Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 First Soaring Event

April 23, 2016 was the first RC soaring event for a group of people mainly from the Rochester Minnesota area although often there are many people from out of town.  Like so often on the first event of the year it was windy. In the earlier years we would have been content to just talk sailplanes but as we get more experienced we fly in windier weather.

I brought out my heavy Shadow 2 meter that slides to the wind really well; the other fliers flew foam gliders. Wayne flew a Highlander 2 meter and George flew his Radian. There was lift but it was hard to stay with it for very long. I made the mistake of landing slightly cross-wind with the Shadow glider and broke the fuselage, something that has happened before.  I then brought out my Hyper-DL and hi start launched it, it penetrates pretty well for a smaller glider. On one occasion I was going downwind across the field low and a gust hit it and not enough room to recover, broken stab resulted.

The other pilots did better but Wayne had some damage to the fuselage of his Highlander by the stab by the end of the flying session. George took his Radian home without repairs needed. That afternoon George received his high-power model rocketry certificate with an amazing launch.

As we were packing up to go we noticed a hawk very low and close to us catch a thermal and start circling upwards. Following the hawk were two crows that appeared not to be very happy with the hawk.  Hopefully next month the winds will be lighter.

Bill Kuhl

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Scout CLG Drowns

At least that is my theory unless it was eaten by a monster bass in the small pond it landed in. Flying free flight model airplanes from tiny fields is always a risky endeavor but you work with what you have. Last evening the wind went down to almost still around 6:30 pm although the sky was completely overcast. I wanted to try out the new winding stooge, heavy duty winder, and a p30 class rubber model that I have added a DT system too.  As much of this is new to me I was really clumsy trying to make everything work but I had several short but really stable flights with the p30 model. 

Scout CLG

Scout Last Seen Floating

Another rubber model, the Guillow’s PC-6 Porter was tried with the new winding equipment and it flew well also. It was getting rather dark but it was so still, I had to try the Scout CLG model that I carry in my car. To start with it had too much turn and would spiral into the ground; I tweaked the rear edge of the vertical fin the tiniest amount and now it was gliding in the opposite direction in a very large circle. The glide was amazing, so slow and long.

Should have increased the turn or called it quits but I had to try one more flight. Up it goes; perfect transition and then it just glides and glides and glides. Oh no, it is getting close to the pond. Sure enough it lands in the middle of the pond. As quick as possible I pack up my stuff and go to get my fishing pole from my house a mile away. Come back but it is getting dark by now. I casted and casted but could not reach it, so run around to the other side. Still not able to snag on to it, but now my line is tangled on the pole. With much trouble I break off the line and tie a stick on, but that is way too heavy. It is really getting dark now so I give up.

Flying P30

P30 on New Stand

According to the forecast the wind was going to increase during the night in a direction that should bring it in to the close shore. I decided I would go over there before work and it should have drifted into the shore. The wind had come up and it was starting to drizzle but after walking the entire perimeter of the pond there was no sighting of the glider. 

No Sign of Scout in the Morning

Scout Pieces

Stan Buddenbohm created a really simple to build glider in the Scout, I have the plans and could easily build another. I think the glider really needs a dt system as it flies so well.  How I didn’t lose the glider one other time as it was circling in a thermal I will never know.

Bill Kuhl

Monday, April 11, 2016

New Life for an Electric Glider

Several years ago, I am thinking it has been over 10 years, I had purchased an ARF electric glider with a 60” wingspan. The fuselage was a heavier fiberglass fuselage but the wing was built-up balsa with a transparent covering. There was very little work left to be done, where ever this plane was built the labor cost must have been very low.  

Before Conversion

Speed 400 Gear Drive

Power for the electric motor was first from nicad batteries and later a nimh battery. The motor was the popular Speed 400 but it was geared down to spin a larger propeller. This system was adequate to climb to altitude but only a couple times at the most. Despite the rather heavy weight I had some good thermal flights with it. The real downside was needing multiple batteries and the need to do field charging to get much flying in. At some point it went on a shelf and never converted to 2.4 mhz radio.

Before First Flight of Conversion

Not long ago I thought I really should fly that glider again with modern equipment such as lithium battery, brushless motor, and 2.mhz receiver. The servos were moved way back for balance but were small servos, I thought it might be tough to get the CG located with lighter equipment so I decided I will mount the motor out front of the glider. This might have not been necessary as I am using the rather large 1350 mah lithium batteries that I use in my Radian Pro. 

Brushless Atlas Motor

Slowly I am learning about electric power but instead of trying to calculate the proper motor size needed I just inquired on soaring club listserve. Several people gave me good ideas but someone offered to send me two electric motors to try, Thanks Rich you are the best.  The one motor was designed for a rear mount so that is the motor I used. Before putting much effort into the project I just epoxied a plywood bulkhead to the front of the glider and attached the motor with wood screws. Taped in the battery and went flying. 

Magnetic Hatch, Messy Micro Balloons

This motor seemed to be the perfect match; it easily pulls the glider to altitude. Soaring performance is still not going to be wonderful but it is perfect to grab after work with one charged battery and do a good amount of soaring from a small field. It is working so well that I went to the extra effort of blending the nose to the firewall and installed a magnet system to hold the hatch on.

Now maybe I should look at a couple more old airplanes on the shelf.

Bill Kuhl