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  #1  
Old 07-10-2019, 03:31 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default LED night B/Gs & RGs?

Hello All,

An interesting new feature for boost-gliders and rocket gliders (either R/C [Radio-Controlled], or F/F [Free-Flight]) would be multi-colored LEDs set into the wings and/or fuselage and tail surfaces, with lighting pattern circuitry to make them flash in various sequences. Such a model rocket could easily be built (or modified to be that way), and it would be great if one or more of the manufacturers offered such kits (or lighting system "add-on" kits for their existing B/G and/or RG kits). Watching the short video of E-flite's "Night Radian" 2 meter RTF electric motorglider *here* http://www.horizonhobby.com/airplan...-select-efl3650 (the video is about halfway down the "screen-page"), it inspired the following thought:

Imagine how, on a dark night (especially a Moonless one with a high overcast), such an LED-equipped boost-glider or rocket glider would look from a distance, rising into the sky on a line of brilliant light and then flashing or pulsating in strange patterns of multicolored light. In the darkness, no shape would be visible, and any observers might well suppose that the source of the lights might not be terrestrial... An R/C boost-glider or rocket glider could utilize radio control of the lighting system; so could an F/F one (a single-channel R/C system would suffice for that), or the lighting system could be pre-set before launch. And speaking of radio control, in connection with Free-Flight models:

RCAFF (R/C-Assisted Free-Flight) model airplanes were developed many years ago (Bob Eberle's modified Midwest Models "Sniffer" F/F plane may have been the first), and the concept would work just as well with F/F boost-gliders and rocket gliders (today's tiny micro-size receivers, servos, and airborne battery packs will fit in very small models). In the RCAFF set-up, the model is usually controlled only occasionally (to keep it from flying or gliding off the flying field, or into a patch of woods or other obstacles), although the model can be piloted continuously if desired. Such models are usually rudder-only, single-channel ones (just rudder control is sufficient). Most minimalist, starter models are two-channel ones (either rudder/elevator or ailerons/elevator), and in an LED-equipped RCAFF B/G or RG, the second channel could be used to operate the LED lighting system.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:07 AM
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I did an R/C R/G for the night launch at NARAM-51 (10 years ago). It used a number of super-bright individual LED's. Some were "flashlight beam" types, shining horizontally onto the top of the wing panels, and also on the wingtips and nose pointed forward to light up the ground ahead of it during landing. I didn't know much about "Strip" LED's before (they certainly would use up a lot more battery current than the LED's I did use). A lot of info and pics beginning here:

https://tinyurl.com/y5mh2twe

Before liftoff:


Almost all of the illumination is by the model's LED's

Video of the last minute of glide, by Chris Taylor:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvu3iZA2vow


If I did it again, I'd use strip LED's along the fuselage sides and in a few strategic places. But not across the wingspan due to the disruption of the airflow over the wing, not only would performance be hurt really badly but the handling and trim would suck terribly.


I'd use the same kind of super-bright LED's as before for the rest of it. To do LED strips inside the wing would either require building in or cutting out a shallow channel for the strips, then covering them over with something transparent. Or building an open-bay balsa wing covered by something like Monokote, which I'm not keen to do again (much less for rocket boosted gliders). My last open-bay balsa wing was a sailplane (my own design) over 25 years ago.

BTW - I used two batteries onboard. One for most of the lighting. The other for the receiver and just enough secondary lighting to try to fly it back if the primary lighting went out. I figured the primary battery would go dead before the receiver and secondary lighting battery went dead. Never had that happen. I would also repeat that double battery strategy if I did it again.

Unfortunately the model was destroyed a few years later, used a Quest D5 which took off too slow. It pitched down and crashed before getting enough airspeed to be controllable. Normally used a reloadable D7 or E6.
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Last edited by georgegassaway : 07-12-2019 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:05 PM
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Rudder-control-only even on the simplest of models just plain sucks even if only for trim the elevator gives.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:24 PM
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My first R/C gliders, and first R/C Boost Gliders were rudder-only. Having a 2nd channel for elevator too is ideal, but I'd never say rudder only "sucks".

