Thursday, September 28, 2017

Why I Like Free Flight Model Aviation

Why do I like free flight?  I fly other types of model airplanes also, mainly RC sailplanes and electric park flyers. Where I live there really is not enough open space for larger free flight models but there is enough to fly radio control and control line. The last couple of years I have been spending much more of my model aviation time flying competition free flight models while in previous years I flew very basic free flight models.  My contest success has not been good but I have a great time at contests and I am always learning which is what I like most about the hobby. Better success at contests will come eventually. I realize that many of the people at contests have been flying free flight competitively since they were a teenager. My model airplane experience goes back that far but not free flight. Everyone has been more than willing to help me with free flight.

I like to build model airplanes, especially free flight as I think the quality of your building more directly is apparent in the flight characteristics of completed model. Small things matter such as using the correct wood density and grain type in the wood. The slightest warp can make be a major difference in flight characteristics. The adjustment process for a new plane can be interesting and frustrating but when you a build a model that takes little adjustment from the start that is a major thrill also.

Jetstream Towline Glider has been Major Challenge this Year
Starduster e36 was Challenging for me this Year
Peck Sky Bunny Typical Free Flight I Would Fly 

I find it challenging. There are so many different types of models with unique challenges; part of it is how the model is powered. This year I worked with rubber power, electric, gliders towed up on hi-start and by human running, Co2 engine, and a small glow engine. For dethermalizers I worked with several types including fuse, electronic servo, electronic band burner, mechanical, and viscous. Deployment of the DT I used popup stab, popoff wing, and popup front of wing.

Polecat X p30 PopOff Wing

My Super Pearl E36 after Flight at 2017 Nats
PeeWee 30 Model Built from Plans was a Fun Challenge
Completed Model at 2017 Nats
Electronic Timer on BMJR Sky Demon E20 
Improved DT Setup for BMJR e36 Starduster

A Few Things I Learned this Year in Free Flight

 *  I learned this year that CG (center of gravity) on the plans is where it needs to be at least for a beginner and if the model does not fly correctly at that location, change the incidence do not keep moving the CG.

*  I am learning how critical getting the correct trim settings in high speed phases of flight are and how necessary it is to slowly increase the motor run time. New issues can be seen further into the run that were not seen in the beginning of the flight. 

*  I am learning that flying surfaces cannot be moving around, rubber bands must hold tight, wing and stab need to be keyed so there is no shifting in flight. The structure needs to be stiff as well and weaknesses will often not show by visual inspection of the plane. When your plane hits the ground often it does damage that you do not see but twisting the model gently it might show up.

Bill Kuhl

PS.  Thank you for reading my blog posts, I am just amazed that views recently went over the quarter million mark.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Exploring With Rod and Reel

I have been spending more time fishing recently as earlier this summer I was trying to get my free flight model airplanes adjusted for the Nats Free Flight contest the last week of July in Muncie Indiana. My motives for fishing recently have been more to try to understand the current fishing environment and how I could improve my chances of catching fish. Besides the fishing around the Winona area I have also fished some in Rochester while visiting my mother. 

No Luck Fishing Zumbro River by Apache Mall

Small Dam on Zumbro

Just out of curiosity I have tried fishing with worms in a couple of the warm water streams in Rochester, Bear Creek and the Zumbro River behind Apache Mall Shopping Center.  As a kid growing up in Rochester I remember catching small rough fish such as chubs, shiners, and suckers about as fast as I could bait the hook. After several attempts of fishing those streams in Rochester I have not caught a fish. I did have a small fish on in the Zumbro below Mayowood dam. It really makes me wonder what is different, is it the water quality or predators?  Completely out of curiosity I fished the small pond that is for drainage by Apache Mall and caught tiny bluegills right away.  I have heard about how bullheads have disappeared which is a fish that can live in almost any water. This article maintains there decreased numbers are related to cleaner water - “  Bullheads Drop Off - Cleaner water has led to the decline of the celebrated fish in southern Minnesota”, could other rough fish have disappeared because the water is too clean?

