Category Archives: Pattern Practice

Laser R.I.P

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It happened a few weeks ago but I’ve tried not to think to much about it- the Laser crashed and was totally destroyed during practice in rough winds. It was much better but sadly not flown as much as the Red Laser that preceded it. Intended as a backup model I originally fitted it with an O.S 200 FS engine. It was fitted with a pump and Hatori header that was later sold cheap after realising it had none of the power I wanted. I replaced it with a YS 1.60 which I discovered was badly broken before I had a chance to fly it. It then got a used YS 1.70 DZ which performed really well. After changing fuel from one type of Rapicon to another it stopped on takeoff, breaking one undercarriage leg. It took a while to get the leg I wanted from Germany and by the time it got mended, last years flying season was over and I was eagerly looking forward to receiving my new Integral. The Laser was in storage for a full year until my Integral broke and then it came out of hiding, dutifully performing its role as backup model. It flew very nicely and after three trim flights due to a change to 2,4 Ghz it performed well. It was very honest to fly with no bad habits. Although not being able to match the Integral in knife-edge performance it was a very decent F3A model, despite looking like an IMAC half-breed.

There was a lot of wind that fateful day. I don’t really mind wind as long as it blows straight down the field but this was the kind of day when your model must be bolted to the grass in order to not fly away on its own, the kind of windy day only an idiot flies. I was that idiot. After the second round of P11 I was about to turn onto base leg for landing, and with a tailwind best described as a tornado, the idiot move I made was to retard the throttle and pull a little elevator to turn. It stalled, simply flicked forward and was blown nose-first into the dirt in the blink of an eye.

Crash pictures

Video (With OS 200)

“There he goes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
– From Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Flying season 2010

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Here’s an update about what’s going on in the 2010 season. The integral is pictured here with a new undercarriage which was violently torn off minutes after the picture was taken.

The Integral is the best flying plane I’ve seen. I just love how it presents itself in the air and the color scheme is brilliant. The CDI engine is really easy to operate and is very fuel efficient. It’s also one less thing to charge before I go flying since there’s no glow driver involved.. I typically charge about 600 mAh after four flights in the combined RX and ignition battery pack. At the annual L√łten F3A cup I experimented with my own blend of fuel with 10% oil. That definitely did not work well, it overheated in both rounds and stopped. After a forced landing the undercarriage mount was badly damaged and is currently being repaired. I have changed to the taller ZN landing gear that is used in their electric models like the Xigris. It looks really nice and gives better prop clearance so that I can run 19 inch props if I want to. I have had some hysteresis problems with the throttle servo which gives an unreliable idle so I’m changing the throttle servo position and will be using the Futaba 9650 servo.

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150 km/h into a wall of grass. Integral does not approve.

While the Integral is undergoing undercarriage surgery I have flown and trimmed the Lorenz Laser. It hasn’t flown since I broke an undercarriage leg last year and now has a stronger, lighter undercarriage and it’s converted to Futaba 2,4 ghz. Trimming it with the new radio and receiver should have been uneventful but it was rather terrifying when the elevator horn broke. Nothing raises your pulse like seeing your elevator flapping freely in an untrimmed plane. To top it off, a wheel fell just when I was touching down. I got some applause from rolling out perfectly with one wheel and one elevator. Every dog has it’s day! Upon inspection, the other elevator horn was fractured and broke off with a light twist. A light surgical procedure involving 5-minute epoxy later, the Laser flew two trim flights and one P-11 schedule successfully.

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I have swapped the lovely little T8 Futaba radio for it’s bigger brother, the T12FG. It offers more programming ease with it’s larger screen and also has logical switches which I find very helpful for switching flight mode from normal to snap roll using stick positions. I also have a flight mode called “IGN ON” which powers on the ignition. It’s a non-standard flight mode which means the radio gives and alarm if switched on when the ignition switch is on. I have installed a 2800 mAh Robbe Li-Ion battery and updated it to firmware 2.1. It’s a superb radio but sadly it lacks the trim position reset feature and the superior ergonomics of the T8. And I really miss the backlit display, it’s almost impossible to see the screen in poor lighting conditions. It’s always nice to have an excuse to upgrade your radio if something better comes along…

Integral flies!

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Finally! The Integral test flights went well. Although there was a lot of wind today I could tell right away this is an exceptional plane. It’s very responsive and smooth. I had my usual brain seizure while setting it up, programming the exponential the wrong way – I had 40% positive expo so the first flight was kinda squirrely if you know what I mean…

The engine starts very easily and runs reliably. I had two trim flights and then one run through P-11. On the fourth flight the pipe came off – the Nishioka mount had fallen off, leaving the pipe hanging inside the belly pan. I landed OK but I slammed the tail in hard, bending the tail gear. The tail gear needs to be changed anyway, with the very low ZN main gear it proved difficult to get off the ground on a rough surface so I need to find away to lower the tail. Perhaps just a small skid will do it. And a new Nishioka mount.

Top Star 110 video

Spigas 90 video

Season starts: Pattern practice

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Ex-Chairman and organizing virtuoso Audun Thinn hosts a weekend of pattern practice every year where anyone can join in and get tips from professional pilots. This year we had decent weather and a great turnout. For the last two years we have been fortunate to have Norwegian Champion Ola Fremming and experienced pilots like Lars Semb teach us some tricks and evaluate our flying. As it turns out, setting up the model is a key element that is not fully appreciated. The most common problem we see at these events is having far too much throw on the controls, elevator in particular. Smooth flying requires a very mild setup. For the seasoned pilots, it’s the details that get commented by the pros: Seal the hinge gaps, make all controls completely slop free, incorrect prop, too lean etc. All advice from the pros are greatly appreciated.
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