Timber makes first flight of 2018

Like many clubs, ours has an annual January 1st get together so that we can all get a “first flight of the year”.  This year featured cold temperatures, 3 inches of snow… and did I mention REALLY COLD!

When I got to the field, Mr Steve Kessler was already waiting for another member to arrive so that he would have witness to his first flight… it was about 7:30AM and sunrise was set for about 8:15 so it was just starting to get light.

After we thawed out the lock on the door to the shelter, we fired up the generator, lit the heater and then went out to get in some early morning flying in.

Here’s a compilation of some video from Steve watching me arrive and noting the chilly temp (check out that dash display showing negative temps).  That’s my Timber on the left with the orange wing tip stripes.  Steve had his plane sitting out side while we got the shelter ready and one of his ailerons simply froze up…  So our first flight became a solo.

Flying into the rising sun while it is still just below the horizon is a lot of fun.  As are the floats on the snow.  Better than skis in these soft and fluffy conditions.  

Later on that same day I got out the Traxxas Fiesta AWD and mounted the camera on top for some more video.

It was a bit chilly (what’s -14 when you’re having fun?) but we started the day with a beautiful sunrise and proceeded to enjoy some hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls and a nice warm shelter for between flights!  Later in the day we feasted on some brats and burgers along with baked beans and some tasty baked goods for good measure.  All in all, a great start to the year.  Here’s hoping 2018 ends as well as it began!


8th Annual Firemans Cheer Fund – video clip from the cub

Sunday, October 9th was a beautiful day with sunny skies and light winds… and best of all it was the day of the annual fly in for the Columbus Firemans Cheer Fund.  This event is a combination fly in for the local RC folks and an air show for the locals who might like to come out and observe.  Martin Hooks and I got together for the ride down and when we arrived we found fellow club member Steve Woods had also made the trip.

In the past, I have always enjoyed this event due to the laid back and welcoming atmosphere, good food, and a great facility.  Since this event benefits a great cause and typically has some great raffles and pilot prizes… and you have a winning combination.  All of the above is what keeps me coming back year after year.

This year I got in flights with my Carbon Cub, AeroWorks Extra 260, Flyzone Tidewater and the QX 350 quad.  In total I got in around at least 7 or 8 flights and on one of them I attached the GoPro Session to the bottom of the cub.  Here’s the video from that flight.

As you can tell, it was a nice day for RC flight and it all benefited a good cause.  All the pilots got at least one pilots prize and I even won a raffle prize.  I may have been able to buy the prize for what I put into the raffle but the plan was to help the Cheer Fund and enjoy the day… the prize was just a bonus!  We had a great day.

Float Fly videos… October 2, 2016 at Wilson’s pond. Just good fun.

Sunday, October 2nd, the Indianapolis RC Modelers had our only float fly of the season on property owned by the family of one of our members… Mr. Roy Wilson.  It is a beautiful setting and we had awesome weather for the event.  Member, Corey Lucas called and we arranged to cook a few hot dogs as well…  Great flying conditions, a beautiful setting, awesome weather and the company of many of my fellow club members and even lunch on the grill.  In my experience you don’t get many days much more perfect than this!

First, I’ll show you the “Drone’s Eye” view of part of the event.  The video shows Roy with his Son in law and grandson (Roy’s unchallenged assertion is that he is the cutest grandson anywhere… who am I to argue!).  Roy is sharing the view from the on board camera as the video begins while George (our VP) looks on from behind.  Down by the pond we see Steve Russell piloting his Apprentice while fellow member Gary Bow looks on and waves to the camera.  Around 1:45 into the video I give you a 360 degree view of the area… the incoming truck and trailer is Corey arriving.  Around 3:45 you get a view of Steve making a nice landing followed by a pass along the flight line at waters edge.  Gene Crider and George are watching the flying action with Gene’s Tidewater sitting at his feet.  Meanwhile John Pangburn is now chatting with Gary in the pit area.  Around 4:45 we get back to Roy and the whole family including Nancy (Roy’s wife) and daughter Megan holding the new granddaughter in the Gator.  From there we head back to the grass runway area and shut down.  This was shot from my 350 QX with the CG01 camera.

