Monday, August 22, 2011

Its still cold at ETSA Park in August but.... WHAT A CROWD!

When I arrived at ETSA Park for tonight’s indoor flying entertainment, the Duty Manager told me that we would be flying on Court One. This was good news as it became a rehearsal for our “big night” in September. As we are a part of The Bay To Birdwood motoring event’s Cruising Classic Programme we are staging what has been officially billed as “Night Fliers On Parade” and, to fit in with the Birdwood organizers, we had to change our September night to the last Thursday night, the 29th rather than the usual third Thursday. With both of our leading aerobatic helicopter pilots, namely Hamish Scott and Matthew Waye appearing on that night, we are hoping for a bumper harvest of supporting pilots and their models to boost our programme so that we can entertain, what we hope will be, a large gathering of spectators.

To lift the entertainment value even higher, we would also like to see four-wheel-drive vehicles (the slippery floor is not kind to two-wheel force) and the Whiteline Road Train will perform, together with its fascinating electronic sound system. As the Duty Manager, due to work pressure, had forgotten all about us, we were so well behaved of course, we found ourselves with all four courts with full lighting all night and this quite successfully hid the fact that we had one of our two best flying numbers (24 in all) not only actively engaged, but, actively engaged over a large flying area which added to the overall safety. As a result of the extra space, I do not recall a single mid-air all night.

I have included only one picture in this month’s story and that is of Model Flight Staffer, Brenton, with the very latest to come from the Parkzone stable, the delightful looking UM F27Q Stryker 180 – a long, long title for such a baby? At the RRP of $179.99 from Model Flight’s Goodwood Road store it shows the way to flying one of the slickest aircraft in the micro group that have become so popular of late. It was a little disappointing in that, having spent some time in marrying the new model to his Transmitter, he was to discover that he needed more time than was available to set up this little aircraft and with a slight fault in the rudder mechanism, Brenton did not want to just give a part display in which he may have not been in full control or at full speed.

The good news in this portion of my epistle is that we will NOW see the Stryker make its debut when the night fliers are on parade. Don’t miss it. I shall leave it up to the discretion of our Web-Mistress or Master to insert my picture of Brenton just wherever he/she sees fit. In closing this month’s rather brief interlude, please stay with me as I remind you all that for us, it is Thursday as usual – the only exception is that our September flying night will be on the 29th and that all fees remain unchanged. Here’s a wee secret … the motoring people who are going to fill the galleries will be paying $5 – the small fee going to a charity of the Birdwood people’s choice, whereas our usual spectators will visit for free. I wish you all happy and exotic flying.

The Phoenix

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Announcing the E-flite Carbon-Z Scimitar RC Plane

The E-flite Carbon-Z Scimitar is true satisfaction for the RC pilot who desires flight performance and adrenaline pounding excitement previously thought impossible from a conventional rc aircraft platform. The fantasy-scale Carbon-Z Scimitar RC Plane, designed by world aerobatic champion Quique Somenzini, bursts open the performance envelope with an evolutionary compound-delta flying wing. At the heart of the advanced Carbon-Z Scimitar is a specially tuned Q-Power system harnessed inside a revolutionary single-axis, vectored-thrust propeller system. In combination with the precision of carbon rod hinged elevons and twin rudders, a refreshing level of maneuverability can be explored after less than an evening’s worth of assembly time.

Features of this great new rc plane are:
  • Dual rudder and vectored-thrust control on the yaw axis
  • Exceptionally strong and lightweight Carbon-Z structure
  • Digital high-speed servos installed
  • Single screw access to the electronic equipment
  • Effective front and side cooling inlets with interior venting
  • High-quality socket-head hardware throughout
  • Distinctive color scheme for superior visibility
  • Ready to accept optional E-flite electric retracts (EFLG110)
  • All components, including the nose and control surfaces, are easily replaceable
You can view more images and information about this exciting new plane HERE

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ParkZone Pole Cat Tail Replacement How To

ParkZone Pole Cat Tail Replacement How To by John Redman

The Ultra Micro Series Pole Cat Pylon Racer is modeled after the modified Cassutt Formula 1 air racers that compete in the world famous Reno Air Race. It's been specially designed to deliver all the looks and thrills of these Reno speedsters yet remain as forgiving as any sport rc plane. Whether you're banking and yanking around the pylons with the throttle wide open, unwinding with some sport aerobatics, or simply shooting touch and goes, the Ultra-Micro Pole Cat is a joy to fly at any speed.

This How-To Tail Replacement video will help you better understand what you need to do to replace the tail on your Pole Cat. We walk you through the steps explaining exactly what to do and when to do it. This tutorial should help you replace the tail on your Ultra Micro Pole Cat in just a few short minutes in the work shop.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How-To Replace the ParkZone Pole Cat's Main Wing

Changing the Wing on Your ParkZone Pole Cat by John Redman

The Ultra Micro Series Pole Cat RC Plane is modeled after the modified Cassutt Formula 1 air racers that compete in the world famous Reno Air Race. It's been specially designed to deliver all the looks and thrills of these Reno speedsters yet remain as forgiving as any sport plane. Whether you're banking and yanking around the pylons with the throttle wide open, unwinding with some sport aerobatics, or simply shooting touch and goes, the Pole Cat is a joy to fly at any speed.

This How-To Wing Replacement video will help you better understand what you need to do to replace the wing on your Pole Cat. We walk you through the steps explaining exactly what to do and when to do it. This tutorial should help you replace the wing on your Ultra Micro Pole Cat in just a few short minutes in the work shop.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How To Replace the Receiver and Gearbox in the ParkZone Pole Cat

ParkZone Pole Cat RX Board/Motor Gearbox Replacement How To by John Redman

The Ultra Micro Series Pole Cat is a great new RC Plane modeled after the modified Cassutt Formula 1 air racers that compete in the world famous Reno Air Race. It's been specially designed to deliver all the looks and thrills of these Reno speedsters yet remain as forgiving as any sport plane. Whether you're banking and yanking around the pylons with the throttle wide open, unwinding with some sport aerobatics, or simply shooting touch and goes, the Pole Cat is a joy to fly at any speed.

This How-To Receiver Board/Motor Gearbox Replacement video will help you better understand what you need to do to replace the receiver board and motor/gearbox on your Pole Cat Electric RC Plane. We walk you through the steps explaining exactly what to do and when to do it. This tutorial should help you replace the receiver board and motor/gearbox on your Ultra Micro Pole Cat in just a few short minutes in the work shop...

Stryker 180 Vs Sbach 342

Thanks to chuck for sending us this video of the Parkzone Stryker 180 and Sbach's what he had to say about them:

"What a great weekend of weather we had, managed to get out and maiden my new Sbach 342 and it flew great straight out of the box, really like this plane it's a beauty, i also took the Stryker 180 to do a compare video, both planes are just amazing, but are 2 completely different planes, the Stryker is a pure fun plane taking it up and seeing what you can make it do, with quick recoveries from moves that didn't work.  I'm going to have trouble giving this one back haha i have been flying the pants off it and reckon i am now ready to try some 5 mistakes high 100% rates to get even more fun out of this beauty, it really is a plane that i think will sell out quick!" Chuck ThrillSeeker

Friday, August 12, 2011

Team Losi Racing 22T Stadium Truck Preview

Team Losi Racing completely changed the landscape of 1/10-scale electric off-road racing in December of 2010 with the debut of the 22 2WD Buggy. From its aluminum chassis, sliding rack steering system, big bore shocks and mid- or rear-motor configuration, the 22 RC Buggy was dramatically different than anything else out there. Team Losi Racing has had a tradition of bringing out a buggy first, followed by a stadium truck shortly thereafter. Fast-forward 8-short months and Team Losi Racing is at it once again, this time bringing 22-style tech to the 1/10-scale Stadium Truck class with the new 22T.

