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Anyone build a flying lawn mower?

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Old 02-18-2017, 03:02 AM
  #26
JohnBuckner
 
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Zonker I believe Flyingthingz closed its door many years ago.

John
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:41 AM
  #27
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Thanks John. I finally got hold of Spiro. He sold the business and the new owner ran it into the ground. Its surprising that the web site is still up.

Milt
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Old 06-20-2017, 05:59 AM
  #28
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The lead guy in our airshow team, the West Michigan Aerobats, has flown a flying lawnmower for a number of years. I don't think it was from a kit, though. From what I've seen, it looks a handful to fly (never tried it myself). Needs a good strong engine to get off the ground.

--------------------------------------
FlyingThingZ was briefly in operation at least in 2015; I managed to get a flying doghouse kit from them. I'd heard that someone else was buying the business. Hope it happens (or happened) - they had some unique 'thingz'!
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:01 AM
  #29
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I finally got one put together, but am hesitant to fly it. It is ready to go and I will take it to the field today. If I get my courage up enough, I may do the maiden flight. Spiro gave me a lot of good tips so hoping those will help me be successful. Our Open House is this Saturday and it is my goal to have it trimmed up and flying. Our club did have one in the past - I never did see it fly until it was handed down to me to get ready for this open house. The first flight was all over the sky, but I managed to get it down in one piece. I added some nose weight and a lot of expo to the controls. The second flight it took off fairly nice, and after turning downwind, I lost my orientation and froze up. It ended up going into the middle of the Jordan River at full throttle. It splattered into many pieces - the river pumps from Utah Lake are turned off int he winter - so I could see it in the minimal flow, but it took me an hour and a half wading and crawling in the mud and water to retrieve the important parts. I had to dig the engine out of the mud, but I got back everything except the handle which floated down the stream. So I went to work on another one - no one said that I am completely sane, some say I am plane nuts! But we shall see. Our club also has a flying Superman which I have seen fly, and it is a real handful.

Qwerty3: how is the Flying Doghouse? I got a set of plans from the Internet, but it looked like a handful to even build, Perhaps when I get all my other projects complete (if I have enough lifetime), I might try it.

I am trying to attach some pics. the first three are of the one I crashed. the last one is a Flyingthingz prototype - needed some mods to make it viable, but probably won't make it to production with Flyingthingz closed down.
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Old 06-20-2017, 10:16 AM
  #30
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The Flying Doghouse was a handful. I had 4 more-or-less white-knuckle flights, 3 of which ended as a crash. (Side note - I used Goop for the coroplast-to-coroplast joints, which seems to stand quite a bit of abuse; Gorrila glue was used for the foam-to-coro joints) I built it from the FlyingThingz kit, but with a Hobby King .60 equivalent electric motor, 6S 2200 lipo. This is plenty of power - possibly more than is needed.

One of the big issues is that it wants to nose over on takeoff, at least on our grass runways in Michigan. This did some damage to the motor shaft, as the prop stops, but the spinning electric motor bell still has lots of momentum.

2nd is that it is hard to get it off the ground - doesn't seem to be enough elevon authority to get it to rotate.The side walls were modified to give more ground clearance (took off 1 'rail' on the bottom).

3rd was that it really only wants to turn one way - left. Right turns were difficult - maybe piloting technique could improve that. Apparently you should normally fly at about 1/2 throttle, and throttle up for turns (so advised after I had the local 'top gun' fly it). Roll stability was generally acceptable, but in a right turn it wants to dive for the ground.

I've since modified it - moved the electric motor down about 3 inches, hoping that would reduce the nose-over moment for takeoff. I also moved some of the nose weight down to the nose wheel axle,

