The January meeting at the field yielded not only an interesting seminar by Steve Dente on rudder use, which came in handy at the last EMAC thanks to a strong south wind but some worthwhile ideas on field improvements.
Don Griffin put me in contact with a rep’ from the Environmental Services Dept. who will be repairing our entry way in March. It will necessitate closing the field to ALL vehicular traffic during the repair period. Check the website for the starting date.
Work on the runway is a “work in progress”……………….be patient….It WILL get done!
It was good to see a # of members wearing name badges last Saturday…..Wear them with pride!
You are a group to be envied!
Illegal use of our flying site was mentioned and Ray Fulks gave his take on the possibility of the Parks Department adding to the rocks that prevent entry to our parking area/flying site by non members.
The CAP SEFSD AMA TAG program is looking at five dates to follow up with the program that kicked off last Dec 3rd, 2011. Allen French has indicated an abundance of interest at Squadron 47 in Oceanside. We intend to use small group sessions as well as full on events. Tim has filed the application for TAG for 2012 and the return of funds already expended by the club by the AMA…..over 900 dollar in 2011 and another 370 dollars requested for 2012. The application was submitted on Jan 25th, 2012 with the Feb 1st cutoff date approaching.
SEFSD has a number of on going programs:
Electroglide…3rd Saturday of each month led by Jim Bonnardel
Night flying…new Feb 11th is the second Saturday kick off Jim Bonnardel for more info.
EMAC…starts up Feb 18th at around 10:15 am (six contests have been scheduled check the schedule on the calendar for all the dates.
Indoor, Mike Eberle, reports good turnout and a lot of fun is being experienced on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month and the first half of the year is scheduled.
Steven Dente, Rudder School guru, gave us his rules for the use of Rudder….thanks Steve.
Multiplex took full advantage of the potential of energy absorbing foam/plastic and light weight, powerful out of the hole electric power to produce a distinctive performing, fun to fly, slow airplane the likes of which has never before been available. As the owner and pilot of a “full size” Piper Pacer who flew the Alaskan Bush with his father, this is a “scale” flying RC Piper Cub, until you put that power to use at which… If you have average to slow reflexes, want to express your RC flying originality and can enjoy an airplane with landing gear which needs only a semblance of a landing spot, the Fun Cub may be for you.
This is an original year 2012 for the SEFSD article. Portions of it are in opposition to any other report known to the author to be public.
Since the Multiplex Easy Cub was a simpler version of the same airplane, it will be commented on.
The Multiplex Fun Cub is a moderately priced, easy to build, soft Elapor foam, scale RC airplane, in a bigger flies better size (without getting too big for the back seat), slow speed (it’s wonderfully entertaining for our longest lived pilots who’s reflexes and eyesight are fading, provided they fly in no more then twice walking pace wind), graceful to clumsy flight playfully interacting to wind and inputs from the pilot, including the potential for outrageous scale like landing stunts using the flaps and some entertaining, if awkward looking, aerobatics.
By the standards of the Easy Star, Twin Star II, Mentor and similar, the Fun Cub is not a “modern” beginners airplane, it’s too fragile to hold and too light in the wind, it has to be put down on it’s landing gear, which also restricts it’s general purpose use. Although it will fly well with a basic four channel radio (or even on three), it benefits from five channels, if you have six or seven or eight channels it helps to have a computer assisted transmitter to get the best out of this one. The Fun Cub needs to be kept light, if you weight it down too much, if you just have to build in all kinds of accessories, if you need to fly in the wind, if any of the previous applies and you don’t just have to have a scale Piper, then get a Mentor instead.
This can be a Butterfly like RC Airplane. You can see the adds, read and video all about it in the Inter net, and still be completely off the mark in you expectations, or at least I was. This is a sport pilots airplane, in the sense that, although stable, you can/need to fly it. The Fun Cub is neither so hectic you have to keep it under control at all times, or so docile you have a free flighter which only needs that you steer it back to the starting place. Although except for landing it, a “second airplane” beginner can enjoy flying it, to get the best out of it you as the pilot should have control over all four axis (maybe half of the Mission Bay sport pilots can coordinate all four at the same time), with a fifth (in the form of flaps) there are some cool tricks available, for which you get the satisfaction of having a big butterfly at your disposal. No, not the neutral stability of the Parkmaster, and not the fly straight and true, just steer it around of a Mentor (or common sport plane), either.
For decades this size was “standard” partly because it harmonized with then available equipment. Even today the four foot wingspan has a lot going for it, like being able to see it, adjustments so big you don’t have to already know what to do and just the pleasantness that size brings with it. Take the wing off and split it, reassemble it at the field in one minute, the Fun Cub may be easily transported. Of all my airplanes this is the one that spectators identify best with, it’s as if a pilot were inside this looks like a “real” airplane and they could experience it harnessed in next to him.