The 22T isn't simply a longer and wider 22 Buggy, oh no, no, no. The 22T RC Truck represents a number of changes and refinements to TLR stadium trucks. Of course, you get the rear and mid-motor configuration options which debuted on the 22, but there's more here to help raise the performance to the next level. The 22T uses a common wheel on each end of the truck thanks to a new bearing-supported front axle design. Other new features include a new front kick plate, longer truck-specific rear shocks and shock towers, new steering spindles and a lot more. We managed to catch up with the Team Losi Racing Development Manager, Todd Hodge, to pick his brain on this latest stadium truck from TLR. If you're into stadium trucks, this is one rig you'll definitely want to check out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Losi TEN-SCTE Review

Since the arrival of the first 2WD short course truck, there has been a desire for 4WD versions. With 4WD you can generally go faster, hook up more power and can be easier to drive, but getting a 4WD short course truck that handles well, is fast and durable can be a challenge. The folks at Losi have stepped up to the plate with a new variation on their TEN-T platform called the TEN-SCTE. The rolling chassis combines elements of the TEN-T and 810 buggies with a new extended chassis, short course specific front and rear bumpers, and a new motor mount to make what has potential to be one of the best 4WD trucks out there. We were anxious to get some track time with this 4-wheeled wonder and the time has finally come. It's time to strap in and hold on because this is sure to be a wild ride.

Speed Specs
Manufacturer: Losi
Part Number(s): LOSB0127
Vehicle Class/Type: 4WD Short Course Truck
Target Audience: Performance and 4WD Off-Road Enthusiasts
Completion Level: Rolling Chassis

As a rolling chassis, getting the TEN-SCTE up and running was fairly simple and straight-forward. I didn't have to do any final building or prepping of the chassis—simply paint the body and install the electronics. Since the TEN-SCTE does not include any electronics, I decided to turn to Team Novak and their Limited Mike Truhe Edition Havoc Pro SC and 4.5T Ballistic motor. This is a tweaked version of the original 4.5T combo that includes a larger 14mm rotor that provides greater torque and lowers the Kv rating slightly. Additionally, this combo also includes a 16-tooth pinion gear; the same size Mike used to win the Cactus Classic. It's a pretty cool setup. I also used a Spektrum DX3R PRO bound to an SR3520 receiver. For steering duties, I turned to the Spektrum SR6040 as it's been my go-to steering servo for some time. Finally, I needed a battery that would be up to the task of powering a 4WD short course truck with a hot motor like the Novak 4.5T Ballistic, and found the perfect one in the Losi Xcelorin 60C 6000mAh packs. These 4WDs draw a ton of current, which could potentially damage lower C-rated cells, but the 60C rating of these packs should be more than up to the task.

After spending some time talking to a few of the Losi team members, I did make two changes to the stock setup. The kit comes out of the box with grease in all three differentials. Looking for a more consistent feel on-track, I decided to flush the grease out and filled the differentials with genuine Losi Silicone Diff Oil instead. I filled the front diff with 5000wt oil and used 3000wt in the center and rear diffs. The other change I made was to the rear suspension mounts. I've been using a set of adjustable mounts on my 8IGHT-E lately and really liked them, so it's good that there's a similar setup now for the TEN-based platforms like the TEN-SCTE. In all fairness, I did set the mounts to the stock position, but reserved the right to change the anti-squat or toe-in later on.

It took me most of the first battery pack just to get used to the TEN-SCTE, but that wasn't because the truck didn't handle well. If you take someone who is used to running 2WD 17.5 classes and throw them behind the wheel of a dirt-throwing, rip-roaring 4WD beast, it's going to require an adjustment period. My first few laps found me over-jumping obstacles, over-driving corners and basically over-driving the truck around the track. Then an amazing thing happened. I started slowing down and backed off the throttle and the truck became easier to drive while turning faster lap times.

With the stock setup, I was a bit surprised how compliant the front suspension was. By that I mean the front end had a lot of travel going on both on- and off-power. I was able to take some of that out through the droop screws in the front arms, but I can see a possible spring and oil change in the near future. I may not be too quick to do this, however, as this additional travel also meant that the TEN-SCTE had a good amount of steering and I am not quite sure I want to hamper that at this point. We shall see.

