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Messages - Deerslayer

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Adam, why not plan to set up your temporary course at the west end on Wednesdays.  I think there is interest by a number of people to learn and perhaps to get a drone. Who knows, if you help Wilf learn, you may get a free hot dog out of the deal!

Here is a little war story that somewhat explains my fondness of the Volksplane:

Back in 1973, I was on the Glider Instructor Course at the Gatineau Gliding Club, which operates from their WW1 era Pendleton airport east of Ottawa. There I met Jim Laing, another Glider Pilot on the course, who was a Tow Pilot as well as being  licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME). Very talented fellow, a great guy overall.

Jim built a Volksplane in his living room. He even carved the beautiful prop. A cute little plane, it was registered as C-GUPY. It was a great flyer but, due to its rather squat stance, it had a very small Angle of Incidence on the ground. That meant that it seemed to need a bit of a bounce to increase the Angle of Attack of the wings and thereby get things airborne. Not a problem at Pendleton, as their runways were rather ripply and the V just scooted along until the right mix of airspeed and bounce flung it into the air!

Several years later, Jim showed up at Gananoque Airport on a good soaring day. After some socializing, I had launched in my Cherokee 2 glider and was beginning to catch some lift. As I circled at perhaps 3000' height near the active runway, Jim started his takeoff run in the Volksplane. I thought he was never going to get flying but eventually the little beast lifted off and came up to see me.

Jim started to circle to my outside, I caught good lift and proceeded to out-climb him even as he had that VW powerhouse cranked to full power - really "waxed his tail", as they say! At some point, he wagged his wings and headed back to Ottawa or thereabouts. He  may not have remembered that event, but I always will.

Many years later, while attending our MAAC Zone AGM, I was taken by surprise as I saw C-GUPY over along the wall of the National Aviation Museum. I heard that Jim had donated it. Sounds like something he would have done!

So, whenever I see what I call the Queen of the Skies being flown by Dave and his boys, it brings back fond memories. Folks who build and fly Volksplanes, whether big or small ones, are #1 in my books.

If anyone has the email address of the owners of the Volksplane (Dave and sons), could they please send them the link to this. I had asked Dave for permission to post  a video and he approved, so they might as well see it.

For several years now, this magnificent beauty (along with her plane) has made an appearance at the annual Giant Scale Meet at KRCM. She is also a crowd pleaser at the Kitchener-Waterloo Flying Dutchman Meet, that being near her home town.

Once again, she graced us with her presence. Here is one of the many flights she made over the course of 3 days. Spoiler alert! There is a bit of an Oops! about 3/4 of the way through this video; if you have any young children, you may wish at that time to send them away to fetch a beer, or at least cover their tender eyes. There is an amazing example of superb piloting skills, resulting in a "save" that never even mussed up the lady's hair and will only require a little "buffing out" to get the show back on the road. If you get the chance, attend the Dutchman event, the weekend after Labour Day, to see her awe that crowd, along with many other great aircraft.

Late Friday morning, Summer finally arrived for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere  < insert Happy dance here> ! It was the Summer Solstice, when the Sun's path touched the Tropic of Cancer, giving us the longest day (daylight) of the year. It's all downhill from here on, folks, until 365.25 Earth days from now.

I was out at the Toyground right around that time. The place was in amazing shape - our fancy renovation is completed, the grass was freshly mowed early in the morning by Harold of the Grass-cutting Crew and it was a tad windy, so no one else was brave (foolish?) enough to go flying. Perfect conditions to take a few pictures.

I hope that others fully appreciate what we have out there:



Approach and Landing

One of the best reasons for executing a pattern, or circuit, is to allow you to settle down, assess wind conditions and decide how to deal with a situaion such as a crosswind.

So, you are going to land and are unable to approach/land directly into the wind. Perhaps you can minimize the effect of a strong crosswind by flying an approach at a significant angle to your runway's centerline. You are stuck with the crosswind, now let's deal with it.

Two common techniques are side-slipping and crabbing. Side-slipping is a technique for losing altitude and/or holding a heading while possibly dealing with a crosswind. It is not particularly easy, effective or comfortable to do with most models, especially the light electric machines. Let's forget about that, for now. Crabbing will be our answer.