Next is some video of taken from my Go Pro Session attached to the bottom of my Carbon Cub.   This video starts with a bit of taxiing around the pond.  If you watch around the 54 second mark you can see Steve out in his kayak retrieving an airplane that had flipped over on him.  Around 1:30 we get to the first takeoff.  I’m amazed how quickly the lens clears after a good dousing!  There are a couple of good passes across the pond and around the surrounding areas of field and pasture.  For a couple of the early passes you can see Steve still paddling around.  I’m also amazed how water that has collected on the bottom of the wire spreader just hangs on throughout the flight!  About the 6:30 time stamp I try to make a quick takeoff but when one float pops lose before the other (still water actually makes it tougher to maintain good control during landings and takeoffs as the floats seem to “stick”) the plane hops to one side and a nearby bush grabs the plane!!  There was some broken foam on the horizontal stab as a result but nothing that can’t be fixed easily.  After viewing this a couple times I realized that I picked up a rider when I hit the (I believe willow?) bush.  If you look carefully around the 6:45 mark, you can see a praying mantis has been collected with the small branches.  He only gets to stay aboard for about 40 seconds before I power up to taxi back and he gets drug overboard with most of the branches… or perhaps he meets the prop… it’s difficult to say.

In any case, I think he was the only one of the 20 or so folks that either flew or observed that didn’t enjoy themselves!

I didn’t get a chance to do much editing on these clips… moving and then your wife having heart surgery does tend to limit your time severely from doing the important stuff like enjoying your hobbies!  (Joking cause she is doing well and resting here on the couch next to me).  Hopefully, things get back to normal soon and I can get some more updates posted!!


Freeze Fly fun with the GoPro Session and the Carbon Z Cub

Ever since I picked up my Carbon Z Cub and read the part in the manual about a GoPro camera mount… well I knew that was going to cost me a bunch of money… and I’m not talking about just the cost of the GoPro mount!  When I saw that the GoPro Session had dropped to under $200… well there goes my RC budget!!

You can see the mount and camera at the following links if you now suddenly “need” one like I did!
So over the holidays, with the help of some gift money I got all the goodies and by the time our annual freeze fly came around I was ready.  Here is a compilation of my first two flights of 2016.  One with the camera perched on the top mount and one with it hanging from the bottom.

By the time I got a chance to go up again the wind was a bit higher and I was less worried about the camera falling off… which it showed no signs of doing in spite of the 25 degree weather and the several loops, rolls, etc…

I used a peel and stick type of mount on the bottom of the airplane (on the plastic belly pan area) and the aforementioned mount from E-Flite for the top mount.  I don’t think a tape on type would adhere to this foam well enough and it would certainly come lose if applied to a painted area as the paint on this airplane just isn’t that securely adhered!  One of it’s few faults.

Here are a couple pics showing the mounting process for the top mount. in case you are interested in how that was done… First I sliced the foam so that the “fin” on the bottom of the mount could easily insert into the foam at the desired mount location.  Placing the mount in place I outlined the area for it with red dry erase marker so that I could easily wipe it away later.

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I then used tape to peel some paint off the selected area.

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Once finished I wiped away the marker with the aid of some alcohol.  Then I mixed up some epoxy and slathered it on the fin and the bottom of the mount generally.  I then placed the mount on the prepared area, insuring the fin had glue applied and went snugly into the sliced open slot.  Be sure the glue doesn’t get in the slot areas where the camera mount snaps in or this will all be for naught!  Wait 30 minutes for the epoxy to dry (actually I wouldn’t trust it until it dried overnight) and there you have it.

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I have noticed that the mount is tighter/works better if you insert the GoPro latch assembly from the back.  The other direction works but it is looser and I’d be concerned the camera bouncing around and wiggling a bit would affect video quality.  The true GoPro stick on mounts don’t seem to have this issue so just be aware.

Hope you enjoy the videos.  I’m just getting used to video editing so am hoping to get even better stuff in the future!

Cubs (and other slow flyers) Fly In at MCRCC… and a RC SAR mission at our field.

This last weekend found a group of us visiting  (once again) the guys at the Monroe County RC Club.  We made the hour trek to the MCRCC field arriving at about 9:30 AM.  By 10 we were flying a couple carbon cubs, a 1.20 4 stroke  powered “big yellow cub”, and one quad.  I personally got in 3 good flights on the Carbon Cub before the weather turned wet and very breezy.  Our last flights of the day (just after lunch) were a couple of glider tow flights.  During the last of these, Steve Howard piloting his KA-8 ran into some trouble as the headwinds that preceded the heavy rain showers forced an “off site” landing.  Other than that, we had a good time visiting the guys at Monroe County.  For $10, including lunch (which seemed to consist of hot dogs specially blackened on one side…. I must get the recipe 😉 ) it was a good time and the folks there were welcoming and friendly as always.  We are all looking forward to their fall float fly coming up this fall.

