Monday, September 8, 2008

My other hobby

Well, flying isn't really the only thing I do for fun. Living on the edge of the Rocky Mountains provides a lot of opportunity for outdoor adventures. Mountain biking has become very popular out here, and I dabble a little during the summer when flying is not occupying all my time.

I try to plan my trips such that broken limbs won't cause me to miss any important flying events. Some of the trails can be a little risky :) Also I am not really that good of a mountain I fall frequently lol!

These particular pictures are from a ride around Mt. Baldy and through Baldy pass. It was about 20km, 10 of which were uphill. Its a loop trail, on the 10k climb up you gain about 600m in elevation, and drop that same amount in about 3km on the way down :) Makes for an exciting trail!

Here is a shot of Mt. Baldy from the parking lot. Eventually we ended up on the other side of it.

There was a lot of logging going on along the first part of the trail.

Checking the do not want to get lost out here. The trail networks are usually quite extensive, and it gets dark in a hurry.

This was a huge washout section likely created by the spring runoff, with my amazing biking skills I decided it was better to carry my bike across :)

This is at the pass, about 1850m ASL. You can sort of make out the trail just above my rear tire....yes that narrow little path of rocks that rapidly disappears is the trail, and that is the only fun way down :)

Not sure what happened here...but I probably fell and decided that this was as good a spot as any to have a break. Some of the downhill sections are pretty steep, and if you get timid and slow down is pretty easy to lose you balance and you have to stop.

A couple of the nicer sections of the trip downhill!

We had a 5km ride back down the highway to the parking lot, I thought this hill would never end.

That's it for now, my riding friend is expecting his first child any day so not sure when we will get out next. When we do though I will be sure we take more pictures and I will post them here.


Friday, September 5, 2008

F-09 Video from Team Trials

My good friend Xavier took some video from the team trials. This is my first round of F, camera work is a little shaky but its still a pretty decent video. He does a good job of hiding all my mistakes as well!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Canadian Nationals and Team Selection

Well another year pretty much wrapped up for me. I just got back yesterday from Lindsay, Ontario where the Canadian Nationals and Team Selection competition were held.

Once again Dave Reaville did a stellar job of reporting this event as it was happening. So I am not going to go into any details on either the Nats or Team selection. His daily updates can be found here in case you have not already been there :)

A few things of note at the event though. A new young face appeared (at least to me) by the name of Ethen Chariandy in Sportsman, his dad Colin was flying in FAI. I had the opportunity to judge him in sportsman, I figure we have 10 years left before he comes along and starts beating us up in FAI :) It is a refreshing change to see some young talent starting up in pattern in this country.

Also a long time friend was back with us, Ivan Kristensen. Ivan had started out the year with a huge amount of bad luck and lost a couple of very nice airplanes which I am sure would put anyone into a holding pattern. However, while down at the US Nats he came across a Genesis which he has used to release those "crash monkeys" and get a bunch of flying under his belt. Although Ivan decided to pass on the team selection for this time, he has assured us he will be back in top shape for the next one in 2010. I am already looking forward to it!

The team selection....I have to say this was by far the most competitive and largest team selection that I have personally participated in. This was also the first year we used the format of P and F rounds to determine the team. I think this format has pushed the guys to a new level in their flying and really challenged them to do better.

Going into the finals rounds on Monday there were only 124 points separating 2nd from 7th place, and only 26 points between 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th places. This made the team spot anyones chance, the prelims were so close that the finals rounds became very important. At the end of the day and with only a 0.3 point margin between 3rd and 4th! the team was selected as myself, Dez Vaghy and Dan Venables.

I have to say I was most impressed with all the flying by the FAI guys. There has been a lot of improvement in the last year from what I saw. Although in competition not everyone gets go home happy with their final results, I think its more than safe to say that for everyone flying it was the best flying they have ever achieved.

The pilots of the finals with their airplanes.

Back: Chad Northeast, Dan Venables, Xavier Mouroux, Mark Byrne, Dave Reaville.
Front: Dez Vaghy, Colin Chariandy, Paul Hepworth

5 of the 8 contestants were flying Comp-Arf Integrals, 2 flying ZN Twisters, and 1 a Prestige. 6 pilots flew the Plettenberg 30-10 Evo, 1 pilot a YS 160DZ, and 1 pilot an Axi 5330 F3A.

