EzeDope? Here’s another close-up look. If you look carefully you can see (at the left behind the brush) where I have pre-aligned those neatly trimmed edges. By now you have figured out that a double layer of dyed silkspan, as created by an edge overlap, is going to appear darker and more deeply colored than the surface around it. On this project I’ve chosen to employ those narrow overlaps to represent the sheet metal skin joints on the full scale Hellcat.More of the same. You will develop a feel for just when it’s time to put down the EzeDope brush and switch over to pulling out all the wrinkles before they get locked in and impossible to fix.With the silkspan EzeDoped’d into place exactly where we want it at the inboard end of the panel it’s time to work the other end smoothly all the way to the wingtip. Again what you see is what you get here. The easy error to make is not using enough EzeDope … keep the brush and the silkspan really wet, or those wrinkles won’t “chase”.We’ve been here before, too. You can see where I’m working to pull enough of that gripper edge of the silkspan down and around the leading edge to provide a good overlap.If you’ve stayed with me so far, this shot needs no explanation.Once again this is more of the same. Where the silkspan is thoroughly wetted with EzeDope around the wingtip you can use the natural curve of you hand to form/squeeze/press it into place.Here I have come back to the leading edge of the right wing panel and I’m using the same technique I did a moment ago with the wingtip. Getting the silkspan securely bonded and “no excuses” smooth just past the center of the leading edge curve is what we want to achieve.I have done the same thing along the right wing tailing edge and now the EzeDope is almost dry. This is one of those places where you’ll have to develop your own sense of judgment…if you use that loose sheet of 220 sandpaper too soon you’ll tear the silkspan and pull it loose. If you wait until it’s completely dry this sanding technique won’t cut cleanly and you will have to work to pull away whatever part of the overlap has gotten stuck past where you wanted it to be. Practice, practice, practice.I have done the same thing along the right wing tailing edge and now the EzeDope is almost dry. This is one of those places where you’ll have to develop your own sense of judgment…if you use that loose sheet of 220 sandpaper too soon you’ll tear the silkspan and pull it loose. If you wait until it’s completely dry this sanding technique won’t cut cleanly and you will have to work to pull away whatever part of the overlap has gotten stuck past where you wanted it to be. Practice, practice, practice.This is how that trimming process looks when you get it right.And … this is the right wing panel all covered, trimmed, and sealed by the EzeDope I used to attach it. There are a couple of steps left to get this covering/finishing job done the way I want it, but we’ll talk about that in my Master’s Workshop Hellcat No. 5 installment (which is scheduled to appear right alongside this lesson).There you have it boys and girls. An old classic that uses a few new tricks and products to get the job done better than ever. Be sure to check back in the next day or two for the latest Master’s Workshop installment, where all of this silkspan goodness will serve you well. LINKS GUILLOW’S DELUXE MATERIALS The post Silkspan How-To: A Blast From The Past With A Few New Twists appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
  19. Horizon RC Fest

    Eli Field in Monticello, Illinois The Horizon RC Fest is a fun-focused RC celebration for the entire family. Hosted by Horizon Hobby, this all-day event will feature an RC airshow, drone racing, RC product demonstrations, giveaways and more! You’ll also be able to get hands-on with all kinds of RC vehicles and aircraft. Refreshment and hobby retailers will be on site. The event starts at 10:00AM and could go past dark. Don’t miss it! No open flying.
  20. Federal Appeals Court overrules FAA registration

    Interesting, by FAA's interpretation of special rule 336, flying FPV is not covered by the rule. The text of their interpretation follows:
  21. Paint Matching

    Custom Paint Matching - As suggested by Bob Miller and others - Dust and Son, north Cunningham, Urbana. Matched colors I needed, mixed paint and put it in aerosol cans. $20 / large can. Great service! Sold me clear coat that should help with fuel proofing. Will test and report.
  22. My opinion is that whether or not there is FAA rules, regulations, and registration we has the community should continue to be proactive always in the education and safety of the hobby because all it would take is 1 accident to end up with a congressional hearing or something and get real stiff regulations. I'm on the fence about registration, no I don't like the feds getting into my business but on the other hand if someone gets someone hurt or killed by doing things they should not be doing with their plane/heli/drone then they should be accountable for it in some way.
  23. This has been auto feed into our websites blog, thought I would bring some attention to it (click the link to read) What our your thoughts on this ruling?
  24. Is registration of model aircraft a thing of the past? The Federal Appeals Court of the District of Columbia ruled today that the FAA rule requiring that model aircraft be registered was in violation of the section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. In what was called a David vs. Goliath case, John A. Taylor brought the case against the FAA earlier this year. The court stated the following in their ruling. In short, the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act provides that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft,” yet the FAA’s 2015 Registration Rule is a “rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.” Statutory interpretation does not get much simpler. The Registration Rule is unlawful as applied to model aircraft. You can read a full copy of the ruling here. Taylor VS FAA Opinion There is the option for the FAA to appeal the decision but it is unlikely to be heard by a higher court anytime soon. The only other option is for the FAA to lobby congress to repeal or amend the 2012 law. This is a huge win for hobbyists and will ease the access to model aviation once again. The registration rule had minimal impact on the safety of the national airspace and was seen as a government intrusion by most. We will continue to watch the progress of cases such as this one and pass the information on to you. Today we congratulate John A. Taylor on helping maintain our abilities to enjoy this great hobby without extra burden. The post Federal Appeals Court Voids FAA UAS registration rule appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
  25. This is an easy website to navigate. They will be donating 20% of sales to AMA on August 15 th (2017).
  26. Futaba announces the T16SZ radio

    Futaba T16SZ Futaba has announced a new radio in it’s line that bridges the gap between the 14SG and the 18MZ. The new Futaba T16SZ brings many of the features of the 18MZ in a radio geared at the mid range pilot looking for more features then the 14SG but without the cost of the 18MZ. One of the biggest features people will like is the color LCD touch screen interface. This will make navigating the many features of the Futaba radio a breeze. With support for all the Futaba protocols upgrading from any Futaba air based system will be easy. The radio is slated to be available from the Hobbico network of dealers sometime in the summer of 2017. Features FASSTest, FASST, T-FHSS and S-FHSS protocols. 4.3” LCD touch screen. Full telemetry compatible. 30-model memory. 10 programmable mixes. 15-character naming. S.Bus servo programmer. R7008SB receiver. Swash and throttle mixing. V-tail mixing. EPA. Adjustable servo speed. 8 flight conditions. 3-axis gyro support. Software-updateable. Micro memory card slot. Voice message/audio earphone jack. Up/down/integral timer. Lap timer/memory. …and much, much more! To find out more check out Futabarc.com The post Futaba announces the T16SZ radio appeared first on Fly RC Magazine. View the full article
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Our flying field is the Former Champaign Municipal Landfill which was operated as a municipal solid waste landfill from approximately 1955 to 1975. As an AMA chartered Club our goal is to provide a forum for club members to exchange ideas and benefit from each others experiences with the hobby of building and the sport of flying radio controlled model aircraft. We are committed to promoting the enjoyment of safe R/C flying in accordance with AMA and Champaign County Radio Control Club rules and guidelines.

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