Steve took a walk in the corn to retrieve his glider and as you can see it came out unharmed… though Steve was a bit damper for the experience.

Hmmm….  He’s in here somewhere….


Well at least the plane is coming out!





Ah, it brought Steve out too… excellent!


Martin Hooks did a couple flights with his camera equipped quad and provided this video overflight.  It’s an interesting perspective to watch the flights this way and see an aerial vantage point passing over the runway and surrounding areas.

Of special interest to those of us who might have had the experience of walking through the woods/cornfield/etc… looking for a down plane, take a look in the video at the views of the corn fields… you can see all the way to the ground between the stalks for quite some distance.  This works over beans, corn, trees, etc… to varying degrees and requires much less damage to the crops and far less trudging about!!

Earlier the same week we went out to our field and retrieved a Sport Cub (40″ +/- wingspan) from the bean field.  I had searched for an hour or so by standing on top of my explorer looking out over the beans… and even deploying field glasses but couldn’t get enough height to get food visibility.  With Martin’s quad, he was up for 30 seconds or less before we located the aircraft which was only 6 steps off the airfield!  I had been standing 20′ from it on top of my truck and it wasn’t visible!  Hint to airplane guys… make friends with the camera equipped quad guys… they can really rescue you!!  I know George, the owner of the plane, was very happy to get his aircraft back!!

Here’s a quick snapshot of Martin and his quad with the recovered cub.

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Club Fly In – Too much fun!

Saturday we had a little fly in at the field and while I don’t imagine we made much money for the club it was a lot of fun.  I don’t know what kept folks away.  Just a busy weekend I suppose, but I highly recommend this sort of laid back… just come out eat, fly and enjoy… type of event!

We had the good fortune to have some guys come down and visit with us from the Viehe RC Flyers in Lebanon, IN.  One of the gentleman, David Gulliver, brought along his big beautiful B25 “Lady Lil” built from Ziroli plans.  It spans 101″, weighes in around 34 lbs and is powered by a pair of Zenoah 26s as well as sporting electric powered retracts by Down and Locked.  David uses a Spektrum DX-18 for control.  Here’s some shots of this sweet bird.

Here’s a shot of the cockpit and nose art…


And here is the crew getting it ready to go…


And up she goes!


She makes a pass… up close and personal!


Banking in for a strafing run??


A photo pass for the crowd…


We all enjoyed the visit from David and his buddies from the Lebanon area.

Though I don’t think we had any aircraft to match this big beautiful bird… we had lots of fun as well.  At a couple times during the day we got out the Limbo poles and the stick and cup to try our hands at some Fun Fly events…

Here’s Steve with a nice stick break… as you an see his earlier limbo pass was not quite as successful!


(photo courtesy of Steve Kessler)

Here’s my stick break, a limbo and my spot landing (using the stick holder as a target) with what has quickly become my go to airplane… The Carbon Z Cub… without AS3X of course!


(photo courtesy of Steve Kessler)


(photo courtesy of Steve Kessler)


(photo courtesy of Steve Kessler)


(photo courtesy of Steve Kessler)

Still our “new guy” at the field… Gary Miller took up his Corsair.  This may be his most successful landing with it do date!  (… that’s nothing I wouldn’t say to his face…)




Of course he is already plotting the repair and return to the sky!


There were lots of other airplanes up during the day… this P-51 had an on board sound system that mimics engine startup and level flight as well as machine gun sounds!

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Dusty the crop duster was spotted over the field!!


This cool toolbox made an appearance…  Yes, the owner had a P-40 but it didn’t make it to the field this trip!


Vern gets a visitor up no the buddy box for a no stress first flight.


I don’t think much of the trainer’s chances if the Mustang on his six decides to take him out!!


As I hope you’ve gathered by now… be had a great time and the weather couldn’t be much better for early August in Indiana!  A light breeze, 85 degress and sunny with just a bit of humidity.

More fun than humans should be allowed to have.  Did I mention the burgers, dogs, baked beans, chips, pop… etc…  I hope we will continue to have events like these and we can find a way to make a bit of money from it in the future.  This is what an RC club should be about.

What does Geotex runway have to do with a float fly??

So normally a Geo textile runway has little to do with a trip to attend the twice-annual float fly at Lake Lemon, just North of Bloomington, IN.  But in this case, the outing was dual purpose.  Let me explain.

There has been an ongoing discussion at my “home” RC club about the possibility of putting down a Geotex runway at our field.  As usual with any group of humans, opinions vary widely on the topic from complacent acceptance of whatever is under the wheels… to those who think laying down some fabric on a small portion of the runway is going to destroy civilization as we know it… to those who think it would be a great addition to the field and are anxiously awaiting the installation!  I will admit to being a proponent of giving it a try but I’m not predicting it will be the ultimate solution for everyone that some seem to be hoping for.

“So how does this relate to a float fly?” you are probably asking yourself at this point.  The answer is that the folks that are running the float fly are members of the Monroe County RC Club and they have had a Geotex runway for 2 years now.  Since I was definitely planning on attending the float fly anyway and wanted to get a first person look at the surface I sent out an email to the MCRCC officers and explained that I intended to come down to the float fly and wondered if they would mind if I and a few buddies stopped by the MCRCC club field and did a little examination and flying from their runway.  I quickly got a couple of very welcoming emails giving permission for our visit so I gathered up some interested fellow RCers and planned our trip.

Surprisingly 2 of the party of 5 didn’t even plan on flying at the float fly!  They just wanted to see the runway and I guess figured watching us crazy people flying RC planes off of water was just a bonus!


Here’s the visitors…. from L to R.  Martin Hooks, George Horning, Corey Lucas, Steve Woods and I was behind the camera.

So here is a quick rundown of the runway…

The installed fabric sits at a level just slightly below the grass which resulted in a very smooth roll from the grass to and from the material.  The Geotex runway at MCRCC is about 29′ x 150′ which was very adequate for small electrics and glow up to 40-60 size based on our trial flights.  We flew the micro T28 from ParkZone, it’s bigger (42″) brother, the FlyZone Beaver of a similar size, a glow powered Revolver and finally did taxi only tests with my 50cc powered Wildhare Slick.  It was not ready for flight that day but taxi tests from just rolling to tail off the ground running on the mains was sufficient for what we had in mind.  The observations of the group were mostly positive.  The runway seemed to be a bit bumpy for the smaller aircraft (we were later told it had not been rolled yet this year but can be, and probably will be soon).  My feeling is that I could wish for something a bit longer and maybe a bit wider to allow for “cheating” into the wind when it is inevitably not aligned with the runway… but it was adequate as is.  Otherwise, other than getting used to taxiing on a “smooth” surface, it was especially nice for the smaller aircraft.  Aircraft like the micro T28s that just can’t take off from our grass runway at all, and the larger T28 that with stock gear is more likely to flip over than roll out on landing at our field, were certainly in their element on this surface.

The most informative part of the visit though was when we moved onto the float fly site and met and discussed the runway material with several MCRCC members.  I have been a bit skeptical that we might need to do some grading to lay down our own Geo textile runway but they did little or no such work at MCRCC.  With only roundup and “scalp” level mowing they have had no issues with laying the material down over what they had and have had no issue with it coming up, erosion, wind or whatever.  Apparently even when overrun with flood waters a couple feet deep the material stayed put with just the standard staples holding it in place!  They also related that they had been through a very contentious process and that the vote to lay down the material had passed by a mere two votes!  One gentleman was kind enough to relate that he had been a very vocal opponent of the project but was now a convert and was very happy that he had stood up at a later meeting to say that he was wrong and that he now enjoys the Geotext runway as much as anyone.  We have some very strongly opposed folks at our club as well but after visiting with these folks and bringing up all of the objections I had heard from our own members, I was left with the feeling that none of those concerns are really valid based on the experience of these folks.

According to the folks present, the runway is now a big hit with almost every member with some of the (previously) most adamantly opposed now enjoying the benefits.  The visit helped allay my own fears that we might be wasting money on something that would need a lot of maintenance or might not work well over our (perhaps rougher) surface.  It is certainly not a done deal that we will move forward with the project, but I feel pretty good that the cost to do it this way is low and even a failure will just result in a need to roll it all up and reseed… If we are successful, it seems like we might even attract more of the small electrics/park flyer crowd and open up some new options for our members including more retractable gear aircraft.  There was a lot more conversation about things like how to repair damage, rolling, re-inserting staples that push up… etc… but the general tone was that they had found that most of these issues are easily handled.

Moving on to the float fly, it was fairly breezy with some swirling air making the flying a little more “bouncy” but really not bad.  I suspect the wind direction (quartering from behind us as we stood looking out at the lake) worked to our advantage since the large hill behind us did much to block the wind.  I flew the Carbon Cub through 4 batteries with nothing untoward occurring and did some prop hanging and aerobatics to the applause of some nearby “party barge” occupants that were hanging about a hundred yards or so off shore.  Landing with the wind gusting and waves to play with was really fun.  With the reliability of the electric power plant and the nimbleness of my AS3Xless Carbon Cub allowing for some sweet splash and goes, spot landings and long wave-top hopping skims it was hard to wipe the grin off my face during and after each flight.  I also flew the Flyzone Tidewater which handled the waves and taxi duties great but was a handful in the air with a continuing tendency to dive as throttle is applied.  I later figured out the engine pod was leaning forward with increased throttle and did some repairs to help reinforce it.  I have since flown it a bit more off grass and it greatly improved and so I am looking forward to a future float fly to give it some more air time.

Corey flew his Beaver on at least 2 occasions and Steve was able to get a good flight in on his cub after some early issues were resolved.  Martin flew his Quad a bit and captured this image showing my Carbon Cub on a landing approach.


The Carbon Cub on a nice smooth approach for landing at Lake Lemon…

I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed the day immensely and I for one am looking forward to (fingers crossed) a successful Geo Textile runway install AND another visit to the fall edition of the MCRCC float fly event at Lake Lemon.  Thanks so much to the officers and members of Monroe County RC Club who allowed us to visit their field and participate in their event.

Sharing some pics and video from 2 recent float flys

Over the past couple weeks, I have attended a couple of events that were in whole or at least primarily float flying oriented.  I enjoy being out near a lake or pond as they generally add to the natural beauty of the setting and flying off of water adds a different challenge to RC flight both from an aircraft handling approach and for the technical challenge of setting up a float plane to fly well.  I highly recommend you take a shot at “float flying” if you have the opportunity.  But be warned, like many things in RC, it can be addictive!

Lake Lemon – Monroe Counry RC

The first event was put on by the good folks at the local RC club in Bloomington, IN and was held at Lake Lemon just to the NW (I believe) of that city.  The second was a couple weeks after and was an event put on by my “home” club, the Indianapolis RC Modelers.  Below are a few picturess of the “goings on” from each.  The Bloomington club had a good turnout with about 15 pilots I would guess, including 3 from my club… myself, Corey Lucas and Steve Woods.  The venue is almost ideal with a nice big, low to the water dock as well as a huge body of water with almost no obstacles to contend with.  They also had 2 retrieval “party barge” boats and served up a nice lunch as part of the registration fee of only $10 per person.

Here are some pictures from the event

Corey and the Nexstar are ready to try some float flying!

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Also while we were there, Steve tried his hand with his .120 size cub…  Here’s a video clip of the takeoff… and landing.

No real damage was done… Steve had the engine running again after a brief dry down period.  Did you see what went wrong?  The consensus around here is the wake allowed the plane to leave the water a bit to soon and this added to Steve doing a bit to aggressive a pull up caused a stall…  Better luck next time Steve!

Wilson’s Pond – Indy RC Modelers

The second event is one we have done every year for the last 5 or so, sometimes twice a year, and is held at a pond owned by the family of one of our members, Roy Wilson.  It’s obviously not as open around the pond and the size of what you can fly there is a bit more limited as a result, but we consider ourselves lucky to have such a beautiful spot to enjoy ourselves and it is not difficult to fly off of for planes up to about 60 size or so.  In the last couple years, we have not had much attendance… perhaps somewhat due to weather being “unkind” for several of the events and undoubtedly because we have few opportunities to do this sort of flying around here so getting a proper float plane setup isn’t the top priority of many folks.  We all have to decide where best to spend our model budgets and something you won’t use often doesn’t rank highly with everyone.  Another factor is that we have not really tried to promote the event as much as we did in past years so many folks just don’t know it’s going on.

A nice added attraction for this event is that there is a fairly nice field adjacent to the pond that you can fly most anything from so it is not limited to water based aircraft!  I flew several planes and played with my air boat this year and had fun as always.  I flew the PZ T28 on floats, the Carbon Cub (the micro version) as well as the Flyzone Beaver.  The Beaver excels at this (once you re-engineer the water rudder) and I fly it primarily as a float plane so it doesn’t get a lot of flight time away from the water.  My flying buddy, Corey, flew his Electric Nexstar from the water and his DLE 20 powered Cap Maniac from the runway.  Here are some photos of the action.

One of our members does a little boating...

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Here’s a video clip of my Dumas Windy air boat eventually doing it’s signature spot spin manuever.

And one of Corey’s first landing at the pond with the Nexstar… ignore the first 5 seconds or so while I attempted to find the plane in the sky!

The basic idea here is:  Water plus RC airplanes = lots of fun!!  Try it, you’ll like it!