Dec 28, 2010

Phoenix Sim Version 3.0

I've previously written about the Phoenix sim, which I strongly believe is the best for the money. One of the great things about Phoenix is the free updates. Currently they are at version 2.5, but 3.0 is offered on the download page as a beta product.

Phoenix is about the only reason I keep the Windows OS on a computer. Version 3.0 reaffirms that I'm going to have to deal with Windows for a while longer. The user interface has been reworked, and I find it much easier on the eyes. Function has also been enhanced, better widgets and on-screen indicators and a new toolbar system. Graphics have been enhanced, water spray, enhanced zoom for small models etc. Flying with buddies is now supported, as well as many more online flying options, including online competitions.  You can now fly combat against AI as well, making for a very challenging game.  This is just the tip of the iceberg on what has been changed.

Overall a great update from Phoenix. To read the beta change logs visit http://www.phoenix-sim.com/news.htm

Dec 21, 2010

Parkzone F4U Corsair RTF

While in Montana this summer, my brother-in-law was generous enough to give me the opportunity to fly his Parkzone F4U Corsair.  I'd never flown a warbird before, and up to that point, I didn't have any experience with brushless electric motors.

One nice feature of the plane is the scale detail and wonderful paint scheme.  I was surprised at the amount of power this little airplane has.  The plane is capable of general aerobatic maneuvers, loops, rolls, and spins are all a piece of cake.  When flying more docile, the plane behaves very well and slows down good for landing.

Only problem I witnessed with the plane was with the landing gear.  The gear can very easily tear out of the holders on the wing, and when you try to repair the plastic landing gear clip in the wing, you run the chance of damaging the Z-foam.  Other than that, it seems to be a solid plane!

Dec 19, 2010

Montana Flyin

This summer we made the long trip from Oregon to Montana to visit my brother & sister-in-law.  My brother-in-law shares my same general interests of all things with wings, and he had his eye on a fly-in he'd read about in the local paper.

We traveled out to Three Forks, Pogreba Field for the 33rd annual fly-in.  The day was extremely hot, and with the wives and babies in tow we set off looking at all the interesting aircraft present.  As one might imagine, a little bit of everything was present.  There were antique, modern, homebuilt, and war-birds represented.  You can check out more about the Three Forks Fly-in at http://www.belgrade-news.com/

We noticed one really spiffy looking older aircraft, a 1928 Travel Air, sitting on the tarmac.  At one point we noted some people climbing into the airplane, and soon the engine fired and it soon took off .  It looked like the pilot was giving rides, so we thought we'd try our luck.  When the plane returned we headed on over and asked if we could catch a ride, about that time a lady came over and asked if her and a friend could get a ride.  The pilot politely answered that he wasn't really giving rides, but that he'd just given one to a lady that had never ridden in an airplane.  We asked him what he normally charged, and then we tried to bribe him with more money!  He finally broke under pressure, and told us he'd take us up for normal fee (which was crazy cheap).  We all hopped in and went on what turned out to be a very interesting ride.

About eight minutes into the flight, a Montana thunderstorm started to brew.  The temperature dropped and the plane started to bounce with the crazy air currents.  The tower called and offered the idea that it'd be good to land.  The pilot was already working on heading back to the airport, and I was getting a little nervous as we got lower.  Turning on final to line up with the runway, I noticed that we were being pushed sideways in a crosswind landing.  Also, I noticed that the airplane was not lined up with the runway.  The airplane touched down on the grass strip between the runway and the taxiway, and rolled out over the bumps to a stop.  Getting out of the plane the pilot was muttering about how that wasn't any fun, and he told someone to tie it down as he went off to have some drinks...

A National Air Tours Plane Link
1928 Travel Air



Three Forks from the air
Baby child hanging out with the airplanes!




Dec 14, 2010

FAA - Regulating UAV's and hopefully not Model Aircraft

The AMA has some interesting information regarding the regulations the FAA is proposing for UAV's.  While so far model aviation has been spared any new regulations, the story isn't over yet.  The issues surrounding UAV's in the airspace is certainly complex, and while the main issue is safety of manned aircraft, other issues like privacy from aerial photography keep cropping up.  Certainly something to keep an eye on this year.

For more information check out http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutama/gov.aspx

Dec 7, 2010

Blu-Cub 3 Channel Flight Video

The weather has not cooperated with my desire to fly outside lately, so it was with great satisfaction that I noted little wind early on a Saturday morning.  We live just a few blocks from the local high school, so the whole family headed over for a jaunt around the track, and of course a few flights with my new Blu-Cub.


Dec 1, 2010

AMA Park Pilot Program

When I was younger, I was a card carrying AMA (Academe of Model Aeronautics) member.  I took a short break from the hobby, and when I got back into it, park flyers were everywhere making it possible to fly almost anywhere.  At the time I didn't see the need to join the AMA, as I wasn't flying at a club.

Recently this has all changed, first of all the AMA realized that they could create a new membership tier that is aimed at people who fly small aircraft.  The Park Pilot program offers a cheaper membership to the AMA with a few limitations.  Clubs can choose to allow you to join with the PP card, or they can deny you membership till you have a full AMA membership.  A weight restriction of 2 lbs and a top speed of 60 mph, has been set on PP models.

After much contemplation, I decided to join the Park Pilot program and see what it offered for me.  One thing I've enjoyed is the quarterly Park Pilot Magazine.  It is full of insightful reviews, aircraft plans, and new product information, all aimed at small electric aircraft.  Additionally, I have been able to see other Park Pilot members in my area (currently very few).  At some point I would like to try and start a club for electric flight, aimed at indoor flying in the winter and park flying in the summer months.

Check out http://www.theparkpilot.org/ for more information.