As you begin your approach, remember the cardinal rule: Keep your wings level! Now, your flight path will be straight with respect to the block of air in which you are flying. However, as you descend, the wind velocity (its speed + direction) may change and require some adjustment to your flying. With your wings level, you will be able to gradually detect any deviation from your approach path. Let's assume that the wind is coming from behind you, crosswind to your chosen runway and trying push your plane away from you.  Aim the aircraft more in the crosswind direction - in this case, toward you. Your plane must be flying right toward you, right? Therefore, isn't the nose heading that way? Perhaps not so much. Don't worry, if you get it right, the plane's ground track will still be in the desired direction, down the runway and you won't end up landing it on top of you. If you were inside the aircraft, you would like to be looking straight down the runway but your eyes would be pointed somewhat toward the side instead of right down the center of the windscreen. Right up until just before touchdown.

Now you are getting close to touchdown. If you have enough room and are not travelling too fast, so you may be able to just flare and land, as is, somewhat at an angle from the runway centerline. If not, you start to neutralize the Rudder and accept a bit of drift just prior to touchdown. Of course, you must Keep the wings level and don't let your speed drop off until you are ready to flare.

The next time you go flying, fear not the dreaded crosswind. Dealing with it is simpler/easier than you think (and certainly a lot simpler than this lengthy discussion!).

Even if you don't have to face a crosswind on your preferred runway, choose another one that does present you with that challenge. Start out with small steps, in a light crosswind, not a gale. Do lots of patterns, get good at maintaining your approach track, don't bother actually touching down, just power up and circle around again - repeat, repeat ... Do the full pattern and landing, many times.  Practice makes Perfect Better.

I hope that this helps someone. Meanwhile, Keep your wings Level!

Sooner or later, one has to deal with a crosswind during the most critical portions of a flight. Let's see how we get airborne in a nice, smooth and controlled manner.


One option may be to eliminate or significantly reduce the crosswind problem. There is no magic centerline down which you have to track during the take-off, at least not on a large, wide field such as at KRCM and especially with a small, light and reasonably powered model.

Assuming that you are stuck with a significant crosswind for the direction, there are a couple of things to work on. Keep the wings level! Do not let the upwind wing start to lift and either tumble your plane or start it wandering around while accelerating. Simple rule: Keep the right (Aileron) stick pointed slightly into the relative wind. As you accelerate toward lift-off (which should be a very short time), the crosswind that the plane actually sees will be reduced. Just keep those wings level! The plane will likely wish to weathercock, i.e. start heading off course. This is where the Rudder comes in. You may find that you are using somewhat crossed controls, at least until the plane breaks free of the ground. The Aileron stick will be pointed toward the one side while the Rudder is pointed somewhat in the other direction. That is OK. As flying speed is reached, you will be returning both controls to neutral.

If things start to get a bit wild, don't try to fight it, back off, return to your starting point, if necessary, and re-start from a stationary position.

As the plane leaves the ground, it may want to weathercock and deviate from your intended path. You are supposed to be in control, so don't just let it wander around, fly it! Keep the wings level until you are comfortably high above ground, then fly however you wish.

You can never do too many practice laps. Perhaps choose a time with moderate wind when you really don't need to do a crosswind take-off but select a runway where you will experience a crosswind. Practice makes Perfect pretty good.

I hope that this helps someone. Meanwhile, Keep your wings Level!

New flyers, especially, usually dread crosswinds. The typical small, foamy model presents a significant challenge in this regard - unless one develops and practices techniques to deal with it. Here are some thoughts on the topic.

On a large, wide field such as KRCM, let me suggest that there are very few true crosswind situations that demand any special techniques, just some awareness and planning.

First of all, there are three significant crosswind situations: taxiing, take-off and landing. Let's deal with each one separately. This time we can talk about:


You have to taxi out from the pit area and line up for take-off, then turn directly into wind for the latter. There is no magic runway centerline marked out where you have to begin and to follow, and we have an extremely wide field, so use it! Go well out from the flight line, then you may be able to take off directly into wind, thereby avoiding a crosswind that you would either have to handle properly or risk swinging into the pilot stations as you proceed.

The taxi phase will be at least partially with a crosswind. If the wind is brisk, your little machine will want to do one or both of two things: swing into the wind (weathercocking), or, flip sideways or tumble. Tricycle gear planes are typically the worst for the latter.

