Archive for May, 2012

Whirly Update

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Well after about 24 hours and nine complete battery discharge cycles[1], I’m yet to do any serious damage. There have been a few pretty gnarly crashes… the kind that sounds like a mix between a weed-whacker and an over-taxed wind-up toy. Or even worse a single sharp metallic ‘whack’. I’ve had several walks to the ‘landing site’ with the sunken “about to consult the parts list” feeling. So far, so good.
I’ll admit the main and tail rotor tips have some pretty good “grass”[2] stains and a couple of visible nicks, but the spare set I bought are still mint in packaging. The canopy has a few Darlington Stripes and the skids are a bit scratched up, but well… that’s why they’re called skids.

So far I’ve learned:
1) Flying in the garage is nice because there’s no wind. Unfortunately, it has much tighter control requirements… and more rigid penalties for failure.
2) Flying outdoors is great for (relatively) soft landings in the grass, but even a slight breeze can make things really complicated.
3) If all else fails, throttle back and wait. This will probably be a less helpful technique as I start to get into more forward flight.

  1. The bird came with one battery and I bought two extra. One of those was free from Walt’s. Thanks guys! []
  2. And maple leaves, and spruce tips.. []

Family pictures.

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Cinco De Mayo:

Sunday Best:

Whirly Bird!

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

I jumped into the RC hobby world with this fun purchase:

Thanks to the friendly help at Walt’s Hobby I decided to go for the Blade 120 SR instead of the smaller coaxial Blade MXC2. Both are 4 channel((Throttle, yaw, pitch cyclic and roll cyclic)) birds with yaw gyros for stability, but this one uses the conventional tail rotate for anti-torque. It’s about 50% larger (main rotor is 12.5″ in diameter), so it does pretty well outside even in a light breeze (as I proved tonight). It could fly indoors, but you’d need a pretty big space…. maybe once I get to be a better pilot.

At this point I’m proud to report I exhausted three rechargeable batteries (each about 7-8 minutes of actual flight time) without breaking anything, so I’m off to a good start. It’s certainly going to be a challenge to fly in a well controlled manner, but it’s awfully fun right out of the box.


Monday, May 21st, 2012

Thanks to the Bad Astronomer for pointing out this mind-blowing shot from the International Space Station.

Someone in a space ship, orbiting our planet, looked down and snapped a picture with his camera. The picture shows the shadow of the moon, passing across the Earth.

Moon's shadow on Earth from ISS
Click through to the original image.

Trombone Quartet

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Our Cazenovia Community Band Trombone Quartet played at church this morning. One of the choir members recorded two of the pieces on her phone (thanks Lesley!)
Due to limitations of email or something, the files were broken into pieces. After some abortive attempts with various programs to put them back together, while trying to retain some semblance of quality and reasonable size… I eventually punted and just used Windows Live Movie Maker. At least it let me splice them together and rotate them correctly. Unfortunately, the results are about 2x the size of the original files.

In any case, you’ll probably notice a slight hitch every minute or so where the splices occurred. Still, you get the idea.

Pe-eeew and Whew!

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

It was beautiful warm day here in Caz, so we have many of our windows open. Or at least we did until the really strong skunk smell started penetrating the house.

And then we noticed that one of the cats was still outside.

I’ve never been so happy to find that my cat smells merely of cat.