Flying 4 Star 60: A Summary

Time got away from me and I never blogged during the summer about my flying.  It was a very busy summer.  I got out flying ass much as I could and loved it as usual!  Missed some flying time during the summer as my girlfriend (at the time) and I went to Ottawa for a visit to take in the sites and got engaged (technically while in Gatineau)! P.S. what a beautiful city!

Basically my time went from learning the basics of taking off and landing with a taildragger, going through the same basic circuits as I did when learning to fly with my 4 Star 60, to advancing to doing loops and rolls in various combinations.

One thing to remember, which I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind for the upcoming season is to use my rudder a lot more.  This includes for aligning the aircraft on takeoffs and landings as well as when making turns using the rudder to prevent the tail from ‘sagging’.

I had some mishaps, most just coming in a little to hot and hitting the tall grass along the edge of the runway.    Need to ensure I am flaring my landings to aid in slowing the aircraft down.  My worst mishap was when I ran out of fuel in the air and couldn’t make the runway, thus crashing into the tall grass/weeds down the hill on the North side of the runway.  The worst part of the damage was breaking the leading edge of one wing which needed to be repaired and recovered before flying again.

I am looking forward to getting out flying again once this nasty cold weather is behind us.  I will start with my Sig Kadet LT40 to get back into the groove of things before bringing out my 4 Star 60 again.  In the meantime I have finally been able to start another build, a float plane this time, so more to come on that.  Been a crazy winter with getting married in December and getting settled into my (uh-um, our) new normal as I am very much a creature of habit, lol.


Tracker to Hobby Tracker: Resurrecting in 2018!

2017 was a very busy year for me with getting engaged in Gatineau, QC followed by tying the not mid-December.  At work I have been working on a mobile application and want to now do this as a mobile application, platform of choice being iOS/Apple, due to what seems to be a more intuitive development process.  This will also allow me to explore, learn and integrate features to give a better end-user experience within the app.

One features in this vein would be when listing out the quilts they are tracking load the items (mainly the featured image, thinking will be the one labeled ‘top’ or an OTB image for in progress projects) as they come into view and have a local cache to preserve bandwidth, perhaps detecting WiFi vs data.

Below is the current schema I am thinking.  I created the tables in DynamoDB as implementing my app using Amazon Web Services as the back-end.

HobbyTracker NoSQL DB v1.0
HobbyTracker NoSQL DB v1.0

Key aspects of this schema that will hopefully allow me to make this application work are as follows:

  • Based on DynamoDB/NoSQL impelentation UserID and CreatedOn date down to the ms will act as the primary key (Partition and Sort key respectively)
  • When a table needs to have a reference to an item in another table it will store the UserId and CreatedOn for that record in the table in the following format: UserId#CreatedOn
    • This will hopefully allow me to parse and retrieve the item when necessary from the other table
  • Tables marked as Public anyone can add items to as we do not need to duplicate authors, etc. and the app will only allow editing of certain properties (i.e. in Author would only be able to edit DOD)
  • Tables marked Protected are for allowing other users to view the entries and comment (i.e. on quilts project or specific images or patterns)
  • DateFinished for a book will allow options like: In Progress, Unknown, or an actual date formatted MM/DD/YYYY
    • May follow similar format for CompletedOn with a Quilt
    • Default to ‘In Progress’

Update January 1, 2018:

Well, I’ve discovered one thing. This implementation that somewhat parallels a relational database to reference related items in another table takes a lot of read/write capacity units (a measure used by AWS to calculate costs) and the free tier only provides 25 which according to them is more than enough for most applications.  Check out the FAQ.

This leads me to believe I need to rewrite the storage structure to store the bulk of the information in a JSON object in a column of type Map.

Thus, based on this from the AWS documentation above I need to figure out how much storage each item would be as a JSON object:

A unit of Write Capacity enables you to perform one write per second for items of up to 1KB in size. Similarly, a unit of Read Capacity enables you to perform one strongly consistent read per second (or two eventually consistent reads per second) of items of up to 4KB in size. Larger items will require more capacity. You can calculate the number of units of read and write capacity you need by estimating the number of reads or writes you need to do per second and multiplying by the size of your items (rounded up to the nearest KB).

Now, I may just be over complicating things but this will hopefully eliminate the need for so many tables, perhaps a column to indicate object type stored as JSON which will be indexed (increases capacity units per table by the way).

To be investigated further at a later date!

SharePoint List – Delete Columns Through PowerShell

Today my colleague ran into an issue where she added columns to a SharePoint 2013 list, later realised they were not what she wanted and was unable to delete them.

I ended up doing up the following PowerShell script to delete the columns based on some examples I found online in both C# and PowerShell.  The key one I found was on SharePoint Diary; however, this did not work for me but was close to what I had already started.

