Saturday, October 24, 2009

AR7600 Receiver

Looks like pilots have another option for a RX. I usually use the 921 RX or 9300 RX for sailplanes. They fit fine. I have seen a number of AR7000 installs with the antennas folded along the RX. Not good for getting a good signal. The antennas just stick out the wrong way for a small sailplane fuselage.

The new AR7600 looks like it might be good for pilots who want a less expensive RX with the antenna oriented better for installation in a sailplane.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Remote Relays for Base B Buzzers

I have a solution that I like to replace the base A to base B cable. It's a Spektrum transmitter, receiver and Dimension Engineering PicoSwitch. The Picoswitch plugs into a servo output providing a nice remotely operated relay. See

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tool has new home

My other F3b Tool now has a new home. I still have a Ceres, Ceres Lift, Freestyler, and Tanga in the F3b collection....

LSF Nats 2010

The proposed 2010 Nats schedule is out. F3b is missing from the list. F3k was moved to the weekend when F3b is usually run at the same time as XC.

So F3b will now be an unofficial event that will be held at the same time as 2M on July 27, 28. Make sure you get on 2.4 so that there aren't any conflicts with 2M.

Since it's not an official event, then there can probably be a contribution to the F3b team fund in place of the regular entry. Next worlds will be in China.

Who wants to make the trip to Muncie for 2 days F3b, 2 days Unlimited, 2 days F3k or RES, F3b, Unlimited?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Packing, packing....

All the models are cleaned up and polished and packed.

Sorting out which tools and spare pieces to take and pack.

The team has a lot of "stuff" to get there. Fortunately with the help of 3 pilots, 3 helpers and team manager.

Checked the seating and the flight is not really full. Now only if we can convince Delta that the US Team should sit in those empty business class seats......

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Practice complete

Finished another long day of F3b practice. I probably have in 500-600 launches the past few months getting ready for the WC. Must be ready now. This week will be getting everything packed and ready to go.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More tweaking

I have more DS378's so I changed out the flap servos on the first Freestyler. Now both of them have DS378's in flaps, get plenty of travel, and have the horns all inside the servo covers. Spent some time measuring throws between the two models too and have them matched even better.

Tungsten ballast fits the joiners. Now I can put an extra 10 oz max ballast into the model. Some evening flying today. cross wind, just a few MPH so I could not really load up. Thursday afternoon will be another practice day. Distance and speed flying planned. Depends on the help.

Won't have to worry about the sun in the afternoon. Should be light east wind, 5-7MPH. Temps in the 70's. Not expecting any killer lift. Also makes it easier to unload at the field. Won't have to drag all the batteries as far.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Good week of practice

Monday June 29th, I got in 90 launches between the Freestyler and the Ceres Lift. Best run 14.28. July 3rd, another 90 launches. Finished up with a 14.26 and 14.14 on the last set of runs. Sunday was a visit to the Milling machine to make some Tungsten ballast pieces to use in place of the brass on the Freestyler joiner. Adds 10 oz to the ballast capacity. Helps guarantee no wind at WC.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Weather Improves

Finally some normal summer days. Out this evening for a few hours. Weekend will be LISF contest and then Monday afternoon, more practice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 20th weekend

More wet weather. You can see it on the US Open coverage....

Got out Saturday a little after 7AM. Put in three 10 minute duration
flights. No wind, overcast, no real activity just fly around for 10
minutes. Set up and flew a few distance flights working the 4 minutes.

Steve made it out to the field so I flew a few with base B calls and
some rain started. 15-19 laps depending on how much rain and how good
the launch was. 50% ballast, sometimes 1-2mph cross on launchs but not
much to help. Luis made it out so I could try a few speed runs. By
then the rain was starting so it really hurt the launches. Model was
silent except for the raindrops you could hear hitting the wing in
flight so I couldn't get it under 20. Around 21 in rain with no wind or 90 degrees at best. Radar looked solid yellow, orange to the west so I was packed up by 10. Good timing on packing up.

Too much rain overnight to be able to use the sod farm and more showers Sunday anyway. With the forcast wind, it would be hard to keep turnarounds in the ground.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Saturday Practice

Looks like a good day for practice tomorrow. Steve, Luis, and Jeff should be out to help. Five winches, 12 batteries, lots of line. Partly cloudy conditions around 70 and no threat of showers until late in the day. With the east winds, shouldn't have any sun problems through the day. Freestyler and Ceres Lift all charged.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Practice Schedule

Current outlook for F3b practice for 2009 WC.

6/6-7 Attending SKSS in Delaware
6/13-14 Practice in NJ
6/20-21 Practice in NJ
6/27-28 Attending LISF in NY
7/3-5 Practice in NJ
7/11-12 Attending DBSF in PA
7/18-19 Final Practice before WC

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back from Cal Valley

Back home from Cal Valley. Models made it both ways on the airlines with SporTube. TSA didn't unpack them either way which was nice. After adding a touch of nose weight for the very active Cal Valley air, I flew the FS3 on Saturday and it worked well. Sunday was only 1 and 1/3 rounds and I used the Ceres Lift.

Launching seemed to go well for both models but I need a little more practice with the Lift. The Lift color scheme is a lot nicer than the FS3, red, white, blue.....

Need to sell Ceres and Tool

I need to sell my Ceres and Tool. Models from last years team selections. I sold one Ceres and Tool already but I still have the nicer ones in the basement. Red/yellow Ceres and Red/white tool. Both only flown on sod.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ceres Lift and Tanga Practice

Now I have everything flying. Today was some time on the Ceres Lift and first flights on the Tanga. Steve and Luis helped out being timers and buzzers for some speed and distance flying. Lots of 15's today. Some good distance flights too, in the mid 20's which isn't bad considering it was fairly overcast. No huge lift, but some nice air to work.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ceres Lift

I managed to get a little time on the Ceres Lift tonight. Definitely pulls harder than the Ceres. Plenty of setup work remains. CG was a little too far forward. Lots of room inside the fuse with the 9300 RX and a 4-cell pack. Zlog fits in with no problem in front of RX. Fuselage must be too large....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Warm Weather

It was a hot spring day. mid-80's. Made a really good practice day since it started out with light winds then picked up through the day.

Tanga and Ceres Lift are still in the basement waiting to finish up a few servo installs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FS3 Practice

Had some flying last weeked on FS3. 10+ MPH headwinds. I had one launch that was in the 300M area. Lots of them 280M. Things go fast with this much altitude.

Saturday looks like a good practice day with a bit of help. So I can set up a course and fly some measured runs.

Ceres Lift

The Ceres Lift finally arrived. Starting the build. Without measuring the airfoil, the parts all look like the Ceres. Same size, shape.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Excellent practice

Had a good weather day yesterday to get in a little practice. Best speed run was 11.44 sec with the Freestyler.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Building building building

I finished up the second Freestyler. Haven't flown it yet, but now I have two of them ready to fly. Did some more work on the Tanga. Servo tray is cut out, ballast tube cut, layout and ballast tube loading checked with servos, JR9300 RX and 5-cell pack. I just need to make wiring harness and test fit wiring around ballast tube. Then everything can be glued in.

Not thrilled with the angle of the flap RDS hardware. It doesn't look like it's good for as much flap travel as I would like. I have some 3mm rod on order to make some new wires. And I need to measure the aluminum piece just in case I have to make a new one.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cool posters for worldwide marketing campaign

Check out our posters on display around the world.

Don't miss out.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Warm Weather

Finally a good weekend weather forecast.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fund Raising

Fund raising is making good progress for the team. So far it has exceeded $7000, but we'll need a lot more. Overseas luggage hasn't started the extra fees for the first and second bag like domestic flights. But anything over 50 lbs is overweight. When you have luggage, a winch, models, and support equipment, you quickly get to at least 3 bags per person. So that's an extra $175 for the 3rd bag across all the 3 pilots, TM, helpers. Airfares don't look too bad, but we're going to have to fork out a bunch of cash to get those real soon. Large shirts are getting short in supply. Order quick if you want large.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tanga vs Freestyler3

Here are the bits and pieces from a Tanga and a Freestyler 3 sitting next to each other. The Tanga is a more conventionally sized F3b model while the Freestyler is on the small size. The Tanga is blue while the FS3 is red/white. The Tanga is the longer fuselage and the larger joiner.

The wing panels on both models are almost identical in weight. 578g for the Tanga and 580g for the FS3. The FS3 does also have a ballast channel in the wing. The Tanga joiner is much larger and slightly thicker but only 10g heavier, 127g vs 117g. Tails are really close in size and weight. The Tanga is 34.8g and a FS3 with the control horn added is 33.2g. The Tanga fuse is a little lighter, but when you add in the ballast tube, the Tanga is 308g while the FS3 is 290g.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tanga RDS is here

Fedex guys delivered a Tanga today. Blue and white.

This one includes RDS hardware. Looks like the pin mounts in servo, aluminum piece attaches to that and the rod. Two different angles, one for ailerons and one for flaps.

Wing joiner is really wide.

V-tail is two-piece and the ball link is already installed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cal Valley

I missed the Cal Valley contest. Got most of the way there but had to return home.

If you want to see some results and pictures.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


More new stuff to test out. Unfortunately it's snowing outside. The new line doesn't have as much stretch as Speedline but it is stronger. It should be good for light wind, strong thermal conditions where the thin Speedline can be risky on line breaks.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Foot Switch

For the foot switch on my winches, I use Linemaster Aquiline 971-SO switches. I've only had one microswitch fail from too much dust over the years. The best part is you can get the in colors. No black switch hiding in the grass. I have orange ones. Usual source is Newark Electronics. But I think some other winch part suppliers have them too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

T-Shirts Coming Soon

The team web site should get updated with stuff to buy in another day or two. Get ready to order a Hanes Beefy T with pockets, or a Long Sleeve Beefy T, or even an embroidered baseball cap. Production on the shirts is about 2 weeks off, so delivery on those orders will be at least one month out.

A few of our soaring friends have presented us with a challenge to get fund raising going. They will be matching your contributions up to $6000 if you make your contribution, purchase raffle tickets or purchase merchandise before March.

Winch Battery Charging

The secret to getting good life out of your winch batteries is to keep them charged and use a good charger. For years I used the standard automotive chargers. They are heavy, inefficient, and the automatic features sometimes don't work. Plus they are bulky which is not good when hauling a bunch of equipment to a contest.

Now I use ACI Chargers. Since I have 6 batteries for 3 winches at home, I have two of the 1206CC's and two of the 1214CC's. The nice part is they do most of the charging at a constant current. They bring the batteries up to charge pretty fast compared to a normal 10Amp auto charger. I was surprised that they even helped revive some old batteries I had sitting around.

The charger uses a switching power supply so it's fairly small in size and weight. The Eastern Soaring League purchased some in 2008 to use for on flight line charging of the winches. And they also work well on the expensive batteries like the Optima's.

Winch Solenoids

What solenoid to use. I use a DC Power Contactor. I've been using Stancor 586-902's a long time and they work well and are reliable. Contact material is a silver alloy, not copper. The inrush current rating exceeds (600A) what you can put through an F3b winch and the continuous duty (200A) is in the range of what flows through a winch. They are a little larger than the auto solenoids most of you are familiar with and they are more expensive.

I usually purchase them from Newark Electronics.