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Topics - Deerslayer

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It's a nice later Winter (or is it Spring?) day, I have the field all to myself, a great fire in the stove, it's time to play around with a bunch of my flying machines.

Meanwhile, the (Signals Corps?) have been encamped over on the DoD property for several days now, with a large tent and some vehicles sprouting rather interesting looking antennas. So, as part of my flying activities, I did some reconnoitering (fancy term for spying!) of the area.

The Crack Beaver is a light, high performance/wild 3D machine - not the first choice for FPV, but it was begging to have a little go at it anyway. Well, here is a brief video depicting my setup from both aerial and ground viewpoints.

Is the Field Available? Who is Flying Today? / Saturday
« on: February 24, 2018, 05:41:16 PM »
What a great day out at the Toyground! Just the 3 of us today - Me, Myself and I.

The army was over in their playground with some trucks supporting rather interesting antennas. They have been hanging out theremost of this week and my curiosity finally got the best of me -  not too much of an effort. So, I wandered over eventually to see whasup?

Man, those folks are mudders! The old county road was mud soup!
I did not get much info, apart from whatever they are up to would not affect my/our toys. They had "approval from Industry Canada". I do not know what that outfit does but it gave me a really nice warm and fuzzy feeling, so I slogged back and put up a few more flights. I did surreptitiously snap a couple of pictures from behind a strategically located bush, but it was just a couple of green trucks.

Interesting day, overall.

FPV at KRCM / Head Tracker - Part 1
« on: February 24, 2018, 07:23:17 AM »
Where's your head at, Boy!?

Haven't we all heard that? Well, some of us may have, perhaps on more than one occasion!

Wilf and I bought HeadTracker modules from SmartFPV. These units originally were designed by Dennis Frie and have a complete DIY writeup  and a very popular forum in rcgroups. This  company has prompt and efficient tech support, a real bonus for some of us.

We are learning and experimenting now. What is this and how does it work?

The module contains accelerometers and magnetometers for the three axes. These are monitored by an Arduino. Its output is a PCM pulse train that provides commands to up to 3 channels within the stream that will eventually emerge from the rc transmitter.

The unit is cabled to the Trainer port on the Tx. Whenever you select the Student mode via a switch, the HT is in control of whichever channel(s) you had selected. If you de-select, the affected  channel(s) are immediately returned to neutral and control is relinquished to the Tx.

So, the idea is to mount the HT on the FPV goggles or helmet. Then, you connect your aircraft's camera moving servos to one or more channels - normally, for Pan and possibly for Tilt, although Roll may be of use in some situations. 

When head tracking is enabled, the camera will follow your head movements. It's that simple. You get more of the feel of actually being in thr aircraft while flying, as well as being able to do ground ground obstacle checks while taxiing under the hood. Nice,

Well, there can be a lot more to it, but that gets us started!

Meanwhile, I have another HT on order, to serve as a spare as well as for another, unconventional use of thr technology, or perhaps to pass along to someone else who may become interested in trying out this stuff. I will put a little writeup in here as my "secret project" progresses, warts and all.

General Discussion / REAL Indoor flying!
« on: February 21, 2018, 10:53:18 AM »
Everyone that hangs around our Toyground knows the local masterful Circle Flyer. His name starts with a "D" and has a "Wayne" in it (perhaps that is his alter ego?). Unfortunately, the poor fellow has an actual job, so he cannot come out and play as often as some of us n'er-do-wells. We have often wondered how he keeps his tenuous grip on sanity.

 Well, here is one possibility! Perhaps we can get an invite to slide on over to his house, have some beers and watch how he keeps in practice?

General Discussion / Warning for the Buyer of Gord's DX9 radio !
« on: February 19, 2018, 12:25:10 PM »
I do not know who bought that radio but here is something they must check out.

Gord removed the original battery and installed a LiPo.

The new owner MUST check to see which battery is in there now. If there is a LiPo in there DO NOT try charge this transmitter via the normal charging port. Remove and charge it with any normal LiPo charger.

If you attempt to charge it via the charger that came with the transmitter, or any other source, you WILL damage the radio and possibly create a fire.

The original battery in the DX9 was a 2000 mah Lithium Ion battery, clearly identified as such. These radios can be charged from any DC voltage source of 12 volts to 17 volts. The original wall wart that came with the DX9 is a plain 12V DC power supply. It is NOT a charger, just a voltage source.

 The DX9 charging is managed internally to the radio and battery. You do not use any kind of a smart charger, just a plain DC plain power source, including the plug in your car or even a 3cell LiPo or 12 volt car battery, etc.. I made up a cord with the standard 12V cigarette lighter style plug to enable charging in my vehicle. This system is not polarity sensitive, so you will not risk damaging it regardless of which part of the plug is positive or negative.