The Losi gang has worked hard to get the handling of the TEN-SCTE right and they've done a pretty good job. From the box, the handling is relatively neutral with a hint of under-steer; something relatively common between most Losi chassis platforms. If I got on the power too hard I could get the truck sideways and crossed-up, but that was caused more by my getting overly aggressive with the throttle than anything wrong with the chassis.

Top Speed/Acceleration
The one thing about any 4WD chassis is that you can hook up a ridiculous amount of power and the TEN-SCTE doesn't disappoint. Granted, the Novak 4.5T had a lot to do with it, but the driveline and efficiency of the truck also has some say. When you grab a handful of throttle, all four tires claw angrily at the dirt beneath them as the truck launches forward. You definitely don't want to be in its way as it rockets away from you at top speed.

One of the nice things about the TEN-SCTE is that it accelerated so well that I didn't have to worry about carrying a bunch of roll speed through the corners. When you come to jumps or obstacles, you can simply roll up to them, blip the throttle and easily clear the jump in front of you. In-fact, the TEN-SCTE accelerates so well that you may find yourself over-jumping things if you over-power a jump. More on that in a bit.

One of the things the 8IGHT platform is so well-known for is how free-spinning the driveline is. Since the TEN-SCTE uses a scaled-down version of that driveline, it shares this feature with its larger buggy cousin. When you get off of the throttle, it seems like the TEN-SCTE rolls forever. Due to this, you may find yourself having to use more brake than you're typically used to, especially if you're coming to the TEN-SCTE from a stock or 17.5T-powered truck. If you try to rely on some sort of drag brake, you're going to find yourself in the fences when you go into a corner unless you dialed some into the transmitter or ESC. Once I adapted to this, I was able to get into the corners aggressively, nail the brakes, turn-in and get the truck pointed in the right direction. The compliant nature of the front end really helped pull the truck around the corners quite well and the rear end stayed right in line. Turn-in is also not a problem on this truck. I have to say, the Havoc Pro SC added to this performance as the brakes were smooth, powerful and consistent lap after lap. I'm also sure that the larger tuning rotor in the 4.5T Ballistic motor helped generate more stopping power too.

When you get on the gas, as I mentioned above, the TEN-SCTE is a rocket. I did find myself looking for a little better steering on-power initially, but thankfully I was able to reach back to my touring car days for a solution. The TEN-SCTE, like touring cars, 1/8-scale buggies and 1/8-scale truggies, features droop screws in the A-arms. What droop screws do is provide an easy way to change the down-travel of your suspension arms without requiring you to add limiters inside your shocks. They're super easy to use and I was thankful they were here. An on-power under-steer, like I was encountering, is often a sign that there's too much weight being transferred to the rear of the chassis. An easy way to change this is to reduce the amount of down travel of the front A-arms by turning the droop screws in a bit. I turned each front droop screw in one full turn from stock, which made quite a difference. In the end, I took nearly 2-turns of down travel out of the front end to suit my driving style and the truck was much better on-power exiting corners.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Novak Ballistic 4.5T motor is ridiculously fast, especially for someone like me who is more used to running 17.5T motors in 2WD vehicles. Because you have so much power on tap, you need to be more careful as you jump your truck. If you stay on the power too long or try to hit a jump with too much speed, you can easily find yourself in a nose-down tumble on the opposite side of the jump. The TEN-SCTE jumps with a bit of a nose-down attitude to begin with, and staying on the power too long once in the air or hitting a jump with too much speed can exaggerate this issue. Eventually, I found my rhythm around the track; rolling jumps more than trying to punch my way over them and focused more on trying to downside a jump versus simply clearing them. Again, once I slowed down I went faster.

The TEN-SCTE was absolutely worth the wait and I am excited to get even more running time with it. I ran about a dozen batteries through the truck on my test day and it came out relatively unscathed. I didn't install the fan on the Novak Havoc Pro SC ESC initially and the ESC went into a thermal protection mode during the first run, but I brought the truck into the pits, installed the fan, and never had another problem all day long. Consider that lesson learned. The other minor issue I ran into had to do with the motor mount screws vibrating lose on the last run of the day. I'll admit, I didn't check the screws as I ran so it's my own fault, but it was a bummer none-the-less. When I replaced the screws, I used a bit of Losi-Lok thread locking compound and haven't had an issue since.

