Daily Archives: May 25, 2011

7 posts

2011 SDSU DBF Contest Report

Each year the rules are released sometime in mid-august (the rules can be read here), it is at this time that senior team members usually gather together and start assigning team leads, each team lead will be responsible for one specific aspect of the plane. It is at this time that we also start analyzing the competition scoring in order to determine what type of airplane will allow us to achieve the maximum score possible.

This year we decided to go with a flying wing as it can be seen from some preliminary CAD models seen below.


Preliminary CAD Model

Since the fall semester has already started at this time, it is not unusual to combine DBF with other school project in order to gather extra data about the airplane’s performance so that it can later be included in the report. After a few more design changes, we finally arrive at a prototype-ready model. It is at this time that we start building said prototype.

Building the prototype usually starts early December and continues throughout winter break. This year due to the simplicity of our design it was decided that instead of building the airplane from scratch, it would be easier to modify an existing flying wing. The wing cores are made of extended polypropylene (EPP), this would make the wing resistant to all the crashes that it would later experience when learning how to launch a flying wing.

Once we assembled the wing cores the payload space was dremeled out.


Creating Main Payload


Creating the main payload space


To prevent damage during crashes and to add some extra support, the plane was covered in a laminating film.


laminating film


Since this was only a prototype, not a lot of care was placed on the details so we ended up using a piece of coroplast as a lid.

Flight testing started sometime mid-January. The first couple of flights were troublesome because none of us had any experience with hand-launched planes. After a couple weeks of practice, however, we were able to perfect our throwing method.


Mastering the hand-launch


It took us a few weeks of test flying to gather all relevant data including flight performance with both payloads, as well as the empty flight.

With this data, coupled with advise given to us by our pilot as well as other advisors we decided to implement small changes, mainly in the area of structure.

After the flight testing phase was over, we spent the remaining time redesigning, building, and flight testing a new competition-ready airplane. Some of the changes that the new plane implemented were:

•    5 piece wing
•    Molded fiberglass hatch
•    Lighter winglets and elevons
•    Extra structure to prevent excessive wing deflection
•    14-cell battery pack

The final configuration was the following:

Weight: 4 ft
Airfoil: MH 64
Batteries: 14 Elite 1500 mAh NIMH
Receiver: HiTec Optima 6 Lite
Motor: MicroDan 2510-1600Kv
Speed Controller: Castle Creations Phoenix 45
Servos: HiTec HS-512MG
Radio: HiTec Aurora 9


Once at the competition we were able to get by tech inspection on the first attempt, this meant that we were able to fly the first mission on Friday. The first mission was a success and we were able to obtain the maximum score by completing 7 laps within the 4 minute time limit. A video of the first mission can be found here.


Landing after the completing mission 1


After seeing the plane perform the second mission we were excited to see it perform the other two. Saturday was supposed to be the day that we were supposed to complete the other two missions, however, we kept running into problems during the second mission.

Since we did not have the appropriate propeller we ended up using a propeller that was 1″ bigger, this in turn caused us to draw more current than the one allowed by the 20 Amp fuse thereby blowing the fuse and cutting off all power to our motor. The video of the second mission attempt is here.

For the second attempt at mission 2 we were able to modify a bigger propeller into the correct size, but the propeller was not attached correctly so the propeller flew off as soon as the throttle was increased.

On our last attempt at mission 2 we tried to get everything perfect, however, it seems that Murphy kept following us around, one of the bolts that held a wing attached to the center section was not fully tightened. The launch was perfect, however, on the downwind leg we started to get some flutter from the loose wing, this cause the other wing to become loose and ended up bringing the plane down. The crash might not have been spectacular, but the plane hit the ground with enough force to break apart a battery cell and leave a burn mark on the fiberglass hatch. The video for that flight is here.




Aftermath of the crash


We were only allowed 4 flight attempts to complete all 3 missions and we ended up using 3 of those on mission 2 (one for mission 1), so this meant that the competition was over for us.

In the end we ended up having to settle for 43rd place (results can be found here).


More competition pictures can be found in the following links:






May Meeting

Club Meeting, Flight Demonstration and Food!!


The May meeting will be held the SEFSD Flying Field at Mission Bay, May 28, 10:00 AM.  Along with the usual exciting agenda items, there will be flight demonstrations from Frank Gagliardi’s Mini Ultra Stick Pylon group, plus Don Wemple will show us what he and his intrepid San Diego Electrogliders do when they get together.  If that isn’t enough to get you down to the field, we’ll have free food!  A complete lunch with hot dogs and more.  Imagine, free food and entertainment, heck bring the whole family.

