Monday, January 4, 2010

RC'ing over New Year's

After celebrating Christmas with my family (with many thumbs up), we went to Texas to spend New Year's with Christy's family.  I was really looking forward to the trip because I love getting to see my nieces and nephew, but this trip was extra cool because I was finally going to get to meet the little gal that Christy's middle sis and her hubby adopted!

I'll let Christy and her middle sister (yay, btw, for middle children!) tell you the rest of the story with her family went (short version, it went very well).  Instead, I'll tell you about another part of our trip: RC'ing!

The last time Christy and I went to Texas for Thanksgiving, her dad surprised me by unveiling a plane he'd made based on a color scheme I'd modeled on the RealFlight RC simulator.  The plane was a 38" Yak-54 sold by DWFoamies.  He'd already put the airframe together and I did the stripes on wing.  I also helped add the various electrics and the engine as well as the landing gear.  Here is the finished product: the Yak-2!

Christy's dad called it the Yak-2 because it was the 2nd DW Yak-54 he built--the first was still flying, though heavily patched.  In fact, the Yak-1 was the first of the two I got to fly.  I left after Thanksgiving with the plane assembled but its first test flight had not yet taken place--my father-in-law reserved that honor for me on my next visit!

On New Year's Eve, we met up with some of his friends to do some flying.  Here was my debut in front of my father-in-law (doing the filming), his boss, and one of the project managers for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter:

I couldn't have been more pleased with how it went!  The second flight went pretty well, though I nosed over on landing.  The third flight was on video, though--with a perfect landing!

Needless to say, I was pretty pumped!  In the meantime, we added a battery strap to hold down the battery instead of the velcro pad that held it down previously.  We liked the feature so much that we retrofitted it to the Yak-1:


Unfortunately, it was not meant to last...Statistically, the longer you fly without an accident, the more likely you are to have one.

It only took two days for me. 

I crashed the plane nose-first into a parking lot following a flight that'd been going great.  I'll have the video later, but it appears from the pic below that the elevator ripped in two during one of my flights on a somewhat windy day, causing a loss of control.  

Here're some of the pics:


Thankfully, my father-in-law is a very easygoing guy and reassured me that foamies are very rebuildable, as the Yak-1 can testify (man, I wish I'd have gotten a close-up of it!).  I started working on it that same night:


As of yesterday morning, the plane was completely ready for an engine test and then another flight test.  Perhaps I'll have the honor of doing a first test flight for the second time!

To close, I'll leave you with a couple pics of my father-in-law's fleet as well as some of his friends.  I really had a great time and look forward to maybe one day building my own plane!

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