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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Choosing The Right Drone For You

While everybody is wondering what to get that RC someone for Christmas; its a pretty good guess that it will be a drone. Drones seem to be the popular choice which are high up on most hobbyist's wish list this season. There is a pretty good selection available ranging from tiny quads, you fly in your living room to FPV Racers all the way up to the bigger camera drones with full GPS controls.

This year we have picked the BLADE Inductrix quad as our RC product of the year. It is so much fun to fly, you can fly it anywhere in the house, very maneuverable and as rugged as can be (hobby grade at FredZ means you can fix anything that brakes). They come in BNF (bind to your DSM transmitter) or RTF use the transmitter DSM that comes with it. Ask for your DEMO in the FredZ RC Zone and see how you or your favorite RC person can have FUN all winter at a low cost. We have set up a small drone course in the FredZ RC Zone, come in and check out your skill navigating through the loops.

FredZ Hobby shop question, if you have a question please ask. (answer may not be completely technical, I hope it helps you understand ) This weeks question: What Drone should I buy ? Drones have certainly made the news lately. I'll start off with that In the RC hobby we call them Quads or however number of motors they have. The Drone came from the media making them sound like Military Drones used to spy and attack the enemy. This is causing problems making the government over react and make rules trying to show how they are in control. The USA has announced they will TRY to register the quads, my opinion is there are way too many to even start to count them let alone register them. In Canada, they have looked at the Commercial side of quads and are trying to make you file a flight plan weeks ahead of your Commercial flight that you a making financial gains from. Once again there are people following the rules and LOTS that are not. Time will tell how this all plays out. The bottom line at this time you can buy and fly the drone/Quad of your choice and as long as you fly it responsibly you can have LOTS OF FUN! At FredZ we have quite a few different Quads : The Baby Quad - These are the ones you can fly in your house or outside on a calm day. They are very maneuverable, rugged and don't cost too much. Some features are self leveling, small cameras for movies or still pictures, they can flip after a button is pushed or some can even go upside down, reversing the controls so you still fly them as normal. ie you are in control and have to know the orientation to be able to tell it where you want it to fly. This takes a bit of technique and skill and adds to the fun you can have with them. if you happen to hit anything with these small machine they just bounce off and keep on going or fall to the ground usually safe and ready to fly again.

Drones in the news:
ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A public hearing Tuesday night could affect every drone user in Albany County, and we’re not just talking about the expensive ones.
A bill before county lawmakers would ban anything that flies unmanned with the aid of a remote control.
This ban would not only impact larger drones with cameras, it would even impact smaller, recreational drones that you can buy at a kiosk in the mall.
Some lawmakers in Albany say the more popular they get, the more traffic there will be in the air.
They say it’s affecting property, privacy and other aircraft flight routes.
Some who planned to attend the hearing said they’ve been flying for years and say while they completely understand that rules and regulations are necessary — an all-out ban is ludacris.
They argue that for many this is a hobby and that the majority of pilots obey the guidelines in place; the few that abuse it shouldn’t be able to ruin it for everyone else.
The public hearing will take place at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, December 8 at the Legislative Chambers of the Albany County Courthouse on Eagle Street.

The serious Quad - These are bigger and Faster and super maneuverable. They have to be flown outside. Some of these can be flown at over 100 KPH. They can carry cameras to take pictures of the area to be save on a SD memory card or they have FPV camera that transmit the picture back to video goggles or a screen so you you can see what the quad sees. It feels like you are in the flying machine and you can feel the way it flies. A new sport that is becoming very popular is FPV (first person view)

 Quad racing. They set up a course and race through the course either on their own or race head to head. You can have the FUN of flying without the consequences of killing yourself in a crash. This summer will be BIG for FPV racing.

The GPS controlled Quad - These are the bad boys causing all the trouble. They are GPS controlled so flying them does not take a lot of skill or have to be in site to be under control. They carry high quality cameras on gyro controlled gimbals to let you have the best picture from any perspective you can think of. Some models come with a great camera up to 4K picture quality others let you mount your own camera such as a GoPro. The main reason these quads where invented is to take pictures. This is attracting a different interest person to RC who doesn't want to fly something, they just want to take gorgeous pictures.

