Monday, October 16, 2006

Sure Glad We Did It When We Had The Chance


Looked outside today? If you haven't, don't. At least not if don't want to be depressed.

Rain.

Snow predicted.

Yuck.

On the bright side however, I should be making some cash this week. It's illegal to pull triples in Montana during inclement weather, so when the snow starts falling my gracious employer tends to need a few more drivers, namely me. Last week's crappy forecast petered out before it ever got started, we'll see what happens this week. Maybe with a little luck it'll clear up just in time for the weekend. From the looks of the National Weather Service reports however, I'm sure not holding my breath. Oh well, I've got a backlog of airplanes that need built, I can deal with one crappy weekend before I go looney.

I have in my grubby little hands, one Hobby Lobby Mini Telemaster kit that's just begging to be modified with ailerons and tricycle landing gear, a Hobbico Flyzone free flight plane that's about half way converted to RC and mostly just waiting on some itty bitty servos that are on their way here from Taiwan or Korea or wherever they come from on the back of a piss drunk sea turtle, a GWS Pico Stick F that's scheduled to receive a reinforced wing and brushless power, possibly ailerons as well, a sort of 3D aerobat meets WWI monoplane looking Coroplast and carbon fiber creation that I've affectionately named "The Evil Little Bitch", and a 3600 kv brushless motor that's just begging to be on a 100 MPH Mugi Evo. OK, maybe 100 MPH is a bit of a stretch, but there's only one way to find out.

As I mentioned in my last post, pretty much all of the repair work is done on my current planes. After spending Saturday afternoon getting everything ready I awoke before the sun on Sunday only to find that the wind was howling like a banshee at my house. All that cussing that you heard at 6 AM? Yep . . . . that was me.

I figured that at the very least a few of the guys would be at the field planning a foray out to some hill in the boonies someplace to go slope soaring, so I tossed the Sky Fly, the Mugi, and after careful deliberation, the CAP 232 into the back seat of the big Ford, tossed my wife and daughter into the front seat, and we headed out for the field. OK, I didn't actually toss them, actually I set them down very carefully . . . the airplanes that is . . . . the wife and daughter just climbed in all by themselves. When we got there, I was extremely bummed that I didn't bring the Cub, the wind was dead calm. @$%!@#.

I hadn't seen the park that busy on a Sunday morning in ages, and most everyone there was flying something. Loads of cool airplanes, but I was so busy flying my own that I only managed to get pics and video of a few of them. My darling wife Carrie was nice enough to jump in on camera duty however, and caught some good video of some of the stuff I was too busy to worry about. Ralpho even showed up for a while, but by the time I got a chance to stop and talk to him with everything else that was going on, he was gone again. That happened to me a bunch yesterday, and I hope I didn't offend anyone, I was just busy flying since I knew it'd likely be the last good weather for awhile. I flew all three of the planes that I had along several times each, even the dastardly CAP232 which I haven't flown in over a month. It handled flawlessly and even though it could still stand to lose an ounce or two in front of the CG, the little bit of weight that I was able to shave off helped tremendously. After battling with the Cub, the ground handling on the CAP seemed exemplary, now if I'd just brought the Cub I could've found out if my modifications fixed the problem. Oh well, there's other days I guess.

The soccer players finally started moving in and taking over the park about noon, so we all headed off in our separate directions. As if we hadn't had enough socializing already, several of us sort of accidentally met up at a local cafe for lunch. It was a great way to round out the day.

Upon arriving back home, I soon found myself stuffed under the hood of a recalcitrant Chevrolet. For some reason my wife's car is not able to just break down, oh no, that'd be far too easy to figure out. Nope, this sorry little #$%!# for some reason feels the need to only have intermittent problems, the kind that will either only happen when she's driving and never show their ugly heads when I'm anywhere in the vicinity, or else the kind that could be caused by any one of a million different things so that I get to spend hours and hours scratching my big empty head trying to figure out what the hell could possibly be wrong.

After raiding my parts car for several little easy to replace tidbits I swapped out the PCV valve and the throttle position sensor to no avail. Next on my list of stuff that's likely wore out and not looking too healthy is the EGR valve, but after checking the spark plugs, running half of a compression check, spending a half hour repairing a leak in my compression tester, and then performing the other half of a compression check, I'd had an ass full of this blasted car. Before I resorted to tossing a hammer through the windshield, I grabbed the Mugi and headed for a nearby school to fire off a couple flights before dark.

Everything went smoothly until I put the Mugi back in the truck. When I set it on the seat one of the control surfaces moved, and something didn't sound quite right when it did. Upon closer examination I found that several of those eeny weeny teeny tiny plastic teeth on one of those eeny weeny teeny tiny plastic gears inside one of my elevon servos had said bye bye to the gears they were supposed to be on and set out to make their own way in the world. That's great for them, but it doesn't make my servo work worth a shit. Anyway, the Mugi is now out of commission waiting for me to replace said servo, no easy task in a Mugi I can assure you, but from the looks of the weather I've got plenty of time to get it done. The next Mugi that I build won't have cheap used servos from Ebay I can assure you. I'm just glad that it did it in the truck instead of in the air.