The hardest to set to words,
and not visible on an Internet video, let me try to describe some Fun Cub flight characteristics not available on any similar looking, scale like, RC airplane:
Using full rudder, the ailerons in the opposite direction, to turn flat a Fun Cub Lite around in the width of a room! Even the Parkmaster can’t do that.
A Fun Cub Lite is so slow speed controllable that you can fly past the edge of lifting flight into a stall, give it amps, and fly back out of it, in the length of ten to twenty feet, provided you kept the weight down. Probing the edge of the flight profile at head height, I’ve done that with my variously different propulsion(ed) Fun Cub fifty times (it became a standard for how well a motor/prop/battery combination functioned), which is about fifty times more then with all my other airplanes combined.
Cruise in high, deploy the flaps full for a controlled decent at from forty five degrees to vertical like you were aiming for a sandbar, with the fuselage held level, then at head height either retract the flaps for a precision touch down, or (to really woo the crowd) pull the flaps back to one quarter travel, hit the amps of that big flat pitch propeller and power it on to the landing strip. Either way, depending on available power, hit the amps hard and come right back up.
Find and play with every little puff of air the airplane encounters. Amaze your friends by flying in the wind anyway.
Go ahead and do some acrobatics. Despite of, or because of, being clumsy, they are fun. The diameter of the maneuvers is speed dependent, although even straight down this is a slow airplane, it DOES have a range of speeds (lacking in many similar looking airplanes), the control response varies with and is proportional to airspeed, something lacking in a vast majority of RC airplanes that look like it.
Although neither a dedicated thermal soarer, and by no means a slope soarer, I can think of lots of places and times in the San Diego Back Country where, thanks to the long landing gear and big wheels so it could be put down on a dirt road or bare field, it could be used where slight up hill breezes and occasional thermals with the pilot sitting there on a hillside would make this a very entertaining airplane. But not Point Loma or Cowels Mountain, because of it’s size it’s too bushy there for this one. Bring one along in case the wind dies at Torry Pines. One of the Internet reports where the author flew it enough to know what he had, his favorite place to fly was the beach. He reported nose standing when landing on hard surfaces, but not on lawns, something I didn’t encounter. But then maybe I ran more toe in on my landing gear and kept the Center of Gravity at (80) mm from the leading edge.
The best comparison to the Fun Cub I can think of, is a type of RC airplane that has fallen out of fashion, called the Fun Flier. They look like a control line combat airplane as an RC airplane reduced to the absolute minimum with a big thick wing and the tail hung off a rod. Magnelli had one, even if I saw the motor tear loose to independence one day, he probably still has it. Our Editor even marketed a kit for one “The Butterfly” a while back. Both were electric of course.
If you wanted a traditional flyer,
the Fun Cub isn’t it. There are plenty of same size, same looks, airplanes available, the Mentor from Multiplex being a best, utterly predictable, choice. A vast majority of airplanes in this configuration track stable, do predictable aerobatics and just fly. Pick your same old same old, the rest of them are all more alike then different. For a vast majority of look alikes all you have to do, and all you can do, is just guide them around. The Fun Cub difference originates in the lower wing loading along with never before realized low speed thrust to weight. Load a Fun Cub heavy though and that wing flex makes it less predictable then other airplanes intended for the higher loading. Unless you specifically want a “Bush Plane” with it’s really only flies slowly characteristics of a lower wing loading and can accept the relative fragility, get something else.
A while back at a swap meet, because it was framed up, but not finished, bought for the price of a 40 ouncer, I built up my first traditional “standard high wing” balsa/spruce/heat shrunk on covering, nearly identical looking airplane converted to electric power. With it’s Clark Y flat bottom airfoil and full house controls I started getting bored with it part way through the first flight. For my twelve hours to finish the building I had what amounted to a well powered, armored, electric, folding propeller, fragile, Senorita without landing gear. Slightly over minimal weight because of added fiberglass over balsa/foam armor on the motor mount, belly , wing tips and inboard third of the tail, I sold it after just five flights, the new owner thinks it’s a great airplane. Even more so since as a vintner he got for a case of local white wine. At least this time I didn’t wake up at the flying field the next day wet, covered with grass and hung over. As a Tao of Poo thing, I’d never had a “Standard”, now I knew. If I had it to do over I’d have just bought a six pack and a Fun Cub instead, but they didn’t exist yet.
Nothing in my Real Flight 5.5 simulator (with the 2011 updates) flies like The Fun Cub, not even after fiddling with the software settings.
I spent two hours assembling a great, maintenance free Fun Cub wing (that includes flaps, optional spachtel, tape, fiberglass and paint) which, because of it’s semi-symmetrical airfoil flies great. Anybody can put together a Fun Cub. It took eight hours to build an easily torn and broken balsa/Depron/fiberglass and foil one that, because of it’s flat bottom, made for a dull and inefficient flier. I’m a proficient builder, what a beginner can do would taken longer and not fly as well, to recreate the flaps in that format would have taken a lot longer.