The 2009 Canadian F3A Team, Chad Northeast, Dez Vaghy and Dan Venables.

My Composite-Arf Integral. This is the same model that I flew at the US Nats a month prior to this event.

Ivan got this cool shot of my Integral departing the field on a fun flight after the contest while awaiting the results.

I have to give a big thanks to Ivan and Dianne Kristensen, as well as Harry and Rosemary Ells. Ivan and Dianne picked me up when I flew into Toronto and kept me sheltered and fed like a king (did you see that 40' motorhome!) during the contest. Harry and Rosemary put a roof over my head and transportation back to the airport on the last day. Without great people like this helping those who travel out it would not be nearly as fun or feasible to do!

For more pictures visit these sites,


Sunday, July 27, 2008

US Nationals 2008 - Thoughts

Well the 2008 US Nats are all over. I have not made it home, but am spending a week relaxing at my parents house. I quit my job before I left for the Nats and don't start the new one until the 5th of August so I decided to take a bit of time and spend it here.

This year the Nats was a big success for me, I accomplished many of the things that I set out to do this year, namely flying consistently, and making the finals. I have struggled in recent years with having consistently good flights, which was something I worked at this year. Although not all my flights were the best flights, they were all good flights. This is important at events like the US Nats where everything is very close.

There were a few new things at the Nats this year, being an off year most people are still flying gear from last season. Quique was flying his modified Euphoria which include a bunch of changes to the fin area and wing area. As well he has removed the quad servo setup from the wing and went with single 42 in-oz mini servos (don't remember the model) to drive both the lower and upper ailerons on each wing half. He said he cannot tell the difference between that and the quad servo setup, and it saved a huge amount of weight. He was also running the YS 170 on the CDI (capacitive discharge ignition) system, and I think a 19x11 prop (custom prop) at about 72-7400 rpm. This seemed to work well for him, his flying style was to fly in close with a slow but powerful style. I don't think this style would suit a monoplane very well, but the biplane presented nicely when flown like this. He unfortunately had a number of issues with what I think was the ignition system during the finals which cost him both his second F and unknown flights. He accepted his position at the Worlds as the current world champion so his 4th place finish did not affect him flying at the 2009 Worlds.

I was using a couple of new items as well, firstly being some new Thunder Power Prolite 2600 cells. These cells were used to make a 10s 2p 5200 mAh battery. These cells are 18C and the pack weighs approximately 1180 grams. I am not exactly sure when or if these will be available but they are very impressive cells, I was able to log some flight data on the cells, and during a normal P-09 flight the packs never drop below 35V, even after 8 minutes of airtime and 70A loads. The performance of the packs is higher than anything I have ever flown, and flight time is easily 9 minutes with excellent voltage remaining after the flight.

Also I was using the RASA folding 21x15 prop this year. I mount my motors to a firewall so I had a special hub made to allow me to run this prop without having my motor in the spinner. This setup provides much smoother power delivery than an APC, is approximately 2 dB quieter than a 21x14 and extremely quiet in flight. I think the folding prop has the advantage of absorbing flight loads by moving during the flight, this has the benefit of not reacting these loads into the airplane which reduced torque effects during corners etc. I notice a definite reduction in the torque reaction with this setup and am extremely pleased with it.

Some interesting news was that Jason Shulman was running the Plettenberg Xtra 30-10 Evo motor this year. I finally convinced him :) He is very happy with the motor, his feeling is that it is more powerful than the Hacker 14xl motor with about the same battery usage, and runs at the same temperature. The benefit is that there is no maintenance. I think its important to note that only Jason and I were the only two pilots in the finals to bring ONE airplane to the flight line. I think this shows the confidence we have in our equipment, the Plettenberg motor is nearly flawless.

The flying at this event was very high, Jason is a machine, I think he needs to get a job so the rest of us have a chance! Everyone in the finals flew great, and the talent pool is very deep. Its only going to get more difficult as the years go by.

Sorry I dont have any pictures, my good friend Dave Reaville is the man at taking pictures and keeping the daily blog going. Dave is absolutely superb at this, no one does it better IMO. Every spare second he has is dedicated to keeping the world informed, and I think we all owe Dave a big thanks for that.

His pictures are here,

If you have not seen his blog I have a link posted on the left to it.