Some GPS Quad features: SMART mode - that lets you tell the quad where to go without knowing its orientation, it knows where you are so you can tell it to go away or come back or go left or right just by moving the stick. There is also a safety distance that will not allow the quad to enter too close to the pilot. Return home- at the push of a button or an automatic signal, if it looses signal or battery becomes low the quad will fly back to the spot it took off from. Follow me, circle me - The quad knows where you are and will follow at a set height and distance that is programmed.

 GPS hold - The quad will stay where you tell it and if the wind blows it away it will fight to stay exactly where you told it to stay. this is used to photograph, you can move the camera around as the quad controls itself to stay where you set it. SimToo Follow Me Camera Drone Features Unique GPS Band Control: One key flying up, super easy operate. Foldable Design: World first fold-able design, extremely portable camera drone GPS and Altimeter: GPS and altimeter technology inside. Auto Flying: Auto stable flying functionality Automatic Return to Home: Fail-safe & auto return, return to home and land. Position Holding: Precise Position Hold Mode, Super Stable for Excellent Aerial Photography. Autonomous Follow: Antonomous follow me function. Camera Gimbal : 2D brushless gimbal.

My Drone Flying Playlist! Check it out to see how I made every possible mistake, proving once again that I sometimes learn things the hard way.

The Future of drones may include delivering packages or cross county flights where the drone could be programmed to land at predetermined charging (refueling stations).  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Starting Running and Flying the RCV 58 DV Model Engine

Compact Design - 60 size 4C engine with a super low profile making it an ideal power plant for many scale projects

AT 6 Texan Installation

Engine Overview:-
The RCV - rotary cylinder valve four stroke engine represents a major advance in model engine design.
Although its moving components (piston, crank, cylinder and rotary valve) are totally conventional,
they are arranged in a radically novel configuration to provide the aero modeller with several key benefits,
whilst having similar handling characteristics to other 4-stroke model engines:-

Design Features:-
The engine still uses RCV's unique rotary valve system - which has only one extra moving component to a 2-stroke and so is easy to maintain. Its ultra low profile, means the height of this engine is approximately 18mm less (compared to OS & Magnum) & the highest point is 14 mm further back which makes cowling much easier than with other engines.

ManufactureDie Cast
Engine Type4-stroke - Glow ignition
Displacement0.58 cu inch9.5 cc
Max Power (approx.)0.85 bhp0.64 kw
Weight (exc. silencer)17.6 oz500 g
Length4.01 inch104 mm
Height - centre line axis2.64 inch67 mm
Cowling RadiusR70
Propeller shaft diameter1/4" UNF
Practical RPM range @ prop
2,400 - 12,000 rpm
Example prop sizes (2-blade)10x6, 11x6, 12x6, 13x6
Recommended Fuel10% Nitro / 15% Oil including max 6% Castor

Bench and Flight Test Video Below:-

RCV Promotional Material

Nik Harrison's Bf 110 With 2 RCV engines

Friday, September 25, 2015

Setting up Flaperons with Spektrum DXi 6 Transmitter

My big 120 size Zero has been a problem for me to land because the kit did not have landing flaps to slow the plane down when setting up a landing. I was considering modifying the wing by a adding external flaps to the lower surface trailing edge. Then the idea hit me: why not try flaperons and see if they will give me what I need.
Shown below is the script of the closed captions of a Youtube video which attempts to show how to set up flaperons on my 120 size Zero.

Kind: captions
Language: en

00:00:00.000 --> 00:00:00.500

00:00:00.500 --> 00:00:01.000

00:00:01.000 --> 00:00:01.500

00:00:01.500 --> 00:00:22.950
I finally discovered how to set up
flaperons with my dx6i spektrum

00:00:22.950 --> 00:00:31.750
the book was a little confusing and
the first time I tried it

00:00:31.750 --> 00:00:43.660
the ailerons moved in the same direction
when I activated the aileron control

00:00:43.660 --> 00:00:58.110
first thing you have to do is to set up
the starboard wing and take the servo

00:00:58.110 --> 00:01:17.910
lead and feed it into the reciever's aileron plug and then the port wing

