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Author Topic: My Trip to 2018 Nats Muncie  (Read 283 times)
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ScienceGuy
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« on: August 08, 2018, 09:59:44 AM »


Last week was my third Free Flight Nats contest in Muncie Indiana; for the most part weather was good, I learned a great deal, and had a fantastic time. I came home with all the planes I brought but some repairs are needed on a couple of the planes. On arriving late Saturday afternoon in rainy weather, I still went out to the field and flew my Super Pearl e36 between rain showers, there was one other plane flying. Sunday is the day many people use for testing before the start of the contest on Monday; I spent the morning flying non-stop and did more observing in the afternoon as the wind increased. My ½ A Streak for One-Design had been flown on small field back home but only the last time out did I feel it was close to trimmed. The flights on Sunday morning looked good, with no sign of trying to loop as it had back home.

In the afternoon I flew my Blue Ridge Special with DT a few times just for fun. The last flight it went a little further and I had a heck of time finding it in the grass. Thought I had a good line on it and so did someone else but it seems that the smaller models such as e20 or this model with 14” wingspan disappear easily in the longer grass. Luckily someone on a motorcycle found it for me; I put it away after that.

The rest of the day I was observing Bob fly his e36 Satellite and Craig fly his Big Dog electric. Bob had a very nice looking e36 Satellite that was giving him fits to adjust but had flown well back home. I took video of the second short test flight and the model rolled inverted and crashed, damage was extensive.
Craig had this well-built larger electric model that just didn’t want to transition properly, it starts on a nice right climb, then straightens out which cause it to stall after the motor cut. At this point it would either dive or do a tail slide.  Larry, Bob, and Jim, a combination of many years of free flight experience had Craig try all sorts of adjustments to thrust, rudder, etc. and it was not helping. After an adjustment had been put in it would be taken out and another adjustment tried. It did get better and I understand it did get sorted before contest flying but was destroyed after hitting something on the field.

I flew my Eureka e36 many times but was noticing the trim change also. The wing mount appeared to be loose but after fixing it the issue appeared again. After making one official flight, it spiraled in to the right and broke the fuselage. Not an extensive repair needed but I am going to recover the wing with Polyspan Lite. I would have done this before but was running out of time before the contest. With no diagonal structure in the wing, I can image there can be flexing going on when tissue gets loose. I remember last year after a crash from a bad launch of my E36 Starduster the repaired wing would do funny things as the motor run was increased.  The ½ A Streak I covered with Polyspan Lite appeared to stay in trim well. It is not much more work, just that multiple coats of color and dope are needed.

 Just for fun I flew my Flying Aces Moth and it worked well but went back to old habit of crashing to the right, more fuselage repair is needed.
 Paul had a really squirrely flight with a very well built embryo model, it had flown great the day before. We have been discussing ideas of what differences were between the flying on two different days.

In conclusion, free flight can be even more challenging than I had thought. I learned much but also realize there is way more I do not know.  With the air conditions a big part of flight duration, even the experts have bad flights on occasion.

Monday morning early there was barely any wind and I thought I could no longer put off flying the Witch Hawk 500 I had built, having completed it not long before the Nats. This was my first larger glow powered free flight with 60” wingspan powered by an old K&B .19 Greenhead. I was really nervous to fly the model but then I didn’t build it to hang from ceiling. This was the first time using bladder pressure and using an electric starter strapped to a stand. If there wasn’t so much equipment needed I would have flown it far from the flightline.
First short flight it climbs completely straight and stalls. The wing pops off but only damage was a broken propeller. Adjusted the rudder a tiny amount to the right, next flight it climbs slightly right and transitions great. With no wind to drift it the glide circle was going right over the cars and people. I was so afraid it would hit a car but instead it hit a golf cart breaking the wing in half, worse than that it broke the Texas Timers Max IIIa timer. I have the wing almost repaired except for covering.

Wednesday was the E36 event and I flew the first e36 I built the Super Pearl e202 which is still flying well. Except on the first launch I did not have the stab adjustment screw on the platform, the plane went up rather flat and the glide was a dive, luckily no damage. My next two official flights were okay but short of a max. On the last flight the Pearl makes a huge circle around the edges of the field, I lost sight of where it landed but I had my tracker. This was my chance to use the tracker; I get a rather strong signal from the area by the two metal buildings across the field.

As I walk by the buildings I see at least two models but not mine. A guy cutting grass tells me there is a model in the next field beyond the buildings. I walk over there and these were high-tech FAI models, so I walk back towards the camp grounds. By now I am really doubting by ability to use the tracker; Dave Sechrist drives by on his little Honda motorcycle. He thought it could be by campground but drove in that direction and found nothing. It has to be towards the buildings and in a short jaunt on his cycle he found my plane real close to a building. He offered a ride back on the rack of his motorcycle and I accepted. Later I checked my smartphone as to how far I walked that day and it was a little over 14 miles. At least the flight was a max but my only one. What rather shocked me was looking at the results how even experts had poor flights that day.