A bit about my setup for those wondering,

Comp-ARF Integral - special "Chad" paint scheme
Plettenberg Xtra 30-10 Evo motor
Schulze 32.80KA controller
Futaba R6014 Rx
Futaba servos - BLS 451 on ailerons, BLS 351 on rudder, 9650's on elevators
Futaba 14MZ transmitter
RASA 21x15 folding prop, approx 6500 rpm @ 72A static, special hub for mounting
Thunder Power 10s 5200 (2600 Prolites, 2P)
Thunder Power 2s 900 Rx pack
Tech-Aero Regulator

All up weight was 4780 grams

Well thats enough for now, I have to thank all my sponsors those guys are a huge help all the time, no way to do it without their support. I also have to hugely thank Jason Shulman and Comp-ARF for their help in getting me the Integrals for the Nats, Jason is a super guy to deal with a great rep for Comp-ARF. The Integral is a fantastic airplane and I am very pleased with it.

Also thanks to the Canadian crew, Dave, Mark, Dez, Harry for their help at the practice field and "motivational" speeches during the contest, and also to my caller Nedim who does a great job and helps me out a bunch.

Last but not least my wife and son Agnes, and Matthew, for putting up with "dad" being gone flying all the time.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Integral 2008

Ok, since I am so excited about my new planes here are some very fresh pictures of them.

I thought I would try out a Comp-ARF Integral after seeing quite a few of them fly in 2007. I had flown a ZN Twister which is a really nice airplane since 2006, and this (2008) would have been my third season flying them, so I felt the need for a change.

I picked up a white one simply to try out, I didn't want to go painted since if I didn't like it I would be out more money! I starting flying it in March/April and felt it had a lot of potential. It flew as good as the Twister ever did, and I felt it did some things better. Considering the Twister was out one year prior to the Integral that is no real surprise.

So that left me with one white Integral! I knew I needed more but I didn't want the same thing as everyone else, it had to be a little different. I also did not want to go through the pain of painting up multiple white ones, I simply don't have the time anymore to do that especially in June.

So I talked to Jason Shulman, who was my rep for the white Integral about doing something different. Jason took a lot of time to help out and we came up with a modified set of colors for the stock C-ARF scheme. When I received the pictures of it I was super happy, it was better than I could have hoped!

I have to thank Jason for his help getting this going, and if you need an Integral (or anything else CARF) for that matter he is great to deal with. Although this is not a "stock" scheme, it is available as a custom scheme, just ask Jason for it :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Trip to Greece

Hello all,

Well here is our first report from Greece. We are currently in Nafplio at the moment which is a small port town in the Peloponnese area of Greece. Somewhere around 150km from Athens toward the southwest and very near to the city of Argos.

Our trip so far has been great. We spent the first two nights in Athens and did the customary touring of the Acropolis which is the location of the famous Parthenon temple and other runis.

From there we rented a car and pounded through the world renowned Athens traffic, which wasn't that bad after driving in Buenos Aires back in November. Although I cheated and have maps for my GPS of Athens and most of Greece :)

From there we drove around 350km from Athens to Meteora. This is the site of numerous monestaries which were created in the cliffs of Meteora back in the 15th century or so. These are amazing structures and are still used by monks today. The scenery here is unlike anything I have seen. The rock formations are stunning as is the hike on the steps to the top of them!

After a day at the monestaries we set out for another 150 km drive to Delphi. Dephi dates back to the 4-5th century BC, and was the location where the two eagles that Zeus released at opposite ends of the world met, thereby making it the center of the universe. There is a ton of history here and wikipedia will do a much better job of explaining it all :)

How they created these sites some 2500 years ago is beyond belief when you see the sheer volume of rock that was used to create the buildings. It would be a serious challenge today to create such buildings.

The drive into and out of Delphi is awesome with very winding roads. I had as much fun as I could in our small worn out Hyaundi, the guys in their Porsche's and BMW's were probably having much more fun than I was!

From Delphi we set out for another 350km trip to Nafplio which is where I am writing this from. We will spend a few days here and see the Palamidi Fortress tomorrow, apparently there is around 1000 steps to climb to get to the top! From there I am not certain exactly where we will go.

For some reason Greek history is full of people who like to build things up on mountains, I have done more hiking in the past 5 days than I have done in the past 5 years!

For all the pictures (there are well over 1000 so far), here is my Picasa page, check back over the next few days as we have a reliable internet connection at this hotel so I should be able to get most of them uploaded.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

I recently received one of the new Schulze NextGeneration 7.36-12 chargers. These are the new chargers that will replace the existing ISL series of chargers that have been around for quite some time. For charging Lipo batteries these new chargers are a marked improvement over the previous ISL series.