00:01:17.910 --> 00:01:31.420
servo lead plug it into the reciever's
auxiliary plug

00:01:31.420 --> 00:01:43.540
after completing this you go to

00:01:43.540 --> 00:02:08.509
your transmitter and presss the adjustment wheel and you scroll through this list go to "wing

00:02:08.509 --> 00:02:19.700
tail mix"

00:02:19.700 --> 00:02:40.250
press the wheel you get three

00:02:40.250 --> 00:02:41.790

00:02:41.790 --> 00:02:56.840
the wing type that you have in this case
it's a dual aileron servo

00:02:56.840 --> 00:03:08.630
press the wheel and activate that option

00:03:08.630 --> 00:03:19.210
press the wheel and hold for three
seconds you go back to the home screen

00:03:19.210 --> 00:03:24.920
now the next

00:03:24.920 --> 00:03:45.610
thing to do is to set up your flaps by scrolling
to flaps in the setup list

00:03:45.610 --> 00:03:51.160
press the wheel and you have two choices

00:03:51.160 --> 00:04:03.069
normal flaps and landing flaps you have
to select

00:04:03.069 --> 00:04:07.800
select normal and enter some

00:04:07.800 --> 00:04:27.639
number of degrees or percent for normal
otherwise you will be we will have

00:04:27.639 --> 00:04:34.060
both of the surfaces moving the same direction
so in this case with trial and

00:04:34.060 --> 00:04:51.189
error I set my normal flaps to 27% could
be thirty I suppose and I chose one percent

00:04:51.189 --> 00:05:09.800
down elevator to correct pitch up motion
or moment for landing flaps I chose a

00:05:09.800 --> 00:05:26.490
hundred percent and to control the
pitching up moment I fed in 5% down

00:05:26.490 --> 00:05:42.810
elevator these settings seem to work and I get more or less what I'm looking for

00:05:42.810 --> 00:05:51.190
aileron 1

00:05:51.190 --> 00:06:28.620
down aileron 2 up select landing flaps and they both go down,
as well with flaps deployed I still have aileron roll control

00:06:28.620 --> 00:06:33.470
thanks I hope you have more luck your first time than I did

1) The landing flap setting had to be redced from 100% to 75% to get the desired results.
2) Before I forget, let me add that the auxillary channel had to be reversed also.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aircraft Refueling in the 50's and 60's

DC 7 C
L 1049
 L 1649 G
B 377

L 1649 H
During the summer of 1957 I was employed as a summer student refueling at Gander Airport. I had just finished my second year at Memorial University and was lucky enough to find a well-paying summer job with the Imperial oil company. 

As I recalled after talking with others on our crew who had worked the previous year, the consensus was that the number of landings was down from previous years. However there were more than enough aircraft landing that year to insure that our team would have to work at near full capacity.

The staging aircraft during that period were mainly DC 7 C (Seven Seas); Lockheed L 1049; a few Lockheed L 1649 (Super G’s and H's); (I think Trans World Airways (TWA) called theirs Jet-Streams) and Boeing 377 (Strata Cruisers). B.O.A.C. was the airline mostly flying this type aircraft.

We were given a minimal amount of instructions for the job and because we were summer students we only worked the 4 PM to 12 and the Midnight to 8 AM shifts. We alternated between the afternoon shift and the midnight shift. The afternoon shift was not busy because, there were not many aircraft arriving during these hours so our shift mainly consisted of servicing the fuel browsers: checking the truck’s tank for water and working from checklists to see that all the systems including the starting of the engines oil and other fuel systems were properly filled. We operated out of a small crew room located in one of the hangers. This crew room was equipped with a radio receiver tuned to the air traffic control frequency and we were able to monitor the progress of incoming aircraft. This was necessary so that we could be at our stations when the aircraft arrived for servicing.

There were two companies refueling as I recall, Shell and Imperial so only part of the arrivals had fuel contracts with us; we shared the work with our competitors. The aircraft seemed to come in bunches and the frequency of arrivals peaked in the wee small hours of the morning. It was either a feast or a famine operation and since the work was so stressful we all prayed for a famine shift which was always much more fun because it gave us a chance to enter the passenger terminal and do some celebrity hunting which was often a success. This was a little game we all played amongst ourselves - who can spot the famous passenger.

