Monday, April 27, 2015

Model Aviation Demonstration for Nursing Home

One of the biggest joys in my life is to share the hobbies related to science and engineering with any group that might be interested. Model aviation has been an interest since I was very young but I have been dabbling in other types of models both flying and non-flying. In the beginning my presentations or workshops were all for the younger crowd but I have since expanded to all age groups. In my presentations I have also tried to include aspects of history related to the progression of technology in inventions.

Last Saturday was my first presentation in a nursing home facility, although this group might be a little more subdued in their reactions than the younger groups, I received more Thanks personally from people afterwards. Outlining what I present is the idea of flight as sketched out by Leonardo Da Vinci, proceed to the ideas for rubber model airplanes and helicopters of Alphonso Penaud, discus the others that jumped off  hills in man carrying gliders, describe the work of the Wright Brothers, and the flight of Charles Lindberg.

I have models to represent some of my talk mainly static but I also do some flying in front of them also. To relate the progression of ideas I show how I started with the FPG-9 foam plate glider and expanded on it with more complicated foam gliders and rubber powered airplanes. I brought along a current project of a balsa rubber powered free flight Guillow’s PC-6 Porter to show a more difficult model build.

Maybe more so for fun, I fly a free flight ministick airplanes, a radio control Mini Vapor, walkalong glider, and a small quadcopter.  Anything I fly is very lightweight and slow flying because I am always concerned with safety. The next morning I flew some rubber powered free flight airplanes in the schoolyard next to the nursing home.  Some of the residents were watching this, one of the activity directors thought I could do more outside demonstrations as the weather improves.

Bill Kuhl

Related Links

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Upgrading the Gentle Lady

In converting my radio control airplanes from 72 Mhz to 2.4 Ghz I recently installed a new Spektrum receiver, 2200 mah nimh battery pack, and a switch jack in my Gentle Lady sailplane. It required me to solder on new plugs to the old Futaba servos but that was the only major change needed. I knew the tiny receiver would be lighter but I didn't think it would change the balance as much as it did.

It was a beautiful spring day today with relatively low wind and cloudless sky, I was excited to test the Gentle Lady with the new equipment but I did have the sense to try a couple of hand glides before doing a hi-start launch. It was a good thing because the Gentle Lady climbed at a steep angle and I couldn't push in down elevator fast enough to avoid a stall. As I fly some free flight I had modeling clay along so I taped a big wad of clay under the nose. Another hand toss proved it was back in trim.

The field I was flying from is rather small so I was using a short hi-start designed for hand launch type gliders. I also find it more challenging to grab thermals at 150 feet high instead of 350 feet or so. On the first launch I thought I found lift but it wasn't enough to keep going up. It took several more launches until the Gentle Lady connected with a thermal that kept it rising to a good altitude at which point it was getting far downwind. I had one more good thermal flight but it seemed like a struggle to get over a certain altitude. After landing I watched a turkey vulture struggle to go up in lift, it made me feel like I did pretty good.

Next I got out my Hyper DL for some discus launching. This is a rather heavy DLG and it took a fair number of throws before it was climbing in a thermal. More throws and it was climbing in another thermal, as much as I tried to find the strongest part of the thermal the glider only went so high.  That was fine, it is more fun when it is challenging.

Bill Kuhl


Friday, April 24, 2015

Blade Nano BNF Quadcopter

I asked the young sales associate – Nate at my favorite hobby shop Everything Hobby in Rochester Minnesota what the most popular quadcopter in the lower price range besides the Estes ProtoX was and without hesitation he told me the Blade Nano. It turns out the Nano was out of stock at the time so I ordered a Nano BNF (Bind-n-Fly) as I have a couple of compatible transmitters.
What was also appealing to me was that I could use not only a transmitter I had but also several 150 mah Lipo batteries and an AC charger that charges two batteries at a time. I had this equipment because I have three model airplanes that use the same batteries; UMX RadianUMX ASK-21, and AS3Xtra.
Another good feature with the Nano is changing motors is easy with the wires and connectors out in the open.
Blade Nano in flight, it was rather windy last evening but the tiny quadcopter did pretty well, I noticed it tried to automatically adjust to the gusts of wind.

