Nov 29, 2010

Flite Test - Insightful, clever, and humorous videos!

Recently I stumbled across some great videos on YouTube.  The production of these videos is great, it reminds me of something you might see on a cable networks hobby channel.  Flite Test is the name of the group which consists of Josh, Josh, and Chad.  Chad appears to be the producer and shows up in segments from time to time, the team of Josh and Josh handle the reviews.  One Josh serves as the commentator and the other is the colorman.  I'm adding a link on my blog list to their blog, it has great content.  Hopefully what they have out now is just the start of lots of great content to come.  

Here is a one of their videos that goes over the basics of how to choose a prop.  Great video.

Nov 28, 2010

Microsoft Flight

The Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise came to an end with Flight Sim-X, as in January 2009 Microsoft closed Aces studios.  Knowing that Flight Sim was quite a popular game, one might imagine that Microsoft is looking to get back in the business of flying games.  Recently Microsoft did that with the announcement of Micorosft Flight. The official website, does not have much information, just a FAQ and a few videos.

We do know a little, it will be a Microsoft Live game with multi-player connectivity.  One could speculate that it will be aimed at gamers rather than simmers, but Microsoft is promising it will still have all the sim functionality we desire.  Best of all, the game has been built from the ground up with new code.  This should help it to run more efficiently on todays hardware.

A release date has not yet been set, but I'll be keeping an eye out for that and the required hardware specs.

Nov 27, 2010

Blu-Cub 3 Channel

My goal for the rebuilt Blu-Cub was to build a lighter airplane, and to add an under-camber wing.  The original plans are from Gene Bond, who seems to have many other great foam plans on this webpage.  (click the other plan link) seems the site has some dead links.

I modified the 3D cub plans ever so slightly by cutting a curve into the top of the fuselage for the under-camber wing, extending the wing length to 31" and removing the ailerons.  I built the under-camber wing by cold rolling the foam halves over a table edge to give them some curve.  I placed a roll of duck tape under each wing tip for dihedral and then epoxied the wing halves together.

The Blu-Cub 3D called for two crutch pieces on either side of the fuselage, so for this plane I just glued two fuselage pieces together. Other than that the only major change was that I added a landing gear made from piano wire to this plane.  Weight without battery was 4.5oz and with battery it comes to about 7oz. As you might imagine, this plane flies entirely different.  It floats in for landings, has plenty of power to do loops, and it is a joy to fly.  Flight times with my 800mah battery are around 15-20 minutes.

Blu-Cub on Track

Blu Cub flexible motor mount

Blu Cub ready for take off

Nov 21, 2010

Blu Cub 3D Flight Video

As you can see from the video, this planes weight made 3D flight impossible.  It was like flying a lead brick with wings.  I was happy to have a few incidents involving power lines and trees, to help me get past this airplane and onto a new one.  Thankfully, I just lost a few hours time, and about $3.50 on the airframe.

Nov 17, 2010

Blu-Cub 3D

The next plane I decided to build was determined by the electronics that I had on hand.  My battery, motor and esc combination was this, a ten amp esc, an 800mah battery, and a motor designed to be used with a plane up to 8 oz.  I found plans for the Blu-CUB 3D @ and decided this would be a good plane to build.

 There are numerous build threads online, and they all generally go the same. You cut out the foam pieces, and you glue them together with hot glue.  Control surfaces are attached with packing tape.  I used plastic control horns, and fashioned my push rods from old ones I had.  I installed the components and weighed my airplane.  It came in to 6.6 ounces without the battery - and over 8 with the battery installed.  I used 3 HS-55 servos, and this made the airplane a little bit heavier than I had intended.  Also, I used oodles of duct tape, and it all added up to a overweight flying machine.  The plane flew, but I couldn't do a roll from level flight, and flight times were fairly short.  Time to start thinking about airplane number two...  

The vacant double lot next to the house serves as my flying field.  Problem is there are trees, telephone wires, and cars driving down the street on my runway....  I flew into a tree on the tenth flight or so, then on a later flight I hit a telephone wire.  The plane would have last much longer had I not decided to not repair it.  I decided to pull it apart and build a lighter airplane.  

Nov 12, 2010

Cheap Foam Airplanes

Upon visiting with fellow flyers, I have been persuaded to try my hand at making my own cheap airplanes. The RC forums are loaded with instructions and encouragement for creating these planes. I spent several evenings reading the forums and learning all I could about making airplanes out of foam. The airframe of these airplanes can be made very cheaply, using insulation foam, carbon fiber, packing tape, hot glue, epoxy and all the electronic goodies that really make it fly.
At the first chance I had, I headed off to Lowe's to buy DOW Blucore or Protection Board 3, the insulation foam and main ingredient. I found Protection Boar, it comes in a bundle of 1/4" sheets. Each sheet is about 2'x4' and the total length is 50'.

Without doing any free advertising, I'll say that I was made aware of a certain Hong Kong based online RC hobby store. Finding this store has finally made this hobby somewhat affordable. I made a few orders to purchase motors, batteries, esc's, carbon fiber tubes, control horns, etc and stockpiled the goods until I had decided what plane to build.
After getting a few plans from the internet I've set in building and learning. I decided to build RC Powers Extra 300 as my first plane. I cut out the pieces, assembled it and then realized that I didn't have the right combination of esc, motor and battery to make it fly. Oops! Time to build another plane.