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  1. #301
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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi NRD I think you should be able to find enough space somewhere in Golden Gate Park. I fly on two adjacent soccer fields behind a school and there's lots of space.

    If you're interested in an FMS model of the SkyFly, mine can be downloaded for free here.


    I don't know if the e-Sky sim is the same as or compatible with FMS but it's worth a try. My simulated SF seems a little overpowered compared to the real thing, but it's good for practice.

    Thanks Raginredneck for your sage advice on warbirds. I've been likewise tempted to jump straight from a SkyFly to something like a Parkzone Spitfire. From my research, though, the RTF P-28 Trojan sounds like the best of all worlds. It's fairly warbirdish, seems to have high-quality components making it a good value in a RTF kit, looks great, and at the same time it's also a foamy. A couple of guys in my local club have these planes and say they're the most forgiving low-wing they've ever flown, while having loads of performance if you want it.

    I'm running into the same problems NRD's had looking for good places to fly, so my next bird is an amphibian. I bought an Art-Tech Coota, aka "Hybrid-Air", that I have yet to fly. From what I've read it's not perfect, but at least it makes every lake an instant airfield.

    Dave

  2. #302

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Polo Field was closed this morning, so I went to spot #3 with the two baseball diamonds. No wind. Got the plane in the air, but the rudder wasn't responding well at all. A guy stopped by who has been flying for about 5 years *** and offered to look it over and give it a try. He was having trouble with the rudder too, so we looked it over and the lower hinge on the rudder was starting to go. He suggested I move the control lines to the inner holes to give more response on the elevator & rudder (yeah, someone else mentioned this several posts back, as well as the pushrod mod). We should have little or no wind the next few mornings so I'll be out again some more this week.

    Oh, and my other problem all along has been that I wasn't putting the second (criss-crossed) pair of rubber bands on to attach the wing![&o][X(]

    I downloaded the FMS and the SkyFly virtual model a couple of weeks ago, but I don't have a joystick and before I got around to getting one I scored the e-sky sim, so we'll see in a couple of days how that works out.

    ***He suggested the Trojan as a good "next" plane BTW and recommended a place just outside the city where there are usually a couple of dozen guys every saturday morning flying their planes.

    I went to towerhobbies.com and looked over the specs on the SkyFly 2. At this point, it's not even on the Flyzone website. Wingspan is 42" vs 40" and 7 cells vs 6. Street price seems to be about $109 ($10 more). I'm guessing they made some changes to make it more cometitive with the Aerobird 3. Maybe they added pushrods?

    I knew the A3 had pushrods instead of the fishline and was probably a better buy out the door, but the dealbreaker for me on that plane was that if you have to replace the fuselage, you can't buy it bare and you have to buy it with the 4-in-1 included, so it costs half as much as a whole new plane.
    I liek yer cents of hummer!

  3. #303

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Thanks for all your sage counsel, raginredneck93!

    I'm not looking to get into a wabird quite yet, but that's sort of an end goal. Immersion is a really key for me to have fun (either in a flight sim or in this new hobby, R/C!) and for me that means WWII aircraft. From what I've seen the PZ Spit seems a bit more docile than the FW-190 or P-51, though watching vids of it made my jaw drop in terms of speed. I know it's definitely a very large handful because of its handling characteristics as well as speed leaving little room for error.

    Right now I'm content with the Skyfly and need to learn lots more, but what just thinking about the (distant?) future. <G>

    Thanks again and cheers,
    phaetn

  4. #304

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Keep in mind huttcraft, when I say foamy, I mean a 3D type foamy, made of flat Depron reinforced with carbon fiber. If it's molded out of styrofoam, I don't consider it a foamy, I consider it a pile of little white beads waiting to happen.

    EPP foam is relatively durable, especially if covered with strapping tape prior to crashing, and that Elapor foam stuff that Multiplex uses is quite possibly the closest thing to bulletproof that one will find anywhere however it's also quite flexible. When it comes to uncompromising toughness however, one is hard pressed to beat Coroplast, however it also tends to be a tad heavier than most foams. With proper construction techniques some amazing things can be done with it however.

    The Adrenaline 3D from abellrc.com is a good example, as well as any of a host of others. E-Flite has a good selection of low cost 3D foamies as well, and all will fly great on low cost gear. As with any plane, the lighter the better, so if you do venture into foamies don't be tempted to go "heavy duty" or you'll pay the price in flight performance. I've got an E-Flite Extra 260 foamy that I power with a $10 Ebay motor, a $10 Ebay speed control, and little Thunder Power 1320 3 cell lipos (Actually WAY too big for this plane, but I had them so that's what I use. A 700 - 900 mAh pack would be plenty). It'll hover just over 1/2 throttle and has all the zoot it needs. Oh yeah, I use 9 gram Tower Pro servos on it too, $4 each if you buy them in quantity and far better than a certain name brand servo that I know of that also comes in a transparent blue case and has a model number ending in 55. But I won't name any names.

