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!