Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blade Nano QX

I picked this up last week, along with more batteries.

It's a great, and inexpensive, bird to learn to fly better. It flies well indoors, and out.

It's a great confidence builder to get my 450 3D back in the air sooner. It's all repaired, but still needs adjustments before taking it up.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Second outing with the heli = disaster

Saturday was a beautiful day for flying. Sadly, it did not end well.

I charged up the batteries in the morning but then it got windy by the time they were ready. Later in the evening, the winds calmed down to around 5-10kmh so I decided to take the heli up to the park and get airborne.

The first flight went pretty good. There were a few scary moments, but no crashes. I felt pretty good. Here's a clip from that flight.

The second flight went really well, again with a few scary moments, but ultimately ended in disaster.

I'm not sure what went wrong, but I'm fairly certain that landing with stunt mode turned on was a big part of it. I'm pissed at myself too because I was thinking the whole time that I should turn it off before landing, but I was worried that turning it off might result in a sudden drop in altitude and possibly crash.

Oh, the irony.

The end result was the loss of half of the tail rotor assembly. It flew off when main rotor blade struck the tail boom and bent it. This also fractured one of the main rotor blades. I found half of the tail rotor about 20ft away. Couldn't find one of the blades.

Bent tail boom
Broken tail rotor
The fly bars got bent nearly 180 degrees. I should have taken a photo before I straightened them. It was crazy.

Flybars after I straightened them. They'll need replaced.
That was my initial assessment of the damage.

Later in the evening, I discovered more. The main rotor gear was stripped.

Stripped gear
Last night I placed an order on Great Hobbies web site for pretty much anything that had to do with the tail assembly, since I'm not sure what I'm missing or what, if anything, is salvageable from the pieces I have. I also ordered new main rotor blades, flybars, and the main rotor gear.

This afternoon I dug out the CD that came with the 450 and watched a few tutorial videos on repairs. One of them made me wonder if there may be other damage that isn't immediately obvious. I looked over the injured bird and discovered more damage. :(

The spindle/feathering shaft is also bent. It's not obvious in the photo because you can't see it, but a tip I got from the video showed me how to determine this.

The shaft runs inside the two blade holders.
I also found that one of the servo control arms must have been cracked because when I inadvertently pressed lightly on it and snapped it. I wonder if that was from this accident or the last? It's scary to think that this could have snapped in flight after the upcoming repairs.

Broken servo arm.
Inside one of the other servos, a gear (or gears) sound like they might be stripped. There's a grinding sound and feel when I move that control arm.

Pretty sure the gears inside this servo are stripped.
I found the additional parts on Great Hobbies web site and phoned them to see if they could be added to my pending order. No problem. They'll all be shipped out today.

I don't think I'll be taking off or landing on grass anymore, and while I'm sure it's possible to land while stunt mode is enabled, I won't be trying that again either. It doesn't take much to forget that pulling down on the throttle in stunt mode doesn't mean shut off motor. I think I may have done that. Maybe I'll just leave stunt mode off for this year.

Boys will be boys

I was sitting on the back patio yesterday, tending to the BBQ, when my son came out and sat down on the step.

"Want to scrape any of these?", he asked, showing me a strip of paper roll caps he had in his hand. He then proceeded to scrap a few with a quarter, enjoying the small flash and puff of smoke for his efforts.

"No thanks", I replied.

He has always loved playing with caps, for as long as I can remember. He's still a kid at heart, even at 19.

I thought back to when I was a kid. Sitting on the sidewalk, on a hot summer day, with a rock, a few rolls of caps... that's all we needed to have fun. Sometimes we'd take an entire roll and smash it with a large rock. The loud explosion always gave us a thrill.

I asked my son if he ever did the same. He said he hadn't.

"Never? You've got to try it sometime" I told him, "roll it up tight, find a big rock and smash it hard. After the bang you can look through what's left and you'll probably still have some left to scrape too."

He proceeded to roll up what he had left in his hand.

"Is this enough?" he asked.


I picked up a brick from the patio and handed it to him.

"Now hit it hard, with the end of the brick... flat to squish the roll."

He didn't hesitate.

That was a lot louder than I remembered. My ears rang.

My wife came to the door.

"What are you doing?!?!"  She didn't look amused.

My son and I stood there grinning.

"I was showing Kyle how to explode caps...", I explained.

She didn't say anything. I think I saw her roll her eyes.

I miss being a kid.