Archive for July, 2009

I think I'm half magpie.

[singlepic id=127 w=320 h=240 float=left]What is it that makes me want nice shiny things? A big part of my new job is selling pressure gauges. I have absolutely no need for a pressure gauge myself, but I want one. I really want one. They’re weighty and made from stainless steel. You can see and feel the quality. Did I mention they’re shiny. Hmmm shiny.

Maybe I could use it to measure Kristy’s blood pressure when she sees me come home with another expensive thing that we really don’t need……

MS Composit Swift II Flying Wing

I’ve finally added some photos of the Swift to the Hangar. I’m dying to get some video of this model since I reckon it’s the most entertaining of the lot. Hopefully soon I can take Kristy flying with me again, maybe she can take some photos and video.

*Update* See Swift II video here. Thanks to Kristy for shooting the video!

There are only two things I wish this model had: a rudder and an undercarriage. Stall turns with the EVA are great fun and I wish I could do them with this model, plus it would be handy for keeping things straight in those vertical climbs. As for the U/C, hand catches are fun but there’s nothing like a really well executed ‘greaser’ landing on terra firma.

This thing is amazing.[singlepic id=123 w=320 h=240 float=right]

The Swift gets flown consistently in conditions and at sites where I wouldn’t dare fly anything else. From it’s dozens of sorties it’s had almost no prangs, especially considering the way I fly this one! To date the worst has to be full throttle into a chain link fence – one broken prop and no other damage!

I’ve even flown this from my parent’s place in the hills. I hand launched off the balcony and immediately pulled vertical to get above the trees. After flying about for a while I decided to attempt a landing before the battery ran low and forced a landing.  It involved a vertical dive down the edge of the trees, pull out and fly level with the lawn then pull vertical before hitting the trees at the other end. A nice graceful wingover and do it all again with each successive wingover getting lower and lower. All of this was performed with motor off, it’s incredible how much energy she retains in the glide. The final run ended when I ran out of airspeed and lawn, opting instead for an undignified arrival in a soft bush.

The last thing the swift is really good for is flying around other people (public property). While all my park flyers are light and probably wouldn’t do much damage, they all have a propeller poking out the front. Because the swift is so light and has the propeller hanging out the back it doesn’t worry me. I never cease to be amazed by the reaction of on-lookers too. Often I’ll hear “Wow, look at that”, “Do a loop” or “Do a nose dive” etc. I’ll almost always oblige and it always brings a smile to my dial 🙂

Light Tent

For a while now Kristy and I have enjoyed dabbling with photography. The sheer number of photos taken and the law of averages means we’ve managed a few impressive shots. Some of the best however have been the macro shots. Closeup photography outdoors is not too difficult where there’s plenty of light, but indoors has always been tricky.

A little bit of research revealed that a light tent will solve the problem and allow you to take shots like the pros use to advertise products. I found this site (among others) which shows you how to build your own for a fraction of the cost of a professional light tent.

While I didn’t pay much attention to the dimensions, I did use a similar method. I cut the pvc to suit the dimensions of the card I bought from Spotlight. Rather than draping cloth over the top (seemed a bit messy to me) I sewed up a cover for the tent that fitted the frame fairly closely. To keep it all taught I put a button hole at the bottom of each corner that is pulled over a small screw in each pvc leg. (I did have to call mum for a reminder on using the button hole setting). The top rear rail has screws positioned to use holes from a standard ‘2 hole punch’.

So far I’ve used a ‘UFO’ led light for my light source (purchased from eBay). Incidentally this light also works well as a macro light ring for when the tent is not available. I just held this light by hand either outside the tent using the fabric as a diffuser or inside the tent using the fabric as a reflector. I have white, gold and silver card at this stage. Different colours seem to suit different subjects better, it’s fun playing with the different cards and lighting angles. Next I’ll use a couple of desk lamps to make life easier and hopefully produce better results.

Some of the photos have been pretty ordinary, while others I’m pretty chuffed with (law of averages again). I plan to make another one of these to take to work where it’ll make it that much easier to take professional looking photos of some of our products.

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Wowings Duck Build process

I’ve just put the finishing touches on the Wowings Duck build page. Click here for a walkthrough of the build process and a little flying review at the end.

New House?

Front

Offer’s accepted, bank says yes, but it’s not in the bag yet…..

Youtube!

Here’s my first ever Youtube upload and embedded video. Exciting stuff!

Almost forgotten how to blog!

It’s been so long since posting here I’ve almost forgotten how! Things have been so hectic with the move back to Perth, new job, buying new house etc…..

I think things are starting to settle down a bit and I hopefully I can spend a little more time on the blog.