The tiny connectors that the Nano and the airplanes uses can be a little finicky, I had trouble with the connector on the Nano until I carefully bent up one of the pins. After that plugging the connectors together was easy.  Like any quadcopter you want to make sure you understand the binding and calibration procedures. 

Flying the Nano seems really easy, I was impressed that a quadcopter this small flies so easily. In the advertising Blade stresses that the Nano has S.A.F.E. technology for stability which is an acronym for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope. There are two flight modes; stability and agility but so far I have left it in stability mode.

This is the Nano with included transmitter if not purchased in BNF version.
Bill Kuhl

Monday, April 20, 2015

Great Soaring Combination Activities

This past Saturday was the first of the scheduled monthly soaring events for a group I am in. As luck would have it Friday had been near perfect thermal soaring weather but Saturday had a forecast of high wind. We met at our normal thermal soaring location and caught up on some of the great sailplane talk we had missed over the winter. We also talked about what future options might be when flying from the current field is not possible. It appeared there are options but none are perfect.

Wayne holding Sailaire Fuselage

Vertical Fin Held Together with Tape 

I thought the wind as of yet really wasn't that strong and I wanted to test out my Hyper DLG glider after repairing a broken vertical fin from the day before. There is no covering on the balsa tail surfaces and it breaks very easily if you do not land perfectly straight. Wouldn't you know it I landed a little off again and broke the fin loose. I made a temporary repair with filament tape and it held fine for the rest of my flying.  On several occasions the glider was able to climb in lift to a pretty good height. Problems was about the time the glider was at a good height it was also over a wooded area, I didn't want to risk landing in the trees so brought the glider down, still it was very fun.

Sailaire Stab Half

When I got back by the other pilots it had become a show and tell session also. Wayne had brought out his Sailaire sailplane that he is refurbishing. The fuselage was very heavy but the stabilizer halves which have this intricate wood structure appeared stiff and light. As heavy as this glider is, Wayne said some people will add up to a pound of lead in it to penetrate strong wind, the nickname that people have for this sailplane is the "Whaleaire".

For my afternoon fun, Paul that is a sailplane pilot from an hour away came to my city to fly from an earth dam that faces east-west. It had been awhile since I had flown with Paul and it was good to catch up. He was trying to make the DS work on the side of the dam which was next to the water, a brave pilot I thought. My flying was just on the front side and I tried to keep my glider away from the top of the ridge.

Paul was able to make some DS circuits with the foam gliders he had brought. I picked up a couple of tips from him that I will try another time. The wind was starting to shift so we were going to try another site but then something came up for Paul and I decided I would rather not fly alone, it had been a great day of sailplane fun even if the conditions were never ideal.

Bill Kuhl

Short Video Clip of DS 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Post # 200 & New Articles on Website

This is blog post number 200, Thank you to everyone that has been reading these blog posts, it has been because of the number of views that I have been motivated to keep writing. The total number of views is rapidly approaching 80,000 which I think is pretty good. Some individual posts have had views in the thousands and a couple haven't reached 50 yet, it seems mainly connected to the subject matter.

On my website I am expanding the material beyond the simple build projects to include more about the model aviation hobbies that I enjoy. There is a new article on Basic Quadcopter that I consider a good start on an article but I am adding to it on a regular basis. Related to this I have a new article written by someone else, Wayne Diercks has an article on his battery testing for the SYMA X5C-1 quadcopter.

 Also in the works is an article about the Guillow's model airplanes. I have built several of their model airplane kits for rubber powered free flight and converted a couple for electric radio control. The quality of these kits has been improving and with some minor changes many of the kits will fly really well.

Check out Building and Flying Guillow's Models Webpage

I hope everyone likes the format I have been trying to follow of limiting the articles to no more than 5 paragraphs with about an equal number of images and possibly a related short video clip.

If you would like to receive an email with the contents of each new blog post subscribe through this link.

