June 2008 Archives

Personal helicopter - Very cool!

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I have no idea where this was taken - but this is one of those really brilliant and simple ideas. A small, single person - no, make that a personal helicopter. Uses 2 counter rotating blades and no fancy linkages in the mast.

Up/down is via the throttle, direction is weight shifting like a hang glider. I would suspect rotation could be handled by having 2 motors strongly coupled to their own rotor and loosely coupled to the other. That would allow for some level of redundancy and by varying the throttles would give rotation control.

No idea how long he can stay airborne. But I'm guessing 10-15 minutes worth of fuel would not be hard to add to the pole he is sitting on.

WRCC President's Day Fun Fly

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Well Sunday was the annual WRCC President's Day Fun Fly. The weather could have been much worse - it didn't rain the whole day. However, with a stiff North wind 20-30km/h and the sun buried behind clouds, the temperature was a chilly 15-18C. Due to the wind, I stayed on the ground (until later in the evening when I took the Citabria out for a spin in my front yard).

radicalrc_microlowstick.JPGThere was quite a range of planes, from a really small 4oz  Radical RC Micro Low Stick that had no problem screaming through the wind all the way up to a couple of turbine powered jets and a couple of larger 4 stroke monsters.

I was impressed with the number of electric planes that made a showing, including some very impressive ducted fan models that sounded awesome!

 This was one of the 2 jets. 2 litres of jet fuel in under 5 minutes! But wow did it move!!!


The day concluded with a pig roast, which was a neat experience (although to be honest, some sauces like gravy or something would have made it better).


Thanks Len and maybe we'll be there again next year!

Exceeding Vne with the Lady

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After a beautiful day on Sunday at the park, I finally got some time to fly the Lady - just as a thunderstorm cell was moving in. The first battery (1500mAh) ran me 23+ minutes and was great. Flying over a field, the breeze was steady and gentle. With not enough gusto to go up around again I brought her in and swapped batteries. The second battery is a smaller 1300mAh. Smaller also means lighter. The result was faster climbing (although I also realize I would have reduced flying time). About 10 minutes in, I throttled up once again for another burst of altitude. At this point the wind started picking up and I noticed I was quickly gaining altitude. I cut the throttle and continued to climb! Now the wind was really picking up and the storm cell was moving in much quicker - not good! I was caught in a 'brick-lifter'. I put a lot of down elevator into the glider and worked hard on bringing it in as quickly as possible - turns out possibly too quickly.
The diving must have spun the prop really hard, as one of the blades (already broken) tore off and the subsequent vibration cracked my homemade engine mount.

Fortunately no further damage was caused - it could have been bad with the engine shaking like crazy. In fact, I didn't realize the prop was broken until I walked up to the landed plane. I had actually given a bit of throttle on the final approach to penetrate the turbulence close to the ground.