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Topics - Deerslayer

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Restraining aircraft is not just for starting!

How many time have you seen someone leave a model, particularly a foamie, sitting on a bench or table outside and then get blown off, possibly getting damaged? Or, worse yet, damaging someone else's property!

If you do have to leave a plane on a table, consider lying it upside down. That way, it is less likely to take off or blow off.

Another thing that many are unaware of is the sudden, severe gust caused by a thermal kicking off, usually from the parking lot. A couple of years ago, as I was taking my glider back to the truck, THREE of my aircraft which were on the ground - 2 foamies and a 40-size balsa were suddenly picked up, lifted over our vehicles and flown around the parking lot about 20 feet in the air, then plunked down upside down. Only minor damage to the 2 foamies, none to the bigger plane. The neighbours Fun Cub was carried around a bit on the ground. It was all I could do to hold onto my glider for a few seconds, on the tailgate, until things settled down. No damage was done to any vehicle.

This has happened many times. On another occasion, a large beach umbrella took off, flailed around in the air and broke my windshield. If that thing had hit someone, there would have been blood!

PLEASE, think about this and take some precautions.

Someone remarked that they thought you would only get this kind of thing on a hot summer day. Incorrect! In both of the incidents mentioned above, it was a cool day, light wind, but the low level atmosphere was moderately unstable. When the parking lot warmed the air, a thermal formed, reached the trigger temperature and a "bubble" or "column" of air suddenly rose. Surrounding air rushed in to take its place, its speed increased by flowing between the vehicles. That's how it happens, folks!   

I have seen full sized sailplanes, weighing upwards of 600 lbs, easily lifted from the ground by this - usually because they were not properly restrained and without having their dive brakes locked open.

If you have not heard of deer ticks and Lyme disease, you should become aware of this problem. As modellers, we spend time in areas where there is exposure to the problem, particularly if we venture into the brush. As well, there are pets around at the field, which can carry the tick to you, into your yard or vehicle and into your home. At least one pet that I know of has been bitten.

During an annual medical, my doctor discussed this, as he is aware that I live and play in the countryside. He removes about a half dozen deer ticks from people per week! Studies show that about 20% of ticks carry the Lyme bacteria. He showed me a small item that he keeps on his keychain. I have ordered one each for several family members. It is available here:,51555&p=67728

There are several fellow modellers whom I know that have suffered from varying degrees of Lyme disease. Fortunately, they recovered after some miserable and long weeks. I am appending a following segment of an article that a local resident supplied to our little newspaper. This individual has suffered extremely for perhaps 30 years, having contracted the disease long before it was recognized in this area. I will not go into details, but you do NOT want to experience ANY of this!

Here is the article (the author's name has been removed, but their effort to inform and warn others is greatly acknowledged and appreciated):


 It is tick season, folks. The cold winter apparently didn't make any difference - if anything the snow cover provided insulation for the eggs. The 'deer ticks' or black-legged ticks carry the Lyme bacteria. They can overwinter or travel on migrating birds, or animals or on the pets of Snow Birds returning from the U.S.
 Walking in the woods or long grass increases the chance that one will hitch a ride on you. They'll wander about on your body for a bit, before deciding to dig in.
 Putting your pant legs inside socks, wearing a hat and long sleeves help somewhat too.
Check your body if you possibly can when you come in from an outing. Try to catch them before they penetrate your skin. If you find one, lift it out gently with a tick lifter - or anything that resembles a tiny fork. Slide it under the body and lift and twist gently. Don't use tweezers if possible, as that squeezes the mouth parts.
 Go to emergency services, with the tick in a clean container. Ask for the tick to be tested and for you to receive the results. (It might take months).
Urgently request a single oral antibiotic preventive dose. Within 48 hours that is deemed a sufficient preventative.
 Do not accept the suggestion that you wait for the 'bull's eye rash' that can result some days later. It is not a guaranteed diagnostic tool and waiting simply allows the bacteria to spread in your body.
Recent reports have suggested that the Black- Legged Tick may also be carrying the "Powassan virus. It's a rare condition that produces symptoms similar to Lyme disease, but more severe, and there's no cure. The disease can lead to encephalitis and
meningitis, and give you permanent neurological issues afterward. And it can act much more quickly than Lyme disease, giving you symptoms within
hours of being bitten by a tick." (Country Life)
 Don't panic. Not all ticks are black-legged ticks, and not all black-legs carry the virus. But take prevention seriously and take action if you find one embedded in your loved ones.
[Editor: despite continuing misinformation, a bull’s eye rash does not always appear when a tick infects a human with Lyme-causing bacteria.]

• Avoid flying by yourself in remote locations such as most r/c fields, back lakes,
etc. Always know where emergency help may be available.

• Let someone else know that you are out flying, including the time you left and
an anticipated return time, as well as your cellphone number.

• Keep a fully charged cell phone in your pocket - not at home or in the car!. This is
particularly important if you must fly by yourself.

• If you go out into the woods to search for an aircraft, let someone know where
you are going and the maximum time you expect to be gone. If there is no one
else around, leave a note on your car window with this information. When you
return, let the person know that you have returned. This is much like a Flight Plan
that the “real” pilots file.

• When preparing a glow or gas plane, tie it down or otherwise secure it. If
someone is helping you, make sure that both parties know what they are doing
and do not make any sudden, instinctive moves to correct a perceived engine

• When preparing, carrying or retrieving an electric aircraft, employ a positive
“throttle lockout” and/or disconnect the power source in the aircraft. Treat
electric-powered aircraft as you would a loaded firearm!

• A full bottle or thermos of fresh water should be part of your field kit at any time.
This can prevent dehydration at any time or to cleanse a cut, if necessary.

• Have access to a simple First Aid kit. Keep a kit or basic materials in your car or
flight box. Take a few minutes periodically to confirm that it is where you think it
is and that it contains some basic materials that you might want.

• Our most likely injury is a laceration due to a prop strike. If you have only one
item available in your kit, it should be a roll of gauze bandage.You have to stop
any bleeding! Everything else can wait.

• You may have to support the injury. Wrap an injured finger and then wrap it to an
adjacent one. For a hand or arm injury, wrap it and then support it in a sling or

• If the injury is serious enough to require immediate professional attention, do not
bother applying any antiseptic; the professionals will have to wash the injury anyway.

• Remember to replenish any items you used from the First Aid kit.

• Watch for shock! Even a minor cut may induce some degree of shock, whereby
you suddenly feel weak, dizzy and/or you may fall. For most injuries, sitting or
lying down and keeping warm and calm will overcome the feeling. Make your
helper aware of your symptoms.

• If you are seriously injured, do not try to drive yourself. Call for, and wait for,
help. There is at least one documented case whereby a modeler sustained a
significant hand injury, started to drive to the hospital, then passed out from
shock while driving and hit a tree. He died! This is where flying alone, especially
in a remote location, magnifies the potential post-injury hazard.

• Make sure someone else knows what has happened. If there is only the injured
person or one other, use a cell phone or neighbour's phone and contact someone else.
Ask them to come out and remain with your gear and the injured person's vehicle.
Update them periodically after you have reached medical assistance.

• When did you have your last tetanus shot? This is a deadly disease. Its cause can
be precisely the kind of conditions that you may have encountered at this
time. Tetanus shots should be renewed every (10?) years – ask your doctor what is
recommended. If this injury requires professional treatment, you should be asked
about your tetanus shots and you may be given one at that time.

• In the event of a major injury, you should call 911, rather than trying to transport
the person. The 4-digit KRCM field address is prominently posted on the bulletin board.
KRCM is quite close to Napanee Hospital. Not only is it closer than Kingston, there is
free parking right at the front door! Everyone should take a minute and learn its location

Buy, Sell, Trade or Give Away / Wanted - Fun Cub or similar floats
« on: July 23, 2018, 09:59:49 AM »
Got at set of unused Fun Cub or similar length floats that you don't need?

