I discovered a fun website the other day, where you can ‘virtually’ compare your achievements with other pilots. Of course I am no match for 6 meter ships, but it is fun. Soaringleague.net is the place to visit. It is a pretty new site, I guess it’s real goal is to log GPS flights, but it works fine for me too!
Tagging the flights is a bit of an adventure yet, but I am sure things will improve over time, since the admin, Pascal is working really hard on it!
My best flight sofar was a mindbogling, neck hurting flight of altogether 33 minutes. I defenitely need to invest in an easy chair to sit through long flights, standing and looking at the sky does not work!
Up to this point in life I had been concentrating on 10 min fligths, which are not to hard, but stretching things beyond 10 min is hard work when you start from 200 meter or less. (my trusted lady always tell me when I cross 150 meter, so usually I switch off at that altitude and a bit. )
It’s been a while, I must admit. We have the odd bit of summer, interspersed with bouts of autumn and spring and winter. That’s summer for you! Given the general uncertainty of the results of the plans of our minister Dobrin (He who wants to put a ceiling on all model-aircraft activities of 100 meters, so that amazon can deliver their stuff) I have decided for the moment to go gliding. That way I will most certainly be above 100 meters! Once you set the mind to gliding, big ones, all of a sudden the universe throws a lot of them at you. Looking to acquire an 5 meter ship, and possibly 2 pieces 4 meter something. All of them in ‘GFK fuse, and the rest is up to you!’ format. I love it.
So, plans for large biplanes are shelved for now, plans for more F3A-X/Imac planes are shelved. We goes gliding!
I have motorized the PURES a while back, and I must admit that e-PURES makes life easier on the bones. And I get to go up real quick, because I did not have a suitable size motor in the box, I took something that looked about right. On a small 1000 mAh battery it goes up like a homesick angel. Almost as fast as the Orion. And I can repeat that a dozen or so times on one charge. What more do you want?
Speaking of Orion, it’s getting there too, being tuned in that is. We had a few quiet evenings, which allowed me to tweak CofG without too many disturbances. I am getting to the stage where hands-off circling is happening. Move the battery just a tad more to the front, and we are there. (at least in quiet conditions) This flight was on a Sunday, around 4 in the afternoon. Not bad for one of the first outings!
No, nothing exciting is going to happen. It just so happens that a family of those beautiful birds was passing, lazily circling near our field. Luckily I had my Insider at the ready, so a quick launch was followed by a very rewarding ride up the elevator! I am pretty sure I went up much faster then the birds, they just got their alitmeter set and are happy where they are. The weather was overcast, and under the white clouds I could see the Insider without a problem, going into the blue bits between the clouds was another experience. As you see I chickened out at 468 meters. This is the highest I´ve been, and I don´t think I am going to repeat the experience (until I find myself in favourable conditions again, of course!).
Meanwhile the Stork family left for Germany, I guess a silent orange bird is not that interesting.
I could not do this without listening to the vario, you try to keep a steady tone, so you know your speed is ok. Ocasionally I get the GPS speed, just for comfort. Depending on the wind I fly approx 10-11 m/s while circling. Going down is a matter of dialling in a nice steady tone on the Vario, it takes a while to see things getting bigger, but it does happen!
Due the the fact all noise has been banned from our field, (except of course from the geese, motorcycles, tractors, mopeds, powerboats etc..) one has to adapt to the situation. Therefore no moaning, just use whatever you can. I´m having lots of fun with my Orion/Insider. After the mishap a while ago, things seem to have settled. I´m using a 14*10 prop now, and get up there ´real fast´. Could do verticals, but it is sometimes hard to see what goes on, so simply going up at an 80 degree angle is good enough. Last time I looked at the logs, I think they show that power is switched off at 100 meters (says the Vario) but it keeps on ascending to 140 meters. Once it goes, it goes! (For my own record, CG is at 97 at the moment.)
Last weekend the poor Blaster suffered a mishap from a pretty violent wind-gust, that lifted both my small Extra and the Blaster in the air and smacked them right into the fence. Not a happy day for the Blaster. There´s some damage on the tailfeathers, so far I´ve fixed things with some tape and it flies again. I´m contemplating if I should repair, trade up or order new parts.
