April 2008 Archives

Awesome Indoor flying (even after I crashed...)

| Comments (0)
So tonight I was at the Headingley Sportsplex for some serious indoor fun. This is an indoor soccer arena, with bleachers for spectators - and the nets are helpful at keeping plane parts from flying off into the crowd.

SearchingForParts_edited.JPGI wonder if they ever found what they were looking for????

I tell you, have 1/2 dozen (or more!) planes in the air at once is very confusing. Flew one battery for over 10 minutes! The second battery lasted at least 5 minutes until I started tracking the wrong plane! By the time I figured out why the plane I was looking at was not responding properly, mine had ran into the net. Unfortunately it did not get stuck - it fell off, straight down and BOUNCED off the artificial turf. This shattered the prop and broke the shaft (again - sigh). That sucked - especially since the plane was so small no one really noticed (or cared).

Daryl's plane was really fast and ended up getting snagged in the net (unlike mine). It took some creative team work to get it down. Daryl is in the middle, I'm on the right and another spectator (pilot? sorry, I forgot his name) on the left. We lifted the ladder up to the tail and then pushed up to free the plane. It came unsnagged from the net, but snagged on the ladder. So the guy on the right and I lowered the ladder over to Daryl with the plane hanging by the rudder. The tail had a small nick from the ladder, but otherwise no damage - he was up in the air a short while later.

There's a video of the plane being lowered on YouTube. Search for my videos, its being uploaded Saturday evening.

What got the crowd oohing and ahhing (and even a few cheers) was when some of the bigger 3D planes met head on in some very spectacular smash ups. Some locked props and spun like a frisbee - which meant little damage as they essentially floated down. Others exploded into many parts and lots of styrofoam bits.

Jim had a beautiful blue tri-plane. After a bit of tape from me to secure a loose cowling, he was up and flying. Without much in the way of protocol or traffic cop, planes were flying in pretty much every direction. Jim decided he liked to do figure eights, and it was really neat watching. It was one of the only planes I taped fairly well - considering I'm using a basic digital still camera with no sound.

Ouch. This is what was left.....


Planes ranged in size from a very tiny little 2 channel RC up to some very large planes that pushed the limits on what was appropriate to fly.

BigAndSmall_edited.JPGThis plane did not fly - being gas powered and a little on the big side. Very nice looking though.


Mark the wonder pilot from Cellar Dwellar amazed us with his skill. Flying a Parkzone Citabria inverted. Screaming around inverted with his heli - hovering 6" above the ground for almost a minute would be impressive enough - now try it inverted!

Picked up a possible repair technique for my Parkzone Citabria. One fellow just shaved back the styrofoam to give him more shaft space and then glued a new prop to the remaining shaft. (Wish I hadn't damaged the shaft of the original motor after removing it.)

Hope they do this again soon! Maybe I'll be a better pilot by then....

WHAM! - Indoor R/C Fun Fly April 25, 2008

| Comments (0)


headingleysportplex.jpgThe Winnipeg Headingly Aero Modellers have spun off an Indoor flying club WHAM Indoor. They meet every Monday night from 6-9pm during the school year (except during holidays) in the gymnasium at the Buchannan Elementary School. I have been going about every second week since March. Its a great place to keep up the skill over the long winter months.

This Friday, they have rented the Headingly Sportsplex from 7 - 10pm. Admission is free for spectators. Pilots with current MAAC insurance can fly for $10.

I expect to see a lot of heli's, 3D and even some bigger electric birds. Will take pictures - stay tuned!


My Geo Metro, and why I'm keeping it

| Comments (0)
(This has nothing to do with flying, other then it helps me save money to spend on flying...)

So, I have a 1996 Geo Metro. 3 cylinder engine, standard transmission, no AC, no cruise, not even a radio (it was stolen almost 2 years ago, and I can not be bothered to replace it). Lately, it has been showing its age and the mileage is starting to suffer. I used to get 5.5l / 100km on the highway (over 50mpg for those on the old fashion system). Now with me living in the city, and the engine getting tired, its averaging closer to 7.8l / 100km. So is it still worth keeping? Well, since it is paid for, and I would probably get less then $500 for it, I'm thinking might as well.

My other vehicle is a mini-van that gets about 13.7l / 100km, and since about once every week or so we really need the capacity, plus we have a tent trailer, we plan on keeping the van.

So, should we keep insuring the Metro? or dump it and just use the van. The Metro uses less fuel per kilometer, so it would seem to me, that at some point, if I choose the Metro over the van often enough, it will pay for itself (or at least the insurance).

The formula as I figure is this:

# of kilometers required to pay for insurance = cost of insurance / ( price of fuel * difference in mileage)

Or more specifically:

y = i / ((0.01)x(a-b))

y = km to drive
x = price of gas
a = mileage of Metro
b = mileage of van
i = cost of insurance (or other costs you want to 'cover')

Well, to save $800, with gas price currently at $1.21, I need to drive 11,206 km this year.
Last year I drove 9,000km on the Metro, and gas was cheaper, so I definitely didn't pay for the insurance, but came pretty close. Essentially I drove a second car for only a few hundred dollars / year. Cheaper then renting!

I created a public Google Spreadsheet if you want to try this out yourself.

Have fun! And keep the old econo boxes running!

Pilot log book

| Comments (0)
I have been out a number of times this year with 2 of my planes. I am tracking my air time with each bird on separate pages. For those that want to follow my progress, the RC Planes link at the top will take you to the collection of planes I have (the 2 I've been flying this year are RC - no control line, yet).

The 2 planes I am flying are my really small Parkzone Citabria and my Sophisticated Lady sailplane (with electric assist).

Total time is closing in on 1.5 hours between the two (I just rolled my first hour on the Citabria). Since I don't actually run a stop watch on every flight, I am estimating the number of minutes (and sometimes even the number of flights) - but I do try and estimate low, rather then high.

The Citabria is very forgiving and has been a great learning tool. It has had a couple nasty bumps, and currently has a wounded prop that is held together with CA.

The Lady is getting better. I was out this afternoon using a different transmitter (a Futaba T6EXA running on Channel 34), and found that setting the Dual Rate to 75% seemed to help out a lot. It too is running on a broken prop that almost caused a crash today when it flew apart barely 20' off the ground.

Hopefully I'll get a proper folding prop for the Lady as there is no landing gear, so landings are hard on the prop.

Parkzone Citabria Maintenance

| Comments (0)
Last couple of days I have been outside with my little RC wonder, the Parkzone Citabria. With wind just barely turning the whirlybirds on people's houses, it has been quite a bit of fun. Not nearly as smooth flying as in a school gymnasium, but good practice none the less.

With flying outdoors, comes a small issue of dust and grime. The odd tree being clipped, followed by an attempt to plant the propeller in the ground doesn't help. So after flying tonight, I noticed some extra grime by the air vents. As I turned the prop, I also felt the odd 'bump' as the gears meshed. Not good.

Upon opening the plane up, the white gear was actually quite dirty. So I used a small brush that came with an electric shaver and brushed out all the teeth. Actually, I went around a number of times because I could not get access to the gear on the motor, so I hoped the clean plastic gear would pick up dirt off the brass motor gear - which it did. I finished the cleaning off by using a cotton swab to wipe the loose dirt and grime off the gear. After a thorough cleaning, I added a couple drops of oil to the assembly. It turns much smoother now.
I ran both batteries completely tonight, and timed the second battery at 10 minutes and 38 seconds - I didn't actually fly the whole 10+ minutes as a couple approaching vehicles and a curious neighbour had me pause for a few seconds to show off the plane. I figure I got an easy 8 minutes of steady flying time at about 1/2 throttle.

I am still using the original packaging for storing and transporting the plane. Don't throw it out! There are a number of nooks and crannies to store things like the oil, scotch tape for field repairs and extra batteries.