I may even have some other floats that you would like to do a swap for.

Float Flying at Deseronto / Introduction to DRFC
« on: July 21, 2018, 07:57:59 PM »
Deseronto Royal Flying Club (DRFC) basic information can be found here:

This Club has just been formed and has already held two informal events. The location is open to its Members at any time.

A number of KRCM Members have now flown there, most of whom have joined the new Club. At $40 annual membership, having year round access to an excellent, quiet location within easy driving distance of the Greater Kingston and Quinte areas, this is really good deal.

Periodically, the Club expects to declare an official Float Fly, with BBQ food being available. As well, it is a good place to buy, sell and swap R/C stuff. Several of us did just that at their second gathering, quite successfully. There is also plenty of room to fly foamy land models. The large open area is not manicured like at KRCM but is quite suitable for hand-launching. There is a large concrete pad, the floor of a former fruit processing plant, which is perfect for a control line pilot to try out. There are no buildings at the site; however, there are shade trees. There is a rescue boat available to Members for any aircraft retrievals.

NOTE: You must be a DRFC Member, or be attending a Float Fly event, to fly here. All activity is done according to specific agreements with the Deseronto town council and Mohawk Airport.

Watch in here, and elsewhere, for announcements of future activities.

If your are already a Member of DRFC, or have questions, or are trying to set up a group to go out and have fun,  please feel free to post in here. Just start a new Topic, below this.

General Discussion / Lemons
« on: July 19, 2018, 12:58:21 PM »
 I have bought many Lemon receivers, with and without stabilizers, going back several years now. Never had a problem with one, nor do I see any issues showing up across the very large world-wide user community (check it out in rcgroups). Range tests done by technical people have shown the Lemons to be unsurpassed, even exceeding the performance of most others. I, and many other, trust them in expensive gliders or FPV aircraft that fly at the limit of one's visual range or even (unintentionally) beyond that distance.

 The user manual for the stab versions is superb, having been written, revised, updated by a couple of true experts within the user group and fully sanctioned by the designer himself. Speaking of which, this fellow designed and enginered the products and follows the group. He has used their input to improve and develop new products. As with most gear, the manufacturer is in Hong Kong.

 Unlike many other suppliers of our stuff, shipping charges are extremely low, the true cost of postage. Typically, you order something, a $3 or so shipping charge is applied and it shows up in your mail within 1 week in a padded envelope, properly sealed in a plastic package.

I just received a 10 channel, DSMX, receiver, 6 days after placing the order. It listed at $26US. It cost me $40 Canadian, period, including postage. No phoney baloney special brokerage fee or other charges. No UPS, DHL or FexEx got their hands on it. Yea, Hong Kong Post and Canada Post!

The local hobby shop now carries Lemons. Or, you can order them direct, online. I have done both. No regrets, either way.

General Discussion / Spektrum SD Cards, Backup
« on: July 18, 2018, 07:51:22 AM »
I am surprised at how many DX-series transmitters there are which have an empty SD slot, or which have an SD card in there that never gets used. For folks like me, who spent their working lives working with and protecting digital information, this capability is fundamental.

If you ever get one of your models messed up, due to some suspected corruption or perhaps due to tinkering with some of the settings, the SD card is invaluable - if you used it during a less stressful time.

 I have perhaps 20 or 30 models available, some of which are simple and have remained unchanged over many years. Others are current "works in progress", with the side effect that I may have to retrace my steps to a previous stable configuration. Then, there is always the possibility that the radio could break and have to be sent away for repair, only to come back with its model memories erased. I remember when that happened to a flying buddy, he had to recreate some 30 models, some of major complexity, as he had never bothered to keep copies of the SPMs (An SPM is the file containing all of the parameters for a specific model.).

Without getting into details, as the Airware software that runs the transmitter is quite intuitive to use, here are a couple of things that I somewhat routinely do:

 If I make changes to a specific model, certainly if they are significant, I copy that particular model within the transmitter. If I have my brain in gear, I will perform that copy prior to making such changes.  Although Airware does not date stamped or version numbered for a saved file, they are stored in order of their creation. You can have a whole slew of them out there!

Another handy thing to do is to used the Model Name to help sort things out. For instance, prior to saving my Vertigo's file and subsequently messing around with it, I may alter its Name to "Vertigo 1JAN2018", then copy it to SD. Perhaps I will then rename the active model back to just "Vertigo" if/when I am satisfied with the results. This all takes a couple of seconds - time well spent!

Every few weeks, I do a Export All Models to the SD card in my transmitter.

Note that when you look at the list of models in your transmitter, they will probably be prefixed by numbers. These are not important and you can, as I always do, remove them - it gives more room for your desired name, e.g. "Vertigo & Lemon S+". Changing the name, or any other model parameter, DOES NOT require re-binding. Many people do not understand that. The only time you should ever have to re-bind a model is if you have Imported it from your SD, or if your receiver supports Failsafe and you wish to change that state. Everything else can be altered, from reassigning Ports or Channels to changing Model Type, without re-binding. I have planes that are many years old, they were initially bound to this transmitter and will remain so indefinately.

Back to the SD and its use:

 Airware supports Folders, which allows for neat and easy access to many things. To create a Folder, you mount the SD on your PC, then Create whatever Folders you want, copy files to it, return it to the transmitter and you are done. When you later try to Import a model, you will see any Folders out there and can select a model from them. The SD can have Folders that are unrelated to your models.

Some examples of how I use Folders on my system:

1. On my PC, I have a Folder somewhere called DX9. Every few months, I create a new Folder with that particular date under that one and copy whatever is on my SD card. This is my ultimate backup for everything, the SPMs, Voice files, various pieces of documentation, perhaps even some pictures.

2. When I upgrade Airware, I have it download the new file(s) onto the top directory of the SD - not into any Folder. When the SD is back in the transmitter, all you do it turn it on and the upgrade proceeds. Easy peasy! Now, there is no need to save that SPM (it gets renamed slightly by the upgrade process itself to prevent detection and re-use by the system), so I will eventually delete it anyway.

3. Today is 18 July 2018, so after Exporting all of my models, I pop the card into the PC, create a new Folder under the DX9 one called SPMs - 18JUL2018 and copy all of the SPMs from the card to that location.

I am unfamiliar with other current radio systems but they probably have similar capabilities - or should have!

Anyway, something for you to think about!

FPV at KRCM / A loss, with a dramatic ending!
« on: July 10, 2018, 11:41:13 AM »
"My purpose in Life is to serve as a warning to others".

Well, here is a little story which may actually have some benefit to someone else that is mucking around with FPV and perhaps other forms of RC flying.

This past Saturday, I lost my Penguin FPV plane.  :o  :'(  :'(  :'( Very disappointing, to say the least, as we watched (or more correctly, DIDN'T watch) about $800 disappear. As well as that loss, a sense of fear sets in - what if it comes down and hurts someone or causes some kind of accident due to some driver(s) becoming distracted?

In the aftermath of this loss, I did a lot of thinking and wrote down my analysis. I have now decided to share it with whoever may care to read.

Oh, by the way, a strange thing happened later that same day! ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D

 After I had left the field, a farmer named Kyle (did not leave his full name, unfortunately) showed up with my FPV plane in his possession. One of the fellows now has it and we will be reunited. I wish I knew how to locate the finder as I would like to offer some sort of reward. As well, I am curious as to just where the plane went down. All we know is that he was out working in a field and saw it land. Apparently, it was in a location where it would probably never have been observed, had he not happened to be nearby! It's a Festivus Miracle (a few months early, but I'll take it anyway).

My analysis has caused me to rethink a lot of things that I have done, or failed to do, and will now apply to this and other FPV (and soaring) flights from now on.

I made a  number of mistakes. The bottom line was - Complacency! Things had been going too smoothly for us and I lost my "edge". Perhaps that edge is a bit duller that I would like to think?

1. My Vector controller has been flaky w.r.t. retaining its GPS-based Home position. I could not figure out why. Again yesterday, after I powered up, it found the satellites and set its Home. Great. Then, just before launch, it reported that it had lost that lock. I should have stopped right then and got it reset - open up the plane, recycle power, etc., bit of a pain. Instead, I flew, knowing that RTH was not likely to work. Besides, I was only going to be flying close to home and with an experienced spotter. What could go wrong?

2. I have not been testing RTH recently, even if the Home fix was believed to be OK, as I had been keeping fairly close to the field. For FPV, this should really be tested EVERY flight. Similarly for the Loiter mode on the Vector. This would also make it more likely that, in a panic situation, I would think to use one or both of these modes. That is why you practice emergency actions in fullsize aircraft, even as simply touching any control or item which may suddenly become very important to activate.  I did eventually try Loiter, after the plane had disappeared but far too late. I never even considered RTH, even though it MIGHT have worked - I will never know.

3. The Vector is quite complex and I have been learning/trying various features over time - a rather slow learner here! I never did set up Failsafe such that it invokes RTH. There are different approaches to setting this up, and I could not decide upon the best strategy. In fact, I just figured out how to do it. I even had my little procedure in my book of field notes and was thinking of testing it yesterday . But, I got enthusiastic and Dumb! The downside of having such a capable and complex system is that you can easily lose track of the fundamentals.

4. I lost Situational Awareness during a great flight. I realized too late that I was flying too high to expect you to keep the plane in constant sight. A couple of times, my spotter mentioned having difficulty in locating it, mostly due to sun glare, but I got preoccupied with the video getting fuzzy and I locked into that problem. Note: the 5.8 GHz video link has MUCH shorter range than our 2.4 GHz control link. I lost track of where I was, becoming further distracted by the video issue while circling to try to locate familiar landmarks. We got concerned about being too far out, downwind and possibly too low. I was trying to fly back home, as I knew the general sector in which I was flying. I did not realize that I was probably in a strong thermal. the Vector was reporting about 1000 feet AGL, which would still have been well below cloudbase but near the limit of visual location. Cloudbase was likely at 3000 feet AGL or higher, but condensation can begin to form much lower, further obscuring things, especially as we get drifted downwind.

5. I completely lost video and my spotter lost direct visual contact at about the same time. I delayed much too long in giving up on the video, hoping it would return and perhaps I could figure out where I was. When I finally gave up, it was obvious that neither of us would be able to acquire the plane again. Game over!

6. As expected, yesterday was good and improving throughout the day. I had earlier done some RC soaring with my Heron sailplane. The ground wind switched to SW, which fooled me, as in my full scale days at Gan airport this has always meant the thermals get killed due to the lake effect wind. This does not really occur, or not as much, out at our field. I never really considered the possibility of encountering strong thermals at the start of my flight, as the wind had switched from NW to S quite awhile ealier.

7. When I finally dumped the goggles, I assumed that the plane might still be receiving commands, despite possibly having gotten near or into cloud. Note: Our 2.4 GHz stregth is greatly attenuated by moisture. I did briefly set the Vector into Loiter mode, hoping that we might get some glimpse. I never even considered trying RTH. Why? Lapse of thinking, perhaps, or figuring that it wouldn't work properly anyway. Worry about the plane coming down and possibly hitting someone or something weighed heavily on my mind. I had much earlier commanded the motor to disarm. I had gone through the motions of forcing it to spin. (I have done that in a full scale sailplane after having entered cloud in extremely strong lift. Initiate a spin, wait until you fall out of the cloud and then do the recovery.)

8. Identification. I never did get around to putting my name and telephone # somewhere on the plane. Inside is probably not the best place, at least for this plane, as someone might not think to look for it.

Well, that is about all I can think of now!!!!

