May 2009 Archives

StarLite's first flight!

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After a few days of miserable weather (snow in MAY?!?!) it cleared up tonight, temperature rose to 10C and the winds calmed down. So, out came the StarLite for her first flight.

How'd it go? Not bad. The control rods needed to be modified to a) not strike the servos and more importantly, b) not come unhooked.

ControlRods.jpgOne flight almost ended in disaster when the elevator become disconnected!

One more change I made was to increase the control authority - this is done by selecting which hole on the server and on the tab attached to the control surface to insert the control rod.
By putting the rod into the hole furthest from the pivot on the servo and closest to the pivot point on the control surface you maximize how far the control surface will move. This makes the plane much more sensitive, however, with a good transmitter, this sensitivity can be dampened through dual rates and exponential rate curves.

The little 9g brushless from hobby city with a gws5030 prop really pulls that plane around. I was worried that being 20% over the recommended flying weight would be a problem. But that was back when electric planes flew on NiMh batteries. Now with a 2 cell 360mAh LiPo and a 2290Kv motor, it almost has no choice but to fly!

In the end I flew it just over 3 times. The first couple times it became airborne was on my front street. It needs a lot more room then the Citabria did. Those flights lasted a few seconds until I panicked and put it down on the other side of the street. Heading to a nearby school yard was a much smarter decision. The first real flight there was going quite nice until I lost the elevator. It came down rather hard it seemed on the nose, but suffered no damage!

I took it home to correct the control rod problem and was back on the field in less then an hour. However, in that hour the winds had picked up. It was a very wild flight that ended with a throttle off glide in for a hard cross wind landing that broke the left landing strut. That is currently being repaired. Here's to hoping the winds will be calm tomorrow!

The Martin Jet Pack

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Another personal jet pack. 30 minutes of flying on a single tank of common automotive fuel???? Seems almost to good to be true....

Video of it actually flying!

Technical Specifications:

Height 5 ft
Width 5.5 ft
Length 5 ft
Structure Carbon fibre composite
Empty weight 250 lbs (excluding safety equipment)
Gross weight 535 lbs
Useful (Pilot) Load 280 lbs+
Maximum thrust 600 lbs+
Fuel Capacity 5 US gallons (as required by FAA Part 103,Ultralight Regulations)
Fuel burn 10.0 gph
Engine Martin Aircraft 2.0 L V4 2 stroke, rated at 200 hp (150 kw). Max 6000 rpm.
Electrical system 12 V DC Battery, starter, 360 w alternator.
Rotor Carbon / Kevlar composite diameter 1.7 ft
Max 7058 rpm
Range 31.5 miles (at max speed of 63 mph as required by FAA part 103).
Hover in ground effect 8000 ft (estimated)
Hover above ground effect 8000 ft (estimated)
Standard Equipment Flight and Engine displays
Ballistic Parachute
Retractable undercarriage
Energy absorbing undercarriage.
Classification Meets the requirements of the FAA Part 103, Ultralight Regulations
Pilot License The Ultralight class does not require an FAA recognised pilots license.

StarLite ready for take off!

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Coming in a bit heavy (5oz), I finally got all the pieces to finish the StarLite park flyer that I bought last year. Mounting the motor was a small challenge. The plane is designed for a geared motor / prop combo. Mine is a direct mount. So I glued a 3/8" square piece of balsa to the motor mount plate and then screwed the motor to the block. The screw holes on the motor are extremely tiny! I had to scrounge to find screws small enough to fit. These oldies probably came from an old airplane attitude indicator I took apart years ago. The motor is a 9g 2290Kv motor from HobbyCity, the prop is a GWS5030 and the speed controller is a hexTronic 10A with the heat shrink removed and leads shortened to try and save weight. Powering it all is a Rhino 360mAh 2 cell LiPo pack.

Motor.jpg Here's the final package. Hope it flies well! (Final notes, receiver is a 4 channel 72MHz Futaba, matched to a 3 channel basic analog Futaba transmitter - SkySport I believe. Servos are hxt500s.

StarLite.jpgFollow its status and flight logs!

Search Engine

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Just a shout out to the blog-o-sphere regarding SearchEngine a tech/media related podcast that used to be hosted on CBC. It has been cut from CBC, however, Jesse has managed to rise from the ashes on TVO (TV Ontario). Subscribe here: