A Good Weekend, Recent Improvements

Julian and I went to Stick 40 Combat in the Poconos. A very nice day! I flew in front of a large audience for the first time. I got over my nerves quick enough… but then I had time for 5 or 6 flights. Near the end, I crashed kinda hard in the corn field. I went out, brushed it off and gave it a toss. I heard an astonished comment behind me and smiled.On Sunday, I had crashed pulling out of my first good inverted flight.. Yesterday I was able to do some inverted flight without a dramatic ending. Here, let me get more technical about my recent improvements:

  • The Sullivan Gold-n-Cable #507 .032″ cable that I used for the cable system is a little too thin. I finally got it to work well, but it was a pain. The look is nice but… eh.
  • My purpose for the cables was to improve handling by moving the control horn to the middle of the elevon. Unhappily, the plane does NOT fly any better with cables. It’s still flittery in high wind and smooth in low/no wind.
  • The smoother covering job helps a little with speed… just a little. Or maybe that’s me thinking that a pretty plane flies faster.
  • The balsa elevons have broken 4 times in 3 places. I’ve repaired them with CA but I’d like to get 2mm coroplast.
  • I think the motor has a little more thrust now… it’s broken in. I had previously measured a static thrust of 12 oz. I’ll try that test again soon.
  • My batteries are breaking in well. Today I did C/5 charges after draining them and put 1800 mah into the 1700 mah battery and 1300 mah into the 1100 mah battery. However, the 1100 mah battery was very warm when it peaked… there might be a growing cell instability issue there. I’ll keep an eye on it.
  • My piloting skills are improving dramatically! I don’t -feel- any different but somehow I can now easily do 2 or 3 rolls at a time when just a few months ago I could barely do 1 roll. I can do multiple inside loops with ease, zoop all around comfortably, and am confident with many low altitude maneuvers. Just ask Julian about that last one. I buzzed him when he was trying to take a photo. I came so close that he dropped to the ground! Hehe! Not to worry… I pulled out in time, and a collision with a foam wing is pretty benign. (as long as it’s not the space shuttle you’re hitting :-( )

Photos from last weekend:

julian-and-plane.jpgJulian and his plane are to the right. Notice the tractor in the background. Which do you think would win in a collision, the plane or tractor? Julian and I know! (he hit the tractor’s wheel with his wing on an approach to a dirt landing strip. The plane sustained relatively minor damage. If the plane had been 2 feet to the right, it would have been scrap)

lee-zooming-and-squinting.jpgI don’t remember if I’ve said this in the journal but Julian is a terrific pilot!

Sorry I don’t have any good action shots of either plane. It’s hard taking shots of a little plane zipping around, especially when my camera doesn’t actually take the picture for 1/2 a second after you push the button!lee-big-sky.jpg

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