I revived the Epsilon. Never got the hang of it last year, mostly due to lousy batteries. Today´s efforts were positive, we go up at a reasonable speed, but it is not an Insider! I also need to find more ballast or a bigger battery, but things are manageable. I find the flaps extremely effective. You can only deploy them for a few seconds, the plane really stops dead in the air. Fun to watch, but maybe that explains why the manual says to deploy them only. There is a long thread on Rc-Network-de, basically it boils down to:
It´s heavier then it´s predecessor. The weight mentioned in the sales-blurb is grossly wrong. I figured that out! Think 3.5 kg.
People quickly convert to a 4 cell setup.
Flaps need modifying to be able to follow the ailerons.
Braking is really effective.
Wings are a pain to mount.
Mounting stabilizer is questionable
Soldering of the elevator wire!
Use decent servo´s
Pic below was taken on a Saturday, but due to the restrictions I can not tell you when it was taken.
..but it was cut short by something unexpected. When I launched the Insider for the first flight of what promised to be a lovely day, I got as far as 10 feet up, then a loud bang, lots of stuff falling from the forward area of the glider, unsettling silence, and then nothing.. Luckily I did have full control, and was able to land safely. My first hunch was that the prop clipped the canopy, but I can’s see any signs of the prop hitting the canopy. One blade of the prop broke off approx 2 cm from the root, it was later found approx 30 meters back from where I launched. Puzzling. The canopy support pin in the front was sheared off, so if it was not the prop, it was something on the inside trying too get out that broke it. After doing a lot of thinkings last night, I feel what could have happened, is that the motor wires got caught in the motor (there’s not a lot of space there). That caused the controller to follow the wires, hitting the on-off switch, and finally the cockpit. Altogether not good.
Or could the prop have sheared, causing some violent movements up front, that threw things around? I checked the max prop RPM, it’s rated at 9000 RPM. Not sure it I got close to that or not? Ecalc tells me I’m only doing 6500 RPM, so it’s not that. (But I do have over 2:1 power to weight ratio)
Moral of the story: if you ignore the little voice, that tells you to do a proper pre-season, take it all apart check, then punishment is to be expected!
Since I’m in the dark about the cause it’s going to be a try again and see what happens.
No cheating! So with approx 40-48 Amps on the clock I get up to a very nice altitude in 10 secs. I’m sure someone will laugh at these numbers, but for me they are quite acceptable. I now need to dial in the ascent a bit, make sure it stays on track. For the rest, the weather is not the best for checking out the gliding part, but hey with 10 min plus flights on a miserable windy day, I’m happy.
Looking at the plot, you can see I have a rather soft/slow motor turn on. That gives me a second to make sure nothing funny happens before launch. Peak power 700 Watt on launch, settling down to 550 Watt on the climb. Don’t really think I want to try that big prop yet! (Btw, the horizontal axis is not seconds, just x-number of samples)
Grabbed the battery by the leads, and did some radical surgery! The truth is, I did not have a 4S handy, but 2 pieces of 2S were waiting to be used for something. It’s one of these things where the warning label says: Only do this under the supervision of a responsible adult. Since I’m slowly converting to the yellow connectors, I went from there. My Unilog current sensor is one with 4 mm connectors. Therefore some surgery was required. The end result is a more compact unit, where one side still has my 4 mm anti-spark connector, while the other side has a matching yellow bit. Size and weight wise I am more or less close to where I was before. The only trade-off is the capacity of the battery, it’s slightly lower of course. But since it’s a glider, who cares. I just finished charging and gave it a try. 57 Amps! Now we’re talking 😉 That’s approx 850 Watts static. Slightly higher then the previous 300 Watt. My battery is a Nanotech 2650 mAh, rated at 20-50C. 20C is 66 amps, so I am safe there. My controller is a Robbe BL 690 , which is good for 70 Amp peak. I know the motor is good for 450 Watt. Ouch! Got another prop somewhere: 15 * 8 in stead of 17 * 8 Aeronaut. Testing again (static) I read 45 Amps or 675 Watt. That feels slightly safer for now. It used to take 15 sec’s at a leisurely pace to get to 100 odd meters. Double the power is double the height? I’ll go for a 10 sec run first!
