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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Indoor Flying Friday Night

We had a great turnout for the indoor flying session at Harrison School Friday night. Several of our new members attended. Club members who didn't bring something to fly showed up to be entertained.
From the left new member Tom Williams with Buzz Haviland
It may look as if they are sitting, but they are flying while they are taking it easy.

On the left new member Mark Putzer, Cloyce Mann & Mark Sullivan
Bob Crofford's 3D plane standing still

Bob Crofford himself, putting on a demo of 3D flying
Our very newest member Jim Mann (no relation to Cloyce) put on a great show flying around his little WWI Albatros. I signed up Jim Friday morning at Pathfinder Park. I think Jim, Tom and maybe Buzz are part of the Arizona Mafia. If not Mafia maybe snowbirds.

Newest member Jim Mann at the controls

Sorry if I missed anyone. Remember our flying at Harrison will end next month on May 25th.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weird Accident

My Sig LT-40 had an unusual accident. I made it to the field at about noon today and started practicing touch-and-goes in preparation for next month's Gala FunFly. On one attempt I heard  my prop tip the runway and the LT-40 proceeded at a good clip about twenty feet down the runway. I gunned the throttle to go airborne again and that's when the engine made a terrible roaring noise. It wouldn't throttle back and the whole plane shook apart. Within a few seconds it came to a stop.

When I got to the plane I saw that about 1/2 of one blade was gone. An unbalanced prop had caused the damage. The tail assembly shook completely off and the fuel tank shook itself back into the cabin. My landing prop strike probably weakened the prop. When I throttled up the prop failed and started shaking the whole plane. This separated the throttle linkage which kept it at full throttle, causing more violent shaking. The engine finally shut off when the fuel tank disconnected from the engine and slid back into the cabin.

Lesson learned ... With any kind of a prop strike, one should end the flight and inspect for any damage. Don't take a chance. Fortunately the damages to the LT-40 were relatively minor and nothing that epoxy glue cannot fix. A word of warning, with electrics they will keep running even with a busted prop as long as they are supplied with electric power. Throttle back as soon as you hear a strange noise since you might get your plane into a similar problem. A couple of years ago I had this happen to my electric SmoothE. It tore the forward half of the plane apart when it threw one blade.


Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13, 2012

Tried to fly today.  Took my Stinger thinking it could handle the wind.  Had wind gusts to 25+.  Quite an interesting expierience.  After taking off, it flew ok in the air, then a slow approach.  Wow I was thinking to myself, you really screwed the pooch this time!  After several attempts I finally got it on the ground using a lot of power to land.  Got lucky, no damage at all, and a half way decent landing.  Needless to say that was my last flight.  Very fortunate to get it down in one piece!  I think I'll reconsider flying in such wind conditions again guys!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another Spruce-up List Update

We now have new seats painted and installed, on the picnic table underneath the cover between the storage building and the impound building. Many many THANKS go out to Buzz Haviland and Tom Williams for their answering the call to help re-do them with me.
 It didn't take long with the 3 of us doing the work and hauling the old seats out to the trash pile. I hope to be hauling that trash and leftover debris off in the next couple of weeks along with the unpainted, damaged beyond repair, picnic table to the dump also.
 We are gaining good ground on the list with everyone's great efforts at fixing the facility up in a very nice manner.
 I'd also like to Thank whoever it was, that placed my Spektrum Dx7 Transmitter Radio in the impound building out of the weather for safe-keeping. It appears I must have left it at the field on Easter morning after I got done flying then. I found it on the table inside the impound building safe and sound and in perfect condition.
Thanks again,
Mark J. Sullivan

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Site Spruce-Up list is now updated

 The list of repairs and items still needing taken care of has been updated as of Saturday April 7. We have all certainly put a HUGE dent in the items on the list being completed and able to cross them off now.
 There are still a few more larger items that need all of our attention in the very near future such as re-doing the roofs on both the storage and impound buildings with new felt paper and roofing material.
It doesn't appear that there will be enough roll roofing type of material for doing both buildings, and I was wondering if any of the members may have some 3-tab or T-locks or even some more roll roofing laying around that would be enough to do one of the buildings that they would like to donate by chance?
 We can then use the roll roofing that we have on hand on one of the other buildings then to get them both back up in shape before we suffer major structural damage to the roof decks on either building.
 I will be picking up the lumber and hardware needed to repair and replace the seats on the picnic table under the shade canopy this week, and if anyone is available to assist me with the job please contact me via email or my cell phone and we can get that repair done also.
Thanks again for everyone's hard work and continued efforts in getting the needed repairs accomplished in a timely manner.
Mark J. Sullivan

