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Jim Ryan


Choosing Servos for Helicopters — Analog vs. Digital

Choosing Servos for Helicopters — Analog vs. Digital

(Opener) Flybarless helis like this large Robinson R22 are rapidly taking over, but these impressive machines impose heavier demands on the servos. Let’s address a question that seems to cause a good deal of confusion (or at least misunderstanding) among helicopter fliers—whether digital servos are really better than analog, and whether they’re worth the added […]
Here's the 450 size Cheyenne at the 2013 MidAm Electric Fly.  Photo by John Kauk.

Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne Project — Scratch building a scale hybrid Heli

A few years back I designed a scale model of the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne, probably my favorite helicopter of all time.  The experimental Cheyenne featured a variable-pitch pusher prop and small wings, which allowed it to fly much like an airplane and gave it a top speed of nearly 250 MPH.  My Cheyenne was based […]
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The 65" long fuselage was drawn in Rhino 3D to verify fit for the internal mechanics.

AH-56 Cheyenne Project – Part 5 – CNC Machined Plug

This installment continues construction of my 700-size AH-56 Cheyenne, which began here. After a break to pursue some other projects, I’m back to work on the 700 size Cheyenne.  The next step was making the plug which I’d use to lay up the female mold for the fiberglass fuselage.  As noted in the first installment of […]
The finished Strandbeest is ready to go.

Radio Control Strandbeest

Not long ago I became fascinated by Strandbeests.  These amazing walking machines are the brainchild of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who has been designing and perfecting monumental scale versions for the past 25 years.  By all means visit Theo’s website to watch his captivating videos.  I found out about Strandbeests – Dutch for “beach animals” […]
PhotoDrone 600x120
AH-56 Cheyenne Project – Part 5 – Tail Controls

AH-56 Cheyenne Project – Part 5 – Tail Controls

This installment continues construction of my 700-size AH-56 Cheyenne.  The project begins here. Since the Cheyenne’s tail rotor is mounted at the end of a long extension shaft, I needed to fabricate a control linkage with a bellcrank,.  I’ve just gotten into having parts 3D printed by Shapeways.com, and this was a perfect application for their […]
The two tail servos were mounted in a tray milled from 2mm carbon fiber.

AH-56 Cheyenne Project – Part 4 – Tail Boom

This installment continues construction of my 700-size AH-56 Cheyenne.  The project begins here. With the Cheyenne’s powertrain and cyclic control issues resolved, next step for the project was completing the tail boom.  As noted previously, I’m stretching a Blade 600 X to 700 size, so I needed to fit a longer tail boom and torque […]
Photo by Gerry Yarrish

AH-56 Cheyenne Project – Part 3 – Powertrain and Cyclic Servos

Here we continue my Cheyenne scale heli project, introduced here.  The construction of the complex tail unit was covered here.   MAIN GEAR AND CYCLIC SERVOS: While I had good reasons to choose the Blade 600 X for my mechanics, there was one feature of this particular heli that cost me some extra work. You […]
The Cheyenne's most notable feature was the variable-pitch pusher prop.  This and the small wings allowed the AH-56 to fly much like an airplane, hitting speeds up to 250MPH.

AH-56 Cheyenne Project – Part 2 – Mechanics

BUILDING THE MECHANICS: As noted in my intro posting, my first priority for my 700-size Cheyenne project was to build and test fly the mechanics. After all, if I couldn’t get the outrigger tail and variable-pitch pusher prop to work properly, what was the point? First decision was choosing the basic mechanics. Although this is […]
Turn your Slow Stick into an ultralight!

Turn your Slow Stick into an ultralight!

Slow Sticks are a fixture at nearly every park and flying field, but the MIA Designs Ultralight kit offers a fun way to give a different twist to this popular design. The overall look is reminiscent of the classic Quicksilver, particularly in flight, and it is a load of fun. NOTABLE FEATURES The Ultralight kit […]
Torque-Tube Tail Upgrade

Torque-Tube Tail Upgrade

For several years, Align’s T-Rex 450 series has dominated the small helicopter market. Rather than resting on a proven design with excellent quality and fit, Align has gradually upgraded the heli to keep up with (or ahead of) their competitors, imitators, and outright copiers. With the release of the T-Rex 450 Pro, Align raised the […]
Blade 600X: a 12-cell competition beauty raises the bar

Blade 600X: a 12-cell competition beauty raises the bar

Over the last couple of years, Blade RC, long a major presence in mini and micro helicopters, has released a series of larger helis ranging up to 550 class. With the Blade 600X they have raised the ante with a competition-grade 12-cell flybarless 600, and I couldn’t wait to build one. The Blade 600X Pro […]
Light up the night! Easy add-on

Light up the night! Easy add-on

RC’ers love novelty — anything to make flying a little different. Float flying, aerotow, aerial video; all these add variety, but one of my favorites is night flying. There’s something absolutely magical about flying in the dark. My efforts with night flying go back nearly 20 years, starting with spotlights, then Cyalume light sticks and […]
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