Just Because they Spec’ed it that Way
Let’s get a few things straight, I don’t automatically like everything that flies and I’m not easily satisfied with an RC airplane. I expect a minimum of a hundred flights out of any airframe, often mine last far longer. To get that much use I’m willing to spend more care and money on materials initially. I’m willing to take advantage of the exquisite ease of changing propulsion combinations in Multiplex airplanes to determine what I like best, the results are often a surprise, even to me. My Multiplex airplanes get reinforced or armored as required (which can only be determined from really flying, and landing, the things), I use non standard propulsion components (both smaller and lighter or more powerful, often at 4S LiPo and higher battery cell counts), most of my stuff has folding propellers for which the nose was clearanced.
This isn’t a review of a “stock” Fun Cub, the Internet is full of gee, I’ve made three flights with it and everything is great reports that omit way too much. How could they possibly have determined the truth, the whole truth and only the truth from so little flying? I made over fifty flights with mine before reporting, even with fiberglass reinforcement there were both disagreeable and entertaining aspects to The Fun Cub not mentioned in the adds, the magazine reviews or the Internet reports.
The Fun Cub has some designed in weaknesses (soft foam, inadequate airflow motor cooling at the cowl for most motors, with the standard motor setup the battery blocks the airflow outlet), mine and many others suffered from an single part’s invisible loss of manufacturing quality control at the landing gear wire. Multiplex airframes cost twice as much as their competitors, Multiplex based airplanes are worth even more then that. RC airplanes based around Multiplex airframes have the lowest net cost per flight of any RC airplane. This was my first time in dozens of Multiplex airplanes of an under specification part showing up. But that soft landing gear plagued my use of the Fun Cub for the first thirty flights.
Since the Fun Cub looks like some other airplanes in the Multiplex lineup, and the difference couldn’t/wasn’t described in words or adds, the different flight profile of The Fun Cub caught me off guard. Mine has more in common with The Parkmaster then The Mentor.
I had given up on my Fun Cub, except I kept seeing other ones with stock landing gear, which, despite being quite a bit heavier from all kinds of Schnick Schnack (zu English, doodads) didn’t collapse on every single landing to beat up the nose and wreck propellers. Mine was remarkably agile, since I kept the weight down, a flying friend kept commenting that mine flew slower and more gracefully then any other. Of all my airplanes The Fun Cub was the one that casual watchers enjoyed seeing fly the most. I finally caught on, although they enjoyed watching the, higher thrust to drag and weight aerobatic planes, what they enjoyed about the Fun Cub was the butterfly like “I can see the pilot controlling it” right down low there in front of them was what looked like a “real” airplane character that made it interesting. Those pop up off the ground tricks were fun to watch.
Be careful though, I have been branded a “Bad Example” as too many beginners have wreaked their airplanes trying to fly like me, your results may vary. Maybe if I flew an F3A or F5B airplane people would take me seriously. It may have to do that I use ordinary looking airframes with simple finishes that anybody could field. My airplanes, and flying skills, aren’t as ordinary as looks would suggest. The Fun Cub has a different flight profile then what I was expecting, my anticipation was a scale like Mentor or Twin Star II, which it isn’t. I kept fiddling with and flying The Fun Cub out of a refusal to give in (or out) before getting things right.
After sitting around in the way for four months, the acquisition of a Blizzard and a DogFighter (that’s the way it’s written in German), including for the first time a pair of HiMax 35 series (135) gram motors, on a day where I threw away four old obsolete airframes, I finally got with it and, after thirty frustrating flights, bent up a new landing gear wire. Unwilling to believe that the new one was that much stiffer, I taped the old one to the new one. The landing gear was now too stiff, but I was finally flying the airplane without expecting to trash it, or break a prop on every single landing. Steel isn’t just steel, evidently for a while the 2,5mm diameter wire landing gear was under specification, so soft that it drove pilots to all kinds of modifications to make up for it. I was able to tune the stiffness of my landing gear by varying at what length the additional steel rod was taped to the main one. And, although the Blizzard motor is higher turning then the one specified for the Fun Cub (1130 kV verses 850) it was close enough to be worth a try, on both 3S and 4S LiPos. I also used a lighter (100) grams Plettenburg 800 kV motor, it should be better performing then the specified HiMax one, it costs more then twice as much.
Although small, medium and large are relative terms,
let’s identify the Multiplex Merlin and Fox as small, the Multiplex Cularis as large and the Fun Cub (along with the Twin Star II and Mentor) as medium size. Unlike the Twin Star II and Mentor that may be tossed in the back seat, The Twin Star II can be landed on nearly anything, The Mentor requires a runway, both can buck the wind, the foam of The Fun Cub is about two thirds of their density, it’s dent prone and it gets blown around. That renders it less suitable for beginners, since you can’t grab this thing, or cartwheel it, without automatically damaging it. Still, set up light (use the Parkmaster/Gemini propulsion kit) for a pilot with slower reactions to whom it’s really important that it look like something he’s seen fly at a general aviation airport… It’s almost, but not quite (don’t laugh until you hold one of these things in your hands) like going back to the bad old days of balsa, plywood and shrink on covering. I was so frustrated that I kept the wings in their original box for their own protection during transportation.
