Friday, December 18, 2009

Good Old Times

Well, I doubt anyone is following this blog at all but I thought I would update and just say that I have finished my masters and all my responsibilities that go along with it and am free to have a little fun after work now! I have my FPV project coming along nicely and will be working on that. Currently, I have the whole video feed working correctly but still need to get audio working somehow. I guess I must have soldered something wrong. Anyway, I'll try to update this a little more often again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wings Across America Flight

So, I signed up about a year and a half or so ago to be a pilot for Wings Across America (WAA) to help fly an r/c airplane in every state in the US. They started it last year in Virginia and it's finally made it to me. I was pilot number 155. Yesterday, I met up with Jim who was pilot number 154 and we made the hand off in Moore. It was nice to meet a fellow pilot and I was able to get a picture with him. Since I didn't ask his permission to post the picture, I'll hold off on it although if you really want to see it, you can get to it through the WAA website in a round-a-bout way. Anyway, he explained to me a little about the plane and what I needed to do to get it set up and what was in the box. After a few words and pictures, we loaded up the box into the car and I headed home hoping the weather would cooperate enough to let me fly it quickly to get it to Jim, pilot number 156.

I got the box home and we were both very impressed with how nice the box is. There are stickers all over the sides of the box of various r/c clubs that have participated.

There are signatures of every volunteer pilot registered to fly for WAA on the top of the box as you can see in that last picture.
I was even on the website for WAA as having had possession of the plane.

Anyway, today, I thought it would be nice to try and fly the plane and hand it off the Jim #156 as soon as possible. I was online at work and saw an article on CNN about how people did some interesting things on September 9, 2009 (999) and I thought, "I should fly the plane on 09-09-09!" I decided I had to do it today since the wind wouldn't be that strong and I wouldn't have a chance any time soon as it was supposed to rain for the next week.

We packed the plane up and headed to the park to go fly. As I was getting it put together in the back of the van, I found the wind was stronger than it was supposed to be. I had the thought in the back of my mind, "Don't do it" but I really wanted to fly on 999 and I didn't know when else I would be able to fly soon. So, I got everything ready anyway, Kendall sat in the back of the van ready to take pictures, and Thomas sat in his car seat.

I did a range check, lined up the plane to fly into the wind, got behind the plane, and hit the throttle to get going and it just went in a circle. I tried again, and went in another circle. I repeated this several times.

You see, with a tail dragging plane, there are issues when you try and take off. Unless everything is just perfect, you tend to turn one way or another. The trick is to just throttle up the plane so the tail doesn't drag and if it's trimmed right, you'll go straight. I was nervous doing that though because it was windy and in addition to that, it wasn't my plane and there are about 150 more people after me that need to fly it, so I couldn't take unnecessary risks.

Well, I finally got it up in the air and started a circuit around the parking lot in the air. By then Thomas had started crying so Kendall had to get him and take care of him so all the pictures of the plane were taken while taking care of Thomas. Quite the feat if I may say so. Some were pretty good shots.

A few were not quite what you want when taking a picture of the plane.

Where's the plane?

She did a great job. I like the one where it's just taking off. You'll have to click that first picture to see the details.

Anyway, I got up in the air and realized, "It's a lot windier up there than it is down here!" but it was too late to jump ship. I had to fly it and get it down somehow in one piece and I could only fly for 5-6 minutes on a pack before the motor could have cut out.

I did one circuit around the parking lot and tried to bring it in for a landing and was way too high to land closely so I throttled up again to gain altitude and do another circuit. Well, same thing again. I came in too high so I throttled up and tried to get it back North flying with the wind to get in position and lost control for a second and the wind turned it left (I was trying to go right) so it lost altitude quickly but finally turned North and went where I wanted it to go. I made sure to give it a little down elevator and got it low enough to land. The wind was strong enough that I probably could have floated it down and landed like a helicopter but I didn't care to try so I just landed the best I could and I landed it just fine.

Kind of hard to see there but it landed just fine even though it may look like it might have crashed.

I was quite relieved that it was back down on the ground in one piece. I took it back over to Kendall relieved that I had been able to fly it on 09-09-09 and also get it back down without any problems because I really thought I was in trouble when I was in the air.