General Discussion / New World Speed Record!
« on: June 17, 2018, 08:20:13 PM »
Great achievement, excellent video of something that is almost impossible to track. The discussions in the forum are also interesting and informative.

Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / Waterproofing electricals
« on: June 14, 2018, 08:46:40 AM »
Float flying, along with winter flying, is a popular part of our RC flying, especially with electric airplanes. Things can sometimes get a tad damp or messy. There are some simple things that we can do to protect our equipment. Here are a couple of them:

First of all, check out this product, Corrosion-X. On their site is a description, along with a couple of videos. Of particular interest to us would be the one where the whole mess - motor, ESC, battery, receiver, little chopper - are thrown into a fish tank and operated. The FliteTest guys strike again!

This convinced me to try to get some and use it. I have not found a local supplier but managed to get a can from an AME who services all kinds of aircraft and buys the stuff by the case.
Check it out, and let please others know if you find a local or nearby source:

I squirt the stuff liberally into both ends of an ESC and let it drip back out. Do the same to the receiver, if it may be exposed to severe dunking. It wouldn't hurt to do the same with your power connectors, but make sure that they are clean first. Use some spray contact cleaner; I found some at my favorite Home Hardware store in beautiful downtown Odesa!).

What about motors and servos?

Well, you can spray the motor if you like, but there is dubious benefit for brushless motors, as there is nothing to be affected by water - unless you are flying on and around seawater. But, go ahead, if it makes you feel good.

Servos could be sprayed, but again, they are pretty well sealed, with some grease inside and spraying the exterior may not accomplish much. But, it can't hurt, I suppose. I am one of those rare people who often repairs servos which have stripped gears. When reassembling them, I apply some DuPont Teflon-based spray-on lube prior to reassembly (Lowes sells it, but make sure it is the version with Teflon, not the similarly packaged Lithium-based one.) I would do that anyway, regardless of whether the servo might be at risk of taking a bath someday.

So, what happens if you drown your plane and rescue it, only to find that nothing seems to work. Narf! You never did anything special to try to make it water resistant. Well, here is what you do:  Give the ESC to me and the go out and buy a new one! (Or, continue to read this and you may find a cheap solution to your problem.)

At a recent float fly event, one of our guys submerged the business end of his Fun Cub and it no longer wanted to run. Drat! Double drat!

There is no logical reason why anything should have "burned out", but some electronics probably got a bit upset by seeing a low resistance between some foil etchings or component contacts. So, I got a can of WD40 and sprayed the #1 suspect - the ESC. Despite what many folks think, WD40 is NOT a lubricant! Per its name, it is a Water Displacer. I sprayed from both ends of the ESC, top and bottom and water poured out. Gave it a shake and then let it sit for a couple of minutes. We then powered up the system and all was well again! No big surprise here. He got to return to the fray, hopefully got to spray his reborn ESC with some Corrosion-X or other suitable protectant.

General Discussion / Spektrum history
« on: May 01, 2018, 05:57:33 AM »
Many of us know of, and have received help directly from, Andy Kunz. He is the team leader for Spektrum's Development Team, that fellow who seems never to sleep!

On several occasions, like other customers, I have placed a query regarding a function or problem and received an almost immediate response -  typically within an hour! Where else can you get that kind of help?

Some of us find the product line and naming of Spektrum radios to be rather strange and confusing, especially the reuse of portions of the model names. For example, which DX7 are we talking about? What is the difference between the "Stealth" or "Black" version and the original DX9?

Well, here is Andy's summary of where we are and how we got here:

I have owned the DX9 for about a hundred years (as my late friend Flypaper would say!) and am still discovering what certain things do and can be used for. Here is one situation that presented and which a simple combination of Flight Modes and Digital Switch Setup functions provided the solution. This is applicable to any of the DX-series, later generations of transmitters, which run the common Airware operating system.

The problem was, the Vector flight controller/stabilizer in my plane has a large selection of Modes. You can select up to 5 Vector modes (not to be confused with Flight Modes, which pertains only to the transmitter setup.). These can be assigned to one or more switches, commanding a specific channel which is connected from the receiver to the Vector.
Setting up 3 conditions on a 3-position switch is easy, but I wanted to use 6 position across two of my switches. As well, I wanted settings of these two switches to be mutually exclusive.

First, you need to understand the Vector's Mode protocol. They look at the Mode channel and enable 1 of the 5 possible Modes depending upon what is the pulse length. Don't worry about how you figure out how to convert Pulse width to the % values the transmitter shows, I will explain it later on.
Here is the table showing which Mode the Vector is in, as determined by the Pulse width
1 < 1250 microseconds
2 1250 - 1400
3 1400 - 1600
4 1600 - 1750
5 > 1750

Now, a word about Flight Modes. I have a very simple set of Flight Modes for this aircraft - only 3, so it only requires one 3-position switch. they are 1,2 an 3, which I call Normal, Cruise and TO/GA (takeoff/go around). Certain control mixes may, or may not, be enabled when each Flight Mode is selected. When I establish the Mixes for my two 3-position Vector Mode switches, I select which Flight Mode(s) will enable that switch and, therefore, the 3 Vector Mode settings allowable within that Flight Mode.

I use the GEAR channel for my Vector Mode. As with all my aircraft, a Channel Assign moved control of that channel away from the default A switch, as that is my Throttle Cut; I assigned the Gear channel to the F switch.

Now, I have already created the 3 Flight Modes, so it is time to set up the Mixes. 
1 = Normal   No Controls mixing
2 = Cruise    No Controls mixing
3 = TO/GA   Lots of Controls Mixing (for Crow, etc.)

Next, comes the Digital Switch Setup. Digital 2-position and 3-position Switches by default have  +100, 0, -100% as their command outputs, Digital Switch Setup allows you to change each of these individual positions to anything from 0 to 150%. I want my switches to operate in the Normal and Cruise Flight Modes, as follows:

Switch E -
Pos 0  = Vector Mode 1 = Loiter
Pos 2  = Vector Mode 2 = 3D Heading Hold
Pos 3  = Vector Mode 3 = OFF
Switch F -
Pos 5  = Vector Mode 5 = RTH TEST
Pos 4  = Vector Mode 4 = 2D Heading Hold
Pos 3  = Vector Mode 3= OFF

So, within the Digital Switch Setup, I have set Switch E to have 0, -45 , -100 as its three positions and Switch F as 0, 45,100 as its states. (I have already translated the requires Pulse widths to determine the +-45% settings.

Then, we set up two simple Mixes:

Switch E is mixed to GEAR  with its default 100,100 values,  active in Flight Modes 1 (Normal) and 2 (Cruise), disabled in 3 (TO/GA).

Switch F is also mixed to GEAR exactly as with Switch E.

Now, in either the Normal or Cruise Flight Modes with both Vector Mode (E & F) Switches in the Down position, the Gear channel is outputting  the "0" or Centered command, so the Vector is in its OFF Mode. In TO/GA Flight Mode, these two Switched are inoperative and the Vector is in OFF. This means that, at any time, pulling both E and F back will turn the Vector OFF, regardless of Flight Mode.

This is simpler than it may sound. This particular need and the specific settings of Switches is just one example of what can be done with two very powerful functions on Spektrum and other systems, once you get the basic idea. I have done a lot of Mixing, etc. across many aircraft of different types and with varying setups, yet I am still learning new stuff all the time.

If this gives anyone some ideas or questions, please let me know. I may be able to help you, or at least point you in the direction of someone who knows a lot more about it and is very patient and willing to assist.


Addendum - Translating % to Pulse Width

Spektrum defaults to Pulse Width range of 900 to 1900 as -100% and +100%, respectively.  You can set Servo Travel to as high and low as -150% and 150%, respectively. Pulse Width = 1500 is 0%, or Center, regardless of the range setting. For my Vector control example, I Ieft them at the defaults.

My test setup consists of a receiver, digital servo tester and servo attached to a degree wheel. The latter is just for interest, only the receiver and digital readout on the servo tester is required. For this test, and in the eventual aircraft setup, make sure that there is no unwanted Mix or Trim settings lurking in the background to interfere with your required operation. (Experience speaking here!)

Pulse Width = 1500 is 0%, or Center, regardless of the range setting.

I set up my test channel such that it was on the Throttle, as that enables more precise adjustments which stay in place while taking various readings. In the Trims menu, I had set Throttle Trim to "0", to ensure that I got clean readings, with only the stick movement. From there on, it is simple:

1. Go to the Monitor screen on the transmitter.

2. Set the throttle stick in various positions, taking readings of both the % on the transmitter and the Pulse Width microseconds on the servo tester. If you are really interested, as I was, plot them and convince yourself that they are linear, and/or  have your servo degree wheel hooked up and watch it wiggle around. Do not worry if the digital readout is slightly different from expected; mine read 17 microseconds high at the Center and the endpoints, I do not know why, but it is a trivial error.

3. My Vector modes required it seeing the following Pulse Widths:
1 < 1250 microseconds
2 1250 - 1400
3 1400 - 1600
4 1600 - 1750
5 > 1750
So, via Digital Switch Setup, I set Switches E and F to have "0" at their same position, pulled fully back. That gives Mode 3 on both.
Then, I set Switches E an F to be at -100 and +100, respectively, in their furthest forward positions. Modes 1 and 5 are now taken care of.
Mode 2 and 4 are the ones where you need to know the correspondence between % and Pulse Width, as these activate within narrow ranges of values. I found that +-45% values were fairly centered within these required values, so those will be the Switch midle positions.

Therefore, my Digital Switches are set up as E = 0, -50, -100 and F = 0, 50, 100.

The servo tester with a digital readout is my most valuable gadget in the shop or at the field. This is one example where it was essential. I use it to check out every new servo immediately after purchase and every servo prior to, and immediately after, installation in an aircraft, or when a malfunction occurs or is suspected. Get one for yourself!

FPV at KRCM / Some FPV Ramblings
« on: April 14, 2018, 11:36:18 AM »
Attached is a summary of some FPV-related stuff I have been doing. I hope it give someone some ideas, or can start a discussion.

It surprises me that Flypaper never showed up with one of these ... or did he?

VIDEOS and PICTURES from KRCM Events and Activities / Levin's Hotts
« on: April 12, 2018, 08:38:46 AM »
Harold and Levin have been at it again! They dug out what is claimed to be a Hotts sport airplane from way back in time, cleaned it up and fitted a new ASP .46 engine.

Back some 30 years ago, the Hotts was  at the top of the heap of fun flyers. Dan Santich designed the original one, followed by the Hotts II (two) and Midwest kitted it as one of their superb Success Series offerings. I had one of those and it was the most enjoyable kit I ever built, before or afterward. It was a terrific flyer and I would love to find on of those original kits to build again.

There were many variations of the Hotts that were created over the years, several of which even showed up in our Club. Giant scale, intermediate, biplane, SPAD, foamy, too many to recall.

This particular plane most be scratch built, as i has foam sheeted wings, no plywood sides or turtle deck and its fuselage shape differs from the angular slab facets of the original Hotts. The wing tips do not have the end plates which were very critical to taming the behaviour of the original Hotts II. But, who cares, let's call it a Hotts and see how it flies!

I was pleased to take it for the test flight. Wow! this thing really rocks and brings back some memories! After a quick try, I cranked in about 50% expo on the Ailerons and Elevator, eventually bumping it up to 60% on both after we did the second flight. We called it quits, as the wind was howling. I left Levin with a couple of suggestions, such as relocating the battery to move the C of G further back.

As this was the first flight for this plane and engine, in our hands, and it was a very windy and gusty day, I did the takeoff and the eventual landing. Levin took over in the air, once we got a bit familiar with it. He will have to be very careful, as it is a step change from the average airplane that scoots around these days but he is very capable of handing it. 

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