The full script that worked for me is as follows:

$ListName="Activity Reporting - 2018"
$ColumnName="Target Audiences"
Write-Host $ListName - $ColumnName
#Get Internal Name of the columns
$web = Get-SPWeb $SiteURL
#Get the list
$list = $web.Lists.TryGetList($ListName)
if($List -ne $null)
    #Get the column
    $column = $list.Fields[$ColumnName]
    if($column -ne $null)
        #Reset column properties to allow delete
	$column.Sealed = $false
        $column.ReadOnlyField = $false
        $column.AllowDeletion = $true
        #Delete the column from list
        write-host "Column has been deleted!" -f Green
        write-host "Specified column name not found!" -ForegroundColor Red

The key difference from theirs is the column properties I had to set.  Setting the columns Hidden property:

$column.Hidden = $false

Didn’t work for me and I had to replace it with:

$column.Sealed = $false

This might depend on the type of column you are having issues with, but since I we were unable to delete these through the GUI this is what I ended up doing but wanted to document the other way as well encase down the road we run into a scenario that fits there original use case.

Building 4 Star 60 Day 48: Stabilising Wires Installed

Stabilizing Wires Installed

Though my plane according to the plans was complete, Monday I truly completed my aircraft!

Outside of the plans, based on club members experience, I added support wires to the tail.  You can see them installed in the featured image above.  The reason for this addition is that a known flaw in the design of the aircraft is the weakness of the fin.  If you were just flying in circles and figure eights you would be just fine but as soon as you started performing loops and rolls you would have a problem.

That problem is that the forces applied to the fin during these maneuvers would cause the tail to twist making the aircraft unstable in the air.  This instability, and perhaps damage, leads to a lack of control and I believe even the potential for the fin to break.

The wires were created by John based on the ones installed on his 4 Star 60.  He sautered the ends to bolt to the surfaces onto the wire.  The are adjustable for length as you want to make sure they are at about the middle of the top of the fin as well as the middle of the outer edge of the stabiliser into solid wood, but not to close to the edge to ensure a firm hold.

Doing one at a time you line it up and mark where the holes need to go into the stab and the fin.  Adjustments needed to be made on the ends to ensure they sit flush with the surface of the aircraft.  You then drill out the holes, ensuring you go through in a straight line as you don’t want to be at an angle.  Next you put the screws through (screw it in once required) and then put a locking nut on the screw through the stab.  Can leave the one through the fin for now.

Continue reading

Building 4 Star 60 Day 47: Balancing & Weight

Finished Plane Front View

Tuesday was the day everything came together and I my aircraft was fully assembled.  Previously in the week Peter & John balanced my plane to determine how much weight was required.  The aircraft was quite tail heavy.  Need to remember that as you move away from the center of gravity (CG) the effect of 1lb of weight is compounded.  This means that even though the engine, wing, battery, etc. is all up at the front of the plane the tail still wanted to ‘sink’.

In order to counteract this John & Peter determined how much weight was required to place up in the nose so that the aircraft is actually a little nose heavy.  They determined the weight required and already had the one side of the piece of metal sanded and a piece cut out for the drain hose from the engine to go through allowing the fuel to exit instead of pooling on the bottom.  I then drilled two holes into the piece of metal.

Checking Balance With Weight Installed
Checking Balance With Weight Installed

Continue reading

Building 4 Star 60 Day 46: Throttle control adjustments

Tuesday was a productive session though it appears not much was done as it was about getting the throttle working properly (with the transmitter) through a lot of adjusting and installing the extension for adjusting one of the speed settings, see below:

Speed Adjustment Extension Installed
Speed Adjustment Extension Installed

In order to accomplish these two tasks a bigger hole had to be drilled for the speed adjustment extension as things didn’t quite line up properly (that is in order to give room for vibrations).  Some other touch ups will now be required of the covering.

For getting the throttle set properly, which means that at the one end of the throw you are wide open and at the other end you are at idle so that if you hit the kill switch it closes off the throttle shutting off the engine.  This involved a lot of tweaking on both the mechanical and end point adjustments (on the transmitter) sides of things.

We had to remove the engine to adjust the throttle “lever” by taking it off and putting it back on in a new position as it is geared.

Peter also had the tail wheel installed for me already, see below, and on Thursday him and John did the balancing of the aircraft outside since it was a nice day and due to circumstances we couldn’t connect up so I could be there too.  My task next time will be to install the weights they determined are required.

