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Messages - Deerslayer

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1
This Week at the Toyground! - Who's Flying Today? / Tuesday
« on: March 25, 2019, 06:18:31 PM »
Weather looks good.

Does anyone know if the road is clear now? Driving across the "lawn" would seem to no longer be an option, unless you have a Monster Truck or a good friend with a bulldozer or crane to extract you.

2
Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / Auto Launch Video
« on: March 23, 2019, 07:10:37 AM »
Continuing on with my ramble ... Roger "Steady Cam" Harrison and I had big fun flying and recording earlier this week. That boy does a fairly good job; I may even have to give him a 10% raise, someday.

The narration in this video leaves a lot to be desired :(  What the dude refers to as a "javelin" launch method explains a lot about why he never did Track and Field back in the old days. Clarification:The javelin is that long pointy thing that can be used to, I guess, spear groundhogs and slow-moving squirrels. The technique for flinging a flying wing is properly referred to as a "discus" launch, that is the one like where the T&F folks toss a big, heavy frlsbee-looking plate at the snakes, or whatever. Best to avoid all of that and just fly toy planes, methinks. Incidentally, the plane in this video really, really did not like such a throw (Sorry, Roger, your camera work was perfect, but I sort of omitted that little "failed launch" segment in the final product, as I suffer enough embarrassments without going out of my way to document them.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrqHkADgDaM&feature=youtu.be

3
VIDEOS and PICTURES from KRCM Events and Activities / Wilf's range EX
« on: March 22, 2019, 11:43:12 AM »
Spring has sprung, and out from the Wilf's Lair emerges a new FPV plane! This one is the Ranger EX, what we think is an ideal FPV plane. In fact, Wilf forced me to order one the day after this video was taken.

Wilf has a 4K camera mounted on a gimbal system beneath the nose. As well, he hasa Runcam mounted on top for the actual FPV piloting. Soon to be installed is the iNav Flight Controller but for the initial flights, it is just an ordinary receiver in use - one step at a time, a wise approach.

This was a great Spring flying day, albeit a bit breezy and turbulent, as you can see. The iNav will take care of that for this lightly loaded aircraft.

Enjoy:
https:/
/youtu.be/2XvwD7uASd8

4
VIDEOS and PICTURES from KRCM Events and Activities / Sonicmodell HD
« on: March 21, 2019, 06:14:41 PM »
I like flying wings! I have a few, and I have had many others during my 40 years of rc flying. A few of those have been taken out of a box, but most are of my own creation and have showed up in many forms and sizes.

 This one, obtained from Banggood at a very reasonable price, has proven to be an excellent flyer. Mine is fairly heavy for a plane that is, at least currently, not going to be for FPV use. That is because I used what I had on hand to equip it, some sort of a Rimfire motor which is probably way over-powered for this application and a heavy load of batteries at the extreme nose to set a reasonable C of G placement - as is critical with flying wings. Several have come in a box, but most have been my own creations in various sizes and shapes.

I have learned, through some bungled launches, that this plane needs a really good toss, otherwise the motor torque plus prop rotational drag will quickly snap it to the left, irrecoverably. Yes, thanks to Harold, I even have a video of one of "those" launches. However, I do not feel compelled to include that embarrassing little clip in the video I am submitting here!

In an upcoming video, I will explain and demonstrate the Auto Launch system which I developed, using the DX9's Sequencer capability. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this little segment:

https://youtu.be/Jezqu0he14E

5
Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / Auto Launch and wild winds
« on: March 17, 2019, 04:10:39 PM »
Today, out at the  Toyground, I got the long-awaited chance to really prove out the value of my Auto Launch system. Two of my flying wings, the Micro Wing and the 2nd generation of the Black Widow, were the test subjects. The winds really came up, with strong gusts, enough that I would normally not have flown either of these, or many of the other planes in my fleet. The launch would be just too difficult, plus I have better things to do than repair stuff right now. So, let's give 'er and see what happens.

With the big wing, it was hard enough to just hold it down by my side to commence the Launch. The little one was just twitchy to hang onto. But, both behaved exactly the same, and exactly as I expected.

Here goes!