    It only pulls 8 amps wide open, and it's NEVER wide open, so flight times stretch out to . . . . . I don't know to be honest since I've always gotten tired of flying the thing and landed before the battery was dead. I'd bet money that it'd go 20 minutes or better flying it hard, 30 minutes + with some throttle management.

    Now I'm off to check out this fabled Sky Fly 2 of which you speak. Either I'm psychic or they stole my idea from a few posts back. Maybe I can collect royalties.
    Does anybody BUILD airplanes anymore?

  5. #305

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    I have a SkyFly and flew it several times last summer.
    After the first couple flights I got tired of the silly fishing line/rubber band set up and yanked it out.
    I replaced it with very light weight wire & tube.
    It was fairly difficult to get set up but once I got it, WOW did it ever make a difference!
    I also took cuttings from a previously damaged rudder & elevator and doubled the size of those control surfaces.

    The result was a SkyFly what was much more responsive and would actually do loops with ease!
    Oh, I also upgraded the wheels to a slightly larger size and used wheel collars. It will take off and land from the road much easier.

    Enjoy!

  6. #306

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi all

    Thanks to those who replied to my post way back on 6 May. As yet, I haven't had a chance to fly my Skyfly, because I've been away a lot and when I have been around here, it's been too windy to make me feel comfortable about a maiden flight.

    Anyway, another issue has arisen, and I would appreciate advice on this. I am concerned about switching between Mode 1 (which I have used in Australia) and Mode 2 (native to the SkyFly). I have practiced a fair bit in Mode 2 on the G4 simulator, so think I understand the issues well. There are two reasons I am reluctant to go too far down the Mode 2 track.

    1) Somehow, Mode 1 feels more natural to me. Yes, it could be just because that's where I have most experience. But I also think I find it easier to control the rudder and elevator when they are on different sticks.I have found co-ordination more difficult when the same finger is doing it to both axes.

    2) I am worried about switching between the two modes. I know I can become familiar with Mode 2 so it will be workable, but I want to fly in both Australia and the USA, and I'm not so keen on the idea of switching back and forth. It concerns me that getting to fly well will require a second-nature impulse to do the right thing when it's needed, and this will be compromised by the schizophrenia of trying to do both. It especially worries me that Mode 1 and Mode 2 are really opposites in significant ways. In Mode 1, with elevator on the left, you pull the stick back to lift the nose. In Mode 2, with throttle on the left stick, you push the stick forward to lift the nose. In the simulator, I have found myself doing this wrong-way-round in tight situations.

    So I have pretty much decided to wait until I can modify my SkyFly to Mode 1 before flying it. And I don't mind the tinkering, anyway.

    As I think I may go a lot further in this field when I get the time, I am inclined to go for a more upmarket transmitter which will stay with me for a while, and I am very impressed with the Spektrum DX7 from what I have read about it and heard from other users. So I am currently thinking of upgrading to the DX7, which will presumably mean replacing the SkyFly's electronics - radio, servos and ESC, which as far as I can see are all a single, unit which probably can't be broken down into components. I'd also like to get rid of the fishing line and replace it with wire linkages. So any hints or advice, or pointers to notes from others who have done this, would be welcome. I also note raginredneck93's dislike of Spektrum servos, so any pointers to better units for this purpose would be helpful. Finally, I see radios such as the AR6000 or AR6200 suggested for "Park Flyers only" - does this mean they could have limitations for this particular application? Would the AR7000 be better for a SkyFly?

    Cheers, Chris.

  7. #307

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi CJC:

    In Mode 2, with throttle on the left stick, you push the stick forward to lift the nose. In the simulator,
    This is not correct. In Mode 2, on the skyfly, the only thing that the left stick controls is the throttle. To lift the nose, you pull down/back on the right stick.

    I don't believe the mode is switchable on the skyfly. I am not sure mode 1 is possible on the skyfly, since they have a beginner setting that mixes "up" elevator with rudder control (both being on the same stick).

    While the Skyfly is a cool plane (I own two), I don't think it is worth totally gutting it and rebuilding it. Why not just get a similar plane that has the features you desire?

    Regarding transmitters, when it comes to the Spektrum DX7, Futaba 7C, and the Airtronics RDS8000 (all in the same general price range), it mostly comes down to a few features...and then mainly opinion/preference. I would submit that they are all good quality systems.

    Regarding the Spektrum receivers, the AR6100, AR6100e, AR6300 are all DSM2...and are not considered "full range". You should be fine if you are just flying the typical "park flyer" plane in fairly close quarters. The AR7000 and AR6200 are both full range receivers with the satellite receiver. The difference, I have been told, is that the full range receivers have the additional safeguard of the satellite receiver...and they also "lock on" to the signal faster.

    Those are my points of view. Hope they help.
    Rob

  8. #308

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly


    In Mode 2, with throttle on the left stick, you push the stick forward to lift the nose. In the simulator,
    This is not correct. In Mode 2, on the skyfly, the only thing that the left stick controls is the throttle. To lift the nose, you pull down/back on the right stick.
    Sorry for the ambiguity. But effectively, opening the throttle does lift the nose. This is the opposite sense of what the elevator would do if it was on the same stick.

    Imagine yourself falling short on final approach. Depending on circumstances, you could either open the throttle or feed in up-elevator - but these require opposite stick movements. If you swap between Modes 1 and 2, you end up swapping stick directions for much the same outcome. Simulating the SkyFly in Mode 2, I found myself indavertently pulling back the left stick in such situations, because my instincts were based on Mode1, when that stick would have been the elevator. It just seems to me worth avoiding that confusion in what's left of my brain!

  9. #309

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Bear in mind that the Spektrum radios are not mode switchable, so if you desire Mode 1 be sure that you get a Mode one tx. I found that out the hard way when I helped a friend of mine in the UK get a DX7 back when they first came out. He ended up converting his, but it's not a job for someone without some electronics knowledge. If interested, the instructions on the conversion are at www.mugi.co.uk.

    I'm not sure if a person could mod the tx of a Sky Fly to Mode 1. It would no doubt involve disassembling the unit, perhaps extending some wires, and swapping the gimbals to the opposite sides. With some tx's that's possible, others have a good portion of the gimbal mechanism molded into the case plastic and it's therefore pretty much impossible. On still others, a person can simply swap the plugs where the gimbals attach to the circuit board, then change over the ratchet/centering mechanism between the two gimbals. Without taking one apart however, I wouldn't be certain. If I were you I'd find a way to switch to the mode that I was used to, because switching back and forth would be nearly impossible I would think. Also, keep in mind that on a 3 channel plane like the Sky Fly, the rudder is actually performed by the aileron function of the tx, or at least that's how most people set up a 3 channel plane.

    Being from the US and always flying Mode 2, I've never seen the sense in doing it any other way, but if I were from a different part of the world I'm sure my opinion would be different. Mode 2 has just always made sense to me. Elevator and aileron on the same stick just like the stick in a full scale aircraft, and like most full scale aircraft with sticks instead of yokes, the pitch and roll axis are controlled with the right hand. Also, most full scale aircraft with a control stick have the throttle on the left side, which is how it's done with a mode 2 tx. It would be a bit ridiculous to wire up rudder pedals to an RC tx, so logic says that since there's another axis on the left stick gimbal that isn't being used for anything else, why not put the rudder there? Done deal, as close to the real thing as a person can get right?

    Oh well, I guess considering that they drive on the wrong side of the road in England and Australia, it makes perfect sense that they'd make their RC tx's backwards too.

    Please don't take any of that seriously, I'm just joshing you, LOL.

    As for servos, the best bang for the buck in micro servos that I've found anywhere, is the venerable 9 gram Tower Pro. I've bought them in quantity off of Ebay for as little as $4 US apiece, and I've found that they're tougher, quieter, more accurate, and center far better than any of the micro servos I've tried from "name brand" manufacturers costing 3 to 4 times as much. Now I doubt that they'd hold a candle once a person moved up into the higher dollar digital or metal geared class, but I'd put them up against any of the bottom of the line offerings from Hitec, Futaba, or Airtronics. I have HS65MG's in my T-Rex heli and they blow the little Tower Pros out of the water, but they also cost CONSIDERABLY more money. HS55's are the usual choice for park flyers and such, and I put them about one notch above the Spektrum servos, which isn't saying much because I've had nothing but problems with Spektrum servos. If you want a good little servo for not a lot of money, go with the 9 gram Tower Pro. I fly them in my coroplast planes, my 3D foamy, my P38, even my built up balsa stuff such as my Hyperion CAP232 and my E-Flite Mini Edge 540. I've been flying them for over a year, not a single failure to date, not even in my Mugi Evos and they're about the servo eatingest little airplanes that you'll ever find. My first Evo tore up Esky, Spektrum, Hitec, and some other no name Chinese things that I tried, but has been flying on the same servos for almost a year now since I put in the Tower Pros. The only people I know that have gotten that much life out of a servo in an Evo either A) Have never crashed, B) Have never flown the thing, or C) Have high dollar metal gear servos.

    Did I mention that I'm really impressed with Tower Pro servos?

    Now, for Spektrum rx's. Any of Spektrum's park flyer receivers would be more than adequate for a Sky Fly, and an AR7000 would be nothing less than gross overkill. I've flown larger planes than the Sky Fly to my visual limits both with the old Spektrum AR6000's, and the newer AR6100's and AR6100e's with no problems whatsoever. The main issue isn't the range so much as it is the possibility of a large hunk of metal such as a glow engine getting in the way of the signal on a larger aircraft. The remote rx's on the "full range" systems takes care of that problem by providing multiple paths for the signal to follow should one path get blocked. Bear in mind also that a Sky Fly is indeed a "Park Flyer" aircraft, and therefore exactly the size Spektrum had in mind when they designated their smaller rx's "Park Flyer Only".

    Although I wouldn't try it myself, I've even heard tell of people using AR6100 rx's in 3 meter sailplanes and flying THEM to their visual limits without a hitch. A 3 Meter sailplane is a LOT bigger than a Sky Fly.

    Stay tuned on the Spektrum conversion however. That's a mod that I referred to way way back in this thread somewhere as one that I wanted to perform. I intend on converting mine without scrapping the rest of the factory electronics however. I intend to simply separate out the 27 meg rx portion of the board and replace it with a Spektrum rx. That way I can use it with a buddy box setup to teach my kids how to fly, and also not have to worry about getting shot down on 27 meg. I haven't actually pulled the board out of my Sky Fly to examine it thoroughly yet, but from what I can see it looks fairly modular so I'm hoping the mod will be possible. If it is, I intend on posting a tutorial on my blog for all the world to see so stay tuned. I've got a couple other more pressing projects that I need to finish first, but the Sky Fly conversion is about number 3 on my to do list and should reach the top before the end of summer for sure. I've got a Mugi Tea Racer to finish first as well as a Compass Knight .50 heli and all associated equipment that needs to be assembled.
    Does anybody BUILD airplanes anymore?

  10. #310

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi raginredneck93 - Let me help you out, and denote a brand new Skyfly control unit (with motor still attached), to get you onto the 'mapping' project without having to remove your one from your skyfly. I have a couple of these, as I run after-market RC gear in all my SkyFly's. Just send us your postal address, and I post it off to you on Monday. You've given me plenty of advice when I needed it, so I'd like to help you out when I can !!! I can provide you with my personal email address if you'd prefer.

  11. #311

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi raginredneck93, and thanks for your thoughtful response and useful insights.

    Re the SkyFly TX
    I have looked around inside the TX and don't think it's worth the effort to convert it to Mode 1. You can't just swap the gimbals over, because the rudder stays on the right stick. It would mean taking the friction off the 1-axis left stick and putting a centering mechanism on it, while moving friction to the right stick and removing its centering mechanism. But the 1-axis left stick is an unusual design, and the friction seems very integrated with it. Conceptually, I much prefer the idea of using spread-spectrum for park-flyers, anyway. While it's an expensive upgrade, it's also a one-time cost and I can live with it.

    Re the logic of Mode 1 and Mode 2
    When I first saw Mode 1, it seemed unnatural to me for the same reason you mention - it contradicts full-scale aircraft functions. But I've never flown a full-scale aircraft, and am not ever likely to, and I can't see any inherent reason why the main directional function should be on the same stick as the elevators. As I said, it actually feels more natural to me to use a different digit for each of these main functions.

    Interestingly, I note that it's easy to get a Mode 1 DX7 in the USA. Furthermore, I have spoken to a couple of people who have claimed that in certain fields of RC competition, Mode 1 is preferred. So maybe there are inherent issues one way or another. In any case, I appreciate your support for avoiding switching back and forth!

    Re the SkyFly Rx system
    Since I'm heavily into electroncs, I've had a brief look at mine. The ESC part of it certainly looks to form a single unit which could be reused - though telling whether or not the interface to the Rx is of a standard form would take a lot more exploration. Seems like an interesting challenge! But would be a lot quicker just to replace the whole thing, unless you can find some technical details. Are you into the electronics side of it?

    Cheers, Chris.

  12. #312

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi raginredneck93

    Had a more careful look at the electrics from my SkyFly. There are four PCBs: ESC, motherboard and two servos. The motherboard contains the radio and what I'd call a decoder, which presumably decodes the data from the radio and outputs three control signals for the two servos and the throttle.

    The ESC and motherboard are linked by a 6 pin plug, and the 6 pins are labelled Gnd, 3V, Thr, 5V, B+ and BRA. Don't know what the B+ and BRA are for, but the others seem self-explanatory. The 3V seems to provide power to the radio, while the 5V powers the servos and has at least some connection to the decoder.