I recall sitting in the crew one morning during a quiet period, listening on the radio to the progress of a straggler flight whose arrival would be delayed due to loss of one of its four engines. These delayed aircraft were quite common during those times, because the engines were not nearly as reliable as they are today. Especially the engines of the Super G’s were less reliable than most: the 3,400 horse power, R-3350-988TC18EA-2 Turbo Cyclone engines were notoriously unreliable. With one engine out, the remaining engine on the side with the failed engine had to work much harder consequently it often would fail as well as it did in this case. The aircraft had to continue flying with two engines failed on one side. This situation usually caused an air of suspense in in the crew room, at least among us rookies; the others had had witnessed this situation too many times to get excited. As we monitored this aircraft's progress and we planned to run outside to watch the landing once it finally arrived. We were always amazed that the double engine out landings look as routine as a normal landing, except for the fire trucks standing by. My guess is that the flight crews were so used to this condition that a double engine out landing was more or less routine to them. In fact I later read that some of the pilots who flew them referred to the Super G as, "the world's largest Tri-Motor" because it was so often flown on three engines.

The refueling operation was called, over wing refueling as opposed to modern day refueling which is done below the wing from fuel hydrants that are installed under the tarmac. In 1957 of course we used Bowser Trucks which had to be grounded to a grounding point located near the aircraft’s nose wheel. This was an important step in order to preclude an electrical discharge which could cause a fire condition.

The older permanent employees manned the trucks, received the fuel load from the flight engineer and kept the billing paperwork. Since we were assumed to be more-fit and less well-trained, we were expected to do the bull work. Namely our task was to pullout 75 feet or so of fuel hose from the truck by making a loop under the mounting ladder which was usually erected by the truck driver between the inboard and outboard engines. Next our job was to scramble up that ladder to the wing’s upper surface with the heavy brass fuel nozzle tucked under one arm along with the five sided plastic fuel dipstick and safety flashlight, which we usually carry in our mouth, locked between the teeth and yes there was the cruciform screwdriver with its welded rod to prevent it from tumbling into a gas tank.  The screwdriver was required for opening the access covers and it was carried in a pocket of our natty white E.S.S.O. coveralls.

Once we had struggled to the top rung of the ladder we stepped onto the wing’s upper surface, which in most cases, on those cold mornings was coated with a thin sheet of glare ice.  And if the wing was not iced over, between the engines the surface was well oiled due to the leakage of oil from the engines.

Since the wing was tapered in thickness; the outboard tanks were shallower than those inboard. This required the dipsticks to have a separate graduations, one for each tank. There were as many as nine or 10 tanks on each wing, four or five per side and in the case of the Lockheed 1649 there was also tip tanks to be filled.

The fuel load  for each tank was conveyed by the truck driver to those of us up on the wing verbally. This information was not that easily understood because of the roar of engines from other nearby aircraft. So that there was a lot of guessing going on about the real fuel load. There were four or five separate quantities of fuel to remember. Those quantities referred to the outermost tank and worked inboard towards the center tank.

Since the fuel load of these aircraft was measured in the thousands of gallons the pumping operation usually required up to a half an hour per aircraft. I cannot remember exactly but we used some rough measure to keep track of the amount that was pumped into each tank, we counted off the pumping time in seconds and converted that by the flow rate into gallons, stopping periodically to check on the tanks actual contents. This check was done using the dipstick and the tanks contents was read from the appropriate scale.

We were very cautious not to overfill any of the tanks because, if the fuel load was not within specified limits the excess fuel would have to be pumped out. This would take a prohibitive amount of time and there was always the threat of dismissal if we were ever to let this happen. The flight engineer was the one who decided if the fuel load was within his acceptable limits, so we were always very nervous about overfilling any of the tanks.

We were able to become fairly comfortable about filling most of the aircraft but the one we least like to service was the Lockheed L 1649 super G, with its thin high aspect ratio wing (150 feet span). This aircraft type required very careful negotiating the over wing walkway because at this point we were standing 20 or so, feet above the tarmac, upon a wing that measured no more than 3 feet across at the extreme out board end.