Knowing that I suffer from greasy fingers
and land in weeds, that pure white foam of the nose hatch and all hand holds along with the underside of the wing from the tips in a handbreadth and the bottom of the horizontal stabilizator were covered with a layer of (6) ounce per square yard fiberglass held on with easy to work with water based hardwood flooring paint. The wing and horizontal stabilizator leading edges were covered with heat shrunk on packing tape, the whole nose, inside and out was (repeatedly, as the landing gear kept bending up so far the fuselage hit the ground on landing) fiberglassed with two component epoxy resin.
Servos and Control Surfaces
Although I used (18) gram HiTeck HS-81s, the nearly identical Multiplex Tiny (which may have better quality control, among other things they all center at right angles to the case, important for ailerons if your transmitter can’t individually zero each servo) are the servo of choice for the elevator and rudder. Expecting low speeds, and short on cash, I used inexpensive (8) gram HiTeck HS-55 servos for the ailerons, with no regrets, this isn’t a precision handling airplane no matter how repeatable the control inputs are translated. I used even more inexpensive (8) gram servos for the “all or nothing” flaps, again satisfactorily.
If you were wondering how durable those servos are; I first used this pair of HS-81s ten years ago in a Twin Star II for (60) flights, until pilot foolishness trashed the airframe. They were then installed in another Twin Star II for (26) flights, until an overloaded BEC shredded that airframe through a tree. They were then installed as aileron servos in a third Twin Star II that went (421) flights, until a radio failed. That’s (600) flights now and still performing perfectly. My pair of Mini Mags with HS-55s currently have (250) and (350) flights on them (including many crashes that would have blown apart a conventional built up out of wood airplane), they are still flying well. It’s hard to define the boundary between inexpensive and cheap, even more so with too small a sampling group. These Euro6/$8- ones installed for the flaps haven’t had a single defective one out of the twenty I’ve used. None of them improved over a hundred flights (double centering HS-55s from a while back did), but they haven’t gotten any worse either.
Unless you are using a computer radio where you can assign separate canals to the flap servos, you have to turn one around within a newly cut indentation in the wing to run both flaps servos on a single channel with a “Y” cable. It is inconvenient to mechanically perfectly set the flaps to up position, over-traveling them slightly at the transmitter took care of that.
The mechanical linkage and aerodynamics of the flaps are actually quite well laid out, I’ve read reports where pilots wanting flaps on unrelated airplanes used these, for good reason. I wish I had had a variable dial like setting for the flaps so I could do some of the stunts in Internet videos. In the end I set them for half the available travel (about (45) degrees) and used them just about like I do in my 1:1 size Piper Pacer. ?
I mostly used the flaps as brakes to get a steep decent, then retracting them to flare for landing on Lite versions. There are some neat tricks that could be flown with the amazing low speed acceleration of the big motor/big low pitch prop combinations, if the servo for the flaps were a dial instead of just a switch. But most of my flights were with higher turning, higher pitch props then the great big flat pitch one specified by Multiplex, because I’d have had to replace the prop every single flight until I got the landing gear sorted. Get the airplane together as specified from Multiplex, with a computer radio and the required skill, the motor and flaps can be used together for some entertaining close in, down low, stunts.
Those channels at the wing underside from spars and such get filled or covered with tape on my airplanes, which may account for part of why mine flies better.
Although my five channel “just above basic” radio was sufficient for decent flights (both ailerons and flaps on “Y” cables) , things went a little better when I used the tuning available of a six channel computer radio for separate aileron inputs. You can build in some mechanical differential at the ailerons, I made use of being able to tune differential at the ailerons for more differential then Multiplex recommends for the Fun Cub. Because getting the throw on the ailerons balance is speed dependent, and it has a reasonable range of speeds, between that and the dihedral, semi symmetrical airfoil and flexing wing you don’t get nice round aerobatics. Truth is, that’s part of the charm.
No, it isn’t reasonable to stiffen up the wing. At even (1100) grams in a gust the whole wing flexes enough to flatten out then bend back up. Part of that is the necessary clearance between the spars on one side and the joiner, but mostly it’s just not all that stiff a wing. From somebody that has stiffened, strengthened and armored a lot of EPP, Elapor and Solidpor, if you need a stiffer wing get a different airplane, or take up aeromodeling and add struts like the full size one. I’ve flown RC airplanes with completely flat wings, you have to constantly use the ailerons to keep them level, fine for the F3A and Acromaster pilots, but irritating and tiring for sport general purpose use.
