Saturday, September 30, 2006

P84 - 92 Thunder Power eXtreme observations

OK, I've been giving the Thunder Power eXtreme 2070 (TPX) pack some more full-length flights and here are some more observations:

  • The Trex seems a little more stable in flight (Could be the additional 20 grams or so of weight)
  • The Trex performs the same when flying the older TP Prolites
  • The TPX runs about 3 degrees F cooler than the TP prolites for similar flight times

Sunday, September 24, 2006

P81-P83 New paddles

Tried out the new Thunder Power eXtreme pack today

11.1V 2070mAh
25C (51AH) Continuous 40C burst
Dimensions: 107 x 36 x 24mm
Weight: 166 grams

Didn't really notice any change in performance between the eXtreme and the Prolites.

11.1V 2100mAh
15C (31.5A) continuous, 20C burst
Dimension: 34 x 98 x 20 mm
Weight: 138 g

More testing to come.

After today's three flights, I decided to remove the stock 3K paddles and try the new HS1191T paddles.

These are new from Align and are supposed to improve cyclic performance.

As you can see, they are pretty much the same size as the stock 3K paddles. However, the new paddles are thicker.
And, they are slightly heavier as well (6.11 grams each). I'm looking forward to seeing how they perform.

While I was changing the paddles, I took off the flybar weights, and decided to replace the flybar as well. I could tell it had a few slight "bends" in it so I figured now was a good time to change it out. The flybar is secured by two set screws in the flybar arm collar. However, when I loosened the set screws, the entire flybar control assembly fell apart!

The cause, 3 of the 4 cross screws securing the control arms to the control rod were missing. I examined the remaining screw, not a hint of thread lock could be found. The whole assembly was held together by the flybar set screws. The moral of the story once again, when you get a pre-built helicopter, always check all the screws for thread lock!
Moral #2, keep upgrading your helicopter as you will find problems before they become catastrophic (knock on wood)

Friday, September 22, 2006

P77-P80 More nose-in

Been practicing more and more nose-in. I'm able to hold it a little longer than before, maybe 5 to 10 seconds now. What was really helpful was a tip from menace at RunRyder. menace called it the "stick-with-it" approach. With the heli in the nose-in orientation, imagine pushing your cyclic stick in the direction that the heli is tiliting to "prop it up".
  • So if the heli tilts to your right, push the cyclic stick to the RIGHT to "prop up the right side of the heli"
  • If the heli tilts to your left, push the stick to the LEFT side to "prop up the left side of the heli"
  • If it tilts toward you, PULL the stick toward you to "prop up the front"
  • If the heli tilts away from you, PUSH the stick away from you to "prop up the back"
I hope I'm explaining this properly. It really helped me visualize the right thing to do without thinking about it too much.

I spent two packs working on nose in. Spent the other two just buzzing around back and forth doing "stall turns". A couple of times, I got that rotor flap sound that you can hear when folks are doing serious 3D stuff. Very cool!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New lipo pack, Thunder Power eXtreme!!

Got the new Thunder Power eXtreme 3S 2070 pack the other day. Here are some comparison pictures. The TP eXtreme (TP X)is on the top, the TP Prolite in the middle with the Align 16C on the bottom. As you can see, the TP X is comparable in size.

Weight wise: The Align and TP Prolite are both 144 grams. The TP X is about 164 grams.

Can't wait to take it up for a spin.

Monday, September 11, 2006

P73-P76 Blade numbering

I had put some new pro-woods on the Trex and had tracked them perfectly. They are so much nicer than the standard Align woods I was using. The Trex seems much more stable.

I had to take them off to change out the main gear (yes, flipped into idle up on the ground AGAIN! grrr).

When I put them back on, I noticed that they were not tracking very well. I had a hunch that I had switched positions with them in the grips so I exchanged them and sure enough, they tracked perfectly.

I've now marked the blades and the grips so that I can always be sure to match the blades with the grips.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

P66 - P72 Throttle hold to land

I've been really focusing on flying whole packs on side-in hovering, left and then right. I really want to nail them down before I move onto practice nose-in. I would like to have as much comfort as possible.

I read on some forums about someone describing using throttle hold to land. It sounded interesting so I decided to try it. I hover down to less than 6 inches off the deck and hit throttle hold. The Trex just falls gently to the deck and she's down. I find I like this technique for the following reasons:

  1. I can land in both normal and idle up. Now that I'm trying to fly more and more time in idle up mode, it's something I don't have to think about.
  2. The heli is put into throttle hold the moment it sets down (actually a moment before). I don't have to worry about accidently flipping into idle up or moving the throttle and have the bird spin up on the ground.
I definately recommend everyone giving it a try.

Monday, September 04, 2006

New Canopy

Well, decided to try my hand at a more "traditional" canopy design. Nothing fancy, just some prismatic tape. As you can see, the girls added their special touch to this canopy as well! :-)
Here is my newly-installed custom tail hub by ICON at Helifreaks. This is the fix that Align did with HS1182T but recalled due to tolerance issues (see Finless video)

However, Align has not reissued the fixed hub, instead releasing the hub/pitch slider combination. Icon's hub allows us to keep using our existing grips. Thanks!

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

P63-P65 (FFF and a broken tail belt)

Got up early this morning and headed out to a new flying area for me. I've been running into the limits of the church parking lot that's behind my house so I hoofed it over to the local Jr. high and flew around the infield of the track.

What a difference! Complete freedom to pretty much fly where I want to without worrying about running into anything. Tried my first fast forward flight today. What a blast! zooming back and forth across the length of the field! Fast figure 8s, almost did a stall turn a couple of times.

Went through 3 packs before some joggers showed up to use the track so I set down. While I was reaching down to unplug my heli, I noticed that my Tx display indicated that I was in idle up. "That's funny, I'm down, the rotor has stopped spinning." So, I started flipping switches and well, you can guess what happened next....

I flipped into idle-up and the blades spun up. Fortunately, no injuries, just a snapped tail belt, two broken teeth on the main gear. Just goes to show how you really got to pay attention and unplug immediately after setting down before you do anything else.

Anyway, I'm not bummed about breaking the belt or the main gear, I've been wanting to take apart the tail anyway to install ICON's new hub and just this morning I was thinking that I should replace the tail belt (it's original with over 60 flights)

Besides, another excuse to go buy more parts and upgrades! (i've been eying some tall gorilla gear Wink )

So the repair list:

  1. replace tail belt
  2. replace tail hub
  3. replace main gear
  4. check for creaks in the tail pulley system