In my experience, it was never in control well enough to safely fly it in front of a crowd. I've thrown in the towel; gave it to the local 'top gun' (the same guy who flies the lawnmower). He thinks he can fly it for our airshow team. I hope he can make it work
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Old 06-20-2017, 06:18 PM
  #31
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Thanks Qwerty3. That is good to know. I may not want to go in the doghouse direction, but I still do like Snoopy. My brother and I put on a mock combat at our Open house: Snoopy doll in my SE5 and a Barron with a pointed helmet in a German biplane. He has power on me with his 2 stroke OS .56 while I am running an ASP .52 4-stroke. We pull 30 foot streamers on 20 feet of string. Can't even get close with the turning performance on our 58" span models. Anyway, I finally tried to fly my lawnmower today. Spiro told me to set the CG at 5 3/4" behind the LE. On the first try, I couldn't get it off the ground (paved runway) - ran off the runway into the weeds holding full up (about 3/4" of up). I had 13 oz of lead in the nose to set the balance point. I took off 3 oz and set the elevator servos at 150% of travel. On the second try, I got off the ground, but had to hold 3/4 up travel, which made it very difficult to be smooth on the turns. I was diving and climbing all over the place. Before I could get it lined up from downwind to final, I finally lost it. Will be a major rebuild job on the right wing leading edge, the fuselage, and one false wheel. I feel that it would have flown OK if I hadn't had all that weight in the nose. I was running an ASP .52 on 15% nitro and a Master Airscrew 11x5 prop. I had plenty of power, just bad control harmony and old reflexes. At least it hit on the other side of the river where I could get to it instead of in the full river. Back to the repair board, but it won't make the Open House this weekend. I will fly my .40 size aerobatic canard, the Zonker 40, instead. It is odd enough I saw someone here mention a manual. I would like to know where the manual puts the CG (this is a slightly different lawnmower than the V2, but it is based on the V2). The on-line manual link gives me a file not found, and I didn't get any manual with my lawnmower. Thanks guys. Milt
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Old 06-25-2017, 06:48 PM
  #32
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Larry - what do the plans have for the CG? Spiro told me it was 5 3/4" back, but that is way too nose heavy for mine. I couldn't even get the nose up to get it off the ground.
Thanks,

Milt
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Old 07-01-2017, 10:20 PM
  #33
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I've got a FlyingThingz lawn mower and fly it fairly regular. It has an OS 55 on it and I would say it is terribly underpowered. One thing I would note is the rear wheels. They are set up to flex up when it is rolling on the ground and a small rubber band holds it down in flight. The rubber bands are essential. One snapped on take off and the mower was very unstable and became much more of a handfull than it already is. Make sure they are in place and not about to break. Good luck.
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Old 07-02-2017, 07:15 AM
  #34
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Cashpoboy: What I need is the correct CG location. Mine seemed to have sufficient power with my ASP .52 running 15% nitro. I was holding about 3/4 back stick to keep it in the air. Holding that much back stick made aileron control difficult. Where is your CG? Thanks, Milt (My rubber bands were in place)
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Old 07-03-2017, 12:39 PM
  #35
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On my Flyingthingz lawnmower, my CG is around 7" from the leading edge of the 'wing'.
It seems to fly ok.
This thing is never going to fly all that great.
It looks fantastic in the air and on the ground is a fairly convincing lawn mower.
The kids always go nuts when it is flying including the big kids.
It is always 100% of a handful to fly and requires my total focus. It's all I can do to get it to climb and I must be ginger on the controls. I fly at full throttle only and landings are about just slightly above half throttle.
If I were to do it all over again, I think I would put a much larger engine.
Good luck.
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:37 AM
  #36
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Cashpo: Thanks for the reply. When I get the courage to do the rebuild, I will certainly try the 7" CG location. What are you using for a prop on your OS 55? I used a Master Airscrew 11x5, and it had plenty of pep. Spiro told me that the Flyingthingz lawnmower needed a lower pitch prop - he uses an APC 12x4, and that this lawnmower didn't like speed, but needed thrust at a lower speed, which the lower pitch will give you. The main reason I used the MA was because it was black and looked nicer with the red lawnmower (and I had one) For your next flight, try a lower pitch, it might surprise you. Spiro also told me to have it sit nose high, about 5 degrees to help it get off the ground, and he said to have some up elevon trimmed in as neutral. Spiro also uses 30% nitro - mine did well on 15%. My rebuild will probably wait until the winter building season. --Milt
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Old 10-29-2017, 01:48 AM
  #37
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Are you still kickin' Spiro?
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:15 AM
  #38
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Jetstarblue - he was last May at least, but was working hard making a living. All his "toys" are put away for now, unfortunately. -- Milt
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