The basic technique is to hold a major amount (usually, full) Aileron to keep the upwind wing from lifting. Now that the plane is somewhat stuck to the ground. it will likely still want to weathercock. So, hold partial or full Rudder over in the opposite direction to the Aileron control, i.e., you will have "crossed controls". Say the wind is coming in from your left side. You will be holding the Aileron stick to the left and the Rudder stick to the right. If you have good nosewheel ot tailwheel steering, you may not need very much of the Rudder/steering correction.
There is one more thing to consider, particularly with a taildragger. (Tricycle gear planes tend to look after themselves in this regard). That is, the plane may be reluctant to follow your Rudder/steering, command. You have two requirements here; make the Rudder effective and, keep the plane from trying to take off unexpectedly. So, with your taildragger, you will likely require putting in a lot of Up Elevator, probably full Up. Then, you need airflow over the tail surfaces it to make it all work. Be careful, just use the Throttle in short bursts, just enough to move the plane and get some Rudder effect. Don't speed up  and have an unplanned take-off or flip over.

That's all there is to it! Practice makes perfect pretty good. Take any opportunity to practice this, even when you don't need to.

We haven't discussed taxiing downwind. The discomfort level there can be a lot higher, even for more experienced flyers. Back-tracking to or from the pits, to or from the landing or take-off spot, without face-planting in front of your admirers or charging into something can occasionally be a tad challenging in high winds. Of course, you will be the one still enjoying flying in such conditions, while others are self-grounded, so don't let that possibility bother you.

Generally, when taxiing downwind, you will want to keep the Ailerons and Rudder at neutral and the Elevator may have to be either at neutral or perhaps slightly Up. It the Elevator is large and/or has lots of travel, full Up may allow the tail to be picked up, resulting in complete loss of control and possibly a nasty tumble. The problem with taxxing downwind is that, in order for any control surface to be properly effective, it needs airflow in the normal direction. This means that the control surface has to see sufficient relative headwind, i.e., the propwash plus groundspeed has to be stronger than the tailwind. Now, you may be getting into a much higher ground speed and slight shifts in wind can make steering problematic. Not a lot of guidance here, other than for you to experiment and practice. Good luck!

Recently, I have had a number of opportunities to help new flyers. The current environment is rich with victims to prey upon when there is a shortage of official Instructors!  ;D

I have observed that these folks have been well conditioned to do Range Checks prior to each daily flight. Our club has good Instructors!

What I have also observed is how they do Range Checks. Just to clarify, here is the best practice, based upon the advice of real experts, such as Andy Kunz, the team leader of Spektrum's development group.

1. If you can, get someone to hold your aircraft, at waist height. Or, set it down on a bench and SECURE IT. Make sure that your Throttle Lock is on, if it is electric. Now, since you are going to be testing your system, think about what could happen if, somehow, your test were to fail and result in the motor starting. That is one of two very good reasons for having a helper hold the model. Proper Range Checks with a glow or electric are normally done with the model restrained and the engine running.

2. Walk out about 30 paces. Face your aircraft and begin the Range Check.

3. Don't just wiggle sticks around! Perform deliberate movements, eg., full Left Rudder, and hold it. Observe that your control surface moves IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION and that there is no shaking of any of the control surfaces. Good, so far! But, we are not through just yet.

4. The second reason for having a helper is to have them change the orientation of the model - both in a flat circle and holding it vertically. After all, we are usually trying to talk to the thing while it is somewhere above us. The worst situation for connectivity is likely to be with the transmitter pointing directly at the model while the model is pointing directly at the transmitter, especially if there is a motor, battery pack, etc. now between the two. One of you should call out which control and direction you are trying.

This may sound like a bit of a hassle but it is not. It takes no more time, really, to do it properly than just doing a "sort of" Range Check.

Not everyone is aware of the following. Radio waves in the 2.4 GHz are severely attenuated by water. The human body is mostly water. So,it is not a good idea to have someone  in the direct line between you and whatever you are maneuvering on the ground, or flying. The next time you do a Range Check, prove this to yourself - turn completely away from your model and see if you lose range. (Make sure that it is restrained, preferably with someone holding it.)