I won’t go into the specifications of the charger, other than to say it is capable of charging and balancing (integrated) Lipo packs up to 14s with a limit of 240W. For the full specs you can visit this page,

I have not done a lot of charging with this unit yet as our weather is not that conducive to flying at the moment, but with its ability to discharge at high rates I was able to put a few cycles on one of my 10s 5000 Extreme V2 Thunder Power batteries.

Here is a shot of the whole unit, its not much larger than a TP 1010C once you consider the size of the balancer. The yellow portion is an add on to allow you to plug your packs into the charger, there are various adapters for all the major brands, this one works with TP and FlightPower and you plug packs into it like you would a TP 210V balancer. I don’t have extensions yet but they are worth getting to give you some room.

The screen is very large and nicely backlit. It provides a lot of data including a graph of voltage vs. time.

As you can see here, I am doing a discharge of my pack. You will notice that the discharge rate is over 6A. One of the great features of the charger is if you are connected to a partially discharged 12V battery you are allowed to discharge at the full 240W limit of the charger. This is great for putting rapid cycles on large packs like this one.

Cycling through the various screens you can see information on the current battery being charged as well as a cycle history (if you are doing multiple charge/discharge cycles), and the Ri of the pack during a discharge.

The next screen over provides information on the charger version, as well as your source voltage and how much current and total capacity is being drawn from your source during a charge, or in this case how much current and capacity I am putting back into the source since I am discharging a pack. You can reduce the power and maximum current that the charger will take during a charge when using car batteries or power supplies that do not have the ability to deliver the full 240W power level of the charger.

The next screen is the balancing screen. This displays all the cell voltages in mV and their imbalance below the highest cell (the highest cell always reads 0mV). You can set the precision of the balancer manually from 4mV to 30mV or you can let the charger pick the best precision as it charges. The balancer is not a current sink type, and works extremely fast compared to the current sink types.

The charge is USB upgradeable much like others on the market. As well it has a serial output that can be used to output ASCII information about the charge. There is also a fan and light output, which can be used to drive an auxiliary fan for cooling batteries, and a light that flashes intermittently when the charge terminates so you can see from a distance that your pack is charged. Also there is a thermal probe and you can set a maximum pack temperature which the charger will terminate. The charger includes all the wiring for the accessories, except the serial output.

Since I like gadgets by far the coolest thing in the box was my very own Schulze USB stick which has manuals, etc. already on it. Sweet!

That’s my brief overview of this new charger, I am very impressed with it so far and hopefully our weather will improve and I can put some more time on it at the field.

These chargers can be purchased in North America from Icare-RC in Montreal, Canada.

Feel free to shoot me an email with any questions about this unit.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Where in the world is Chad

Ok, well I am typing this from a little place called Owego, NY! Its an interesting little town, we just got back from a restaurant called the "Jailhouse" and yes its an old jail converted to a restaurant, and some of the tables are even in jail cells. Very interesting to say the least, with good food and most importantly a few beers!

So what am I doing out here....well this company CNYOG (Central NY Oil and Gas) is installing a gas compressor supplied by Dresser-Rand, and we (myself and one other guy) from SKF Magnetic Bearings are here to commission the magnetic bearing system that we designed for the gas compressor. Fun stuff, and yes I am here over Easter long weekend wife is real impressed! Its putting a dent in my spring flying preparations! The HUGE plus is, the extra days in lieu I get will give me a lot more practice time in Ontario for the team look out boys! Always gotta look on the bright side of everything.

So, when I get back (who knows when that is) I have some trimming to do on the Twister as well as some new stuff I am trying out and will post here when I get some pics and results. There is more cool stuff coming but we will keep that under a hat for now :)

Have fun over Easter....I sure will in the hotel :)


Sunday, March 2, 2008

SVF Pattern Contest Feb 23-24

Ok, I think I promised some people I would blog this event.....well I lied :) haha. Actually the hotel had internet but they wanted $2.99/24hrs, and my friends enjoyment of reading the daily updates from Phoenix, was not worth it!

We flew down on Wednesday the 20th, without a single hassle from anyone during the trip. We got to Phoenix, got the rental, got Dan fuel at the hobby store, hit the hotel and put the planes together. It was probably around 6 before we got to the field and I got in one quick flight just to make sure the plane still worked. I had not un-boxed my model since Argentina. It was too dark to get any more flying so we called it a night.