Power up the plane.
Unlock the Throttle and initialize the ESC, leave the Throttle off but enabled.
Select the LAUNCH Flight Mode.
Press and hold the Launch button.
Elevons wiggle once ... 1 ... 2 ...
Start moving the plane, discus style and not very fast ... the motor ramps up as the fling is underway ... let go part way through the fling (the plane is still far from level) .. the plane accelerates away, leveling almost immediately, as the elevons become effective and it moves out in a gentle climb at full Throttle, steady as a rock!

Lots of time to get on the right stick and start hand flying it. Even in Self-levelling mode, you can still have limited control of Pitch and Roll. Vector, iNav and possibly some other Flight Controllers can command the Throttle, but the current Lemon Stab+, Guardian, Bigaole do not.

Whenever you are ready, release the Launch button and the Sequencer lets go of the Throttle and releases the stabilizer from Self-level Mode into whatever condition your Stabilizer Mode switch is set to on the transmitter - Off, Stability or Self-level.

On a day like today, Stability is a very useful mode, making it seem just like flying on a calm day - but, remember not to get terribly far downwind!

Self-level can even be useful during the pattern and landing phases, especially when you get down through the wind gradient and into the low level turbulence.

Man, this stuff really works! And it's not just for flying wings, or even for hand launching. Someone who may have mobility issues of some sort may be able to put this to use. (Who knows, you I may even be there someday yet would still like to enjoy some low stress flying).

Again, if someone would like to learn more, or see a demo, or try setting this up on one of their own flying objects, I would be happy to try to help you.

6
General Discussion / What does 22ms mean? (in Spektrumspeak)
« on: March 16, 2019, 07:05:14 AM »
When you Bind a model, your Spektrum radio (most of them, I think) will show and announce (if Bitchin' Betty is available and awake) the protocol being used (DSM2 or DSMX) and a time (11 or 22 milliseconds). So what? Well, for the curious, here is the explanation of what the numbers mean and how the Spektrum folks pack the available channels into the available slots. For most of us, this would never matter. However, for something of extremely high performance, such as a jet or 3D monster, one does care, as you don't put an critical item that demands extremely quick response to commands onto one of the upper channels.

The following a response from Andy Kunz, the Lead Developer from Spektrum, in answer to a question from a viewer (like me). This had to do with converting a model from one transmitter to another.

The Spektrum protocol puts out a packet of data every 11ms. The packet holds 7 channels.

In 22ms mode, that means there are 7 x 2 slots available, 14 channels total. The first 6 of each packet are channels 1-12, and the last slot is used for the X-Plus channels (which makes it very obvious why they are up to 88ms latency).

In 11ms mode, there are 4 channels that are sent every time, and the remaining 6 channels come in 3's. It sends out 4 channels + 3 channels, then the next packet has the same 4 channels + 3 different channels. 4 + 3 + 3 = 10 channels max in 11ms mode.

The DX18 generates its data as 12 channels + 8 channels, where channels 11 & 12 are the same as X+1/2.

The DX20 generates its data as 12 + 8 also, but channels 11 & 12 are configured independently.

This is what the "DX18 Compatibility Mode" option is for. It lets you pick 10+8 or 12+8 mode.

Because the iX12 can import files from either one, or from a lower end DX, it can generate either mode as well. It's important to understand what you are getting the configuration from to know how it will behave. If you import from a DX18 or lower, it will most likely be in DX18 Compatibility Mode, generating channels 1-10 normally and using X-Plus data for 11 & 12. If you import from a DX20, if it's in 20-channel mode then channels 1-12 will be as you expected. It is done this way because the purpose of importing a file from another type of radio is to make it so that the new radio controls the old model exactly the same way. You want your new radio to fly the plane the same way as the old radio, not change channel assignments on you.

Opalix didn't understand that part and assumed that the DX8 file he imported would automatically go into the 20-channel mode. It doesn't do that because a DX8 works in DX18-compatibility mode for channel generation (but you can't get there on the menu). He's got it all straight now (we've been working with him for several weeks through Product Support and PMs).

Andy

7
Perhaps I made this sound to "techy". Sorry,  it really is quite simple.

I liked the way the Optera does this, recently got the new F-27 Evolution with the same and system really like it. The only issue, for me, was the "how", not the "why" and just required investigating what was already in my, and some others', hands. It was fun to figure out and the reward has been great.

I got tired and frustrated having to do nose jobs on a nice new wing that I flubbed too often, as well as having too much stress while developing and test flying a new design. Problem solved, in spades!

This has now been documented, only takes perhaps 15 minutes for me to set it up on something of mine, or yours, provided that it has gear as simple and solid as the Lemon Stab+ receiver/stabilizer ( < $40 ) and a suitable transmitter, such as DX9 (and probably even on one of them thar Graupners, Wilf!).

8
Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / The "true" Auto Launch
« on: March 15, 2019, 07:35:11 AM »
Here is where I got inspired to do something to improve my wing launches.

https://youtu.be/dI6-oZjrCP0

This fellow in Indonesia has posted a number of really good videos and comments in rcgroups. The Flight Controller, an iNav, senses the initial acceleration of the toss, activates and handles the rest of it. The main difference between this and what I have been doing is this means of triggering the sequence. If I dared, I could lengthen the Sequencer to allow more time and move the activation over from the momentary I button to a switch - then, hope that everything goes smoothly until I can pick up the Tx and take over control. Perhaps this would be a neat test, when one of my wings gets near its end of life?

Note the flying site! Who has facilities like that? And no snow or ice! But, they do get monsoons, so I suppose there could be some negatives - no to mention, whatever kinds of snakes may slither around nearby. Python eat man; cobra bite man; man must watch his step; man learn to run, really, really fast!


9
Today, I implemented the auto launch idea on another flying wing, my Micro Wing (details of that airplane were posted in here awhile back). Unlike the other couple of wings I have set up, this one did not have a Bigaole Flight Controller. It has the Lemon Stab+, which has self-levelling as one of its two stabilization modes, the other being straight gyro/stability stabilization.

This worked perfectly. Although launching has never been an issue for me with the Micro Wing, on a gusty day like today it can be a handful and you need to react quickly during the fling and initial 1 or 2 seconds of flight, as well as getting the best throttle setting. Under my auto launch mode, it is a piece of cake, despite wind conditions and even if you miss launching directly into the wind. Normally, you want to be very close to wind for launch, else you end up with a roll and possible dive at full throttle - very nasty!

Using the Sequencer to control the throttle and time its advance to ramp up nicely, along with having the Launch button set up self-levelling (which is really about 15 degrees up, for these wings), you get very consistent operation.

Today, I was playing with some settings of this, as well as trimming out the newest wing, so we had a couple dozen flights on each of the two wings. During the first take-off of the BG-equipped wing, there was a gust and major wind shift. Had I not been in self-levelling, the thing would have been severely tree'd! As it was, the self-levelling allows limited pilot control, just enough to dodge a couple of very nasty big evergreens south of the field.

I found the self-levelling mode on both the BG- and Lemon-equipped planes to be useful during pattern and landing, as there was severe turbulence down below treetop height. Again, you get just enough control to modify the "level" of the plane that you can do proper shallow turns, a good final approach and flare.

Either of these setups compare favourably with the AS3X system on the Optera or the F-27 for my purposes. One advantage, I find, is that all changes are made within the Tx, not in the Spektrum Rx (computer, application software, expensive little cable, access to the Rx, all required).

Reg, let's get going on setting up one of yours! If you wish, I can provide my SPM for one of my wings with auto launching, along with my documentation and you could perhaps try it out on one of your deltas that you have to hand launch. Perhaps this even fits within the spirit of the Flypaper Foamy Challenge, too. (After all, there are only 2 of us in that battle, as far as I can tell, and we just make up the so-called rules as we see fit, right?)


10
I did some more flying today using the auto launching technique for the maiden flight of yet another homebrew flying wing. Even though I had the thing trimmed poorly and no real idea of where the CofG should be, all went well. The launch was effortless and absolutely perfect. The only problem was, as soon as I flipped out of self-leveling mode, I had a bit of a mess on my hands, requiring a lot of trim to control the plane.

I wrestled with it a bit and landed it fairly soon, went through a couple of iterations of tuning/flying and now have a most excellent Unidentified Foamy Object. I did not have any weights available at the field, or I would have corrected what I am sure is a marginal CofG. Perhaps I will do some experimenting soon, but meanwhile, the stabilizer and my auto launch system make flight possible and enjoyable.

I happen to have a Lemon Stab+, which has self-levelling, on another wing and I will soon experiment with that (no BG involved).


