First of all, I'd like to direct everyone, everyone with an ear to the Montana Legislature anyway, over to Sarpy Sam's. He's got a whole category of posts started with the central focus being the actions of said legislature. Sam's doing a great job of covering this, and you can find all of his legislature posts here. I'm quite curious myself just exactly how bad the legislature is going to screw with my way of life this time around, and Sam's making it a lot easier to keep tabs by explaining things in plain English. Last time, I practically yanked my hair out in an attempt to decipher all of the legal mumbo jumbo over at the Legislature's own website. Thanks Sam. Now I'll be able to see if anyone's smart enough to propose a bill making the home manufacture of biodiesel as streamlined as possible.
In a post a while back, I linked to this page over at the Mugi site . . . . . and then the server crashed so nobody got to see it. I talked to Morgan via MSN video message during the Christmas holiday, and he assured me that it would be up and running again as soon as he got back to Spain and got some time to fool with it. It's working now, so go check it out. While you're over there be sure to take a look at Morgan's Flight Training Europe Course 56 page and read all of the diary entries. It's pretty interesting stuff for a wannabe pilot like me anyway. I've noticed a marked increase in traffic since Morgan got the Mugis in Montana page working again, so I'd also like to welcome everyone that's bouncing over here from that direction. While I'm on the subject, Morgan has a lot of cool new products available for the new year in the Mugi Shop, so go give it a browse as well. While the shipping on bulk Coroplast from England is a bit prohibitive, the smaller items can be sent airmail for a very reasonable price and he has some really interesting, and in some cases, hard to find items. Still no Tea Racer kits though . . . . .
Some may have noticed that I recently added a link on my sidebar to Rosellen Westerhoff's site. Rosellen not only does an excellent job of creating outstanding portraits of peoples' dogs, but she and her husband Bruce also train and compete with their Belgian Malinois in the sport of Schnutzhund. Don't feel bad, I didn't know what it was until Bruce explained it to me either. Basically, it's something for the dog lover to do besides primp and polish floofy dog shows. Schnutzhund is for working dogs that know how to kick ass and take names when the need arises as well as an excellent showcase of a dog's agility, temperament and training. Originally created as a way to find and demonstrate the breeding worthiness of German Shepherds, the competitions are also open to other working breeds like Dobermans, Rottweilers, and the aforementioned Belgians. The dogs are put through a series of trials that test their ability to not only behave with absolute obedience in spite of distraction, but also their ability to root out, attack, and subdue an individual both on command, and by reflex. A good Schnutzhund dog will even be trained to instantly go for the gun hand of an armed perpetrator, a very useful skill I'm sure for any K9 trusted in police service or for personal protection which is where a lot of these dogs end up.
Oh yeah . . . . I was trying to concentrate on Rosellen's artwork until I got sidetracked by the bad assed attack dog subject. For a nominal fee, she'll take your photographs of your favorite four legged friends, and meticulously recreate them in colored pencil. The results are truly beautiful works of art and a worthy addition to any den, office, or living room of someone who loves their dog or dogs. I understand that she's also been working recently with pictures of horses, but I'd really like to see what she could do with an elk or grizzly bear myself. At any rate, go check out her site and drop her a line if you're interested.
I've made a few references here lately to the fact that I've been working on this, but just in case you've been too busy to click on the link, I'll go ahead and say that I've recently decided to try RC helicopters this spring. Actually, I decided to a long time ago, I recently actually acquired an RC helicopter however which is a basic requirement if one hopes to learn to fly one. The Align T-Rex is among the most capable electric powered RC helis in the world, regarded by many to be the best actually especially among the smaller models, and I'm hoping that I can manage to do something with it besides making nifty little dirt marks in the grass and getting really good at replacing busted parts.
I bought the motor and speed control at the same time I bought the kit, but decided to leave the rest of the radio gear until later when I'd asked around a little as to what was the best equipment for the job. For Christmas, my wife decided to reverse the traditional gender roles and gift me with a little bitty box containing something tiny and ridiculously expensive. No, she didn't get me a diamond ring, but a gyro for my helicopter which brought me one step closer to completing it. The airframe is all assembled, the motor is in as well as the speed control although I've still got some wire routing issues, and I'm currently working on a mounting bracket for the gyro that will put it under the tailboom and hopefully out of harm's way should the worst come to pass.
I still have servos left to buy, and although I've settled on what I'm going to use for the tail rotor I haven't quite made up my mind what I want manhandling the swash plate. I've got a few ideas, but I'm in no hurry since the weather isn't exactly going to be too good for flying for a few months anyway. I've decided to invest the colder weekends wisely by taking the time to get everything set up as close as possible to perfect before I let a friend of mine, who also happens to be an expert T-Rex flyer, give it a good once over and possibly a test flight if he's up to it. When everything is just so, and John gives it the nod, then I'll take the sticks see what I can do. You can see what he and the T-Rex can do here.
What I was really hoping to shed light on here however, is the phenomenal efforts put out by an individual named Bob White, known on the RC forums as "Finless Bob". Bob, on his own time and absolutely free of charge by the way, has produced an entire series of extremely thorough and informative videos on the care and feeding of various different RC helis. A helicopter is a complicated little bit of machinery, and if one hopes to get one flying well, it must be set up absolutely perfect from the start and lovingly maintained throughout its life or the results will be far less than favorable and likely even tragic. Bob's videos go way beyond the basic information provided in the instruction manual, and not only show in outstanding detail, but also explain in plain English everything a person needs to know from the moment they open that box of a zillion little pieces and screws to the day they win their first aerobatic competition. I doubt that a person could otherwise find nearly as much information all in one place even if they paid for it.
I've watched his entire series on the T-Rex 450, and the amount of knowledge that I've gained was well worth the time it took for all of the videos to download and then some. There's loads of other videos that he and others have made on this page over at HeliFreak.com featuring not only build and setup information, but also flying pointers as well as a lot of fun stuff like demonstrations and even some pretty wild crashes. Be sure to check out the footage of the turbine powered Bergen, there's some serious dollars flipping around in the sky on that one. Thanks again to Finless Bob and the HeliFreak gang.
Well that's about all I have today folks. I hope the new year is off to a good start for everyone and the weather hasn't been too cruel wherever you may be. Time flies when you're having fun so I say why not have as much fun as possible so summer will get here sooner? I'm off to look for some, fun that is, take it easy and if it's really easy take it twice. ;)
PS - Hey Mark, if you haven't puked yourself to death or turned to liquid and ran out your own asshole yet, is this the CAP you were talking about? The gal that flies it is named Debby Rihn-Harvey, and you can find a lot more info here.
There's a picture of another blue and white one here, but I haven't figured out who flies it or who it belongs to yet.
This chick however, is likely to serve as an alternate someday in one of my patron blog babe posts if I can't find any new pictures of Amy. ;)