We had arranged to meet with Jason (Shulman) and his friend Tony Watkins down in Tucson for some practice. So Thursday we drove down and got there around 10ish. Jason and I pretty much spent the day flying F-09. This is probably the last opportunity I would have to see someone like Jason fly the new schedules until Muncie, so I paid close attention and he showed me some of his super top secret tricks for F-09 :) Sorry if I tell you I have to kill you lol! Dan and Nedim got in lots of flying as well on both the P and F schedules. I am sure both of them will join me at the US Nats and Canadian Nats this year so this was a good opportunity for them to get a jump on the season as well.

On Friday Jason and Tony were making their way to Phoenix so we stayed and flew at the SVF field. It was mostly raining that day so we only got in a few flights, but people came out to register and shoot the breeze.

The contest on Sat. and Sun. could not have asked for better weather. Warm and sunny on Sat and reasonably warm but overcast on Sunday, with next to no wind on both days. The quality of flying in all classes was very good. Everyone got in 6 rounds, with FAI getting 5 rounds of P and 2 rounds of F. Only 4 of us flew F on Saturday, but the other two joined in the fun on Sunday and I think everyone really enjoyed it. I really cannot see there being much debate about flying F at local contests anymore. The only debate should be how to score it to keep everyone happy. At this contest it was a separate animal from P and did not count toward the final placings. If it did, it would not have changed the top three positions, but maybe the bottom three positions a bit.

We left Monday AM and again had a totally uneventful trip home with our gear.

Thanks to Rusty and Troy for a well run event!


Jason's pics and report over at the Giants

Dan, Nedim and my pics at my web album

Saturday, March 1, 2008

He's Baaaaaaack!

Nope its not the Terminator, its even better.

For those that don't recognize the old guy holding that silly French airplane in the above photo....well then you must have been living under a rock for most of your life! Its none other than Ivan Kristensen.

Now I hope Ivan doesn't get mad at me for spilling the beans, but it seems he picked himself up a fancy new Osmose to play with!

I got a call from Ivan back in December just shooting the breeze about pattern in general, where it was, where its going, how I felt about it etc. I didn't think much of it at the time, after all Ivan had been flying pattern at the World Champs level since before I was even born, but had left behind his most distinguished career in 2000 to pursue IMAC competition more heavily. 2001 was my first Worlds so I never got a chance to really fly with Ivan which was a huge disappointment for me personally. So a long time pattern flier wanting to shoot the breeze about pattern didn't really set off any alarm bells.

Then he started asking about servos....and airplanes, and what I thought about certain ones....and what servos I use. Mmmmm, I am struggling to comprehend why on earth would Ivan care what servos I use in my pattern plane. I am sure he knows as much about Futaba servos as I do....but ok, so we continue and I spill my guts about what servos I use and what planes I think are good. Then it hits me DING!? DUH? "Ivan did you get a plane? " He avoids the question for a moment then finally admits he has a CA Osmose on its way. I almost fell out of my chair.

At what level Ivan will come back to I don't know, and don't want to speculate (publicly anyway) either. He has not flown a pattern plane in almost 8 years, so I am sure it will take some time for him to get back in the saddle. I am also sure that he is quite aware that our team selection for the 2009 Worlds in Portugal is this summer!

I personally am very motivated to see him at least thinking about getting back to it, even if its casually. I have been waiting for an opportunity to compete against him for some time, and just the thought of being able to do that will push me hard this year to be flying 110%.

Welcome back Ivan!


Saturday, January 26, 2008

I hope the whole season doesnt go like this!

Ok....well first thing, I changed the blog template...dots are cools :)

Sooooo, at this time of year in Calgary you pretty much pray for days like today near the end of January. Slightly above 0C (32F), virtually no wind, and only a bit of snow to get in the way. I have been looking forward to actually getting some flights on Futaba's new FASST module in my 14Z for some time.

To top it all off, I managed to score myself a Honda EU 1000i generator lightly used for less than half of what they are new, so needless to say I was giddy as a schoolgirl to hit the field and run my FASST module and new to me generator through their paces.

Well, I range tested the system as per the instructions dictate with the power down feature. I walked probably 75 paces away and still had full control of the model even with the motor running.

