Remote Controlled Skydiver

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1 RCU Review: Solomon RC RC SkyDiver More On This Product Research Airplanes Research Boats Research Cars Research Helicopters Research Engines & Motors Research Radio Equipment Contributed by: Jim Langley Published: June 2003 Views: this Article PDF Remote Controlled Skydiver By Jim Langley (pequeajim): INTRODUCTION SKY DIVING 101 SKY DIVING 102 CONSTRUCTION F L I G H T R E P O R T S U M M A R Y P R O D U C T I N F O R M A T I O N RC Skydiver ARF (828) Servos (858) Radio (800)

2 Chute Size: 48" Jumper Length: 16" Chute Area: 1152 Weight: 39oz. SPECIFICATIONS USED IN THIS REVIEW Radio: JR XF421EX Receiver: JR R600 Servos: (2) Hitec HS-77 Battery: 4.8v 600 NiMh Servos: (2) Standard High Torque Retail Price: $ (Current Special) Manufacturer: Solomon RC Distributor: Solomon RC I N T R O D U C T I O N The innovation in our hobby is amazing at times. From airplanes, to helicopters, flying lawn mowers and dog houses, this hobby seems to bring out the best in people. Although not new, one area that is drawing a lot of attention lately is radio controlled skydivers. I remember 25 years ago taking my little green army men and rigging square parachutes out of napkins and using my mother's sewing thread for the rigging lines. I had a blast, but of course my mother didn't appreciate it very much. Now the boy is a littler older, but the desire has always been there for skydiving. Much to my surprise, when visiting another club this summer, I looked up and saw a colorful canopy canopy floating down with a remote controlled skydiver attached controlling the descent. I was amazed! I guess it didn't shock me that someone had thought of this, but I just didn't think this part of the hobby was available. Of course, when I went home that night, I started searching places like RCUniverse for references to RC Skydiving and was pretty amazed that there were quite a few people involved. There are even RC Skydiving contests around the country as well as some held by the AMA. I decided to grab one for myself and see if it was as much fun as it looked. Skydiving 101 Before we start, it is important to understand what makes up a radio controlled skydiver. Gone are terms like propeller, flaps, ailerons, elevator. I had to become familiar with new terms like drogue, canopy, or cascade lines. To the right is a picture of a skydiver and associated equipment. Use this as a reference when reading this article. The chutes are carefully packed into the back pack which is held together with a release pin which in turn is held in place with an elastic strap. When the jumper's arm is pulled down another pin inside the body releases the strap, and the release pin is pulled out of the back pack. The pilot, or drogue chute starts the deployment sequence. The drogue catches the air and inflates. It pulls out a short piece of nylon webbing called the bridle. With a real sky diver, the bridle pulls a closing pin out of a container which releases the canopy. With our guy, however, the drogue pulls the canopy and lines out of the pack which in turn allows the sky diver to float to the ground under RC SKYDIVER AND EQUIPMENT

3 allows the sky diver to float to the ground under complete control. Skydiving 102 DROGUE CHUTE RISER When I started asking questions about canopy design, I was pretty amazed at the technology. Just about everyone today uses ram-air canopies. This type of parachute is square or rectangular and is made completely out of very lightweight nylon. There is a top and bottom sheet, and set of fabric ribs between them. The ribs divide the parachute into a set of individual cells. Air enters, or rams, into the front of the canopy and inflates the cells which give the parachute an airfoil shape. This shape helps the parachute to act like the wing of an airplane. Instead of coming straight down like you would with a conventional parachute, you actually glide in with a ram-air chute. AIRFLOW OVER A RAM AIR CHUTE You also have quite a bit of control with a ram-air chute. There are two sets of lines connecting to the rear edge of the parachute on the left and right sides. You control these lines with each arm connected to the lines. On a real parachute, they are called toggles. When you pull on the left arm, you lower the back part of the left side of the wing. This causes the left side of the parachute to slow down, so you turn to the left. You can turn to the right in the same way. If you pull both the left and right arms together, it slows the whole wing down and acts like a brake. This allows you to flare to a stop during landing. This level of control makes extremely precise landings possible. OVER A RAM AIR C O N S T R U C T I O N The Solomon diver comes as a very simple package which includes the jumper, wooden servo rails, back pack, release, chute and rigging. The chute is already setup to make the installation as easy as possible. In speaking with Ken Solomon, his focus is "to make an extremely durable jumper that anyone in the hobby can easily setup and jump with". Here's what you will need to get your jumper into the air: Items needed for completion 2 Channel Radio and receiver (2) higher torque servos (45 oz. or greater) Flight battery (I used 600mhr x AAA x 4.8v) Servo screws Hobby knife Epoxy (I used 30 minute) The first thing you should do is inspect the jumper for any cracks or imperfections. Mine was in perfect shape, so I started right in with the servo installation.