Subscribe to Scienceguyorg Ramblings by Email

Bill Kuhl

Monday, April 13, 2015

Big Wind Slope Soaring Sunday

Forecast this past weekend was for strong wind from southerly direction all weekend. On Saturday it was SSW but changing to south by mid-afternoon around 15 mph. I went to the ridge with my old JW that I had just put a new receiver and battery in for 2.4 ghz.  My hope was to try some DS flying on the backside, as it was staying aloft on the front side was challenging enough. The lift was pretty good at times and then it would shift until the glider was down. At least I had a friend along so he took some pictures; trying to fly and photograph is tough.

For Sunday the forecast was for gusty winds out of the south up 30 mph. It had been awhile since I had flown in a wind of that velocity, normally I fly when it is in 10 to 15 mph range.  When I got to top of the ridge on Sunday, I could tell it was really blowing hard at times. Blowing hard like when it is hard to hang on to your glider, wind that would send your glider tumbling behind you unless you landed just right.

In the air I found the glider flying high at times, yet other times coming down even when the wind was still strong.  I had to work harder to keep the glider farther out from the top of the hill or it would be blown back behind. This wasn’t relaxing flying but I found it fun, I constantly had to be correcting to keep the glider in the air.  After one unplanned landing one of the elevons had the link pop off, I didn’t see this and the glider went sailing over the top of the ridge after the next launch. It seemed like I had no control until it was in calmer air far on the other side. The landing was really far away just on the edge of a swampy area, a couple of feet farther and the plane would have been resting in water.

Long Walk to Retrieve Glider

Linkage Popped Loose

After an hour of this flying I called it quits, driving home I could feel the wind jerking on my car on the highway. It was still windy in the evening so I broke out my box kite to fly. What I found interesting when flying the box kite was how the wind was moving off from one direction, there were other periods when it would stay fixed from one direction. This certainly would explain my observations while slope soaring.

Bill Kuhl

Box Kite Flying

Big Wind Get Out the Box Kite

Other than a brief time Saturday morning it was windy all weekend, it made for pretty good radio control slope soaring. Sunday evening I thought this might be a good time to get out my box kite and fly in the strong wind. From past experience I have found my box kite took a strong breeze to stay aloft.

When I reached the park the wind was gusty and switching directions, I had the kite going aloft and then it would come back to the ground. Then there was a period of a few minutes that the wind was slowing down, darn I wished I had brought a kite that flies in lighter wind. Just as I was thinking maybe my kite flying was over for the evening the wind really started to blow, the kite jumped into the air and I kept feeding it line. Higher it went until there was very little line left on my kite reel.

At this altitude the air seemed to be less turbulent and the kite stayed up for another ten minutes until I slowly started reeling it down. I like kites that fly well without a tail as it is one less thing not to have to untangle.

Bill Kuhl


History of the Box Kite

History and Practical Uses for Box Kites

My Other Blog Posts on Kites

Kite Building and Flying

Kite Flying Purchased Kites

Clifford Quinn You are an Amazing Person

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dinky Electric Motor Kit

As I was working on a new webpage about the small quadcopters that use the tiny coreless motors,the type of motor with no iron core in the armature, it had me thinking of the Dinky Motor kit that Darcy Whyte had designed. I had mentioned to Darcy that many schools have students build a 2-pole electric motors as a class project and it is a great challenge for many. I built one and it was not easy for me or was my motor very reliable. My blog article 2-Pole Motor Project Some Ideas to Get You Started has been my most popular blog article by far with well over 6000 views.

Dinky Motor

Darcy said he had built motors when he was younger and wanted to try to come up with a new design. With CNC equipment to use he was able come up with a design made with parts of some type of fiber board that slipped together so tightly no glue was needed. This motor would be considered a “coreless” motor as there is no iron core.  By far this has been the best small motor kit I have built as it worked perfectly after assembly unlike some other kits that took considerable effort in adjustment to get running. Adjusting the brushes correctly is important with any design motor so other people might need to spend a little extra time getting the insulation completely scrapped from the wire if it does not run right away.

Bill Kuhl

Darcy's Video Instructions for Dinky Motor