Not just sure what I flew after that, I think it was catapult glider. I was really tempted to skip the event but thought at least I would try. Still using the catapult glider that I had so much trouble getting to transition early in the 2018 season but it is still flying. I was actually happy the flights were rather short because I did not want to walk too far. As I ended a gentleman gave me some advice on launching which helped, the guy was Ralph Ray.

I stayed out to the field rather late as that was the NFFS banquet night. Really a great meal and program afterwards, I really like the funny speech Bob Hanford gives, and great choices for the Hall of Fame members. Think I need at least one more blog post to cover my Nats adventure.

At least one person remarked I packed a lot of airplanes in my small car; I flew most of them but not all in competition. My Jetstream towline glider I never took out of the car. I flew my Wilbur rubber model just for fun but ran out of time to fly it Friday in competition. Friday I had too many events; P30 rubber, PeeWee 30 gas, hi-start glider, classic towline and OT Stick rubber. The last two I never flew, there was about an hour left Friday afternoon and that is not enough time if you are walking. Tuesday evening I ran the E20 event for Bob Stalick but did not fly. Taking pictures, video, and recording scores kept me plenty busy. I had created a scoring spreadsheet for my tablet which worked fine but it is hard to see a screen in sunlight.

Friday morning started with very little wind, I wanted to fly my Polecat X p30 model first because it uses a long 3/32” rubber motor that runs a long time but climbs slowly, good for calm conditions. I had test flown it the day before and a strand of rubber broke, so I replaced the motor. The first contest flight I wound to 1200 turns and the plane barely flew. I tried winding to 1550 turns and the motor broke every strand in the rear. To speed up things I tried tying the strands together, it broke in front this time. New motor from same batch of rubber I carefully wound to 1500 turns.
I launch the model and it was stalling like crazy and came down, one attempt. In my stress to get in another flight I put a shim on the rear of the stab instead of the front. It stalls even worse, another attempt. Fix the shim and wind the motor to 1500 turns and the plane is flying better but bouncing around in the wind that is increasing. My last flight took it across the field almost to the camp ground but the duration was short of a max. It just seems to me the previous batch of rubber I used in the plane worked better.

On to my next event PeeWee 30, my Basic Yeller has had many flights just for fun but never flown in competition. The first launch it had a little too much right and not enough rpm and hit the ground breaking the pylon. I glued that up and flew two hand launched flights that were around a minute long. For the last flight I had the motor adjusted better which it needed because the last flight was the ROG flight. I was afraid it might hit a tree going into the wind but it turned back and provided another long walk down the field.  There were 6 people signed up for the event and only 3 flew. I won my first trophy at the Nats and it was for first place. Having my name called in award ceremony for the first time in three years was nice.

The last event I flew was not an official event but fun just the same, hi-start glider. One evening I had flown the Retro Gnome glider I had built a couple of years ago using 1/16” rubber on the hi-start instead of 1/8” rubber which is really too much. With the thinner rubber the glider appears to adjust the flight path to straight better than when it launches too fast. Flying in the contest it was gusty but my glider launched without crashing every time. The last flight I think I stretched the rubber a little too much and the glider had a little trouble releasing. One flight resulted in a rather long chase but duration was not great in any of the flights. I was just happy how well it launches.

This concludes comments on my trip to the 2018 Free Flight Nats, it sure was a great time that went too fast. I really would have liked to have been more social but it was great getting so much flying in. The 2018 NFFS Sympo was for sale at the Nats, I have two articles in this issue. One is on recruiting kids to free flight and the other is on viscous DT timers.
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billdennis747
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2018, 10:14:26 AM »


Dave Sechrist drives by on his little Honda motorcycle.
It's not a big motorcycle, just a groovy little motorbike
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Crabby
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2018, 10:32:22 AM »


It's not a big motorcycle, just a groovy little motorbike

Hey I think we have a hipster on the forum!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2018, 02:53:11 PM »

ScienceGuy -

I enjoyed reading the account of your trip to the 2018 Nationals in Muncie.

You have advanced rapidly in your building and flying skills over the past few years.

The important thing is that you appear to have enjoyed your experience at the 2018 Nationals in Muncie.
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ScienceGuy
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2018, 03:44:25 PM »

It has been so much fun. The next challenge is learn how to read the air better. It is amazing how fast a plane can come down when launched into bad air.

Bill Kuhl
 
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gossie
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2018, 05:32:02 PM »

Good report. Thanks.
Facebook also had reports and pics as well.
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ScienceGuy
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2018, 08:48:05 AM »

http://scienceguyorg.blogspot.com/2018/08/nats-concluded-finally-winner.html  this is the link to blog version with pictures.

Bill Kuhl
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