Thursday, June 01, 2006
While flying with a friend of mine in my hometown in Texas in May 2006, his Kaos experienced flutter and crashed. What is flutter?
Flutter is a phenomenon that occurs when the airflow over the control surfaces of the airplane gets disrupted. This normally happens with the ailerons in radio controlled aircraft but can also happen with the elevators and the rudder.
Alvin’s Kaos was powered by an O.S. .46FX with a Performance Specialties muffler. The airplane was extremely fast! Flutter has an unmistakable sound. It sounds like a loud vibration because that is basically what it is. While looking through the wreckage of Alvin’s plane, the right side elevator was not connected to the horizontal stabilizer. While it is true that the elevator could have pulled loose due to the crash it is more likely that flutter caused the elevator to pull out.
There are a couple of ways to help control flutter. The first and most obvious solution is to make sure the control surfaces are faired smoothly into their respective flying surface. For instance, when you attach an aileron, make sure you sand the back of the wing and the front of the aileron where the air will flow smoothly from the wing over the aileron.
I used to fly an airplane called a Super Duper Joy Stick. The ailerons had a very bad habit of fluttering. To deal with this, several of us that flew the kit attached counterweights to the bottom of the ailerons. This seemed to help. Another thing that may help flutter is to attach a piece of tape or iron on covering across the length of the control surface where it hinges. For example, put a strip of tape lengthwise covering a small portion of the elevator and the horizontal stabilizer. This will help the air flow more smoothly across the control surfaces.
If you hear flutter, immediately pull back on the throttle and up on the elevator to slow the plane down. If you don’t, the plane will disintegrate in a very short time.
Friday, March 03, 2006
I probably fly more than anyone at the Utah Modelport and I lost three airplanes this year due to radio interference. The first was my own design, the Venture which is featured on my website. The second was toward the end of the summer flying season, my Bridi Killer Chaos. The third was only a few weeks after my Killer Chaos, it was my customized Bridi Utter Chaos. Not only have I lost airplanes but radios and engines as well. I have also seen several others lose control of their airplanes at the modelport resulting in severe crashes. Many of these were by pilots who are very experienced.
A young man that works at one of our local hobby shops looks at me like I'm crazy when I tell him we have some serious interference going on, intermittently, at our field. I work with a fellow who is the president of an RC club in Davis county, a few miles to the north of us and they have also had the same problems.
While getting a haircut from a barber that is learning to fly RC, we were discussing this problem when another patron told us his son works for a communications company that is about a half mile from the modelport. He thought that might be the source of our problem.
- - - - - - - - - BREAKING NEWS - - - - - - - - - -
John Byrne, one of our local RC pilots was informed by Toole county's radio repairman that we do have a serious interference problem at the modelport. John had told him of the problems we have had so this fellow took his radio gear to the modelport. He said that there is a tremendous amount of radio "noise" and there were some severe spikes in the 72 mhz band. I called the communications company nearby and they said all they use is microwave equipment. The man I spoke to suggested I check with the Utah Air National Guard who is even closer to us than they are. The Utah Air National Guard does have a lot of satellite dishes and antennas. I will have to call them and see if they can check their equipment to see what is going on. Until then, everyone at the modelport flies at their own risk.
It is nice to know that I'm not crazy! We have been very lucky that someone has not been seriously wounded or killed by uncontrolled radio controlled aircraft. I am hoping that the radio technician can bring out his directional antenna so we can find the source of our interference. If we don't, someone could easily be killed by a runaway plane.
Monday, February 27, 2006
My brother went with me and the evening before, we drove over toward Marfa, Texas to see the Marfa mystery lights. If you ever get out to the Big Bend area of Texas, check out these mysterious lights. So far, no one has been able to come up with a plausible explanation of what they may be. There have been several that have made hypotheses but none of them really check out. My brother and I sat and watched the lights move around for a couple of hours. Reportedly, these lights have been seen since at least the time of the first white settler in the area in 1883!
At Apache Ranch, Jim flew and let me fly his Ugly Stick. His airplaneis over ten years old, weighs in at thirteen pounds and is powered by an O.S. Max .91. The Stick flies great! Not many people can say they are still flying the same airplane after more than ten years! My brother and I really appreciated Jim and his wife, Jo's kindness and friendliness. When we got to the ranch, Jo had cooked up some lunch which was very nice. We saw all kinds of deer while we were on the ranch. It looks like it would be a great place to get that once in a lifetime deer! I had planned on staying longer but my brother had to get back home so he could get to work the next day. Next time, I plan on spending at least a couple of days flying at Apache Ranch.
A few days later, I was about 400 miles away at my Dad's and I flew with Alvin Byers. Alvin went to school with my younger brother. His dad, Benny used to work together some in the construction industry around Spearman, Texas. I used to fly at the airport in Spearman with Don Piatt. Don taught me to fly years and years ago. We were about the only RC pilots in Spearman for a long time. Don Rice of Borger, Texas trained Alvin to fly. Don was the first man I ever knew that had an RC camera plane and that was at least 25 years ago! He also hadone of the first RC helicopters I ever saw. Alvin is doing great and is flying oneof my favorites, a Kaos! And, boy is that thing a screamer! My Giles 202 with the O.S. .61 is fast but it won't keep up with Alvin's Kaos. Alvin is flying his Kaos with an O.S. .46 with a muffler from Performance Specialties. He said the muffler made all the difference in speed on the Kaos. It is quite impressive!
While we were flying on our good second day, Robert Reed was at the airport and was about to take his homebuilt airplane up for a flight. I graduated from High School with Robert's sister, Stephanie. Robert's airplane looks GREAT! At the time I took these photos, he had a total of eight hours on his plane. He said it took him about a year to build. I was sure glad I was able to get a few good days of flying in while I was in Texas. Usually, in the Texas panhandle, the wind blows so much you are limited as to when you can fly but things worked out well on this trip!
Sunday, January 01, 2006
One of our local RC pilots, Jerry Kitchins told me a few days
ago that it is a tradition to have a fun fly here in Salt Lake City every New
Year's Day, no matter what the weather turned out to be like. Fortunately, the
weather couldn't have been better this year; 45 degrees, the sun shining and
as clear a sky as I have ever seen. The fresh snow on the mountains from the
night before sure made for some incredible scenery! I hope that this kind of
weather will prevail this winter so we can have many more flying days but that
sure makes it hard to get those winter building projects done.
Here are photos from New Year's Day at the Utah Modelport: