Monday, July 22, 2013

Post Team Trials report

First I want to Congratulate the 2014 US Team of Richard Stubblefield  - Mark Rudner - Josh Ellison - Sasha Nadien!!!

I was knocked out in the 8th round putting me something like 6th and in the alternate pool. My new models with the Kevlar tech worked fantastic. I flew 2 not Kevlar tech models that were effectively destroyed and the 2 Kevlar models that were in collisions are very flyable. I will cover some of the details closer over the next few weeks.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

First Louisiana Streamer Shuttles sited

MACA president James McKinney with his first Streamer Shuttle. James has not built planes from scratch in about 15-20 years but reports that his efforts produced a 240g machine. Great work!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TeamTrials tune up

Josh and Allen spent some time over the weekend tuning engines for the team trials. Josh thought his was maybe a little tight and Allen's was just breaking in after a fresh rebuild.

New plane racks are racing red

Big thanks to Josh Ellison for tricking out my new set of plane racks!

Caveman Feet

I should probably start wearing shoes to practice. I put sunscreen on my feet so they wouldn't burn and every piece of dirt and dust that got within 5 feet of me stuck to my feet!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Streamer Shuttle goes to 6th Place in Kansas

Just back from the Kansas F2D Contest where I flew the Streamer Shuttle to a solid 6th place finish. I really love the way the plane goes exactly where you want it without over turning coming out of the corners and rock stable for low inverted defense. The SS took me to a 4-3 record with some of the best matches I have flown in a long time if not ever. After taking a serious whip'en from Florida's Bill Duane first thing Sunday morning (2-4) I was able to come back with 3 awesome matches. Mexico's Leo Silva was the unfortunate recipient of my post butt kicked energy, I had the Streamer Shuttle on his tail for about 3 minutes 30 seconds of the match; after that the Streamer Shuttle was all over MACA president James McKinney. Both matches resulted in a win for the Streamer Shuttle. Round 7 matched me with Lubbock's Bob Mears, yet another great match with tons of back and forth action taking us to a 2-2 score with about a minute thirty left in the match. Bob was down for about 30 seconds after his plane aileroned tripping his shut off. I needed to fly defense for a minute ten. Low and inverted was the plan, I was able to drop the Streamer Shuttle down on the deck no problem and kept moving in the circle. Just as i was coming up to the point that Bob could no beat me I went for the landing and missed! I was thinking "don't stuff it in and tear up the shut off" so just as the plane was about to touch the ground I gave it some down to reduce the angle... plane missed the ground by about 8" and popped upright in front of Bob who was down on the deck with me to get the cut for the win. It was a great match even though it put the Streamer Shuttle on the trailer. Igor Dementiev would go on to win followed by James McKinney Alex Prokofiev and Bob Mears. 

I want to send a big thank you out to the Kansas Team that put on the event. Great effort and wonderful event!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Plane Carriers ROCK!!

I built up the first of the new plane carriers this evening. The design works great. The lower cross piece and the handle are 3 layers of 6mm birch plywood with a relief in the middle layer for a 6mm or 1/4" dowel. I happened to have some 1/4" aluminum rod in the closet, so that's what you see in the pics. When I get back from KS I will stop and get some carbon tubes just to be cool... The racks are available in 4, 6, or 8 plane sizes. I used some anchor bolts and nylon wing nuts to make the racks easily removable for travel.

I think these are going to look great after they are sanded and painted!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Pit Box kits are here

I picked up the pit boxes today. I got 40 boxes this time and about half of them are spoken for so if you want to get one let me know ASAP. I will be at the Kansas F2D contest this weekend with them for sale. If you pick them up at the contest they are $40, after the contest they are $40 plus actual shipping to you. 

Now for the plane racks... They are a test run so there are only a handful of them. I will have to work out the price and build a couple up to make sure they are good to go. I will post pictures and more info soon.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

More graphics ideas...

So in my never ending quest to make our F2D wings look even cooler... I was thinking about painting on the covering and how to best do that. I got to looking at large format printers and quickly realized that they are SUPER high $$$$$. So I started looking at stencil art and found that this is likely the process that I will pursue for full plane graphics. I will have a thick Mylar stencil laser cut and then use standard spray paint cans to shoot color on the inside of the covering before covering the planes. The big challenge will be to find a set of graphics that can be cut to be used as stencils. I will post up pictures as the project comes together. 

Here is a preview of what the planes could look like.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pit Boxes On Order Reserve yours today!!

The original factory is back in the game and the boxes are being cut next week. I am getting 40 boxes cut so get your name on the list so you don't miss out!!

I hope to have them delivered to me by May 29 just in time to take them to the Kansas F2D competition, if you are going to be there we can save on the shipping.

The boxes are $40 plus actual shipping to you.

Email me at 4eles1  at   gmail or call 9222595 with an 832 area code to reserve a box.

Kevin Hebestreit's box with custom paint and lettering - AWESOME!!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pit Box Update

Thanks for checking out the blog guys. I am currently working on getting the boxes produced again. The manufacturer that cut them before will not respond to emails now and all the quotes that I have received from other sources are double what the original was. The boxes used to sell for $40 plus actual shipping to you (they fit in the flat rate box at the PO) but now we are looking at $60 plus shipping and I am not sure that I would pay that much... SO I am still calling sources daily looking for a shop with a big enough CNC laser that will do these "on the side" to get the price back down. I am also getting quotes for plane carriers that hold 4,6, and 8 planes. With the current quote they would be about $25, again i think that's a bit high.

When I get the right shop on the horn I will make a run for sure. 

The interior dimensions are 11.5" wide by 8" deep and 7" tall. The dividers are set up so the builder can put the tool deck in the back and the syringe trough in the front or vice-versa. The battery area is designed for a pair if 5000mAh 2v cells. Some guys are running them in parallel on one switch while others are running them independently on a 3 way switch. I like the second option in case one of the battery fails the other battery is essentially on its own circuit. Opposite the battery area a 500ml Nalgene rectangular HDPE bottle fits perfectly. The lid makes a great place for storage too with a creative use of rubber bands and magnets.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Soldering Lead Outs

Some guys have asked me about what I use for lead-outs (LOs) saying that is a major reason for not building their own planes. When I tell them I us .021 stainless flying wire the first thing that they say is " I thought you couldn't solder to stainless wire!" Well in fact you can and it is not that big of a deal if you have the right stuff. Here is a quick look at the way I am doing them.

1. The right stuff: I use Superior 78 Stainless Steel flux. With out the right flux the solder will not stick and you will have a single line plane or worse a flyaway. I use  silver solder.

2. Everything has to be cleaned: I use some 600 grit sanding paper to clean the oxidation off the music wire hooks and the end of the LOs.
3. I first attach the LOs to the bell cranks and then measure the total length including the hooks that I need and cut the LO. Also keep in mind that the front and rear LO may need to be different lengths because of the bell crank location. Do this BEFORE installing the bell crank and LOs in the plane.
4. Wrap the hooks to the LOs with thin copper wire. Notice that the wire goes all the way to the end of the hook. The copper holds the hooks in place and lets you slide them for final adjustments before soldering.

5. Time to solder, I have found that using a small or as you see in the picture a big propane torch works best. It is much harder to get the wire up to temp quickly with a soldering iron. BE CAREFUL with the torch not to over heat the wire. You can very quickly damage the wire if you over heat it. I pass the flame over the wire hook for just a second at a time with the solder touching the copper until the solder starts to flow into the copper coils. I suggest a few practice hooks before you work on LOs that are installed in a plane.

6. After the hooks have been soldered bend the LO wires that are past the copper 90 degrees and cut them off with side cutters. Sometimes I go back with the Dremel and a stone to clean up the end.

7. Make sure to clean all the excess flux off the hooks, it is acid based and will cause the music wire hooks to rust  and possibly fail. A stainless steal brush and some rubbing alcohol work great.

All ready to go and only takes a about 5 minutes per plane.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cool New Graphics for Kevin

Kevin Hebestreit in PHX is working on a 2013 batch of planes with new LE grafix. These grafix got the Hot Rod look - literally. I told Kevin that I might have to put his design on a couple of my planes this year.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cutting Foam Blocks

This is the way that I process the foam getting it ready to be hot wired. First things first - the foam.  Foam is typically advertised by its weight  likely pounds per square foot. Historically the best we could do was 1 lbs foam and in the off chance you could get some that was just under you thought that you would have the lightest planes on the planet. I currently have a source that is advertising 3/4 lbs foam and that is what I am building with. I have a small sheet of foam that was in packaging from overseas that weighs .46 lbs with small beads. Side note - it is generally thought that the smaller the beads the stronger the foam, but that also meant heavier foam...

When ordering you will need to be very specific with the foam shop, they have a tendency to substitute foams base on what the industry they serve is using the most. More than once I got home and weighed the foam "just to be sure" and found the foam that was supposed to be 1 lbs or 3/4 lbs was actually 1.5 lbs or more. When asked how they got the order wrong they told me that they "upgraded my order" at no charge. Upgraded to what? An upgrade to me would be 1/2 lbs foam... but they just assumed that I was making moldings or insulation as the other 99.9% of their clients are. They other switch they will often pull if they think you are outside of their typical industry is to use foam that is made of recycled materials from their own production processes, they call this "re-grind." Re-grind will likely be higher weight and will have different densities throughout the block which will cause you cuts not come out uniform. Make sure you order 100% virgin - 3/4 lbs (or 1 lbs if that is what they have) - white EPS foam, then when you pick it up CONFIRM that is what you are getting at the dock. I order 2' x 4' x 2" sheets and block them out myself because 1/8" is a common tolerance and that isn't going to work for competition F2D planes... 

