Recently in Sophisticated Lady Category

Shot down! Actually pilot error...

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Well, I went out flying tonight after quite a break from the hobby. Should have stayed home.

Started out with the Lady. Used a weaker battery (which wasn't a real big deal), and so I wasn't getting much performance. That's ok - I just wanted to work the bugs out of my head before moving on to the Fokker.

Well, after one successful landing and back in the air, it started to make a very different whine. I quickly brought it for a safe landing and looked for the problem - I stripped both gears. One down and out.

It was such a perfect night for flying, I figured I'd risk trying the Fokker. After settling my nerves I got airborne - my what a HANDFULL!. It kept doing these crazy stalls - I was panicking - How am I going to CONTROL it?!? I was sure it was balanced - what to do?

I managed to get my head back on and talked myself through the problem - it's pulling up to much, push forward - woa! not so much, back a bit - no wait forward TRIM that's it trim it down, some more - ok one more, there now it's behaving much bettrer, whew!

Flew around for 5 minutes! It was great! Brought in for a landing, which was into tall grass thankfully as I had not completely got the hang of it. No damage, looks good, back up she went! Beautiful take off and 3 more minutes of glory and then it happened. I was turning around over a gravel road and noting that the elevator has a LOT of authority - too much for my comfort, when it suddenly banked too far over and in my panic I pulled back which hammered it into the ground... I'm so ticked at myself.

 I'm not sure it is repairable. Will have to open the wing to see how mangled all the bits are in there.

Sigh. Back to dreaming about flying again...

FPV on an R/C Airplane - eventually...

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Well, I was hoping to get some first person video off my glider, however it turns out that the camera cannot run off the USB cable (oops. Should have tried that first I guess). Via Make Blog, here is a cool site that shows some of what I'd love to get into:

FPV equipment

MAKE Magazine blog entry about FPV hobby

Sophisticated Lady Upgrades - Video???

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So I'm pondering a new plane for the spring / summer and realizing I don't have a lot of cash...

Late last summer I had put the motor and radio from the Sophisticated Lady glider / sailplane back on the original donor (MicroWhiz). However, that did not turn out so good as I'm not quite ready to take on a fully acrobatic airplane. I also tried a couple high-start launches with the glider, which was neat, but again the flights are just to short for my liking. Ridge soaring off a high-way overpass is probably not the best idea either - even though I probably have a lot more skill now then I did when I first tried.


As a result, I decided to put the motor back on the glider and get it ready for summer. Along the way I took a good longing look at the little servos in the MicroWhiz and compared them to the big standard servos I put in the glider. The weight savings can't hurt and given their location, reducing the weight might make a slight improvement in the Center of Gravity.

Looking down - I use some thin plywood strips to create new mounting points at a right angle to the original mounting points.

Look at all that SPACE!

In the process of transferring the servos from the MicroWhiz to the Lady, I picked up a couple tricks. The main one being installing the EZ-Connectors.


These at the little posts that clip to the servo control arm and have a set screw to clamp onto the push rod leading to the control surface. The challenge with these parts is the grommet that holds the connector in place is a tight friction fit and needs to be pressed on far enough for the shaft to stick through / past. They are too tiny and tight to get together with my fingers, and pliers will only get the shaft flush. Scrounging through one of my many buckets of junk I spotted a simple hanging hook / hinge. It is basically a small piece of thin metal folded in half with hole drilled through for a mounting screw. The hole was small enough to prevent the grommet from falling through and the metal thick enough to provide the room for the post / shaft to come through.

Now I could use the pliers to quickly press the pieces together.

EZConnectorWorkingIt.jpgOne other snag is the control arms do not have large enough holes by default for the posts. I had to enlarge them slightly to fit. Make sure that the connector can turn when in place. Once in place, there were a few minor adjustments and of course trimming that I went through. I had to reverse on of the channels on my transmitter. Final trimming will have to wait until I get out and airborne.

Next step - Video!

I would really like to try some POV video with a plane. I bought my son a cheap (really cheap) digital video recorder and have rigged up a mount for the lady. Assuming I can get balance and power issues worked out, expect to see some grainy video this summer!

In this picture you can see a bolt with a number of nuts threaded on. This was part of the nose weight to balance the plane properly (along with a 1oz fishing lure). I am hoping that the weight of the camera (it is quite light) will be sufficient to provide the forward CG I need (the tail has a lot of glue and is quite heavy).

I am hoping I can power the camera from the main flight battery (I realize this is risky - but I'm trying to save weight and will monitor power consumption closely). It normally requires 4xAA batteries, however in playing around with its 'web cam' mode, I observed that it will run off the USB connector (once started I removed the batteries and it stayed running). A simply 7805 regulator circuit will weigh less then 4xAA batteries. I have not confirmed, but it may also be possible to simply tap into the receiver/servo power supply from the speed controller and use that.

Stay tuned!!

August 2009: Monthly Archives