Tuesday, May 30, 2006

9th and 10th flight debrief

I'm now hovering the entire duration of the pack. I'm using the new Align 16C 2100 mAh and getting at least 10 minutes of flight time with them. I probably could get more but I've programmed my Hitec Optic 6 to have a 10 minute count-down and I generally abide by it.

Here's a post-flight photo:

Those of you with sharp eyes will notice one thing that I have changed since the last set of Trex photos. (Hint, the photo's centered on them)

Answer: I've moved my flybar weights from the outermost position on the flybar to the innermost, close to the mainshaft.

As you know, the flybar weights dampen the motion of the flybar and thereby stabilize the Trex. What I've been noticing lately is that this dampening equates to what I would describe as "stick delay", I move the stick, wait a little bit, then the Trex will move. I've started to really pay attention to this stick delay on the last couple of flights and it started to bother me. I think I would over-control because I would move the stick, not see anything, then move it some more resulting in exaggerated motions of my Trex.

Searching the Trex forums at RCgroups and RunRyder, I found a variety of opinions regarding the flybar weights. Some folks swear by them, others say they can't fly with them on.

I decided to see what would happen by moving the weights inward, thereby lessening the dampening effect of the weights. What I found was mostly not suprising, there was a significant increase in the responsiveness of the Trex. The "stick delay" was almost none exisitant. What was surprising was the fact that I did not find the Trex twitchy at all. It was easier to control and fly.

I'm going to put "removing flybar weights" on my list of things to do after I crash my Trex. (no point in denying, it will happen sooner or later)

Some other tasks on the list:

- Replace the aluminum tail boom with carbon fiber
- Re-loctite pre-assembled screws in the main and tail rotor heads.

Monday, May 22, 2006

7th and 8 flight debrief

Try as I might, I find it really difficult to fly more than once a week. The 7th back was uneventful. Again, just tail-in hovering with no training gear. 8th flight I had to cut short as gusting winds were really pushing the Trex up and down. Flying venue this time was a local church parking lot.

Here are some nice Trex canopies from rcgroups.com

I think I would like to paint up another canopy at some point.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Got my Triton back

I got my Triton charger back from warranty repair. Talk about fast, I actually received it on May 10 which is a remarkable 8-day turnaround.

As it turned out, they could not duplicate the problem I was having (charger would not come on) so they replaced it with a new one!!?? Wow, I'm very impressed.

I picked up another lipo charger in the meantime to serve as my primary.

An ElectriFly PolyCharge4 (also from Great Planes)


I really like it as I can charge up to 4 lipos at a time which means less overall charging time. Very easy to use (good for me)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

5th & 6th flight debrief

Decided to take off the training gear. Mostly due to the fact that I didn't have any tie straps to secure them to the landing gear. I just found it really inconvenient to keep taking them off everytime I wanted to put the TREX away in the case.

Flights were uneventful. The thing to keep in mind is that you cannot take your eyes off the helicopter at all. I had a couple of near misses when I was distracted by flying birds or kids running up behind me.

I'm going to go and re-read the "Beginners Guide to Electric Helicopter" again to figure out what to work on next:


Saturday, May 06, 2006

3rd and 4th flight de-brief

One of the cool things about r/c helicopters vs planes is that you don't need as much space to fly. Today I'm at my brother-in-law's place and brought the helicopter along. I wasn't sure if I was able to get away to a site to fly but his cul-de-sac was perfect. Cul-de-sac itself was about 50 foot diameter circle, a nice round space with houses set back a good thirty feet from the curb. Lot's of trees along periphery to block to sun. Just perfect for a quick afternoon flight.

I'm starting to think about packing the Trex with me where ever I go. The Align aluminum case really makes it easy to carry everything together for a quick flight or two.

Spent packs 3 and 4 hovering again and trying some 45 degree yaws, both left and right. I find that my right hand seems to be cramping up more, perhaps I'm gripping the stick too tightly?
I'm also finding that I'm still having difficulty keeping the helicopter from drifting to the left. Perhaps some right trim on the cyclic? I'm getting about 10 minutes from the Align 2100 16C cells. I wonder if another battery could give me more time?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Backup charger

I've sent my Triton back to GWS for warranty repair. Fortunately, the lipo charger that came with my first heli (ESKY Lama 2) will actually charge the 11.1V 2100 mAh packs that I have.


It's actually a pretty nice charger. Has a balancing plug for both 7.4 and 11.1 (2s and 3s packs) and an AC adapter and 12V patch cord. The charger has an output of 800 mAh so it does take about 2 1/2 hours to charge a pack. But hey, it's better than nothing.

The Lama 2 is a great starter helicopter. I got mine as a very nice Xmas gift and it was the helicopter that got me started on this R/C helicopter obsession. It's very stable and is extremely easy to fly. Perfect for indoor flying and great orientation training. (Learned how to do nose-in hover and figure 8's on the Lama 2.)

The only area where the Lama 2 doesn't shine is in FF and general outdoor flying. The maximum forward flight speed is less than walking speed so it can easly over-powered by a slight breeze. Also, there isn't very much cyclic throw on the Lama 2 so if you get blown sideways, (where the rotor disc gets tilted beyond 45 degrees or so) there's pretty much nothing you can do except for drop like a rock. Fortunately, the Lama2 is quite durable.

The photo here, shows the results of a Lama 2 falling from about 2 stories high onto concrete. A little battered for sure, but still flys. Parts are plentiful (almost as plentiful as the Trex) and the helicopter is very easy to work on.

I already have a new tail, new blades and a new canopy, I just need to make some time to install them. Although, I'm also thinking about turning the Lama 2 into some sort of pseudo-scale project. Perhaps some Russian coaxial helicopter like the Kamov-Ka 27