Month: November 2017

Downtime

I haven’t been able to do anything flight related this week due to pressures of work again. There’s a presentation that I absolutely need to finish before Monday morning and it’s soaking up all my spare time. The weather outside was bright and sunny, although it turned cold yesterday, so it was close to freezing. I must be getting lazy, as the wind forecast was about 11mph and I would have had to cycle this morning, so I didn’t bother. The flying wing doesn’t go well in the wind and it would have been absolutely freezing. I spent the whole day working instead. I haven’t even touched the autogyro all week. It’s sitting there waiting for me to glue the top on, so the fuselage is almost done.

Oh, well, I’m looking forward to Thursday when some semblance of normality should return.

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Perfect Weather

Brrgh, it’s cold, but it’s bright and sunny and there’s absolutely no wind for a change. The conditions are perfect for flying and when I arrived at the field this morning, there was already a professional drone pilot there practising with a new aircraft. I’ve know this guy for ages now and he usually flies an Inspire 1, but has now switched to the new Phantom 4 Pro which he says is a lot faster and more manoeuvrable. It’s a lot cheaper than the new Inspire 2, although the optics aren’t quite as good, but then it does have all the new features like collision avoidance. For the purposes of testing, we walked in front of the aircraft while it was locked in a hover just to see that it detected us on the screen and knew it couldn’t move forward.

After that we had loads of people turn up, mainly with drones, so it turned into a bit of an infestation. First, there was the Mavic, who flies the same route around the field a couple of times every week as he’s making a timelapse of the conditions over the whole year. Then the lady with the micro FPV drone, my friend on his electric bike with a FlyZone DR1 triplane, two large groups of friends who met up with a DJI spark and another drone, somebody else was flying an Inspire from about 50 metres away and another person with a Phantom in a backpack arrived and flew from about 20 metres in the other direction. There way also my friend with the Xeno flying wing and finally, my other friend with the Multiplex Easy Star from a few weeks back, but this time he brought his UMX biplane and a Faze(?) electric glider. I still don’t know what type of plane the biplane is, so I need to do a bit of research. It looks Czech to me and around early WW2. Unfortunately, in the walk across the field he had broken the fin and tail off it, so it was going to need some cyano before it took off.

As for flying , firstly, I had a flight with my RS352. I’m down to just two battery packs now as I think the 2 year old ones have puffed up and had it completely. My next flight was with the FlyZone DR1, which I absolutely loved. The first launch with the dud battery we’ll ignore, but I missed the post when it veered sharply right and landed fine. The real flight was better, but still down on power. I flew the whole flight with about 50% down elevator as the box kite wanted to loop on me. This is after pulling the throttle right back, so it wasn’t entirely happy aerodynamically. The red baron and me had great fun doing strafing runs on the drone pilots half way down the field. No, I’m joking really, they were so far away I could never get anywhere near them with 30 grammes of depron drag chute. The landing was a bit of an event as the motor cut rather abruptly and it glided a lot further than I anticipated. We all had to jump out of the way to let it past, but it was a perfect landing. It was great fun though and now I’m thinking seriously about getting my own WW1 biplane.

I actually managed to get four flights with the RS352, managing to charge each of my two good packs once. The aircraft was flying really well in the still air and I spent a lot of time practising cuban eights to get the centre point right in front of myself. Once you get into the swing, it’s all about timing. I do need to do some re-trimming with the aircraft, though, as inverted, if you push down into an outside loop, it screws out badly, suggesting that the elevators or some other part isn’t straight.

I didn’t take any pictures from the field this morning, but I do have an update on the ATOM autogyro.

 

As you can see, Pete the pilot is back in his office and everything fits back together very nicely. The two fuselage sides are stuck, but the firewall has yet to be glued in place. I’m going to make the holes for the motor wires before sticking it in this time around. Once that’s in place, then I can glue the top piece back on and the front fuselage will be all finished. I’m actually quite impressed that the original canopy still fits as well as it does. Although the tail still needs some work, that should be easy to fix. The most time consuming bit is going to be finishing the replacement rotor blade.

It’s Really Very Windy

It’s a building day today as the outside wind speed is around 25mph. I have been making progress with fixing the Atom autogyro this week though.

I’ve fettled the base, firewall and left fuselage side into perfect position and glued the left side into place.

 

It’s not easy fitting everything together at the front end, but achieving a perfect fit pays dividends in terms of strength. With the left fuselage side in place, the dry fit of the firewall and fuselage front top is very good. There’s also an additional plywood undercarriage strengthening plate that fits to the bottom front of the fuselage that you can’t see here.

 

I’ve even managed to make a new left hand half of the steering wheel, which I never recovered from the crash. This has been grafted on to the recovered bit of the steering column and glued in place to complete the cockpit section.

 

Now I’m just waiting for the glue to set on the steering wheel before fixing the cockpit floor back into the perspex canopy. I’m going to wait until the front fuselage section is finished first, as I need to check that it all still fits together.

As for the firewall and fuselage top, I’m not sure how I’m going to glue it at the moment. I have been using “Gorilla Glue” for the side pieces, but the expansion of the glue is such that it squeezes out of the gaps and leaves big blobs of hard glue behind. You can see this on the pictures of the fuselage side above. If I used this for the firewall, I would need to stick the top and internal ply plate at the same time. If not, then the glue would seep out inside the fuselage, where I couldn’t sand it away, and stop the ply plate from being fitted. I’m going to have a long, hard, think about this before I go ahead. I also need to start looking at the motor mounting and three ESC wires, as it’s still bolted to the surviving part of the old firewall.

 

 

There are plenty of building hours still left in the day, though. Let’s hope the weather improves for next week.

Fireworks!

Well, it is Guy Fawkes’ night, so I might see some fireworks later? This morning wasn’t exactly perfect for flying, but it was sunny so I went anyway. When we all converged on the flying site, we all said the same thing, “it wasn’t this windy when I left the house!”.

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That’s my RS352’s wing shielding the sun. Fluffy white clouds are doing about Mach one.

There was already the professional drone pilot keeping up his hours on his DJI Inspire when I arrived at the same time as my friend on his electric bike carrying his UMX Carbon Cub on the back. I think there was also a father and son in one corner of the field with a drone, but they didn’t stay long. A little bit later we had the drone lady with her micro drone, and her friend with a bigger aerobatic drone. The drone count was completed by another guy at a different edge of the field with a DJI Phantom, then another guy and his wife with the DJI Mavic and landing pad set up in their usual spot about 20 metres away. Finally, a fixed wing arrived in the form of a Hobby King Bixler belonging to a father with his two sons. They both did their first landings this morning, which was nice.

It was cold. We all agreed it was cold. And windy. My first flight was with my RS352, then I had a flight with the UMX Carbon Cub, which should never have been flying in this wind. I didn’t need the flaps, just keep it pointing into wind and it was hovering for most of the flight, or racing downwind at some speed. I wasn’t really settled when I was flying it and never got comfortable with the DX6 transmitter. Normally I hold it with my left hand, fly with my right and move the throttle any way I can. This time I ended up flying with my thumbs on the tops of the sticks, which is not how I normally do it. I don’t know whether my arm was tired as we’d been watching a video of his son’s Spacewalker on a portable DVD player just before. I was holding the player in my left hand for 15 minutes, so that might have been it. Anyway, it was quite an interesting flight in the conditions and the landing wasn’t too bad either after about 5 minutes. It will fly about twice as long, but I couldn’t manage it this morning.

My second flight with the RS352 was just as normal, then the third with the older LiPos was an aborted launch as I could hear the motor revs dropping rapidly. This pack has no power, just like its sibling pack that I retired last time out. Or maybe I retired the wrong pack? I will check this later, but I only have the two newer 1300mAh 3S packs left now, so I should buy myself some more for Christmas. I need to figure out why the others didn’t last very long first though. So I only got 3 flights with the RS352 this morning, after waiting for my first pack to fully charge after the first flight. This could explain the problems I had with the autogyro when it would launch and then stooge around the sky not wanting to fly and only doing one circuit before I had to land it? The flight when I crashed a few weeks ago was with the newer pack and that went up like a rocket (and back down too).

I’ve made some good progress with fixing the autogyro this week, as I really want to fly it again soon. Pete the pilot has had his head glued back on and I’ve got the base and one fuselage side stuck back on.

What you don’t see in the images is how the front section with the firewall, base, fuselage sides and top fit together like a jigsaw. This is why it’s taken this long to get the side on, because it all has to fit together very accurately and slot together. It’s been slow progress getting to this stage, but now the side is on and the bottom piece, side and firewall mesh together at the right angle, things should start dropping into place. The autogyro gets incredible strength from this interlocking design, which is one reason it survived falling from a great height onto the ground the way it did. When I was building it I thought the mast was the most vulnerable piece, but that’s all still intact.

That’s it for this week, I’ve got some more building to do.