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ROBBLOG- Adventures in RC Aircraft
Monday, 10 July 2006
Analysis (note the word anal is in that word)
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Slipping the surly bonds
A month or so has elapsed since the first attempt, and I've used that time to work out in my head what went wrong and what I need to do to rectify it. To that end, I've come up with the following conclusions.

1) My choice of flying field was poor at best. I obviously need more room that 2 softball fields can provide.

2) Being a bit more observant (read patient) would have detected the radio interference problem.

3) A helper at the field would have been good.

So, I guess I still have to find a better site, and convince someone to share in my adventures.

Back to the old drawing board!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 6:23 AM EDT
Tuesday, 13 June 2006
This is flying?????
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Slipping the surly bonds
Well, yesterday, 12 June 06,I went flying. I went to Brady's run, where I found another spot, a double softball field which appeared to be more than large enough, surrounded by trees. I put the FC2 together, checked that the control surfaces were operating as normal, walked out to the right field corner, faced into the wind, brought the motor up to full power, and launched! The FC2 climbed well, and started to bank slightly to the left, so I added a bit of right elevon. Then some more, and more and more, and I realized that the FC2 was not responding to my control efforts. It promptly flew into the trees to my left. I found it lodged in a tree about 15 feet high. "So," I thought, "I'll just climb up and get it." YEAH RIGHT! My middle-aged butt wasn't getting up in that tree, no matter what I tried. So, I looked down and found a softball, and started to throw it at the plane, hoping to break a couple of the branches holding it up there. I DID eventually get it to a point which I could use a long branch to get it the rest of the way down. The Firebird Commander 2 did have a couple of dings in the wing, but seemed not much worse. So I walked back to the field, powered the plane up, and launched again. This time it climed steeply out, stalled, and flew into the chain-link fence. This time, it dinged the wing up a bit more. My next attempts resulted in flights into; the trees (again), the fence (again), the infield (port wing first), a couple into the out field, etc, etc. At this point I was a bit frustrated, my plane was fairly well damaged (wing mostly), and I couldn't quite understand why I couldn't get the plane to go where I wanted. It had invariably chosen it's own path, generally to the ground. (violently, I might add) So, I sat down in the middle of the outfield, transmitter off wondering what happed. I heard an odd buzz buzz sound. I stopped, wondering what the hell that was. Buzz, buzz. Buzz, buzz. I looked down at my somewhat mangled plane, and saw the elevons moving up and down to the sound. Radio interference? I then remembered that the radio frequency that the FC2 uses is 27.5 mHz, which is just .15 mHz away from CB channel 40. Someone was talking on a CB nearby, and apparently interfering with the FC2! So, maybe it wasn't TOTALLY my fault. Well, maybe just a little! Anyway, I take the plane back to my Jeep, and start to pack it back in the box, when I notice a County employee standing nearby next to his truck with a microphone in his hand. BINGO! Well, Now I need to figure out if the wing is repairable, and also fix the place for the battery inside the fuselage, a piece of foam had loosened up and the battery was moving about inside. This may have also contributed to the odd flights I was having. Anyway, check the photos in the gallery of the damage whilst I figure out what to do next.

Posted by rcrookie1 at 12:23 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006 6:11 AM EDT
Saturday, 3 June 2006
Vacation time!
Mood:  energetic
Topic: Slipping the surly bonds
On 7 June, 06 I get my second week of vacation. Summer vacation generally means that I end up working instead of having fun, but I think this one will be different. I have tickets to the NASCAR race in Pocono, but I'm not absolutely sure I'm still going. Anyway, back to topic, This 'll probably be my best opportunity to start flying, so I intend to take advantage. Yeah I know I've said that before, but at least I'll have summer weather this time. (I hope)
BTW, I seem to remember another possible flying site. At Brady's Run, I vaguely remember a couple of soccer fields at the far end of the park. I'll have to check on them this weekend to be sure, but I think they may be a good choice.

Posted by rcrookie1 at 3:14 PM EDT
Saturday, 13 May 2006
Recon Mission, Part 2
Mood:  cool
Topic: Prelude
Here's some of the sites I've looked at, and some comments on each.

1. Brady's Run, My favorite fishin' hole, and has a decent-sized place to fly. Problem is, that site is a walking area and was polluted with walkers just about every time I've been by the place. It just wouldn't be a good thing to accidentally fly into a walker.
2. Avonworth Park, Emsworth. No good place to fly even with the little-league fields. Nice park, though.
3. Old Economy Park, Economy. No suitable places to fly. One ballfield, sized for wiffle-ball, I think. Also, an open area that directly abutts a residential area. No bloody good at all.
4. Panek Park, Harmony. A possible. Two decent-sized baseball fields placed back to back. No signs prohibiting RC Flight that I could see.
Some might suggest the local high school field, but in my case, our wonderful school board decided that even with declining school attendance, declining population in town, and more senoir citizens per square foot than just about anyplace around, they just HAD to build a new high school there.
Go figure!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 10:59 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006 12:33 PM EDT
Wednesday, 10 May 2006
Recon Mission, Part 1
Topic: Prelude
Ok, for the 3rd time.........

While out last Monday, I decided to continue the recon of possible flying sites, the requirements for which are:
Enough open space to allow for making mistakes. This also means vertical space. I understand that one needs "two mistake" altitude. I would expand this to include lateral space, too. I think that there might be an issue with my plane flying toward me, and getting the controls reversed. Also, I certainly need no problems the the local police. Some places have regulations prohibiting RC aircraft. Last but not least, a lack of other humans nearby is necessary. If and when I do make a mistake, I don't want to have anyone making stupid comments, and if things should go totally wrong, flying an RC airplane into the body of someone would be very bad.

More to come.......

Posted by rcrookie1 at 7:14 PM EDT
Monday, 8 May 2006
Fer cryin' out loud!
Mood:  irritated
Topic: Slipping the surly bonds
Well, I DIDN'T go. Why? because I was, (in no real order) busy with house stuff, working on vehicles, sleeping. But it sure wasn't from a lack of trying. But I think I need to re-think my personal schedule, especially considering that I'm not currently tied up with college. (summer break) Seems that I sometimes have too many people pulling at me from too many directions. I sometimes wonder if maybe I'm the one who's priorities are screwed up.

Posted by rcrookie1 at 6:55 AM EDT
Wednesday, 3 May 2006
Antsy to fly!
Mood:  on fire
You know, it just kills me. Last weekend we had absolutely gorgeous weather! Which is to say, sunshine, light winds, low 70's temperatures. But did I fly? No. Why? Because I had other things that needed taking care of. My daily driver needed fixing, stuff around the abode needed tending to, and I had to study for finals. But those things are all taken care of. And now, I have made a decision. I'm the decider. (OOPS, sorry, dubya!) No, if I get even marginal weather this coming weekend, I'M GOING! Come hell or high water, I'm goin' flying! I have been reading Backyard Flyer recently, and now I'm fired up to go. Of course, Crystal is working this weekend, so my co-pilot won't be there, and this will certainly make the range check difficult at best, but DAMN IT, I'm going to do this! I've been scouting possible locations for this august occasion, and a few promising sites have been found, and I have a few more to look at, but the time is coming soon. CYA in a few days with hopefully some video of my 1st sucessful flight! Or, some shattered foam. We'll see.

Posted by rcrookie1 at 2:56 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006 3:02 PM EDT
Sunday, 23 April 2006
Spring's Here!
Mood:  energetic
Topic: Slipping the surly bonds
Well, it's spring in Western PA, the tulips in the front yard are blooming, the mud in the back is well, muddy, and I'm still looking forward to flying for the first time. Thankfully, this semester @ college will be over in 5 days, and I will have some more time available, at least. SS at work was asking about flying the other day, and I could not relate any stories. I suspect that will change soon. STAY TUNED!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 8:56 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006 7:21 PM EDT
Monday, 13 March 2006
Mood:  irritated
Topic: Slipping the surly bonds
Well, 9 total days of vacation, and not one single decent day to fly! And I wasn't being all that picky, either. I guess I shouldn't have expected TOO much from mid-March. Oh well!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 6:08 AM EST
Saturday, 25 February 2006
Could it be........ that time?
Mood:  on fire
Topic: Slipping the surly bonds
Haven't been to the blog for a while, not like anyone's actually lookin' at this anyway, but......

Taking my 1st week of vacation the week of spring break at school, 6 Mar 06. Unless the weather is absolutely terrible, I'm going to fly that week!

Or try to anyway!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 4:36 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 25 February 2006 4:38 PM EST
Sunday, 29 January 2006
This might be good.
Mood:  surprised
Topic: Organized?
Got my first issue of Model Aviation from AMA. Pretty good mag! It has lots of stuff like reviews and how-to's, and it just about completely covers the spectrum of flying model aircraft. I'm not sure if it makes the AMA membership completely worth the cost, but it's VERY GOOD!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 2:54 PM EST
Monday, 16 January 2006
The Pics!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Photos!!
If you check the link to the left, you'll find the photo gallery. I posted some shots of the FC2. you can also view them by clicking the link below
The image gallery

Posted by rcrookie1 at 10:46 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 16 January 2006 10:47 AM EST
Some of the players
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Prelude
I guess I should have done this earlier, since anyone who actually reads this might like to know who I'm talking about. Here is a possibly not complete list of the principal players......

Crystal - My wife, best friend, and inspiration. Certainly the most influential person in my life. Also, scarily similar to me, since we have the same interests, likes & dislikes, and life experiences. Marrying her was kinda like marrying myself. Is that legal?

AG, BT, DG, SS, DR, JW, and others so named....
Anyone referred to with a 2 letter designation is most likely someone I work with, or anyone else I feel would not like to be named in a blog, although their contributions will be duly noted, good or bad.

Betty - Mother-in-law. A sweetheart, but sometimes a pain.

Mike - My brother, a good human. We were closer in the past, but since we've "grown up", were not quite as close.

That's all I can think of for now, if I need to , I'll add to the cast of characters.

Posted by rcrookie1 at 10:14 AM EST
Saturday, 14 January 2006

Mood:  not sure
Topic: Slipping the surly bonds
Well, I HAVE'NT slipped the surly bonds.......yet. Problem is, I work full time @ night, and go to college 5 days/week in the days, so it doesn't exactly promote my new-found obsession. I DID however, find what looks to ba a good spot to practice in at the college. I just hope they're not gonna give me a problem w/ flying there.

We'll see................................

Posted by rcrookie1 at 3:11 PM EST
Hams on parade! Or at least one, anyway!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Legalities
Got the license today, This time I have to remember to get it put in its frame, and have the wallet size copied and laminated.

Posted by rcrookie1 at 3:03 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2006 3:07 PM EST
Sunday, 1 January 2006
Losing your memory is a terrible thing!
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: Legalities
I decided that since I was evetually going to be operating on 50 mHz, I better find my license. Well I couldn't. I had recently renewed it, and had not quite gotten to putting it in its frame and laminating the wallet card. Had to pay 9 bucks to get a new copy. I guess that's what happens when you get old.

Posted by rcrookie1 at 9:02 PM EST
Saturday, 31 December 2005

Mood:  cool
Topic: Organized?
Got notification of my interim AMA membership yesterday. So, is it worth it? We'll see. The by-laws says I need to put my membership number (850865) on or in the aircraft. I think I'll put it on the wing. I just wonder if the wing's big enough!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 1:50 PM EST
Thursday, 29 December 2005
Hamming it up
Topic: Legalities
As a licensed amateur radio operator I am aware that there are frequncies available to hams who are also RC flyers. This was one of the reasons that I decided to get my license 10 years ago. Unfortunately, I will have to wait a bit longer to actually use the 6 meter band (50 mHz) to fly since the Commander only has 27 mHz on it and it is not changable. I'm sure when the time comes that I can use the 50 mHz happens, Dr. Ron will be pleased! BTW, Dr. Ron is a friend of mine who first got me involved in a lot of the things that still hold my interest these days. The above-mentioned ham radio, computers, Civil Air Patrol, (another story for another time) and others. Now, what I hear about the situation at the flying field re: frequencies is only what I read, but I understand that sometimes it gets a bit "crowded" when a few RC pilots show up. I figure that having the 6 meters to fly on will be a great advantage. Can't wait till I can use it!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 3:05 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006 9:53 AM EST
Where to start?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: Organized?
Well, it occurs to me that one way to get help is to find a like-minded group of people to (hopefully) learn from. This is a tactic that I've have tried in the past for various interests, with unfortunately, limited success. Wait, let me re-phrase that. I've learned a great deal form most organizations that I have belonged to, it's just that most of the time, human frailties and politics end up getting in the way of actually enjoying belonging to a club. But, as I am the ETERNAL optimist, I am always willing to try again, so as of now, I am signed up for an "introductory" membership in the AMA (no not the American Medical Association, but the Academy of Model Aeronautics) at $19.00 for 3 months. The reason that I did the intro membership is twofold. One, AMA regular membership is BLOODY EXPENSIVE at $58.00/year. Two, I like the idea of "trying on" the AMA to see if it'll be worth it. To be sure, there are numerous benefits to AMA membership, from liability insurance (gotta have that these days, since everyone wants to sue!) to club magazines, and other things. I'm not sure yet as to how this all actually works out, but I'm sure they'll tell me when I get my membership info in a few days or so. The thing about RC flying (I assume) is having a place to fly. This is where joining a local club may be an advantage. I've heard stories on how many local municipalities have banned RC aircraft in many local parks. I'm not sure about in my own local area (Beaver County, PA), but that's another issue. I'll be in the coming weeks, looking at model aircraft clubs. According to the AMA web site, there are seven within 15 miles of my home, and one less than 5 miles away. the question is do I join, and which one? HMMMM. Guess I have some more thinking to do.

Posted by rcrookie1 at 1:41 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006 9:51 AM EST
Well, here goes!
Mood:  energetic
Topic: Prelude
This blog represents two things I have been thinking about doing. One, blogging, is something I've thought about for a couple of years, but never really had a good subject to do it on. That was changed on 25 Dec 05, when my wife, better half, and best friend, Crystal presented to me as a Christmas (no political-correctness here!)gift a HobbyZone Firebird Commander2 RTF RC airplane. Now, this is something I've been wanting to try for about 20 years ever since I saw a neighbor fly his ducted fan F4 Phantom around the apartment complex that we both lived at. But RC was something that always got pushed to the background since there was always something else more important to do with my money. But things are a bit different now, and although my time (and money) is somewhat limited by work and the fact that I also attend classes at a local college in preparation for a career change, I can have a little fun now, and I can't think of a better way to do so than a new hobby. But as I always say.... "If you can't do it right, why bother?" So, that being said, here's where the whole adventure starts!

Posted by rcrookie1 at 12:42 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005 1:05 PM EST

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