Sunday, April 1, 2012

P-51 Voodoo Project - A Learning Experience

Update because too much stuff has taken me away from the Voodoo repair task I haven't had time to get to it.  I'm shooting to have it done before the end of May, after I deliver the Florence High School commencement address on May 27th.
I acquired this plane at the Feb 2011 Sky Corral Club auction from Mark Sieman for a reasonable price. It looked as if it was well used. It was built by Ron Stark in 2006 who flew it for a few years and then sold it to Mark. He, in turn flew it a lot too. There were signs of several repair jobs. It took me almost a year before I got around to turn it into flying shape.  I procrastinate a lot.

I ran into some unique (for me) challenges with the Voodoo. These were: 1) inverted engine, 2) almost fully cowled engine, 3) retractable landing gear, 4) flaps. And this was my first warbird.

I mounted my trusty Magnum 91 four-stroke to the firewall after considerable measuring to insure the spinner backplate aligned with the fiberglass cowl. I built in 2 deg. of right thrust that also had to match the cowl. The next problem was the fuel tank; with the tank neck protruding through the firewall and the tank was considerable higher than the Magnum’s fuel inlet on the carburetor. I knew this might cause in-flight running problems. I subsequently added a fuel pressure regulator as suggested by Model Airplane News’ engine expert Clarence Lee in a recent article to compensate for the changing fuel head pressure.

Radio installation was straight forward with a Futaba 7 channel 2.4Ghz radio receiver. The same for the servo installation except for the mechanical retract servo setup. I realize now (after dismantling the retract hardware) there is a specific range of pushrod travel to insure positive retract performance. Days later, on the maiden flight, this gave me problems.

After final assembly I began some simple engine fueling and running plus taxi trials. I soon realized that the Magnum 91 did not run well inverted at reduced throttle settings and died when I removed the glow igniter. Also this first test was made before the installation of the pressure regulator so the tank drained out rapidly through the carburetor.  In spite of all these problems I did get the engine running and I did some limited taxi test runs on my driveway.

I rigged up an internal glow plug driver using a micro switch and two AA 2600 mah NiMh batteries. This setup will light the glow plug when the throttle is operating at 1/3 throttle or less. After this, I finally received and installed the PCFS fuel regulator. After these were installed the next test run proved that the combination of the regulator plus onboard glow driver solved all the engine problems and the Magnum performed very well.

In early March I gave Voodoo its maiden flight. Mark Sullivan assisted me. As soon as it took off we know there where problems as one landing gear failed the gear down lock and almost collapsed the instant of takeoff. I raised the gear but it wouldn’t fully retract or fully deploy down and locked. I flew it around and Mark and I kept cycling the retracts but to no avail. Otherwise the plane flew well and the engine ran great at all throttle settings. Only two clicks on right aileron needed was needed to trim it out. Landing with a partially retracted was a bit tough on the gear and airframe. Mark and I screwed around with the retract mechanism until it finally appeared to function properly. 

The second flight on March 14th was longer and more pleasant without the retract distraction. I operated the flaps and there was no trim changes or ballooning tendencies with the flaps down. Rudder turns were not as effective as on my J-3 Cub or on my LT-40. The Voodoo weighs in at 8 pounds and has a much higher wing loading than these other two planes. Still it is a sweet plane to fly, has great wind penetration, and it will be a good sport flyer. The Magnum 91 was just the right power plant for it. On landing Mark and Cloyce both warned me to not let my airspeed drop too low; a problem with flying warbirds. I was probably bringing it in at too high a speed and smacked it down hard first on one the right gear and then the other. Both gear collapsed and tore the retracts out of their wing mounts. 

It wasn’t a pretty sight and I have some extensive repairs to do before my next Voodoo flight. As I started out saying, it is a learning project. I'm glad that I gained this experience with this plane since I have a couple of other warbirds in the shop waiting to be assembled and flown.