The trim does NOT change with the flaps extended, at least not out to the maximum of 70 degrees I used and not in wings level flight. Light weight configurations of the Fun Cub just kind of climbed a few feet to settle back to just about where it was with them retracted, medium weight ones just went slower. In case you were wondering, the big ones (140 horse power, aluminum and fabric covering, you are betting you life on your own skill and the airplane) change pitch on moving the flaps. You have one hand on the flaps lever and the other on the control wheel, with practice you learn to compensate at the elevator for the change in trim of flaps as you don’t have a third arm for the trim wheel in the ceiling and couldn’t move it as fast as the lever for the flaps anyway. You have to fly the Fun Cub too, in the end that’s part of the fun of it. Even without the flaps, even with smaller then specified motors and higher pitch props, provided you kept the weight down, this is one of very few airplanes where you may fly it into, and back out, of a stall!
I’d start with the Multiplex throws on the control surfaces. For my personal Fun Cub I went to a lot more up travel on the ailerons and nearly the physical maximum on the rudder, after which I went back to about (20) degrees right and left, the elevator I left as it was. The Germans use exponential on EVERYTHING. I’m old school, I made ten thousand flights with just three channels, and no extra adjustments…
My Fun Cub has some of the “old” style of control horns, the ones with only one side to them where so many otherwise competent builders over-tightened the nut. From experience with Twin Star IIs the area of glued contact from the control horns to the control surface is insufficient, they tear out over time starting around fifty flights. Mine have additional fiberglass over the control horns, which also adds some needed beneficial stiffening up to centers of the aileron/elevator/rudder(s). Although not strictly necessary, I taped the hinges.
Even when using simple inexpensive combinations the resulting flights continued from twenty minutes on up. With the high performance combinations that went to half an hour on up. What’s with the magazine reports of seven to twelve minutes of flight time? Maybe I glide more?
One of my standards for evaluating changes can be performed with no equipment of any kind. With the airplane slowly gliding by, give maximum amps and do a maximum climb for a count of ten, then count how long it takes to glide back down. Figure a one to seven ratio for typical affordable Fun/Easy Cub combinations, the higher climb of the more powerful combinations glides back down faster because of the increased weight, until you go to 4S and (350) watts-out at which ten seconds of straight up results in a three minute glide back down. Ah, but what a controllable climb it is, what a relaxing glide back down. Who cares if less expensive Reinforced Hot Rod Mini Mags and Howling Fun Jets with the better combinations have one to fourteen ratios, the Fun Cub is for just enjoying flight, not maximum performance.
Flying with fixed propellers windmilling (because the brake in the controler wasn’t selected) reminded me of my PA-20, currently rotting at Corona Municipal Airport, although it screws up the handling and increases the drag, after a while I liked it. When I wanted to balance in the breeze I just left a couple of amps on to turn the prop with the wind.
Although I have difficulty understanding it, the FPV, or remote video piloted, RC community in Germany considers this a suitable airplane. I can only relate that maybe, to a portion of them (overconfident about their flying skills and all), that flying something that looks like what you would see on TV and at general aviation airports all over the world with a couple of grand of additional equipment has an aesthetic value. Then again, they usually only fly in really still air and I like wind as an opponent… The Fun Cub just isn’t suitable for carrying a lot of weight around, there are other RC airplanes for that.
I reinforce my Twin Star IIs and Easy Star Is wings out beyond the wing spar, otherwise they develop a “hinge” there. The Mini Mags, being smaller and lighter, don’t need that. For my Fun Cub I went light, just a thinnest layer of fiberglass with the lightest attachment, hard wood flooring paint, for the outside hands breath on the wing and the underside of the horizontal stabilizator. But then I didn’t load the Fun Cub down heavy or land it hard, and not for hundreds of flights (yet), the expected hinge in the foam just past outside of the spar (or right at the wing servos) started showing up about flight seventy.
The soft foam and landing gear why, I had to treat it more carefully, that pure white foam with just accents of color stayed new looking. Go ahead and paint your Fun Cub all you want, but if you can’t duplicate my results, all that paint adds a lot more weight then you might have thought. Check with our indoor pilots and DW Models Mike Morgan about that.
Since I treated my Fun Cub a lot more gently then my Zagies, Sturmoviks, Easy Stars and Twin Star IIs, things like not landing in weeds, refrozen snow, plowed fields, standing wheat, oleander bushes and the like, maybe, despite the soft Elapor, the wing will hold up without the leading edge tape I always use, but hit just one stiff weed with that lowest density Elapor and you are missing a portion of the leading edge. Then too, I had to get used to landing on roads and places the rest of you would recognize as landing spots. The low wing loading and sensitivity to wind of the Fun Cub cut back on my “he has to be a Fool to be flying in this much wind”, but only some.
To the enthusiasm of many of the reports, having an airplane that looks like a “real” airplane under radio control may be important a lot of sport RC pilots, even without their putting it to words. Partly due to the (expletative deleted) problem with the landing gear, but mostly incorrect expectations (because nobody mentioned otherwise) it took me a long time to appreciate the Fun Cub for what it can be, it’s not just a routine flying experience.