11
 I think you will find this well worth trying.

To do this, you need self-levelling capability in your system. The  Lemon  Stab+ has this, for example, and is the simplest/cheapest approach. Do you have one of these?

I haven't implemented the technique with that particular unit yet, although I happen to currently have one in a flying wing and one will likely inhabit a little sorta Su-27 that I need to get airborne.

I look forward to experimenting, along with you. Don't forget your glue gun! :)

12
Here is a somewhat novel use which I am employing on some flying wings to enable an easy and worry-free hand launch. The actual programming details, while not terribly difficult, are not detailed; rather, if someone wishes to see what I have done and to try something for themselves, just ask.

Background

I have had my DX9 for 5 or more years now and gradually figured out most of its capabilities, why and how to employ them. All sorts of Mixes, Flight Modes, reassigning Channels, etc. One big mystery has been the Sequencer, a feature that is fairly common across several of the Spektrum products, such as the DX10 and DX9. Other Tx brands have similar capabilities, more or less complicated to implement. What I will describe is applicable there, too.

I have only ever seen Sequencing used or referred to in the application of, say, cycling landing gear doors and gear on scale planes (think Mustang) or on a scale sequencial startup of a 4-engine big bomber. Impressive, but I don't have either of those needs. But, I do have another problem which this may solve.

The Problem

I have owned, designed, built or bought many flying wings and deltas over several decades. They have one thing in common - they have to be hand launched (or via another of my techniques, from the arms of a lawnchair or a purpose-built launching rack - videos are posted elsewhere in the Forum). For hand launching, there are at least 3 common techniques, two of which I am comfortable with and use depending upon which plane is being launched. The common factor in hand launching is the need to coordinate Throttle and attitude of the plane prior to, during and at the end of the "fling", then to quickly get the launching hand onto the stick (in my case, it will be the Elevon stick) to follow through or sort out the tricky initial part of the flight - very quickly!

Some planes, such as the Optera or F-22 Evolution with AS3X, mostly look after things for you, provided you select its Launch mode. Here, the plane will be in self-levelling and I think that they may even hide some Elevon mixing with Throttle as well. This is nice, you hold the plane, advance the Throttle, fling it and watch it fly out and ascend slowly, allowing lots of time to get all hands on deck, release the self-levelling mode if desired and that's it!

Recently, I got a Sonicmodell HD flying wing which is a great flyer but has given me grief in launching. I have had several bad launches, minor repairs to the detachable nose and had developed a lot of apprehension regarding the plane. Then, I watched a video from a fellow in Indonesia where he had a wing that required a real hard toss - he used both hands and the Tx was sitting on the ground! He would do something via the Tx, set it down, fling the wing, watch it climb out, pick up the Tx and take over. Sweet! I think he had an iNav Flight Controller on board which has a Self Launch mode Could I make this happen with my DX9 and other stabilizers?

The Solution

Last year, I bought a couple of the BGAOLE  Flight Controllers, sold through Banggood. These are great little units which have 3 modes - Off, Balance (self-levelling) and Return To Home (RTH). As with my Guardian, AS3X, and Vector experience, the self-levelling was not of great interest, until now.

I now have what I call Auto Launch set up on my primary test wing, as well as the problematic one. Immediate success on the test wing, and immediate success later when I applied it to the Sonicmodell HD.

The DX9 supports 2 Sequencers, I think that the DX18 supports more and I am unsure how many are supported by other specific models in the product line. I only need one.

I set up a Sequence to operate the Throttle if my Launch Flight Mode is selected and depending upon the state of the "I" momentary button. I have always had a habit of giving the Throttle a quick jog, as part of my pre-launch preparation, just to ensue that things feel right, then applying Throttle during the fling. Very embarrassing to throw away an airplane, only to find that the motor is locked out or the battery is cooked.  :o My motor control has sometimes caused me problems, I think, as ideally one would carefully and consistently apply Throttle as the plane is accelerating from zero to its minimum control speed and beyond. I am a bit rough in that respect.