At any rate, here's the video from yesterday's adventure into the wild blue yonder. Be warned however that this one has some explicit lyrics involved, so don't turn the sound on if you have virgin ears. There's one plane featured in this one that I've been wanting to see fly for some time, and I was most definitely not disappointed. Oh yeah . . . . I even tossed in something that I said I wouldn't just for comic relief. Enjoy.


Winter Can Wait
Video sent by raginredneck93

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Winter is here Yippee... let it snow you should be working on that thing you call a sled!!! he he... Actually I don't want winter here yet still need an antelope and the snow isn't fun walking around in up by rapelje. Can't wait for sledding season though.
jon m.

p.s. love the airliner. If i was ito flying "little" ones that one would be cool.

Joe Visionary said...

Hiya Justin,

I inherited a Piper Cub and a P51 Mustang from a family friend.

I haven't had a chance to do anything with them, but my 12 year old son has taken a great interest. Can you offer any recommendations? Perhaps the first thing might be a good book. Any ideas?

Glad to see you're still blogging.

kmh said...

What can cause these problems


Radio-controlled airplanes keep crashing; radio frequency interference is blamed

An unknown source of interference is believed to have caused 15 radio-controlled airplanes to crash in the past four months at the Cam-port Airstrip for east of Cam-plex.

Jack Adsit, president of Gillette Sage Hoppers radio-controlled airplane club, said the airplanes that crashed had exhibited sudden radical changes in their flight attitude that was not consistent with typical crashes.

Radio-controlled model plane enthusiasts have a reserved frequency (72 MHz) that is not interfered with most of the time.

“It's obvious that something is going on,” Adsit said.

Club member Ted Harris said there have been a number of near crashes that could not be explained.

Adsit said the situation has gotten progressively worse during the last few months.

Both Adsit and Harris believe the interference is a safety issue because of the danger posed by uncontrolled crashes.

“It's dangerous. If these airplanes go out of the half-mile radius, then they could kill someone,” Harris said.

It's also expensive. The planes can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000.

Harris said another club member used a scanner (a Yaesu VR500) to find interference on the frequency and picked up local radio station 96.9 FM on 18 of 50 channels exclusive to the club.

But after an investigation conducted by Collins Communications Inc. - paid for by Basin Radio Network - no evidence was found to suggest the radio transmitter caused the interference.

“Everything shows that there is no deviation and we are not the cause of any interference,” said Don Clonch, general manager for Basin Radio Network.

The Collins Communication report states that the equipment that was used - an IFR 1200 - to detect audio signals on the radio frequency used by the club, picked up a weak signal outside the Collins building, but picked up none at the Cam-port Airstrip.

“The issue with the handheld detecting the audio could be due to ‘blanketing' or an RF (radio frequency) signal of enough strength to overload the front end of the Yaesu handheld,” the report states.

“All we can say is that we're still having an interference problem,” Adsit said. “And we're not doing any flying until we find out what it is.”

Harris said the Gillette Sage Hoppers club is part of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a national non-profit radio-controlled airplane organization. He said the AMA has procedures and guidelines that deal with radio interference.

Adsit said the club will give the AMA time to help resolve the situation and probably will involve the FCC to determine the source of the interference.

Clonch said 96.9 FM will not make any changes to its system because the tests cleared it.

“Beyond our point, because we have had it checked, we're fine, we're compliant (with FCC rules and regulations),” Clonch said. “I don't know where you take it to the next step.”

Clonch said the transmitter in question has been running the same way for seven years, and regular system checks have been clean.

“We were looking for it (the interference) because if we did have an issue with that transmitter, we would certainly make sure it was taken care of,” Clonch said.

Justin said...

Hey Jon, I was just talking to Brian about the sleds last night. I told him that you found me a clutch but I forgot all about it and never got around to calling you, oops. Anyway, there's a guy that I know that supposedly has one, $50 he wants for it, but I guess if it's any good that's an OK deal. My luck it's probably thrashed, but if that's the case I'll probably just throw down a couple C notes and buy a new one, that way I likely won't have to mess with it again. Damn sleds, work on the POS things more than ya ride 'em. Maybe I'll just put skis on my Cub. ;)

Oh yeah, and who the hell walks for antelope? I thought you just shot the stupid goats out the window of the truck.