This evening, I finished off the rest of my responsibilities. I was supposed to write my experiences and any advice to the next pilot(s) in the log book and sign the top of the box as I was one of the volunteer pilots.

It really was a lot of fun to be able to participate in Wing Across America. If I end up in Arizona in the next few months, I could have the opportunity to fly it again which I believe will be a first for the journey, to have the same person fly in two states, but I could be wrong.

Here's the video of the flight. Sorry for how bumpy it is. If you zoom in closely where I'm flying to plane in the picture where it's taking off, you'll probably be able to see I have a hat on with a camera mounted on it so I can record where I was looking. Obviously, I missed the plane in some areas but I didn't care at the time because I was more concerned about getting the plane back in one piece. It was just a bumpy recording since I was moving around with it on my head.

Here's the final hand-off with Jim #156.

Thanks to everyone who has participated and to all those that made it possible! I really enjoyed it and hope it makes it around the US quickly.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Racing Experience

Well, I went to my very first race and had a blast there. It was at Competition R/C in Oklahoma City and the people there were really nice about everything and all the competitors were great as well.
The way everything works is there are 3 qualifying heats and 1 main. All are 4 minutes long which is shorter than what I have seen at most places but with all the classes running there, it needs to be short or you wouldn't be able to fit in 4 total races for each class.
I ran in the Slash class which was combined with the other 2wd trucks and buggys since there were only 4 Slashes in the field. They scored us separately which was nice to see as they are different types of trucks.
In my very first heat, I came in 3rd in the Slash class but 5th overall in 10 vehicles. I was pretty excited about it seeing as I have never raced competitively. Maybe it's all that hand eye coordination from video games when I was a kid and from playing the piano and drums.
In the second heat, I was 3rd again in the Slash class but 7th out of the 10. I wasn't as smooth and crashed more so that explains it. Kendall had a great time laughing at the video I made since I was getting stuck everywhere. It was kind of funny to see her laughing so much at an r/c truck.
In the third heat, I came in 2nd in the Slash class and 3rd overall. That felt really good. I really ran well and had a good time on that run. I didn't realize it until the end as you will see but there was a guy trying to catch me the whole race and he got close but I eventually made it without getting passed.
Then came the main. I qualified to start in the 5th spot which I was pleased with but my nerves got to me and I finished 4th in the Slash class and 9th overall. I felt really bad about it more because I kept running into people without meaning to and knocked them off course. I was actually out in front of the Slash class for a lap or two and then just fell apart. Hopefully I can stay calm the next time out which will be a while still.
I took two videos (heat 2 and heat 3) from my hat cam and they turned out just fine. They are posted below.
Thanks go to Competition R/C again for a nice atmosphere and a great track for the Slash.

Length: 4:51

Length: 4:43

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Longest Vapor Flight

Okay, it's been a really long time since I updated anything (5 months). I took this video on a rare calm day here in Oklahoma. I can't fly the Vapor in any wind so the weather was perfect for it. It was right after Thomas was born and I was home for a good week that I got to go and fly. I didn't edit it much as I don't have much time to spend on it right now but hopefully you'll just go through and watch any parts that you like.
The plane is a fun little plane to fly. It only weighs about 15g so it's very light, hence why I can't fly in any wind whatsoever. It flies slow enough that I can even fly it indoors if I have enough room. One of these days, I might get a video of me flying inside the church gym.
Anyway, enjoy the video. Skip through to whatever you want as it is about 17 minutes long.

Length: 16:49

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Backyard Racing

Okay, this really isn't in the backyard but it's in the rear driveway of my parents house. I got a new truck for Christmas and some cones as well so I thought I would set up a little course for me to run on. I really like how the Slash looks when running on the road. It rolls a lot like a real car would so it looks even better than my Rustler running on the road. That's what I saw when I was in Arkansas watching these race on the track. I didn't know what it was that I liked about them but I realized now that it was the body roll that made them look so real. You can disregard some of the commentary by my wife. Some of it's good but then some of it is laughable like going to the bathroom comments.

Length: 2:15