Thursday, February 23, 2017

Finishing Up the 2017 Fleet of Free Flight Models

I have been really busy building free flight models over the winter; contest flying at the 2016 Nats and two Minnesota contests has really got me excited about free flight.  Two of the models I had finished up the end of 2016 and made some test flights; BMJR Sky Demon e20 and Retro RC Retro Gnome Hi-start glider. Last weekend it was warm giving me a chance to further test fly those airplanes.  

BMJR Sky Demon

With the e20 Sky Demon I had straightened out a warp in the wing and gave it more downthrust. The power portion of the flight looked good but it was stalling in the glide. I put a tiny shim under the trailing edge and the flight looked much better. For my first attempt at towing up the Retro Gnome I had a friend launch it and I ran with some of the string. It went up but as I looked back I was blinded by the sun so did not see the rest of the flight.  My friend said it stalled; the towline was still attached by the auto rudder pin.  There was some damage to the wing but I tried it with the hi-start and a small amount of stretch. The glider went up fairly straight but the pin did not want to come out, after a few tries I gave up.

Retro Gnome Good Flight
Leading Edge Damage

That evening I repaired the glider and tried to stretch the rudder line and added a weight to the towline. The next morning before the wind came up I tried again.  After several attempts I was still having trouble with the line not releasing at the pin. On one flight it did release and the glide looked really good, just before it landed the DT went off bringing it quickly down. I have since redone the auto rudder line with less tension and using a washer that slips over a pin.


Polecat X P30
Starduster E36

Jetstream Towline

I have four more planes that are almost done but I am finishing up final details, mainly rigging the DT; Wilbur old time rubber model, Starduster e36 electric, Polecat X P30, and Jetstream towline model. I learned a lot building those models and I asked a lot of questions. I am going to Thank the people I remember giving me suggestions, no doubt I missed some people.  In no particular order:  Bob Hanford, Dan Berry, Jack Murphy, Hank Sperzel, Hank Nystrom, Dohrm Crawford, Rudy Kluiber, Norm Furutani, Ronnie Espolt, Paul Bradley, Brian Malin, Jim O’Reilly, Don DeLoach, Larry Davidson, Lee Campbell, Mike Myers, Steve Pollina, George Bredehoft, Gary Hinze, Harry Grogan, Chuck Powell, John Barker, Manuel Cisneros, Simon Blake, and Denny Dock. Also a list of the vendors that I used.

Bill Kuhl

Larry Davidson -  - parts
Texas Timers –   mechanical & electronic timers
BMJR Models -   Sky Demon Starduster e36
PearlFreeFlight -   Polecat X
Jim O’Reilly Plans -  Jetstream & Wilbur
Volare Products -  Propeller
FAI Model Supply -
Starlink Flitech -   Bandburner timers
BSD Micro -  elecronic timers
Everything Hobby –  local hobby shop
Retro RC -  Retro Gnome

Related Articles

 Wilbur -

Retro Gnome -

Starduster e36 -

Sky Demon e20 -

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cost Versus Benefits - My New Prius

When I purchased my first Prius in 2012 I was rather apprehensive if it was the right decision, depending on so much electronics technology to keep the car functioning was somewhat scary. People that have never owned a Prius may bash it but the people that have them seem to think it is one of the best vehicles they have ever owned. In the past I had driven mainly American vehicles but the first new vehicle I had purchased, an American minivan turned out to be a huge disappointment. Now you are not going to pull a horse trailer with a Prius or jump start your neighbors car but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

2017 Prius

After driving the Prius for 5 years and 46,000 miles with no problems I was extremely pleased. The gas mileage varied with 53.5 mpg average being the best it did by the end of one summer, winter mileage is still good but down several mpg from summer. I did all the suggested maintenance but did not have a single issue with the car. Failure of the hybrid batteries was a concern although there is a really long warranty. I had been told that the trade-in value of my Prius would be good, so when the new generation Prius came out, I thought after it had been out a year I would look into trading mine for the new technology.

Better Visibility Out Side Window

Now there are people that really do not like the looks of the new Prius, or previous versions either. The new body style has a slightly lower coefficient of drag than the previous generation which was already low.   The new version has been improved in many ways such as the rear suspension, even better gas mileage, more power, more comfortable seats, more cargo room, and lots of electronic wizardry. It has radar cruise control to keep an even gap with the car ahead and another feature to turn it back if it should start driving off the edge of the road. The Bluetooth interface connects to a smartphone so it can even read an incoming email to you in a female voice. More usable to me is how it connects with Google Maps.

New Dash Better in Bright Sun

Two tiny objections I had with my previous Prius I think have been remedied. The new color dash screen appears easily visible in bright sunlight. Vision out the rear of the car appears to be better also and it came with a backup camera standard. Even in my short test drive with my salesperson from Dahl Toyota, Ken Koeller I could tell the ride and handling in the new model was better.

If pressed for the biggest reason I wanted to purchase a Prius I would have to say I like things that are efficient. How a car can average 50 mpg and not be kiddie car size is through some very clever engineering. In previous blog posts on my 2011 Prius I explained some of the engineering.

I am so excited the number of views to this blog is less than a thousand away from the 200,000 view mark.

Bill Kuhl

Previous Prius Posts   - Dahl Toyota Winona