From the Bench — AMA Expo West Pomona 2018 & Scale Weathering How-To Video

Weather me this…

During the AMA expo January 2018, it was announced that the show was being moved to the Pomona Fairplex and would also occur in November.  Well, needless to say, November arrived before I could blink and it was time to start thinking about the show!  This time around, kicking off the new venue, the AMA reached out asking about doing some how-to clinics throughout the weekend.  The idea I had was to provide some weathering how-to’s on a couple airplanes through the course of the weekend and then on Sunday afternoon, give those airplanes away.  Well, thanks to the AMA and Horizon Hobby, we were able to make that happen and it was a great time.  Horizon Hobby donated an E-Flite P-51 and an FMS Yak-130 for me to work on during the weekend which we gave away on Sunday afternoon.

This year, I had a full booth and through the course of the weekend, I was showing weathering techniques on the donated airplanes provided by Horizon Hobby.  For one of the clinics, I was able to do a weathering session on the main stage for the purposes of recording video.  Below is the end result as well as a few pictures of the finished airplanes.  The techniques mentioned in the video kind of run through the gamut of what I like to employ when I’m weathering up an airplane and are applicable to any medium of aircraft foam, glass or otherwise not to mention any size.  Additionally, combinations Continue reading

Best in the West RC Jet Rally 2018

Sport jets, jets, JETS!

Having made it out to the Best in the West Jet Rally the year before last after not attending for a few years, it was an event that I knew I wanted to get back to again this past year.  It’s an RC jet pilots dream flying from the 3200+ ft long Elk Hills-Buttonwillow airstrip runway, though even now, I think I’m still cleaning that Buttonwillow dust off my airplanes!  I think the airplanes come home heavier than they arrive there’s so much dust that they collect… 😉

In terms of the event it was bigger than ever this year with over 150 registered pilots and the weather was almost perfect once again.   Every year is different in the airplanes that you see at the event but one thing is consistent, BIG!  Last year featured a good assortment of really nice scale jets which I was really excited to see.  Well, 2018 I would say was the year of the Continue reading

From the Bench: RealFlight 8 Horizon Hobby Edition — Review, Game Play, & Fun!

Will a Corsair fly without wings???

Hey guys!  We have a complete video post this week.  My son and I have been playing with the new RealFlight8 Horizon Hobby Edition and have been having so much fun with it!  The software comes with everything you need including the transmitter and is packed full of features.  Having over 150 aircraft to choose from and over 40 flying fields to fly from, it’s pretty easy to spend hours flying anything and everything in RealFlight.  Not to mention there are now multi-player features that allow you to fly over the internet too.

We figured the best way to show the RealFlight game play is through video, so our review video is below.  The scenery is fully interactive and we were certainly having some fun with that.  A simulator is a great tool for pushing your skills forward since you can really push the limits of your abilities and if you crash, you can simply hit the reset button.  Also, if you’re flying with SAFE, the sim is the place to get used to flying without it. As you’ll see, in the process of making this video, we crashed far more than we landed and it was a blast!

 

E-Flite ViperJet 70mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

E-Flite’s latest jet, the 70mm EDF ViperJet!

When the opportunity came up to review E-Flite’s new 70mm EDF ViperJet, I could not pass it up!  This airplane is a great looking little jet that flies just incredibly well.  Also, the Bind n Fly version has SAFE Select available, so if you’re newer to RC and looking to jump into jets, this is a nice option to have.  The truth is, this airplane makes for a wonderful first jet with or without SAFE.  Obviously, without SAFE, you’ll want to have some proficiency on the sticks first before jumping into a high speed jet.

Now when we talk about the ViperJet it is indeed a real airplane, so we are technically talking about a scale jet here.  The full sized airplane is actually a home built aircraft.  So, for a cool $500,000 and 3500+ hours for assembly, you too could have one!  I kid of course, but the thing is that the proportions of the full sized airplane make for a great flying model that handles much like a purpose designed RC sport jet.  So based on that, what you get is some fun aerobatic flying in a scale looking package.  It’s been a pretty popular design within the jet community for that reason.  Obviously, what’s on the model is not a scale paint scheme, but I have to say I quite like it!  This guy with two thumbs is a sucker for splinter camouflage.

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The ViperJet comes nicely packaged and assembles extremely quickly.  The kit has a very small parts count, which primarily just requires bolting the on the tails, the dorsal and then the wing.  The most difficult part was routing and connecting all of the wires as Continue reading

UMX Adventures – E-Flite UMX Pitts Flight Review

The Ultimate in ‘Mike Rowe’ Aerobatics…

As I had teased in my E-flite UMX A-10 flight review video, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the E-Flite UMX Pitts biplane and so wanted to put together a flight review video for it.  E-flite has really built up an awesome line of UMX airplanes and this Pitts is one that I’d been eying for a while.  Scale aerobatics are a fun and welcome change to my otherwise scale warbird and jet flying and when they came up on sale a while back, I quickly picked one up.  I’m glad I did because the airplane is an absolute blast to fly.