So off we went and as expected the model was quite out of trim as I had moved it off of my older 9Z onto the 14Z to use the 2.4 so everything had to be redone during the swap. I spent about 2.5 minutes trying to get the trim nailed down exactly when..............

The motor (which is a Hyperion 4020-14) started making a funny sound. If you are familiar with electrics you instantly recognize this sound as a problem with the motor "skipping" a phase during rotation. So off comes the power and I knew there was a big problem, as the prop was barely able to freewheel. This confirmed I had a short in one of the phases so down I put it on the runway, and the lovely smell of burnt windings was evident!!!

So apart came the plane to inspect the motor and sure enough you could clearly make out some burnt areas of windings inside the motor. So score that Chinese made motor 1, Chad 0 !

So what to do? Well as is tradition on Star Trek where they torpedo fallen comrades into space....we decided that it would be an equally fitting tradition to torpedo the motor into a snowbank on the flying site LOL. So I warmed up the pitching arm and off it went!!

The day was not all bad....I did recharge up my short 2.5 minute flight 5s 3300 using the generator. Although it didn't take long the generator worked fantastically, so I was quite pleased with that.

Also the FASST system performed without a hitch as you would expect, I am sure this will be a fantastic system during this year.

Now all thats left to do is find a replacement motor...not sure I will go back to the Hyperion motor, but I need to come up with something quick as the weather could be flyable any day here and I need to be ready :) Plus I want to get more than 2.5 minutes of time on the FASST system before I stick it in the Twister when we fly in Phoenix next month!

Well until next time.....


Tuesday, January 15, 2008


FINALLY customs let my shipment through!!

My 14MZ Fasst module and 6014 receiver arrived today, all I can say is the anticipation to get this was very high ever since I got the shipping notice from Tower. After a bit of time trying to find my compact flash card reader, the new software was installed into the radio and off we went.

I first installed the re
ceiver into my Inspire 60 as this will be the first plane I use it in for test purposes. I don't anticipate any problems, but I also don't want to risk an expensive model if I make a mistake.

Here is the reciever installed in the Inspire. Takes only a few seconds to determine a nice location for the antennae to go (they should be 90 degrees from each other)....and its tons nicer than trying to find space for a 39" long one! Sorry for the blurry pic....I dont plan on being a photographer any time soon :)

Once the rx was installed and servos plugged in as per normal 5114 practice, I fired up the transmitter. After the software update the tx will state you are on the wrong modulation, then will automatically correct itself after hitting yes.

Are you kidding? :)

A quick push of the yes button and you are off to the races!

FASST! Biggest news around!

Needless to say I am very anxious to test it out in the air. It will have to wait a few days though as Calgary this time of year has short days and unless I could skip work (skipping work to test the new FASST is not wrong though is it?) I will be waiting until Saturday.

If you are just setting up your new FASST setup and have any questions drop me a note and I will try and answer them as best as I can.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Gee....That was Abrupt! The Inspire takes a small hit :)

Ok....some days you should just quit flying :) Like today, the flight just prior to this one I pretty much emptied my pack and almost did not have a successful landing. It was really close, but I pulled it off. This is the reason why the video camera should always be rolling....Ryan missed getting that very exciting flight on tape. Instead however, I proved my continued irresponsibility on the following where he did have the camera ready.

The end result was a fun flight, trying knife edge spins and just general goofin' around. At the end of the flight however about halfway through the fun little 180 harrier turn nice and low (see the vid) I decided that this would make a cool landing shot. Ahhhem....well maybe not :) About 1/10th of a second too slow on the throttle, and I am in the shop testing out my fancy new Li-Ion powered cordless Dremel tool (which by the way is awesome, thanks Agnes).

So I am in the process of replacing my gear plate with a better one.

As you can see I had enough AOA on landing to pretty much clean the bottom off the rudder!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Indoor fun

Ok, so I got my new Clik F3P flying for our Monday night indoor.

This plane is fantastic, very very good pattern qualities, but still able to cut loose and thrill you :)

My setup is as follows,

Motor - MP Jet AC 22/4-40D
Prop - APC 7x4 slowfly
ESC - Castle Creations Phoenix 10 - with heat shrink removed and wires as short as possible
Reciever - Futaba R114F - case removed, and antenna replaced with 30g magnet wire
Servos - Futaba 3110 - lower case removed, screws removed, leads replaced with 30g magnet wire
Battery - Thunder Power 2s 480 Prolite

My RTF weight was 145 grams, but it could be lighter with even lighter choices in equipment.