    As far as I can see, the servos are only connected to the motherboard by solder connections where each servo PCB pushes through the motherboard. This gives 4 separate connections per servo, and I can see that two of these are Gnd (battery -ve), one is connected to 5V and the other is presumably the control signal. There are two test points, labelled TP6 for the elevator, and TP7 for the rudder. These are connected to the decoder and presumably represent the control signals for the servos.

    So what we do have is a THR signal and TP6 and TP7, which just might represent standard control signals which could be parasitized. It wouldn't be too difficult to isolate these signals from the radio and decoder by cutting tracks, and then you'd have to isolate the motherboard from the ESC, electrically or even physically, to prevent any current drain into the disabled motherboard. I might be tempted to unsolder and remove all the components from the motherboard to reduce the weight and the risk of loading the signals we want.

    Three questions:

    1) Will the ESC work without any connection to the B+ and BRA lines? A bit of experiment should resolve this easily enough.

    2) Are the control lines I've recognised, standard enough to be driven effectively by an AR6100? This could be answered fairly easily with a CRO and a bit of experiment.

    3) Would the 5V line provide a safe supply to an AR6100? This could be a lot more tricky. But worst case is still not a life-threatening disaster!

    The control signals may well be standard. If I was designing a standalone system like this, I'd most likely want to stick to protocols which are well tested and understood. On the other hand, maybe the whole setup is somebody's little experiment with completely different coding!

    So on the whole, it looks like a lot of potential for reuse there. I still guess it would be a lot simpler to replace the lot, and then subsequent maintenance would be a lot easier. I suspect I'll end up stripping the motherboard and just using its PCB as a base for new servos. But there's a certain intriguing challenge to reuse!

    But I'd really like to get rid of that fishing line....

    Cheers, Chris.

  13. #313

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hey lambodave, thanks for the offer! If I remember correctly, you made that offer once before but I was too dim to take you up on it, LOL. Anyway, I tried to PM you but apparently you have PM disabled in your profile settings, so just shoot me an email at raginredneck93 at gmail.com. Be sure to put lambodave or Sky Fly parts or something in the subject line because my spam filter will probably catch it and I'll have to retrieve it from there. Having a few guinea pigs can't hurt, as long as the postage isn't too high to send them all the way from down under.

    Cjcorben, it sounds like you have a lot more electronics knowledge than I do my friend, perhaps you're the man for this job instead of me, LOL. I was basing my assumptions off of the fact that there looked to be 3 definite conductors attaching to each servo section, which I figured could be exploited easily enough to connect to a standard rx. It was the ESC and rx functions that I figured would be difficult to separate out if anything. If there's a 5v supply there, that's exactly what would be needed to drive any standard rx, Spektrum included, so the battle is already halfway won. Actually, the power to run the rx would be present at each of the servo connections if nothing else, but I presume that those connections are "after" the rx portion of the board, so optimally a person would need to tap into them earlier in the circuit in order to eliminate the factory rx. I was also making the assumption that since the connections to the servo sections were blatantly obvious, and appeared to be fairly standard, that the connection to the BEC/ESC portion of the board would be as well. It's been awhile since I looked at it, but I remember seeing one or possible two, can't remember, large MOSFET transistors on the board, and that will no doubt be the ESC section. The BEC will most likely be announced by the presence of one or two relatively large electrolytic capacitors. I'm not the expert that you are however, so my experiments would likely be carried out with a multimeter and whole lot of "let's see what THIS does!" LOL If you figure out any more info let me know. Heck, you'll probably have the whole thing nailed by the time I get around to fooling with it. Sorry to hear about the mode switch being such a bummer though. You've piqued my curiosity now however so I'll no doubt have to crack open the case on my tx and have a look just for the heck of it. As I mentioned, even though I can't see the reasoning behind Mode 1, I can DEFINITELY see the reasoning behind not switching back and forth. If Mode 1 is what you're used to, then Mode 1 is what you should fly my friend, and more power to you I say.

    As far as the Mode 1 DX7, yes indeed they are easy to get . . . . . now. I helped my friend in the UK get his way back when they first came out, and the DX7 was not even manufactured in Mode 1 at that time. They came available shortly afterward, but we made the blind assumption that they would be easily mode switchable like pretty much every other computer radio on the market, which they regretfully are not. I bought my DX7 about the same time and loved it, my friend loved his as well after a little surgery. On a side note, he contacted Spektrum and they offered to do the conversion for him, provided he ship it back to the manufacturer. Considering the fact that the shipping costs were a MAJOR portion of his purchase price however, he regretfully declined and figured it out himself. That's just one more beautiful thing about this hobby. RC enthusiasts are most generally the type of people that are never content with the status quo. If we want something, we'll either get it, find it, make it, or design it from scratch. A lot of old time modelers think that ready to fly planes like the Sky Fly are ruining that trend, I however say differently. I've seen too many people go on for years wanting to get into this hobby and never do it because it was just too big of a bite all at once. I've also seen people start out with planes like Aerobirds or Sky Flys and end up designing and scratch building their own planes within a year or even a few months. The RC hobby is a hot bed of ingenuity, and I LOVE ingenuity!
    Does anybody BUILD airplanes anymore?