What About the Bad Things
Take note, I actually list things that didn’t work or suite me, both equipment and flight profile(s), something missing or censored from a vast majority of reports. If we listed out the stuff from most other manufacturers, in comparison to Multiplexes go right together and everything works fine, the list could be a lot longer! And sometimes a single huge problem, which is censored out by commercial magazine editors, like the too soft Solidpor foam from Graupner, or an airplane having only a single realistic speed range, renders an otherwise good airplane nearly useless.
The Fun Cub is a staggeringly inexpensive, durable if used reasonably, airframe. The outlay, be it purchase price or the time spent to build/assemble it attributed to the airframe makes any comparison with balsa of years gone by a joke. There are seemingly equal airframes from other manufacturers out there made of junk foam, that the magazines reports don’t dare offend their advertisers by telling about it. I’ll fly with anything Graupner, except their foam airframes. Multiplex will willing sell you any and every part of all of their airframes for a reasonable price. You break that neat, it came with everything for the same price as just the Multiplex airframe kit airplane, good luck, often they won’t sell you anything but an entire airplane. I’ve tried the other manufacturers, you get what you pay for, the
With the Civil Air Patrol program running full swing, many members have picked up Multiplex Mentor’s as a good training airplane. When I bought mine, my wife said “You are going to get bored with that airplane real fast”, well she could have been correct if all I was doing was simply flying it around. The fact is, the Mentor is a wonderfully versatile aircraft and I have been putting it through its paces as an aerial photo platform, night flyer, and aerial drop platform, dropping a variety of objects from various altitudes. I have been asked by several guys to show them my hardware, and I figured this was a great place to share with you how incredibly simple it can be to outfit nearly any airplane to become a full fledged ‘bomber’.
For me, target bomb dropping has always been a fun activity. Last year, we did a “Nut drop” for the monthly club activity, and this year we will do it again in June, but also have some time set aside for those who have created their own dropping hardware to show their stuff. I wanted the membership to be aware of that, and have plenty of time to create their own drop mechanisms. During this years bomb drop event, we will have a block of time for you to drop your own hardware, to show off your skills. The club event will still utilize the same nut drop system we used last year so everyone scores off the exact same system, but sharing your creativity with your own ideas will also be a big part of it.
So, what is typically needed to start dropping things? Well you need an open channel on your TX/RX, a small servo, and some building materials. Keeping it simple also means keeping it reliable and easy to use. I have an ample supply of Corplast (plastic cardboard) but all of these things can be made with Balsa just as easily.
On my Mentor, I have some Velcro on the bottom, right at the CG. Everything I built fits on that Velcro patch for compatibility, and nothing I carry to drop affects the CG to any noticeable point. I don’t even notice I have stuff strapped on when flying the plane. I started with a fairly complicated, dual door cargo box built from corplast that held those cheap little plastic parachute guys you see at the toy stores. It worked, but the cheap parachute guys were very light, and had a low sink rate. It didn’t take long to watch a few of them simply fly away headed for Mission Valley. Unless I stayed low, those guys had a limited life-span, and dropping from low altitudes isn’t as much fun as it is from 399 feet up. I kept the cargo box, but now it’s large bay is better suited for faster dropping ordinance, like candy or other objects that don’t float as well. I next built a ’deck’ from a platform from corplast plastic that holds a servo with a simple release rod, and a rubber band. It is crazy simple and super cheap. I simply stretch the rubber band over my cargo, and release away. My first design worked great for the missiles, but it would not release the parachute guys, so I built version 2.0, and it works great for both the missiles and the parachutists..
I have found some real neat drop items at the toy store, and my favorites are the tangle free parachute army men, and ‘Nerf brand missiles. The Nerf missiles drop real cleanly and I can carry several of them at a time. When I release, they do a nice spread, and fall straight down to the target. They are super light foam, so even if I miss my target, they wont do any damage to anything they land on. If I drop them over the weeds, they are bright orange and easy to see. The tangle free parachute men provide a little more flight time as they drop fairly slowly (but faster than the little plastic ones) and are super easy to recover out in our field if my judgment of the wind is not that good since they sit on top of any weeds or brush and they are brightly colored. On a recent drop at the field one of my parachute guys caught a thermal, and gained nearly 2x the altitude I dropped it from, and still landed out of harms way (albeit close) from the traffic on Sea World Drive. I have strapped ‘finger lights’ onto the parachute for night drops, and that adds even more fun during our night sessions. Usually when dropping parachute men, I can drop, and get landed before the parachute returns to terra firma. I normally have someone spotting for me, so they can keep their eye on the ‘chute while I make a dash for the runway., but solo drops are still easy enough to do.
I’d like to encourage you to expand your RC flying to include dropping things. Normally dropping things isn’t good, but in this case, its incredibly fun to do. The club event for June will be the bomb drop. Everyone will be given the opportunity to show off their own dropping designs and skills aside from the contest hardware that everyone use for score. Start building your designs now!
This is the deck I built to drop different items
Here is a single foam missile loaded
Here is my Velcro ‘hard point’ where I attach the cargo box or the deck.
Attached and ready to use, wired to an open channel.