One another note:

Gord's radio is at a very early version of Spektrum's Airware firmware (its operating system); he was reluctant to upgrade. The new owner should go to SPEKTRUMRC.COM and re-register the radio, then upgrade to the latest version of firmware. This is simple, free and may prevent you running into some weird situation that has long ago been corrected. For instance, I once tried to help Gord with a change to his X-Vert but I could not transfer my setup into his radio because his was too far behind in its Airware version. There have been some other improvements in functionality that arrived later than his version, some of which could be very helpful to you. Or, if you ever have a problem and contact Spektrum Support, or others via the RCGROUPS community, the first question will likely be whether you are at an up-to-date version.

If you are uncertain about this, I would be happy to try to help you. My radio has the latest firmware and it is solid.

I wish you great success with this excellent radio, arguably still the best value for price within the Spektrum family.

General Discussion / Real Indoor Flying!
« on: February 04, 2018, 09:18:40 AM »
This is one of the best examples of indoor flying. Note, all that is required is a standard sized basketball court and some really great ideas:

This is a copy of the posting I made in another Forum, where the BGL-6G-AP GPS-capable stabilization system is discussed, Wilf and I have these units and have done a lot of experimentation with them.  Don't worry, there really is a video in here, at the end of the discussion.  :D


This may be of interest to others:

I have had the unit on a flying wing for a couple of months, as a test bed. Yesterday, we were flying in extreme winds - significant wind gradient plus high level of turbulence. (Don't worry, there is a Video link at the end of this).

I set the plane out a somewhat downwind and the selected RTH. It immediately oriented itself and then flew upwind toward the Home point, as expected. I had, let's say, 1/3 throttle to maintain good progress.

Aside: the BGL's Return To Home control strategy is to self-level if necessary, head straight back to its Home coordinate, then circle or sometimes follow a figure-8 pattern centered on Home. It will attempt to maintain a constant altitude, provided it can maintain airspeed; if you chop the throttle, or are a pure sailplane, it will gradually lose altitude and may even stall or perhaps snag a nasty tree or such before you may regain control.

The plane arrived in the vicinity of Home and began its circle. Now, as one would expect, there will be some drifting and the resultant path over the ground would be somewhat elliptical. However, to the airborne pilot, maintaining a constant bank and airspeed will still result in a circle within the air mass. Now, one would expect the RTH function to be trying to maintain a circle with respect to the ground, as it is using the fixed Home coordinates and its GPS to set up a fixed radius circular or figure-8 pattern w.r.t. that ground Home point. Therefore, I expected to see it altering its bank angle accordingly, within limits, to try to retain its circular orbit. Not so much!

With this strong wind, the plane made its first turn and flew WAY downwind before beginning to turn back to Home. For awhile, I could observe it making some control corrections, probably experiencing some turbulence even at its "3 trees" altitude. I really began to wonder if something had gone wrong, but it eventually managed to turn back and beat its way toward Home. I had been just about ready to switch off RTH and take over with full throttle in order to get back. Well, she did make it back without my interference, but I had to use a high throttle and I watched as it sort of zig-zagged along its path back.

I repeated this test, with exactly the same results.

Now, this was a bit disturbing, but it was a good learning experience.

The BGL limits its bank angle to something that would be a shallow to medium turn while in RTH, regardless of its reference to the Home coordinate.

So, if I have this unit installed in, say, a sailplane that may not have terrific penetration and if I were to lose sight of it, I better crank up the motor and hope! As we know, you normally thermal in a circle within the rising air mass which, in turn, is being shifted downwind. Think of a funnel that is tilted and you are keeping inside of it. As you go higher, the migration downwind is likely to increase, as will be the effort to beat back home once you leave said thermal, especially when you encounter the surrounding sinking air.

In considering using the RTH feature under Failsafe, the question is, does one kill the power or set it to something like, say, 1/2 throttle? Not an easy answer, as circumstances vary. Besides, you may have no choice anyway! Not all receivers handle a loss of signal the same way. and ESC's tend to shut off the throttle if no signal is seen for a very few seconds. So, all you can do is hope for the best! Also, you may want to bump up the throttle immediately upon activating RTH, if you cannot see the aircraft or if you suspect that it may have failed safe into that mode. If you in no-power soaring mode and go into RTH, the aircraft may not make it back, especially if it has to do much banking to achieve a straight line flight path and/or if it does a lot of the weaving back and forth that I observed. Of course, you want to know that your airframe, especially a large foam sailplane, can stand high airspeed and gust loading combined, or it may relocate itself in pieces!

I think about this stuff. It's all part of this weird hobby. We have so much terrific technology available, it is fun to learn what it can, and can't, do.


General Discussion / Vortex Generators
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:56:41 AM »
Vortex Generators (VGs) have been around for many decades. I first noticed them on airliners I flew on back around 1970. You may notice them on smaller airplanes, especially of the STOL variety such as some bush planes.