  14. #314

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly


    ORIGINAL: phoenix426

    After the first couple flights I got tired of the silly fishing line/rubber band set up and yanked it out.
    I replaced it with very light weight wire & tube.
    I'm interested to know what you mean by this and how you did it. Any clues?

    My instinct is to run music wire down the main boom and have it exit where the fishing line comes out. The holes in the boom need elongation to reduce the angle on the wire, otherwise the drag on the wire is horrendous.

    Any clues about smart ways to attach wire to the horns? I've seen a very simple approach in the Electrafun XP where a wire simply bends through two right angles to go through a hole in the horn. Adjustment is made via a Z bend further back in the wire. Crude, maybe, but very effective. But I'm not sure how I'd set that up at the servo end.

    Cheers, Chris.

  15. #315

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly


    ORIGINAL: raginredneck93

    Heck, you'll probably have the whole thing nailed by the time I get around to fooling with it.
    Well I find it an interesting little project, but I'm about to go away again and may not get back to it for weeks or even months.


    I've seen too many people go on for years wanting to get into this hobby and never do it because it was just too big of a bite all at once.
    Couldn't agree more! I'm a case in point. Around 1980 I built myself an R/C glider with about a 6' wingspan. Looked beautiful in flight. Had a bungee for launching it and it worked superbly. But I never learned to fly it properly. Every time I crashed, it cost me hours or days in repairs and I had other things I wanted to do. Rebuilding a balsa model wasn't my main interest in the field! I liked the idea of gliders, and had no desire to mess with glowplugs (which would have made the repair issues much worse!).

    So last year my brother introduced me to the Electrafun XP. It's very like the SkyFly but with metal pushrods and normal, modular electrics. My interest was immediately revitalized. Even better, I could now afford G4, so I got past the newbie stage, without crashing anything heavier than electrons. It was a much better way to learn to fly than trying to get time at a local field where everyone wanted to be in the air at once.

    Sure, a lot of this is about new technologies. I'm very impressed with electric motors - I used to dream about that possibility! But a big part of this is also about having a learning plane which is reasonably crash-proof. It's all very well using a simulator (and I thoroughly recommend it!) but the real thing is different in lots of ways. I removed the landing gear and hand-launch. If I'm coming in too high or floating through towards armageddon, I just push the elevator stick forward and nose it into the ground. No harm done! I've had one baddish crash, where I inexplicably flew into a rotunda because I stood there like a statue and forgot to nosedive it. Broke the tail. Big deal - the kit comes with a spare anyway!

    Cheers, Chris.



  16. #316

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Well I had an even closer look at the electrics in my SkyFly, probed around with a scope etc. Found the following:

    1) The BRA line is called Brake on the ESC module. Don't know what it actually does, and I don't see any heavy components which look like they might have the task of shorting out the motor. So perhaps it just disables the motor under certain circumstances. I understand there is some function whereby the motor cannot start until the throttle stick is taken back to fully closed. Maybe this line implements that. When I measured it, it was at 3V.

    2) The B+ line is at the full battery voltage. The fact that this goes to the motherboard opens the concern that monitoring of the battery voltage takes place there. I would have expected this function to take place in the ESC in a standard setup, not in the Rx. So this may be a significant departure from standard operation. It may be, for example, that the ESC portion by itself would not be up to the task of monitoring the battery voltage and cutting the motor without external help, and this would make it unsuitable for use with standard components. However, the battery voltage is distributed to several points within the ESC, so is likely monitored there as well.

    3) The THR line controls the throttle with a 500 Hz, 3V signal which varies between 0 and 100% duty cycle. So it is at 3 V (100%) for full throttle, and 0 V (0%) when throttle is closed. I'm not sure how typical this is, and I have no other gear for comparison.

    4) The TP6 and TP7 test points are indeed the control lines for the servos. They have a 50 Hz update rate and a pulse of 3V with a width which varies from about 1.4 to 2 ms, centered on about 1.6. This sounds very standard to me, though I am not sure if the 3V operation is typical.

    Given the above, I would be wary of relying on the ESC part of the system, without extensive testing to see how it behaves with respect to battery voltage. Without the ESC, reuse of the SkyFly electrics would be limited to the servos, which look like they could be controlled OK by a standard Rx.