All of my different ‘ordinance’.
This is the dual door cargo box that can be filled with many different items.
The first race of 2012 was a lot of fun. Thanks to the Miramar club for hosting us. Please see the race results here. Check out the pictures here.
The scoring was great, and there were some real interesting twists to the final placement. The first twist was with Bob Anson and Jeff Struthers. Although Bob won the event, Jeff was only 19 points behind Bob. Jeff had landed off field in round 2, making a Zero-Zero score. If Jeff could have made the deck in round 2, he could have knocked Bob out of first place! Bob had 2 rounds of zero landing points, but being on the deck meant he got the flight time points, which was enough to hold Jeff off.
I will say that I had far fewer forms turned in, than we had airplanes launching. Please gents, if you play, at least turn in your form. I’ve revised it to make it easier to use, and even if you think you are dead last, it helps validate the Electroglide and prove that we need to continue to have ownership of the field. Electrogliders are an essential part of SEFSD, so be a part and turn in your form to show our solidarity. I wont directly ‘call out’ the pilots I know who did not turn in the form, THIS MONTH. Next month, prepared to be harassed here if you do not turn it in. I wanted to add a personal note of thanks to those of you that thanked Richie for scoring. Your appreciation and respect means a lot to him, and he tries real hard to do a good job.
Bob Anson 225
Jeff Struthers 206
Bob Stinson 202
Jim Bonnardel 228
Pedro Brantuas 181
Jim Shelton 128
No entries in Easy Star class.
Honorable Mention: Steve Neu (flying Pedro’s ship in round 4) 78
points, top score for round 4.
So the members paved an airstrip, erected a grid of shade structures and work benches, and started flying, said Hill, the club’s current president.
Meanwhile, Pappas spent much of the last decade proposing an ever-evolving combination of “mixed-use” subdivisions for those 90 acres —- plans which were tarred and feathered back in 2005 along with the other two commercial developments that were collectively vilified as the “Three P’s.”
In last week’s column, I reflected on the beginning stages of the work that will transform southeast Fallbrook —- and on the furor that has all but dried up since those rowdy planning group meetings six and seven years ago.
All this time, the Palomar R/C Flyers have kept an ear to the proceedings, knowing that the fate of Johnson Field is tied to the fortunes of their corporate host. Out of four developers with claims to that pristine land, Pappas is the last one awaiting approval.
Hill said the club stays informed through a contact at Pappas, which has indicated it will be two to five years before the club is displaced by earthmovers and cement trucks.
“If it’s two years, we need to be finding a new field right away. It’s going to take us a lot of time to develop a new field,” he said. “Not only that —- the cost of building a new field is substantial … and we’re not a wealthy club, by any means.”
The way Hill sees it, Palomar has two potential new homes on the horizon. The first depends on the county’s efforts to establish a sprawling open space preserve along a nine-mile stretch of the San Luis Rey River.
According to the river park’s master plan, 1,600 acres of open space will encompass several “active recreational amenities” —- land-use language for things such as soccer fields and a model airplane runway.
“If the county would support an R/C park, that would be a really neat thing, because it could be available to all the clubs in the area, to all the people who are interested in flying,” Hill told me.
However, due to likely noise and space restrictions, a river park airstrip may not be a permanent fit for the Palomar club’s 200 members.
For that, Hill looks east, to Gregory Canyon, where a fiercely contested landfill proposal has seemingly been within a permit of breaking ground for decades.
To offset the environmental impacts of a solid waste dump, regulators have required thousands of acres be left as open space at the mouth of the canyon —- more than enough room for a couple hundred model airplane enthusiasts to spread their wings.
“Who’s to say what’s going to happen out there? That’s been in litigation for 20 years,” Hill said. “(But) they’ve been receptive to my suggestion that we might have a field out there.
“That would be an ideal place for a flying field, because there’s no residential (housing) around there,” he added. “We wouldn’t bother anybody.”
Hill concedes that any move away from Johnson Field will be a letdown.
“Look at how pristine it is out here,” he prodded with regret in his voice. “It’s so beautiful. I mean, this is just a lovely spot for us. It’s just nice to be out here. We are so fortunate to have this field, and we’ve been so thankful to the Pappas (Investment) Corporation, because they’ve been very, very gracious to let us use this land.”
Not everyone is saddened by the thought of the club’s departure: Across the freeway, some of the homeowners at Pala Mesa Villas have raised complaints about the buzzing of gas-powered airplanes that they say can be heard above the hum of traffic on the interstate.
“Twelve hours of that —- oh, man, it’s something else,” said Rich Dillon, a Villas resident of 23 years that described himself as “somebody who’s tired of listening to the noise all these years.”
“You can hear (the model airplanes) above anything. The gardeners go by with their weed blowers and I can still hear them,” Dillon told me. “I think this area in here is kind of like an amphitheater, because the noise really travels. People’s voices, coyotes, everything.”