Disclaimer: "Do as I say, not as I do" is an old expression. If asked, I will refuse to answer as to how often I do Range Checks. It is great to see new flyers being taught good procedures and techniques and emerging from our instructional program as competent, safe pilots!

Nothing to do with Auto Launch, really, but here is an example of how a stabilizer can save the day.

A couple of days ago, I was flying my largest wing, started to notice that it was behaving rather badly and decided to land. As it was coming down, way out there in the boonies on the base leg, it became extremely squirrely and  I could see that one Elevon had partially separated! Disaster in the making! But, this aircraft has a stabilizer that has what they call Balance mode, i.e., self-righting. So, let's just flip it into that mode and proceed. While the thing looked rather erratic, it stayed well under control and landed smoothly - with one Elevon trailing, hanging down and bent!

A few minutes of work with a "Flypaper arc welder" and the wing was fully repaired. It flew the next day, good as new. I had now achieved the Flypaper Golden Ratio. (In case you are not familiar, that is the magic proportion of hot glue to foam where you achieve the ultimate flyability of the thing. A fundamental principle, established and well proven by my late friend, Gord.)

Thanks to Vicki, who spent most of Sunday painting the trim around the east windows, the outside counter top, various other locations. Very fine job, indeed! (No black flies were killed and entombed in the process!).

Vicki is an "artiste" with the brush and roller. She used a nice color that matched the new siding. It even has a name, "taupe"! Who knew?  Interesting, seeing as some of us can only attach names to, say, 5 or so colours. It think that "taupe" is pronounced similarly to "dope". (Either that or she was referring to me while trying to explain it ...?)

According to Wickipedia:
Taupe is a dark brown color between brown and gray. The word derives from the French noun taupe meaning "mole". The name originally referred only to the average color of the French mole, but beginning in the 1940s, its usage expanded to encompass a wider range of shades.

This colour must have something to do with aviation, as one of the great early aircraft was our beloved Taube (note that if you flip the 4th letter upside down, you get this colour name thing). Incidentally, taube in German means dove.  I have a book called Taube, The Dove of War and also have an rc model Taube which is very loosely patterned after the famous Etrich Taube.

FPV at KRCM / FPV with the FT Explorer
« on: June 09, 2019, 07:19:49 PM »
Today, Adam showed up with his FT Explorer, camera in place - all FPVed and ready to go. He has a lot of experience with multi-rotor FPV, this was his first plane-based experience. I spotted for him.

This was a great success, proving what Wilf and I have been saying for quite awhile,  that this plane is ideal for starting out in FPV. Wilf started that way, he let me his plane and we both enjoyed it. Wilf added landing gear to the standard Explorer, a major improvement which allows one to get the full experience, including touch-and-goes.

I am convinced that this simple airplane is an excellent one to quickly build and learn to fly with, aside from any aspirations to try FPV. Waterproof it and it just may make a good seaplane.

General Discussion / Re: Champion of Toronto contest
« on: June 05, 2019, 05:23:12 PM »
 How great is that!!!!

So good to hear, and especially to see the picture. Did you have a trailer to carry that big trophy away?

It is always nice to hear about accomplishments in an area where few of us have any real knowledge or experience - apart from watching some guy  spinning around in circles out in the west field. Your new plane, which is a product of your own ideas, looked very impressive today and, at least to an uninformed observer, seems to fly really well. Watching you fly is really cool! I have a couple of pictures to post soon.

May your circles always be smooth, and may they never become of ever-diminishing radius, D!

You may be a bit disappointed, D, as our nice green "easy" chair is no longer there! Methinks that the mouseys may have absconded with it during the pandemonium. After all, there was a lot of history associated with the thing, especially within the local rodent kingdom. Tough bananas, D !

General Discussion / The wing is the thing!
« on: June 03, 2019, 05:46:02 PM »
Our time is coming! (I mean those of us who are great fans of flying wings). Although there have been other blended wing body (BWB) passenger planes proposed or rumoured to be in development, here is an actual project announcement by folks who know how to build aircraft and have the coin required to get 'er done. I hope it works out for them.

The concept video in the article is really good. In fact , it is tempting to build a model based upon this alone. Question: Is it actually a model if there is no "real" one in existence?

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