The TEN-SCTE is an awesome 4WD short course platform and I was very impressed with it. A lot of the credit goes to the Novak Ballistic motor and Havoc Pro SC ESC, but the chassis itself is absolutely capable of running well on any track anywhere. It's well-designed and put together to take even my abuse! The stock Eclipse SCT tires hooked up better than I thought they would; I dare say I could race with these tires in more loamy conditions. The 8IGHT lineage was prevalent all-day-long and I was often reminded of my experience running my 8IGHT-E with the TEN-SCTE. If you're searching for a competition-level 4WD short course truck, your search just ended. I can see this truck winning a lot more races all around the world, leaving you with an important decision: race one...or chase one.

ETSA Park on a Cold July Night

Chuck Thrillseeker & Mike O'R
A warm touch to a very chilly evening at the stadium this month was in the personality of a “new face” at ETSA Park. The very friendly Chuck T. Seeker, a video camera operator , imported by Michael J. O’Reilly and Chuck displayed his brilliance in shooting some “stuff” on the indoor action. This is not the simplest of filming tasks, with ultra small models and very enthusiastic speeds, but he was able to keep most of the action within the perimeters of his view-finder. Well done!

The Pole Cat
One of the models that were featured by Chuck was the latest in the micro-models that only, that day, left the shelves of Model Flight’s Goodwood Road Store, was the “Polecat,” seen here.  It joins its other family members – the Sukhoi, and the Mustang, which are part of the squadron of numerous micro aircraft that are all the rage of the indoor movement these days.

Jamie Nancarrow
This photo worried me a little in that I was curious – was Jamie praying for some devine intervention with his video production, or looking for assistance when making excuses for his late arrival home to one of Australia’s latest mothers, to be??

Merryweathers in Portrait
In the next picture, the Phoenix presents a little portrait image of the Merryweather family, Brad, Nicole and Emily. Tim and Brad’s young ladies must have travelled many Klicks throughout the night and no doubt, all parents would have enjoyed an undisturbed night of sleep from two little very tired girls.

Entourage de la Brenton
In the absence of Michael and his many Parkzone boxes on this evening, It was difficult not to notice the “entourage’ de la Brenton for, as you can see, he totes an enormous amount of luggage – even taking us back a few years with the delightful yellow Jenny.  Mike Schneider (where is your long lost brother, Jergen?) would no doubt have been discussing the good old days with long time modeler, Eric Astill whom, I am sure will just HAVE to show up one night with a model. You cannot return to this venue very often without getting the bug again Eric and, when that happens, you will be welcomed as you always were.

Long-Time fliers Mike & Eric
Vin appears to be winning in the battle for “The Return Of The Candyman!” Two appearances this year already and ‘tis only August. My final picture this month is of the father, George (one of the few SSL members to regularly fly at ETSA Park) and the son, Daniel, with neither rarely missing a monthly flyin. You too, can join us for we fly on the third Thursday of each month, from 8.30 to 10-30p.m. and you only pay $10 for the priveledge IF you fly – come and enjoy the entertainment, as a spectator, for free.

Father and Son
There is one exception to that last sentence and here it is… In September, we are flying on the last Thursday – the 29th and at the usual times. That month is special for we are part of the “Bay To Birdwood” motoring festivities with a title of “Indoor Flying On Parade.”

Already, Nationally leading helicopter expert, Hamish Scott, has agreed to demonstrate his ability – the ability that has carried him to the outstanding title of “one of the best in Australia.” Hamish, I hope, will be joined by Model Flight’s new-model test pilot, Matthew Waye, himself one of the leading fixed wing and helicopter pilots in the country and these two gentlemen on their own will be well worthy of your viewing. The Manageress of the ETSA Park Stadium, Nadine Hewson is opening the bar for this occasion and a large number of fliers and spectators should make it one of our biggest nights so far.

Please keep that in mind – in September, a change of date means we fly on the last Thursday night – not our usual third. See you then in all your glory. 

Your friendly Phoenix.