About four years ago, my son started flying a Cessna 206 floatplane for his client. He installed a VG kit on it. The kit was a properly engineered and certified modification, cost $2500, which he installed over the course of a day or so. There was some huge number of these things, epoxied onto the top of the wings and onto the underside of the horizontal stabilizer. Their effect was to improve airflow separation over these surfaces. This resulted in approximately 5 knots lower stall speed or could allow a higher payload capacity. Floatplanes often have to squeak into, or hop out of, very confined areas with nasty trees, etc., in close proximity. The VGs were the one thing that could be done to improve things.

At that time, I became interested in finding out the science of VGs and how their effects are investigated and quantified. The information is out there, and there is fluid dynamics math, but some of it left me a bit bewildered.  I like pictures and videos! (Be patient, there is one coming up shortly...)

More recently, VGs started showing up on RC models. The Visionaire, Carbon Z Cub, Scimitar, all of which I have owned, are just a few that come to mind. Do they work at this small scale and low Reynolds Numbers? Hard to quantify, but experienced pilots report that they do make a difference, at least on some airfoil and airframe configurations.

I found this video to be enlightening. The fellow is admittedly not an aeronautical engineer or fluid dynamicist but he has done a terrific job of explaining things and documenting his experiments. The RC plane test near the end is a particularly compelling argument to accept the value of VGs and not just grab the Exacto knife and slice them off (as some amongst us may have done in the past!).

So, please sit back and check out this:

Buy, Sell, Trade or Give Away / F-16 Ducted Fan Kits for Sale
« on: January 07, 2018, 07:35:53 AM »
I have two of these for sale. Dan and I had one a few years ago and can vouch for what a great plane these are. Hand-launched, easy to fly, they are a perfect way to try out electric ducted fan aircraft at a rock bottom cost. To my knowledge, these are no longer available, much to the dismay of the very large group of enthusiasts for the product.

Here is the primary RCGROUPS forum:

Many owners customize their F-16's in appearance and also with other than the original EDF gear - a lot has changed over the past decade. Some of these planes have been built with truly wicked performance packages!  The fan is readily available form Hobby King or elsewhere.

I am asking $45 each, and I would consider something slightly less if sold as a pair.

Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / Balancing Stuff
« on: December 14, 2017, 11:35:19 AM »
At least some folks make an effort to balance their props. Others just trust that things are OK as bought - count me in that sorry lot! I use APC props exclusively, unless something else was provided with the airplane I bought. I find them to be very high quality and well balanced. I have had a little, relatively unused, balancer thingy lying around in my flight box for "about a hundred years" (a FlyPaperism). Then, a couple of years ago I sprung for a more expensive and capable unit. Well, I had paid for it so I just had to try it on several of my APC props; I never could determine that I needed to do anything to improve them. Meanwhile, I got the Crack Beaver and its somewhat unusual props. When I checked them, they needed a LOT of balancing! So, perhaps buying the balancer was worthwhile, after all?

What about balancing electric motors? What about the balance of the whole motor+adapter+prop assembly? Well, I came across this very interesting article. He uses an iPhone app to do this. I have an Android tablet and phone, but, there are several apps available for Android which can do vibration or seismic analysis.

I hope someone else finds this interesting and perhaps even useful:

General Discussion / Bulk Orders
« on: December 11, 2017, 08:54:53 AM »
Occasionally, two or more flyers get together to order items from places such as Hobby King, Banggood, etc. It can get a bit messy estimating what it all may cost and later on, sorting out who owes exactly what. Attached is a spreadsheet that I created and offer to anyone else to use. 

Caveat! Although it has been thoroughly tested and I trust it, I cannot guarantee it. If you use it, check the results carefully to ensure that it is correct. This is a tool, not a replacement for your own judgement. If you find a problem, please Reply in here so that I may correct it.


1. Download the attachment. I use OpenOffice and have saved it in as an older Excel file, so it should be readable by any spreadsheet package. If not, let me know and I can provide other versions.

2. Play around with it.
 The cells marked in RED are available for you to fill out. If your order is priced in CA$, leave the Exchange Rate as 1.0 and enter the Item Costs under the US$ -  everything ends up in CA$ anyway. If it is a USA order, set the exchange rate, e.g., .71 on a recent order I processed.
 Leave the BLACK cells alone. The one exception may be under the Shipping/Handling distribution. For example, one fellow orders a kit, or perhaps some LiPos, while another one or more just order some servos or other small stuff. I would divide the  Shipping/Handling
total charges in a fair manner and place those amounts into those cells.

3. If you have played around with this Template, make sure you do not Save it, else some future use may result in a garbage result due to an item or formula having been modified.

 If there are more Items or Buyers than have been set up on this sheet, it could be modified - very carefully! Perhaps it would be better to simply start a second sheet to handle the excess Items or Buyers. Then you divide the Brokerage, GST/HST and Shipping/Handling charges between the two sheets.

 Sometimes, I think that I might want to order something from Supplier X, but do not need it right away or would like to combine my items with someone else. I go to that site and add my stuff to my "Cart", then leave the site. Yes, I will likely get pestered once or twice that I have an incomplete order. I just ignore that, for now. Later on, another person(s) wants something and we decide to place a bulk order. I encourage him/them to do the same thing, i.e., stock up his/their "Cart". Then, if he/they can scrape out and email me a copy, I can go to my "Cart", add his/their stuff, get the estimated Shipping Charges, etc. and transpose the details to the spreadsheet. When we all agree,
I process the order. Upon delivery, I check and update the spreadsheet to reflect the final Exchange Rate, Taxes, etc. 

General Discussion / Servos - how they work
« on: December 06, 2017, 06:34:27 AM »
Here is an excellent and easy to understand video that shows what goes on inside that tiny electronics package in every servo. There are other videos that depict the mechanical actions. Sometime, grab an old servo and pull it apart to see for yourself. I have repaired many servos, as most likely cause of problems is gear damage due to binding or otherwise overstressing the system; for most servos, from the cheap Hextronic ones through to the most expensive, you can buy the gear train and spend a few minutes to restore one to new (sometimes better than new!) condition.

The attached document was prepared by the Zone Director and Club Presidents.

Buy, Sell, Trade or Give Away / Electric Foamies and gear for sale
« on: December 02, 2017, 05:02:47 AM »
Hi Gary,

Would you please look after posting this for Jim?




From: Jim Lancastle

Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 5:06 PM

To: Rolly

Jim Lancastle is leaving the hobby and has some good stuff for sale.









LI-PO'S .. 4 1300 Mah ... AA'S FOR RADIOS






JIM LANCASTLE   613-389-8874 or email

Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / The Wonder of Drywall Tape
« on: November 19, 2017, 08:33:40 AM »
Great stuff - cheap, light, easy to work with, right up there with hot glue for usefulness in the foamology department!

I often use it to make hinges or to repair hinged or damaged areas. If you have to layer up foam or foamboard or such, this is the stuff to use. Having learned about it almost 30 years ago from Gord, I have built several large foam wings with balsa sheeting for small and large glow planes, without setting any spar material in place. Just place some strategically placed strips of drywall tape between the foam and the sheeting to distribute spar and other loading. As well, it can repair a major break in a structure. It has just enough stickum to stay in place.

The following photos show a simple way to create a multi-purpose repair tape:

1. Fasten a strip of the drywall tape to some parchment paper used for baking. That stuff is impregnated with silicone and neither melts, burns or sticks to anything.

2. Apply a light coating or some streams of hot glue to the tape.Don't overdo it, you will be spreading it out into a thin layer and if you run short, you can apply more as needed. My glue gun is an ancient, heavy duty Bostich fellow that has high heat capacity and a nicely formed tip that stays hot enough to re-melt glue.

3. Using the side of the glue gun tip, gradually spread and smooth out the glue. You want to just fill the open weave and leave a film coating across the whole thing on. If you get too aggressive, or if the glue is not hot enough, you will shift the fibreglass threads around and mess up your structure. Drywall tape is not actually woven, the threads are merely criss-crossed and lay in place due to the trace amount of stickum in them

4. Pick up your tape from its parchment paper backing. The underneath side should be shiny smooth. Cut it as desired - either knife or scissors work well.

 To apply a patch or to create a hinge, just lay the section onto the foam,  foamboard, balsa or whatever and apply heat with the side of your glue gun or, as I simetimes do, with a hotknife. (Aside: My hotknife is what looks like a  woodburning or soldering iron with a #11 Exacto blade installed. It has hundreds of hours of great use and I could not build or repair without it!) No need to add any additional glue, what is now in your tape will be sufficient to bond with the surface.

 My experience with drywall tape is that, if you make a hinge and do not have hot glue across the hinge line and/or is you have overdone the heating at the hinge line, it may break if it gets a good shock. If you have done as I suggest and have a completely coated piece, the glue film will add some strength and help to resist a shock loading.

 The final picture in this series shows a reinforcement at the elevon inner junction on a flying wing. Even on full scale aircraft, this junction is a stress riser and the designer has to ensure that it is well reinforced, typically with gussets on top and bottom or other structural features. with a flying wing, if you have an over-stress to the wing or  a hard impact to the nose, there is a high probability that a fracture would initiate at that location and the wing will fail. Been there (model aircraft only, not a real one!)

I hope this gives you some ideas for a rainy or snowy day.

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