Editor’s Notebook for May 25, 2011

5. The response I received from Senator Dianne Feinstein regarding the proposed FAA rules:


“Dear Mr. Belknap:

I received your letter opposing a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulation that would impose new restrictions on model aircraft operations. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.

Model aircraft serve many purposes, from recreational use among enthusiasts to important aeronautics research at universities. I have heard from thousands of model aircraft enthusiasts who share your concerns that new regulations will create unnecessary and burdensome restrictions on recreational model aviation.

On February 17, 2011, I supported an amendment offered by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) to the “FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act” (S. 223), that would exclude model aircraft from FAA rules or regulations the plane such meets the following criteria:

o It is flown strictly for recreational, sport, competition, or academic purposes;

o A community-based set of safety guidelines are observed when operating the aircraft;

o It is unmanned; and

o It does not exceed 55 pounds in weight unless otherwise certified through a community-based safety program.

This amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent in the Senate, and S. 223 was passed on February 17, 2011. A similar bill was passed by the House of Representatives, but it did not include the model aircraft provision. The two bills must be reconciled in conference before the President can sign in into law. I appreciate hearing your support for model aviation, and I will be sure to keep your comments in mind as Congress considers the FAA reauthorization.

Once again, thank you for writing. If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator”

Menifee Valley Float Fly

Please mention how much fun the Menifee Valley Flyers club is.  I attended a fun fly earlier this year in addition to the Float Fly and highly recommend participation in their events. The Float Fly drew about 20 planes and pilots from all over the southland. Well run and a joy.

Thanks again to the MVF for a wonderful event.


Ducted Fan Accident

He was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance where they did a emergency surgery on his eye. The surgery was two hours and the Dr. stated that his eye was severed in three places. The Doctor told me that his eye was cut into three pieces almost clear through the other side. He doesn’t know that I am posting this but, I know he considers you all, rc groups, his friends and would not want the same to happen to you. I have enclosed pictures and they are after the incident. The first picture is of his eye after they stitched it back up(the lines are the stitches). The second is what is left of the Jet motor that I found scattered across the floors and walls. The doctor said that the good news is that his eye is holding pressure(which means holding fluid that they had to put back in his eye) but can’t tell the outcome until a few months. So please, please, keep him in your prayers and that he has a full recovery!
Thank you and God Bless

Here is the thread on the whole thing.


Electroglide Report from 5/21/2011

Standard Class — Stock Radians



                             Toss 1      Toss 2      Toss 3      Toss 4      Total
Bob Anson                 52           31            49            21           153
Fred Daugherty        50 (10)    20 (10)       46            24          150
Don Wemple              36           33         50 (10)        15           134
Terry Thomann          31           21             41            36          129


Open Class — Other than Stock Radians


Bob Stinson            64 (20)       20           38        36 (20)       158
Jim Barnnardel          43           26           43            0            112
John Forester            9             0             0            15            24


Remember that we are having a demonstration Electroglide Saturday the 28th of May. This wll be in conjunction with the Club barbeque that same Saturday morning. This will be a grand cnance to show the Club how much fun the Electroglide is for all of us who have been involved with it for the past dozen years. The development of the Radian has been essential to the concept of the Electroglide — all pilots flying the same airfrome, motor, battery, and powerplant — truly creating a “Standard Class”…….and for under $150!!!! We have a safe, fun competition with 8 to 20 competitors, so let’s encourage our fellow Club members to join us. Be there this coming Saturday. Let’s Electroglide and then eat Hot Dogs!

First Toss –9:30!

Cool Videos for May

Both powered by Rolls Royce Merlin engines……which emitted that
wonderful sound that became known to many as ‘The Sound of Freedom’
during the 1940s. Mustang pilot does a great job staying on the Spit’s
wing, I’m guessing these 2 guys have flown form before!




Duxford Battle of Brittan Airshow Review:




Live video taken by one of the astronauts showing the inside of the International Space Station.  

It is spectacular!!When it starts up, change to full-screen mode by clicking on the little thingy on the bottom right of the panel that has two little arrows in it.


For about the first two-thirds of the tour, the astronaut doesn’t say anything.  When she gets to the exercise station, she starts explaining.  Be sure your sound is on.  She ends up in the incredible window pod looking out at the earth.  That’s worth sticking around for, believe me!!



RC SuperHeros:




Incidentally, kits and plans are here.