Some of my early models models used Ace's Pulse Commander single channel R/C gear, with a magnetic actuator. "wacka-wacka".

http://www.airplanesandrockets.com/...trol-system.htm

Video of the system in action:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNGeLjbi6ns

Pic found on the internet:


In the 1990's, I did a twin boosted glider project where both gliders had rudder only steering (using one servo). People with no R/C flying experience, but with R/C car "driving" experience, were able to steer them pretty well (One of the hardest things to get used to with R/C is the apparent "coming towards you" reversal of control. R/C car experience solves that issue).

I have an extra Guillows' foam shuttle orbiter, which makes for a nice piggybacked B/G on suitable rockets. Sometime I may finally get around to adding rudder-only R/C to it if I can spare the ultra-light R/C gear to do it with.
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Rudder-control-only even on the simplest of models just plain sucks even if only for trim the elevator gives.
No they don't--it's a matter of setting them up properly. The single-channel, rudder-only power models (such as "Dick's Dream," a popular old high-wing, Cessna/Piper Cub-type model) and rudder-only R/C sailplanes (often purpose-designed for radio control, although larger F/F [Free-Flight], often scale or scale-like gliders are commonly fitted with R/C rudder control) were/are equipped with two aerodynamic features that make rudder-only control quite versatile:

The rudder's hinge line is angled so that actuating the rudder (or , depending on the specific model's design, *not* actuating the rudder--that is, leaving it in the "centered," neutral-yaw position, with the rudder moving rapidly to and fro between the two electromagnets) produces a pitching moment as well as a yawing moment. (With today's digital-proportional R/C systems, the rudder doesn't move unless the transmitter's rudder control stick is moved, of course.) Also:

The model airplane or sailplane has wings that have centerline dihedral ("Dick's Dream" has such wings), tip dihedral, or polydihedral. This works in concert with the rudder control inputs to produce banking turns instead of "draggy," altitude-shedding sideways-skidding turns. I have a West Wings Free-Flight Slingsby Swallow semi-scale sailplane model (see: http://www.samsmodels.com/slingsby-swallow [here are a few videos and links: http://www.google.com/search?ei=Nu8...HXPhCWIQ4dUDCAo ]), which is designed to be easily convertible to R/C if desired; its wings have centerline dihedral, and:

While it *can* be fitted with two-channel, rudder/elevator control using micro-R/C gear, it's not uncommonly flown as a rudder-only model for weight/performance/internal space reasons (at least one of the above-linked videos shows one flying with rudder-only control). It's agile enough in rudder-only mode to slope soar--and even do aerobatics--along a sea wall in a breeze, as a British modeler reported (it's online somewhere--I read his report a few years ago); he and a friend used the sea wall location to race their two rudder-only-control Swallow models. Plus:

In flying a properly set-up rudder-only model (especially a glider), the rudder actually combines yaw with pitch (and altitude change, via banking). While most to the movement--and the most quickly-activated movement--is left or right yaw, one also gets a slower pitch down (a downward left or right bank, depending on which way the rudder is moved). In the old days, when pulse-proportional, rudder-only control was ^all^ there was (unless one used "cascading" escapements for elevator or ailerons that were "tripped" by rudder movements, but these had to be used in precise sequences--only a few experts did that), people were nevertheless able to fly all normal maneuvers, and even aerobatic ones, by keeping in mind the combinations of movements that single-channel, rudder-only control make possible. In addition:

Using such rudder-only control, either pulse-proportional or digital proportional, would enable small, low-cost, and simple R/C boost-glider and rocket glider kits to be produced. A pulse-proportional system could probably even be fitted to such small B/Gs as the Estes Falcon, Tercel, and Sky Dart, and the now-Semroc-made Hawk and Swift. The constant to-and-fro movement of the rudder would not cause any hinge longevity problem if living hinge material (polypropylene is a common one, see: http://www.google.com/search?ei=Yvk...7.U 5jy2fL2fM8 ) was used, and the permanent magnet (the new alloy and ceramic magnets are very powerful) and electromagnets could be very tiny and lightweight, yet have ample control authority.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgegassaway
I did an R/C R/G for the night launch at NARAM-51 (10 years ago). It used a number of super-bright individual LED's. Some were "flashlight beam" types, shining horizontally onto the top of the wing panels, and also on the wingtips and nose pointed forward to light up the ground ahead of it during landing. I didn't know much about "Strip" LED's before (they certainly would use up a lot more battery current than the LED's I did use). A lot of info and pics beginning here:

https://tinyurl.com/y5mh2twe

Before liftoff:


Almost all of the illumination is by the model's LED's

Video of the last minute of glide, by Chris Taylor:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvu3iZA2vow


If I did it again, I'd use strip LED's along the fuselage sides and in a few strategic places. But not across the wingspan due to the disruption of the airflow over the wing, not only would performance be hurt really badly but the handling and trim would suck terribly.