4 installation. RC SKYDIVER AND EQUIPMENT You will need to cut the servo rails for fit inside the jumper's radio compartment. In addition, I cut holes in the rail for the wire coming out of the servo case to give some stress relief. This also allows you to get the servo rail up close to the top of the compartment which will allow more room for a receiver. Also, cut away a little "U" shape in the top middle so this part of the rail will clear the head bolt. Round the bottom corners for a nice snug fit. SERVO RAIL SHOWING CUTOUTS WIRE RELIEF THROUGH RAIL Glue the top rail in place with 30 minute epoxy. Apply glue to the bottom and back of the rail and clamp in place to dry. While this is setting up, sand the back rail bottom to the contour of the compartment and trial fit. Try not to leave any gaps between the rail and the body. This will insure a better bond when you glue it in place. Once the epoxy dries on the front rail, trial fit your servos and mark the position of where the back rail should be. Tight is good, but not too tight as you will not be able to get the servo in place after the epoxy dries.. EPOXY RAIL TO TOP/BOTTOM SECOND RAIL IN POSITION SERVO INSTALLATION AND CONTROL ROD DETAIL If you want to shorten the excess wire from the servo, you can tape it to the case as shown. This will save some space and help to keep things a little more tidy when you install the receiver. LEFT: Excess wire can be taped to the servo case so that it exits the front. RIGHT: Servo mounted in place with wire exiting through the rail.

5 After mounting, center each servo by plugging into the receiver and turning your system on. Make sure your trims and transmitter sticks are centered. Now turn your receiver off and temporally attach your control arm to the servos. Measure the distance from the control arm hole to the ball link on the jumper's arm when it is the halfway position. This is your neutral and will get you pretty close. Put a "Z" bend in the control rod, attach to the servo arms and adjust the ball link for neutral. The release pin is installed as shown in the picture. You may need to trim this as the pin MUST move down far enough for the strap to release. LEFT: Use a simple "Z" bend for the servo arm side of the control rod. RIGHT: Servos and control rods mounted. You should use a very small receiver. I used a JR R600 that although small, is about the largest receiver that you will be able to use without stripping the case. Wrap the receiver in foam and push it down into the bottom part of the compartment as shown. Make sure you tuck the servo wires under the receiver in such a way that they do not crimp. Recheck the control rod center and arm travel. Make sure the release control rod does not go all the way down inside the body compartment and out of the guide hole. This will bind and stall the servo. You can adjust for less travel by moving the control rod in one hole on the control arm. SERVOS AND RECEIVER MOUNTED Next, you will need to drill a small exit hole for the receiver antenna. Do this at the base of the radio compartment. I used some small fuel tubing pulled through the hole in the body to keep the antenna wire from chafing. The antenna wire will run down the leg inside the pants. Some people cut a piece of cardboard and wrap the antenna around this being careful not to cross the wire over itself. Then tuck the cardboard inside the pant leg. BATTERY PACK INSTALLED IN FOAM Now the only things left are to install a battery and attach the supplied chute. You will need to use a small pack which I created from four 650 mah AAA cells as this fits well inside the cover for the radio compartment. You can.install a switch if you like, but I just cut a small slot and allow the wire to hang out of the side of the body. Make sure you round off the edges of the slot to keep it from cutting into the wires. Now before I attach him to the plane, I just pull open his jump suit and plug the two connectors in and close, easy!

6 RECEIVER POWER DISCONNECT The kit comes with the chute setup and risers attached to the body. I disconnected the chute and was careful to pay attention to how the chute was attached so that I could easily reinstall it after my radio installation. This makes it easier while you're putting the little guy together. All that remains at this point is to fold the chute and head for the field. The Solomon RC website has specific instructions for folding the chute and a video available. It's a little tricky at first, but after two or three times folding, you get the hang of it. THE JUMPER COMES WITH CHUTE ALREADY ATTACHED Pack the chute according to the instructions and use the supplied safety pin to keep the pack from opening when you are handling him. The last thing you will do is pull the safety pin before the jump plane takes off. Now we're ready to take a ride JUMPER WITH CHUTE PACKED F L I G H T R E P O R T The jumper is strapped to the underside of the drop plane and held in place with an elastic band rigged to a release pin on the side of the fuselage. When the release is triggered, the jumper drops and then the fun begins! The jumper is very easy to control once dropped from the plane. The pin which is connected to the right arm is what keeps the release pin in place. Pulling this arm down when free falling will open the pack and release the chute.. JUMPER MOUNTED UNDER PLANE TAKEOFF: The plane lifts off and begins it's climb to altitude. With any kind of wind over 7-8 knots, you want to make sure that you are dropping the jumper up wind to the field, that is, from where you drop, the wind is blowing towards the runway. It's also best to drop in line with the runway to allow the wind to blow you towards your landing spot as you float down under control. FLIGHT PERFORMANCE: Once released, you have quite a bit of control and I was very surprised at the number of stunts that you can do. Pull the right stick/arm down and you turn right. Pull the left

7 stick/arm down and you turn left. Pull both sticks/arms down and you flare. Spins, dives, stationary floating and more are possible under great control. I wonder when someone will try 3D with a skydiver? A good RC skydiver pilot can control their jumper so well that they can land in a spot as small as two feet in diameter! Flights from 400 feet generally last around 2-3 minutes, although this depends on wind conditions and how you set your chute up. LANDING: Like flying the jumper, the landings are pretty much straight forward. It can be tricky at times to line up with the runway if you have a strong cross wind. Where you drop in relationship to the runway is a big factor in your success. Line up with the runway as you float down and like a plane, just before you touch the ground, pull both sticks down to flare the jumper in for a soft landing. Jump Video Low Bandwidth (890k) High Bandwidth (2.9mb) First Flight First Flight CONCLUSION: Since I had been sent one of the prototypes, it was difficult to assess the building instructions for the jumper since they were not supplied with the kit. However, my understanding is that these are ARF jumpers and not kits, and the instructions are being created as you read this article. If they are anything like the quality of workmanship of the jumper, I would expect them to be first class. I did not know what to expect with an RC Skydiver, but I must say that they are a blast to fly, easy to control and are an immediate hit at the field. The only drawback is that their flight is dependant on someone hauling you up in the air with a drop plane. I am currently experimenting with a Joss Stick drop plane setup with an FMA Co Pilot. If this works, the Co Pilot will fly the plane in a circle while I float to the ground, after which I can land my drop plane. For now, I will rely on my brother in law to haul me up in the air. If you are interested in flying something different and have a 40 sized or larger stick, or trainer type of plane that can be rigged to drop, I would highly recommend a Solomon RC skydiver. They are well made, easy to setup and fly, and extremely durable. S U M M A R Y 1-POOR 2-NEEDS IMPROVEMENT 3-AVERAGE 4-VERY GOOD 5-EXCELLENT Take-Off: Packaging: Landing: Construction: Basic Aerobatics Hardware: Low Speed Flight: Instruction Manual: High Speed Flight: N/A Ease of Assembly: Stall Characteristics: Kit Completeness: Scale Flight: Scale Appearance: HITS Very well constructed Easy assembly process Scale appearance out of the box Easy to fly MISSES The quality of the instructions are unknown as this is a prototype.. Since this is a part of the hobby that is just developing, there are several events that are just beginning to be organized. The AMA has a skydiving contest every year and events are being organized all over. I even received word that a skydiving team is being organized to fly a demonstration at the Joe Nall Fly In this year. Here are a few links to RC Skydiver manufacturers and enthusiasts: Solomon RC

8 Hobby Lobby Junior RCSkyDivers.com John and Bob's RC Skydiving Troy's Jumper Little Juan's Skydiving Page Blue Sky Skydiving R/C Skydiving USA Even if you don't end up buying an RC Skydiver, take some time this year to get out and see an event if there is one scheduled close to where you live. Although not as exciting as watching a 40% Ultimate tearing up the sky, they are fun in their own right and most of the guys that fly them are real characters, and fun to get to know. Comments on RCU Review: Solomon RC RC SkyDiver Posted by: Masjodon on 11/07/2014 Profile I cannot reach the RCSkydivingUSA site. Something wrong with the page? Are there are any more sites that sells RC skydivers besides Solomon in the US? Thanks The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review. Page: 1 THIS ARTICLE OR CHECK OUT THESE OTHER GREAT REVIEWS! Photo Manufacturer Product Summary Reviewed Tower Hobbies J-3 Cub With its distinctive looks, it is probably safe to say that the J-3 Cub is one of the most recognized and known airplanes in... 11/23/2015 RCGF 21cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline Engine RCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for 'the RC aircraft market /23/2015 RCGF 120cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline Engine RCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for the RC aircraft market. T... 11/23/2015 Seagull Models Maule Super Rocket 10-15cc ARF When Seagull Models announced that they were going to produce not just a model, but an ARF of the Super Rocket, I just had to... 11/22/2015 Flitework Edge 540 The Flitework Edge 540 is an electric only ARF airframe with a generous wing span of 66.9" and also beautifully dressed up in... 11/21/2015 Seagull Models Steen Super Skybolt 15cc ARF Seagull Models introduced this biplane early on in 2015, and SIG mfg. had a pre-production sample at the Toledo Expo. That pr... 11/20/2015 ST Model Salto ST model brings us a fun aerobatic glider with the H101 Salto. The self-launch electric glider has no bad tendency and will b... 11/19/2015

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