I hope you'll agree we have a nice and varied little collection of items here this month!

I had an interesting e-mail from Peter Miller, whose chum had bought a Robbe 'Charly' r/c model parachutist at an auction and needed some help and advice about setting him up. It was an unusual request which I couldn't answer, but I knew a man who could! Read all about it next month!

Trans-Atlantic Flight of an FAI legal r/c model

Record attempt planned for August 7th 2002

Latest news from Carl Layden

On club scene #53, Craig Trickett, President of St John's R/C Flyers, Newfoundland, Canada, gave us news of a planned world record flight of the Atlantic with an r/c plane. Here, Carl Layden, also a member of St Johns and one of the main organisers of the event from the Newfoundland end, gives us the latest news.

Some of you may ask, "What's FAI legal?"

In this case, it's a model limited to 5Kg, a wingspan and length not exceeding 2M, and an engine displacement of 10cc. Imagine using those criteria to design a model to cross the Atlantic Ocean! WOW!

Maynard Hill and his team from STAR (Society of Technical Aeromodel Research) have done just that. The model is not unlike most of the models we fly. It is built of balsa with Monokote covering and is powered by an OS .65 4S. It weighs approximately 5 1/2 lbs dry and it holds 5 1/2 lbs of fuel (that's a little less than 1 gallon). The fuel is Coleman fuel, white gas - yes - the same stuff you can by at Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire.

The flight will take between 30-35 hours, depending on tail winds, and the plane will fly at an altitude of 500 ft with an airspeed of 65 KPH. The model will be hand launched and initially controlled with an R/C transmitter. Once everything is checked and OK, control is switched to GPS guidance for the trip across the Atlantic. Progress of the flight will be monitored with an on board tracking transmitter. The transmitter is similar to those used to track the migration routes of birds, and the telemetry data will be transmitted via satellite back to the team in St.John's, NF every 20 minutes.

The launch will take place in St. John's, Newfoundland on the evening of Aug 7th, weather pending. When the aircraft reaches Ireland, it will circle a field in Spanish Point where it will be landed using an R/C transmitter.

This project has taken many years to design, organize and develop. It is a private venture depending on donations of modelers and others interested in supporting the record attempt. This flight retraces the route of Alcock and Brown's first trans-Atlantic flight.

ModelFlight has sent a message to Maynard and his team wishing every success in this exciting record attempt!


Setting up an external tank for a Cox PeeWee ·020

by Andrew Donatelli

I've found the engine to be quite reliable running on Norvel 25% fuel.

Break it in as per instructions and keep it very clean
Check the glow head and cylinder for tightness occasionally because they have a tendency to loosen due to vibration. It tends to go through glow heads fairly quickly, about one every 20 flights or so. The most important thing to keeping it running smoothly is keep the reed valve very clean. This requires disassembly once in a while, but it keeps the engine running very well. Use the black soft plastic props, I was using the stiff grey ones, but I was breaking them in about 25% of the landings.

To set up an external tank for the Pee Wee, first remove the original tank and drill a hole in the side of it just large enough to fit a ½A fuel line.

Remove the internal fuel line and connect the new fuel line in its place, then put the tank back on being careful not to pinch your new fuel line.

Leave about 2 to 3 inches of fuel line coming out of the tank. I used a little bottle from a fish tank PH test kit as a fuel tank. I put a piece of normal sized fuel tubing over a piece of brass tubing about ¾" long leaving about ½" exposed. I then drilled a hole just large enough for a tight fit of the fuel tubing. The fuel tubing should be cut at 45 degree angle and just reach the back of the tank. Drill another hole on the side of the tank near the front and insert a piece of normal sized fuel tubing extending about ¼" into the tank and about 1" outside, this will be the fuelling/pressure feed
Install the tank with the rear end angled slightly down and the brass tubing that extends from the front of the tank going through a hole in the firewall and connect this to the ½A fuel tube from the engine. Drill a hole in the side of the fuselage for the fuelling/pressure line to go through and cut the fuelling/pressure line so that it is angled forward. The prop wash and
forward flight forces air into the tube pressurizing the tank. This works surprisingly well.

The Pee Wee engine pictured above belongs to Lionel Kirby who kindly brought it to my club field to allow me to see one for myself and get some idea of its size. Take a look at Andrew's lovely collection of these beautiful little engines on photo gallery and catch up on Andrew's latest design on work in progress.


Close encounters with an IFO

by Tony Whiteley

So, what is an IFO, I hear you ask (well, some of you will ask anyway). This is what an IFO looks like:

Mine looks just the same, but in yellow. A good place to get the low-down on this model is here:


IFO stands for Indoor Flying Object and I got mine, not for flying indoors, but to fly in my own back garden on calm sunny evenings. They are extremely lightweight models and very manoeuvrable too (the blurb says). When I handed my money over to the model shop owner I had a picture in my mind's eye of me lounging on my garden bench with the IFO casually floating around my large back garden

Having built the model, and having waited patiently for a couple of months for a suitable "window of opportunity" so I could conduct test flights, I finally lost my patience a couple of weeks ago and launched it from a playing field into a bit of a breeze. I'll admit here and now that the breeze was a bad idea. The model did one fast loop and hit the ground behind me so quickly that I hardly had time to reach for the controls - and when I managed to find them, they seemed to have no effect at all !