The pumping rate of our equipment was approximately 100 gallons per minute and at those rates we had to just about sit on the nozzle to keep it from flying out of the tank. The nozzle itself had to be grounded to the wing to guard against static electrical discharge which was essential because of the extreme volatility of avgas. I think there were two or three grades of avgas used in those days: 80/87, 100/130 and 115/145 octane.

While operating on the slippery wing surfaces I had a few incidents, once where I slipped and fell. On this occasion I almost slipped over the wing trailing edge, which was a particularly scary event. Only by hanging onto the fuel hose was I able to avoid falling to the tarmac. 

On another occasion I seem to remember slipping and falling and landing on top of the fuel nozzle. When I recovered my footing I was horrified to discover that the open end of the nozzle had made a 2 inch happy face crack in the wing’s upper surface. I reported the crack to the flight engineer who did not seem overly concerned but the flight was delayed by more than an hour in its departure, until a temporary repair could be applied. I never got the chance to examine the repair but I seem to recall that it was not all that sophisticated.  It was good enough however to allow the flight to continue, probably no more than a couple of strips of duct tape was used to cover the crack. 

The job itself was for me a high stress one and I looked forward to my days off. During my off time I liked to roam freely about the airport snapping pictures of the strange visitors like the day I spied the first jet transport that I had ever clapped eyes on, a French Caravelle.
One day I had the joy of viewing a Lancastrian but unfortunately I didn't have my hawk-eye with me on that occasion. For those who doubt there was ever such an aircraft I found a picture of one on the internet.

B-377 Strat
127 ft 6 in
123 ft 5 in
150 ft
141 ft 3 in
112 ft 3 in
116 ft 2 in
116 ft 2 in
110 ft 4 in
31 ft 10 in
24 ft 9 in
23 ft 4.8 in
Empty Weight
72.763 lbs
69.326 lbs
85.262 lbs
83.500 lbs
Gross Weight
143.000 lbs
137.500 lbs
156.000 lbs
145.800 lbs
Cruise speed
355 mph
311 mph
342 mph
340 mph
21.700 ft
22.800 ft
23.700 ft
32.000 ft
3.280 mls
3.463 mls
5.410 mls
4.600  mls
23.350 lbs
18.300 lbs
24.335 lbs
23.930 lbs

Thursday, January 22, 2015

CZECH AIRLINES 1923 - 1960


  • connected Prague with Kosice and Brno and also with the West Bohemia spa area.

CZECH AIRLINES was founded as Czechoslovak State Airlines on the 6th of October 1923. The first transport flight from Prague to Bratislava took place on the 29th of October the same year. On that trip, pilot Karel Brabenec flew the distance of 321 km with an Aero A-14 (Brandenburg) bi-plane.






  • CSA became a member of IATA (International Air Transport Association).


  • on the 1st of July, CSA entered into the world of international transport with a Ford 5AT plane on the Prague - Zagreb route.




  • introduced Prague - Bucharest flight on the 11th of September.



  • CSA connected Prague and Moscow on the 2nd of September.


  • at the beginning of April, moved to the new airport in Prague-Ruzyni, the construction of which was awarded a gold medal from the  International Exhibition of Art and Technology in Paris.
  • on the 7th of April performed airport's introductory flight to Brussels.
  • improved passenger service by introducing cabin attendants on board.


  • Opened flights to Paris, Rome and Budapest.


  • 15th of March, interrupted activities due to the occupation of Czechoslovakia.


  • Czech airlines introduced post-war activity on the 14th of September, as the only Czechoslovakian airline carrier.


1946 - 1948

  • Gradually renewed, or newly introduced, operation on both international and domestic routes


  • Entered into intercontinental air transport for the first time, with the opening of flights to Cairo and Ankara.


  • Began an orientation toward Soviet airline-technology, introducing IL-12 and LI-2 planes.



  • Introduction of Avia IL-14,made under licence.
  • Entered the turbo-jet era on the 9th of December, by introducing TU-104A aircraft into regular operation on the Prague - Moscow route.


  • Introduced the turbo-prop IL-18 aircraft into fleet.
  • Crossed the equator for the first time, with the opening of a flight to Jakarta, on the 14th of August.