I'd use the same kind of super-bright LED's as before for the rest of it. To do LED strips inside the wing would either require building in or cutting out a shallow channel for the strips, then covering them over with something transparent. Or building an open-bay balsa wing covered by something like Monokote, which I'm not keen to do again (much less for rocket boosted gliders). My last open-bay balsa wing was a sailplane (my own design) over 25 years ago.

BTW - I used two batteries onboard. One for most of the lighting. The other for the receiver and just enough secondary lighting to try to fly it back if the primary lighting went out. I figured the primary battery would go dead before the receiver and secondary lighting battery went dead. Never had that happen. I would also repeat that double battery strategy if I did it again.

Unfortunately the model was destroyed a few years later, used a Quest D5 which took off too slow. It pitched down and crashed before getting enough airspeed to be controllable. Normally used a reloadable D7 or E6.
Ouch...having seen the Chinese-made Quest C6 motors' under-performance (they might have had the correct ^total^ impulse, but their average thrust was more like that of a C4--I had a couple of cliff-hanger flights on those, after which I only flew them in lighter rockets), I was always leery of their black powder D motor.

Thank you for posting these still and motion pictures! Your wing "sign illumination" worked very well, like the night-time vertical stabilizer lighting on jetliners. To give a Douglas Trumbull-esque, ghostly "Close Encounters" halo lighting effect, strip LEDs could be "investment cast" into an expanding foam fuselage, perhaps a millimeter or two below the outer surface (there are "How-To" YouTube videos on molding model airplane wings and other parts using regular hardware store-type expanding foam, the kind that comes in aerosol cans fitted with plastic tubing hoses). Or:

For a model with a built-up or box-type fuselage (with aerodynamic fairings applied), the LED strips could be pressed into strips of structural foam, which would be trimmed to form the fairings (the LEDs' bezels would be ^just^ under the fairing surface, to keep them from producing drag). Built-up (tissue-covered balsa framework) fuselages would also give a bright, eerie effect; I once read an older man's account of having flown, as a boy in the 1940s, a white tissue-covered Wakefield-type rubber-powered airplane with a flashlight bulb & battery in the fuselage. The police ran him out of the local park, after people complained about a formless, glowing white "thing" flitting back and forth in the dark...:-)
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgegassaway
My first R/C gliders, and first R/C Boost Gliders were rudder-only. Having a 2nd channel for elevator too is ideal, but I'd never say rudder only "sucks".

Some of my early models models used Ace's Pulse Commander single channel R/C gear, with a magnetic actuator. "wacka-wacka".

http://www.airplanesandrockets.com/...trol-system.htm

Video of the system in action:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNGeLjbi6ns

Pic found on the internet:


In the 1990's, I did a twin boosted glider project where both gliders had rudder only steering (using one servo). People with no R/C flying experience, but with R/C car "driving" experience, were able to steer them pretty well (One of the hardest things to get used to with R/C is the apparent "coming towards you" reversal of control. R/C car experience solves that issue).

I have an extra Guillows' foam shuttle orbiter, which makes for a nice piggybacked B/G on suitable rockets. Sometime I may finally get around to adding rudder-only R/C to it if I can spare the ultra-light R/C gear to do it with.
George, you've just invented a new name for it--"galloping ghost" seems to have been the most common term for pulse-proportional control, with "bang-bang" and "kicking duck" also having been used--and now we have "wacka-wacka," too! :-) Watching the video of the Ace R/C rudder system in action, it sounds like the rainbirds of our backyard sprinkler system in Miami--plus, every time he moved the transmitter's control stick to make a "turn," the 'preferentially cycling' rudder (which spent more time of each cycle closer to the selected side's electromagnet) sounded like each of our rainbirds did when it reached the limit of the spray arc and then cycled back to the other end of the arc. Also:

I've never had an Ace R/C single-channel system, but it is featured in several "How-To" R/C glider books (even ones published in the 1970s - 90s) that I have, and it isn't covered as a "relic example of pulse-proportional control," but as an old but still-current system which is ideal--and popular, too--for Class A (small, hand-launched, 60" [1.5 m] wingspan or less) R/C model sailplanes, and:

If it isn't still in production, a modern version (using the same transmitter and receiver schematics, but employing today's much smaller electronic components and electro-mechanical parts [the permanent magnet and electromagnets]) could be made by a small electronics firm, and it could also be offered as a kit. Such a modernized Ace R/C single-channel R/C system could also use smaller airborne and transmitter battery systems. As well as being useful for Class A gliders (including the new discus- launch type ones) and for converting Free-Flight gliders (such as the West Wings semi-scale Slingsby Swallow F/F or R/C model sailplane kit; it's designed to be built as either, and works well in rudder-only mode: http://www.samsmodels.com/slingsby-swallow ), such a single-channel R/C system would be great for boost-gliders and rocket gliders, even quite mall ones. As well:

I know of the Guillow's foam shuttle orbiter, and that would make an interesting project. (If Estes would bring back their foam shuttle orbiter--adding a swept-back fin to the rear-ejecting motor pod, opposite the shuttle vertical stabilizer, would give stable ascents--it would be an [optional] ideal single-channel R/C boost-glider.) Regarding the "coming toward you" steering issue:

That would actually be easier to acclimate to with a single-channel, rudder-only model (because there is only *one* set of stimuli to "mentally juggle"; with a rudder/elevator model, the novice has to keep straight the facts that: "The rudder direction reverses--but elevator direction ^doesn't^--when the model is flying toward you"). Plus:

One tip is to point the transmitter's antenna in the same direction the model is flying, and to turn one's body as the model turns (in the same direction for one's body *and* for the model; in other words, if the model is turned to the left, rotate one's body to the left, and by the same [angular] amount that the model turns). If the model is turned 180 degrees to fly back toward the pilot, the pilot can look at the model over his or her shoulder (or as far as s/he can), then slowly turn back around to face the oncoming model; going through that kinesthetic exercise gives the pilot a mental and physical picture of their respective orientations, and helps him or her keep straight which direction the rudder is turned in such situations. Before long, it becomes second nature to "switch orientations--and mental/physical pictures--back and forth."
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:31 PM
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My experience with RC RG's is that pulsating lights would make it nearly impossible to maintain any flight orientation, I've also found that flying after sundown but not in pure darkness is the best, you get very bright lights, but in pitch black, you can't tell your altitude/size of the model and you lose any other spacial orientation, I typically fly at launches that are not a smooth grass field so I have to see my landing area.

Here's info on what I used: https://dynasoarrocketry.com/?page_id=1873

I used a single 180mah 3s pack direct to the lights and then split off to a very light esc that was 7 grams just to use the bec function to power the receiver. Given my lights and load, I have approx six to seven minutes of boost/flight once I plug it in, but given my gliders aren't long duration type I have 2x the amount of capacity than I need. Works well.

this shows some flights on video

https://youtu.be/dAAuNCt4EZ4?t=68
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Old 08-16-2019, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burkefj
My experience with RC RG's is that pulsating lights would make it nearly impossible to maintain any flight orientation, I've also found that flying after sundown but not in pure darkness is the best, you get very bright lights, but in pitch black, you can't tell your altitude/size of the model and you lose any other spacial orientation, I typically fly at launches that are not a smooth grass field so I have to see my landing area.

Here's info on what I used: https://dynasoarrocketry.com/?page_id=1873

I used a single 180mah 3s pack direct to the lights and then split off to a very light esc that was 7 grams just to use the bec function to power the receiver. Given my lights and load, I have approx six to seven minutes of boost/flight once I plug it in, but given my gliders aren't long duration type I have 2x the amount of capacity than I need. Works well.

this shows some flights on video

https://youtu.be/dAAuNCt4EZ4?t=68
Thank you. Yes, you would almost have to use a moving light display (say, from nose to tail on both sides, rather like the "Skytacular" and "Super Skytacular" lighted, moving signs on the Goodyear blimps--although I don't know if they move from bow to stern on both sides of the ships).

Your delta-winged glider certainly handles windy conditions well, and it doesn't exhibit a wing drop at high angles of attack (deltas are good that way; instead of stalling and rapidly dropping a wing, they "mush in" as the angle of attack increases).
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