"Waiting for the right moment" continued, and this evening (July 10), just before dusk, I noticed that the rain had stopped and it was "flat calm." There being nothing interesting on the TV at the time (9.30pm) I ventured into the garden with my IFO all charged-up and ready to go.

The first launch saw the beginnings of another of those quick loops which specialise in a nose-dive into the ground somewhere close behind me - but I was ready this time. I pulled even more "up" and the model did two tiny consecutive loops just above my head. The loops were so quick I found it impossible to tell when I should try to stop the looping - so the model was allowed to do another couple while I had a think about the situation

Being bankrupt of good ideas I decided I should just cut the power. So I did do - and the model came down to earth very quickly and none too tidily either, landing on the lawn (no damage done!).

Hmmmm - for the next flight I decided to reduce the elevator throw and also the reflex too ("up" elevator). Another launch and the model flew nice and level this time. It felt much more controllable in pitch, but now I had time to learn that the roll was horrendously fast, too

Having "banked" away from the rose bed, I found the model had done a roll-and-a-half before I could let go of the stick. It was now inverted, none too high, and still heading for the roses. I pushed "hard down" to hold the nose up. The model very quickly bunted back to inverted again - getting closer still to the roses. Not daring to touch the ailerons again, I decided, once more, to cut the power. This time the model landed inverted on the lawn (still nothing damaged).

OK, so now I know it will loop, bunt and (at times) fly level. But it needed much less response to the aileron control, so this was de-sensitised before the next launch.

This time the model flew well, turned very smartly, could be looped easily, it was flying really well and I was enjoying the experience immensely. It was around this time that I realised that my back garden, a) isn't as large as I had thought it was, and b), had suddenly grown lots of trees I'd never noticed previously!

In order to keep the model away from the house, the rose bed and the trees, I was having to continually change the direction the model was flying. Then, out of a clear blue sky, the biggest sycamore tree imaginable suddenly dashed out from a neighbour's garden and stood right in front of my poor defenceless IFO. The very nerve of the tree, actually coming into my garden!

Of course the IFO lost the battle of this confrontation. In fact it just seemed to stop in mid-air. I walked over to where the tree was standing defiantly, but by this time it had retreated back into its usual place in my neighbour's garden - and taken my IFO with it!

A clothes pole was nowhere near long enough to reach the model. Two tied together was - just! But the model wouldn't budge from its perch. Right about now my neighbour's kitchen light came on so I called out to him. I thought that I'd better explain what I was doing just in case he saw me and called the police, thinking I was up to no good.

More poking and prodding bore no fruit at all, the model wouldn't come down from its high resting place. Planning to grasp the model by the cf rod which loops around the front of the propeller, I retired to my garage where I attached a "butcher's hook" to the end of my pole.

On taking the "modified pole" back to the tree, I now realised that the light had gone and it was impossible to see where the model was! The model was eventually spotted with the assistance of a torch and it's operator (my long-suffering wife, Audrey). The hook did its job and the model was finally brought back to earth with a bit of a bang.

This time there was some damage done to the model - but not very much. The cf under-carriage strut was broken in two, but I guess it was due to my mis-handling of the rescue rather than through any fault of the model itself. Instead of repairing the broken part it will be removed for further test-flying as I don't think this model will ever really be in need of a single wheel u/c - not the way I land it anyway.

I actually think the IFO is going to be a really great flier - I just need to give myself a little more room for some "proper trimming" flights next time.

. . . update from Tony, 11 July . . .

"Just to complete my recent IFO story . . . . I had a great flying session at my local strip this evening. TwinStar = six flights, TwinJet = two flights, IFO = four flights, crashes = none!

It was so much easier to trim-out the IFO at the flying field, without the need for continually avoiding trees! It's a great flier (loops and bunts in its own length and really slowly too) and, as a bonus, it flies really well on my Piccolo battery packs too!

Next month, read about Tony's rather different model Halifax.


Futaba transmitters alert!

Gordon Cook, Chairman of Test Valley Model Flying Club, UK, alerts us to a weakness in the design of Futaba transmitters that could have cost him dear at the flying field recently. When Gordon ran through his pre-flight checks prior to rotating his pattern ship, he discovered that he had no rudder control in one direction and which then failed entirely, eventually tracking the problem down to a broken wire in his Futaba Field Force 8 transmitter.

Gordon's transmitter is set up in Mode 1 and the problem was that there is a small circuit board mounted at the base of the stick that actually moves back and forth when the stick is used in the elevator sense - elevator and rudder control being paired on the left-hand stick in Mode 1, as viewed from the operating position. Wires from the board are connected back to the relevant pots and the continued flexing of the wires to the rudder pot as the stick has been used for elevator control caused fatigue in the wires to the point of breaking. Gordon thinks that the reason why the rudder worked in one direction only - for those last few movements that were witnessed before total failure - was that in one direction the rudder wiring is in compression and the other in tension.

If you click on the picture above, the enlarged view clearly shows the broken wire circled in red. Gordon is a great advocate of Mode 1 and was of the view that if you transposed the problem to a Mode 2 set-up, the potential for trouble would have been even greater - especially if the failure had occurred after take-off - as it would have meant the loss of aileron control.

Not much you can do about it, except to be aware of the possibility of this fault developing and if you have a transmitter that has been in fairly regular use over a period of three or four years, check it out!

Arising from this incident and from his own considerable experience and pedigree in model flying, Gordon has written a very thought-provoking piece on the general reliability of transmitters. Look out for it on the September issue of ModelFlight.


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