The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

Brief RC Update

Posted by Tom Benedict on 19/02/2013

Still swamped at work, so I only have a brief update.

I flew at a new location last weekend. There’s a pu`u (aka “cindercone” aka “hill”) near Kua Bay that’s used by a bunch of the local RC sailplane pilots. I’d hoped to do some slope soaring, but the wind simply wasn’t there. So I flew with motor instead.

It’s a neat location because you can fly well below the horizon and still be over a hundred feet off the ground. Looking down on my plane as it flew by was a novel experience! Once you gain some altitude, there’s gobs of room to recover from mistakes, so I tried loops, snap rolls, split-s, stall turns, everything I could. I actually started to get some of them right by the end, but even the ones I got wrong were easy to recover from with that much space to play in.

I’m still trying to get a feel for how much battery I use when I’m primarily gliding, so I landed a couple of times just to check. There are really two summits on the pu`u. The higher one doesn’t have much room to land, but the lower one has a long stretch to work with. I was, of course, flying from the higher summit. Toward the end of the session I decided to try something new: catching my plane instead of landing it in the dirt. I wound up coming in in a cross-wind, but the flaps on the Bixler 2 let me slow it down enough that catching it was almost a no-brainer, even while crabbing into the wind. Yaaaay! I learned something new!

For the last flight of the day I taped a rock into the cockpit. This probably sounds weird, but I had good reason: The rock was a dummy weight with roughly the same weight as my Gopro Hero3. I still haven’t worked out a good mount for it, but now I know I can mount it in the cockpit without skewing my CG too much. It needed a little elevator trim, but nothing too extreme. With the plane re-trimmed, I was back to neutral stick.

So the next time I go out, the Gopro will come with me. And maybe I’ll be able to catch it and save it from a little dusting. Should be fun!

– Tom

P.S. Sorry, no pictures yet. I’m too busy flying to run the camera!

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