So, I am ready to fling with Launch Mlight Mode selected, Tx secured with my left hand and neck strap as usual. Press/Hold the "I" (Launch) button. The Sequencer activates and continues for the next (2 seconds or whatever I have set up) running through its pattern, unless I release the button. The Throttle quickly advances to perhaps 60%, then cuts off (think of a sawtooth with a ramp up and then a vertical drop). Then, there is a pause (I think of it as a 1,2 quick count) as I begin the toss. Sometime during my toss, the Throttle will again advance, smoothly, not as a jump to the firewall to whatever I have preset and then hold at that point until I release the Launch button. Have you ever hand launched something, seen things start to go wrong and been slow to cut the power before disaster struck? I have! At any time that the Launch button is released, the Sequencer chops the throttle to Zero and.and release control. Of course, you may have the Throttle stick partly advanced so that there is a smooth transition from Launch to Cruise setting.

OK, so the plane is in flight and you may be ready to take over. There is one more thing. The BG, or whatever flight Controller/Stabilizer is in use has its self-levelling mode, so use it. You could turn it on before Launch, then remember to turn it off if you suddenly feel the need to get more control during the first couple of seconds of flight. To make life easier, I set up a Mix which activates when the Launch button is pressed that invokes self-levelling as well as enabling the Sequencer. So, the launch pretty much looks after itself, controlling power and stabilizing flight despite turbulence, a bad toss, or slowness of the pilot to respond to some condition. Very relaxing!

On key thing that I learned was the technique of determining and setting the "level" reference to allow all of this to happen. It appears that for the BG, the ability of setting "level" is best use for calibrating, not for setting a very large base angle. Flying wings typically have a rather high angle of attack for slow flight, at least. So, to enable a climb, I wanted the BG to see "level" as an angle of incidence (the reference to ground) that is somewhat higher than the angle of attack required to fly and climb. I set the BG's "level" to its horixontal axis, then mounted it at approximately 15 degrees nose down on the plane. That way, it would try to keep the plane's angle of incidence at 15 degrees. I used a couple of the wedge-shaped pieces of balsa trailing edge stock (measures at about 8 degrees angle) glued together to achieve this. I had a couple of other wedges available, as the BG and the wedges are all Velcroed to the aircraft. It worked perfectly the first time - perhaps a new record for me!

I hope that this rather lengthy story may inspire someone else to look into more the the features of the incredible equipment that we have in our possession and new ways of using the features.


14
General Discussion / Re: Indoor Flying
« on: March 09, 2019, 05:40:03 PM »
I was at the Brockville club today and asked Claude Melbourne about their indoor flying. Very  interesting.

They fly in the large (double basketball court size) gym of a local  Catholic high school. The have Sunday evenings, 6 to 9 p.m. If you think about it, schools are unlikely to have tournaments or routine practices on a Sunday evening, leaving a possible opening for other activities.

Cost?  $ZERO !

Apparently, the district school board has a mandate to offer community services. Their non-profit club thereby receives this access. There is a custodian on the premises. Claude says that the board covers this.

I asked if this is a local or regional Catholic school board policy, or is it likely to be the case in Kingston? He does not know.

Something for KRCM interested parties to investigate? Who is currently, or will be, the Indoor Coordinator (note our By-Laws)? Perhaps they could follow up on such a possibility and report back.

15
KRCM Members,

Even though we had a great time flying indoors at the Westbrook dome this year, we ended up with an $800 shortfall that was split between Leading Edge Hobbies and the club.  The question is whether or not we will pursue indoor flying for the 2019-2020 season?   

Unfortunately Tony and I will not be in a position to help with a future financial shortfall, so the Club will have to take on all the risk.

Unless we can find a new site, the following proposal seems like the best option:

1.       Reduce the number of session from eight to six.

2.       Increase the cost per person from $20 to $25.

3.       Have commitments for ten or more flyers of $150 each ($100 for JRs) before we will book the sessions for next year (cash or cheques will be collected by the treasurer by the end of March)

 

The management has slightly raised the price per two hour session from $407 to $420.  Therefore, the cost of six sessions would be $2,520 of which $1,500 would be covered by the memberships.  This would leave a shortfall of $1020 which require an average of 7 additional flyers to show up and pay $25 per session.

 

We are planning to discuss this at the next meeting on March 18th.  We thought it best to send out this email so members have a chance to think this over before it comes up at the meeting.

 

Another option would be to find a new (less expensive) site.  If members have any suggestions, please check into it and let us know what you find out on the 18th.

 

Sincerely,

Mike & Rolly


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