What happened to all the Big planes? Nothing, we are in an nature conservation area, not allowed to fly combustion engines from Nov-April. Never mind that my Carden makes less noise then a 1000 geese! It’s something we have to live with.
There’s a code yellow warning in the making says the weatherman. Don’t want to know what it is, but it sounds cold. I decided to go out anyway, and had a pleasant few flights. The plane must like the Jeti, since we are now finding thermal activity, when none would be suspected. I should not be surprised, but since I am still learning, I’m allowed to be surprised, ok? Seems what is happening at the moment is that the air temperature is dropping fast, and the land still has remnant heat from the very mild weather lately. So cold air above, warm land below, we’ve got thermal activity. I did find more of it in the direction of Lobith, it could also be that the nice people in the village all turned up their thermostats 😉 All in all I was pretty pleased with my 13 minute flight, launching from approx 120 meters (I’m using a 15 second countdown timer on the motor switch, the performance is not exactly ballistic, only pulling 25 Amps from the battery. It is clearly suffering in the cold near zero temps.) Time to go for that 4S setup! Maybe if the weather is bad tomorrow?
This is the result of the afternoon. Still a bit of a challenge to get it to show up nice on googlemaps. I must write down what I do, so the process is repeatable. The blob on the right is where I hung most of the time. Also did a few CG tests, and during the last flight, my prop did not want to fold anymore. Landed and checked for funnies, but nothing to be found. I put a fresh rubber band on the prop, and will retest soon. It’s a bit of a nuisance if you have to stall the plane, just to make the prop stop rotating! Landing with a running prop is NotGood. I also need fiddle with the vario settings, the current estimate is that the Insider has approx 50 cm/sec still air sinkrate. The vario settings should be so that it only sings when you enter a rising mass of air. Easier said then understood! And since I am very much in the setup phase, I know I can do better. Judging from the results of the 45 degree dive test, I need to shift the battery a bit further back. ( I think, must read G_T’s stories again.)
Hey, you never know, better to catch it while you can. It was actually quite pleasant last weekend, considering the time of year. Finally managed to get the Jeti and the Insider into some form of happy co-existance. (Nothing to do with the stick-wiggling meatware of course) Anyways, I did reset my CG to where most people say it should be, 95 mm or thereabouts. Previously I was flying with the CG further back, somewhere 110-ish. Not sure if I like it. It does fly a lot faster this way, maybe it’s good for cold days? So far I haven’t done anything complicated with the setup, first basics, so I can land with confidence, within 5 paces ;-). All the fun stuff with the vario will be taken care of when the time is there.
These are just setup flights, nothing spectacular to see. It’s nice to be able to see the volts of flight-battery (which is not the motor battery) Of course there is some special wiring involved, but who cares. It’s a leftover from the old MPX days, when I was fighting what I thought was ‘interference’ from the main battery. Turned out to be a sub-optimal Tx battery that went funny, when the beeper was beeping.. It made for some very interesting flights shall we say. Once I find my CG, I will probably go for a 4 cell setup, and will try to loose this extra small Lipo. Maybe. I hate BEC’s! I’ll think about it.
And yes, this coming weekend looks like it is going to be very cold, so it will be back to more server-fun.
I’m approx halfway where I need to be, thanks to yet another botnet-attack. Why do they not go and attack a big bank or something?
Managed to recover another website. This one was in the medium difficulty group. Tomorrow I’ll go for the Real Stuff! In between some time to work on the Insider, it’s mostly general maintenance, checking all the bits and bobs, making sure things are working as designed. It’s amazing how much bits I managed to hide in that fuse. But no matter how hard I tried, that standard Jeti would not fit! In the end the solution was simple: get rid of the housing, it only adds extra weight where I don’t want it. It’s slightly narrower in the bare then the original ACT one, but the connectors are now in an awkward position. We’ll think about it!
Note to Self: try to get those pics lined up, there must be a plugin for that!
vario, gps, interface pcb, all hidden in the rear of the fuse