The View Up Here

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

RC Updates

Posted by Tom Benedict on 30/05/2013

Last weekend was a busy time. Here’s an update on a number of RC projects:

Landsailers – The wheels came in for my land sailers! Then I found out my stash of M8 bolts didn’t have what I needed to finish out the wheel hardware. So I’m close to starting the build on these, but not there yet. The idea is to build a pair of RC land yachts so the kids and I can bop around with them in a nearby parking lot any time the wind picks up too much to fly kites or planes. If I can find the bolts at the hardware store this week, I’ll start work on these this weekend.

Le Fish – My Le Fish came in from Leading Edge Gliders! This is a kit for a standard weight Fish, but I’m still planning to do some modest lightweight mods to it so I can fly it in a slightly wider wind range than it was intended for. There’s a lot of “set the glue and wait” on this plane, so I plan to work on this in parallel with the land yachts. Many pictures to come.

You Can Break a Zagi – These things really are practically indestructable. I put mine into a rocky slope at thirty or forty miles an hour, knocked both servos out, and generally made a mess of things. Getting it airborne again was a simple matter of shoving the servos back in and tossing it off the slope again. But this time was different. I found if you combine a chainlink fence, a lousy flying site, and an inexperienced pilot, you can break practically anything. I ripped both winglets off, and snapped the center spar in half. The winglets are repaired, the covering restored, and new spars are on order from Aloft Hobbies. I should have it flying again by Saturday.

I Finally Flew my Raptor 2000 Advance – Well… strictly speaking I flew it a couple of weeks ago. I did a series of unpowered flights to check center of gravity, balance, etc. It flew great, but cracked one tail fin off on landing. This time I powered it up. Holy CRAP! In an earlier post I wrote about testing the power train with a watt meter, only to find out it’ll draw half a kilowatt at full throttle. On a 1300mAh battery, that worked out to about two minutes of throttle time before the battery was kaput. During the power-on tests, I never got above half throttle. Even at that, it almost went ballistic. It also had a horrid tendency to torque steer, and roll off to the left. Violently. I did three flights, each with only one powered leg, followed by a glide and landing. On the third one the OTHER tail feather snapped off. I have some serious mixing to think about, and a tail to fix. (I already fixed it.)

I Didn’t Break my Bixler! – Granted, I never flew it last weekend. But hey, it’s the only plane I didn’t break! I’m taking this as a win.

Final update: I ran into Jerry the Glider Guy (no, that’s not really his last name) at a coffee shop over the weekend. If the weather is willing, he’s planning to go slope soaring over Pololu Valley this coming Sunday. If I can get my Zagi airworthy again by that time, I’m planning to go out and join in the fun. Yeah, this’ll cut into construction of the land yachts and the Fish. But having fun is what it’s all about.

– Tom

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