Eventually, a different kind of noise will descend around Johnson Field, and the Palomar R/C Flyers will join the likes of the Fallbrook R/C Flyers, whose “Bonsall International Airport” was recently paved over by the state Transportation Department.
As Hill and I spoke on a picture-perfect afternoon, the Palomar College road crews continued their work nearby.
“Of course we see it —- the writing’s on the wall,” Hill told me. “Oh yeah, it’s very real. You see them start grading the road and you know it’s real.
“I don’t want to say we’re desperate. I haven’t actually pulled the trigger and emailed my field search committee to say, ‘Hey guys, we need to start.’ But I’m very close.”
Read more: http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/columnists/pfingsten/pfingsten-r-c-airplane-club-facing-last-few-years-at/article_5d05b20a-b5c6-5fd6-87e0-8640aea2d1a6.html#ixzz1lBM5Qh4T <http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/columnists/pfingsten/pfingsten-r-c-airplane-club-facing-last-few-years-at/article_5d05b20a-b5c6-5fd6-87e0-8640aea2d1a6.html#ixzz1lBM5Qh4T>
Early Saturday morning in a rainy Seattle, 0300 hrs local time. The location: Boeing’s historic Plant II – about to be torn down after three quarters of a century producing thousands of the most significant and historic airplanes ever built.
In preparation for demolition, three airplanes that have been undergoing Museum of Flight restoration in the factory’s assembly bays will have to be moved. Just as in days past, with lights and images reflecting off the wet pavement, the last three airplanes are rolled out. The giant hangar doors are raised, the tugs and tow bars are hooked up, and with lights flashing they are moved out of the factory and onto the historic ramp where so many have gone before. Then across East Marginal Way and out onto Boeing Field.
They are the last airplanes to roll out of these doors. Ever!
First out isn’t even a Boeing airplane – but rather a Lockheed Super G Constellation that flew for Trans-Canada Air Lines. The Connie is destined for the Air Park, next to Air Force One, after a Plant II stay of 1 year and three days.
Next is a Boeing B-17 – especially heart-tugging as she is the last B-17 to roll out of these doors. Boeing built 6,981 B-17s in this factory during WW II, at a peak rate of 16 per day. I guess you could say they built 6,981 and rolled out 6,982 – including this last ship – 65 years after her last sister.
A poignant moment in time
Museum employee and good friend Evan Elliott, driving the tug, knows he has just made history.
Finally, a Boeing B-29 rolls under the raised hangar doors and out into the dark and wet night. The very last airplane that will ever roll from this factory.
This Boeing B-29 is the “Last of the last.”
The now empty factory bays sit – silently awaiting their fate.
Everyone present knew they were witnessing history unfolding in front of their eyes. More than a few tears ran down more than a few cheeks, to mingle with the soft Seattle drops of rain.
A Boeing Plant II Primer
The ramp that these three historic airplanes roll across, and the building they leave, is one of the most historic aviation sites in the world.
Here, in April 1944, are the 16 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers produced in this building – that day – and every day!
(Click here for a personal note about those B-17s.)
In October 1944, the first Boeing XC-97 rolled out of these doors – later to become the C-97 transport, KC-97 Tanker, and B-377 commercial Stratocruiser. (Note the camouflage on the roof.)
During WW II, the plant was completely camouflaged to look like a residential area as protection against possible Japanese air attack.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, myriad B-50 bombers and C-97 Transports are being produced in this factory.
On 12 Sept 1947, a radical new airplane – the Boeing B-47 six-jet bomber Prototype is rolled out. This airplane is the direct lineal matriarch for all the jet airplanes Boeing has produced since.
In 1952, in the darkness and wet of a Seattle night, the Prototype Boeing B-52 8-engine Bomber is rolled out and across East Marginal Way. She’s shrouded in secrecy and covered by canvas and tarps. This amazing airplane is still in front-line combat service to this day.
Here 277 B-52s are being produced where the earlier airplanes once were assembled.
And, in 1966, the first Prototype Boeing twin-jet 737 was manufactured in this building and rolled out of these doors on to this ramp. This airplane is in the Museum’s collection. She’s the first of more than 8,000 737s built or ordered since then.
She, and 44 years later, the Super Connie, were my bit of Plant II experience.
And so today – History meets History as the last three airplanes roll out of these doors.
Boeing’s Plant II is truly aviation Hallowed Ground.
Note: The B-17 and B-29 went to hangars across the field; the Connie to the Air Park.
Here is another video.
Flyguy in HD
Dart with big brother
Otay Float Fly Feb, 12
Video from Otto’s T-28 during the race.
Don M. sent a video of the Joe Nalls Jets
RC Humming bird!? From Jack H.
Dick H. sent in his ultimate fantasy. 🙂
George S. took video of the indoor flying.
Chris W. sent a very nice video of the field.
The videographer and his plane.
Don R. took a video at blazing speed on his pylon racer.
Two more videos from Don here:
Electrolight2 Helps Vintage Gliders Motor Aloft (click pic)
Klaus Ohlmann Sets New Solar Records