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Friday, November 28, 2014

Video Showcase: 48" and 60" Edge EXP Bonanza

We got behind on posting video again, but that's what happens when you live in Florida and have a talented group of video guys who are always at the field!

As you can see, I've been flying both sizes of Edge a lot. I've been recovering from some surgery, and as such I needed the easiest flying thing I could get my hands on. Both sizes of Edge fit the bill really well here, though the 60" version is far more pilot friendly. Neither has any kind of bad manners or difficult characteristics, and this is just what I needed.

Some of these video have been on RCG, but they kind of got filed away and not blogged until I had enough for another article. I probably should have put them in a miscellany post, but with five videos it makes a nice Edge presentation.

48" Edge EXP and Hitec's New HS5070MH Servos
The second half of the year, for a lot of reasons, has been an utter blur. Lost in the blur were two 48" Edge EXP videos. These were made using Hitec's new 5070MH (metal gear, high voltage) servos, running on 7.4 volts.

Somewhere between shooting this video, and then moving the servos over into my 48" MXS, I put the footage in a safe place and simply forgot about it! If you follow the blog you already read about it, but if not, read how well these servos work in the MXS  by clicking here.

For a lot of reasons the first HV video we shot were not very good and I didn't air the plane and servos out like they deserved. For these videos, I was feeling much better, and you can see how hard you can push the plane when you have this kind of torque and speed.

I think the older analog servos are still just fine for extreme aerobatics, but these new HV servos are more powerful and don't work as hard to keep up. For that reason alone I suspect they will be more reliable, which was beginning to become a problem with the analogs. They were just never designed for this kind of stress, though the HV servos are.

Bonus Footage: Edge with HS65 and 85MG Servos
I did not have enough HV servos to go around, so I cannibalized the ones out of the Edge to put in my new MXS. To get the Edge back in the air, I set it up with HS65MGs, along with an HS85MG on the elevator. Now I was able to fly the plane back-to-back with first HV and then standard analog servos. The funny thing is that the HV servos wowed me when I first tried them, so the question at this point is: will the analogs now be disappointing?

Surprisingly, no. The plane still flies just fine, though it is not as crisp at high speed in big deflection maneuvers. The extra torque comes in very handy at high speed when you have such large controls to move. As such, the plane is not quite as good for super extreme aerobatics, but for most people I think the old analogs are still just fine. When we have the next quantum leap in battery or power system technology, then the faithful old HS65MGs will no longer be up to duty in these planes.  They are still good enough that I plan to use up what I have, but anything new I build will be high voltage servos.

There's also the sphere of the latest and greatest, It makes some people crazy if they don't have the latest and greatest, biggest and most bad ass of everything, so for those folks, nothing but the HV digital servos will do. However, just because a better servo has come out doesn't mean the old ones will suddenly stop working. The analogs still work really well in this plane, though HV is certainly the next step forward in the evolution of the 48" EXP.

Team America Huckin from Doc Austin on Vimeo.

Nothing beats that final 10 minutes of flying time after the sun goes down behind the hill at SPARKS.

Edge EXP Red Sky from Doc Austin on Vimeo.
Double Bonus: More 60" Edge EXP
Meanwhile, my 60" Edge is grinding away and racking up the flights. I stopped counting the flights so I have no idea how many she has, only it's a lot. Here are two videos we shot and posted on RCG, but for some reason they never made it to the blog.

I am, especially pleased with the first video for a few reasons. We shot right after a big thunderstorm had moved out, and the air was thick and dead calm. The sky was simply beautiful and I was having a reasonable day flying. We also had a nice HD camera on hand, so everything came together in one of those rare videos that I did not find a lot of fault with. Certainly I am always looking to do better, but it is nice to get one every so often that I can simply be satisfied with.

My Edge continues to use Hitec 5245MG servos and they are working well. I broke the rudder servo case in a ground strike by throwing the plane into a "wall" maneuver too low to the ground, but I fixed that easily enough just by replacing the case top. I used to send them off to Hitec for that kind of thing because I don't trust my own work, but this time I wanted to fly it so badly that I wasn't going to wait. I don't remember exactly what the case cost, but I think it was around $5 or so. It only took about 15 minutes to pull the servo, fix it and get it back in the plane, and it was so simple that I feel a bit silly I did not try it earlier.
Eventually I will switch this plane (and the rest of the 60" fleet) over to Hitec HS7245MH servos, but at $70 apiece that has to wait until all of my 5245MGs get some ageing. I am also waiting to see if Extreme Flight will make a high voltage Airboss ESC, and if so, that will allow me to run the servos on 7.4 volts without having to wire up a separate BEC.

Edge EXP Just Fly from Doc Austin on Vimeo.

I am probably going to put the Edges away for awhile because I have been flying them so often the other planes in the stable are getting dusty. These have been very trusty airframes that have always served me well. I can always count on the Edges to look after me if I am having a bad day or otherwise not flying well. A lot of times I would have wrecked anything else. simply because the Edges are so forgiving.

I am starting to lean more and more toward the 60" class airframes and am awaiting a new 60" Extra. I'll be using the Hitec 72256MH servos in that plane (though I hate using a separate BEC), so keep an eye on the blog for that report.


Friday, November 14, 2014

November 2014 Miscellany

So much crazy stuff is going on that it is hard to keep up with documenting all of it, but that's where a miscellany post comes in handy.

With the end of the year approaching, we are going on four awesome years flying Extreme Flight planes and accessories exclusively, six years flying Torque motors and Airboss speed controllers,  and six years of representing  Advanced Energy's Thunder Power brand. It's all been so much fun it sure doesn't seem like it has been that long.

Both have been incredible partners and we hope to keep this going for many more years.

Next Project_ 60" Extra EXP
It was a really hard decision, but I am going to go with another 60" Extra. I've got the space/finances for one last 60" plane, but they are all so good that I could not decide what to do.

 I've been flying my 64" MXS all week, and it remains the best plane I have ever owned. My Yak is still sort of new, so we are in the honeymoon period and I am really crazy about it. I also took the Edge out so I could compare all three back-to-back. In the end, they are all so good at what they do that it almost doesn't matter which one you get.

I had a bad time deciding which color 60" Yak to get because I wanted them both. I was originally going to get the Russian Thunder to compliment my yellow/blue, but I am not so paranoid about having backup planes any more. I can get one in two days and build it in seven hours, so it is not like the old days when it took four months to build and cover a kit. If I tear up a plane, I can replace it in less than a week.

As such, this means instead of having a few back ups, I can just get one of each, and right now in a 60 size I am missing the Laser and the Extra. I had a 60" Extra, but I was forced to sell it to a friend so I could finance another project, and to make storage space for it. I have always regretted that decision (though I am happy my friend loves it so much), and have vowed to get another one.

Some of you may remember my previous Extra. I flew it really hard and every day in the summer of 012 torture testing a pre-production Torque 4016/500. It took a lot of really hard usage, though in all that time it never had a single hard landing just because it was such a dream to fly. Having to run the motor hard meant lots of full throttle running, and this gave me the opportunity to work on my slow and point rolls, and also try to get all my flying looking a lot smoother. I need to get back to that, so it's time for another big Extra.

He is my previous Extra after I restored it with some new wheel pants and SFGs, a little heat from the trim iron and a few coats of wax. This was after the plane had probably 500 flights on it, so you can see that an Extreme Flight EXP will hold up really well with a reasonable amount of care

Of course I will be using one of my trusty Torque 4016/500 MkII motors, or maybe I will just buy a new one. Either way, it's going to be the Torque. Right now I am a bit up in the air for the speed controller because I want to run 7.4 volts to the servos, and currently the Airboss 80 is only good for 6 volts. I may run a separate Castle BEC, or I might go with a Castle Talon 90, which has a 7.4 volt capable BEC built in. I like to keep things really simple, so I am leaning toward the Castle.

The servos are going to be a little different this time, though. I've been using HS5245MG servos in all my 60s, and they have been very good, but it seems Extreme Flight is recommending higher voltage (7.4) servos for these planes now, and especially the 7245MH.

Hitec was kind enough to provide a set of their 7245MH servos for this project, so a big thanks to them.  Most guys have been setting their BECs to deliver 8 volts to these servos and are loving the extra speed and torque. I've flown a friend's 60" Laser with these servos and they were definitely an improvement. We will see how much of an improvement this is when I have them in my own plane that I can push hard.

From what other pilots are telling me, servo centering is not even close and the 7245MH is streets ahead. This kind of laser precise centering will make the plane trim out and stay trimmed out, which is just what you need when you are running the ridiculous throws were are. If you are a little off at the servo, that ends up being a long way off at the control surface. I'm really looking forward to opening this new plane up and seeing how well she tracks. She was really good before, but with better servos it's should be even more be mega

Motor Type: Coreless
Bearing Type: Dual Ball Bearings
Speed (6.0V/7.4V): 0.13/0.11
Torque oz./in. (6.0V/7.4V): 72 oz-in/89 oz-in
Torque kg./cm. (6.0V/7.4V): 5.2 kg-cm/6.4kg-cm
Size in Inches: 1.28 x 0.66 x 1.29
Size in Millimeters: 32.4 x 16.8 x 32.8
Weight oz.: 1.20
Weight g.: 34.0

Thunder Power Supply
More correctly that would be Thunder Power Power Supply, but you get the idea. I've had a
Thunder Power TP1527PS power supply for a year or so and have been alternating between using that and my Solid Hobbys unit.
For you spec hounds, click the link above, but I never concern myself with those things. I just use it and it does everything I ask from it. It runs cool and quiet, even in the Florida heat. It is not quite as powerful as my other power supply, but I like how compact it is, and also it's a Thunder Power product. 
All of these power supply/charger combinations are unwieldy to carry around and set up, not to mention they have a mess of wires to contend with. Seen below is how I have been using the two pieces together. It's a nice matching set, very professional looking, which is important for me since I represent Thunder Power.
The only problem is the same with every other power supplies I have seen have to break everything all down and carry the two pieces separately when loading and unloading your gear, dragging the wires behind you.  Like this the unit merely rests on top, and if you try to carry the two together the charge will simply fall off.
I discovered that if I turn the power supply lengthwise, my TP820CD charger sits neatly on top with sides of the charger extending down and cradling the sides of the power supply, almost like it was made to fit that way (which it may have been). I attached the two together with some Velcro, and now I can carry it as a single unit, and the whole unit takes up less space at the crowded charging stations at the club field.
Now I just unplug it and carry the thing as one piece. Set up like this I take it out of the car and use it without having to struggle with all the wiring and all. I set it on the bench and it's ready to use. It's kind of like having a charger and power supply all on one, but I simply pull it apart if I want to use the pieces individually.
It's a bonus the wiring is also a bit more compact and neat. It's neater and looks better this way. I'm going to play with it like this for awhile and if I like it I'll shorten up the wires from the charger to the power supply and make the unit even more neat and tidy.
As you can see, there are two USB ports on the end. Not having a cell phone, I didn't understand the significance of this until it was pointed out to me you can use this thing to charge your cell phone up while you are flying, or any other time for that matter. Now I am going to have to get a cell phone so I can charge it with my TP2527PS!
Well, you knew there was going to be a flight video, right?
This is my very trusty 48" Yak. I built this plane to test some development pieces I can't talk about just yet, so it was unfortunately expendable from the very beginning. I've dumped it a few times and broke three or four landing gear, blew out the motorbox, and ripped the rudder clean off the plane once. Still, I have stayed on top of the repairs so they didn't add up, and she remains a very attractive airplane. Ordinarily I would not go to so much effort because it is so easy to build a new one, but this particular plane flies so well that she won't be done until she has a very righteous and violent death.
As such, I fly her in a manner that guarantees a Viking funeral.......just not too soon, I hope.

Yak EXP More Stupid Yak Tricks from Doc Austin on Vimeo.
While we're at it, let's flash back to our last video with my wonderful 60" Extra. I can't wait to get another one going.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Miscellany

Edit: We've been having so much fun that time got away from me and October'ss miscellany post ended up in November!

It's time to tie up loose ends again with another Potpourri of miscellany.

Team America Edge 540T EXP
Well, someone had to do it, didn't they? Team America World police is one of my very favorite movies, so I snicked the logos off the old internet, took them to the local sign shop and had some printed up. I think the Edge's red/white/blue scheme lends itself well to the Team America theme, **** yeah!
Click To Enlarge

These decals are printed on 3M High Performance vinyl, which is extremely easy to work with. This is not the air-release type of vinyl (which is thicker, heavier and more expensive), so I had to be careful not to trap any air under the decal. This is where Rapid Tac and a good rubber graphics squeeqie are so helpful. I start at one end and squeegee out the Rapid Tac, and most of the time any air goes with it. Occasionally you can get a bubble, but if you work slowly you can catch it in time to lift a little of the decal up so it can escape. I have also found that it helps to hold one end higher and work toward that end....because air always tries to go up to escape fluid.

While we are at it, I did a Team America Yak awhile back but did not have an opportunity to put it in a blog report. Here it is:

Click to Enlarge

I'm working on some more Team America stuff but everything takes time, and I've got a few projects ahead of that, including a new 60" Russian Thunder Yak with 7245MH servos.

B and E Graphics "Radial Engine"
The new Extreme Flight 60" Yak EXP has already surpassed my wildest expectations, so I wanted to bling it out a little. I measured the cowling and sent the dimensions to B and E, and they shrunk their giant scale radial decal down to fit.

You can get your own here: B and E Graphics Radial decal

With a little Rapid Tac decal solution the decal slid into place and from there I used a vinyl squeegee to get all the fluid and air out. I knew the decal would look great, but it's surprising how realistic it is from just a few feet away. This is a very righteous upgrade and well worth the time.

Click To Enlarge

I had toyed with the idea of cutting the whole front out and putting a fake vacuum formed formed radial engine in the front, but that would present too many opportunities to screw it up and ruin an expensive cowling. This solution only took a few minutes and you can see how very well worth it the effort turned out to be.

Click To Enlarge

Red Extra Retired
Sadly my beloved red Extra EXP has gotten so beat up and raggedly looking that I passed it off to one of my friends and will be building a new one soon. This was the last video we got with it, and probably my best Extra video ever. I'm really looking forward to shooting more with a shiny new one.

Extra EXP EPIC from Doc Austin on Vimeo.

I've got a new kit sitting out in the garage, but this time it will be a little different. I've got three HS5070MH servos and one HS5087MH servo (for the elevator) set aside and this will be my first experiments with an HV Extra. I've tried these servos with really good success on an Edge and an MXS, so I am really looking forward to flying this plane.

Someone Had To do It
A few years ago someone told me it would be impossible to put flight to Pink Floyd's Echoes. The first concert I ever attended was Pink Floyd's Meddle and Obscured By Clouds tour in, I think, July 4th, 1971, and Echoes was part of that.  Since I was in the company of a fine lady, there were a few other firsts that night (use your imagination), it was a memorable evening. Echoes has always been a huge favorite and the challenge of putting it to flight was too big to pass up.

I have done several "Echoes of" videos, and when I had enough MXS footage from the same day, it was time to try it again. We shot three flights as close together as possible so the lighting would not change much, but that did not work out as we intended. Instead, we shot too late in the day and flew into a brilliant sunset. Things actually worked out really well that way because the video is visually stunning and the music suits it extremely well. I could have been happier with the flying, but that's always the case, and the MXS is just bad ass under all conditions.

Someone had to do it, and it was us.

Sucks Getting Old
Finally, thanks to everyone who wrote, called or dropped by the field to check up on me and wish me well after this summer's medical misadventure. It was a horrible experience, but thanks to God that it is over and (hopefully) that's the last of that sort of thing I will go through for awhile.
Thanks for reading my blog and please tell all your friends about it.