Sunfish Quarry Hill Nature Center Pond

New Dock at Quarry Hill

Turtle Came After the Worm

Recently I tried fishing in the man made pond at the Quarry Hill Nature Center using worms for bait. The pond is somewhat weedy but the tiny sunfish take the worms about as fast as you can bait your hook. I also had a turtle come after the worm but made sure the turtle was not hooked. My understanding is there is also largemouth bass and northern pike in the pond.

Crappie From Cascade Lake
One of Cascade Lakes

The other area I have fished is the Cascade Lakes. These gravel pits are fairly large and have some artificial habit created. So far I have caught small largemouth bass, sunfish and a crappie. I did witness someone catch a good size bass, another time someone caught a large carp.

Northern Pike caught in Mississippi River

Walleye caught from shore of Mississippi

I have also tried fishing from the banks of the Mississippi River in Winona where I live using artificial lures.  Sometimes I had good luck but more often I caught nothing. The one spot while casting off a dock I caught a small northern pike and a walleye within about 20 minutes, two other times I caught nothing.  

Like most things in life fishing changes, sometimes for the better and other times for the worse. It is fun exploring with rod and reel trying to discover the patterns of what is under the surface of the water.

Bill Kuhl

Related Links

Eric Atherton: Bass might be top attraction at Cascade Lake

Friday, September 8, 2017

Cause & Effect - Educating Myself on Fishing

Cause and effect is the principle of causality, establishing one event or action as the direct result of another.” Wikipedia 

Lately I have been thinking a lot about “cause and effect” in regards to my hobbies.

Small Trout Stream

This past fishing season I have decided to take my fishing a little more serious and see it as an opportunity to learn. The majority of the fishing I have done has been fishing for trout in the small streams within 20 miles of where I live. I have also fished from a small lake, Lake Winona just several blocks from where I live. In trout fishing I have been pretty successful using the same Rapala lure for several years and fished it also in Lake Winona and did fairly well but never great, for sure it does not work well when the weeds are thick.

Lake Winona

What I had learned to catch trout in a small stream is you had to keep walking and only fish a short time in each likely spot, doing this I did pretty well. Looking back maybe 15 years ago it seemed like every small stream had trout you could catch, even within the city boundaries. In later years when I tried fishing those streams I have had no luck at all. The past couple of years even where I had good luck before I was not catching anything but yet I heard of other people catching many trout. I starting trying new spots and found I was catching fish again. Streams are constantly changing, especially after heavy rains or floods. Improvements have been made by different organizations to some streams and it is helping. 

Brown Trout from Small Stream

This spring I had exceptionally good luck fishing for largemouth bass in Lake Winona just after the season had opened. I realize now it was because the fish were still spawning and the large fish were really active for a few days. There were a couple of evenings I was catching huge fish on almost every cast but within a week it was tough to catch a single small fish. Then I would fish for a couple of hours in the evening and catch absolutely nothing. Since then I have done some reading and learned much from Doug at Hogline Bait & Tackle.  I try to buy locally from small merchants and find the advice they give me is well worth any additional cost from large retailers or online.

Largemouth Bass Caught Early Season

 Recently I came across an article online from a Sport Illustrated article about largemouth bass from an expert on the ecology of the fish, Dr. George W. Bennett. A few items peaked my interest and really pointed out my blaming the body of water for poor fishing really was incorrect. Like so many things that might seem like mainly luck, those people that excel at mastering the nuances do way better than the majority of the people with way less experience and knowledge.

Great article on Largemouth Bass

It is also interesting how the fish can be interested in a new lure but after seeing so many other fish caught with the lure they will be way less likely to be caught on that lure. I thought it was just seeing other fish get caught in an area that scared others away, I have seen that happen and made a video about it.  Hogline Bait and Tackle