The full scale Pitts is a pretty iconic aerobatic airplane and what’s interesting is that the aircraft that are campaigned by both Sean Tucker and Skip Stewart are based on the Pitts airframe.  Highly modified of course, but still based on the Pitts.  So that tells you a lot about the design as those guys do some pretty incredible flying in those airplanes.  They’re even approaching some of the 3D aerobatics that we’ve been doing in the RC world and it’s pretty crazy to watch.  So, trying to replicate that in small scale is always a fun challenge and this tiny Pitts does a good job of it.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Just like the UMX A-10 and other E-flite UMX aircraft, the Pitts comes out of the box completely ready to go.  Bind and setup your Spektrum radio and you’re good to go in about 10 minutes.  E-flite has done a great job with the shape of the airplane and the color scheme is a great choice.  It’s a pretty awesome representation of the pitts.  The Continue reading

E-flite 1.5m AT-6 Texan Assembly & Flight Review

North American’s Pilot Maker, E-Flite Edition!

The AT-6 Texan is such a classic looking airplane and it’s one that I’ve always had a soft spot for.  You regularly see them at airshows and the airplane sound is unmistakable as it maneuvers since the propeller quite literally beats the air into submission as it flies.  So, I was excited to see the E-flite AT-6 Texan come online as it looked to be one of the nicest and scale looking Texans out  there in recent memory.  So, I was excited for the chance the review the airplane!  In short, this is a great flying airplane that I’ve really fallen in love with I have to say.

In the process of this review, I liked the airplane so much, I decided to do a quick repaint on the airframe into something a little more colorful.  We will touch on that here somewhat, but I will be posting a separate video and article on that process soon.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY

E-Flite AT-6 comes in a large long box and I found was nicely pacakaged.  The wing is a single piece in there which is really nice and the reason for the long box.  It’s almost comedic comparing how short the fuselage is compared to the wingspan.  Based on the single piece wing, what you end up with then is an extremely simplified assembly that basically requires attaching the stabilizers with a couple screws and then attaching the wing.  That is about the extent of the Continue reading

From the Bench – Flyday with Bob Forbes, F7F Tigercat Fire Bomber Pilot

FLIGHT OF THE FIRECAT

You never know who you will meet in this hobby.  Though, you’re not likely to meet a celebrity, what you do get are opportunities to meet the amazing men and women who flew the iron that we so passionately model.  Model aviation truly is a gateway into full scale aviation and for many, has been a vehicle that has influenced so many careers.  This was the case for me and I know has been for so many others.  It’s something that is extensible to anyone willing to try and really fosters a community atmosphere for those who participate.  For me, flying scale gives me a chance to fly airplanes that I would otherwise never have the opportunities to fly in some form while also allow me to appreciate fully the beauty in the design.  It is also a way to celebrate the amazing aviation history and achievements of those who have risked their lives countless times throughout that history.

 

An Unexpected Visit

So, about two months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman by the name of Bob Forbes as he was looking for a little help in getting an airplane flown that he had commissioned.  Little did I know was that Bob was a retired Fire Bomber pilot who flew for TBM Inc. which was the company that owned and operated a fleet of F7F Tigercat Fire Bombers (along with C-2 Trackers and other aircraft).  I should point out that with every Tigercat that’s careened my workbench I have long drooled over the paint schemes of these Fire Bombers countless times as I absolutely love them!

Bob arrived at my house on a Sunday afternoon for me to take a look at the airplane that he had someone build for him.  As he pulled the airplane from his truck, I started to understand.  Bob had a FlightLineRC F7F Tigercat refinish commissioned by Bob Vanderveen in Ramona and he was looking for some help getting it flown.  As we Continue reading

Avios Grand Tundra Assembly & Flight Review

It’s Tundra my spell!

Welcome back guys!  This month we’ve got an exciting sneak peek review for you guys this week.  A few weeks back, I had a large white and rather unassuming box arrive on my front door step.  Inside was the brand new Avios Grand Tundra from Hobbyking!  Excited at the opportunity to give the airplane a try, I was blown away by just how fun this airplane is, especially with those big ballooney Chuck Norris tires.  They’re so big and awesome, the earth doesn’t push up on those tires, those tires push the earth down as they impale the runway into submission!

This airplane is ideal for some backwoods bush flying from an unimproved surface and when the airplane arrive, I knew the perfect field to give it a try!  I had recently discovered a dirt RC field nearby my house which I knew would be perfect for the airplane.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY

Opening the box, the airplane is nicely packaged and looks good as there are a number of parts and they are all packaged well.  One of the things I really noticed was as Continue reading