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November 11, 2004

Flyin' SLO

Hello once again faithful readers! This entry marks the first one of November - its been a busy couple of weeks.

It's been a cold-yet-cheery, never-dreary November thus far, and I am still lovin the college life. Things have been hectic with some second-round midterms, homework, general studies and a project or two. Nothing I can't handle, mind you.

For one, I've been working with a group of three other guys on a project for AERO121 in which we were required to design, build, and fly a glider using a set of materials determined by the instructor. The purpose of the gliders is to carry a payload of pennies and launch via bungee to accomplish a sustained flight. Basically, the construction techniques are the same ones I have used on my own R/C gliders, and since I had experience in the field, my team relied on me heavily for knowledge and intuition. We spent a few weeks working on the gliders in the aero lab - known as "the hangar" because it is one (complete with asbestos coating on the walls - yumm). We got to cut the foam wing and fuselage using a hot-wire technique in which current is put through a wire strung between two posts, causing it to heat up and thus go through foam like buddah. Anyway, just strap in a couple of servos, wrap it in tape, and you got yourself a glider pals! Easy as pie.


We were scheduled to have the "Fly-Off" on the 6th, but due to rain the field was closed, and so we ended up having it today, on our day off! No class, but I had to get up even earlier than usual to go fly - a bummer when you consider the circumstances. We were working last night to finish it all up and get the glider balanced. Final count of the pennies loaded was 362. The plane weight was 4.75 lbs with batteries and radio gear! What a porker!


So Jeff - one of my groupmates - and I got up early (Aaron and Tom couldn't make it because of previous arrangements) to go fly. When we got to the field we were told to give the plane a name; the first thing that popped into my head was - don't ask why - JJ the Jetplane ( Jim and Jeff start with 'J'). It stuck. So we waited in line as three groups went ahead of us, then it was our turn. There was a 'professional' R/C pilot there who was controlling all the gliders - unless we wanted too. I gave him the first flight to keep our chances even with everyone's. It was pretty good. 15 second duration with 362 pennies is over 5400 points.(pennies x seconds = points) I'll show anyone the video once I get home.




Jeff and I didn't stay long after we finished. It was cool to see others' planes fly or crash, but we were cold and tired and bored and hungry so we left and missed the second half of the group. Oh well.

Anyway we did good. Now we get to do rockets. Yay! Aero is a pretty kick-back class, so it's a blast. All I have left is some pics of the 'competition'. Enjoy. Try and guess which ones flew and which ones didn't.