Monthly Archives: May 2012

16 posts

June’s Bomb Drop

Mark your calendar June 23rd, 2012 as you do not want to miss it!

Pilots Meeting at 10:00 am, bombs start dropping right after.

‘Happy hour’ is directly after the last pilot gets his score.

This year we will be doing the bomb drop like we did last year, but there is an additional option this time.  The bomb drop for points will be virtually the same, with the exception of a “Minimum Drop Altitude“ marker. No one can go below the minimum drop height, so everyone is dropping from the same height, (or above) which is approx. the height of our wind sock pole. Like last year, the bomb drop hardware and bombs are provided. Everyone uses the same system for points. All you need to do is bring an airplane!

If you did not attend last year’s event, it’s really simple to play. All the hardware you need to play the game is provided, you simply show up with the airplane of your choice. The bomb drop hardware is simply a mounted wood dowel, about 3 inches tall. All you do is get the nut to slide off the dowel at the correct time and location. You get 3 drops for total score, and we use the same ground marker used for Electroglide. Last year we had guys dropping from virtually every type of airplane, Warbird scale, motor gliders, foamy 3D, trainers and sport planes, all using a variety of methods. Some guys looped, some rolled, some just did a short dive to bring the nuts off. About the only type of aircraft we did not see were Ducted Fans! It is very easy to participate, it was designed for everyone.

The additional event will be a “Happy Hour” where you get to show off your own drop hardware and bombs. There will be a “Pilots Choice” for the happy hour winner. So basically, you get an hour to show off, and entertain the crowd. The pilot that gets the most votes, wins. You can drop anything from any airplane you have, get creative and plan on entertaining the pilots. During happy hour, if you are not dropping, then you are not flying! You have all kinds of time to create some simple way of dropping any item you want. Be creative! Water Balloons, Parachute Guys, Bomb’s , Beans,  Confetti, etc. If it falls (and everything does) then you can come down and DROP IT!

Be sure to mark your calendar and plan on attending because I can promise you three things:

BIG Prizes, BIG Fun, and a BIG SANDWICH.

Big Sandwich

Subway Sandwiches will be making us 2, 6ft long appetite smashers. Come hungry, leave happy!

This is one of the biggest attended events we have for club members. You do not have to participate to come down and watch the fun, and have lunch. Come on down, drop stuff, be entertained, and cast a vote for the pilot who you thought did the best job for happy hour.

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The Prez’ Sez’ for May 2012

Frank Indoor First let’s talk about gate protocol………………..We all know that trying to enact “gate closed behind you” won’t work. So let’s be realistic about this……………IF YOU ARE THE LAST CLUB MEMBER TO LEAVE THE FIELD, CLOSE AND LOCK THE GATE. If you observe someone in a vehicle when you are about to leave, kindly inform them that you plan to lock the gate. If they refuse to leave……………..LOCK THEM IN!….I can assure you, they’ll find a way out.

Second…….SAFETY…….We had a close call and near miss involving a pedestrian and an out of control A/C a few weeks back. We all

Clean Carpetsknow that there are times when things happen that are out of our control, but ALWAYS keep this in mind. The aircraft you are flying doesn’t know how great or how poor a pilot you are! It only knows it’s last command. If you are flying something beyond your capabilities you are asking for trouble and if you as a bystander see this about to happen and don’t offer help or guidance YOU are letting an accident get ready to happen. ’nuff said

Third…….Station #7..( there is no such thing any longer)…If you feel you need the visual reference of being at the east most boundary of the field, then use that open area for your takeoff or landing. There is no model size restriction. Notice I said open area, as the fence is there for your protection, please use it! If you are struck by a wayward A/c and you are NOT behind the safety net, don’t expect the AMA to be very sympathetic. Or the club officers for that matter.

Fourth…………..Keep June 15th at 7-10 pm open for a new indoor experience at a new and very large facility!  Check out this pic. More info’ to follow……………….Have Fun……………….Be Safe
Semper Fi

Let’s all give Jim Bonnardel a big pat on the back for spending several hours cleaning the carpets for the rest of us!! THANKS JIM!! -Ed.

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Using a 3-D Aircraft Stabilizer



What products are out there?

Two of the powerful and relatively cheap solutions on the market now are by Feiyu Tech. Eagle Tree is also about to come out with a unit which at least on paper looks superior.

FY-20A was Feiyu Tech’s first dedicated stabilizer. Now available for about $75. It’s the only one I have used, so far.

FY-30A is their new unit. Available for about $125. It’s supposed to have much better performance, it can be used to stabilize a camera, and it can be re-flashed when software upgrades come out. It also outputs pitch and roll angle data via a data port, which is useful for FPV flight and for autopilots.

Eagle Tree is coming out with another one, the Guardian. It’s expected to sell for about $75, and be more powerful (and considerably smaller) than the FY-30A. It’s due to reach stores “late Spring” which I hope means by June 30. As soon as it becomes available, I expect it to push Feiyu Tech out of the market or to much lower prices. Keep that in mind when you make your buying decisions.

Some other manufacturers also have these devices, but AFAIK they are more expensive and not used as much. Stabilizers are also built-in or options for most autopilots. For example, Eagle Tree has a “Guardian Expander” for its popular data logging system ($55). Feiyu Tech has several autopilot systems that incorporate stabilization.

30A Gyro

Eagle Tree


Do they work?

The short answer is “Yes.” The rest of this note is my “long answer.” Remember I’ve only used the FY-20A so far.  Jim Bonnardel reports that the FY-30A is indeed superior, but I also talked with another club member who crashed with an FY-30A on its maiden flight. So some of my cautions about setup at the end of this article still apply.

3 modes of operation. This is the key to these devices, so I’ll try to explain clearly. Control the FY unit with a 3-position switch, which needs its own channel. The first position is “off,” the second is “3-D mode,” and the third goes by various names including 2-D, but amounts to “straight and level flight (S&L).” The 3D and S&L modes are completely different behaviors – it’s like having two different personalities.

The first and most important mode is “off.” Be very sure this works when you start out, because if anything goes wrong, you can go back to normal flying. There’s a “quirk” in the FY units that means the “off” mode does not always work – I will explain later.

The mode that I mostly use is the 3D mode. This uses the gyros to sense, and compensate for, any non-commanded changes in pitch, roll, or yaw. You still fly the aircraft normally, and it responds normally to your control sticks. But acrobatic maneuvers are much smoother, landings track very well, and so forth. I am now at the point where I customarily fly in this mode for about 80% of my flight time.

Here’s an example of what 3D mode does. Most aircraft have some adverse yaw when banking, which we either control by hand with the rudder, or use mixing to add rudder automatically. With a stabilizer, adverse yaw is automatically compensated for. When you roll right, any attempt by the aircraft to yaw left is countered by automatic rudder movement.

The S&L mode is intended for emergency recovery, and hands-off flying. Let go of the sticks, and the aircraft will recover from whatever it was doing and fly straight and level. You can also work the sticks to turn or climb, but only very slowly. For example to turn, you have to hold the stick hard over, and keep it there.


Bugs and problems

The FY-20A has some problems. Most serious, it has twice behaved in ways I cannot explain. (One of them was this week.) The temporary solution is to turn it Off and land asap. Size of the unit is a bit large for small aircraft. (Jim just cut a hole in his foamy!) Physically installing and removing is awkward, so you need another $100 unit in each plane.

Gain adjustment and control oscillation: If the gain on any channel is too high, the corresponding stabilizer will “hunt” back and forth around the proper setting. This works the heck out of the servo, and puts stress on the airframe. The gain is adjustable on the ground, but the best gain setting depends on the airspeed. (The new Guardian unit will have gain partially adjustable in the air.) So I have my gains set to be OK normally, but at top speed and especially in a power dive, I get aileron oscillation (looks like flutter) when in 3D mode. So I’m trying to train myself to turn the unit Off before going to high speed. Note that it’s the airspeed that matters, not the power level.

Servo wear and power consumption. When the stabilizer is on, it is constantly making tiny adjustments to the servos. You can hear this on the ground – if there is any wind blowing at all, you’ll hear servo movement even if it’s too small to see. This supposedly increases power consumption on the BEC, and may cause servo wear. I don’t know much about servos, and don’t know if this is real. When I switched from Spectrum to Hitec with telemetry, I decided I needed an external BEC on all my models anyway, so power consumption has not been an issue for me. (Current draw of the FY-20A itself is spec’d at 52ma at 5 v.)

S&L mode is somewhat sensitive to airspeed. As speed increases, you will start to climb. The technical reason is that the accelerometers can measure attitude, but not changes in altitude. At a fixed attitude, more airspeed = more lift = climb. This is inherent in the physics of flight. Only a true autopilot can deal with it (one which keeps track of the barometric altitude). I explain some of this at

Bad default on startup: This caused two early crashes, I suspect. When the FY-20A powers up, it starts in one of the stabilized modes! If anything is wrong with the unit or the setup, this means your plane will behave in unexpected/ incomprehensible ways. Checking that the transmitter switch is “off” won’t help, because the unit is  “on” anyway.


Setup and Use

Mounting: Put it in your plane, as near the 3-axis CG as convenient, with the arrow pointing either straight ahead, or straight back.  It should be as close to level as practical, although you will be able to “trim out” small deviations from level once you get airborne.

All MEMS accelerometers are sensitive to vibration. I’ve never found vibration to be a problem (with electric motors); just 2 strips of Velcro for mounting seems to provide enough vibration isolation. But each FY unit comes with an anti-vibration “trapeze.” It needs a lot of space to mount, and I have not found it necessary – so far.

Setup: Program an additional channel on your TX, tied to a 3 position switch. The channel should be set up similar to a “flaps” channel. Position 1 is no signal, position 3 is full motion, and 2 is a halfway signal. You might need to play with End Point Adjustment on your TX, but I never had a problem.

Connect the Aileron, Elevator, and Rudder channels on your RX to the appropriate stabilizer inputs. Then connect the actual servos to the corresponding stabilizer outputs. Therefore, it’s not convenient to switch these devices from one plane to another. Attach the new “control” channel from your RX to the appropriate input on the stabilizer. Caution: the pins on the FY-20A were not well designed (the FY-30A is better), and I always worry about bending a pin.

Now you have to adjust the gains on all 3 channels, using a Phillips screwdriver. Low gain on a channel means the plane responds more gradually to deviations in that axis. I won’t go into how to set them, except to say it’s best to start with low to very low gain settings.

Flight Conditions in your TX for turning stabilization on and off. This gets tricky, it’s not well documented, and it took me a while to figure out. They are the easiest way to take care of changing mixing, expo, end points, and other settings automatically when you change stabilizer mode. My TX (Hitec Aurora 9) makes them relatively easy. I have my old hand-flying setup as “Normal Condition,” and a “Stabilizer Condition” which shuts off  mixing, re-trims, and makes some other changes. The Flight Condition is selected by exactly the same switch that changes stabilizer modes. One big virtue of Flight Conditions is that trimming on the A9 is separate for each Condition. Since the stabilizer is hard to install exactly level in the aircraft, when I turn it on I would otherwise need to re-trim. See for an explanation of flight conditions.

Calibration is almost never needed. I calibrate when I first install. Thereafter, the manual recommends calibrating only when there is a large temperature change (20 degrees – I assume that is 20 Celsius). Around here, that is rare. I think I’ve recalibrated once since I got mine installed.



Test, test, test. I found out the hard way. On my first flight with the stabilizer, the aircraft acted erratically the moment it took off. I couldn’t control it, and ended up flying my Parkzone T-28 into the ground, breaking the fuselage. I rebuilt it, tried again, and flew a few circuits. But again something went wrong, and although I frantically flipped back and forth between Off and S&L modes, I crashed again. (This time the wing separated.) I was a novice flyer at the time; when something similar happened to me this week I was able to recover and after some trial and error got it working again.

The key test is simply moving the aircraft in three dimensions by hand, and watching what the servos and control surfaces do. Change the stabilizer mode, and do it again. Repeat. Run the motor up to full to see whether there is a lot of vibration. (If so, the red light on the FY unit will go on.)  Then try taxiing in different modes, although the control movements are too small to see at any distance.



Always know which mode you are in, especially S&L mode. Other than that, it’s ridiculously easy to use – try different maneuvers on the different settings to see what happens.


Preflight checklist:

The stabilizer is always connected between the radio and the servos, so there are no additional connections or adjustments before a flight.

•    Power up the transmitter and aircraft in the normal way. Check the lights on the stabilizer.
•    Test all 3 axes of flight control with the stabilizer in S&L mode.As you tip the aircraft, the corresponding control surface should try to compensate.
•    Then test all 3 axes again with the stabilizer OFF. It is very important to switch the FY units “On” and then “Off” again before takeoff. The reason is bad design – when it first powers up, the FY-20A defaults to S&L mode. Bad, bad, bad.
•    Check that the vibration light does not come when you run up the engine.
•    Taxi out normally.  Flip the stabilizer control to either 3D or Off before takeoff. Do not try to takeoff in S&L mode, because if anything goes wrong, you won’t be able to react quickly.
•    Take off, and go up to safe altitude before you change the stabilizer mode – just in case.

Landing: I am still experimenting. 3D mode seems to work very well for lining up and landing. S&L mode won’t let you line up (turning radius is too large), but once you are  in the groove you can switch S&L on and drop the power.

I will try to write a follow-up to this article in a few months, when I have gotten my hands on the Eagle Tree unit.  Until then, if you see me at the field I will be happy to let you fly my Trojan for a few minutes to check out the feel of the FY-20A.


Links for more information for running discussion of FY-30A. for announcement of the new, standalone, Guardian stabilizer from Eagle Tree. The other version, which only works with the data logger but actually exists and has been used a lot, is discussed at

The Next Big Thing 14

I can imagine myself in such a machine. It is so cool looking you could totally shut down any jerkoff in a Farrari.
I mean, come on, set down in a parking space. Open the canopy and step out with “attitude”.
You are totally “happening”, no doubt about it. James Bond WILL have one of these in his next movie!

There are many examples of tricopters throughout the years. Here is an example of a concept from
The former Soviet Union’s Mi helicopter division. It was a concept for a heavy lift helicopter to
service the needs of the expansion of Siberia. Siberia has no good roads and runways are very
difficult with the permafrost and freeze/heave and other geological issues. Hence, vertical lift
is a viable mode of transportation. This Mi 32 concept is absolutely MASSIVE in scale. It is
actually viable from an engineering perspective!  I am doubtful as to the cost-benefit ratio.


MI 32 14

On the other end of the spectrum, is a concept for a personal tricopter. I can see this as falling
into the FAA’s  Light Sport category. Intriguing idea for the adventurous. Low cost, high risk…

Light 14

Now , there is a fantasy element for on-line gaming and this Heavy Lift TriCopter is awesome.
I just love the leaking oil and “used”  look. A real “work horse” of a TriCopter.

Fantasy 14

I will wind this up with a dichotomy. This next image is the oldest image of a TriCopter I could
find. It is also , by far, the most futuristic concept as well. A tricopter saucer!

Future 14

I mean, come on!  Do you want to be on a bus?  I will PAY to be on THIS bus!

Until next month, on ” The Next Big Thing”

Rocket Bob Kreutzer

Electroglide Report for May 2012


Jim Shelton’s usual competition plane was out of commission, so he sported his Omega with a video camera hoping to get some neat footage of us searching for lift. I’ll post info if he uploads a video. Jim S did post a neat photo of a launch, you can see all the shadows of the planes heading up, a really neat perspective.

The general atmosphere at the Electroglide is truly something to be proud of gents, this is a competitive event, where all the competitors hope for the best for all. There are no ‘win win win’ attitudes or guys who want only to be the best, but more of a group of pilots all trying to best themselves and win the hunt for the thermal. You can hear it in the reactions when pilots start landing. Pilots are cheering for each other, congratulating each other on good flights and landings all day long. Its like we are all working the skies as a team, with individual scores. That really makes me proud to participate in Electroglide. We had a couple of pilots who tied for score, that that is pretty rare. Vince & Fred both had 140 pts exactly.

I had a 100% return on score sheets this time, GOOD JOB FELLAS!

Onto the scores:

Radian Class was as usual, the most active.

1st Place Bob Stinson 232 pts

2nd Place Matt Cage 156 pts (First time E-Glider)

3rd Place Norm Arndt 141 pts

In open Class, it was only myself and Bob Anson. As mentioned, Jim Shelton opted to be cameraman instead of competitor, thanks Jim!

1st Place Jim Bonnardel 176 pts

2nd place Bob Anson 73 pts

No pilots this month in Easy Star class.


SEFSD BOD Meeting for May


Tim reported on CAP events. Tim said that he would put together summer event for students and let the BOD know the schedule. Will see where pit goes.

Rolling of field looks good nice surface.

Signage delayed another month because Chuck was not present. Will have a resolution at the next meeting.

Discussed having a “rule of the month” Frank discussed a recent incident resulting in a crash which nearly hit bystanders. It was suggested that for June the rule of the month is “every member is a safety officer”.

Safety discussion regarding flying at “station 7” Frank proposed that sign be removed for safety reasons. 5 in favor to remove all sign from the east end of the field.

New business..still have money. Mike presented spread sheet to BOD members.

Membership reports We have 13 new members as of today . Discussed making special badges for BOD members. No action at this time.

Future events. Frank discussed the “wounded warrior” program which would be similar to the CAP program. Tim said there is a CAP event for July 7th discussed options for program for August meeting. Frank said he had some good leads for speakers.

Indoor update from Frank regarding possible indoor flying at the old National University sports center.

Newsletter…we still have a newsletter

Next meeting June 13
Meeting closed at 830

Response to Drone Article

By Wayne Walker

In the LA Times is one of the worst written and most biased articles on the subject of Models and Drones that I’ve ever seen or read a new low for LA-LA Times too.That’s not what the 2012 FAA Re-Authorization Act said or implied at all. The reality is that the sUAV subject is still under consideration, and the AMA only allows “Drones” in very limited usage and only within VFR flights. If you look at the Comments for that article, the LAT got a lot of the same reaction that I had, Reporter didn’t do his job checking his facts. Just another example of Sensationalistic Journalism!

See “Drone Article

Magnificent Videos for May



May 2012 Pylon Race

Pylon racing for May


MVF Float Fly

Mennifee Valley Flyers Float Fly


Smokin' & Flappin'

Smokin’ and Flappin’


This video sent in by Willy W.


F-35 ship trials


This video sent in by Gary F.

Incredible four minute footage of a desperate Spitfire vs. ME-109 dual. You feel like you are there! Amazing computer work blended in with real photography. 
Also an interesting factual story that most of us did not know. History is rarely ‘over’.
Now sit back and strap on your parachute harness … it is the Summer of 1940 over the skies of England. Listen to the perfect ‘purr’ of the Rolls Royce Merlin …
Watch this full screen. It’s very well done.  [BTW, the Brit is the guy with the mustache.]

The German

The German


This story sent in by Dick H.


B-52 Fly By

Craig H. sent this video

“I’ve never seen a bird shake water off like a dog does while in mid-flight, just after making a fresh catch.
I wouldn’t want to get in the way of him when he’s got his eyes locked and his talons in the “loaded”

There are 3 sequences in this one video:

1st sequence he catches half a dozen fish in one strike.

2nd sequence he plunges talons into deep water right to the bottom to
grab his prey.

3rd sequence he captures a big old fat fish that looks as if it weighs
more than he does!

This is best viewed in full screen mode…enjoy!”


Osprey Fishing


Gary F. thinks he needs one of these




These last two are downloadable Powerpoint documents:

The first from Gary F.

Strange Aircraft

Strange Aircraft .PPS


This one from Craig H.

U2 at Groom Lake

U2 at Goom Lake .PPS

Bomber Gas



Bomber Gas 2

He flew around a bit to get the feel of it and when he went to land he realized he needed a co-pilot to lower the landing gear. He crashed and totaled his plane and another on the ground. They wrote them both off as “wind damaged” and told him to pick out another. He talked a friend into being his co-pilot and off they went.


Bomber Gas 3

They flew to Palm Springs where Lacey wrote a hot check for gas. Then they headed for Oregon. They hit a snow storm and couldn’t find their way, so they went down below 1,000 feet and followed the railroad tracks. His partner sat in the nose section and would yell, “TUNNEL” when he saw one and Lacey would climb over the mountain.


Bomber Gas 4

They landed safely, he made good the hot check he wrote, and they started getting permits to move a B-17 on the state highway. The highway department repeatedly denied his permit and fought him tooth and nail for a long time, so late one Saturday night, he just moved it himself. He got a $10 ticket from the police for having too wide a load.


Bomber Gas 5