    I also looked into wire linkages. Doesn't look difficult. I elongated the openings where the fishing line comes through the boom, to make small slots which don't impose a severe angle on the wires. I am looking at .032 music wire and see there are kits available containing clevises and other goodies to facilitate this task. I did a quick mock up, just pushing the wires through the holes in the horns, and it looks OK. The servos are certainly up to the task. It may help to provide guides near the base of the vertical stabiliser to reduce slop. This wire is small in diameter compared to the holes in the horns, so that might be a source of slop. You would want to make sure the wires cannot touch any part of the electrics.

    Cheers, Chris.


  17. #317
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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi Chris

    For your pushrod mod, there are pictures of a similar arrangement at post 185 (HERE). Note that he didn't route the rods through the tail shaft but ran them outside it. If I were adding rods I would prefer to find a way to run them to the tail inside the tube. Also as I recall he still needed to keep the elastic bands on the stab and elevator to keep some counterstrain on the thin rods. Let us know what solution you come up with thanks for keeping us up to speed on your progress.

    Dave

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi ragin (and everyone),

    Thinking about your post in February in this thread about possibly installing a pull pull control linkage system using Spiderwire for the Skyfly, I was wondering if you had been lucky enough to find the time to implement this mod. And, if so, how it's working out?

    I'm considering either a pull-pull line system or a pushrod system as a replacement for the stock monofilament line. I didn't find Spiderwire locally, but I did find 50 lb. test Spectra line from PowerPro. It seems to me I could use the Spectra line to install a pull-pull system using the stock servos, and (unfortunately also) the stock trim adjustment screws on the control horns. Think that would work?

    As alternatives I'm considering the Dubro 30" micro pushrod kit or (to reduce added weight) a configuration using CF rods with Dubro pushrod steel pieces bound to the ends of the CF rods to simplify attaching to the servo wheels and control horns. Another combination seems to be to just use the Dubro kit and if weight seems to be a problem, then just take off the landing gear.

    On a separate note, I'm digging around for my ancient hinge-slotting kit. Eons ago I built from scratch a Carl Goldberg Falcon 56 Mk II .40 trainer...and promptly destroyed it. (Foam Skyfly type trainers are certainly a less costly and time-consuming entry path into this cool hobby.)

    I've the opportunity (misfortune?) to prove true most of the newbie warnings in this thread. Weak wing > reinforce it. Sloppy control linkage > replace it. Weak control surface hinges > reinforce them with either actual micro hinges or "over & under" strips of packing tape.

    Otherwise? It's been a blast.

    -Andre

  19. #319

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    I have had a skyfly for 2 months im thinking of moving on but i realized something about your problem
    if you still have the servos working replace the thread with thin copper wir the sell at home depot
    this copper wire you can atach to a push rod and it would work the same

  20. #320

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Unfortunately I haven't had time to implement the pull/pull arrangement yet, but I think the line you describe should work just as good as Spiderwire. Berkley Gorilla Braid is another brand of fishing line that I've used both for fishing and for modeling, and it seems to work just as well for both. I always figured I'd do the pull pull setup at the same time as the radio conversion as I'll have the control unit out of the plane at that time anyway. I was planning on using the stock control horns, and just drilling a little hole on the backside where the rubber bands attach at a corresponding distance to the inside hole on the other side. I was even considering the possibility of retaining the factory line adjusters for the purpose of tensioning the lines, then setting everything with CA once I had it all where I wanted it.

    I see two potential problems with the use of copper wire however. The first being the fact that solid metal wire is only capable of bending a certain number of times . . . . . and then it breaks. It'll be bending a lot. Not good. I'm sure it would work for awhile, but there would be virtually no way of knowing when it was about to let go. At least with any type of string, it's going to start looking ragged long before it turns loose on you in the middle of a flight.

    The second problem, which could also apply to the ideas I've seen of using music wire that isn't inside of a plastic sleeve, is that the metal rubbing on the carbon fiber or graphite or whatever it is that the tail boom is made out of could create copious amounts of radio interference. I've seen this happen on 72 meg FM systems, and they're FAR more resistant to ambient interference than the 27 meg system in the Sky Fly. The antenna also runs inside the boom, and should one of those metal wires end up rubbing on that all sorts of crazy things could start happening. At the very least I would do a good range check on the ground before flying the thing, with the motor running, the tx antenna down, and an assistant holding the plane just in case. The tail boom may however be fiberglass, and if that's the case you should be alright, but I'd still do a lot of testing just to make sure and be absolutely positive that nothing can touch the antenna.
    Does anybody BUILD airplanes anymore?

  21. #321

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Lambo, Thats amazing. Would you let us know what brushless set up you are using?