I set up the table saw with an abrasive cut off wheel from a chop saw. Thanks to Bob Mears on that little tip. You can make the same cuts with a thin kerf metal blade but it will produce enough foam on the ground to make your neighbors think you are building a winter wonderland!!! With the cut off wheel there is barely any mess. 

First I cut 1/4" off one side of the sheet to make sure the face is square. Then I cut the sheets to the width of the LE taking into account the short rib and tip are 1/8". 

Second process is to cut the 1/8" by 1/2" slots in that will be on the ends of the finished blocks, the slots key in on the hot wire jigs and once at assembly receive the wing tip. Make sure you put the same face of the foam panel to the fence when cutting both ends to ensure the spacing is the same.

Now they are cut in the band saw to 2 1/2" tall blocks. I have a fine blade in my band saw but I have used a course one before with the same results  I like to hook up a shop vac to the saw to help cut down on the mess.

Re stack the blocks and mark one end of them with a marker. This is critical because from this point on the processes are not symmetrical and you will have trouble keeping track of which end is which if you don't. I use the marked end as the root (closest to the center of the plane).

With the Streamer Shuttle the ribs seat under the spars and into the LE foam so we need to cut those slots. I make each slot only the depth of the spar at the spot of the slot. Yes that is 3 slots per block and yes it takes a bit of time but it is TOTALLY worth it later when you are building!!

That's it. Now the blocks are ready for the hot wire and on to construction.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

LE Foam Cutting

In this video I hot wire the foams for 20 Streamer Shuttle LEs. First the spars slots are cut then in the second jig the airfoil. You can find the link to the hot wire transformer I used on the left.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Final Frame Up

Here is the heart of the plane - the final frame up. This is where all the pieces come together to form a straight wing without the need for a jig. It really goes just about as quick as the dry frame up in the video!

Papering the LE

A couple of notes about papering the the LE. The basic idea here is that we end up with a "D" tube and that makes a huge difference in the stiffness of the LE. The paper will shrink a bunch so as long as you get the paper wet all over  (only on one side if you have graphix) so it is not necessary to get it super tight when you wrap it. I also like to have the joint be on the underside of the air foiled section of the LE, that way the covering is also helping hold the joint together once the plane is finished.

Cutting the Bladder Tube Relief

To cut the bladder tube relief in the back of the LE I use a soldering gun fixed with a piece of solid copper wire. Hand shape it by bending it around a bladder tube. It takes a bit of experimenting to get the length right so that the wire does not get too hot. Simple.

Leading Edge Construction

Ok I am going to try and get up some of the videos that I have on my computer. They are not going to be in order right now as I want to get them up then I will organize and maybe event edit them a bit. 

Here is the leading edge going together.

Friday, March 22, 2013


I have had a few requests for some pit box kits. If you want to get in on the order shoot me a note or post a comment on here. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2nd place podium in PHX season opener!

Just back from the season opener in Phoenix, Lance the the PHX crew delivered a great contest again. Smooth officiating, good contest pace, tons of killer matches and the usual perfect PHX weather! I really had a great time hanging out at the field and flying for the first time in 2 years. 

Thanks to my pit crews Alex - Andre and Bob - Andy. Thanks to Allen for loaning me shut-offs and 6mm mufflers!! Without them I would not have been able to make the contest at all.

It was a great test session for the new models that have been sitting unfinished. I was trying to remember what all the variances were... some the the neater stuff that was in testing was a Kevlar laminated center rib, film laminated ribs, new banding around the LE rib TE, new commercially available control horn and Bob Mears sourced PVC covering film. Reports to follow.

Andre and Alex keeping me covered in the pits with  ELES1 Models planes and pit boxes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


My JOB that is!!!

Man after 2 years of 12+ hour days, 7 day weeks, 200000+ airline miles -  I have left the company I was working for. Thankless and arrogant - good riddance to them!! 

I flew for the first time in 2 years a couple of weekends ago, wow I missed it. The wind was up 20+ so we didn't fly any matches but I did get some neat pictures that I have been wanting to get for like 6 years. I was hoping to go to Phoenix for the F2D contest that Lance and the PHX crew puts on but last minute looks like I am not going to make it.  

I am hoping to get back to producing kits and promoting control line combat. I looked at my files for the plane that would have been new in 2011 and it still looks like the goto design moving forward. It is a bit smaller and thinner to help with the 6mm muffler rule. The last set of prototypes I had cut needed some adjusting for the laser that I was using but should come together pretty quick. Drop me a line if you need some.

 I will keep the blog updated more often and hopefully get back into the swing of things like a normal human again.

WOW!! Look how far out my streamer is compared to Allen's plane. He is standing just to my left with his handle lined up right next to mine.
Wingover at the famous Garland Hobby Park

I think my streamer is flying over the left wing