Glad you liked the airliner, it is a pretty cool plane, definitely unique. Whenever John gets some new plane in the shop that he wants to fly, he usually ends up putting one together and setting it up with top of the line everything. Then he'll hang it up in the shop and try to sell it. Of course he takes them out and flies them a few times until somebody buys them. That's how I got my CAP232, it was one that he put together to try out. In other words, that one is for sale if you're interested, but since it has ducted fans and two of everything I don't think you'd like the price. Not exactly the best beginner plane anyway. ;)



Howdy Joe, long time no hear. A Cub and a Mustang huh? The best recommendation I could give you is to get a trainer and learn how to fly, since a Cub isn't the best beginner plane, and a P51 is just a disaster waiting to happen for anyone without a fair amount of experience. If you had an instructor with a buddy box set up, you could probably use the Cub as a trainer, but it would depend on how much of a knack you had for the whole thing and how much patience your instructor was blessed with, LOL. Cubs are kind of notorious for lousy ground handling, just like the full scale ones, so learning take offs and landings with a Cub would be no easy task. Once they're in the air they fly like a dream, it's just getting them off the ground and back on it that's the trick. I could possibly tell you more if I knew specifically which models you have, as in what manufacturer, if they were built from kits or if they were ARFs, glow or electric, how big are they, ect. As far as books, any knowledge you can attain about aircraft in general and of course RC systems would be helpful, but you're not going to learn how to fly an RC plane from a book. The best thing you can do is check with a local flying club and try to get an instructor, that way he can teach you all about various aspects of the hobby and answer your questions as they arise as well as keep you from wrecking your plane before you even have a chance to learn anything. There's a lot more to the RC hobby than just flying the plane, you also have to be able to understand the RC part itself, and with all of the complicated gizmos out there these days, that's a daunting task in itself. Basically, it's not something that you're going to learn in an evening, it's something that you could do for 30 years and still never stop learning, and that's half of the allure of it. Another thing that you'd surely find helpful if you're serious about it, is a good computer simulator. The one I have is called Great Planes Real Flight G3, if you do a Google search I'm sure you can find the homepage. They have a free demo there that you can download, but since you fly it with the keyboard it isn't very realistic. The actual program comes with a real RC transmitter that you plug into your USB. It's not exactly like the real thing, but what you learn definitely applies. Whatever you do, don't think you're going to go out and teach yourself how to fly with a Cub or a Mustang, at least not unless they're little electric powered foam ones. Do your self a favor and get some experienced help. At any rate, this is a subject I could obviously go on about for days, so if you'd like to discuss it with me at more length, feel free to email me. raginredneck93@gmail.com



Well kmh, aside from the one possibility that was alluded to in the article, is it possible that someone is shooting these planes down intentionally? Anyone with a moderate amount of knowledge of radio could easily construct a broad band transmitter that would effectively jam the entire 72 meg band, and I have no doubt that there's people in the world that would get a kick out of that sort of thing since I've heard of it happening before. Of course there isn't even a need to be nearly that sophisticated, all one would really need is a simple RC transmitter and an assortment of crystals on different frequencies to wreak all kinds of havok, all stuff that could be had at a yard sale for a few bucks. I would figure that the radio station would be the most likely cause however, but it's really hard to say. I've got several friends that go slope soaring at a place that we call "RF Hill", since it's literally bristling with radio towers. They've never mentioned having any problems there in spite of it though.

At the park where we usually fly we've had several people get radio hits, and it seems like it mostly happens in the same areas of the park. What in the world makes a plane get interference in one specific area of the park is dumbfounding, but it happens none the less. I personally have never gotten a radio hit on an aircraft radio, I used to get them all the time with surface radios on the 75 meg AM band in my RC cars, but that was during competition when I was surrounded by 10 other guys with big high dollar FM radios kicking out a lot more juice than my little el cheapo, LOL. These days I fly with a Spektrum DX6 system. It works on the 2.4 gig band like wireless internet does. Since it's on the 2.4 gig band, it's required to have "smart" technology, which means that each system has what's called a Globally Unique Identifier Code and the receivers in my planes will only recognize my transmitter, channels are no longer an issue since the system automatically finds the two clearest channels and locks onto them at start up, that way there's always a redundant dual link between the transmitter and the plane. Since there's 80 channels in the 2.4 gig band, and about a bazillion GUID codes, a whole lot of people can fly with Spektrums in the same area without interfering with each other. At this point, Spektrums are only approved for use in smaller electric planes since they don't have quite the range of a traditional 72 meg AM or FM system, but I wouldn't be surprised if a version for larger planes was introduced some time in the near future. I'd be curious to know if any of the folks having problems were flying Spektrums, or even if any of them were on the 50 meg band since you can legally fly an aircraft on it if you have an FCC license to do so. 50 meg radios aren't very common in the US, but there are a few around. If the 72 meg radios were the only ones having problems, then I would lean more toward someone doing this intentionally since that equipment would be the easiest to acquire. If the Spektrums and or the 50 meg radios were having problems too, then I would chalk it up to some type of broadband interference either from a commercial transmitter or possibly even nearby power lines. Once again though, it's really hard to say but I hope they get it sorted out.

With a little luck perhaps my friend and RC flying buddy Dick Jones will see this. He's a radio engineer and would likely know a lot more about what could possibly be amiss than I would.

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