Sunday, July 27, 2008

X-20: Almost Ready To Go!

Well, I got my parts in from a few days ago, but I was held up a bit getting my newest little plane in the air. You see, it's hot here in Waco, Texas. I don't mean warm - I mean damn HOT! My 11 year old home AC unit went out again and the indoor temperatures in my home got up to 94 degrees! The AC repairman should be out tomorrow afternoon, but I couldn't bear trying to sleep in this house like this again another night, so I spent the day shopping for a small (8000btu) window unit to put in the bedroom to get us by. I got it installed about 2 hours ago, so finally some relief!

Working in the mornings before the temperatures crept up too high, I was able to get the motor, ESC, and radio gear installed. I was also able to manage a nice magnetic canopy hold-down latch to keep the canopy in place in flight, but allow easy removal of the battery for charging.

Where's the battery, you ask? It's all the way in the front so that I can get the correct CG. The neat thing about using the smaller LoongMax 3s500 battery is that I can save weight. This plane is completely built except for some color on the wings and the control linkages for the elevons. Right now I am at 5.8 ounces (164 grams) all up weight!

On another note, I have been talking with Jason Forsythe, the designer of this plane, and he has advised that he's very close to another very cool design! It's Top Secret right now, but I am hoping to share information on it very soon. I am certain that I will be building one!!

I am hoping that I will be able to maiden this plane this coming weekend, as the wife's work schedule compliments my getting away without a 3 and 6 year old in tow! I am gonna try the old hat-cam again and see if I can pull off some better video than I did earlier with the Cosmic Wind maiden. For what it's worth, I AM in the market for a camera that better facilitates ground to air video than my FlyCamOne. I just haven't yet found the perfect balance between performance and CHEAP! If any of you out there can point me in the direction of a decent (used is okay!) vid cam that allows me to shoot my flights cheaply, and still be able to author my video on my Mac, I will gladly accept your suggestions!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

X-20 Progress Report

Here is a picture of my X-20 showing the progress I have made thus far. I still have to cut out the canopy, paint it, and attach the elevons and vertical stabs.

I chose to use a 2712-17 1700kv Blue Wonder and 10amp PowerUp ESC from I also ordered some 7x3.5 and 7x5 props props along with a pair of TowerPro SG-50 servos. I intend to use my 3s500 LoongMax batteries, so according to Jeff's numbers, the motor should provide 15ozs thrust with 7.5 amp draw and a pitch speed of 46mph with the 7x3.5 prop. If I use the 7x5 prop, I can expect to see 15ozs thrust with an 11 amp draw and a pitch speed of 49mph (but I hafta manage the throttle so I don't burn out the motor or ESC). Not really a bad combo for $31.50!

I hafta say, this has been a FUN little plane to build, and the plans purchased from are very nice. I honestly can't remember the last time I only had to tile out 4 pages to get a plan for an airplane! I can see an RCPowers LongEZ in my near future!

Jason (, you are a great designer and I can hardly wait for my gear to come in so I can put this thing in the air.

Here is the link to my motor/esc package:

I'll let you guys know how it performs. I am thinking of throwing a backup together while I'm waiting for my order to arrive, but this time I will utilize EPP for the fuse, but stick with Depron for the wing and verticals.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Latest Project: RCPowers X-20

Back in May, Episode #4, Frank and Brian at RCFlightcast did a fantastic interview with Dave Powers from Since it's been a while since I've visited his site, I decided to pop over and see what he's got for sale. Dave is known for having some very unique aircraft and the "buzz" is that the plans he has for sale are top-notch and very well designed.

After reviewing his line-up and seeing the vids of his models in action, I decided that I just had to build his X-20 Delta Wing! It seems that this wing has a fairly wide flight envelope and looks like a lot of fun to fly, so I decided to purchase his plans. The ordering process was very easy and PayPal is the medium for which you send the funds. After the transaction was complete, I was immediately able to download the plans.

Let me digress a bit to explain to you how I feel about paying for plans. Forums like have proven to be a wonderful collaboration venue for sharing plans, and I have pulled off many, many designs that I have built or intend to build. If you're like me and don't really possess much creativity, you will tend to build from others' concepts rather than waste time coming up with your own. The problem with the free plans that are available, is that anyone can post something, but not all designs are "proven", or are great fliers. Don't get me wrong; there are some truly great model designers out there, but I seem to have pretty good luck picking out things that don't really perform as well as expected.

I happen to feel that designers that come up with truly great aircraft that have been proven deserve to have some compensation for their efforts. RCPowers offers a free design that you can download to familiarize yourself with their work (an Extra 300 profile foamie), and after checking this out, I could see that these folks put together very nice designs. When I perused the rest of their line-up, I could see that they are asking a fair price for their plans - not too much dough to spend at all for nicely designed aircraft! The plans I bought for $9.99 for the x-20 look very clean and are very accurate. It would cost me much more money and frustration to mimic this design and get something this nice, so I feel that the money I spent was quite a bargain!

Anyway, to get back on target here, I printed the plans, taped them all together, and then trimmed out the templates. I just happened to have some 6mm Depron (as the plans call out for) so I got busy last night cutting the parts out. I am very excited to get this thing built as it looks like something that will be very fun to fly. At a later date, I will post some photos of the build along with a complete review of this plane with the specs and equipment used.

Thanks to Dave Powers and Jason Forsythe (designer of this plane) for what looks to be a great design!

Please note that the photo I have included in this post is the property of - I "borrowed" it from their website to show you what the finished product will look like.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

OMG! Hobby People Deliver Big Time!

If you listened to RCFlightCast episode #12, you heard me tell about the new kits that I ordered from Well, they arrived TODAY! Since I only paid $15 each for the two Rhythm 3D Biplanes and $20 for the WildWing, I honestly wasn't expecting much in the ol' Quality Department. WOW; was I wrong!

All three kits totalled about $55 including shipping and they arrived completely intact. The quality of these airplanes is amazing! I have already perused both of the instruction manuals, and they seem to be quite well written, as well. I bought these for Winter projects, but I may have to go ahead and get started building these within the next week. I foresee pleasurable builds for both!

As a bonus, I can see that the WildWing kit includes the fiber strapping tape used for re-enforcement. I have NEVER purchased as kit that included this stuff! When that late night urge to build has bitten me in the past, it usually meant making a trip to the 24 hour WallyMart to get tape before I could start the build. Not with this kit!

I'll report more after I embark on the building of these; right now I need to finish making my preparations for our Independence Day celebration tomorrow.

Head on over to and check out their wares. If their other offerings are anything close to the quality and value of what I received today, I'm certain that you won't be disappointed!

I'll leave you with two additional pics of the open boxes - note the fuselage on the Bipe as it comes already built and ALL carbon fiber has been included!