    Thanks,

    Fred
    ORIGINAL: lambodave

    Thanks for the 'logical' testing steps - I will do these soon.
    On a more 'positive' note, I did enjoy taking my single-brushless motor out for an hour yesterday. I spend a few minutes the night before, installing a ZLog Altitude 'data-logger' in my skyfly - very simple to install (just plugs into un-used servo port on receiver. I have atteched an image of the down-loaded data (represented in a graph). My single brushless skyfly has a climb-rate of 15.45 feet/sec (shown in first peak on graph). I levelled out at 541 feet and flow for a bit before 'knowning' I was higher than the FOG !!! The skylfy 'silouteeted' above the fog until I got out the other side - little worrying as I didn't know if I'd lose complete sight or not !!! Anyway, she came out the other side and I dropped it down to had a great time. I later went up to 402 feet and kept under the fog. The ZLog is a very small/neat unit and can be configured to 'mark' positions on the graph from controller input - ideal for aerial Photograhpy, as you could mark as each photo is taken and then know the exact height they were taken at.

  22. #322

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi fdaremi - I have posted a few photos back in this thread somewhere which shows how my Single Brushless SkyFly looks. Anyway, the technical stuff is this: TX=Specktrum DX6, RX=Specktrum AR6000 (very light at 7g), Servos= 2 x Hitec HS-65MG, Dubro Micro2 Pushrod System 30", Brushless Motor=Great Planes Rimfire 28-26-1600 Out-Runner, ESC=Great Planes Silver Series 25A Brushless ESC 5V/2A BEC, Battery=2200mah (3 cell), Prop=8"x6" (Pusher) - Prop this size requires motor to be mounter higher to clear boom. Make simply motor-mount with short flat alloy bar and secure to old motor can (but empty out old motor inners - unwanted weight). The whole installation requires a little work, as you do 'empty' the fusealage completely and then install the servos, etc. I re-use the yellow mounts to mount my servos (These are used to hold the stock all-in-1 unit in place, and are curved to fit fuselage). You don't need to use the same servos as me, as these are expensive ones (but I can re-use in my Heli if needed). Some would say that it would be better to simply go out and buy a different plane, but I enjoyed the 'project' and learnt alot from the exercise. I am now working on a twin-brushless SkyFly !!! If you buy decent hardware, then you are not wasting your money, as it can be re-used in whatever project/plane you decide to fly in the future.

  23. #323

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    My first plane was the Sky Fly, two years ago. I found that it was 1) too fast for my reactions and 2) not very responsive to the controls and the fish leader and rubber band control was very hard to keep adjusted. I did a lot of crashing and cussing. I finally got a Slo-Stix and because its soo much slower and responsive I just gave up on the Sky Fly.
    Yesterday I remembered someone converting the Sky Fly to a piano wire control. I drilled two holes in the rear of the plans body and Z bent two piano wires and everything moves back there in a positive motion like I think it should.
    Took it out this morning and it flew like a new plane. Controllable, responsive - still very fast for me - and its like I've just bought a new plane thats truly a lot of fun to fly now.
    Having said that, the only problem I have now is that it won't fly smoothly and level. It wants to porpoise up and down. I'm sure that the added weight of the two pieces of wire had little to do with that, but...... I try trimming and actually slowing to about a quarter throttle seems to be the best correction to the problem. I know that my Slo-Stix has to be balanced properly to fly and I know that its balance point is 3 1/4" from the leading edge of the wing. Is there a starting point for the Sky Fly's balance point?
    hershey
    Someday finally got here
    Albuquerue, NM

  24. #324

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Hi eghershey: Glad you are back in business.

    The manual indicates to make two lines at 1 3/4 and 2 1/4 back from the leading edge. The plane should balance with your finger tips between those lines. Works for me.

    Planes are very sensitive, so I imagine that your wire setup did infact change the COG. Be sure to have your battery in place when you balance it (of course).

    Question: Do you still use the rubber bands on the bottom of the control surfaces, or did the wire eliminate the need for that?
    Rob

  25. #325

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    RE: Flyzone Sky Fly

    Thats the information I was looking for, thanks.
    I don't use any rubber bands at all now. The long run of the wire did flex a lot on the bench so I added a "anti-flex" sleeve half way between the tail and the body and that eleminated a great deal of flex. In reading some of the previous posts on this I see that I could have run the wire thru a tube...learn something new every day.
    I did reverse the direction of movement for the tail lap. Its now connected to the bottom of the servo sleeve and to the bottom of the wing. Made it a lot cleaner and straighter shot. I have to say, the wires are really close to the prop now but all in all, I'm now a real big fan of the Sky Fly. Before I'd have sold it and the spare parts for 20 bucks.
    hershey
    Someday finally got here
    Albuquerue, NM


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