Here is a video of it taken on its first outing,

Long time....

Ok, so its been a long time since my last blog entry....which was actually during the worlds!

I am sure people are wondering what happened to the blog. Well the simple answer is I really didn't feel I had the time to update it properly. Dave and Mark were doing an excellent job as well I just wanted to concentrate on the main reason for being at the Worlds.

Second reason is I was disappointed for a number of reasons with my results, and decided that it was better to avoid posting something that might have been out of frustration. My personal feelings at this point are that I flew better especially during the semi-finals than the results would indicate.

So, my thoughts on the Worlds....

Power systems

I bring this up first because its always seems to be at the front of the conversations! There was about a 50/50 split e-power to glow here goes.

Electric - Lots of electric, motors mostly dominated with Hacker, and I would say a fairly even split on Flight Power and Thunder Power batteries. For outrunners the Plettenberg was the most used. Most of the electric setups (that I saw and I did not see all of them) were flying faster than in previous years.
20x15 props, 20.5x14, 21x14 etc were probably the most common. All in all its fairly mature but people are still learning how to really make things work, this was evident as there were ESC failures, battery failures etc.
Counter-rotating props, there were two being used, very cool. I was told by Seba that it works great, and I am sure it does. It is a much more complicated setup, and heavier (if nothing else it has two props!). While it may be an improvement, is it worth the con's that go along with it? Personally I don't think so.
I don't think you will see much in the way of electric power changes in the short term, most seem very satisfied with the systems that they are using.

Glow - Ok, the usual suspects were out and about. The 170DZ was quite popular, and YS is by far the most used glow motor out there. They seemed to run very well and had no struggles with power. The OS 200 4-stroke was being used by a few people, and it has a softer lower sound than the YS, and also a tremendous amount of power. Nothing really new here either, just continued development.

There was the odd fail to start with the glow models....and a few dead sticks related to the heat. One of which probably cost CPLR the world champion title!


There were a ton of Oxai models at the Worlds, Zeque's, Astrals etc. They were very prevalent and all seemed to fly very well. Integrals were extremely popular as well, mostly Composite ARF versions but there were a number of ZN Line versions as well. I heard that 10% of the models were Integrals.

A lot of people were using the CPLR T-Canalizer and most felt it offered an improvement. I saw a lot of flared rudder trailing edges, something I was doing about 3 years ago on my Enigma's!

The big thing is the bipes, there were not many, but one did win the Worlds. Is this the beginning of the end of the mono-plane in pattern? I certainly hope not. Personally I felt Onda's Narlar which is a newer version of what he had in France and Poland was by far the better performer in flight. Not to take anything away from Quique and his Euphoria but I felt it looked a bit twitchy in the conditions compared to Onda's which flew very locked in. To me this is simply a case of time, Onda and Naruke have been flying and improving that bipe for years, where the Euphoria is a new design without the advantage of that level of refinement.

They did handle the wind well, but they are big and I don't think could be done electric power and meet weight limits. This will limit guys like me from pursuing those airplanes at least for now :)

Flying Styles

Nothing really changed here from France, with the exception of the electric guys generally being propped faster. Some pilots flew very tight and quick with a high level of sharpness on the corners, while other flew a little deeper and more open styles. I would say it was split about 50/50 in the top 10 between those two styles, with Onda, CPLR, Seba, BPLR, Akiba being the latter, and Jason, Andrew, Carrier being the former, with QQ and Suzuki some where in between.

So did the right guy win? I think so. From what I saw in the finals QQ really didn't put up a "wow" flight but they were very good. Onda flew excellent, but his unknowns suffered as a result of missing snap rotations. I really think he will be World champion one day. CPLR flew the last two rounds like you would expect him to....but part of pattern is keeping your equipment running. I really felt like he was on his way to winning the F-07 round when his motor quit.

Regardless of the outcome it was the closest result in quite some time, and I think everyone was on edge waiting for the results as it was impossible to know for certain who won.

I do find it somewhat discouraging that the US, Japanese and French teams are so strong. It leaves only 1 position in the finals for someone who was not from those countries. However, I suppose it demonstrates a level of focus in F3A that the rest of us don't have and maybe we should pull up our socks before 2009 :)

Enough of that....spring is approaching!