Tail wheel installed
Tail wheel installed

Building 4 Star 60 Day 45: Canopy Installed, Servo Test & Landing Gear

Canopy Installed

After yesterdays session you can really get a sense of what my aircraft will look like (without the wing anyways).  I started my day with covering the hatch cover.  I wanted to break up all the white on the fuselage and since Peter and I had the same idea for what color should be used I went with green.  Before covering I had to make sure that there was clearing for  the throttle linkage which involved sanding down the one side.  Once that was done I covered the surface and folded over the edges like I have done previously.  This also means that for the front it involved doing a bunch of small cuts to get the covering folded over the curved edge decently.

John came over to check things out and while he was there we bound my transmitter to the receiver.  I haven’t installed that yet as John’s going to bring over some velcro for that task; however I know where it is going to go and already hot glued some tubing to the side of the fuselage to run the longer wire at a 90 degree angle to the other for reception.   I set up a new model in my transmitter (named it 4Star60) and the various leads were hooked into the correct places on the receiver.  We were not able to get the desired effect for the throttle after doing endpoint adjustments on the throttle control arm and in the transmitter itself so will have to look at that again.  We were able to adjust the servos (mechanical adjustments) and the linkage near the control horn to get us satisfied with the movement of the rudder and elevator for this first crack at it.  John had to go and then Peter and I hooked up the wing to test the ailerons.  I had to reverse RAL so that when pushing the joystick left the plane would bank left (as was reversed originally).

Continue reading

Building 4 Star 60 Day 44: Canopy Cut & Pilot Installed

Pilot Minion Installed

Tuesday was on the shorter side (1.5hrs) but accomplished the two goals that were set out for the evening, cutting the canopy and securing the pilot in place.

The first task was to cut the canopy.  This may sound like a simple task, but the thing to remember is that I only have one and if I screw up we have to order a new one.  That said I took my time.  It initially was curved such that it was flat with the ground all the way across and had an edge/lip all the way around.  This would make it easier from a manufactures perspective as they just put it on the mold and walla!  Every plane is a little different in how the top deck curves, etc. so this allows you to cut it to your aircraft.   Peter mentioned some come with the canopy cut to size, but guessing there is more precision in the top deck and where it needs to sit?

I had John’s canopy to use as a guide to get me started, but even then if I’d of cut it exactly like his it wouldn’t have fit my aircraft.  First I lined up the front ‘band’ you can sorta see in the pic with John’s and marked where the back of his canopy was with a pen that I could clean off.  I then cut out the enclosed part of the back and worked my way towards the pen mark taking out chunks, or as John likes to say hack-choo.  There was a process finding the right tool to cut the molded plastic as Peter had no suggestions and I don’t know what others use (please comment and let us know!).  What I ended up finding worked best for me were metal cutters with the straight blades, not the funkily curved ones (sorry I’m no Tim the Tool Man Taylor 🙂 ).

Continue reading

Building 4 Star 60 Day 43: Fuselage Covered, Engine & Battery Installed

Power Switch Installed

Seeing everything coming together and how far I have come since day 1 when this project began has been really rewarding.  I believe I have learned a lot throughout the process and still have so much to learn!  It has been a lot of fun seeing the aircraft take shape.

I started the day by continuing where I left off with covering the front side of the fuselage.  I had to continue with making the little cuts and folding over and along the front edge.  I then folder wider pieces over the edge where the fuel tank is.  Lastly to get the finished look below I cut off the excess that runs along the top deck.

Pilot R Fuselage Front Side Covered
Pilot R Fuselage Front Side Covered

Today the engine got installed.  We all ready had the engine mounts in place and prepped.  Using the appropriate screws and locking nuts I screwed the engine into place while Peter held the nut with a wrench.  I also used a screwdriver to pry open the clamp for the throttle push rod and got it onto the linkage (right side looking at the picture below) so will be able to have throttle control.  This also means that while placing the engine before bolting down need to make sure the wire is connected.  I find the picture below really start showing the progress made on the plane!  It also shows two glaring things that still need to be done, one is installing the canopy which I’m hoping to do Tuesday, and the other is covering and installing the hatch for the fuel tank.

Continue reading

Building 4 Star 60 Day 42: Fuselage Front Sides Covering

Pilot L Fuselage Front Side Covered

It was great to get back working on my plane again.  The time flew by as I think this was the longest I have worked in one session in a long time at about 2.5hrs.

During this time I finished covering one side of the fuselage.  From the pilots perspective this was the front left side, as seen in the featured image at the top.  Due to all the curves you have to deal with when covering this area it is a slow and detailed oriented process.

It starts first measuring out the piece of covering with some excess all around.  Then you line it up to where you want it, about a quarter inch overlay with the back piece.  I then  tacked it down in a few places starting top middle and worked my way along the top edge, pulling tight to do some on the side and looking through the covering you can see where the outline for the wing to sit in resides to tack some along there as well.

Continue reading